Author Topic: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]  (Read 4010 times)

Stardrag

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Okay, so I brought Warbreaker a while back and enjoyed it, but didn't understand three things..and wondered about another

WARNING, THESE QUESTIONS CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS




1-How is it that Vasher, A RETURNED, was pushed to the second heightening or around that and then talked about how he could rise to the fifth heightening. THe problem with this is that RETURNED come back to life with the fifth heightening, meaning that he would've already been of  the 5th.

2-Vasher was known as peacebringer and warbreaker, correct? I think. And the royal family is descended from Peacegiver, right? So wouldn't Vasher be Vivenna's ancestor?

3-If the mercenary that Vasher killed, Denth, was also a RETURNED...then why didn't he take one breath a week

4-It is never explained how a baby could be a RETURNED. Or how having nine thousand breaths oured into a sword could create sentiance


I hope that Brandon or another can answer these questions for me, thank you.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 03:16:15 PM by Nessa »

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2010, 08:27:38 AM »

You should put *Spoilers* in your title.

4 - It's just how it is.  In Buddhism it is said that Buddha was born and walked, it's not explained that's just the way the story goes. It's part of the mythology.  The sword thing is just the awakening it to a point where it really became awake and alive.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 03:17:10 PM by Nessa »
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Chaos

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2010, 08:30:13 AM »
Yes, these are all common questions. Brandon had intended to write the sequel, Nightblood, sometime soon after Warbreaker's release which would clarify these things, but he's answered the first two, with the last probably being secrets for the sequel.

1 - Vasher liked to hide his divine breath, thus concealing his true identity. This involves what Brandon calls "fancy mental gymnastics", but basically, it all comes from how the Returned see themselves. Those who see themselves as strong will get stronger. Here, Vasher convinced himself that he was not a god, and therefore the divine breath (the one that grants the Fifth Heightening) was for all intents and purposes, hidden. So with this technique, he could switch from Fifth Heightening to something not of that, as he was in most of this book.

2 - Another very common misconception. The royal line was descended from the First Returned, not Peacegiver. The other Returned were separate from this. Vasher and Vivenna are not related.

3 - You are correct.

4 - We don't know the precise mechanism for how things are Returned. Both of these will probably be in the sequel.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 03:16:57 PM by Nessa »
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douglas

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 01:02:12 PM »
1-How is it that Vasher, A RETURNED, was pushed to the second heightening or around that and then talked about how he could rise to the fifth heightening. THe problem with this is that RETURNED come back to life with the fifth heightening, meaning that he would've already been of  the 5th.
Returned get a few special abilities in addition to the normal benefits of the fifth heightening.  One of these is that their bodies magically change to match their mental self image.  If their mental self image happens to be that they are not Returned (or at least not a god, or something similar; this requires some "fancy mental gymnastics" usually), then this causes the giant Returned breath to hide itself.  With that breath hidden, the fifth heightening it grants is lost and only the normal breaths Vasher has count towards which heightenings he has.  Vasher's comment about how he could instantly reach the fifth heightening is because he could at any moment choose to stop hiding his Returned breath, and that would restore all the normal benefits of it including the fifth heightening.

2-Vasher was known as peacebringer and warbreaker, correct? I think. And the royal family is descended from Peacegiver, right? So wouldn't Vasher be Vivenna's ancestor?
Vasher is one of the early Returned.  The royal family is descended from the first Returned.

3-If the mercenary that Vasher killed, Denth, was also a RETURNED...then why didn't he take one breath a week
He did.  Either he gained his one breath each week off-page (showing it would ruin the surprise, and he's deliberately hiding that information from the viewpoint character) or he has a stockpile of breaths built up.  I think it's probably the former, though, as I think only the special Returned breath can be hidden and Vivenna would have noticed if Denth had more than one normal breath.

4-It is never explained how a baby could be a RETURNED. Or how having nine thousand breaths oured into a sword could create sentiance
So the magic system isn't explained in its entirety.  What's new about that?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 03:16:43 PM by Nessa »

happyman

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2010, 02:37:17 PM »
3-If the mercenary that Vasher killed, Denth, was also a RETURNED...then why didn't he take one breath a week
He did.  Either he gained his one breath each week off-page (showing it would ruin the surprise, and he's deliberately hiding that information from the viewpoint character) or he has a stockpile of breaths built up.  I think it's probably the former, though, as I think only the special Returned breath can be hidden and Vivenna would have noticed if Denth had more than one normal breath.

It seems to me that Denth could have done this very easily.  He just needed to stash the Breath's somewhere, probably in an inanimate object he always kept on his person.  Then when he feels the weakness coming on, he recovers the Breaths, his body eats one, and he then returns all but one back.  It takes maybe a minute, tops.

I suppose he could also have lived "week-to-week" buying new Breaths, but that strikes me as extremely dangerous for someone in his situation who might have to flee at a moment's notice.  Better to buy them in bulk, as it were, and keep them stored.


4-It is never explained how a baby could be a RETURNED. Or how having nine thousand breaths oured into a sword could create sentiance
So the magic system isn't explained in its entirety.  What's new about that?

