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Singer

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Singer
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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The singers are a sapient species on Roshar,[1][2] which humans called the parsh[3] or parshmen.[4] One such group of singers are the listeners.

Singers communicate through special Rhythms--hence them being called singers. Singers can bond various spren which change their forms.

Singers predate humanity on Roshar.[5] Around the time of the Recreance,[6] many of the singers' had their Connection and Identity stolen, pieces of their souls ripped away.[7] This made those singers docile and subservient, which humans called parshmen and used as slaves for millennia later.[8] With the advent of the Everstorm, these singers were healed and restored.[7]

Genders[edit]

The singers have four distinct genders, two that are recognised as similar to human male and female, and two neutered variants malen and femalen.[9] The majority of the Forms are populated by the neutered genders, and their members are often asexual.[10][11]

Forms[edit]

By staying out in a highstorm (or the Everstorm)[12] with a spren, singers are capable of bonding with said spren, which has the effect of changing their forms,[13] which alters their physical appearance and mental capabilities. When a singer changes forms, the spren used for the previous form is released.[14]

The listeners recounted many common forms in the Song of Listing, which they only had access to only a small subset of. They also have songs which sung of dangerous forms of power in the Song of Secrets and the Song of Winds.

There is also slaveform, which was the lack of any form, which most singers were locked into for centuries, until the Everstorm arrived and the True Desolation began.

Common Forms[edit]

These forms are mentioned in the listener Song of Listing. After the Recreance and before the True Desolation, when the only singers who could think were the listeners, the listeners only discovered five forms: dullform, mateform, warform, workform, and nimbleform. When the Everstorm arrived and healed the other singers, singers held these forms and other common forms the listeners could not reproduce, such as artform and scholarform, and had a "dozen" options.[15]

Mateform
Mateform meek, for love to share,
Given to life, it brings us joy.
To find this form, one must care.
True empathy, one must employ.
—5th stanza of the Song of Listing[16]

Mateform is used for reproductive purposes. A few listeners maintain mating form constantly, although most enter it only briefly in order to reproduce with a partner; if these partners later entered warform they became a warpair.[Citation needed] It is a distracting form which makes productive work difficult. Nothing is stopping other forms from reproducing, the mateform is merely a speciality.[10]

Warform by User:Khal
Warform
Warform is worn for battle and reign,
Claimed by the gods, given to kill.
Unknown, unseen, but vital to gain.
It comes to those with the will.
—15th stanza of the Song of Listing[17]

Warform gives listeners an armor-like carapace; it also seems to give them advanced physical capabilities, although it severely hampers artistic ability and is not equipped to handle abstractions. Most Parshendi that interact with the Alethi are in warform. Out of all the forms known to the listeners, warform requires the most food, but is also the most durable.[18]

Workform
Workform worn for strength and care.
Whispering spren breathe at your ear.
Seek first this form, its mysteries to bear.
Found here is freedom from fear.
—19th stanza of the Song of Listing[19]

Workform also endows significant physical strength, although without the armor of the warform; those in workform also have thinner fingers. While in workform, the Parshendi find it difficult to commit violence and did not like confrontation.

Nimbleform
Nimbleform has a delicate touch.
Gave the gods this form to many,
Tho' once defied, by the gods they were crushed.
This form craves precision and plenty.
—27th stanza of the Song of Listing[20]

Nimbleform was a form used by the listener scholars because they do not know the correct spren to bond with for scholarform. It does not impede the mind and the fingers are delicate enough for recording their findings. It grows long hair without any carapace to block it and yields delicate swirling patterns in their skin, along with a thinner facial structure.

