crème de la crèmling

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  1. It does seem like the narrative impact of this kind of stopped mid-way through OB. To be totally honest, even in RoW, it didn't seem to me like Kaladin and Shallan (Shallan, not Radiant or Veil) are even friends. Veil is the one who stands up for him, and Radiant is the one who counsels him in the scene in the bar. Shallan is "resting." She doesn't even show. When she does think about him, it's to reflect on how he's the kind of Radiant who would never do the things she has done. (Which is baffling to me, he goes down the exact same paths and apparently even Adolin knows about it?) Furthermore, Kaladin himself put those pieces together from the beginning and totally dodged the conversation entirely. It seems like water under the bridge between them, informed friendship or not. But prior to finding out that it was Kaladin, she was pretty free with her feelings of hatred and anger towards Amaram (she called him all sorts of names) and once she discovered the truth, it went right into the truth vault with all the other things she has stuffed in there. I agree with the reading that Shallan took out her anger on Kaladin in petty ways throughout OB, while Veil took on the part that was attracted to him despite that. To me, it seems like Shallan has compartmentalized this hard. I don't know what the outcome or reveal would be, except we finally find out what Helaran was really doing the entire time or something, or maybe that he's not dead dead, kind of in a manner like @CosmicSieve suggests. I also tend to think that Shallan is pretty angry at Helaran. He was loving and kind, but also extremely absent! He left Shallan, a traumatized child, to "take care of the family" while he did "more important things." I have a couple of passages noted down where it seems to me that she is deeply jealous of what Helaran got to do--leave home, basically--and very angry at him for essentially abandoning his family for his mission/revenge quest--but she seals that up, too. Shallan tends to think of Helaran in the same terms that she thinks of Kaladin as well, extremely idealized and distorted by her perceptions. If it comes back up, I wonder if Kaladin himself will even be involved; it seems like another thing that Shallan, who is recently a bit more capable of handling these complex and unpleasant feelings, will handle on her own, or in her own storyline, since she has relatively little to do with Kaladin at all anymore. I think it would be more about Shallan discovering what Helaran was doing and grappling with her feelings about his actions and true personality, which may not stand up to her childhood idealization. The direction for Shallan seems to be heading in her taking on the big picture behind what was happening in her home and with her family.
  2. Could it be this? Assuming that whatever Kaladin did to hurt Syl was enough to break her mind in such a way. In terms of Syl dying/not dying, she seemed convinced of it at the time and throughout OB as well--she has another line about a certain place in Shadesmar being like a dream she had when she died, but in RoW it's almost as if "her death" gets aggressively retconned. I'm not sure what the purpose of having a difference between not-quite-death at Ideal 2 versus death Ideal 3 would be. Why make there be a difference now? What's gained there, either narratively or mechanically? I assumed it was another instance of characters applying their biases (if Syl had died, she'd still be a deadeye because there's no cure for that) to what they observe, even if it isn't what is really happening. This is something I'm super interested in discussing and hearing your opinion on! However, I disagree with the reading that Kaladin was acting in line with his oaths when the bond snapped; I think he was acting not protectively, but possessively. He's not thinking of protecting Dalinar, or even the other people falling with him. He's thinking that it's wrong that he should die from a fall into a chasm, since he has ownership over the sky, the winds, the chasms. Obviously, he doesn't really own any of those things, and he's about to be humbled. His powers similarly fade earlier in WoR in a training session where he acts entitled to his abilities, as if they belong to him and aren't continually earned; in fact, Syl pointedly asks him in that moment who he was protecting. Another (eventual) Windrunner, Lyn, struggles with that in OB, right before she gains the ability of a squire, because she comes to the tryouts concerned not with protecting people, but because she (perhaps selfishly) doesn't want to be left behind while everyone else is flying. I really like this reading, though: I definitely see that connection! Re: Syl not actually being as dead as she thought, it seems like 1 and 2 are squire-able Ideals, where a specific bond to a specific spren may not be entirely necessary. Skybreakers don't officially bond a spren until it's Shardblade time. Ideal 3 seems to mean that the spren is manifested in the Physical Realm. In RoW, there's a lot of talk about "full Windrunners" or "full Radiants" which seems to mean a Shardblade. There also seems to be a correlation between the Ideals sworn and how close the bond is between Radiant and spren, connected to the fact that spren become more and more present in the physical world. Kaladin is "very close" to Ideal 4 and is able to pull Syl out of the "hole" he imagines her being in because of the suppressor field. But at the same time, it seems like all the Radiants bonded to a specific spren go down, since all Radiants in Urithiru appear to lose consciousness, and there isn't a special exception made for Radiants of Ideal 1 and 2, or even the squires. The reason I bring this up is that it reads to me like this kind of blanket effect, bond-attacking process is related to whatever that BAM and the Deadeyes seem to be operating on. In this case, though, it seems to be separating spren from Radiant. If Syl was weakened because Kaladin was going back on his oaths so that the connection between them was almost proto-Radiant-ish level, and then she was separated from him (let's say the Stormfather pulled her back into the Cognitive Realm by force or something), would that similarly result in Kaladin's loss of powers? I was thinking a little about this in the paragraph above, but not all Orders are as strictly organized as the Windrunners and the Skybreakers, or seem to rely on squires to vet potential Radiants. I only have "present day" evidence, but there are two Radiants, Darcira and Beryl of the Unseen Court, who