Jump to content

[All][Long, invested poop-post] Blood, post-poop, invests longer. [Al]


Recommended Posts

(Cross-posted from reddit, figured you might also like to hear this theory. I was worried about the [OB] tag ruining the ketek if I put it in the tags or title, but I've aggressively spoiler-tagged everything that I could argue is tangentially OB-related, even going so far as to censor my own menstruation comment. Alas, this theory is probably so correct that it spoils every future book too, but those don't have tags yet. EDIT: "rust" is apparently an auto-censor for a slightly more profane way of saying poop, so I had to change a few things.)

While the Intent of the Sanderson seems to be to have a highly realistic world, there are some taboo subjects that he to some extent avoids, such as his characters' sex drives and access to toilets. With some notable exceptions, this is pretty standard. You see this trend in works ranging from fantasy to scientific literature, but it can have many reasons.

Primarily, these subjects are taboo in our society, and it's easier to supplement a fictional society with new taboos (such as safehands or male writing) than to abandon our own. Brandon could feel uncertain about whether he could pull it off in a way that wouldn't alienate his terran readers with terran taboos, and this is often brought up as the difference between "Martin realism" and "Sanderson realism". Martin just goes there, and if he cares about the reader feeling uncomfortable, it's the approving type of care. If Martin had written Oathbringer,


Dalinar's flashbacks would probably have taken on a much more grotesque nature with respect to Evi

- but I doubt either feels a particular need to change their style to be more in line with the other's. Implied threats of rape gives enough realism to Jasnah's hands-on lesson in philosophy, and it would be jarring if it had been explicit.

However, there was one scene in Oathbringer where


menstruation - a natural yet surprisingly high-variance process that can have more or less impact on any given woman's daily life, especially in a world without modern health care - was suddenly lampshaded in a very terran manner. Furthermore, not only are there references to poop when describing poor living conditions for slaves in TWoK, Adolin shitting in his Shardplate is brought up several times! 

This abnormality of pointing out traditionally "unclean" things made me rethink the Sandersonian importance of blood and poop, two topics that not only aren't taken seriously in-world, but out-of-world as well. Considering that even scientists are having trouble working on these taboos in the real world, it's not surprising if most fans would rather assume that the messy parts of our nature is irrelevant.

However, I believe they aren't.


Comparatively speaking "clean" portrayals of blood have appeared in Warbreaker (The Lifeless have their blood replaced with an artificial substitute which makes the Lifeless hold Breath better) the Emperor's Soul (Bloodsealing) and Mistborn (Hemalurgy and Bloodmaking). With the exception of Bloodmaking, blood is portrayed as just another arcane reagent -albeit a dark one by our standard cultural standards- but it does provide precedence for blood being important. Bloodmaking can help you recover even from Hemalurgic attacks, so in this case "Blood" seems to effectively be an allegory for health on both the physical and spiritual planes.

Now, there's an epigraph in WoK which I latched onto, but I haven't seen it be brought up in theory discussions before. Not that I've read every theory thread, but I'd think it foreshadows important secrets about the mechanics of magic in general.


“I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.”     
Dated Shashanan, 1173, 23 seconds pre-death. Subject: a darkeyed youth of sixteen years. Sample is of particular note.   

This oddly phrased epigraph predates two important scenes that share a bloody common factor: 

There's one scene where Bridge Four loses a member, and it's specifically pointed out that Kaladin gets blood all over his hands trying to save him. It ends in despair, as it always does. Soon after that, his magical evolution kicks into overdrive. He starts successfully saving the members of Bridge Four on bridge runs, and eventually saves a lot people beyond Bridge Four. One could say, he gained them further breath to draw, once he himself gained the ability to breathe in Stormlight.

He also grew up around lots of surgery, and it's entirely possible this was when Sylphrena started being pulled towards him.

The other scene that comes to mind is when Shallan accidentally Soulcasts blood for the first time and subsequently cuts open her own arm in an attempt to cover it up. Blood all over her arms. Later on all of her blood is even replaced with Soulcast blood. 

