Around the Cosmere: Theories & WoB for March & April


Hey there, and welcome to this edition of Around the Cosmere. In this post, we’ll go over highlights of this month’s new WoBs and shine on a spotlight on an interesting theory.

If you haven’t read Mistborn: Secret History or Bands of Mourning, you should steer clear of the rest of this post! Spoilers for these books and the Cosmere in general abound.

Odyssey Con

We were lucky enough this month to get a large number of WoBs (Words of Brandon) from Odyssey Con. A huge thanks goes to Blightsong and Kurkistan for grabbing them for us.

Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Odium does not change writings on Roshar like Ruin did. (It’s “not really his thing”.)
  • Dragons can take human form. I wonder if we’ve seen any...
  • Shadows are cast the wrong way in Shadesmar (at least partly) because of how everyone is being drawn to the Great Beyond. It seems that it’s not only when you die that you start getting pulled.
  • Aon Omi is "sort of" like a God Aon, as was theorized a while back. Careful of how you interpret this one, though, as it is “partially adopted”.
  • The screams Szeth hears, as widely theorized, are sort of magical. Someone who did the things he did would not hear them in our world, but anyone who did the things he did in the Cosmere would. It has something to do with the Spiritual Realm.
  • We’ll see a Windrunner other than Kaladin speak an Ideal in a future book.
  • Mistborn aren’t really “Invested” when not burning metals, but they have Spiritual connections that others don’t have which make them passively resistant to things like Forgery and Soulcasting. We also see this in Secret History, where Allomancers aren’t immediately dragged to the Beyond. As a bonus, while burning metals an Allomancer is even more resistant.
  • When people speak of Investiture being corrupted, it often (not necessarily always) just means another Shard’s Investiture has mixed with it. (For reference, this likely refers to the Unmade Sja-anat, who “corrupts” spren who then become thunderclasts.) The follow-up question, on whether this means Nightblood is composed of multiple types of Investiture, was side-stepped.
  • Surgebinders don't have gemhearts.
  • Perpendicularities (large concentrations of Investiture) puncture a hole between the Spiritual and the Physical which is what allows you to use Shardpools to go to the Cognitive. It was noted that Brandon used the word “puncture” almost as if they were spikes. Again, careful of interpreting this one too far: we know that Stormlight glows because it is like a lightbulb screwed into the Spiritual.
  • It’s normal for Cognitive Shadows (and other beings) to get stuck to places due to how they exist through Investiture. This happened with Odium and the two shards on Roshar, Preservation to Ruin, and the Heralds.
  • Elantris crumbled after the chasm because its soul changed to accommodate the Investiture flowing through it (like an Allomantic savant) and its soul was damaged when Investiture stopped flowing through it.
  • Ryshadium evolved to have symbiotic bonds with spren, like much of the rest of Roshar’s wildlife.

You can take a look at the full signing reports here.

ComicCon FanX

We were lucky to have another source of WoBs as well this month. Thanks to Doomquill and theravenchilde for their work here. We don’t have the full transcript yet, so keep an eye out for that!

  • You can steal Surgebinding with Hemalurgy. (There’s been some discussion on whether a Hemalurgically stolen spren could break the bond, and this implies they couldn’t.)
  • Quite a lot of crustaceans on Roshar can grow gemhearts.

You can read the full report (and listen to the not-yet-transcribed recording) here.

Featured Theory: Trell is Dominion

The newest Mistborn books showcase the actions of foreign entities on Scadrial. Bleeder had a spike made of a god metal not related to Harmony, Miles speaks of a Trell, Suit ended up being blown up by something possessing a man, and Bloody Tan was influenced by something. Harmony all-but-tells Wax that he is keeping Scadrial safe from an outside force, which Wax sees as a red mist.

Marasi resolves to look into who Trell is, and plenty of people have theorized on their identity here on 17th Shard. The original two big candidates were Odium and Autonomy (the Shard of White Sand). But an interesting alternative emerged: Dominion, or perhaps someone using Dominion’s power.

The earliest one to propose the theory, as far as I know, was Tarion in this post. But there was a recent re-evaluation with evidence from Bands of Mourning by Dirigible here. Others have certainly discussed this in other threads; I apologize for not including them here.

Some points of evidence for the theory:

  • The agents of Dominion on Sel, the Skaze, are a part of the Fjordell Empire. To no one’s great surprise, pieces of Dominion sought to rule over Elantris and the surrounding area. Why not move on to Scadrial in the future?
  • Brandon has stated “The full [Elantris] sequels will need to be finished before I can do the contemporary (1980s tech) Mistborn novels because of behind-the-scenes Cosmere bits.”
  • The mysterious metal spikes that Paalm used have a very similar appearance to the soulstone that Shai uses (red spots). Not that they’re the same - one is a metal, the other a stone, but Dominion’s power may express itself differently on other worlds.
  • Svrakiss, evil spirits which can control men, are part of the legends of Sel. Sound similar to anything that happened to Suit?
  • The “Faceless Immortal” speaking to Suit at the end was very focused on hierarchy and serving, which is reminiscent of the structure of the Fjordell Empire.

Dominion, or those using its power, are certainly an interesting candidate for “Trell”.