specifically bonded their own spren but have not yet earned their Shardblades, meaning they "weren't squires according to the Windrunner definition. Cryptics weren't as uptight as honorspren, and didn't wait as long to start bonds." (RoW 20) Of those two, Beryl is singled out as someone who bonded her spren on her own without going through the squiring process at all. Venli has done the same here. Lopen spends a long while bonded to a specific honorspren, but even though he knows generally what his oath should be, he doesn't tick up to Ideal 3 until he can say it and mean it. It's this kind of edge case that I'm talking about, especially with Cryptics. If any of those Radiants went back on their oaths, what would happen to their specific spren? Was the pre-Recreance Ideal 3 attainment rate for every single spren/Radiant pair really at 100%? Another small point is this WoB, which I think of all the time (mostly because it's about a Cryptic): The specificity here, Tien got to at least one oath, and his spren isn't going to be a Deadeye because he was killed and didn't break his oaths. If he had gotten to Shardblade level, I feel like it would have turned out differently for him on the fundamental assumption that by the time Radiants get to Shardblades, they heal even grievous head trauma in a flash, so I tend to think that Tien got to Ideal 2, at very very best. Taken together, it suggests that if he had broken his oaths, his spren might have been a Deadeye. But this is still a pretty tenuous argument because it's relying a whole lot on inferring things from WoBs! But something between the two cases (Shallan/Testament and Kaladin/Syl) that suggests a difference is that Kaladin only feels a terrified scream that "vibrates his bones" while Shallan describes a painful ripping, more in line with the idea of having a piece of her soul torn away. Kaladin poetically describes the pain as "not getting inside" with his skin keeping it out, but this could be ordinary physical pain that he isn't fully experiencing because he isn't yet fully conscious. The sensation of ripping seems to come up whenever the Radiant bond gets attacked. I'm thinking of Re-Shephir "seeking to rip [the bond] free and insert herself instead" (OB 30), and of Ishar trying to steal the Stormfather's bond from Dalinar. ("It felt as if his very soul was being ripped out." RoW 111) Kaladin doesn't say anything about being torn or ripped; in fact, he says that the pain didn't quite reach him. Finally, switching gears entirely in regards to this idea: The important thing that Kaladin seems to do in WoR 84 is that he mentally re-swears everything before speaking the new words out loud, starting with life before death, moving on to I will protect those who cannot protect themselves, and then culminating with his third oath, spoken out loud. Shallan has strenuously avoided saying the first Ideal, supposedly common to all Orders, on the page. She doesn't even say it to Pattern, a spren she says she newly bonded in WoR. She thinks about it once in WoR, and shuts it down immediately as a painful memory she'd rather forget. So maybe Cryptics are so loose with their interpretations that they'll take the Ideals out of order? What did she do between her father's death and her appearance on the Wind's Pleasure that let her use her Resonance once more?
  3. My argument to this is that I think that you can deadeye a spren even if you haven't hit Ideal 3 yet. My reasoning is that the spren lost huge portions of their population to the Recreance, and I believe this has to include all bonded spren, even those of Ideal 1 or 2. Pattern says of the Cryptics there are none left who remember the bond; the honorspren were basically wiped out, with the sole exception of Syl. The Stormfather had to make new honorspren himself. If there was a special case for Radiant spren who had bonded but hadn't reached Ideal 3, I think it would be reasonable to say that it would be known, because at the time of the Recreance, it seems unlikely that all spren were bonded to Radiants of Ideal 3 or above. Maybe most, but all of them? The Recreance must have caught some people at the beginning of the journey. Instead, the Recreance is shrouded in mystery. Only the highspren have cultural memory that goes back before that time. Testament (if that's her) had the presence of mind to accept two Truths from Shallan in TWoK, as well--suggesting that if the Radiant is close to re-swearing an oath, that presence of mind can return to them, whether or not they are revived.
  4. I have so many thoughts regarding Shallan and her oaths, and I am starting to wonder if she was reclaiming a Truth to Testament at the beginning of TWoK. I'll condense it down as hard as I can. First, I very quickly want to address that, in-world, none of the characters seem to believe that Syl died or became a deadeye. For them, this is the obvious answer. It's briefly brought up in Adolin's trial in RoW. I personally think this is part of the "deadeyes can't be cured" in-world belief, because if Syl had died, she would not be very much alive currently, and they need some way to explain away that impossibility. But in the quote you bring up from Syl seems very much like she believed she was dead at the time. Onto Shallan. Something that has stuck out to me for a while, and that's the fact that she doesn't use her Memory power in any of her flashbacks on the page. She draws constantly, however, and loses time while she does so. What she does do in her flashbacks is intermittently make things glow, and I believe she may have used Stormlight to heal head trauma that she took in the fight with her father. (He throws her to the ground and she is temporarily blinded; then her vision suddenly clears. Once Lin is subdued and they discover the Soulcaster, one of the gemstones is cracked and the glow is gone. I think they assume it was cracked in the swordfight, but to me it's very like Jasnah cracking the gemstone to fuel her Soulcasting.) As you say, this contrasts to Kaladin, who lost all of his powers when he went against his oaths, and there wasn't a gradation to their return like Shallan seems to show. This could be because it's an entirely different behavior, because Kaladin hadn't earned his Shardblade yet, or maybe honorspren are more all or nothing than Cryptics, who seem to allow more of a sliding scale. Lots of interpretations here. I tend to go with the sliding scale; all the evidence I have seems to point to the idea that Cryptics are much more permissive with what a Truth is supposed to be, whereas Syl has been pretty strict in her expectations for Kaladin's behavior. Going