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  1. My read on it was more social and political. "[t]he spren" is not a description of individuals and their interactions. When Jasnah was in Shadesmar it was an event that was relevant for all spren and the world itself because she was stirring up (or at least representing) Radiant-like business-- not something spren could ignore or remain unaffected by. Other worldhoppers seem both rare and mostly interested in pursuing their own business, so not really something the spren have to "deal with".
  2. I'm really not interested in re-typing the same thing any further-- if you don't think that the statement that Odium made that he will keep the deal in spirit has any relevance, then there's nothing more to discuss on that score. The terms of the contract then become functionally irrelevant, both because you can get crazy with loopholes (oh, I meant days as measured on this other planet where each one lasts 10,000 Rosharan years) and because ambiguous clauses become impossible to resolve in any way. The idea that Taravangian can't play word games just doesn't match the interpretation you're advancing. Why not? We may as well not talk about the contract at all with this interpretation, because there isn't any reason to think of it as a guide to what anyone has to do. If Taravangian can have any interpretation at all of the terms of the deal, then we're in the same place; indeed, the very idea of a variable interpretation of a contract like this butts against the "spirit of the deal" concept. How can there be a contract if both sides have totally different ideas about what it is? What if Taravangian has a "different interpretation" of one of Dalinar's obligations? Does Dalinar just immediately lose, or is he suddenly a contract-breaker? I'll say it again, as clearly as I can. If you think that loopholes or variable interpretations are viable, then there is no contract in any meaningful sense, so why bother talking about anything that was agreed to? I'll leave you with this as well: Hoid helped draft this contract and prepare Dalinar for the negotiation, and his influence was so obvious that Odium knew it immediately. It's not a complicated agreement. Suggesting that loopholes are a viable method of getting out of the obligations it imposes is as simple as "oh, I thought you meant [whatever], so I guess you're screwed" doesn't mesh with this very well. Hoid is no fool, though he plays one, and he seems to know as much about Shards as the Shards themselves do. It's not impossible that changing Vessels could frustrate everything, but every argument that loopholes might be effective would apply to Rayse just as well as Taravangian. If the contract exists (as discussed in the paragraph above) and was good enough to handle Rayse, it should be good enough to handle Taravangian. Maybe it isn't! I think that would be a brutal anticlimax, but that doesn't mean it can't or won't happen. I don't see a reason that only negative obligations would be binding in the way we're discussing. Given this argument, if Rayse intended to follow the contract as a natural reading of it would suggest, then Odium should be bound to approach the contract in that manner. "I will do X in manner Y" doesn't give more wiggle room than "I will not do X". If the obligation is enforced by the Shard itself retaining it, and the Vessel is bound by the Shard's retention of that obligation, it shouldn't matter. I suspect that Taravangian fully understands the constraints he's under if the Shard's power is what's enforcing them, much like Sazed knew everything that his Shards' powers had done. If Taravangian is somehow unclear on this then he should be extra cautious about taking the risks of violating it and avoid getting too cute playing with the terms. You can fit a lot of action into ten days. How many pages did the battle outside of Thaylen City take up, and how much time did they cover? We also know that the Stormfather and Bondsmiths can fiddle with the rate of time passing, so we might get more than ten days' worth of activity out of ten calendar days. This also assumes that the contest is the climax of the whole book. It's not an unreasonable assumption, but I don't think it's necessarily so any more than Vin's first foray into Kredik Shaw had to be the climax of Final Empire. There is no guarantee that our favorite plot threads will be resolved in the next book (a possibility that I am more aware of than ever after Lost Metal). Like you, I don't think that the contest will unfold totally as expected and also wrap up the story as the agreement suggests. But there has been a lot of setup over it just to have a rug pull over something as small and fussy as a loophole, cancellation, or postponement.