Mediationform
Meditationform made for peace, it's said.
Form of teaching and consolation.
When used by the gods, it became instead
Form of lies and desolation.
—33rd stanza of the Song of Listing[21]
Scholarform
Scholarform shown for patience and thought.
Beware its ambitions innate.
Though study and diligence bring the reward,
Loss of innocence may be one's fate.
—69th stanza of the Song of Listing[22]

Scholarform produces "long hairstrands and angular features".[23]

Artform
Artform applied for beauty and hue.
One yearns for the songs it creates.
Most misunderstood by the artist it's true,
Come the spren to foundation's fates.
—90th stanza of the Song of Listing[24]
Artform for colors beyond our ken;
For its grand songs we yearn.
We must attract creationspren;
These songs suffice 'til we learn.
—279th stanza of the Song of Revision[25]
Dullform
Dullform dread, with the mind most lost.
The lowest, and one not bright.
To find this form, one needs banish cost.
It finds you and brings you to blight.
—final stanza of the Song of Listing[26]

Dullform is an older form which was rarely used after the discovery of the newer forms. Those in dullform are not very intelligent.

Forms of Power[edit]

Many singer forms are considered by the listeners to be forms of power.[Citation needed] For a singer to gain one of these forms, they must bond with a Voidspren.[15] Singers wearing a form of power are referred to Regals in the context of Odium's army.[15] Forms of power are intoxicating to those first come into one,[27] and give access to new Rhythms, but drown old, common rhythms.[Citation needed]

Forms of power include: stormform, nightform, smokeform, decayform, and envoyform.

Slaveform[edit]

slaveform, the form with no spren, no soul, and no song. (...) It wasn't really a form at all, however, but the lack of any form.
Eshonai musing about slaveform[28]

There is also "slaveform," which is not a true form, but the lack of a bond with a spren or lack of a form. What humanity called for millennia parshmen are actually singers in slaveform. Slaveform did not exist until after the False Desolation.[29]

Physically, slaveform singers are strong enough to perform physical labor.[30] Their skin has either a marbled pattern of black and red or white and red, although the white and red is more common in Alethkar.[31][8] Slaveform looks similar enough to dullform that humans could confuse the two.

They care about and are protective of their dead, usually objecting to anyone other than one of themselves tending to them.[32] This care for the dead presumably extended to corpses of other singers as well.[30] They also mated and formed nuclear families if humans didn't disrupt them. [7]

Slaveform singers lived among humans (notably the Alethkar but also in Jah Keved and Kharbranth[4]) and generally function as servants.[31] Barely of intelligence,[30] it is said that these people, if left in the woods, would stand around amiably until someone comes along to tell them what to do.[33][34] Generally, a slaveform would take orders without any objection.[4] They could speak but rarely did so.[35] Humans bred singers who demonstrated they could successfully birth healthy children, splitting up families to do so.[7] Slaveform is described by Sah, a singer who had previously been trapped in the form, as "living in a fog...knowing deep in your soul that something is profoundly wrong...[but] not being able to say a single word to stop it."[7]

The Everstorm healed all slaveform singers by restoring Connection and Identity, and so this "form" no longer exists during the True Desolation.[7]

Rhythms[edit]

Singers speak to Rhythms. These Rhythms are underlying tunes that seem to exist independently from their actual use. Also, Rhythms are "playing" constantly. For example, Rhythms can be used to measure time.[18] Rhythms represent a certain state of mind, the feelings of the person using it. When not paying attention, Parshendi will attune to the Rhythm that corresponds to their mood, but they can attune to another Rhythm in order to fit with their message. Dullforms and slaveforms don't use Rhythms. The Rhythms connect the singers.[36] The different Songs are sung to different Rhythms.[37] The Rhythms of Power sound and feel different to the more well known Rhythms which have similar uses.[38]

List of Rhythms[edit]