back to the idea that Shallan's powers, as granted by Testament, return as she reclaims the spirit of her Truths: well, I think it's interesting that Shallan is able to even think about her Shardblade when she's in Kharbranth. I think it's interesting that she can use her Memories and totally separate her ability to use it from where she got that power. But I also think that by chasing after Jasnah and pursuing her ridiculous Soulcaster heist, she is fulfilling what I think is a candidate for an easy childhood Truth: Shallan wants adventure. She wants to soar, learn, and discover things. She's attracted to danger, secrets, and intrigue. This point is hammered over and over again. Think of Shallan hopping overboard to see the santhid; Shallan, mesmerized by the chasmfiend; Shallan, infiltrating the Sons of Honor and stringing along the Ghostbloods. It tracks pretty closely with The Girl Who Looked Up. One of the things she tells Pattern early on when he asks her is that her purpose is to seek truth. There's really no madcap scheme Shallan isn't 100% on board with, especially in pursuit of knowledge. To me, what Shallan says when she recants her oaths, "I am finished!", it kind of sounds to me like she could be done with going on adventures or making discoveries or something along those lines. And I think this is because Shallan's longing for adventure and discovery ends up having serious, traumatic consequences for her. I generally think Shallan's story contrasts with Kaladin's because while his problems mostly stem from failure (because he couldn't do something), Shallan's mostly stem from transgression (because she did do something). Just prior to her mother's death, Shallan remembers feeling very grown up, and then suddenly realizing she was still a child. This situation is her fault, according to her, because she wanted to make grand discoveries, because she bonded a Cryptic, because she dared to do those things. Think of her idea of wit and humor; she goes too far all the time. As far as she's concerned, her choices resulted in her mother's death and the absolute destruction of her family's chances at happiness. Her childish desire for adventure "ended the world" and made her into a monster. But in TWoK, in the present timeline, where she has access to her Resonance, and where she can Soulcast, kinda, I think it's because she's figured out a way to rationalize going on the adventure: it's in service to her family, right? And in RoW, when she begins to question the validity of that rationale, that's when Testament is reintroduced. The aspects of Veil that merge with her are those aspects connected with a desire for espionage and intrigue. The reason I connect this is because these are all very brave things to do, and I like the way it plays with the Truth Shallan ends up giving to the whispery voice in Kharbranth, I'm terrified. And at the end of RoW, Testament looks a little better, after Shallan faces down that particular Truth. There's something going on there. So following my logic there, what's left is either that third Ideal (second Truth if that's how you keep score) or the first. Radiant has always been associated with wielding the Shardblade, and doing the arduous, thankless tasks in general. When I see Shallan using even a hint of her powers in her flashbacks, it seems like it's when she decides to do that she doesn't really want to do, but must. The adventure is fun and exciting, but you also need to deal with the difficult consequences ... and Shallan isn't particularly great at doing that head-on. She either shuts it down completely, or hides from it. I think that this is the next big step for Shallan's healing process. Think of the other Truth she admitted to the whispery voice (who is probably Testament): I am a murderer. When Radiant kills Ialai, it's explicitly so that Shallan doesn't have to do it and deal with the moral and emotional consequence of killing someone else. It's like Radiant is protecting Shallan from that particular Truth, now. Shallan comes to grips with that murder, but that's very different from actually dealing with her parents' deaths emotionally, which she has admitted but not examined. Her previous conclusions have been proven wrong, but to her, in the moment, they were the most truth she was able to handle. Finding out the truth about the circumstances of her mother's death is probably next on the list. And then of course, she's never said the Words on the page, and I really want her to!
  5. This is a really neat idea! I'm not totally on board just yet, but it is super fun to explore. Some thoughts: Something worth mentioning that is thematically similar (but not necessarily connected) is Sja-Anat, who is depicted in the books as a black shadow with white eyes. Her interference also affects the eyes in some way ("thank you for my eyes" etc.) Immediately, I would question why the Nightwatcher would be connected to Ash's "pale violet, nearly white" eyes if Lift's pale white eyes were a result of her being touched by Cultivation, not the Nightwatcher. It's also notable to me that no one finds these eyes to be particularly unusual in everyday interactions. I would also compare it to things that are already proven to change dark eyes to light, albeit temporarily: Shardblades, Honorblades, etc. To me, it looks like that's a connection to some kind of investiture that peeks out of the eyes in some magical way. Jezrien's Honorblade turns the eyes of the wielder into a pale glassy blue, for example, regardless of the natural color, while an ordinary Shardblade appears to turn up the brightness on the wielder's natural eye color. (Assuming Moash really does have dark brown eyes that turn light tan when he's got the Shardblade in WoR. This is also leaving out whatever special exception Kaladin is; as far as I can tell, he's the only darkeyes whose eye color outright changes, brown to blue, that gets mentioned.) I'd look at something like Ash's pale violet eyes (assuming there is really is going on here) and think to myself: if faintly green/white is Lifelight, and faintly blue/white is Stormlight, what is faintly violet/white supposed to connect to? "Ash's eyes" is used all the time as an exclamation, which could also suggest that there was something unique or special about her eyes that was eventually made worthy of swearing by, and it's been that way long enough to filter into common use. This doesn't preclude the Nightwatcher (or Cultivation's) involvement, I suppose. It's really suggestive that the conversation is about the Nightwatcher, boons and curses, and the practice of seeking out the Nightwatcher.