  3. @alder24 Great finds on those quotes, thanks for bringing them in! I think that I understand your position. And assuming that I'm correct in that, I understand where you're coming from, and it's not impossible-- this is a valid possibility. But this is a zero-evidence claim, which boils down to assuming your conclusion is true and then using that presumed truth to interpret events so that they support the assumed conclusion. This was a very specific situation in which Taravangian had a very specific goal (to avoid revealing information about his Ascension to Hoid while still interacting with him), and fiddled with the Breaths in which the relevant memories were stored to accomplish it. I don't see any reason to believe that Rayse had any interest in doing something similar at any point in the books, ever, never mind having an opportunity to do so through this mechanism but declining or being prohibited from doing it. Maybe it's the case, but beyond your claim that it is there isn't any support for it (yet, and that I've seen). Reiterating that you believe it was as you describe because you believe it was as you describe isn't going to be convincing to me, though I would be interested in seeing other instances of Shards' behavior which might independently suggest that this interpretation 1. is indeed a factor which binds Shards, and 2. can be warped in this way. Please do bring it up again in discussion with me for any review of existing Cosmere material or any new material which is released in future years-- I really am interested in the idea, even though I don't think it has legs yet. Yup, I get it. It's fine as a metaphor to explain the ideas you're putting out (which I think it does well), but I don't think it extends beyond that at all. So I understand the comparison, but the one is not an example that supports the other. Only if we assume that loopholes are workable in this way. I'd say that the WoB posted by @alder24, above, discredits it completely in this case. If we don't trust Odium's word at all, then we've no reason to think that anything he's said is true. That's fine, but then everything is suspect (including the contract) in every possible way. The Stormfather stated that Odium lied in saying that Honor didn't care about people or their feelings, not that Honor was flexible in interpreting oaths. We also know that, towards the end of his existence, Honor changed and became more obsessed with oaths ("ranting" or "raving" about them, I forget the exact word). Maybe there was a shift from one view to the other? As for perception of the agreement, again, what you are saying 100% eliminates any value to statements about the "spirit" of the agreement. Unless we assume your position about Shards' inability to lie to themselves, which I've addressed above. We either have some basis for interpreting the contract, or we have none. Meaningless if we're simultaneously using his unreliability to discount other things he's said, unless we bring in evidence from outside to support specific items. We don't have a whole lot of external evidence, so his statements can either be viewed as reliable or unreliable and we can hedge our thoughts accordingly. It's not a buffet, where we must take some things he says as fact but then totally ignore others based on preference. I'm not suggesting that anyone should abandon their impressions or opinions on the matter, or on what they think will happen in future books. But one reader's feelings aren't really evidence, so they aren't likely to convince me of anything. My guess (and that's all it is!) is that Taravangian will manipulate events such that the outcome of the contest is meaningless to Dalinar's goals, reflecting Taravangian's different goals (compared to Rayse), mindset, mental capacities, and lesser degradation due to holding Odium. No loopholes, but a change in the game. We'll see! That's my impression as well. I just don't think that there is flexibility built into this-- being bound by the deal is being bound by the deal. Reinterpreting it, even passively, would be installing a different deal, one which Odium did not make. Maybe I've been too forceful on this, though. I guess that my essential position is that the contest issue isn't going to be resolved by the deal being technically upheld but still different than we think due to some fussy, technical maneuvering or similar cheat. Intentionally treating the deal differently than he knows Dalinar expected it would be when he agreed to it seems to me that it should bring down on Taravangian all of the possible consequences of Odium simply violating it. Other possibilities exist, but for now I've not found suggestions that any of them are more likely to be what happens to be persuasive. I also want to make explicitly clear that I really appreciate people engaging with me in the discussion. I like hearing the other ideas and thinking about how they might be woven into the broader Cosmere, even when I'm not persuaded. And the most likely possibility might be that we're all wrong anyways
  4. It's the only thing that has ever worked to restrain Odium and the Desolations, and was also the best idea that people with far more knowledge, power, and experience in these matters than Dalinar has could come up with. I'm not sure that Dalinar thinks it's a great idea, but rather is the only idea he's come up with that he thought would even maybe work. I agree that a new Oathpact is probably not the way to go.
