randuir

The cause of Dalinar's and Gavilars visions

10 posts in this topic

While browsing the stormlight subreddit, I cam across a pretty great (understatement) theory about Dalinar's and Gavilar's visions. The theory is based on some material from Secret History, so be aware of spoilers: https://www.reddit.com/r/Stormlight_Archive/comments/5lucl0/cosmerewhile_reading_mistborn_a_secret_history_i/

This theory isn't mine, but I believe it's a great theory and deserves to be read. If for some reason you can't access reddit, I've included the full text below, but all credit goes to reddit user Shovelbum26. Any comments should be put in the original reddit thread if possible.

Spoiler

This was something that always bothered me when reading. Why did Dalinar and Gavilar specifically get chosen to receive Honor's visions of the Desolations? The implication always seemed to me that it had something to do with The Way of Kings. Gavilar was obsessed with it, and he had the visions. After his death Dalinar became obsessed with it and he started having the visions. But how did it work? Especially if Honor is Shattered?

I found the answer in Mistborn: A Secret History. And the solution is Connection.

Let me explain: Connection is an intrinsic aspect of the Cosmere. Connection is required for a ton of different magics to work, and more importantly, for a Cognitive Shadow to be able to interact with something in the Physical realm. In M:SH we see a couple of Cognitive Shadows. The Shadow of the Shard of Preservation, which Kelsier names "Fuzz" is similar to the Cognitive Shadow of Honor that speaks in the visions to Dalinar. Fuzz says that Kelsier can't take his power because he doesn't have sufficient Connection to Preservation (which he then manages to get around with some help from the Ire). Fuzz also explains that he has trouble speaking to Vin because she has too strong a Connection to Ruin, his opposing force. Later Kelsier is able to speak to Spook, even as a Shadow stuck in the Cognative Realm, because Spook believes in Kelsier so strongly. He believes in his vision and mission, he has a strong Connection to Kelsier.

So, how does this relate to Roshar and Honor? Well, we know that Odium shattered Honor, and that Honor's Cognitive Shadow created the visions to help humanity on Roshar. But in order for Honor's Cognitive Shadow to communicate with someone they need Connection.

Odium has been working very hard to make sure that no one has strong Connection with Honor. I believe that the Thrill is a way of doing this. The Thrill encourages combat, and tamps down the natural revulsion people feel from killing. Without the Thrill, a culture like the Alethi couldn't exist, everyone would have PTSD, or at the very least there would be more people saying that peace every now and again is a good thing, and that constant fighting and killing is wrong. I believe that when Honor says "Odium reigns" this is what he means. People have come to believe that killing is the natural way of things, and that mercy or fairness or equality are hopeless ideals.

So even Honor's Cognitive Shadow had lost it's power as there was no one with Connection left for him to reach. However, he had a kind of Trojan Horse, a backup plan to fight Odium beyond Shattering, and that is The Way of Kings. That book teaches people to live by a code. It teaches them to respect others, to live with humility and to strive for peace. It teaches that the ends don't always justify the means.

By taking on the lessons in The Way of Kings, Gavilar and later Dalinar build Connection with Honor. Once that Connection is strong enough, Honor's Cognitive Shadow is able to send the visions.

Maybe this was already obvious to hardcore Cosmere fans, but I thought I'd post it anyway as I'd never seen it spelled out. Love to hear feedback.

 

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It's a very good theory, I actually don't recall seeing anyone associate the in-world Way of Kings with bondsmithdom (though I'm sure that happened). One of the comments also pertinently raises the suspicious book that made that neither gender can both fight and read.

I think it has more direct connection with following The Codes or any honor code being a form of bond/oath (than with Connection, although I'm sure it's related), as those seem to be what grants powers on Roshar. We know Seon bonds would grant powers on Roshar, bonding a spren which requires oaths grants powers, bonding a honorblade grants powers*, and it seems similar to how Squires gain power by bonding or loyalty (oaths of sort) with their Radiant, also explaining why Windrunners have a squire bonus. (One of Jezrien's two attributes is Leading, and becoming a Windrunner seems to require a personality that inspires followers.)

 

*As a tangentially related addendum, I don't know how much people have focused on this but it seems reasonable to say that Honorblades can grant so much power without Oaths is because wielding one signs you up to the Oathpact, whatever its implications are.... scary.

Edited by yurisses
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The book's power might be a little more direct than that. Maybe Nohadon was a Bondsmith, and he wrote some of his order's ideals into the book. Anyone who reads the book then has the ideals on the brain, and that forms a little connection, like a weak proto-nahel bond.

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The idea that all Bondsmiths are linked with the book The Way of King occured to me, but I never made the connection to Connection (ha ha, pun unintended, but I didn't see how to phrase it differently) and the events described in the reddit comment.

