agrabes

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agrabes last won the day on August 25 2020

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  1. Like your ideas, even if I don't think they're likely it would be an interesting story! Here are my predictions: 1) Dalinar chooses to be his own champion, as expected. A big part of the drama for the first 2/3 of the book is in who will become Odium's champion. 2) Adolin/Shallan plotline is largely focused on Ba-Ado-Mishram, but also in the interaction with the Ghostbloods. Their plotline will be the one that looks outward into the Cosmere. They will arrive only just in time for the Contest of Champions. Their plot will keep them (or return them?) to the Cognitive Realm. 3) Kaladin and Szeth go to Shinovar and we will get some kind of revelation as to what the Shin have been up to. Szeth makes progress and swears the 5th Ideal. 4) Kaladin attempts to "heal" Ishar of his madness. This fails - teaching Kaladin that not every problem can be solved and that in some cases it's better not to try because he can't literally do everything and save everyone all the time. Ishar continues his insanity but does not pose a threat to the immediate issue - the contest of champions - so Kaladin and Szeth leave. Kaladin starts to better learn what it means to be a leader, especially a higher level leader (he has to trust his subordinates to make good decisions without his direct guidance and generally shouldn't enter the battle directly himself) which allows him to swear his 5th Ideal, which gains him additonal powers to "buff" allies in some way. 5) Nale is selected as Odium's champion. He defeats and kills Dalinar in a straight up battle, leading to Dalinar becoming a fused. Nale decides independently from Odium that he is now obligated to purge Roshar of humans since he sided with the Singers and he begins a violent crusade which doesn't violate Odium's deal since Nale is acting on his own. This happens at about the 2/3 point in the book. 5.5) One of Nale's first acts is to punish Adolin for his murder of Sadeas. He sees Dalinar/Jasnah's lack of action on that crime as particularly loathsome, a perversion of justice to let his son go without punishment. He tries to kill Adolin, but Adolin escapes into the cognitive realm and becomes a worldhopper, knowing Nale can't follow. 6) Since this is Szeth's book - he is the one who faces down with Nale in a battle of 5th Ideal Skybreakers to determine what is truly required by the law. Kaladin helps by buffing Szeth. 7) Simultaneous with the Nale/Szeth battle, Moash arrives and has a final showdown with Kaladin. Kaladin has to fight at a disadvantage because he's committed a lot of his power to help Szeth. 8) Szeth defeats Nale. As Nale is dying, he tells Szeth that this is what he brought him back to life to do - to stop him from becoming too hard hearted and dogmatic. Nale dies for real (somehow). 9) Kaladin defeats Moash despite being without a lot of his powers. He spares Moash, who escapes and is set up as one of the big bads for the back 5 of Stormlight. I'll be surprised if any of this actually happens, but figured I'd throw my thoughts out there.
  2. I'll just add that in terms of urbanization, even in the west there were a lot of factors. For example in the early years of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, a lot of the reason you saw people migrate to the cities was that there was only so much land to go around. If a family has 5 or 10 children, which would have been common for those days especially in a farming family, if you're the youngest kid will you have any land to farm? You can farm with your parents and siblings, but you don't get a life of your own. Granted, you might be a serf or peasant who works common land for the local nobility so the concept of your own private land doesn't even exist. But the point being, you can't just start your own farm on your own land because land is passed down through generations. So you need to do something else to earn a living. And for many people, they did various odd jobs like weaving and sewing and making furniture, etc (the OG cottage industry). But as industrial production began, it was so much cheaper than these locally hand crafted goods that people could no longer earn a living. And the large rural population could no longer support itself on the land available, so many people left the farms to go in search of a job in the cities. They had no choice, it was starve or take a terrible factory job. I think in terms of Scadrial, I see it going very similar to the US today. Rural areas are dying out. Family farms are gobbled up by megafarms (which might still be run by a family, but with many employees as well) as the younger generation moves toward more urban areas for job opportunities and to find a romantic partner, etc. I grew up on a family farm and it's something I've experienced firsthand. In Scadrial, I'm sure that as technology improved there were fewer people necessary to run the farms and the rural youth got more and more connected with the urban life and started to want the perks that come with it. It seems simple to me.
