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13 Bridgeman

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  1. I'm on team Navani for most improved -- the way she was presented in TWoK and WoR really didn't endear her to me, but she was easily one of the best characters in RoW. I'm also a little surprised we haven't seen any nominations for Gaz, though I suppose he hasn't gotten a ton of screen time. I'll give him an honorable mention just for the fact that he was despicable in TWoK, and he's become a mildly decent person.
  2. I have a lot of love for Emperor's Soul, in large part because it was how I got my wife and two of my three sisters invested in Brandon Sanderson. Its short length and standalone nature makes it less intimidating than Brandon's other works, its prose is a bit stronger than most of his work, and the magic system showcases one of his major strengths as an author. Then once you've got them in for a penny...! *evil laughter*
  3. I'm dropping into this thread a bit late, and I'll just say that while I appreciate Jasnah I do feel like she's destined to become a more divisive character in the future -- in part because so many fans worship her in her (relatively) static portrayal during the first half, and when she receives new character arcs in the back half I think many of us will have difficulty adjusting (unlike Shallan and Kaladin, who've been more variable since the start). My wife appreciates Jasnah as the female power fantasy character she was in TWoK, but has liked her a bit less with each subsequent portrayal. I have a feeling that she will take it very hard if Jasnah has a mind-shattering moment like the traumatic end of Shallan's stint as Robin Hood in Alethkar. Personally, I'm aching to see Jasnah have that moment -- that sounds a bit creepy now that I type it out, but what I mean is I'd love to see Jasnah succeed at implementing a rational policy which results in catastrophic failure and immense suffering and she is eventually forced to recognize that she is a failure by her own utilitarian metrics. To the TC's point, I actually agree that Jasnah is specifically tailored to many readers' modern views and I can see why some would find that distracting.
  4. Something that we have yet to discuss in this topic is Kandra lifespan -- aside from the "immortal" presumption. I was thinking that the First Generation Kandra offer decent evidence that Kandra are not immortal (probably not living much longer than 1000 years), and I pulled up a WoB to that effect: My personal headcanon is that their awareness of microscopic structures within themselves (basically, they have the ability to "taste" and identify everything within themselves, which is how they can reproduce organs and tissues) allows them to identify and destroy any tumors and most other pathogens. That, coupled with the investiture afforded by their spikes, explains why they live so much longer than Mistwraiths (which lack the intelligence to destroy malignant tumors and pathogens, even if it is within their capabilities -- and they have the ability to reproduce within their short lifespan, so there's no evolutionary pressure to gain that ability).
  5. Just commenting to say that Emperor's Soul is awesome -- if you pick it up in some form or another (probably within Arcanum Unbounded unless you're digging through used bookstores) you can look forward to an excellent short read.
  6. Yeah, I see Warlight and the Rhythm of War as something that isn't really comparable with obtaining a dual (or multi) shard -- you could argue it's more solid since Raboniel understood it as "the Rhythm of War" instinctually, but I think it's been colored by the past (and ongoing) struggle between Honor and Odium. I see it in a similar way to the "storm" prefix of "stormlight" -- Honor invested a lot of himself into the high storm, and both Honor and Odium invested a great deal in the war between the two of them. You could make the argument that war is a natural product of combined Honor (laws) and Odium (hatred), and I guess I could see someone taking up both shards and becoming "War" -- but I think a more natural combination of those attributes would be something like Indignation or Vengeance (implying an honor-based wrath).
  7. While I got some enjoyment out of them, you can count me among those who feel that the Mistborn Era 2 books are some of Sanderson's weakest published work so far. Alloy of Law had its moments (especially during the climax & denouement), and Shadows of Self had an interesting twist. Bands of Mourning really jumped the shark, in my opinion -- I'll not go into specifics, but it has a terrible case of sequelitis, it showcases Brandon's blind love of early Indiana Jones, and the way it capitalizes on Wayne's proclivities to move the plot forward feels way too contrived to me. I also read Secret History before Bands of Mourning, which was probably a mistake (I say probably, because I might not have liked the final twist if I had gone in blind -- Secret History may have given me time to digest the twist before writing it off as author fanboyism).