Spoiler
5 hours ago, randuir said:

So, how does this relate to Roshar and Honor? Well, we know that Odium shattered Honor, and that Honor's Cognitive Shadow created the visions to help humanity on Roshar. But in order for Honor's Cognitive Shadow to communicate with someone they need Connection.

Odium has been working very hard to make sure that no one has strong Connection with Honor. I believe that the Thrill is a way of doing this. The Thrill encourages combat, and tamps down the natural revulsion people feel from killing. Without the Thrill, a culture like the Alethi couldn't exist, everyone would have PTSD, or at the very least there would be more people saying that peace every now and again is a good thing, and that constant fighting and killing is wrong. I believe that when Honor says "Odium reigns" this is what he means. People have come to believe that killing is the natural way of things, and that mercy or fairness or equality are hopeless ideals.

So even Honor's Cognitive Shadow had lost it's power as there was no one with Connection left for him to reach. However, he had a kind of Trojan Horse, a backup plan to fight Odium beyond Shattering, and that is The Way of Kings. That book teaches people to live by a code. It teaches them to respect others, to live with humility and to strive for peace. It teaches that the ends don't always justify the means.

By taking on the lessons in The Way of Kings, Gavilar and later Dalinar build Connection with Honor. Once that Connection is strong enough, Honor's Cognitive Shadow is able to send the visions.

I had a hunch about the Thrill causing problems, but not like the one you describes. It's really interesting. Because we know of some character who loses the Thrill in middle of combat. And IIRC, they were thinking about honor and loyalty at the time. I should have checked, but didn't have time yet...

 

1 hour ago, yurisses said:

I think it has more direct connection with following The Codes or any honor code being a form of bond/oath (than with Connection, although I'm sure it's related), as those seem to be what grants powers on Roshar. We know Seon bonds would grant powers on Roshar, bonding a spren which requires oaths grants powers, bonding a honorblade grants powers*, and it seems similar to how Squires gain power by bonding or loyalty (oaths of sort) with their Radiant, also explaining why Windrunners have a squire bonus. (One of Jezrien's two attributes is Leading, and becoming a Windrunner seems to require a personality that inspires followers.)

As I view it, for your example, the bond between a seon and a selish person are probably made of a different Intent. It's the presence of a bond that grants power, not the bond itself, which is very different. There will be power because in a way it is "connected" to the power of Roshar. The Seon, as a Spren, is a Splinter of a Shard bonded to a human. It's a System hack. On the other hand, Honorblade have been created by Honor to grant Power to the Herald.

Spoiler Mistborn :

Spoiler

As such, they are the equivalent of Lerasium for Roshar.

For me, the book in itself is an introduction to how to connect with the Shard of Honor, but is not necessary. As a matter of fact, it seems that only Bondsmiths need it to be recruited. The other KR we know of, however, were chosen without regard to it as far as we know. I think this is the difference between spren and Godspren about choosing candidates.

As for the Squire, I believe it is the Connection to the Kight Radiant that grants powers. I say that because I don't remember any member of Bridge Four explicitly stating or following the code. They might have uphold it without knowing though, I don't know for sure...

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Different kinds of bonds/oaths grant different kinds of powers. Other orders don't need WoK because the kind of bonds/oaths that WoK makes you follow are Bondsmith-material codes. I was not saying that Squires follow the codes. I was saying that they have a bond/loyalty/informal oaths to a Radiant.

Edited by yurisses
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This sounds totally reasonable and I wouldn't be surprised if it is true. Have an upvote for bringing it to my attention.

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I saw it a little earlier (independent of this thread), and I thought it would be a far more clever theory than it actually turned out to be. Or, rather, it delivered far less of a punch than I expected. It's really clever, and I like the Connection connection (let's see how many times we can make this pun) a lot, but I thought it would lead to something far more grand than "Honor's secret weapon is a doorstopper."

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Just throwing this out there: what if Nohadon is Ishar? The Herald of the Bondsmiths, and the man behind the Orders of Radiants in the first place. (This WoB has bothered me for quite some time...)

I don't think Connection to the Shard is the mechanism; for all orders, you need to act a certain way to attract and bond a spren, even before you've said any Oaths. I can believe that Way of Kings teaches Bondsmiths how to act, and leads to attracting the Stormfather, one of the Bondsmith spren (maybe you need other books to attract the other two Bonsmith spren). As the spren bonds, it makes its way into your soul through the cracks that have been developed, so there's the connection (lowercase-c) by which the visions can be transmitted.

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I've theorized that the Way Of Kings is responsible for being selected to receive the visions like half a year ago:

 

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