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There's something weird about the Surges


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Okay, I don't intend to make a theory here (I promise!). I'll describe something that's been bugging me ever since we started learning more about the Surges from various post-WoK WoBs, and especially after WoR. After I do that, I'll let you guys give whatever explanation you can think of. Because I certainly don't know what to make of this.


The first inkling of this problem of mine appeared when we learned that there is a form of Lightweaving on Roshar, and that it involved the Surge connecting Pulp and Blood. When I saw that, I felt troubled. "What's Blood got to do with Light?" I asked myself. This nagging feeling that something was wrong intensified when we finally got the Surge name: "Illumination". Illumination. Light. Shouldn't that be more of a Spark (which connotes "fire") and Lucentia (which is Latin for "visibility") thing? What's going on?


Then I looked at the other Surges. There is Transformation, the Surge of Soulcasters, which was assigned to Blood and Tallow. Note the term: Soulcaster. Why then isn't it assigned to Spark, which is the Essence of the Soul? And Vapor is the Essence of smoke, the end product of certain significant transformations. So Transformation would have been the perfect Surge for Spark and Vapor, except it was given (randomly, it seemed to me) to Blood and Tallow.


Next, there is Transportation. I don't know about you, but I think Blood, which transfers oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in the body, sounds like a perfect Essence for Transportation. I'm not quite sure of what a second appropriate Essence would be (Pulp might fit due to the capillary action that happens in plants), but that's beside the point that the Surge has weird connections. What's Foil (metal) got to do with Transportation?!


Then the real weirdness starts. Doesn't Progression sound perfect for Pulp and Tallow (because, you know, fat makes things bigger)? Okay, that was sort of a joke. :P But speaking of Tallow, doesn't it remind you of Lift's "Slick" ability (because, you know, oil makes things slick)? But that ability is supposed to be from the Abrasion Surge, connected to Lucentia and Spark.


It does not make sense! None of this makes sense!


If the Essence does not fit, you must acquit!


Um... sorry about that...


Could anyone help me make sense of all this? Am I just seeing connections that don't really exist? Did Tanavast mess with the Surges when he arrived on Roshar? Or did some other Shard do the messing? Or is there some other more elegant explanation? The only Surge that I think sort of fits its current Essences is Cohesion and Adhesion. I don't even know what to think of Gravitation and Division!





Edit: Other problems: Why does Talus have both Strong Axial Interconnection ("Cohesion") and Soft Axial Interconnection ("Tension")? And isn't the Tension Surge supposed to be based on surface tension, which is a property of liquids?


Edit: Whoops, I accidentally wrote a four-part theory based on this. Sooorrryyy...

Edited by skaa
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Perhaps its a bit extreme of me, but I just tend to ignore the Essences/Body Foci in regards to the Surges.


If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that all that stuff came about as some magico-philosophizing resulting from people trying to make more of the soulcasting properties of each of the gemstones than there really was to make. So the Essences would not really be a proper part of the system by this understanding, just a human embellishment. This view is lent some credence by Brandon's tendency to have classification systems be in-world and somewhat inaccurate in his books.


EDIT: Alternatively, there is some weight to be put behind associating the various Orders with these essences ("Foil"/metal with Resolute/Builder seems to fit, no?), but nothing truly to be made about Surges—except perhaps how their combination exemplifies the attributes of their Order.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Hemalurgy is important because of the blood, according to WoB. There is a definite connection between the soul and your blood in the Cosmere.


Also, from the Ars Arcanum of WoR:

Note that I currently believe the concept of the “Body Focus” to be more a matter of philosophical interpretation than an actual attribute of this Investiture and its manifestations.


It's also possible that the Essence similarly has little connection to the Surges.

Edited by Moogle
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@Kurk and @Moogle: Indeed, the Ars Arcanum did seem to dismiss Body Focuses. That makes the fact that Transformation is not connected to Spark a bit less weird. But how about the other connections I mentioned that don't involve the Body Focuses?


@Moogle: What's the connection between tallow/oil/fat to the soul?


The "Essences are insignificant human embellishments" option is of course possible, but I choose to make that the last resort since it's pretty boring.

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Look to the heraldic charts you found. Perhaps the relation ships are equally symbolic yet not directly connected.


Perhaps. But the feeling that there seems to be more suitable Essences for most of the Surges was just too strong that I wasn't able to resist developing a theory based on that suspicion. :D

Edited by skaa
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