  3. I think by the in world standards, either could be considered honorable. It's clear from Nale's reactions and the fact that Szeth has a high spren that his actions were considered honorable by the ethics of the Skybreakers. It's also clear that Kaladin is presenting what would be honorable by the ethics of the Windrunners. By my personal standards, knowingly murdering people was not honorable regardless of the law. You can follow the law and still be dishonorable. If he could say he was accomplishing a greater good by killing (or allowing to die) a few particular individuals, then I think what he did could have been honorable. But that's actually the opposite of what happened. He killed these people believing that he was not serving a greater good - aside from when he killed Gavilar he was just following orders from either petty criminals or a man he believed to be evil in Taravangian. He knew that what he did would cause overall harm to society, touching off wars and chaos. You can't even argue that Taravangian's plan was actually moral (which I think is at least a real debate) and therefore Szeth's actions were honorable in serving it because Szeth did not agree with Taravangian's plan and probably didn't even know all the details.
  4. I'm a bit late to the party, so I'm sure these theories have already been thoroughly discredited. But, I loved this prologue. It made Gavilar's actions and attitude toward the people in his life not sympathetic but understandable. He's not just an evil caricature that we are supposed to feel good about hating, he's a person with motives and reasons that make sense to him and could be justified in a certain twisted way within the messed up confines of his own mind, but to outside observers it's clear he's crossed into doing really bad things. Makes him feel like a person. In terms of the StormFather, I think there is definitely something different with him during this prologue. My theory while I was reading it was that we know the original Stormfather was merged with the remnants of the Honor shard. So, could it be that at this time that remnant had partial control of the Stormfather spren? Sort of a two minds occupying one "body" situation where sometimes the Honor cognitive shadow has control, other times it's the Stormfather spren's "mind"? This would explain why at times the goal is to restore the Oathpact at all costs, including lying, while at other times the goal seems to be more in line with the Stormfather we see in the series interacting with Dalinar who is just looking for a good Bondsmith candidate and not looking for new Heralds. Honor's shadow could be considering that the most honorable thing is to honor the Oathpact, justifying things like lying, etc. Then, with the mystery Herald's death, something snaps in the Shadow and it either dies or loses enough power that it can't take control anymore. I do also like the idea that sometimes Ishar or some other unknown person is impersonating the Stormfather sometimes too, but haven't read enough of the thread to see if there's a lot of evidence against that by now.
  5. Thanks - Excellent post! I do remember reading that first WoB at some point. And really, I think as far as that one goes, he actually nailed that feeling. Amaram (to me) does come across as a politician playing realpolitik in tWoK and WoR - someone who carefully weighs doing things that are morally good for everyone on a scale vs. things that gain personal power or power for his country but might be immoral to the "out" group and will do whichever one he thinks gains more value for his citizens. That can be extremely upsetting to people like Kaladin who want to see their politicians value moral character above all. It bothered me less, because I saw it in that context - Amaram had a job to do. And the unfortunate reality is that in real life especially in war time you have to play realpolitik. Amaram didn't have to do what he did, he could have chosen better. And clearly, he knew that he chose the immoral option. But, he knew it would weaken him forever as a politician and that would have negative impacts on his career and by extension the people he ruled. Being ruthless and amoral in the context of his job is something that makes him a bad person, but not an evil monster in my book. Up until OB, we never saw him do anything immoral outside the context of either advancing his career or his religious mission. That's just how I saw Amaram though, others definitely saw him differently. I think it's clear Sanderson had a different vision of Amaram in his head at least during the time he was writing OB. Anyway, appreciate you taking the time to reference those.
  6. I think I'd heard that before and I don't dispute it. Sanderson has said he considers Amaram to have always been evil to the core and only putting on a nice face. So really the question to me is: Did he originally intend that from the beginning and just write Amaram too sympathetically in tWoK and WoR that gave some of us the wrong impression or did he change his mind at some point during the writing? Because Sanderson does introduce those bad behaviors in the RoW prologue, so I think it's clear Sanderson's current intent at least since writing OB is that Amaram was always bad.