  6. I really agree with this theory! Kaladin's story seems to be moving in this direction, in my opinion. Him forgiving himself for not being able to personally protect Tien and all the people who he swore to help/protect feels to me like he is about to get clarity and insight on how to help/protect people on a grand scale, now that he's given up on a fixation with doing it all himself. This fits with other things I've observed in the story: on a larger thematic scale, there's always been an emphasis on how strong people are when they have a team supporting them. (The Nahel bond, the Oathpact, "honor lives in the hearts of men", etc.) And complementing that, there's always been this subtle (and occasionally outright) criticism of the sacrificial heroic figure. Even though Windrunners have a guiding trait of "leadership", it seems to me that their leadership is more about empowering other people. And to that end ... I actually disagree with anything where Kaladin takes up a Shard (and keeps it). I can see it happening with Dalinar, who believes more fully in a monarchy type leadership where one person is given the to make decisions for everyone else. But to me, this feels very much like just putting different people in charge of a broken system that will chew them up like it chewed up the previous Vessels. Because there's such an emphasis on sharing power (and the rules about investiture have changed so drastically), I've been wondering for a while if it's possible that instead of a Shard reforming as a conclusion, Honor might be more thoroughly splintered. And if it does get reformed and offered to Kaladin, like, this guy has made a career out of refusing Shards that get offered to him. (Syl being the exception, I suppose!) When he refused those Shards, it was always because he refused to be a part of a system that killed people he loved. What he chose to do with power when it was offered to him has always been to distribute it to the people who followed his leadership. So that, to me, is a strong hint of what might happen if Kaladin gets offered the limitless power of a Shard.
  7. It's deliberately unclear what happened in the text, in my opinion. These lines that talk about the position of the friend, a character with no confirmed name and no lines who occupies an unreasonable amount of my brain: Two things that have always bothered me about this scene is that there is "little" blood where the man is, the only one who got cut; but Shallan has blood on her face (?) maybe, that Lin wipes away? How did the white carpet become red? Is she talking about just a patch of it? Did she Soulcast the whole carpet? And the other thing is that Shallan describes her father as "barging in" after hearing her mother shouting (but not visibly describing her.) From a line in RoW, it sounds like they had a history of fighting ("a girl who suffered parents who constantly fought over her future." RoW 93) despite Shallan's fond imaginings of a happy time before. Her mother also has just returned from somewhere else with that friend. But Shallan may have been already inside the room with the friend and the knife while they fought, because the friend meets Lin immediately and they struggle. That's where he gets cut, but not enough to die from it. It's not even enough to slow him down, although he can't keep a hold of the knife himself for some reason. Shallan also seems to know who this guy is, if her mentioning the name "Dreder" to Wit means anything at all. Maybe she overheard it somewhere? The honorspren Yunfah stayed pretty cogent after his Radiant died, although there was implied to be a time limit on him. It seems to me like it's the initial transfer that involves the traumatic loss of memory. But I don't think it's critical if Testament was sapient in the Physical Realm without a bond. Shallan was able to peek at Cryptics in Shadesmar while she was studying with Jasnah in Kharbranth, so it's not unlikely that she could have seen Testament wandering after her.
  8. The idea that "you have to be broken" / "no, you don't, what about the Lopen?" has been re-tread a lot by others; I tend to think that the Oaths/Truths/what have you, they are more like movement in the story. Shallan has suffered a great deal of trauma, and I see her movement through the story as a journey of recircling that trauma, gaining strength and power every revolution until she can address it fully. Once I began to view her story as a spiral, instead of an arc, I got a lot more out of it! When I revisit certain passages after a reveal, new things stand out, especially the cryptic (lower case c) things that Pattern says constantly throughout WoR. "You remind me of her, more and more of her" "remember" "the first time we did this" "a better lie, Shallan." etc, including the passage above. I find that repeated recontextualization to be really exciting to read about! Lopen hasn't internalized his trauma to the same degree (or maybe at all), but it's not like he's a perfect person who doesn't need to work on himself. I feel the comedic characters often have their development overlooked in favor of their quirky behavior. (Thinking of Pattern here, as well.) I see Lopen as someone who takes the lumps in his life in stride and is really good at protecting his own peace of mind, but doesn't realize or acknowledge that other people don't necessarily do that. Lopen's issues aren't connected to his traumatic backstory. If he gets more development, I wonder if that self-protection is maybe too powerful, if that lack of vulnerability prevents him from experiencing true depth of feeling, and if that could be the direction of his Ideal 4, in contrast to a Windrunner like Kaladin. And within the Lightweavers, I argue that Ishnah isn't seriously traumatized or at least doesn't present that way, but she isn't perfectly happy with her circumstance, either. My take on her is that she joined Shallan/the Lightweavers to gain power and knowledge, and her Truths might have something to do with why being a power player is so important to her--if that really is why she does what she does, or if that is the lie she presents to hide her true wishes. I'm thinking of her comment about "living in the light" here. I love this because it tells a little story about each individual Radiant without taking up a ton of page time, while also making it more reasonable that lots of people are joining the orders and bonding spren. (That said, I would still lose all my chill over an Unseen Court novella. The absolute dream.) To go back to original post, something fun that I caught on a re-read is in WoR Chapter 64 in that same "Shallan infiltrates the devotary and talks to Taln" sequence was this: But in the flashback sequence where she has that conversation with Balat, this is the actual text: I guess it could be an inconsistency, but to me, it highlights how Shallan is capable of subtly altering her memories to leave out things she doesn't like about herself. Shallan made that point, but when she remembers it later, she transfers that resentfulness and anger towards Helaran to Balat, and makes it sound like Shallan was only agreeing with him. It's a lot of foreshadowing. Shallan vaguely agrees with Pattern about what a spren with a broken bond might look like; and Shallan misremembers details that cause her to remember difficult truths about herself, her feelings, and her actions in the past. (And at the same time, Kaladin is starting to go back on his own Oaths, causing Syl to regress.) It's really cool how it ties together.