  8. That's the thing, though. Navani hasn't told Dalinar, in part because she decided to "be the better person" and honor Gavilar in spite of his despicable behavior, and also probably because she knows how much Dalinar still respects his brother. There's very little time and no motive for her to change that before the champion's duel -- and do you think that Navani will somehow manage to get a message to Dalinar mid-duel if Gavilar shows up? Even if she tries to do so, the odds of Dalinar actually getting the message are low, and on the off chance that he gets it, the odds of him being receptive to that message are practically 0% (given that he would be isolated, potentially mid-combat, and processing the fact that his brother is somehow alive). You also seem to be greatly underestimating the psychological toll it would take on Dalinar to fight (let alone kill) his brother. Remember the time that he almost killed his brother while under the influence of the thrill? That was emblematic of the Blackthorn -- the man he has sworn to never be again. I also strongly disagree that he no longer holds "any guilt over Gavilar's death," -- he has chosen to learn from his mistakes and try to build himself into a better man, but that does not mean he has absolved himself of culpability for any of his past actions. Part of the reason he relentlessly chastises Adolin is precisely because he can't forgive himself, and he doesn't want Adolin to tread the same path he did. I'm not saying he would never kill Gavilar (hence why I said he "might" refuse to kill him), but if I were to place bets I'd say Dalinar either forfeits or loses the champion's duel if his brother is his opponent. I still think the strongest case against Gavilar being Odium's champion is that it requires several extraordinary things to be true: 1. Gavilar survived, probably as a cognitive shadow stapled to some previously-prepared vessel (which is not impossible -- thanks to his secret interactions with heralds & worldhoppers, his ambition to become a god, and his comment to Szeth "Tell Thaidakar he's too late," -- it would just be extraordinary if true); 2. Gavilar has either been off-world or skulking in the shadows without leaving any obvious clues about himself for years (which we would have to chalk up to narrative expediency -- Brandon didn't show us his actions because he wanted to keep the surprise for later). 3. Gavilar is willing to strike a deal with TOdium that involves betraying his brother (also not impossible, we've seen his naked ambition through Navani's eyes and if TOdium offers him something like god-like rule over Roshar in exchange for his services then I could easily see him accept). As for your thoughts on Gavinor, you still seem to be operating under the assumption that he would be completely unphased when he sees his opponent in the Champion's Duel and/or that "willing participant" only applies at the beginning of the contest. Offering him Moash's head would probably be enough to get him there (and I wouldn't be surprised if TOdium gives him that), but it would not be enough to make him a permanently willing participant in the contest. Do you think Dalinar (or his substitute) would not try to reason with the boy? ...and assuming Dalinar can forfeit (which seems to be TOdium's end goal, since he doesn't like the terms), shouldn't it also be possible for Odium's champion to forfeit? Even if all of your assumptions are true ("willing" only applies at the beginning of the contest, and no forfeit is possible -- the contest must end with one of the parties dead), then TOdium's goal would be to make sure Dalinar reneges on his agreement before the contest happens -- remember, Rayse was the one who was willing to trade everything for the Blackthorn. TOdium doesn't like those terms at all. Also, the reason I keep bringing up a substitute champion is because despite Dalinar's intention to be his own champion, nothing is set in stone until the contest begins. I have a sneaking suspicion that TOdium may make it impossible for Dalinar to arrive himself (because not supplying a willing champion would also constitute a violation of the agreement, thus achieving TOdium's end goal) -- so Dalinar may be forced to send someone else in his place.
