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Silver in the Cosmere


Extesian

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Silver. It's role in the Cosmere is uncertain, being a metal (pushable and pullable), allomantically inert and effective at warding off shades on Threnody. 

Well we got a tasty new WoB today, on another thing people have speculated about, what the silver chain being sold in Shadesmar during Oathbringer was.

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Posted by 13 hours ago
 
who else wants to read the Threnody's novel?
 
mraize7
 
1 point·2 hours ago
 

u/mistborn I know you were writing the sequel to first of the Sun. Any progress on Threnody's novel? ?

 
Author
2 points·2 hours ago

Just some vague ideas here and there. Nothing too specific. Silver chain in Oathbringer is from Threnody, though. (They use them in Silverlight too.) I'll get a chance to explain what they are eventually. (I hope.)

Source

So that's rad.

A reminder of the chain...

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They found a place selling weapons, and Adolin tried to negotiate while Kaladin browsed. Some kitchen knives. A few hand axes. And sitting in a locked, glass-top box, A long thin silvery chain. "You like?", the shopkeeper asked..."Only a thousand broams of stormlight."

Oathbringer, chapter 102

We didn't know what the significance of the chain was, why it was so expensive, what that chain was made of (options like a silver alloy, aluminum, or even dragonsteel have been thrown around). We still don't know a lot for sure, but it being from Threnody is awesome as it largely confirms the chain is silver, given the importance of it there. And it says they use them in freaking Silverlight! A Cognitive Realm city. 

So the chain is obviously useful in the Cognitive Realm, and in a place where you get attacked by Cognitive Shadows.

In other words, silver is significant to the Cognitive Realm, blocking and damaging corrupted Cognitive Shadows and being expensive and valuable in the Cognitive Realm.

This fits with some WoBs we have, about its general significance.

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Jessica, Matthew, and Jared Ashcraft

Is there significance in the fact that the world of Silence Montane uses silver for protection? (Even though there is no known Allomantic use for silver)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Brandon's Blog 2016 (Aug. 5, 2016)

Quote

Questioner

In Mistborn, silver doesn’t play a role. But then in Shadows for Silence, silver does play a role...

Brandon Sanderson

It does. I still wanted silver to be part of the Cosmere.

Questioner

But we’ll never see it in Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

It does not, as they understand currently, interact with Allomancy, with the three Metallurgic Arts. Silver does have a Cosmere role.

Boskone 54 (Feb. 18, 2017)

So given the chain is so expensive, what could it be made out of? Is it just silver, and silver is so important in the Cognitive Realm and so hard to get there that it's expensive? Is silver not enough, and it needs to be alloyed with a godmetal? Maybe, but then you'd think they'd be exceedingly rare. Is it a magical device, like a fabrial, that does something with silver? I doubt it, it's a simple chain, unless it's some woven form-based magic.

I personally think it's most likely to create a barrier in the cognitive realm that purely cognitive entities can't pass without a physical body, essentially the Cognitive equivalent of what aluminum does in the Spiritual Realm (and credit to First_Midnight for putting in that way). It basically stops investiture in the Cognitive Realm from affecting things in the physical realm.  That's why shades can't pass it without attacking and weakening the silver - they are actually destroying the silver's cognitive aspect, and then the silver in the Physical Realm is useless in stopping the shade from injecting its investiture into you and it transforming your physical aspect. That's why silver will stop the withering - under this theory, the shade attacks you with its corrupted investiture in the Cognitive Realm, and putting silver on it prevents that investiture from affecting you in the Physical  Realm. The investiture that's been attacking you is returned to the CR and blocked from affecting you again. 

That could be why people in Silverlight would use them, they're safe as they have a physical aspect, but Cognitive-only beings couldn't penetrate the barrier and any investiture being used on you not work.

And maybe that's why the necklace is so expensive, because that could make it hard to get silver into the Cognitive Realm through a perpendicularity.

But so how useful can it be if shades just burn through it? Well, the answer is, I think, that the chain is not the cognitive aspect of silver in the Physical Realm, but is actually silver brought into the Cognitive Realm, And would actually be impassable by investiture, unlike silver in the Physical Realm, which just puts up a temporary cognitive barrier.

Which is why it's rare and expensive, answering the chain question. 