  5. I'll have to re-read that section regarding a possible agreement with Hoid. But regardless, do we have any examples of a Shard directly striking someone down, even when it would be very convenient or practical for them to do so? I can think of only one, and it's kind of marginal. Food for thought, though it could also be primarily a narrative choice (not much story if a deity blasts the opposition out of existence in an instant). It's not impossible, but the "spirit of the contract" is less subjective than you're suggesting here (else it's meaningless, which is also possible). I don't find the "speak the truth" example to be very applicable, though I don't deny that there may exist another example which might be; I understand your argument even without an example. We'll see, eventually, what Taravangian does, but what you're describing is still firmly in the "the contract doesn't matter" territory. Endless loopholes and endless options to exploit them would undermine literally everything about the agreement. If the point of the agreement is that it be upheld as the parties intended to effect a specific outcome, and Odium set specific conditions guaranteeing that which are binding because of Odium itself, it's a massive assumption that the agreement just is fundamentally irrelevant now. Again, not impossible, but indistinguishable from there not being an agreement at all. I disagree about any similarity between Radiant oaths and Shardic nature being applicable in this way (the Oaths are specifically something Honor's power backs, not a thing about Shards generally). Metalborn, Returned/Awakeners, and Autonomy followers (Automotons?) seem to be able to lie all they want, including to themselves, with no consequences. For the contract specifically, if Intent matters in this way, surely it would be relevant at the creation of the agreement and not when a subsequent party to the agreement feels like not to following it. An interesting idea, and certainly possibly true. I'd be interested to see how it would play out with the degradation of a Vessel's mind over millennia. But it's also raw speculation without much backing (which is what we're stuck with in discussing these issues for now, I think, no matter what). I'm not sure what we've seen of Autonomy tracks with this, but there's not much clarity there either. The best evidence we have of anything on this topic is still probably what the Stormfather says about the consequences of Odium breaking his word: it would leave him vulnerable to attack. This is somewhat different from the idea that you've posited, though there isn't any reason both couldn't be true. As above, I don't think that reasoning backwards from Radiants' situations to Shards is sound. I don't think getting into the minutia of this is on-target for the thread, but it's a good example (I'll have to look up that section of Secret History again), though I'll note that Preservation acted in ways that did permanently prevent Ruin from destroying Scadrial. We've largely presumed that that plan was based on peering into the future, and our broad view of those events may be mistaken, but if Preservation did directly act as he did with an eye towards Ruin's permanent failure that would undermine the argument pretty severely. Regardless, if Preservation made use of a loophole that is the opposite of the "spirit of the deal", and so is still an interesting contrast to Odium's situation. When Odium said that all Honor cared about was oaths and not the intent behind them, he was drawing a contrast between Honor and himself to illustrate exactly what I've described here: fulfilling the letter of the oath sworn as different from the spirit of a promise made. If there is a distinction between only caring about the oath and exactly following the letter of an agreement I don't see it; if you feel there is one, perhaps you could explain? Finally, if we presume that Odium is simply not telling the truth here then we've no reason to rely on anything he's ever said about keeping agreements as true. Which is just another route to saying that the agreement is meaningless to events. Like I said upthread, specific positions boil down to some flavor of the agreement being binding here or not. Loopholes are necessarily the latter, as is the contract not applying to Taravangian. I'm open to either path (the contract mattering or not). This is obviously not an argument, but I would be extremely disappointed if the outcome of the contract is just "new guy, so no deal". Very dull and unimaginative, particularly for a writer of Sanderson's caliber. Although by the same token maybe he could make such an outcome interesting.
