Origins of sorcery

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obstinate

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« on: July 10, 2017, 03:57:39 pm »
The origins of sorcery are, to my knowledge, never discussed in the books. It makes me wonder.

Sorcery is not like evolved traits. Evolved traits are gained gradually. Animals did not slither, then suddenly walk. The ability to walk appeared gradually through the ages. Same with sight, scent, touch, thought, language, etc.

On the other hand, sorcery seems to be binary. You either have it, or you don't. It also doesn't seem to be a skill that can be learned free-hand. We are never told of anyone teaching themselves sorcery, and based on the comments Achmanian makes when teaching Kellhus, it seems like something that one could not accidentally stumble upon. Kellhus, for all his otherworldly brilliance, does not even attempt to derive its workings from first principles, despite quickly inferring ways to improve it once he learns the basics.

All this conspires to make me think that sorcery must not have an originator within the world. It must have been handed down from outside to the Nonmen, or perhaps the Nonmen's predecessors, if such existed. But if the gods damn humans who use sorcery, then it seems like they would have no incentive to give them the skill. Except if gods want that more should be damned, in which case of course they would give the people of Earwa sorcery.

That brings up another thought: Kellhus' last words to Saubon.

Wilshire

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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 04:09:20 pm »
Welcome to the forum, obsinate. Glad to see a new posters, great stuff!
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I'm not sure I agree.

Sorcery itself stems from the ability to see/grasp the Onta - which is a hereditary trait, at least for the Nonmen and the Inchoroi.

Sorcery has also slowly evolved over time, incrimental improvements which are mentioned vaguely throughout, mostly the Mandate iteratively improving the Gnosis and the Anagogic schoolmen doing the same. If its being incrementally improved, then you should probably be able to incrementally go back back back, all the way to the start.

As for not evolved, I suppose, but the exercise of sorcery is a mental one, not so much physical, so I liken its 'discovery' to something more like language or mathmatics. Calculus, for example, was 'invented' by Isaac Newton, but that doesn't mean that it was given to him by Aliens. He took basic principles and used them in a novel way. Sorcery, as well, must have taken an initial cognitive leap, but that doesn't make it unusual.

Kellhus did, in fact, derive his own sorcery after only a few days being given the basic principles of the Gnosis, weaving in a second innutteral.

There are few Origin Stories in Earwa. We have some rumors/tales of Shawmen who wielded sorcery before the Breaking-of-the-Gates. Anagogic sorceries were derived without the Nonmen.

One of the other conditions of possibility.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 05:02:20 pm »
Welcome to the forum, obsinate. Glad to see a new posters, great stuff!
Sorcery itself stems from the ability to see/grasp the Onta - which is a hereditary trait, at least for the Nonmen and the Inchoroi.

I wonder if sorcery might have seeped into the (human) population via Nonmen/Men interbreeding. True, as far as we know, this was an exceedingly rare occurrence and there are only two(?) confirmed cases of hybrids, but it's not like people with the potential are called the Few for no reason. It could be all sorcerers are descended from just a few lines with Nonmen ancestry.
It also seems to be an hereditary trait in Men, at least taking Kellhus' extended family into consideration (and it's not like we have a wide variety of examples in this matter either). Moënghus passed on the trait to Kellhus and Maithanet, and Kellhus to Serwa (I remember there was also some discussion about Kelmomas being one of the Few, but at least pre-TUC that was not confirmed as far as I recall). Mimara is the exception, not being an Anasûrimbor by blood, but I seem to remember Esmenet's mother was one of the Few (might be remembering incorrectly, she wasn't mentioned often and it has been a while). Even if she wasn't, Mimara could still have inherited that trait through some ancestor on Esmenet's side.
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obstinate

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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 05:05:43 pm »
Esmenet's mother was one of the Few (might be remembering incorrectly
She supposedly could read the stars, which is apparently a real thing in Earwa.

Wilshire

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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2017, 05:11:00 pm »
Like I said, the ability to use sorcery apparently existed before the breaking-of-the-gates, so it might have nothing to do with the Nonmen.
Keep in mind that for whatever reason, schoolmen were generally banned (by their schools) from taking wives. This would make tracking the heredity of it in humans exceedingly difficult. I suspect the genetics are there in humans just as they are there in Nonmen, but humans spent their time suppressing it rather than selecting for it as the nonmen did.
Its nigh impossible, imo, for the entirety of humanities sorcery to have come from 1 single royal bloodline. I doubt it would be so widespread (geographically, if not statistically) had it only come from the Anasurimbor line and the rape of Omindala (spelling).

Oh, to amend my early post, Fane discovered the Psuke by himself and developed an entire branch of of taumaturgy (religious based sorcery) all by himself.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2017, 05:14:14 pm »
Esmenet's mother was one of the Few (might be remembering incorrectly
She supposedly could read the stars, which is apparently a real thing in Earwa.