If you’re interested in looking more in-depth on the arguments for/against, I urge you to check out the threads linked above.

Random Fact

Here’s this month’s interesting WoB:

Sir Jerric

Could a Seon, or a Skaze, could they turn into a, some sort of Shardblade on their own planet?

Brandon Sanderson

That is theoretically possible. It's—I mean they work under the same fundamentals, but they would need to have something to pull them more into the physical realm.

(source)

Could be interesting seeing a Dakhor monk with a Skazeblade fighting a Radiant, no?

If you noticed anything wrong up above, please leave a comment letting us know.

Have a good month, and happy theorizing!


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When will Theoryland be updated? It doesn't seem to have been updated since Brandon's AMA last May. (That's not meant as a slur or an insult - I'd be happy to help out if it's a matter of manpower and busy schedules.)

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@frozndevl

Aimians have shadows going the wrong way because of their ties to the cognitive realm, so it seems that other races probably go to the beyond as well.

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I'm going to try and get good recordings of stuff at Jordan Con this weekend.  When you're looking at a panel called "RAFOlympics" getting recordings is a must.

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When will Theoryland be updated? It doesn't seem to have been updated since Brandon's AMA last May. (That's not meant as a slur or an insult - I'd be happy to help out if it's a matter of manpower and busy schedules.)

 

Yeah, unfortunately this is mostly my fault.  I've just had a lot on my plate working on certain projects and what little time I've had to spend on interview stuff has gone towards transcriptions.  My summer break does start in a few weeks though, and it is currently my plan to buckle down and get the interview situation up to snuff.

 

As for when it will get updated next exactly, I really don't know.  My hope though is that as much as is possible will be indexed and searchable by the end of the summer.  Whether that comes to pass, we shall see.

 

Really though to anyone who wants to help.  Transcribe and help proof transcriptions.  That is always a huge help.

 

@Kaymyth, good luck with the recording!

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I think the WoB about Mistborn being invested is a little misleading as stated here, and it's well worth reading it in context (but only a little misleading; it's not a matter of Moogle reading it wrong so much as it's a matter of the WoB being a little ambiguous and not easily summarized).

 

After agreeing that Mistborn aren't specifically invested when not burning, he backtracks with "I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the mistborn are as invested as a Knight Radiant" before clarifying that Invested isn't really the right term: "Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the spiritual realm".

Does this mean that talking about someone "with powers" as Invested is an incorrect use of terminology? Is a Feruchemist Invested? Perhaps having these kinds of powers is always a matter of "connections in the spiritual realm".

At the very least I think it's well worth adding the "Mistborn are as invested as a Knight Radiant" for clarity.

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I think the WoB about Mistborn being invested is a little misleading as stated here, and it's well worth reading it in context (but only a little misleading; it's not a matter of Moogle reading it wrong so much as it's a matter of the WoB being a little ambiguous and not easily summarized).

 

I can't actually edit the article (I am but a lowly mod), but I've requested that this change be made.

 

Does this mean that talking about someone "with powers" as Invested is an incorrect use of terminology? Is a Feruchemist Invested? Perhaps having these kinds of powers is always a matter of "connections in the spiritual realm".

 

I think it's a bit confusing because special Spiritual connections that magic users have are probably made of Investiture. You burn lerasium, you get a connection to Preservation. I believe that making Allomancers in this regard costs Preservation power, thus why the mists made Mistings rather than full Mistborn.

 

But these Spiritual connections don't give the benefits that being Invested does (mental effects, resistance to other Investitures, glowy, etc.).

 

Still trying to fully grok the WoB.

 

Do Svrakiss remind anyone else of the relationship between spren and Parshendi?

 

Not that the Set's masters are svrakiss necessarily, but this seems like a valid parallel. I was also thinking that the fact that the "svrakiss" inhabited a man described as looking like a homeless man/beggar linked up with mentally unstable people being vulnerable to influence ala Ruin.

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Eki

Posted

 

I think it's a bit confusing because special Spiritual connections that magic users have are probably made of Investiture. You burn lerasium, you get a connection to Preservation. I believe that making Allomancers in this regard costs Preservation power, thus why the mists made Mistings rather than full Mistborn.

I thought the mists just snapped people who were unsnapped Mistings to begin with... But then again, that would mean a LOT of unsnapped mistings in a mostly skaa army, for example. I dunno...

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I think it's a bit confusing because special Spiritual connections that magic users have are probably made of Investiture. You burn lerasium, you get a connection to Preservation. I believe that making Allomancers in this regard costs Preservation power, thus why the mists made Mistings rather than full Mistborn.

 

But these Spiritual connections don't give the benefits that being Invested does (mental effects, resistance to other Investitures, glowy, etc.).

 

Still trying to fully grok the WoB.

 

Yeah, it's an interesting one. He does, however, say that there are some resistances just from having a Mistborn's spirit web:

 

Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the spiritual realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them (like soulcasting or forgery) is harder.

 

and also regarding investiture he does mention that:

 

Over time using the magic will invest you, on Scadrial.

 

Which puts me in mind of Savants, although note that this comment doesn't cut out Feruchemy (though also doesn't explicitly include it). Invested by regular use of Feruchemy? Is that a thing, and what does that look like?

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