  9. Thinking about a timeline for this period, a couple things that spring directly to my mind are the 1) the elevation of the Fused as described by Raboniel, 2) Leshwi's revelation regarding the spren, and 3) the actual function the Heralds seemed to serve on behalf of humanity (and the Fused to the singers, for that matter.) I think it's totally reasonable that the timeline could be well under 20-30 years, and I'd like to present that argument for a bit. In regards to the Fused, here are the pertinent bits: As a side note, it's interesting to me that she uses "elevation" to describe the process of becoming Fused. More pointedly, Raboniel makes it sound like the process of becoming a Fused was something premeditated, that she had time to theorize on. To me this implies a few scenarios: the first being that the initial elevation to Fused happened over a window of time during which the sanity slipping was observable to Raboniel, and she could make hypotheses that way. The second is that the realmatic awareness of the ancient singers may have been a lot higher than assumed, and they may have already had theories about Cognitive Shadows and Shadesmar of their own, the way Zahel developed his own theories, and somehow they knew that over time a CS could lose themselves or wear thin. Raboniel is very comfortable with advanced scientific thinking, even if she made some assumptions that were proven incorrect over the events of RoW. The third is that Odium himself knew it was a possibility and shared that information with Raboniel, who then came up with her hypothesis after that; but that still implies that she had a educational background to receive that information and use it effectively and decisively over a pretty short span of time. Is there evidence that Odium created the Fused over a period of time or all at once? This line is from Venli's point of view, and so it could just be her interpretation of the events. I'm also not certain if that's supposed to be "men and singers" or "spren and singers." Not sure why Venli would come to the conclusion that at one time men and singers had been allies; she could be thinking of the refuge given to the Ashynites? Let me know if there is something I have missed here. It could be pretty cool. But Leshwi's "they've forgiven us" suggests a specific moment where the truespren abandoned the singers. The Dawnsingers clearly had a much closer relationship with the spren than they do now. The Nahel bond is supposedly something that the spren figured out by observing the Honorblades, so if the Honorblades and the Oathpact were created after the Fused, then I don't think it was likely that Leshwi was what would be recognized as a Windrunner; but maybe she did have a bond of some kind with Riah the honorspren that she may have had to give up by choosing to give her soul to Odium? One incident that pushed the truespren over to another side, in contrast to the Listener narrative that it was the spren who had betrayed the ancient singers? Raboniel speaks pretty dismissively of Honor and Cultivation as gods, so I wonder if this indicates that she chose, in her original lifetime, to turn away from them, and sign on to Odium. I mean, as a scholar, being forbidden to mess with forbidden powers ... wouldn't Odium, offering knowledge and freedom to study these things, be pretty enticing? Combined with the idea that the Heralds are trying to fix some mistake they made (as per Jezrien and Nale's conversation in the flashback thing Dalinar witnesses), I wonder if Odium was playing both sides regularly to weaken them--pulling something similar to the trick he tried on Dalinar over and over across millennia. He seems pretty distressed and desperate when he can no longer turn people from the opposing side. What I'm getting at here, though, is that the timeline could be shortened by reframing this as a conflict between societies of comparable technology or advancement who entered into a pretty brutal arms race. And all things considered, the Dawnsingers were fairly blasé about people emigrating en masse from another planet; as if it wasn't a shock that there were otherworlders, just that they ended up being evil bad wicked traitors. Maybe the Dawnsingers already knew about Ashyn. The Eila Stele says, "well they were named Voidbringers", but did the Dawnsingers give them that name or did they hear it from elsewhere? That would make it a lot easier to stoke a war very quickly, if there was already a part of Dawnsinger society that distrusted a people who had destroyed their own planet and possibly had a wider reputation for destruction. Who was that warning for, if the fighting had already begun? Other Dawnsingers? And why didn't the part of the warning that was about Odium--the void that sucks in emotion--take more prominence? There's also nothing (that I'm aware of) that indicates that Ashyn did all the movement on their own; Shards are involved, and the Dawnsingers know the Shards are involved from the sound of things. Leshwi's relationship to an honorspren implies a certain awareness of broader spren societies in Shadesmar. All the references to pity, forlorn people, etc. make me wonder if the Dawnsingers and Honor (and maybe Cultivation) performed some kind of rescue mission on Ashyn's population, or that in ancient times, Ashyn and Roshar had been long time allies. Help from the other side would substantially decrease the time to mass-evacuate a planet. And it's only your friends who can betray you, after all. Venli's observation that Leshwi was from a time when "men and singers had been allies" makes more sense in that context. There's also an assumption made by the characters in-world that the fighting was done humans vs singers; but in the modern day conflict, it really is more like humans and singers on one side, and humans and singers on the other side. I think the reason that the chronology is so murky is because Odium seems absolutely dedicated to preventing anyone from passing down any sort of sustained record of history and technology that he doesn't have a hand in writing. The Fused didn't initially have command of the Surges, according to the Stormfather; their critical advantage was immortality. The leadership of the singers could never be damaged the way that human leadership could be. Their knowledge is never lost, and critically, they are the ones who get to present it, the way that Odium wants them to present it. Venli's whole mission in OB is about spreading propaganda, using her status as the Last Listener provide authenticity. So Dawnsinger culture at the time of the migration is pretty occluded. It looks like one culture through the lens of the Fused; but that doesn't need to be the truth. All the rest may have been lost. Digging down through all this, though, is the original question