The Old Magic is a magic system. Little is known about the Old Magic, other than by those who seek it; those who travel west to the Nightwatcher.
The Nightwatcher grants what they desire and gives them a curse, not necessarily related to the gift. It is said that every man gets only one chance to ask a boon of the Nightwatcher. She always grants one curse and one desire. Most consider the Nightwatcher to be some kind of powerful spren. Those who seek the Old Magic have to go to the west in a valley. Soliciting the Old Magic is offensive to the devotaries because it defies their control within Vorin culture as a religious influence.
Wyndle, a spren that has bonded with Lift and granted her the powers of an Edgedancer, has referred to the Nightwatcher as "Mother." This has lead to speculation as to the Nightwatcher's possible link to Cultivation, one of the sixteen Shards of Adonalsium and one of the three on Roshar.
People who visited the NightwatcherEdit
|Dalinar Kholin||Officially unknown (It has not yet been revealed whether the removed memories are the boon or the curse.||All the memories of his wife have been removed from his mind. Even when someone mentions her name, all that he hears is a 'whoosh' of air (i.e., Shshshsh).|
|Av's Father||A heap of good cloth; sold to keep his family from starving during the lurnip famine.||Sees the world upside down.|
|Extes||The boon Extes had wanted was to know what happened the day he was fated to die.||Sacrificed his son to the Voidbringers and would suffer everyday by having his arms torn off.|
"Did I ever tell you what I asked for?" he whispered. ... "Capacity," he whispered. The capacity to stop what was coming. The capacity to save humankind." He wakes up each day with a different level of intelligence. Sometimes he's a genius, sometimes he's an idiot. His boon was Capacity - to be intelligent enough to prepare for the coming Desolation - which allowed him one day of extremely lucid insanity (the Diagram). Similar to Dalinar, he believes he must unite the people (of Roshar altogether, we don't yet know), but he has definitely taken control of significant territory by the end of Words of Radiance.
|The curse associated with this boon is the intelligence to make the decisions which need to be made while retaining compassion to feel the consequences of those decisions..|
|Lift||Can physically interact with spren and metabolize food directly into Stormlight.||Unknown|
Thereal.shadow developed a theory that Dalinar wished his brother's death in order to take over the new kingdom. This could explain why he got so obsessed with The Way of Kings and the Codex in the beginning. Also, there were some comments that described a deep feeling of fault in his thoughts or his promise of never taking the throne, even if he would assume it peacefully.