Author Topic: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.  (Read 3370 times)

Czanos

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Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« on: February 14, 2010, 04:31:28 AM »
So I've been rereading Brandon's books over the past little while, snooping for theory evidence, and I noticed some rather large parallels between Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning. Essentially, all three are extraordinary events that turn people into magic users.

But there are some major differences, for example Snapping only occurs under extreme duress, while the Shaod occurs most often while asleep. Since I'd been attending the Symposium Brandon's been frequenting the past few days, I decided I'd just ask him, and the answer I got was along the lines of, "Is the Shaod really random?"

I've got a few theories and such regarding this, but I figured I'd put the info on the table before I left.
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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2010, 04:37:21 AM »

I have a feeling it has something to do with the number 16.

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2010, 07:01:20 AM »
I'll have to reread Elantris to be sure sure but as I recall most, if not all, of the people who were taken by the Shaod had been heeled by an Elantrian.

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 12:12:40 AM »
Josh took it one step further, but I can't remember what exactly he said.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 05:52:34 AM by firstRainbowRose »
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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2010, 06:21:48 PM »
I'll have to reread Elantris to be sure sure but as I recall most, if not all, of the people who were taken by the Shaod had been heeled by an Elantrian.

It's possible that it might help attune those who are already predisposed to wield the Dor.
I'm pretty sure that that's not the key factor though - ten years ago Aon Dor "broke" and the healings stopped (all those healed were adults or teens by now so they had active roles in the story).  Yet there are plenty of Elantrian children who likely wouldn't have known Elantris in its glory.

I had been under the impression that it was genetic.  After all - there was a character who was second generation Elantrian and only those with the proper bloodlines could become Elantrians.

So in summary - I'm pretty sure it's not random at all.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 06:23:51 PM by Mellington the loony Gold Misting »

happyman

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2010, 11:38:45 PM »
I'll have to reread Elantris to be sure sure but as I recall most, if not all, of the people who were taken by the Shaod had been heeled by an Elantrian.

It's possible that it might help attune those who are already predisposed to wield the Dor.
I'm pretty sure that that's not the key factor though - ten years ago Aon Dor "broke" and the healings stopped (all those healed were adults or teens by now so they had active roles in the story).  Yet there are plenty of Elantrian children who likely wouldn't have known Elantris in its glory.

I had been under the impression that it was genetic.  After all - there was a character who was second generation Elantrian and only those with the proper bloodlines could become Elantrians.

So in summary - I'm pretty sure it's not random at all.

I agree that being healed by an Elantrian is an unlikely cause of the Shaod, except maybe, maybe as a trigger for latent tendencies.  Even being a trigger is unlikely, though.  How long was it between when Raoden was healed and when he was taken by the Shaod?  I suspect this is a classical false causation: many people were healed in Elantris and many people were taken by the Shaod.  Without knowing how much of each, we have no case either way.

The genetic aspect is laid out pretty clearly.  Somehow living in the land and having ones ancestors having lived in the land  makes one sensitive to the Dor as channeled through Elantris.  (Maybe having evolved/been created there is sufficient?  We don't know enough prehistory...) Other lands apparently access it in different ways.

Of course, at the core, I suspect that access to the Dor comes because humans were created by whatever Shard can use the Dor as its power, just like with Scadriel.

But yeah, the idea that it isn't random is intriguing.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to help us much.  We don't get a lot of back-story, do we?  Many of the Elantrian's we saw seem to be extremely good at what they do, though.  Raoden, Taan, Mareshe, even Gallodon, seem to be expert in their professions.  Is that something worth considering?
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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2010, 04:38:43 PM »
I wanted to add my 3 cents....

As I understand it, becoming an Elantrian isn't a conscience decision, the Shaod just happens.  But the other cultures tap into the Dor by choice either through a painful process or through dedication to a 'martial' art (for lack of a better analog).