  9. Personally I can't see Taravangian picking Moash/Vyre after Rhythm of War -- he's failed too often and become a pretty big liability with his psychology-induced blindness. My feelings on the Gavilar theory are fairly complicated. On the one hand, I have (like you) become fairly convinced that he's coming back -- despite the fact that Brandon's talked about the narrative dangers of resurrecting characters. I can also see how Gavilar would lend an interesting twist to the contest of champions (he's someone Dalinar might refuse to kill, and he's someone who would have his own goals which Odium could exploit to end the contest in more favorable terms). I can even forgive Brandon for failing to lay a lot of the necessary groundwork in previous books, because you don't want a twist like that to become common knowledge before the book is even released. That said, I think it would be a tall order to handle both his resurrection and his reveal as champion without making it seem super contrived -- though I guess if Brandon's committed to bringing him back...in for a penny, as they say. In any case, I didn't bring him up in the OP because I didn't feel like he would be particularly vulnerable to trajectory-altering visions from TOdium -- which was the focus of this topic. If TOdium selects him, he'll likely do it just by striking some sort of deal -- with both of them trying to outsmart each other. Now that I think of it, I suppose TOdium could create visions of the future for him to test out various possible decisions during his confrontation with Dalinar -- sort of like a slower version of Atium.
  10. I think you're right that Taravangian is going to be more capable of subterfuge than Rayse was, and I don't subscribe to those who knee-jerk reject the child champion theory based on their preconceptions about child agency. However, I do think the particular method you describe could put Odium in a seriously vulnerable position, because if the boy is not truly committed to the fight then he is far more likely to forfeit before Dalinar. You would have to assume that there is wiggle room in the "willing champion" clause (i.e., if they were willing at one point then it doesn't matter if they are no longer willing) -- otherwise Gavinor shows up, is shocked to see that his opponent is his hero/role model/living father figure (provided Dalinar is his own champion), and instantly Odium no longer has a willing champion (meaning Odium was the one who violated the terms, because he has not supplied a willing champion). Even if Dalinar is not his own champion, then I can't see him picking someone who has a 0% chance of convincing Gavinor that he's been duped. Either way, I'm of the opinion that Odium must shatter the boy's affection for Dalinar to make the Gavinor theory work -- and it helps that stoking the boy's hatred would make him more susceptible to the shard's influence. I agree that the time limit is probably the most difficult aspect to reconcile with Szeth as Odium's champion theory. I also have a hard time getting my head around how TOdium could use Szeth to nullify the terms of the Champion's Duel (Taravangian's primary goal), which is one of the reasons I have started to begrudgingly accept the child champion theory as a real possibility.
  11. Here's a bit of a prediction -- and let me preface this by saying that while I've been doing a bit of lurking here, I haven't done a thorough search through all the contest of champions topics. If someone else has already come up with something along these lines, I apologize for a redundant theory. I've been thinking about setup for Odium's champion; narratively, how will Brandon produce Odium's champion in just 10 days (not counting flashbacks)? I feel that the simplest way to give Odium an active role in producing that champion will be to use visions -- it's an established part of his power set, and it's something Rayse already tried with Kaladin. Rayse's methods were very different from Tanavast's; his visions were a raw and brutal attempt to mentally and emotionally shatter a target (not unlike the methods employed with the heralds on Braise), whereas Tanavast's visions were designed to warn, enlighten, and perhaps transform someone by offering them a chance to accept a higher calling. I'm willing to bet that the shard's intent played a large role in how the visions were used, and Rayse was limited due to how long he had held the shard (which is not to say that his attempt to break Kaladin was necessarily a poor choice -- it almost worked, after all). Now we have a new vessel, Taravangian. Based on the RoW epilogue, he wants to do something unexpected for his champion selection -- which I think partially precludes El or someone else with established loyalty to Odium (though i admit I could easily be wrong). I predict that he will use carefully edited visions of the past and/or future to create his champion, and here's how I see it happening for a few of our frontrunner candidates: Szeth - based on his established mental instability, his impending crusade against his own people, and Taravangian's past experience with manipulating Szeth, I think Szeth is the most obvious