  7. The difference is that early in the story he sometimes did bad things but felt bad about it, but most of the time he didn't do bad things because he genuinely didn't want to do bad things. He was portrayed that way in tWoK and WoR and it made him interesting - that there were rational arguments to be made that he did the right thing in the big picture. It was an interesting commentary about the challenges of leadership and how someone can trick themself into going astray. It sounds like you don't see it way and that's fine. Starting in OB, his character was retconned to have always been doing bad things and always having bad motivations. That made him boring and lame and a massive letdown as a character. At the end of OB, we do get the part where he says he lost control of himself after realizing he had been wrong all along about his plan to cause the desolation to bring back the Heralds and went to Odium. And you can say then that his uncharacteristic behavior in OB makes sense in that context. That much is fine, though a little disappointing. If he had just changed how he behaved starting in OB after he gets a full dose of Odium, I don't think you'd see a significant number of people feeling like his character got the shaft in OB. It's the part where the rest of his character is retconned to having always been rotten and evil in all aspects of his life that is lame.
  8. He was a nuanced character throughout all of tWoK and WoR. He was shown as someone who genuinely wanted to, and often did, help people. He had sincere beliefs about what he should do to make the world a better place. In the pivotal scene in Kaladin's flashbacks he is shown as struggling significantly with the moral weight of the decision he makes, being convinced by others who were probably under Odium's influence to do what they tell him is noble and he initially thinks would be just giving in to his base instincts. He even chooses to spare Kaladin's life, knowing that it could get him into trouble. In tWoK he was very clearly a nuanced character. Throughout WoR, you also see him struggling with the idea of how highly Dalinar thinks of him. He doesn't really think he's worthy. All the way up through the end of WoR, he's portrayed as a character who has goals that are noble, but is willing to cross some (but not all) moral lines to achieve them. He still has honor, in his own way. He again commits some immoral acts, but only for what he sees as a higher moral purpose. Then OB comes along. He's immediately accused of at minimum repetitive sexual harassment (with worse implied) and the tone of the writing says we as readers are expected to believe the claims are accurate. Nothing in the way he had behaved up to that point suggested he had done anything like that. And after that, his character changes completely from morally gray semi-protagonist to mustache twirling evil antagonist. He does get a small line or two at the end of OB about why he changed. And I get it - there's just not room in the book for a good and realistic character arc for Amaram to make his character changes feel earned. At least there is some attempt to explain why and even if it was not satisfying for me personally, it does help.
  9. I really, really hope this is not the case. It sounds like this is something you would enjoy but for me personally, that's about the worst possible plot arc. I'm open to Kaladin either living or dying. I'm not open to him being a mental health expert as his primary role. Frankly, I'd probably skip his chapters in SA5 if that's where his plot goes and he's my favorite character in the books up to this point. Kaladin preaching to the cast and audience about how to properly treat folks with mental health challenges is something I'm not interested in reading about. Personally - I think that the end of RoW showed us Kaladin getting back on the horse. He's not going to continue as a surgeon and he's not going to become a mental health expert. He's going to get back to fighting - the whole point of his character arc in RoW was that he had to overcome his belief that he was failing if he couldn't save everyone. His character arc was him coming to terms with and understanding how to deal with a life where he does have friends die in battle regularly. He probably won't go back to being exactly the same as he was in WoK or WoR, but he'll be back in action. I think he'll have some mental health related plot points - sympathizing with and trying to help people who struggle with depression. But, I don't think that will be a main or even secondary focus of his plot in SA5. I'd rather he survives SA5 and he could have an interesting story in the back 5. I agree with those who are saying it would make sense thematically that he is forced to choose to save himself and let someone else make the sacrifice - it would make for a great story for him in the back 5 processing the after effects of being forced to do that. I'd be sad, but accept it if he does die in SA5. I think there could be a great story told about his death too. Oh - and to the topic of this thread - please let Syl stay a spren :). But - I do admit there are hints she might become human, or that at least it may be something that the characters consider.