  6. Meh. I don't find that line of reasoning persuasive. Taravangian is explicitly stated to be bound to the agreement that Rayse struck, and if it's not only possible but convenient and casual to change elements of that agreement in the way you're describing then such a constraint would be meaningless. And then why mention it, or care about it? If Rayse was bound by the spirit of the agreement, and Taravangian has inherited the agreement as it stood, then trying to wriggle through a technicality should have the same consequences for the latter as it would have had for the former. And if the contract just doesn't apply to Taravangian, and what was plainly stated in the book is just wrong, then all bets are off and the contract is meaningless to future events. As for Hoid's Breaths, is Odium's inability to harm Hoid due to a deal Rayse made with him? I never had that impression, as it seems Shards are (largely) prohibited from just directly harming people in general. But I'm inferring that from events in the Cosmere books and not an authoritative statement, so maybe my impression is mistaken. Hoid certainly has concerns about what would happen to him if Odium caught him on Roshar earlier in SA, and he would know, so we're definitely not working with complete information. I'm not ruling anything out, and obviously we'll see what happens. But the hyper-legal, hair-splitting approach to the deal has a major issue in that there isn't anyone to appeal to. If Rayse could not violate the spirit of the agreement, that would not be because you could call his manager to complain about it and see him punished. The issues seem more fundamental to the Cosmere and the nature of Shards. A Shard being bound by a promise doesn't mean anything if they can just change their minds or whip up a sophistry to do whatever they want. The Stormfather directly states that if Odium were to break a promise, he would be vulnerable to attack and permanent harm from other Shards (presumably Cultivation).That doesn't sound like a situation where you can make an argument and plead your case, it sounds like a mechanical outcome. We've no reason to think that Taravangian can just elide the whole ordeal. Though as I said above we don't know a whole lot of specifics about what the consequences of breaking the agreement would be for him, and that might be something he's willing to do-- for example, if he persuaded Cultivation not to attack him after breaking the promise, maybe there's no danger at all. But that would, again, mean that it doesn't matter what the contract states or implies. All that said, Odium is the only Shard we know of that seems to be held to account this way. Preservation straight up violated his deal with Ruin by choosing to do so, and Honor was described as only caring about the letter of an agreement. There is more to unravel here, for sure, but I think that the answers will not be found in discussion of this contract (nor, frankly, do I think we have access to enough information to make informed guesses about any of it).
  7. That's my point, though. As described in the book, it can't be twisted. That's what "letter and spirit" means-- the only thing it means. A contract including both letter and spirit can either be kept or broken. The deal is to end the war (or at least Odium's participation in it) through the contest. A loophole would involve not doing the contest as outlined and/or not ending the conflict, and so would be breaking the contract because it seeks to violate the spirit of the deal on a technicality in the text. Such an outcome may well happen, but since it's functionally the same as breaking the agreement we might as well talk about what that would entail and how a specific method of breaking the contract might be relevant to events. So if we're talking about the contest not ending the war because both combatants die at the exact same instant, for example, then the letter and spirit of the contract are not upheld even though it's nobody's fault (and the contract doesn't specify what would happen in such an edge case). I just don't see how it would matter, in itself, if the contract were technically adhered to or not (even though I think it clearly would not be, because no twisting is permitted). That outcome would still be really important: nobody gets what they'd hoped for if they won, the war continues as it has been, there is no mechanism for dealing with Odium any more, and the terms of the deal can't even potentially help anyone any more. It would largely be as if the contract had never existed. So then whether or not the contract itself was upheld or violated seems irrelevant at that point. Like, if we were to game out that specific outcome, what difference would the contract being upheld, blamelessly broken, or voided make? I'm not intending to discourage anyone from theorycrafting about possible plot developments, but "I think [X] could happen" doesn't strike me as fundamentally different from "I think [X] could happen and uphold the contract somehow" or "I think [X] could happen but only by breaking the contract". I think that there are interesting discussions to be had around what consequences might follow from a specific conclusion to the contest, but only in the context of those consequences. Arguing about whether or not that conclusion satisfies an arbitrary interpretation of an arbitrary standard, in a vacuum, seems to be both upsetting to people and also blocks off those discussions. It seems obviously possible that the contract be unable to perform through any number of mechanisms (say, the champions are both delayed by traffic and can't make it to the arena on the appointed day no matter what they do, but the contract fixes the fight for a specific day, so what now?). But what of it? But that's just my perspective on the issue. If it is an appealing one to anybody in the thread, I'll ask this: what do you think would the impact on the plot would be if the contest failed to end the war as it was intended to, despite not being broken by either party?