choice for a turncoat champion (despite his current oath to serve Dalinar). I think that visions involving people from his past (especially people he killed) would prove useful to TOdium, especially if he plants new words into their mouths similar to what Tanavast did at the end of each vision. For example, despite his unwillingness to forgive himself, Szeth still seems vulnerable to someone seeding the idea that he can correct past mistakes by doing X (X being whatever TOdium wants him to do). TOdium could even seek to accelerate Szeth's progress as a radiant, in an effort to help him reach his fifth ideal and thus divorce him from his oath to Dalinar (this is something Rayse would likely never do, which is the main reason I consider it here). Alternatively, he could simply seek to fully break Szeth -- make him turn to Odium for relief from his agony -- though I think that's more of a Rayse method. In any case, we know that we're getting Szeth's flashbacks, which could easily provide in-book context for a TOdium-induced vision to capitalize on. Gavinor - I include him here (despite the fact that I don't like the child champion theory) because he does have a rather direct route to accepting the role of Odium's champion. Imagine how Gavinor would react if TOdium forced him to watch Dalinar pummel Elhokar and shatter his shardplate, without offering the context necessary to realize that Dalinar was not attempting to assassinate the boy's father? What if that was the final vision in a string of visions where he saw the Blackthorn brutally slaughtering his foes (and sometimes his allies) thanks to the thrill? The boy has a hero complex, and TOdium has plenty of material to work with if he wanted to make the boy believe that his great uncle is a villain. The usual merits of the child champion theory apply, as well (forcing Dalinar to renege on the terms, thus giving TOdium much more freedom and damaging Honor's remaining power -- possibly even killing the Stormfather and making Stormlight difficult or impossible to acquire). Nalan - You could basically copy and paste my thoughts on Szeth here; he's similarly unhinged and vulnerable to the manipulation of his ideals. He's even working for Odium at this point. The biggest issue with Nale as champion is that I'm fairly certain Taravangian is hoping to achieve more than merely winning the duel. Anyhow, those are my thoughts for now. Feel free to comment, criticize, and/or offer further speculation.
  12. That's an interesting quote given Brandon's slight uncertainty, and to be fair he does use future sight to generate at least one of the visions (the one where he shows Odium's champion -- granted, it lacks a lot of detail unlike the recreance vision). I think the bigger issue with this theory is that no one (stormfather, sibling, heralds, etc.) seem to associate Honor's death with the deadeyes, which would have been a very easy logical assumption to make if the timelines had lined up. I think it's far more likely that the recreance was a part of what weakened Honor to the point that Odium was able to kill Tanavast down the line -- all those intentionally broken oaths must have cost him. I also think that Ba Ado Mishram was partially responsible for Tanavast's madness -- she may have been one of his closest spren before being unmade, and she might have covertly infiltrated his connections via her previous spiritual neural pathways in order to grant power to the singers -- which, in itself, is something that would have wounded him. Then when she was trapped within a gemstone (which was perhaps something subtly encouraged by Odium -- sacrificing a chess piece for a much bigger prize), it damaged the connections of Honor and all his spren to the point that madness began to set in full force for Tanavast (a bit like removing a tumor from the brain and damaging the prefrontal cortex in the process).
  13. I'm also of the opinion that live action SA is a disaster waiting to happen. I think Warbreaker would be far and away the simplest and best to adapt into a live action film or short series, but I doubt it will ever happen.
  14. While I'm no rugby enthusiast, your descriptions offer enough thought & background that your Cosmere team lineup is an enjoyable read. I'll say that I wouldn't trust Szeth or Lift to be on my own team regardless of sport (Lift especially -- she'll drop out the moment she gets hungry, and only come back if she's really bored), and I can't really see any sport being okay with a no-holds-barred approach to cosmere magic systems. Aside from that I can't offer much feedback. I do appreciate thinking about what Cosmere sports could look like -- complete with investiture-fueled mayhem. The closest look we have now is the Skybreaker paintball festival exam (or whatever they called it); other cosmere sports (like in Warbreaker) have no description of the rules and don't have anything to do with investiture (aside from the Adolin + Kaladin duel, I suppose). I wouldn't be surprised if other radiant orders had training exercises that were very sports-like pre-recreance; it'll be interesting to see if Brandon explores those possibilities in the back half of SA.