  10. I didn't like Oathbringer very well either. I think @Oltux72 is onto something. OB is where Sanderson started shifting from telling a story about characters to a story about "advance the plot at all costs." OB was my least favorite by a significant margin until RoW. Now that RoW is out, I like it less than OB by an even wider margin and I actually probably like OB better now by comparison. I really do think it has a lot to do with the fact that OB starts shifting towards being primarily plot driven, but RoW goes all the way there. Other things I didn't like about OB were Shallan's character arc and the resolution of the Kaladin/Shallan/Adolin romance plot. Those are controversial and everyone's opinion on that will vary though. I don't want to discuss those things in this thread, but because I didn't like them it lowered my overall opinion of the book. Less controversially, the way Amaram's character was handled also didn't sit well with me. He went from being a nuanced, interesting morally gray character to one dimensional.
  11. I'd love to see him doing something on the romance front, but I'm not hopeful. Then again, Syl was very adamant to Kaladin that he shouldn't be content with being alone and that he needs more meaningful connections. So, maybe the theme will come back. But I think that SA5 has to be really soon after SA4 in world time based on the bargain Dalinar made right? So there probably isn't going to be time for Kaladin to really develop a love interest. He might run into Tarah or have an on screen meaningful conversation with Laral, or maybe Lyn.
  12. Yeah, nothing against you for liking him. I just can't stand Wayne or Lopen. I think Lopen is probably worse, but only slightly. Lift is right on that line, if she were to tell a few more bad jokes she'd move to "grit your teeth while reading" territory haha. I could see how the audiobook could definitely help with a character like that though, I just never listen to the audiobooks.
  13. I'm with you on the cosmere reveals and a lot of other things - it's just something that happens at times in Sanderson's writing. Personally, I liked the end of WoR and it felt earned to me because he still did have to go through a major emotional arc first. But, many other things don't land for me. The way I've started to think of it is that it feels like Sanderson has certain moments planned out where Character X is supposed to meet Character Y or Z event needs to happen or whatever and even though there hasn't really been time to build up to it in a way that makes it feel good he's kind of like "Well, it's gotta happen now or we'll be bogged down forever, so it's happening even if it feels awkward." Compare that to books like WoT or GoT where those kinds of meet ups and big events feel extremely natural and its a stark contrast. But, then again GRRM spends a decade writing each book and the last two he released were originally intended to be one big book (or was it books 3 and 4?). And Jordan also found himself bogged down for years tying up loose ends with tons of subplots and was never able to finish his series. By contrast, I think Sanderson sees these moments and realizes he's not totally pulling them off but figures he needs to just keep going or he'll never get where he wants to go with the story. So, as long as it's not too prevalent I am ok with it - he's able to tell a lot of really cool stories because he doesn't bog himself down making things exactly perfect. Honestly, RoW was starting to push the limit for me though. So, I hope he pulls it back with SA5. But on the topic of Mistborn Era 2 - if we could cut Wayne's character I would like these books so much more. Wayne's humor is just absolutely terrible. Everything about him just feels unnatural. I know it's the kind of humor Sanderson personally likes, but it does not land for me. Wayne feels like that weird fan servicey character that gets added into video games sometimes and partly breaks the 4th wall by being all like "Yeah, I like all the stuff you fans like too, isn't this stuff SOOOOOO cooolllll?????" I generally liked Era 2, but haven't touched the books since they first came out. I need to go back and reread them this next year.