of "why do the Heralds get these powers? Why immortality and Surges and Honorblades?" And it could be that the Heralds were meant to pass on knowledge to the humans in a direct link to past generations, as the Fused did for the singers. Think of Taln's speech: he focuses purely on teaching people to do things. The Desolations were the worst when the span of time between them decreased to just a few years at a time, and there was no time to create history or culture. When Taln recovers his mind briefly in OB, he is most concerned and most pleased by the thought that they given 4500 years to grow; that's the huge relief to him, like that was what he was trying to do in the first place. I think back to Dalinar's vision with Heb and the rest; the Radiants of that time talk about how someone is getting good at predicting Desolations. Match that up to this notion that there may have only been a decade or so between the last of them. It kind of suggests that humanity is getting better at fighting off the destruction, and preserving culture ... Then, in the Prelude, Kalak specifically calls out how the battle he just went through was "one of the worst." I wonder if that could place the Heb vision as being just a few decades before the Last Desolation, illustrating how capably a Desolation could destroy cultures, even ones that believed they had proofed themselves against it? Stopping the Desolations could simply mean stopping the persistent destruction of culture. In the prelude, when Jezrien assures Kalak that "they have the Radiants. That will be enough.", I wonder if he assumes that the spren--also immortal--will serve the purpose that the Heralds did, in preserving history and cultural memory? (Obviously, with the Recreance, that does not work out--and expands on the same theme of genocide and loss of culture.) But thinking about the destruction of Ashyn, I wonder if the point of the Honorblades re: the Oathpact was to grant access to the Surges with a safety stop attached to it, that of Honor's direct supervision. Like, "we promise to only use this power within your bounds." Prior to that, Honor/Cultivation had forbidden Surges in some way to the Dawnsingers, so why the change of heart regarding humans? Was it considered necessary to fight Odium? Maybe the Oathpact was meant to control access to the Surges, too. It's interesting that unlike living Shardblades, Honorblades can be passed around and given to other people ... but once the Herald charged with that Honorblade is sent somehow to Braize, it goes with them. That could have been the promise they made. Theoretically, could the Heralds have been initially created to allow people access to the Surges in times of dire crisis, then forcibly remove those Surges from the population when they went to seal up the Fused--so that people couldn't use them over a period of time to destroy their planet? The Heralds had been warned that if they lingered, a "disaster" would occur. Ishar believed that it was enough for one of them to go back to Braize; so was going to Braize a part of the Oath? They specifically chose to leave behind their Blades when they tried to abandon the Oathpact, and the Shin, these eerie guardians of the past, the humans that (more or less) stayed in their bounds, are the ones who keep them hidden. The Recreance would make sense in that context. The Knights Radiant may have been permissible because Honor was still there to enforce a limit on the use of Surges; around the time he died (and with BAM handing out forms of power on her own), I bet people would have been getting worried that the history they could still remember might repeat itself. Wow, this got really long! I had a lot more thoughts about this than I expected. Even now, I'm reading through the passages available regarding the Oathpact, and forming different thoughts. Really intriguing stuff.
  10. Well, Dalinar has killed his share of highprinces, too! Jasnah has a history, herself. I don't think either of them punish him because if Adolin had killed Sadeas in a more structured setting--say, on the battlefield or in a duel to the death--I don't think it would have raised any eyebrows at all. Still, I'm pretty sure it's the same reason that Dalinar's not going to face a trial for his war crimes. Alethi society just isn't going to go there yet, in a world-building way. Maybe later there will be scholars in-world looking back and asking those questions. I would argue that this plotline actually does get picked up in RoW, somewhat obliquely. Sadeas's murder is at the forefront of his mind when he confronts the honorspren and accepts their trial. Adolin accepts being held accountable for the deaths of spren that he didn't cause, while invoking the brash feeling of "instinctive rightness" of the murder he did commit and for which he was never called to account. In both cases, it's because his opponents wouldn't give him a chance to defeat them in ordinary circumstances. Sadeas would never allow himself to be put into that position where Adolin could defeat him honorably; the honorspren deny him a chance to argue his case under ordinary diplomatic circumstances. He plays on Sadeas's expectations, he plays on the honorspren's righteousness, and gains ground for his side in unconventional ways. (Just like he does in his duels!) It's the thing I find most interesting about Adolin. He's way more instinctually cunning than any of the other characters give him credit for, to the point where Sadeas makes a note of it in WoR and then still falls for it. Adolin knows, in a heart-deep way, how to subtly nudge people into certain positions. His cajoling Kaladin into hanging out with friends or his encouraging of Shallan to embrace her strength is the flipside of that ability to socially manipulate people. This often reads, I think, like things just magically go his way, but I would argue that he simply knows what "weapon" he needs in any given situation. But he also has a tendency to act on impulse and in the moment, playing the short game extremely well and fumbling the long term. (See: every relationship he's ever had prior to Shallan.) He can get into the honorspren fortress but it's not Adolin who wins over the honorspren in the end. Sadeas is no longer a threat, but was it really right? I think of it like how Jasnah's alley is supposed to cause me to question Jasnah's methods. I believe it's supposed to make me question if Adolin is really the person he's made out to be by people like Dalinar, Shallan, Kaladin, etc., and what he would be like if he had power the way Dalinar or Jasnah have power. I read it as remaining unresolved (for now?) because it's something the reader should always be keeping mind while following his character. Right now it feels more character development than plot development.