  8. I think that this entire discussion is has gotten off-center. Following the spirit of an agreement is also following the letter of it. What the "spirit of the agreement" phrase indicates is that there is no wiggling into a technicality (or loophole) which is technically within what the wording of the contract lays out but which is obviously contrary to what the agreement is intended to be. The very concept of a loophole which can be exploited to get out of what the contract has established is the exact opposite keeping the agreement in letter and spirit, and if a loophole is a viable option then the whole "spirit of the contract" element is totally irrelevant. To look for a loophole is to explicitly and specifically discard what we've been told about the deal. The alternatives people have posited (so far, and that I've seen) fall into a couple of categories. The final two are my own ideas that I don't recall having seen before (though I'd be happy to give credit if I've forgotten where I saw them): The spirit of the contract is functionally irrelevant, so we can lawyer away at the text of the agreement. This is a necessary assumption when looking for a loophole. The contract will be adhered to but one side (usually assumed to be Odium) will do so in a way that makes victory far more likely for them. The specifics vary based on the particular theories of what that way is, but this is equivalent to a strategy for winning the contest, not a way of weaseling out of the deal. It's not a loophole. The contract is not relevant to the new Odium's goals, so it's an irritation for him but not as consequential as it was for the old Odium. The ideas of winning or losing the contest have a totally different context and meaning for Odium now compared to when the deal was struck, so keeping it or breaking it are now different considerations and we don't know how to evaluate the implications. Finding a loophole is probably not an issue in this case (though we don't know enough to say this very confidently). The consequences of breaking the contract are not what we've assumed. Being "in someone's power" is not a clearly defined state, though there are obvious assumptions that we've been making so far about what that means here. Another issue, separately or relatedly, is that the presumption that Odium can't break his word has been over-interpreted. He can't break his word without risking consequences from other Shards-- it would leave him vulnerable in some poorly defined way. A strategy to deal with that risk, generally or in this specific case, would change what we've been assuming are inviolable rules. The spirit of the contract is to end the current war between Odium and the humans (and their friends) on Roshar via a fight to the death between champions selected by Dalinar and Odium, respectively. I think that what people are really looking for in discussions like this is a plot twist that might subvert our expectations. There may not be one. It's not exactly uncommon for an epic fantasy story to have a conclusion driven by a hero fighting against a villain in a climactic event. The way that such an event plays out will still have implications for future Cosmere works even if it occurs exactly as the contract suggests. A twist could be interesting but is not the only interesting outcome that is possible. People can, and should, theorize to their hearts' content about how the first SA arc will end. But when the possibilities we're entertaining are unlimited, like the range between the contract being perfectly followed and the contract being irrelevant, arguing specifics gets overly precise pretty quickly. For example, if you think that the conclusion will involve both champions quitting the contest, then what does it matter if the contract is kept in the process or not given that that's already how you think it will end? Why not talk about the consequences that might follow from the posited conclusion rather than debate minutia in an undefined space?
  9. The memory in the coin at the end of Bands of Mourning was clearly Kelsier's, right? If so, that would be definitive proof that he can use a medallion.
