Sophon (Sword Lady) In ‘3 Body Problem’ Explained: What Was “The Eye Tn The Sky” Event?


Most people believe we live in an equal society. It is a lie. But a common man, stuck between daily bread and butter, doesn’t have the luxury to pay much heed to such notions. However, scientists and scholars (and people on Twitter) have a lot of time to ponder over these thoughts. There is a reason why the San-Ti or Trisolarans in 3 Body Problem launched the “kill its science” project after they found out about Earth. Now I don’t know why the creators of the Netflix series changed the name of the alien civilization because Trisolarans really suited them considering the arrangement of their solar system. Nevertheless, the aliens wanted to sabotage the scientific projects and technological development of the target planet so that the rival civilization wouldn’t be able to match them in the upcoming battle. But for the San-Ti, developing such technology wasn’t an easy task, especially when they had to deal with three body problem (or the problems of three suns) in every civilization. The chaotic eras hampered any technological developments, and it took them a lot of centuries to come up with a plan to spy on their rivals and interfere with their development.

Spoiler Alert

Why Did The San-Tis Need Sophon?

Ye Wenjie used the sun as a super-antenna to broadcast a message into outer space and waited years for a reply. When the reply finally came, it was a warning from a San-Ti listener to not respond to the message or it would expose Earth’s location to their civilization. In such a case, the presiding Princeps would employ all their resources to find ways to invade the human planet. But out of hatred for humanity for reasons known to us, Ye Wenjie replied to the alien’s warning from the Radar Peak in the early 1970s. As the alien civilization finally received the message, they started to prepare a large fleet to reach Earth, but there was an issue. The San-Tis didn’t have a fleet that could travel at the speed of light, and in the current technological era, it would take them some 440 years to reach Earth. In the time being, human civilization, favored by constant stable eras, would have long surpassed San-Ti’s technological advancement, putting the aliens at the mercy of their rivals. As a result, the San-Ti Science Council came up with Project Sophon.

How Did San-Ti Create Sophon?

Under Project Sophon, the science consultants wanted to transform a single proton into a multi-dimensional supercomputer. Using a huge particle accelerator, the scientists unfolded a proton into two dimensions in space so that they could build integrated circuits on the surface of the proton plane. But creating a two-dimensional proton wasn’t an easy task. Initially, they dealt with failure, only to succeed in creating a miracle on their third attempt. After the circuits were installed on the proton surface, they installed an operating system called Micro-Intelligence 2.10. As the system loaded successfully, it finally gave birth to Sophon One, the smallest artificial intelligence ever made. However, in its current state, the large space saucer-like proton had a surface area that was larger than the planet itself. 

As per the San-Ti scientists, their miracle supercomputer had the ability to change dimensions up to 11. As they increased the dimensionality of their supercomputer, it became smaller and smaller. The San-Tis went on to create three more Sophons, as multiple supercomputers of such size would be able to perform better in the macro world. In the end, they finally launched Sophon One and Sophon Two towards Earth, while Sophon Three and Sophon Four remained on their planet in order to facilitate communication in real-time.

What Was The Eye in the Sky event?

Sophon’s two-dimensional state also made an appearance in the Netflix’s 3 Body Problem as the Eye in the Sky event. Basically, the command center had instructed the six-dimensional Sophon to adjust their dimensionality to two. In such a case, their mirror surface spreads all over the Earth’s area, creating an illusion or a miracle in the sky. The main intent of such a phenomenon was to inform humanity about aliens Existence and their arrival. They wanted to terrify their rivals so that they would abandon the planet making it easy for the San-Ti to rehabilitate without any conflict. But humans were inherently survivors who would die protecting their mother planet but wouldn’t run away like escapists.

In the Netflix’s 3 Body Problem series, the Sophons are also visualized as a human being that often appears on an electronic screen or the Three Body Game, so that the viewers could get familiar with their face and feel their presence. Liu Cixin’s book, however, doesn’t have any such details. They remain hidden and don’t interact directly with humans. (at least in the first book).

What Was Sophons’ Prime Motive?

On earth, these Sophons quickly gathered data on the ongoing scientific projects and sabotaged them by giving uneven results so that human scientists could be misled in their endeavors. As a result of such interferences, a lot of scientists committed suicide or were pushed towards it. Ye Wenjie’s daughter, Vera Ye, who was working on a high-energy particle accelerator project, was one such individual who killed herself after her project was shut down. However, it wasn’t the only reason for her suicide. She found out about her mother’s connection with the alien civilization and how she brought doom to the world.

On earth, the Sophons not only frightened scientists like Auggie Salazar, forcing them to stop their research, but also helped the likes of Mike Evans develop gadgets like the virtual reality video game. The Three Body Game, in reality, was a method to recruit members for Mike’s space cult, which only the scientists who sympathized with the alien’s plight were allowed to join. The Sophons regulated the game and kept a close watch on the players’ movements in both the real and reel worlds. It was the supercomputer that manipulated the CCTV footage after their assassin Tatiana killed Jack Rooney in his own house. And last but not least, the blinking stars event was also a miracle caused by these supercomputers.

However, the purpose of the Sophons isn’t finished yet. They are keeping a close watch on human development so that they can quickly share the same information with their fleet and take advantage of auctions against such advancement. A warning to Thomas Wade was just a subtle reminder of the same. The nations knew about the Sophons among them, which was the reason why they coined the Wallfacers Project: these supercomputers couldn’t read human thoughts and could just listen to their words. It gave an advantage to human civilization and would use the same technique to tackle the crisis. Sophons, on the other hand, are going to play an important role in 3 Body Problem season 2, where they will rebuild Mike Evan’s cult with the help of Tatiana and use the VR game to devise a plan to stop the three Wallfacers. It wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that these Sophons are going to stay amidst humans for a very long time, and there is no permanent solution to it, but humans are quick to adapt, and it is their strongest weapon. We are the bugs who know how to survive amidst a crisis. 

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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