  15. @Kolten, I just realized that you already voiced most of the core ideas in "my" theory below; I really should have read all the responses before typing this all out. I do think that you might appreciate my thoughts on intent, though. With that out of the way... Hi all, I'm finally coming out of lurkerhood to make a post here, though I'm not sure people are still tracking this topic. In any case, here's my theory about the 5th Ideal and why it's so difficult to achieve: In line with what we know about Skybreakers, I think the 5th Ideal involves the radiant fully becoming a vessel that matches their Spren partner's divine intent, and thus their Spren fully synchronizes with their radiant. This is why it enhances their radiant powers -- it makes them something akin to a Shard and its ideal holder, though the power is limited enough that they do not experience ascension. Here's how I think it will go for Shallan: I think she will discover (or rediscover, I suppose) that Cryptics are actually "Truthspren," and in order to achieve the 5th Ideal she will have to be able to honestly say something to the effect of "I am true to myself and to those I love." I don't know if anyone else has already made the "Truthspren" point, but here's what I mean: We know that Cryptics are bad at lying, and that they are obsessed with both the truth and with lies. I believe that the reason they are stimulated by lies is because of how lies interact with the truth. Obfuscating the truth is alluring to them in the same way that clothing can be enticing to humans -- a bad lie is like a person wearing a burlap sack (which could be mildly alluring in an outlandish way), whereas a carefully-crafted lie is like a gorgeous gown (which greatly heightens the appeal of the wearer). As a final point, a cryptic's general appearance is a reference to the idea that truth is complex, multifaceted, and is difficult to discern in its entirety because of the near-infinite contributing factors involved. It also doesn't help that on Roshar (and elsewhere in the cosmere), peoples' perceptions shape the cognitive realm which can in turn have a large effect on the spiritual and physical -- meaning that perceptions literally alter the truth, albeit over time. Continuing the theory, here are my thoughts on Windrunners: I think that the divine intent associated with Honorspren is not Honor, because they are not actually 100% Honor. They claim the name "Honorspren" because they are the closest of the humanoid spren to Honor's intent (something like 90% Honor, and 10% Cultivation), and because they see it as a badge of honor -- pun intended. I think this is hinted at in Syl's "two brains" monologue, and I think their true divine intent may be something like guardianship (protecting others because it is the honorable thing to do, and also because it allows them to grow). This would mean that for Kaladin to reach the 5th ideal, he would have to say "I am a guardian" and actually believe it. This would be no mean feat, as it would require him to truly overcome his belief that he is a failure. His 4th Ideal was a step in the right direction, as it allowed him to accept he cannot save everyone, but he still has a way to go before he would be willing to view himself in a completely different light. So here are my guesses for the other radiant spren and their divine intents (based in part on the descriptions of each order): Highspren - Divine Intent: Law, Example Oath: "I am the law" -- this one is given Lightspren - Divine Intent: Exploration, Example Oath: "I am that which discovers the way forward" -- this one makes sense to me Inkspren - Divine Intent: Revision, Example Oath: "I am eternal refinement" -- kinda makes sense given Jasnah's MO Cultivationspren - Divine Intent: Memory, Example Oath: "I am an essential part of history" -- pretty weak guess, but it's all I've got Ashspren - Divine Intent: Purification, Example Oath: "I am that which purifies" Peakspren - Divine Intent: Resolve, Example Oath: "I have found my purpose" Mistspren - Divine Intent: Guidance, Example Oath: "I am that which helps others follow" I also believe that Spren like Renarin's will have a different Divine Intent based on it's connection to Odium, and thus a different 5th Ideal. THERE YOU GO. If you managed to wade through my massive wall of text, I commend you. Any comments, contributions, or criticism would be greatly appreciated!