This immediately raises the question: Is there any notable biological distinction between her old blood and the Soulcast blood? This WoB gives a RAFO as to the exact nature, but this WoB suggests that it's very important to get Soulcast blood transfusions right. And that's difficult, particularly considering their understanding of blood types aren't exactly up to modern standards.

This could lead to major unforeseen consequences, particularly given the importance of blood in Hemalurgy. It's possible that Jasnah has significantly affected Shallan's spiritweb in some way, and done so relatively soon after Shallan had the "blood over her arms" experience. Would this make Shallan more open to accepting investiture, perhaps?

If one were poetically inclined, one could also argue that Shallan had figurative "blood on her hands" in her childhood, or that there were other likely reasons for her to have literal blood over her hands during her miserable childhood. Around when she started to attract Pattern.

By itself, it's very hard to make predictions based on this, beyond conjecturing that bloodied hands is somehow comparable to Snapping on Scadrial. However, it does tie into various other theories. 

It is particularly noteworthy because of the theory that Shallan's red hair indicates


very faint Singer ancestry, from the Veden people mixing with Herdazians and Horneaters, who have a closer relation to the Singers. For instance, Horneaters like Rock not only hum rhythms passed down through generations, but they are even able to digest Horn and Chitin, an evolutionary trait of Roshar not found in most humans.

Getting the blood wrong could potentially be disastrous - but as of yet, it doesn't seem like it was outside of biological error bounds. But... If an Awakener drained the color from her hair, would it grow back as red in the future?

Or, if you subscribe to the theory that Jasnah has hidden powers beyond the ones publicly known, could those have been imparted to Shallan? Is it possible that the dying member of Bridge Four was invested in some manner, hastening Kaladin's growth? 

There are a lot of possibilities if you start following the blood in this manner, but one intriguing theory that blood could be an analogue to a gemheart - it is the part of your body that manages investiture over time, and the connection between your physical body and your spiritweb. After all, in the real world the blood stream is what carries most of the caloric energy and nutrients around the body, not just the Oxygen. If we subscribe to the claim that all energy is a form of investiture, then that is consistent with the previous theory.


Off the top of my head, there are four forms of magic that are explicitly related to the digestive system. 

  1. The big one is Allomancy, in which metals are ingested and burned as a catalyst for accessing investiture (It's not the source of the power, merely a channeling aid). 
  2. There's Sand Mastery (White Sand) which mostly consumes water in order to manipulate White invested Sand, but at high levels can also produce water. When White Sand is used, the investiture is spent and it becomes dark - it must be recharged with investiture by sunlight. 
  3. There's the Kandra, who can consume someone's bones and shapeshift into them. 
  4. Finally, there's Lift's... "ingestiture", which lets her convert food into a generic form of investiture she can use for Surgebinding, leaving her hungry afterwards.

"There's always another secretion."  
-Kelsier, probably, after he stopped giving a rust.

This is something I feel ought to be explored in Mistborn, if not for the imported terran taboos. What happens to an Allomancer's digestive system as a result of their powers? Do the metals disappear into the void when burned, or do they change form in some fashion and end up in the feces? Does Aluminum sabotage metal reserves because it somehow reacts with and messes up the Allomantic purity of the other metals (putting them all in the poop) or does it make the metal magically disappear?

We know Allomancers are advised to burn away their excess metals before sleeping to avoid poisoning, so whatever the end result of an Allomantic burn is, it should safely pass through your gut and be deposited in your poo. Could this then be refined or recycled? If Icelandic fishermen could figure out that letting a poisonous shark rot while submerged in urine makes it edible, it seems unlikely that no Allomancer would ever try eating feces and burning it. In particular, the noblemen scientists who tortured and experimented on Skaa mistings would be very likely to try something like this, since the ethics committee wasn't around to slash their funding.

This is important research, dammit!

By the way, it's a fun fact that a lot of the brown in your poo is dead blood cells being flushed, with your body producing new blood to take its place. Depending on your perspective, you could argue that it's still blood in motion while it's in your gut, and it could possibly be that this is where the actual Allomantic burn happens - while it's touching the blood but before it has time to be absorbed and poison you. I seem to recall a Compounder burning gold via the bloodstream, but I've lent away my Mistborn books so I can't check.

