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[OB] So, have we seen Voidbinding yet?


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We saw a lot of Odium and his various minions during OB, and witnessed them using several kinds of magic.  But was any of this actually Voidbinding?  I find myself unconvinced.

Possible candidates:

  1. Stormform listeners summoning lightning and the Everstorm (at the end of WoR)
  2. The Fused
  3. Amaram (at the end of OB)
  4. Renarin
  5. The Unmade

I will consider each of these separately.


1. Stormform listeners

This one is pretty much put to rest by WoB from the Calamity tour - https://wob.coppermind.net/events/4-calamity-seattle-signing/#e5153


Q: How many magic systems are in The Stormlight Archive, and how many of them haven't been seen?

A: I would say the only major one you haven’t seen is Voidbinding, it depends on how you count them.  I count fabrials as one, Surgebinding as one, and Voidbinding as one.  And then the Old Magic is kind of its own weird thing.

This was well after the release of WoR, and Brandon clearly said we had not seen Voidbinding at that time, so Stormform cannot be it.

After OB, in which we saw how similar the Fused powers are to Surgebinding, I find myself wondering whether the Stormform were using Surgebinding to access Division?  That's the one we know least about so far, and separating electrons from the air would produce lightning for sure.

2. The Fused

We saw quite a bit of what the Fused can do, and boy is it similar to Surgebinding.  So similar, in fact, that I believe this IS Surgebinding.  Odium is somehow hacking Honor's magic system to power it using Voidlight rather than Stormlight, but this is no more a different magic system than if I modded my gasoline car to run on ethanol, then claimed the result was no longer an internal combustion engine.

WoB again - https://wob.coppermind.net/events/173-oathbringer-san-francisco-signing/#e8340


Q: Does red in cosmere signify one Shard co-opting or corrupting another Shard's magic?

A: Yes.

So, red eyes on Fused mean they must be co-opting Honor/Cultivation magic, rather than using something different that is purely of Odium (ditto for the Stormform listeners).

I've read a theory that Odium always works by co-opting existing magic rather than creating new things of his own, and thus Voidbinding is by definition just an Odiumised variant of Surgebinding.  I don't buy that for metatextual reasons:

  1. Think Bigger, as Jasnah would say.  It's just not satisfying enough for the boss adversary to have a magic system that, despite a scary sounding name, is identical to the one we already know except for a different fuel source.
  2. We already saw an evil shard magic system that works by stealing other magics, with Ruin and Hemalurgy.  Brandon wouldn't repeat that so closely.

Another theory is that different magics can seem similar because they all work by manipulating the same underlying physical surges.  My problem with this is that, even if the underlying surge is the same, the way it is accessed should produce significantly different results.  Brandon lists fabrials, Surgebinding, and Voidbinding as the main three magic systems in the Stormlight Archive.  Fabrials and Surgebinding have much in common, but their capabilities are quite different at least so far.  Maybe eventually the Surgebinders will learn to replicate everything we have seen a fabrial do, or the artifabrians may replicate all of the Surgebinding abilities, but that is not the case today.  The differences between the Fused and Knights Radiant seem more on a scale with the differences between Knights Radiant vs. Herald use of Surgebinding, rather than the far larger differences between Surgebinding and fabrials.

That said, the Fused don't seem to be 100% identical to how KR Surgebinding works.  If I followed correctly, it appears that each Fused gets only 1 rather than 2 surges.  They seem unable to lash anyone but themselves (so when flying they must carry others in a harness) and it is mentioned in several places that they are slower to change direction than the Radiants.

Kaladin lashes others by pushing Stormlight into them.  Could the Fused inability to do this be a result of powering their magic with a foreign form of Investiture?  Perhaps they can hold voidlight within themselves, but it dissipates too quickly if transferred to other objects on Roshar.

It has been speculated elsewhere that the speed difference could be due to varying planetary gravity.  This makes sense to me because we know that lashings work naturally in integer units of gravity.  Kaladin instinctively thinks in terms of one lashing, or a half lashing.  He can easily hover by exactly cancelling out the natural gravity.  He speeds up, not by continuously adjusting the amount of a lashing, but by applying one lashing on top of another in rapid succession.

Odd thing here, though, is that Kaladin must be operating in units of one Rosharan gravity - otherwise he wouldn't be able to hover so easily.  But the Fused are originally from Roshar too!  So why would their use of lashing be tied to something different such as Braize gravity units?  Maybe because they are powering the Surgebinding using voidlight, and Odium is on Braize?

Possible question to ask Brandon:  is the ratio between how fast a Windrunner vs. Fused can change speed the same as the ratio between mass of Roshar vs. Braize?


3. Amaram

He got pretty badass there at the end, but was doing the same things we've already seen from Surgebinders.   Amaram was to a regular Fused as Mistborn is to Misting.


4. Renarin

Now this is where it gets interesting.  We know he has a corrupted spren, but without knowing what a regular Truthwatcher does, there's no way to be sure exactly what effect this had.

We do have:

So we know there is something voidish going on here.  At this point I think it is impossible to tell whether Renarin's visions are pure voidbinding, or some blend of regular Truthwatching with void abilities.


5. The Unmade

Definitely powered by Odium, but I do not believe these are voidbinding.  It seems that shards have considerable flexibility to act directly themselves (eg. Honor creating Honorblades, Ruin modifying writings, Endowment returning the Returned...) in ways that don't constitute a full magic system.  I believe voidbinding will be more like other magic systems which can be accessed by anyone who meets the necessary criteria, while the Unmade are more in line with other unique one-offs done directly by Shards.


In short:  Stormform, Fused, and Amaram were using Surgebinding, not Voidbinding.  The Unmade are something different entirely.  Renarin has used Voidbinding, but we know too little to say exactly when or what that was.  Almost everything to do with Voidbinding is yet to be seen.

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