  14. I liked the book - it felt much better than Starsight, imo. It felt like Cytonic really brought us back to the main story, where Starsight got things really sidetracked. Or maybe, it brought context to Starsight in that it's just in Spensa's nature to go off and have adventures so it wasn't quite as jarring. I think what I liked about it was that Spensa remained focused on her ultimate goal of saving Detritus and the humans, still maintained her connection with Jurgen, but still was able to have a cool adventure and meet new people. I think is what I felt was missing in Starsight - Spensa just rushed off to a new world and formed emotional connections with new people we (I) really didn't care about. A big part of the fun of Skyward for me was reading her interactions with the whole team on Detritus. We had new characters introduced in Cytonic, but Spensa always kept them at arm's length. She eventually formed a bond with Chet but that felt earned after her initial skepticism of him. I'll never love Sanderson's style of humor, but I felt like he did a better job of packaging it in this book vs. RoW so that it was less grating and even actually enjoyable sometimes. The overall worldbuilding was a cool sci-fi concept and I really liked the reveal of who/what the Delvers were and how they came to be what they are. I agree w/ a few other posters that the pacing did feel uneven and sometimes a bit too low stakes but I was also OK with that. The final explanation of why they behave that way (avoiding lethal weapons, etc) made sense to me. I also liked the idea of how different characters wrestled with the idea of what to do - should they stay in the Nowhere and find quiet peace at the partial cost of their identity or should they return to the Somewhere and face hardships but have the chance to make a difference. Anyway, overall I really liked it.
  15. I think that's a very fair point - and I do totally understand that Sanderson's own personal views on mankind aren't really compatible with grimdark and anti-heroes and he's made that clear. Honestly, that outlook is one of the reasons I like him, especially at the time of his earlier writing where he was such a breath of fresh air among all that dark fantasy that was coming out. I do agree that Sanderson's books have (generally) never had tons of morally grey characters and heroes. And you do point out clearly that there are still -some- characters in more recent books who propose morally gray solutions. I think something I've realized feels missing is that I don't remember as many moral questions about what the heroes should do where reasonable readers could choose different sides. Something like Jasnah suggesting genocide of the Parshmen/Parshendi is a great moral question for the reader to think about with rational arguments on both sides. It's terrible, but could also save the lives of millions or billions. And it was a real course of action being considered by someone in a position of power. The contrast in style between Dalinar and Sadeas was also a moral question - Sadeas got results and in his own way believed that he was doing what was best for the people of Roshar and even for his own people. He even had some arguments to use in his favor. It doesn't mean he was right, but he was aiming for something that could be factually considered beneficial to his people. We all agree Dalinar was right, but there was a real argument presented by Adolin that it would have benefited his people if Dalinar would have been more like Sadeas (not all the way). It has felt to me like the trend in "everybody gets along" has really accelerated post Oathbringer. I felt like Oathbringer was the first few small steps in that direction. A good example is the change in treatment of Amaram's character from WoR to OB. In WoR, Amaram was generally portrayed as someone who had done good in his life except for the one heinous crime he committed against Kaladin and his squad which he rationally argued was justified. He made choices that definitely made him a bad person, but he still wanted to do good. The Amaram/Kaladin/Dalinar plot of WoR was great because it brought Dalinar and Kaladin into conflict and Dalinar had every reason to stand by Amaram and give him the benefit of the doubt. By the time we reached OB, Amaram was no longer a man who had noble ideals but was willing to do something immoral to achieve them weighing the lives of the few against the lives of the many - he'd become a one note villain who was implied to have (at minimum) committed constant sexual harassment if not worse. None of that had been hinted at in his character development before. Amaram was only a relatively small side character, so it wasn't that important overall. I think looking at Starsight, Dawnshard, and RoW you've seen Sanderson's writing move sharply more towards the direction of minimal conflict among protagonists, shift in tone to focus more on socially liberal themes, increased focus on inclusion/diversity, etc. I haven't read all of his more minor books - Lux, Perfect State, Dark One, etc so maybe his writing is different there. Maybe it's not Sanderson that's changed, but me - maybe my tastes have shifted more toward the less optimistic version of fantasy. It could also be the point we are in the story - in tWoK and WoR we still had "antagonistic allies" for our heroes, but by OB the plot had moved along and these "antagonistic allies" had shaken out into full blown enemies. Either way, it's just interesting to hear what someone else has to say about this. And it does make me wonder if it's more my own tastes that changed or his writing.