I’ve been rereading The Way of Kings and it stood out to me how Hesina in Kaladin’s flashbacks seems very scholarly, and she also seems to be interested in and to know a lot about spren, and now I can’t stop thinking that she is actually Hessi, the author of Hessi’s Mythica!
We know that Hesina’s past is shrouded in mystery but that she comes from a more high ranking family. As such, it makes sense to me that she would have been highly educated in the Alethi feminine arts and pursued scholarship. And there is of course the obvious connection with the name Hessi and Hesina being very similar.
It is said that she and Lirin met during Lirin’s travels, and we know that Lirin was training to be a surgeon in Kharbranth so my guess is that this is where they met. I believe that Hesina was in Kharbranth at that time studying the Unmade - 1) because the Palaneum would be the best place to research such a topic, and 2) because perhaps she figured out that Moelach was there and was studying the Death Rattles (which would have brought her into contact with Lirin if she was in the hospital to observe the Death Rattles herself). Hessi’s Mythica appears to be very certain about and familiar with the Death Rattles:
Throughout Kaladin’s flashbacks we get a sense of Hesina’s intellectual nature. We know that she can read and write unlike other women in Hearthstone. Then there is the way she offhandedly corrects Kaladin’s use of words, and her use of wit and logic, for example:
When Kaladin is upset about the townspeople gossiping about his father, Hesina tells him:
The way she explains things to Kaladin in such a wise and level way reminds me of Jasnah, or rather it reminds me of a scholar. However this quote I think is even more significant. We know that Hessi’s Mythica was poorly received due its controversial arguments about the Unmade. So when Hesina says that people are “frightened of knowledge” and that things they don’t understand must be dark and mysterious, I think she is drawing on her own experience here too.
Perhaps what stands out to me most of all is that the focus of one of the few interactions we see between Hesina and Kaladin is her knowledge of spren.
It does not seem to be a superstitious kind of knowledge, nor does it seem to be common knowledge. To me it comes across as a scholarly knowledge, and something Hesina is very confident about. If we turn to Hessi’s Mythica, Hessi too seems to have a deep knowledge of spren. Mythica makes a point of identifying the Unmade as types of spren.
The fact that Hessi makes reference to Jasnah shows that Hessi was writing in this current period, so Hesina is around the right age that Hessi would likely be. But it also means that in order for Hesina to actually be Hessi, she would have had to have published it while living in Hearthstone, not 19 years ago in Kharbranth when Jasnah would have been only about 15 years old. This isn't too big of an issue for me though. Hesina could have amassed her research and evidence and then finished writing it later on in Hearthstone, perhaps continuing her research in other ways that Kaladin wouldn't have been aware of as a child.
These are my main thoughts, although I admit it is a bit of a crackpot theory!