This.  Having a contradictory magic system is a problem, and questions about any contradictions are fair game.  Having an incomplete magic system is frustrating, but not unusual, and gives us something to speculate about.  It is certainly not a problem with the system itself, though.

I'm sure it will all make sense.  Brandon's systems usually do, although there is always a little wiggle room.  Given the wiggle room in real-world magic systems (i.e. physics, biology, engineering, etc :) ) this isn't really a problem for me.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 03:16:32 PM by Nessa »
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 06:26:37 PM »
So many people have thought that the royal family is descended from Vasher, I'm beginning to think there might be a phrase somewhere in the book that gives that impression. Anyone want to try to track it down? (I already know where everything is that says they're descended from Vo, the first Returned, but there might be something that indicates the wrong thing.)
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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2010, 06:33:12 PM »
So many people have thought that the royal family is descended from Vasher, I'm beginning to think there might be a phrase somewhere in the book that gives that impression. Anyone want to try to track it down? (I already know where everything is that says they're descended from Vo, the first Returned, but there might be something that indicates the wrong thing.)

I don't ever remember being specifically led to that impression, but it could be that Vo and Vasher both start with V's, so they could get lumped together in people's minds.
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ryos

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2010, 07:41:27 PM »
I was one of those that thought Vasher was the sire of the royal line. I don't remember any specific thing that led me to that conclusion. I think it was just the fact that Vasher is a very old Returned, and a figure of mythic proportions who gave rise to many of the legends about Returned, and that we are told very little about his past. And (I can't speak for others, but) I rather liked Vasher, so subconsciously I wanted him to be more than he perhaps was.

So, take a mysterious and epic character who fits all of the criteria to sire the royal line, pair it with subconscious desire, and it would be a wonder if the connection machine in my brain didn't come to the conclusion that it did. I don't recall whether the mentions of Vo being the sire simply failed to sink in, or if I really thought that Vasher was the First Returned. The legends may say that he died, but a shapeshifter like Vasher could have easily faked his own death.
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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2010, 11:25:45 PM »
3-If the mercenary that Vasher killed, Denth, was also a RETURNED...then why didn't he take one breath a week
He did.  Either he gained his one breath each week off-page (showing it would ruin the surprise, and he's deliberately hiding that information from the viewpoint character) or he has a stockpile of breaths built up.  I think it's probably the former, though, as I think only the special Returned breath can be hidden and Vivenna would have noticed if Denth had more than one normal breath.

It seems to me that Denth could have done this very easily.  He just needed to stash the Breath's somewhere, probably in an inanimate object he always kept on his person.  Then when he feels the weakness coming on, he recovers the Breaths, his body eats one, and he then returns all but one back.  It takes maybe a minute, tops.

I suppose he could also have lived "week-to-week" buying new Breaths, but that strikes me as extremely dangerous for someone in his situation who might have to flee at a moment's notice.  Better to buy them in bulk, as it were, and keep them stored.
But wouldn't Vivenna be able to detect the Breaths in the object?
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ryos

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 02:05:09 AM »
But wouldn't Vivenna be able to detect the Breaths in the object?

I don't recall any suggestion in the book that Breaths invested in objects are detectable.
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douglas

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 03:32:50 AM »
But wouldn't Vivenna be able to detect the Breaths in the object?

I don't recall any suggestion in the book that Breaths invested in objects are detectable.
I remember putting Breaths in objects being specifically called out as a way to avoid having them detected.  Vasher does it to sneak up on Vivenna.

happyman

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2010, 05:03:09 PM »
But wouldn't Vivenna be able to detect the Breaths in the object?

I don't recall any suggestion in the book that Breaths invested in objects are detectable.

It's possible, but only at an one of the high Heightening's.
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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 03:19:24 PM »
So many people have thought that the royal family is descended from Vasher, I'm beginning to think there might be a phrase somewhere in the book that gives that impression. Anyone want to try to track it down? (I already know where everything is that says they're descended from Vo, the first Returned, but there might be something that indicates the wrong thing.)
Yeah there is a line like that. There is a part where Vasher is watching Vivenna and thinks something like "she can change her hair, she must share my blood" or something like that. I don't have the book with me at the moment, but I'll try to track it down later. There aren't too many Vasher viewpoints before he actually starts hanging out with Vivenna so it shouldn't be too hard.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 04:12:59 PM »
Thanks, I'll look for it.
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agrajag

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Re: A Problem in Warbreaker for those who've read it [SPOILERS]
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 08:16:43 PM »
Just searched through the book again. I didn't find the passage I thought I had read, so maybe I am remembering incorrectly (or maybe I just missed it in the quick skimming).

I did find this bit which is similar, but different enough that it doesn't suggest Vasher is her ancestor:
Quote
She's descended from one, he thought. You can tell by the hair, there's a bit of Returned in her.

It's about 3/4 through the book, when Vasher is considering killing Lightsong and Nightblood is trying to convince him to do it.

Maybe that's what I had read initially and misread it to be that Vasher was claiming he was her ancestor. I definitely do remember thinking it was weird that Vasher was her ancestor, but I'm glad I was wrong.