Similarly, being an allomancer or feruchemist isn't a conscience decision either.  But hemalurgy could be considered a choice although it is usually made for the person instead of by the person.

In WarBreaker, both Returned and Awakeners are what they are by their own choosing.   It appears anyone can become an Awakener if they have the means of obtaining enough Breaths and then learning how to command.

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 05:21:38 PM »
In WarBreaker, both Returned and Awakeners are what they are by their own choosing.   It appears anyone can become an Awakener if they have the means of obtaining enough Breaths and then learning how to command.

pardon my possible lack of memory, but i thought the returned didn't do it on their own...

happyman

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2010, 05:46:54 PM »
In WarBreaker, both Returned and Awakeners are what they are by their own choosing.   It appears anyone can become an Awakener if they have the means of obtaining enough Breaths and then learning how to command.

pardon my possible lack of memory, but i thought the returned didn't do it on their own...

It's hinted that some of the returned are given a choice to return.  I think we can guess that this choice is given fairly rarely or they would be much more common.  I don't think they are capable of returning themselves, but simply agree and have Endowment Return them somehow instead.
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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2010, 11:34:07 PM »
I would argue the Returned are a special case, and not directly related to the case at hand of Snapping/Shaod. Brandon said in that recent Warbreaker Q&A that Returned are known as "Splinters" in shard cosmology. This sets them apart from the other magics we have seen. Including them in this discussion would not be beneficial.

Awakening, however, may have a Snapping/Shaod mechanism. It's a very new art, so who knows? Just a thought. Now that I think about it, the only conditions for Awakening is 1. Having Breath, and 2. Knowing the Command. Since a child can say a command to give Breath to Returned, this suggests they have the ability to Awaken. The verbal commands for Awakening are actually its focus, as Brandon told me personally (metal is the focus for Metallic Arts, Aons for AonDor). If they have access to a single command, it can be possible that they can Awaken entirely. In which case, there is no evidence for a corresponding Awakening-Snap. (Awakening of Awakeners? ;) )

On the other hand, there are exceptions to Snapping with lerasium. Saying the Command to transfer Breath may exist outside of classical Awakening, and fall under a realm of a special quality to Endowment. Certainly, I don't remember if the transfer of Breath requires color. Awakening (for some inexplicable reason) requires color. If Breath transfers do not require color, it is not Awakening.

If that is not Awakening, then classical Awakeners may "Snap" through some method that would not be known due to the lack of study of Awakening, relatively speaking. Whatever that Snap is, it is less dramatic than Allomantic Snapping or the Shaod. The fact that it is less dramatic provides evidence that Awakeners may not Snap, and may exist under some different mechanism of Endowment, perhaps.

Then again, going back to Scadrial magics, there is no documentation about Feruchemists Snapping. This does not mean they don't Snap (in fact, one could argue that with the Lord Ruler's breeding policy castrating males, that pain could cause Terrismen to Snap). And here's another concern: for Hemalurgy, in order to steal an Allomantic power (or any power), could I spike it from an Allomancer who hadn't Snapped? I don't think anyone has asked that question before.

Phew. I'm ranting. Sorry :P

The Shaod may not be necessarily random and probably requires specific genetic and spiritual codes by whatever wacky Shards exist on that planet, but Snapping requires an input of energy on some level (namely, pain) to reveal these abilities. The people the Shaod affect may not be random, but we do not have any data to conclude why someone becomes an Elantrian on a particular day. There's clearly a methodology to the Shaod that we do not yet understand.
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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 06:22:13 PM »
Quote
As I understand it, becoming an Elantrian isn't a conscience decision
Quote
Similarly, being an allomancer or feruchemist isn't a conscience decision either
Quote
In WarBreaker, both Returned and Awakeners are what they are by their own choosing
I think this could be attributed to the particular Shards who control the respective magic systems.
Keep in mind the whole "two Shards = three magic systems" theory, in which two magic systems on a world come from the Shards themselves, and a third comes from the interaction of their power. Allomancy + Hemalurgy = Feruchemy is obvious enough. I'm inclined to believe the "base" magic systems for Elantris are AonDor and ChayShan, since the Dakhor monks' art seems to be a cross between the two, accessing the Dor through writing symbols and control of the body.

