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Hidden Things in Map of Roshar?


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So we have a WoB that goes something like this


Q: Is there anything that I should have asked that I didn’t?
A: Probably not… Do you know if anyone has figured out the hidden things in the map of Roshar?


The only thing I noticed was the map is somewhat in the shape of a ying/yang symbol (or an Aes Sedai symbol!).  Any of our supertalented spotters catch anything else?


Edit:  Adding a link to the physical realm map :)



Edit 2:  Adding a link to the Shadesmar map



Edit 3:  Adding link to black and white Roshar map



Edit 4:  Congratulations to Veil and Jensen for Figuring It Out on page 31!



I wish I knew more about math so I could really contribute to this conversation. Like I have no idea what Julia sets and Fatou sets are or whether they have anything at all to do with Roshar, but...



Come on. Tell me that doesn't look like Roshar.


Also, I like the sound of "Julia set behaviour is chaotic, while Fatou set behavior is regular/ordered." Sounds a bit like Honor and Cultivation to me.




Ok, first time poster, long time lurker.


Going to wikipedia searching for the Julia set and using the same animation that Veil used I was able to produce this.




Mystery solved right? :)




Summary/Things we found.  Thank you to Veil for putting all this together!  Here is her wonderful Summary.




The Really Big Thread Summary




-"The Thing" pertains to the main Roshar map (from either book), is hard to find but relatively minor, and does not have to do with the compass. (Thanks to Luke.spence.)

-The observation that Roshar looks like a spiral galaxy is on the right track, but "The Thing" does not have to do with gravitation/black holes. (Thanks to Shicaca.)

-The special skill needed to find "The Thing" has to do with math. Also, someone at a previous signing got close. (Thanks to Peterwinkle.)



-Specific knowledge is required to discover "The Thing," and there's no reason to assume most of us would possess this knowledge. Even if we have the knowledge, we may not realize it's applicable.

-The specific knowledge is not Cosmere-related. "The Thing" is cool, but fairly isolated.

-Someone on this thread has finally gotten close (well... closer.)


Prominent Theories

-These concepts were brought up shortly before Peter's "Getting Close" comment, have to do with math, and generally seem likely candidates for "The Thing."

-Fractals (particularly the Dragon Curve.)

-This could support the Fractal Cosmology theory (that Roshar itself is a map of the Cosmere).

-The Dragon Curve is particularly fitting if you break off the eastern arm and move it over to where Aimia is.

-Odical compiled a list of natural fractals (and discovered a possible inspiration for the term "Nahel bond.")

-Julia Sets


-People have tried using the whole of Roshar in a tessellation pattern, but it doesn't line up


Ongoing Discussions

-Roshar has a striking degree of symmetry (point/rotational/diagonal.) Urithiru may be the origin. The significance of this is unknown.

-The shape of Roshar is reminiscent of a spiral galaxy/two colliding spiral galaxies, a hurricane/storm cell/two colliding storms (possibly a highstorm and an everstorm), an Aes Sedai/Yin Yang symbol, the Double Pupil of the Almighty, or Brandon's signature. Basically the shape is weird and reminds us of a lot of things.

-The spiral galaxy parallel in particular has led to a lot of speculation about Roshar being a Cosmere hub world and/or Rosharan cities/landmarks corresponding to other Shardworlds' locations in the Cosmere, but so far no confirmation on any of this.

-History of Roshar: The continent may be the Pangaea of Roshar (i.e. a supercontinent in the process of breaking up.) Or it could be the result of a collision between two or more continents. Or it could be a mashup of lands from different Shardworlds. Also known as the Jigsaw Roshar Theory.

-The "Aimia is Weird" Theory. Namely that Aimia either broke off the main landmass or has a different origin entirely, since it ruins Roshar's symmetry. First brought up early in the topic, then returned with the Dragon Curve theory.


Compass Roses and Map Projections

(A cool tangent, but not "The Thing.")

-The rays of the compass rose on the WoR (full-color) map are not equi-angular.

-The WoR compass rose bears some similarity to the roses on the Frostlands map.

-Peter stopped by to point out that the numbers on the translation were off, and that yes, it mattered.

-Efforts were made to overlay various maps with the Frostlands map.

-Peter stopped by to say it was a projection issue; the lines on the Frostlands map would curve at the bottom.

-Maresia gave us this lovely spherical projection of Roshar.