That doesn't preclude her being of the Few though, per se.  Although we don't really know for certain.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

obstinate

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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 05:16:13 pm »
BTW thank you very much for the conversation! I've visited these forums often to get informed, but I'm relistening to the books in anticipating of TUC, and I'm so excited that I finally started posting. :)

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 05:26:47 pm »
Like I said, the ability to use sorcery apparently existed before the breaking-of-the-gates, so it might have nothing to do with the Nonmen.
Keep in mind that for whatever reason, schoolmen were generally banned (by their schools) from taking wives. This would make tracking the heredity of it in humans exceedingly difficult. I suspect the genetics are there in humans just as they are there in Nonmen, but humans spent their time suppressing it rather than selecting for it as the nonmen did.
Its nigh impossible, imo, for the entirety of humanities sorcery to have come from 1 single royal bloodline. I doubt it would be so widespread (geographically, if not statistically) had it only come from the Anasurimbor line and the rape of Omindala (spelling).

It's possible that there is more than one origin for sorcery as a whole, though. While I might have been too hasty in my previous post in assuming that would be its only origin, it's still possible it's one of the ways it spread through the population. And I wasn't implying it would have resulted only from the rape of Omindalea, but that was one of the bloodlines where it was present (there were likely a few others that we don't know about, and we just don't have enough information to know what they are/were).
Concerning heredity in human populations only, while it is true most Few wouldn't be direct descendants of sorcerers as they weren't allowed to marry or have children, that doesn't exclude the existence of some illegitimate descendants (that might not even know of their ancestry). In addition, it could be a recessive trait (assuming a single gene as to not make things too complicated here; it could also be a dominant trait that occurs very rarely in the general population), and while sorcerers' parents, siblings, etc. wouldn't manifest the trait, they might still carry it and pass it down. That way, sorcerers wouldn't have children themselves, but there would still be enough people carrying that gene to explain the prevalence of sorcerers and witches throughout Eärwa.


She supposedly could read the stars, which is apparently a real thing in Earwa.

Yes, that was it, I had forgotten what she could do exactly. It does seem like magic could be involved there.


That doesn't preclude her being of the Few though, per se.  Although we don't really know for certain.

It doesn't, I'm just trying to think of the simplest explanation for Mimara being one of the Few. While I suppose her father could have been one too (regardless of who he was), I still believe she would have inherited it from both sides of the family. But like I said, Esmenet's mother might have not been one of the Few after all, and that gene was passed down from Esmenet's side of the family through an earlier ancestor.
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-Kayûtas (TGO)

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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 05:44:06 pm »
That doesn't preclude her being of the Few though, per se.  Although we don't really know for certain.

It doesn't, I'm just trying to think of the simplest explanation for Mimara being one of the Few. While I suppose her father could have been one too (regardless of who he was), I still believe she would have inherited it from both sides of the family. But like I said, Esmenet's mother might have not been one of the Few after all, and that gene was passed down from Esmenet's side of the family through an earlier ancestor.

Well, Akka's parents didn't seem to be of the Few.  Not that we know for certain, but if they were, why weren't they picked up by the Mandate long before?

We don't know if being of the Few is key to something like the Judging Eye though.  I think it probably is, just something other than sorcery that you can do while seeing the Onta.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2017, 06:44:25 pm »
Maybe sorcery itself has agency. It wants to be spoken...But then, what is it. (no NIN references please  ::))
One of the other conditions of possibility.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2017, 08:54:06 pm »
Well, Akka's parents didn't seem to be of the Few.  Not that we know for certain, but if they were, why weren't they picked up by the Mandate long before?

We don't know if being of the Few is key to something like the Judging Eye though.  I think it probably is, just something other than sorcery that you can do while seeing the Onta.

They probably weren't (I'm guessing they're both deceased now as Achamian is nearing 70), but that could be explained by it being a recessive thing. I've been trying to think if we have definite confirmed examples of two non-Few parents with a child who is one of the Few, but the lack of information we have in this respect doesn't lend itself to any conclusions. Mimara could be an example, but we know nothing about her father; we don't know much about Achamian's parents, etc.
I do wonder if two parents who were of the Few would only produce children also of the Few...

The Judging Eye could be similar, but again (pre-TUC at least, no idea if we'll learn more about it then, I'm hoping so) we have little information to go on. It definitely seems to be a thing that can only manifest in women (and only those who will be pregnant at some point in their lives), if Achamian has the right of it, and I wonder if there is only one woman with the Judging Eye at any time (no evidence for it, but it's such a powerful thing that it makes me believe that isn't very common, and this idea derived from it).



Maybe sorcery itself has agency. It wants to be spoken...But then, what is it. (no NIN references please  ::))

That's an interesting thought, I hadn't considered it before, but it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility in this particular fictional universe.
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Kayûtas (TGO)