  11. I'm super intrigued by this idea, though I agree that I haven't necessarily seen anything that suggests to me that Lift died, or that she has any other typical "signs" of being a Cognitive Shadow. As I recall, Dalinar can see the double image on Nale and Szeth, and I can't remember if he mentioned anything similar regarding Lift, despite interacting with her a lot. Maybe she is "stapled" onto that body really well! I also don't necessarily believe that perception of oneself totally dictates what manifests ... yeah, Lopen regrows his arm, but there are a lot of places in the novels where peoples' perceptions of themselves end up being wrong (and that's a good thing). Shallan is not as weak as she thinks she is; Navani is not the impostor as she believes herself to be; Kaladin isn't a failure for not being able to save everyone. But they sincerely believe these things, so much so that the belief causes them a lot of narrative grief, and yet the reader can see that it isn't actually true. So Lift's aging could fall into that ambiguous narrative space. She focuses a lot on "staying the same," but that doesn't mean that her perception of herself is exactly right. She's "not listening" to what's happening with her, and her oaths are centered around paying attention to the ignored and forgotten, so that's likely fuel for her next oath anyway. She's ignoring herself in a bid to not forget the little girl her mother knew and she's probably going to have to confront it. There's also a theory re: the Heralds, that somehow they are more susceptible to widespread perception due to being Cognitive Shadows. So maybe Lift in this theory is having her self-perception challenged by the perception of the people around her--who expect her to grow? My personal theory is that Cognitive Shadows struggle with changing from what they were cast as upon becoming a Cognitive Shadow, so I think it would be very interesting to find out that Lift, as a CS fueled by Cultivation, is somehow able to get around the typical problems associated with the Returned, the Heralds, etc, because she can actually change. Perhaps Cultivation is testing out a solution to the madness of the Heralds? Or maybe this is something that Cultivation didn't actually intend? That would be interesting, too! RoW Chapter 15, Zahel says that he can't see Syl, but suggests that he can sense her somehow. Not conclusive of anything, but doesn't sound very much like what Lift is doing. Rua, Lopen's honorspren, typically takes the form of a young boy, if I remember right.
  12. I was thinking in the other direction! As in breaking their Spiritual "surface tension" so to speak; but this may in fact be more like Cohesion based on what I remember Venli doing in RoW. I hope that one day the difference will be a little clearer! But I think your interpretation could also be supported by the text. Here I'm thinking specifically of Dalinar fixing the temple in OB Chapter 59. He describes how the stones still view themselves as a beautiful carving and he shoves them together with great effort. So with Adhesion creating the bond, and Tension reinforcing it, they become one object again. An interesting thing to note is how the spren of the temple cry out with many different voices, despite longing to be one, and hurting because the broken pieces are now separated. It takes time to begin to see oneself as something different. There's another Edgedancer who gets some screen time in RoW, Godeke! I didn't remember him immediately. I traced him through the book very quickly, but I didn't see anything that struck me as a Resonance, like Lift's odd communication thing or otherwise. In the encounter with the Tukari, he tries asking if they speak Thaylen (I think) but as it turns out they can speak a little Alethi, so no translation is needed. I've also wondered if Jasnah knowing where the next town is reflects her ability to look into Shadesmar and see a bunch of little lights out in the distance ... to me this seems about as equally likely as an innate sense of direction. I would love to know what Jasnah's Resonance is. Just to stir up some alternate thoughts, I wonder if maybe it might have to do with logically mapping out what people might do, what might happen? Jasnah is always setting up social domino situations where it can only play out the way she wants it to. Truthwatchers I have thought a little about; in general, I get the sense that they are always observing and taking note of things--not to remember or celebrate people for their own sakes like an Edgedancer, or to use it to engage with people like a Lightweaver, but more to put it into context and sort it out. I have absolutely no clue what their Resonance is. But Renarin is always chasing his way towards an answer and intuiting sometimes where to find it--I'm thinking specifically of the gemstone library here. Even the Stump has hints of this; when she's advising Adolin on his appeal to the honorspren, she's right that their guilty conscience can't be played on because they don't feel guilty. The only way to get through to them is to speak to their personal sense of honor--which eventually happens! Maya makes them feel guilty about taking her choice from her, and appeals to their sense of honor through her own. The Stump has a vague sense of what might actually work, based on what little information she has. With a little knowledge (Illumination?), things can be guided into growing in the desired direction (Progression?) The Radiants who explore their powers on screen are definitely the ones with a lot more information, and it helps that Shallan and Kaladin are functioning in groups now with a lot of comparisons to be made. Another interesting question that I don't have an immediate answer to is when exactly a Resonance begins to take effect. Kaladin doesn't get the ability to take on squires until after he attains Ideal 3, as far as I remember. Shallan begins with the series with her Resonance, but is difficult to pin down personally. She does offhandedly mention that because Ishnah has her Shardblade, according to the Windrunners she should be off collecting her own squires, etc. but the Lightweavers choose not to structure themselves that way. Lift, as I recall, spends a lot of Edgedancer being this close to Ideal 3, in the way that Kaladin was close to Ideal 4, so perhaps her communication ability could still be mapped to a Resonance, but of course there's no definite answer there as to what it really is. So Venli might not manifest a Resonance yet anyway (but who knows). I haven't thought extensively about Szeth yet, sadly. Just more thoughts and questions.