-Veil eyeballed latitude and longitude on the map of Roshar. (Peter confirmed that this gives the right general idea, though he hasn't compared it to the original; minor discrepancies may exist.)

-Should be noted that, while Peter gave us a couple nudges in the right direction, he also pointed out that this was not "The Thing" Brandon has been hinting at.


The study in madness that is pages 11-14

-Seriously, we all kinda descended into insanity for a while there.

-Kicked off when Luke.spence asked if we'd discovered "The Thing" and Peter popped into say, "No." (That was literally his entire post.)

-This happened.

-We got off on a lot of tangents that made the post count skyrocket but didn't actually advance our quest. Lots of laughter and crack theories, and then we finally refocused.


Observations covered more extensively in other topics

-Frostlands Map and Thaylen Glyphs

-Map Symbol


Unanswered but abandoned questions

-What's the significance of the double-line latitudes? Something to do with the moons?

-What's the significance of the compass roses on the Frostlands map? Suggestions to date include Oathgates, Shardpools, and Unmade. They connect to each other, but not always--suggesting there could be more beyond the borders of the map. Most have 16 lines, but not all.

-What's up with highstorms? The continent of Roshar covers nearly the entire western hemisphere, yet the storm covers the land in about a day, while taking a week or more to cover the other half of the globe and then return.


Interesting observations that are not "The Thing."

-The Sea of Lost Souls in Shadesmar corresponds to Alethkar, possibly in reference to the Recreance.

-The WoR (full-color) map has a signature and symbol in the lower corner. The signature may belong to Isasik Shulin (Royal Cartographor whose seal is on the WoK map.) The symbol also shows up on the sword stance scroll. It's not clear if the symbol indicates Isasik, Nazh, or someone/thing else.

-The symbols on the border of the WoR map correspond to the cymatic pattern for Akinah and the map symbol.

-The WoR map has several new cities labelled, but there doesn't seem to be anything significant about them (yet.)

-Shadesmar has mountains where the Purelake is, like the bead-ocean was superimposed on a pre-existing landscape. (So Shadesmar pre-dates Roshar?)

-The shape of Roshar stays the same from the Silver Kingdoms era through modern day. There are no plate tectonics at play, but erosion/crem build-up lead to a slow migration of the continent. Two possibilities here: erosion and deposition are so similar the shape of the continent doesn't change; or this is such a slow process that it hasn't changed more than half a kilometer or so over the last 4000-odd years (comparable to continental drift on Earth.)

-There are new islands in the modern maps. Unclear if the Reshi Isles are reproducing or if the modern map was just drawn with more detail.

-Isasik Shulin has a city named after him (or at least his family.)

-Roshar's archipelagos line up along perfect ellipses--although this is only true on the flat map projections and wouldn't hold up on a sphere.


Dead theories (through lack of evidence or just lack of interest.)

-Words and images in the texture of the WoR (full-color) map or in the pattern of mountain. We had several people trying to mess with contrast to clarify the "text" but never found anything concrete.

-Shape of the map/lines indicating somewhere to fold the map/overlap on itself. Never heard of anything being discovered through this method, or if it was even attempted.

-The "Ray-Letter" Theory. Possibility of a hidden message. Brought up here, expanded upon/disputed here.

-Superimposing the Surgebinding chart to reveal the secret. Don't know for sure if anyone tried this, but it didn't lead to any revelations.

-Radial glyphs behind the R in Roshar and around the compass look like the same glyph, just repeated a different number of times. The only possibly translations we've had are "R (for Roshar)" and "SasassasaS," so probably no Plains-Shattering revelation there.

-Drawing lines between cities reveals a glyph or cymatic pattern. There wasn't a lot of effort spent on this theory, since there are just so many cities and possible lines, and nothing Peter or Brandon has said suggests this is worth pursuing.

-Physical vs. digital map distinction. (The idea that a physical print of the map has something (e.g. under blacklight) not found on the digital map.) Never specifically refuted, but it sounds like any version of the Roshar map, physical or digital, works.

-It was noted that some wallpaper versions of the WoK map found on Isaac Stewart's website cut off the latitudes strangely, leaving ghost zeroes in the oceans. THIS IS NOT A CODE.

-Points of convergence obtained by duplicating/reflecting the compass rose might be significant (Shardpools were mentioned), but the discussion never really took off.

-Roshar (the continent) was originally on the sea floor but was then somehow exposed, possibly by tides. Someone suggested a 4th moon in geosynchronous orbit such that it's never visible from land creating a tidal trough.