  • Rhythm of Abashment (new rhythm)[39]
  • Rhythm of Agony (new rhythm)[40]
  • Rhythm of Amusement[41]
  • Rhythm of Annoyance[18]
  • Rhythm of Anticipation[42]
  • Rhythm of Anxiety[18]
  • Rhythm of Awe[43]
  • Rhythm of Appreciation[18]
  • Rhythm of Betrayal[18]
  • Rhythm of Conceit (new rhythm)[39]
  • Rhythm of Confidence[44]
  • Rhythm of Consideration[18]
  • Rhythm of Consolation[23]
  • Rhythm of Craving (new rhythm)[42]
  • Rhythm of Curiosity[41]
  • Rhythm of Derision[44]
  • Rhythm of Destruction (new rhythm)[44]
  • Rhythm of Excitement[41]
  • Rhythm of Fury (new rhythm)[44]
  • Rhythm of Irritation[18]
  • Rhythm of Joy[44]
  • Rhythm of Longing[45]
  • Rhythm of the Lost[41]
  • Rhythm of Mourning[41]
  • Rhythm of Peace[44]
  • Rhythm of Pleading[18]
  • Rhythm of Praise[41]
  • Rhythm of Remembrance[18]
  • Rhythm of Reprimand[41]
  • Rhythm of Resolve[41]
  • Rhythm of Ridicule (new rhythm)[44]
  • Rhythm of Satisfaction[44]
  • Rhythm of Skepticism[41]
  • Rhythm of Spite (new rhythm)[44]
  • Rhythm of Subservience (new rhythm)[23]
  • Rhythm of Supplication[18]
  • Rhythm of Tension[44]
  • Rhythm of the Terrors[46]
  • Rhythm of Victory[40]
  • Rhythm of Winds[18]
  • Rhythm of Withdrawal (new rhythm)[39]

History[edit]

Singers predate humanity on Roshar[5] but both races existed prior to the shattering.[47] After the Expulsion, where mankind destroyed the Tranquiline Halls, ancient singers were ordered by gods--perhaps Honor and Cultivation--to help the human refugees to Roshar.[5] These ancient singers were the Dawnsingers.

At one point in their history, singers interbred with humans, creating the modern day Herdazians and Unkalaki (Horneaters).[48]

Humans used powers the singers were forbidden to touch, powers involving spren and Surges, presumably some kind of Surgebinding.[49] However, humans also brought Odium with them, and the singers called these ancient humans the Voidbringers. Humans were granted the lands of Shinovar, but they expanded out eventually, and fought the singers. This original conflict was the First Desolation, with humans on the side of Odium.

According to the listener Song of Histories, after the singers felt spren betrayed them, the listeners turned to other gods (this song, however, could be warped to history). The exact timeline is not clear, but at some stage, there were souls of ancient singers, valiant soldiers at that time, had been granted great power from Odium to fight against humans.[50] The power from Odium made them into Cognitive Shadows and allowed these ancient singers to be reborn in singer bodies, creating the Fused.[50] The Fused came to rule the singers. The Fused ultimately despise humanity and want them wiped off Roshar, even if it required the destruction of Roshar.[50]

To stop the Fused from being reborn, Honor chose ten humans to be the Heralds, and the Heralds would imprison the Fused on Braize. The Fused tortured the Heralds until one Herald relented, which allowed the Fused to Return to Roshar. When a Herald gave in, that started a Desolation. The Desolations continued for an unknown amount of time, nearly destroying humanity many times. Eventually, at the Last Desolation, all Heralds except one, Taln, abandoned their Oathpact and kept the Fused at bay for the next four and a half millennia.

The singers, no longer the dominant species on Roshar, continued to fight humanity and the Knights Radiant. Around two thousand years after the Last Desolation, near the Recreance, there was the False Desolation.[51] The Unmade Ba-Ado-Mishram Connected with the singers and provided them forms of power and Voidlight, as Odium once did in the Desolations.[52] The Knights Radiant sought to stop this threat by imprisoning Ba-Ado-Mishram. They succeeded but in doing so, stole part of singers souls, ripping out their Connection and Identity.[7][6] These singers no longer had a form and were termed "slaveforms".

Some singers who threw off the Fused and freed themselves, the listeners, were spared from this event, perhaps not Connecting with Ba-Ado-Mishram. The listeners became the only singers with their minds intact for millennia. They eventually formed the Parshendi nation around Narak before meeting with the Alethi and starting the War of Reckoning.[53] The rest of the singers, however, were all essentially mindless, which the humans used as slave labor.

Later, the listeners, manipulated by Voidspren, entered stormform, one of the forms of power. In doing so, the listeners summoned a great storm at the Battle of Narak: the Everstorm. The Everstorm, full of Odium's power, passed through the world and restored the slaveform singers Connection and Identity, healed them.

