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fro23n

[OB] Nightwatcher's Curses?

7 posts in this topic

Does the Nightwatcher actually give curses? 

So I haven't read edgedancer but other than lift the only 2 characters we see that have a detailed interaction with the nightwatcher and then their "boon and curse" are Dalinar and Taravangian. And like both of their curses really just seem like a pathway to their boons. I get that Dalinar got his stuff from Cultivation not the nightwatcher but like given that one is the splinter of the other they probably don't operate on fundamentally different principles just like magnitude of power? And that kinda just gel's with their splinter trait too: they "cultivate" the people who seek boons from them to grow and change into what they wanted, and the processes of cultivation are interpreted as curses (e.g. tiger mom lol). That seems to make more sense than a kinda arbitrary here's a boona and here's a curse we think is "appropriate for you". Like the appropriateness means they don't always directly grant the boon which is in line with how the "curse" is supposed to bring about the boon. Anywho details below

Spoiler

Like I think Dalinar's curse actually being a boon is pretty clear. Yes explainable as something done by cultivation and not nightwatcher, fine.

Taravangian - so he asked for capacity to save the world, and his curse is either that rust is variable or he is too callus or too empathetic depending on which side you think is the "curse". But all aspects seems like a boon to me. Intelligence is useful obviously. He callus in that he's utilitarian, like maybe you (and i) disagree with eugenics on principle of caring for individuals but it's not necessarily bad from all perspectives. Also just given the stakes he needs to be callus in order to not lose everything. And this callousness is a good complement to when he's intellegent and needs to make very specific decisions about trade-offs. On the other hand the variability and stupidity have already shown themselves to be useful at the end of OB when he is confronting Odium, it protects his mind. It is probably that the dumb empathetic form is the one intended to face odium since odium will always pick this state to face. The empathy is important here because it makes him strive for more when bargaining with odium or facing him. Passion will drive him to action, whereas cold intellect with help him set out the plan. also odium likes passion which i'm not sure is relevant but mentioned in that encounter

EDIT: lol so I realized not really sure what was cultivated in Taravangian but like no curse as far as I can tell

 

Edited by fro23n
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There are a couple of other curses mentioned in the books.  Bav's father saw things upside down for the rest of his life.  I think his brother? got numb hands.

Lift's curse is unknown.

Here's a list of the ones we know:

https://coppermind.net/wiki/Nightwatcher

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So like Av's father is a second hand account right? like it's kinda just mentioned in passing as the first clear introduction to what is popularly believed to be the MO of the Nightwatcher. The lack of context also makes it hard to determine why they were given the curses they were given, from which we could derive that the curse is actually a positive. Unless the contention is just that it's arbitrary which just feels like a missed opportunity and boring. Also Lift's curse being unknown supports my point?

Edited by fro23n
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I wasn't disagreeing with your point, just clarifying the curses and boons we've seen.  I'm completely on board with Cultivation having a master plan for Lift, Dalinar and T.  There are a couple of threads floating around where people better at theories than me have expounded on it :)

Edited by RShara
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Yeah I strongly suspect Cultivation got involved with Lift. Lift's...things seem a bit beyond the level the Nightwatcher normally operates on.

Cultivation also says that the things the Nightwatcher does are attempts to learn about humans.

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According to in book information, the Nightwatchers boons and curses are both clear cut, and well documented.

There's obviously Baxil's interlude, which as tempting as it is to write off as a secondhand account, is only so because Av was dissuaded from going by every other member of his family going, and only his father being happy with the results. 

Then you have Renarin speaking to Dalinar, first from what he considers common knowledge. 

Quote

“These visions are not in line with what I’ve understood about the Nightwatcher,” Renarin said. “Most consider her to be just some kind of powerful spren. Once you’ve sought her out and been given your reward and your curse, she’s supposed to leave you alone. When did you seek her?”

“It’s been many years now,” Dalinar said.

“Then this probably isn’t due to her influence,” Renarin said.

“I agree,” Dalinar said.

And later, having had things read to him because of Dalinar's situation. 

Quote

“Aunt,” Renarin said, turning to her. “I have recently asked for a number of readings about the Old Magic. I agree with his assessment. This does not feel like the work of the Nightwatcher. She gives curses in exchange for granting small desires. Always one curse and one desire. Father, I assume you know what both of those things are?”

“Yes,” he said. “I know exactly what my curse was, and it does not relate to this.”

“Then it is unlikely that the Old Magic is to blame.”

There are apparently, scholarly accounts and studies of the old magic, and the Nightwatcher always gives one curse, and one boon. 

By that metric, Dalinar may have been the first on whom Cultivation acted directly, but the complexity of the gifts granted to the three characters in the story that we know implies that all three are the work of Cultivation. 

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Taranvangian boon was capacity and compassion.  At least in his own thinking, his curse is that they never occur at the same time:

Quote

Storms take you, Nightwatcher, [Taranvangian] thought. Odium’s victory will kill you too. Couldn’t you have just gifted me, and not cursed me?

He’d asked for the capacity to save his people. He’d begged for compassion and acumen—and he’d gotten them. Just never at the same time.

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (p. 1214). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.

 

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