This leads me to the second point: Can Kandra use poop to shapeshift? What if it's the poop of a cannibalistic Horneater, who had eaten his identical twin brother, bones and all? The chemicals added by the digestive process are no different than from those present in the live specimen pre-eating, and it shouldn't matter if most of the otherwise edible bits had rotted away to leave only the bones. It seems to me that pooped remains should be able to serve as a substitute for rotted-away remains, but I might be missing something. At any rate I suggest we call this process, if it's permissible, "Shapeshitting".

There are also questions about urine for the Taldaini, a really convenient way to preserve water for anyone without access to slatrification. My personal speculation is that all Taldaini fresh water is a really spread-out form of Autonomy's Shardpool. After all, Patji's Eye on First of the Sun is allegedly smaller than the other Shardpools, and Autonomy's power is likely to be spread out like the many pantheons of gods maintained by Bavadin on various worlds, and would be likely to associate their investiture with something worthy of worship. This is also consistent with how it's really damnation hard to get back to Taldain if you ever leave - there might not be anywhere with enough fresh water to form a perpendicularity, and the rest of the investiture is on the relatively thin surface of the White Sand.

Meanwhile, I also surmise that the sand darkening when spent is analogous to your blood turning brown when spent in the poo analogy. Khriss, the worldhopping Scholar, probably knows if this is true. Granted, I haven't read the newest White Sand so the answer could be in there, but if I may talk directly to it for a moment: I doubt urine there.

Of these, Taldaini sand mastery is the most similar to Lift's ingestiture. By this WoB one can argue that anything part of a life/death cycle contains some of Cultivation's investiture, and in fact, I would go so far as to say that regular caloric intake is a form of investiture transfer in the form of chemical energy. Then, the remaining droppings, which are not really inert, provide fuel to another part of the ecosystem. One of Lift's distinguishing abilities is to turn the food into pure investiture, and once the investiture is spent, she becomes hungry. This suggests that she's able to extract all of the available investiture, and thus whatever comes out of her should be inert in terms of investiture.

Let's not beat around the bush: Does Lift poop Aluminum? Is she focused on Dalinar's nice butt because her own butt holds the Shart of Constipation?

As a reminder, Aluminum, with its chemical designation [Al], not only drains an Allomancer's metal reserves, but it also is counter to almost all forms of investiture we know of. [Al] doesn't give off Atium shadows, it can't be affected with Steelpush or Ironpull, and it's believed to ward off emotional Allomancy. [Al] can't be Awakened on Nalthis. [Al] is implied to block Forgery on Sel. An [Al] scabbard can contain Nightblood. [Al] can block Shardblades, and it resists Soulcasting. [Al] blocks investiture from healing wounds until it's out of the system.

Partial Aluminum content, like an Aluminum piece on a gun, makes investiture harder to use on it, even if not quite impossible. If you were about to take an Aluminum poop, you'd have a hard time healing your butt region, but afterwards you'd contain less Aluminum, less waste-blood, and on average you'd be less inert.

I therefore propose the hypothesis that if Lift's leftovers contain Aluminum, then if Lift poops to get rid of the Aluminum/gut-blood mixture, she'd be able to use the storage of Stormlight surging through her blood for longer, and more easily.

Edited by Tobbzn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Tobbzn let me reply to your hypothesis in Ketek form:

Done digesting, Lift becomes stronger, pooping Aluminum. Pooping strengthens being. Lift's digestion's done.

Seriously one of the funniest theories I've read in a long time (and disturbingly well thought out). Pip pip and cheerio, take an upvote too.

You might really like one of my daughter's favorite books:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Supplement: Re-listened to WoK with GraphicAudio. Kaladin had a retrospective where he again explicitly uses the phrase: 


[...] Tien... and before that... Blood on his hands and the body of a young woman

I should buy the ebook to ctrl+F all the cases where similar phrases are used.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Chaos locked this topic
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...