-The highstorm was originally stationary and the crem built up into the continent. Then Honor arrived and moved the highstorm off the continent to allow for human life. Disputed because life on Roshar is well adapted to a cycle of highstorms, suggesting that this has been constant for a long time.

-Various theories about crem build up around Dawncities creating mountain ranges, ect. Not quite a death discussion, but largely accepted to be a tangent as it has little to do with math or the various hints we've received.

-The "Great Roshar-Shell Theory," which posits that the continent is a greatshell or thunderclast, possibly moving across the globe. Again, not quite dead, but also not quite relevant.

-The Highstorm used to travel the opposite direction.

-The planet rotates opposite Earth's rotation (debunked thanks to a book quote stating that the sun sets in the west.)

-Rosharan AonDor. Either it exists or it's developing, or something.


Edited by RShara
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The 16 rays coming out of the sun are not equiangular.  In particular the angle between due East and East-North-East is significantly larger than the others. 


I tend to think it is the mapmaking equivalent of a typo, though.

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Lift grew up in Rall Elorim, near the Reshi Sea.  She thinks to herself that Darkness followed her from Marabethia, also on the Reshi Sea.  She claims never to have been around Reshi people.  Seems hard to believe, but not really map-related. 


Maybe she thinks the food isn't good there.  Clearly she hasn't feasted on larkin roe. 

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I thought he was talking about the map with the Runes on it. with the note from Nazh on where Shallan landed. 




There seems to be a lot of runes and whatnot. 


I think some of you translated it already though. 

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That map was just the frostlands though. There are two Roshar maps. One is the colored endpaper and one is the Isasik Shulin one:



I hope I did those right, my iPad is acting weird.

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The compass in the black-and-white version drawn by Isasik Shulin shows North, South, Stormward and Leeward. There's lots of references to east and west in the book though, so that might just be for style.


There are the interesting numbers at the edge of the frame, however. I doubt it's latitude or longitude measurements. Rosharians haven't shown any consideration yet that their planet is spherical.

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They got that memo! At the end of WoR they assume the Everstorm will circle the planet and hit Shinovar, and speculate that the Highstorm is similarly one storm constantly rounding the globe rather than than a series of storms being spawned from the Origin.

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After Pattern's? comment about how land in Roshar is ocean in Shadesmar and vice versa, I checkout the shadesmar map and realised that, indeed, Roshar and Shadesmar are the same shape. Which makes me wonder if that's a complete map of Shadesmar, or only Rosharan Shadesmar. because if it's all of the Cognitive realm, that suggests a special connection to Roshar.


Also, The Valley where the Nightwatcher lives is clearly marked in the mountain range sort of south of the Reshi sea, (Brandon pointed this out at a signing - maybe this is the kind of thing he's talking about?). Anyway, I noticed The Valley is suspiciously close to the described location of Urithiru - same set of mountain ranges.

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There is certainly some kind of diagonal symmetry to it... But it almost looks like the whole land mass has been spun anti-clockwise about the center and left a trail of islands on each size... Which I don't think would happen if you span the planet about itself really fast... Right?

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The overall shape of the map is very distinct, a vertical rectangle with a half circle on each side.

Has anyone tried folding parts of the map over?

The compass seems to have some guiding lines for that...

It could be meaningless but the square symbols bordering the entire map are different in each corner of the rectangle.

First time I've seen this map. I'm impressed, very well done.

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If you look at the Black and white map by Isasik there seem to be 4 glyphs I haven't seen translated, there are three in the upper border. ( they are patterned around the whole map but you can seem them clearest at the top) And the glyph behind the " MAP of ROSHAR" from what I can tell both circles are glyphs that are instead of being patterned into quadrants but into thirds..... I for one would love to see that particular set of glyphs translated. Im working on messing with the circular glyph and seeing if I can pull out the glyph shape from the image. Ill upload that in a bit

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After Pattern's? comment about how land in Roshar is ocean in Shadesmar and vice versa, I checkout the shadesmar map and realised that, indeed, Roshar and Shadesmar are the same shape. Which makes me wonder if that's a complete map of Shadesmar, or only Rosharan Shadesmar. because if it's all of the Cognitive realm, that suggests a special connection to Roshar.


Shadesmar is a term that is local to Roshar.  The map that we see at the end of WoK correlates only to Roshar.  The expanses in the corners (there are four even though only three are titled) represent other portions of the cognitive realm which correspond to other places in the cosmere.

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