I'm still not entirely sure I have the mechanics right, in terms of how a necklace may protect you entirely, or in terms of silver's effect in the Cognitive Realm. Love your views. Especially as I got tired of writing this and burned through the last but important parts :ph34r:

And I'll leave you with some ridiculousness. The name Silverlight? What if it's actually silver, to keep Cognitive incursions out. The city's walls are made of silver that is fully in the Cognitive Realm. :D

Edited by Extesian
Edits thanks to prompting from Mojonero!
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The followup question would be: why would silver be difficult to get into the Cognitive Realm?  Although transitioning between Realms is not trivial, plenty of people/organizations have done it; you really just need a stable perpendicularity.  People's clothes appear to transition with them, why not the metal they're carrying?  

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8 hours ago, Extesian said:

So given the chain is so expensive, what could it be made out of? Is it just silver, and silver is so important in the Cognitive Realm and so hard to get there that it's expensive? Is silver not enough, and it needs to be alloyed with a godmetal? Maybe, but then you'd think they'd be exceedingly rare. Is it a magical device, like a fabrial, that does something with silver? I doubt it, it's a simple chain, unless it's some woven form-based magic.

It could just be invested silver from Threnody.  Moving between realms is difficult on that planet and invested objects seem much more expensive in the market(like the painting).

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I have a weird theory that silver only has an effect on corrupted investiture.  As silver is naturally anti-bacterial.

 I feel that it might work the same to kill the corruption on investiture which might explain why Scadrial never found an alomantic use for the metal, until very recently they had never had any interactions with corrupted investiture.

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Maybe it's a weird thing where not knowing silver's magical qualities sort of converts it, Cognitively, into a magic void. And this has something to do with the actual metal, but only people in Threnody have a tendency to think a lot about silver as mysteriously magical, so they produce the Cognitive enigma of silver subconsciously as magical?

EDIT: there's a WoB that magic is not a used system on Threnody, so it can't be consciously accessed directly.

Edited by Ripheus23
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I like that idea Notshur, I can't think of any evidence that supports it, but I also can't think of any evidence that would say otherwise. We probably just don't have enough instances of combating co-opted investiture.

Who knows, likely as the Cosmere comes more and more together we'll find out this idea of Silver being an anti-co-opted metal is completely off base, but it seems a reasonable theory.

Edit: Do we know, like have a WOB on whether the Shades on Threnody are corrupted investiture? I haven't read that story in forever so I can't remember

Edited by Torchwood17
New Idea
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5 hours ago, Notshur said:

 I feel that it might work the same to kill the corruption on investiture which might explain why Scadrial never found an alomantic use for the metal, until very recently they had never had any interactions with corrupted investiture.

What do you mean by corrupted investiture?  Inversature combines in various ways.  Calling it corrupted depends on your perception.  Silver itself is antibacterial because it is bad for all life forms(that is why you don't eat it).  However silver does not resist all investiture so that is not the case.

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2 hours ago, Torchwood17 said:

Edit: Do we know, like have a WOB on whether the Shades on Threnody are corrupted investiture? I haven't read that story in forever so I can't remember

It appears they are indeed co-opted/corrupted.

 

Quote

Steeldancer

On Threnody, the Shades, their eyes turn red when they get really mad. Is that the same thing as with the Voidbringers and all the other ones?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a subtheme in the Cosmere of the redness and it's supposed to be intentional.

Steeldancer

So it is the same thing?

Brandon Sanderson

It's the same theme. But I do not mean to imply that it's the same Shard.

Steeldancer

But it's the same effect?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'm doing it intentionally. Red eyes specifically are meant to mean something but I use it a few other ways [the same way?].

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

 

 

As for @Karger, I believe he's referring to the red eyes.

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FirstSelector

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

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing (Nov. 15, 2017)

 

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37 minutes ago, Elwynn said:

As for @Karger, I believe he's referring to the red eyes.

Did you read my statement?  My point was that corrupted investiture is just investiture of one flavor with added to investiture of another.  Our souls would technically be corrupted investiture as we have the more then one flavor of investiture in us.  So how can silver be anticorrupted investiture?  Most things in the Cosmere are corrupted.

Edited by Karger
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3 minutes ago, Karger said:

My point was that corrupted investiture is just investiture of one flavor with added to investiture of another.  Our souls would technically be corrupted investiture as we have the more then one flavor of investiture in us.  So how can silver be anticorrupted investiture?  Most things in the Cosmere are corrupted.

That makes very little sense to me. I'm going to guess you're easl and try to parse it the best I can. I think there's just a misunderstanding of what is meant by corrupted.

 

11 minutes ago, Karger said:

My point was that corrupted investiture is just investiture of one flavor with added to investiture of another.