These healed singers exemplified traits of the culture in which they had lived all their lives. The Azish singers submitted a complaint to the government, while Thaylen singers stole ships and sailed away.[Citation needed] These singers can remember their lives before the were healed. Sah, a singer who both Kaladin and Moash meet, remembers his wife taken from him and his anger at the event.[Citation needed] These singers, though conscripted into Odium's forces, are generally reluctant to fight, though they hate their enslavement.[Citation needed]

Trivia[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Oathbringer chapter 54
  2. Oathbringer chapter 106
  3. Oathbringer chapter 77 epigraph
  4. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 3
  5. a b c Oathbringer chapter 111
  6. a b Oathbringer chapter 81 epigraph
  7. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 17
  8. a b The Way of Kings chapter 72
  9. malen/femalen are neuters and asexual
    Arcanum - 2014-03-22#
  10. a b /r/books AMA
    Arcanum - 2015-05-19#
  11. most listeners are asexual
    Arcanum - 2015-05-17#
  12. Oathbringer chapter I-6
  13. Do Parshendi need a highstorm to change form?
    Theoryland - 2012-11-06#
  14. JordanCon 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-4-23#
  15. a b c Oathbringer chapter I-7
  16. Words of Radiance chapter 14 epigraph
  17. Words of Radiance chapter 13 epigraph
  18. a b c d e f g h i j k l Words of Radiance interlude I-4
  19. Words of Radiance chapter 15 epigraph
  20. Words of Radiance chapter 16 epigraph
  21. Words of Radiance chapter 21 epigraph
  22. Words of Radiance chapter 18 epigraph
  23. a b c Oathbringer interlude I-7
  24. Words of Radiance chapter 20 epigraph
  25. Words of Radiance chapter 29 epigraph
  26. Words of Radiance chapter 17 epigraph
  27. Oathbringer chapter I-3
  28. Words of Radiance chapter I-1
  29. Oathbringer Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-18#
  30. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 55
  31. a b The Way of Kings prologue
  32. The Way of Kings chapter 26
  33. The Way of Kings chapter 28
  34. The Way of Kings chapter 36
  35. The Way of Kings chapter 7
  36. Are Parshendi like a hive mind sort of culture?
    Theoryland - 2012-09-22#
  37. listener songs in epigraphs are sung to different Rhythms
    Arcanum - 2014-04-11#
  38. new Rhythms have different feel to older ones with similar uses
    Arcanum - 2017-02-19#
  39. a b c Oathbringer interlude I-12
  40. a b Oathbringer chapter 120
  41. a b c d e f g h i Words of Radiance interlude I-1
  42. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-13
  43. Words of Radiance interlude I-8
  44. a b c d e f g h i j Words of Radiance interlude I-11
  45. Oathbringer chapter 55
  46. Oathbringer prologue
  47. Roshar, and listeners & humans populations existed prior to shattering
    Arcanum - 2015-11-16#
  48. both Horneater and Hedazian are related to singers
    Arcanum - 2014-08-05#
  49. Oathbringer
  50. a b c Oathbringer chapter 38
  51. Oathbringer chapter 56
  52. Oathbringer chapter 80 epigraph
  53. Parshendi are a nationality living in Narak
    Arcanum - 2014-03-04#
  54. singers not of Honor
    Arcanum - 2014-03-11#
  55. singers not of Cultivation
    Arcanum - 2014-03-11#
  56. singers not originally of Odium
    Arcanum - 2014-03-11#
  57. singers created as part of Rosharan ecosystem
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  58. parsh gods not Odium, more like Heralds
    Arcanum - 2015-04-11#
  59. the Radiant spren aren't attracted to singers because of an event in the past
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  60. slaveform given Breath would be more cognizant
    Arcanum - 2015-08-09#
  61. Hemalurgy may duplicate singer Forms
    Arcanum - 2015-06-11#
  62. Soothers can affect singer Rhythms, might dampen Odiums effects
    Arcanum - 2017-11-18#
  63. singers can get magic from Cultivation/Nightwatcher
    Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
See Also
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