At any rate, the only world we know of that has a single Shard - Endowment - is also the only world to have a voluntary magic system, in the form of Awakening. As far as we know, anybody can Awaken if they choose to. This could just be coincidence, but it's worth pointing out...

EDIT: Actually, anybody who wanted to could become a Hemalurgist, come to think of it. Just spike a guy in the right spot. Does that count?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 06:23:54 PM by TPaS »

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 05:51:40 AM »
Idea! Okay this is from the annotations from HoA... (49 pt2)
Quote
However, that won't stop all of them from being affected by the mistsickness, because the mistsickness is also awakening Allomantic potential that would otherwise be too subtle to be brought out. Pretend there's a sliding scale of Allomantic potential. 100% means you're an Allomancer—in this series, only two people have hit 100%—Vin and Elend. Buried within a lot of people, however, is enough of a touch of Preservation's power to hit, say, 50% on the relative scale of Allomantic power. These people, when beaten and made to pass through something traumatic, awaken to their Allomantic abilities.

There are a lot of people out there, however, with something more like 20% to 30%. These are the people the mists are Snapping—since the mists are, themselves, partially the power of Preservation, they can touch people and increase their Allomantic potential slightly and then bring it to the forefront.

Perhaps what Awakening does is it allows users to 'Endow' their Breath upon others, giving them more power.  And perhaps when they give breath to items, their conciousness shapes the way the breath is used. 

Hmm.. Thinking more on this,
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Mellington the loony Gold Misting

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 03:17:07 PM »
But yeah, the idea that it isn't random is intriguing.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to help us much.  We don't get a lot of back-story, do we?  Many of the Elantrian's we saw seem to be extremely good at what they do, though.  Raoden, Taan, Mareshe, even Gallodon, seem to be expert in their professions.  Is that something worth considering?

Even our "surprise" Elantrian (not to spoil who for those who haven't read) toward the end of the book is bloody brilliant.
I agree - good thought!  Not to say that everyone who is brilliant becomes Elantrian but all who were Elantrians that we get backstories on had stunning talents or abilities in their previous mundane lives.  This might just be the result of us having a large number of Elantrian characters of importance to skew our view or it may actually imply a connection...I hope the latter.

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2010, 04:57:06 PM »
In response to TPaS.   In my original 3 cents post, I stated...
" But hemalurgy could be considered a choice although it is usually made for the person instead of by the person."   

What I meant is that most Allomancers who were spiked, didn't do it themselves.

In reponse to PoBabylon....
Quote
pardon my possible lack of memory, but i thought the returned didn't do it on their own...

***SPOILER


The Returned just don't remember making the choice just as they don't remember their past lives.

Lightsong clearly remembered dying and making the decision to Return when he saw the possible future of a war and what it would do to those he loved.  Although it is possible, implied even, that not all are given the option to Return but only those who died in a heroic, selfless fashion.  This would make sense, otherwise all the selfish/evil people would most likely return.

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Re: Snapping, the Shaod, and Returning.
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2010, 04:23:32 AM »
Perhaps the fact that most of the Elantrians we see are brilliant is not a cause for their change but rather possibly an effect of the Shaod.  Maybe there are three aspects to the transformation: 

1) Physical - They are changed, white skin, beautiful.
2) Mental - They are able to put together complex problems and solve the math like magic system.
3) Spiritual - They are attuned somehow to being able to access the Dor.

This could possibly fit with some of what we see in Warbreaker too.  The Returned are definitely changed physically, they are also changed spiritually by having one super powerful breath, maybe they are changed mentally and we just don't know it?



PS.  First post, been reading the board for a while and this just occurred to me, so here is my hat in the ring.
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