By flavor, do you mean investiture of different Shards? Corrupted/co-opted investiture is when a Shard tries to interfere/change/take control of another Shards investiture; tweak it, so to speak. It isn't just one Shard's investiture being in close proximity/contact with another. Spren are a mixture of honor and cultivation, that doesn't mean they're corrupted.

 

20 minutes ago, Karger said:

Our souls would technically be corrupted investiture as we have the more then one flavor of investiture in us. 

"Our"? "Us?" Do you mean cosmere souls? Ati and Leras worked together to create people, but neither tried to corrupt or co-opt the other's investiture; they worked together so the people of Scadrial aren't corrupted.

 

23 minutes ago, Karger said:

So how can silver be anticorrupted investiture?  Most things in the Cosmere are corrupted.

Most things in the Cosmere are definitely not corrupted. I don't personally believe silver's special properties stem from antibacterial properties. We have no idea what BS's plans for silver are Cosmere wide. Searching silver in the Arcanum will show you that BS rafo's everything to do with silver.

 

4 minutes ago, Karger said:

Did you read my statement?

Yes, I literally answered your first question of what he meant by corrupted investiture.

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36 minutes ago, Elwynn said:

By flavor, do you mean investiture of different Shards?

Yes.  All investiture in the Cosmere is "flavored" by which shard it comes from.  This is what makes stormlight different from say voidlight.

38 minutes ago, Elwynn said:

Corrupted/co-opted investiture is when a Shard tries to interfere/change/take control of another Shards investiture; tweak it, so to speak. It isn't just one Shard's investiture being in close proximity/contact with another. Spren are a mixture of honor and cultivation, that doesn't mean they're corrupted.

Actually it could depending on your perspective.  Their is no real definition on what is or is not corruption.

Quote
OdysseyCon 2016 (April 8, 2016)
#3 Share Copy
 
Play/Paus
Play/PaBlightsong

How does corrupted investiture work, like Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Nightblood. Again, this is a definition of what somebody feels is a corruption. For instance, there are spren that people would feel are corrupted. But that's corruption where the mixing of different Shards has changed things, and I think a lot of times when people say corruption, what they're meaning is the mixing of Shards' powers.

Blightsong

So is there a mixing of Shards' powers happening with Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

*smirks* RAFO. That's the natural question, I'm glad you asked it.

Blightsong

Ok, uhhh, so something similar is happening with Gavilar's sphere, right?

Brandon Sanderson

*contemplative silence* RAFO.

 

44 minutes ago, Elwynn said:

"Our"? "Us?" Do you mean cosmere souls? Ati and Leras worked together to create people, but neither tried to corrupt or co-opt the other's investiture; they worked together so the people of Scadrial aren't corrupted.

By us I meant if we as humans lived in the Cosmere.  As to Ati and Leras see above.

45 minutes ago, Elwynn said:

Yes, I literally answered your first question of what he meant by corrupted investiture.

This true and I am perhaps being a bit unfair.  However it does irk me that the provided response does not realy adequately answer my question. 

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I think that there is a legitimate difference between co-opted investiture and what some would consider corrupted investiture. Corrupt investiture seems to imply something impure, while co-opted seems to imply impure but with an intent. While this may just feel like semantics, I feel that the distinction is important, and we tend to use the terms interchangeably when we shouldn't. All co-opted investiture would be corrupted, but not vise versa.

I imagine that what @Notshur is referring to when they say corrupted investiture is co-opted investiture, such as the shades, or glys, or the sets faceless immortals (possibly).

For example, it seems to be generally accepted that Nightblood has bits of Ruins investiture in it (IDK if we have WOB confirmation). But this doesn't exhibit the characteristics of co-opted/corrupted investiture that we see normally. Namely, the theme of the color red. This could be because the investiture in nightblood isn't co-opted, but instead is just corrupted. It was a mixing of two shards investiture, but not with an intent by the shard.

Who knows, maybe they do mean the same thing, but I've always thought of the terms in that way.

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12 hours ago, Karger said:

Did you read my statement?  My point was that corrupted investiture is just investiture of one flavor with added to investiture of another.  Our souls would technically be corrupted investiture as we have the more then one flavor of investiture in us.  So how can silver be anticorrupted investiture?  Most things in the Cosmere are corrupted.

So, Brandon has said that corruption is a "mixing of Shards' powers."  However, it seems pretty clear that it's not just any mixing of Shards' powers.  Otherwise, most things in the Cosmere would be considered corrupted as they have a mix of different Shards' Investiture (e.g. human souls, especially Scadrians; Rosharan spren; etc.).  