  13. I've been wondering if perhaps the Lightweavers' mnemonic abilities / Resonance might be connected to what Shallan refers to as a focus. Shallan needs to draw something typically before she can render it as an illusion, which her Memory ability helps her accomplish on the fly; this is thought, in-universe, to be why one of her Lightweavers (Beryl) can't change anything but her own face and why another (Vathah) is suggested to be the most naturally talented. It's been observed before that he's more like a method actor, just thinking like the thing he wants to create an illusion of. I would love to know how his mnemonic ability is different from Shallan's or Stargyle's, who is the other Lightweaver who talks about his ability to memorize things. The appendix in RoW theorizes that Lightweavers need a mental connection to their subject, so I wonder if that is a part of it--the mnemonic ability helps create a connection with their subject. I tend to feel that Lightweavers Soulcast with their heart, and that they are bad at it is possibly because they are trying to imitate Jasnah's Elsecaller ways over doing what might be most natural to them. Shallan very briefly talks about how Truthwatchers make illusions. If the Stump has ever made an illusion, it's so good I can't even tell it's an illusion (or it's just not in my notes.) Later Kaladin will clarify that the number of standard Truthwatchers is actually just three (an editing error? or a personal Shallan error?), and Shallan will add in Chapter 26 that "the way Lightweaving worked for Truthwatchers seemed different" even excluding Renarin. Do they have a different method of coming up with the illusions, of connecting to the idea they want to bring to life? The Windrunner Resonance is something I think a lot about, too. I have definitely been thinking along these lines! I have been thinking a lot about how Windrunner Adhesion is different from Bondsmith Adhesion lately. I'd like to jump off of this point here, of gravitation = drawing people to you, adhesion = binding people together; I know there isn't a lot demonstrated on Tension overall, but I think it does get used in Chapter 111 when Ishar somehow binds Sigzil and friends to the ground so that their powers view the stone as a part of their bodies. Here I think their personal Identity Tension was temporarily broken somehow, and then fused to the stone--this might be the Bondsmith's privilege, then, being able to truly unite something in such a way that its identity changes completely. I believe that Stormlight doesn't heal their headaches immediately because the Spiritual self it is trying to heal has been altered. How I think this intersects with the Windrunner Resonance is that the people bound together by a Windrunner seem to see themselves more as individual members of a team, whereas the way Ishar binds people together, it is a cult where their personal identities are washed away. The Tukari don't really engage with Adolin or anyone else, they are totally dedicated to their purpose and their leader's ambitions ... but on the other hand, Kaladin has people painting shash onto their foreheads and joining the resistance, while talking about why they decided to do it. It's their choice to come on board with Kaladin's message, sometimes at great personal cost. He's always led like that, stating his purpose and beliefs and letting other people sign on if they want to. I wonder if his Resonance is subtly manipulating Connection in some way? Drawing the people most likely to be intrigued by his message towards him? I can't really think of any other examples of what I think might be Resonance in another Radiant except for Lift. When I next re-read RoW, I think I'll keep my eye on Venli, but going back over Edgedancer, I wonder about the conversation Lift has with urchin in Chapter 6. Wyndle can't follow it at all, but Lift, who has never been to this place to hear its regional slang, has no problem understanding her and even speaking back in her dialect. When questioned, she just kind of shrugs and says "it felt right." If I had to guess, knowing that there are ways to use Connection to gain access to a local language and thinking about the general ethos of Edgedancers, I think that could be an example of Lift's Resonance. I think I've seen a thread somewhere even wondering how Lift is able to speak colloquially in Alethi when she may not have encountered much of the Alethi language before. This might be the answer. Now that I've talked myself through it, I wonder if Resonances might deal with Connection overall? Maybe as they "connect" two different powers, and connect the Radiant to the world? It's a thought I'll dwell on a little further.
  14. The reference to Radiant's Shardplate comes from this quote: This is positioned in a separate passage from the passage that Jasnah encounters her. In RoW Chapter 114, Rlain notes how weird it is that Kaladin's Shardplate spren is supposedly always around, just invisible--so I don't know if it's utterly out of the question that Radiant may have just not let her Shardplate be tangible. I mostly tend to think that Testament is the Blade that killed Tyn and it's Pattern everywhere else, including the chasms. But I revise my opinions on Shallan just about every week, so I have been contemplating the "Testament All Along" theory, and putting together my thoughts on that. Right after the chasm sequence, when Shallan is recovering in the warcamps, she and Pattern have a conversation that seems relevant to this theory: In RoW, becoming a "Full Radiant" seems to me to be associated with gaining a Shardblade. It's possible that this is what Pattern is referring to here, even if he doesn't know exactly what he means by that. Incidentally, this is also the same conversation where he and Shallan cover the Cryptics from before who experienced the bond and are now dead. He suggests that "perhaps if their knights still lived, something could be done." That seems to be a big hint in retrospect. In discussing Shardblades in another thread, I found something in the text which suggested to me that it could have been how Shallan would have had a Blade that could change shape in the chasms: this is Navani's observation that the gemstones in Shardblades were introduced to the Blade, and that there was some textual evidence in-world that suggested that the Blades changed shape to accommodate them. It goes on to say that bonding them was impossible before the gemstones were added, though they were still supernaturally sharp and light. Combining that with the Testament reveal seems to suggest that dead Blades might still be able to change shape somehow, especially since that fragment is dated within the reasonable lifetime of Recreance era Radiants. (Admittedly towards the end, though.) This is like right before the chasm sequence, so that also feels rather like foreshadowing to me. Finally, I do think there is a mandatory first manifestation of the Shardblade upon swearing Ideal 3. I can assemble those quotes, but the one that makes me really think it's not a conscious action is Shallan's assertion that she didn't mean to make the strike that killed her mother, and that it was the first time she had ever summoned her Blade (RoW Chapter 93). So in WoR, when Shallan confesses to the murder of her mother, that the little Shardblade that is inside the illusory vault could in fact be Pattern's first Shardblade appearance on the page. These could be the words that Pattern felt she had yet to say in Chapter 75, and there's a horrible parallel in having Shallan recreate the incident of her first Shardblade summoning to summon her second Blade. Just more thoughts on Shallan! I love to think about her and her entire storyline.
  15. For me, the themes in the series generally revolve around facing up to and reconciling/making peace with the difficult/negative feelings that come with life. Taking a step back to look at the Oathpact, Odium, etc. from that huge overarching theme, I can see why "hatred" would be considered a fundamental aspect of creation; difficult and negative feelings are a part of existence. Trying to seal them away doesn't work (Shallan), letting them rule you doesn't work (Kaladin), giving into them doesn't work (Dalinar), and presumably trying to destroy them won't work either (this is where I feel Szeth may be headed.) Other people have written pretty extensively about the relationship between Dalinar and Odium; with all the stuff about choosing to rise up again a better man, etc. is there no possible outcome where Dalinar actually gets through to Odium and persuades him to, uh, stop waging an endless, pointless war against the cosmere? (I mean it hasn't happened yet, but ...)