The things that are confirmed to be "corrupted" all seem to be hijacked/co-opted from a different Shard.  Glys was originally of Honor/Cultivation, but has been corrupted by Odium/Sja-anat.  The Thrill corrupted Amaram's army to fight for him.  The "evil Kandra" (probably a Svrakiss) with red eyes has pretty clearly hijacked a Scadrian body.  

 

FWIW, I disagree that silver is anti-corruption.  Silver is a fairly common metal - if it had an obvious use on a non-Threnody planet, people would have discovered it.  The simpler explanation is that it works against Cognitive Shadows (which the Shades are).  That would explain why it is valuable in the Cognitive Realm, as well as why nobody else but the Threondites is using it in the Physical Realm: because no one else is fighting against (body-less) Cognitive Shadows.  

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47 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

FWIW, I disagree that silver is anti-corruption.  Silver is a fairly common metal - if it had an obvious use on a non-Threnody planet, people would have discovered it.  The simpler explanation is that it works against Cognitive Shadows (which the Shades are).  That would explain why it is valuable in the Cognitive Realm, as well as why nobody else but the Threondites is using it in the Physical Realm: because no one else is fighting against (body-less) Cognitive Shadows.  

We might not have seen many uses of silver because in most of the Cosmere books; Mistborn, Stormlight, Elantris, and Warbreaker there hasn't been very much corrupted investiture present. So it makes sense the people don't value it highly because they really don't know it's capabilities and even if they did, there's not a huge need for it at the moment. I do think as we see more shards interacting with one another and as worldhopping becomes more common and the various magic systems coming into contact, we'll see the value of silver spike.

On the matter of corrupt vs co-opting investiture, it seems like corrupted investiture is anytime one shard uses a magic system that is normally fueled by the power of another shard/shard's. Corrupted investiture is not when two shards willing choose to work together. For example the spren of Roshar who are part of Cultivation and part of Honor are not corrupted, but any spren that has been "infected" (not sure of a better word) by Odium. So this means the investiture that was originally aligned with Cultivation and Honor has been forcefully taken away and is currently coming from Odium. Co-opted seems to be essentially the same thing as corrupted here, though that may not be true.

Edited by Torchwood17
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2 hours ago, Scion of the Mists said:

However, it seems pretty clear that it's not just any mixing of Shards' powers.  Otherwise, most things in the Cosmere would be considered corrupted as they have a mix of different Shards' Investiture (e.g. human souls, especially Scadrians; Rosharan spren; etc.).  

When was this made clear?  Brandon said

13 hours ago, Karger said:

Again, this is a definition of what somebody feels is a corruption

It is based on what you feel not a literal definition.

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1 hour ago, Karger said:

When was this made clear?  Brandon said

It is based on what you feel not a literal definition.

Here's a really straight forward WoB

Quote

FirstSelector

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

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

If it was just any mixing of two shards investiture then literally everything would be red. Syl is a mix of Honor and Cultivation but is described as blue. Glys is a mix of Honor, Cultivation and Odium. Odium wasn't wanted/ originally in the mix hence why Glys is corrupted investiture and therefore red.

Quote

Oh, Nightblood. Again, this is a definition of what somebody feels is a corruption. For instance, there are spren that people would feel are corrupted. But that's corruption where the mixing of different Shards has changed things, and I think a lot of times when people say corruption, what they're meaning is the mixing of Shards' powers.

Pretty sure that first bolded part is talking about Nightblood specifically (it's not really important to my argument... I just thought I'd point it out though). 

The second bolded part is saying what everyone else has been saying: it's not just a mixing of investiture, it's when one shards investiture is changing another shards investiture. 

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1 hour ago, Steel Inquisitive said:

If it was just any mixing of two shards investiture then literally everything would be red. Syl is a mix of Honor and Cultivation but is described as blue. Glys is a mix of Honor, Cultivation and Odium. Odium wasn't wanted/ originally in the mix hence why Glys is corrupted investiture and therefore red.

I always interpreted that WoB to indicate that when Odium adds in his investiture things turn red.

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  • 1 month later...

Perhaps Electrum (as an alloy of gold and silver) might provide a hint? It definitely has a spiritual component to be able to access Fortune. It is also the Pushing metal to Gold's Pulling.

On Threnody, it can repel and hurt Shades, Cognitive entities.

Yeah, I got nothing. Maybe it repels Investiture, kinda like you said.

Spoiler

Hey, maybe it's the God Beyond's godmetal, just saying

 

Hmm... maybe the other alloys, which are used to alloy the Pushing metals, i.e. the secondary metal, aside from the primary, base metal which is the Pulling metal, might be similarly interesting as silver?

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