  10. It's as good a guess as any, but honestly I think this is just a retcon (though still official even so).
  11. Maybe? It's an interesting idea, and the Lord Ruler almost certainly used copperminds. He would have been aware of Ruin's abilities though, and so not relied on them, even if such a trick were effective. But if forced to guess, I would guess no. Ruin's already able to affect people with emotional Allomancy and can implant dialgoue and visions into their minds. Its essence is permeated into everyone and everything on Scadrial. Even if Ruin couldn't see through metal very well it had no problem reaching into a metalmind (metal, so hard for a Shard to see, and also Invested) and reading the contents well enough to make the subtle changes that subverted an entire culture of Feruchemists using copperminds. And while it's not a perfect comparison, when filled with Preservation's essence after drawing in the mists Vin was able to affect metals inside of others' bodies, including metalminds like the Lord Ruler's atium bracelets (or were they bracers? I don't remember... time for a re-read!). If the power of a Shard could do that even to metal inside another's body I'd presume that another Shard could similarly affect metals inside of people's bodies. You have made me wonder, though, how easily and fluidly Ruin might notice a particular metalmind in a Feruchemist's body, to know to rifle through it and make changes. Ruin's capacity for that sort of thing seems large enough that it might not be a major obstacle, but its Vessel was tricked before, so maybe a different plan might involve this maneuver.
  12. Maybe not as much when you've only got a couple of nuggets! Wayne comments on running out a few times in sticky situations. @Trusk'our has it right, Wayne even mentions that most Sliders can't afford enough Bendalloy to become anything close to a savant. Bendalloy is also really dangerous to handle and especially ingest. Not a big deal for someone who is also a Bloodmaker, but another Slider who wants to use a lot of Bendalloy is probably going to have some serious health problems in short order (which are even worse when the effects are sped up relative to the rest of the world, which might be able to treat you). But I think that you're right that, if someone could deal with the scarcity and toxicity, Bendalloy would be a very useful Allomantic metal to be skilled with. I imagine we'll see more of it in later Mistborn books for that reason, though we'll have to wait a bit to find out for sure.
  13. It allows for a perfect record of information which is very compact, discreet, and not subject to being forgotten or misremembered to any degree (Ruin's influence aside, which admittedly ended up being a pretty important exception!). I think that a good example of its usefulness was in the caverns in Hero of Ages when Sazed needed to design a mechanism for controlling the floodgates between the canals and the reservoir. Sazed wasn't an engineer, didn't have much experience (that we know of) with the relevant subjects, and couldn't cart a whole library of books around the Final Empire in case he might find a use for one particular concept. Instead he reviewed his index of information in his copperminds and had all of the information to hand, perfectly reliable, and he simply referenced the applicable bits and made notes to review when he replaced the memories back into the copper. Other applications we've definitely seen might be less impressive than other Feruchemical metals, like the Lord Ruler's perfect memory for faces; Sazeds knowledge of ancient languages (not for spoken fluency, probably, but enough to translate Alendi's logbook); and Sazed's ability to preserve records of past religions despite the dedicated efforts of the Lord Ruler to destroy all such things. It's almost like having the internet, plus the Wayback Machine (or your favorite internet archive), in your pocket or on your wrists. Plus some cool, subterfuge-esque applications like learning information and storing it while eliminating the information from your mind... It's not the most dramatic power, but it has tons of flexibility and potential applications that are very practical.
  14. Meh. It's a concept which can be used well or poorly, and which is the case depends on the writer more than any specific tool. I'll agree that it's a convenient tool for lazy or poor writers to not bother with reasonable plotting but I don't think that Sanderson is such an author. While I do have my concerns about some of the trends in his writing lately, I don't think that we have to worry about inadequate plotting requiring luck/destiny/fortune/whatever being among them. Especially since relying on or fiddling with Fortune has been a serious story element more than once so far. I expect that Fortune will matter quite a bit but will have its huge, story-shaping impacts well before the Cosmere finale sequences.
  15. Can spren be changed without a corresponding change in how they're perceived? They're primarily cognitive aspects given form through Investiture, and much of their nature is defined by how thinking beings think of them. I wonder if something like this is a consequence of what we're seeing with advancements in fabrial technology. Thoughts about fire and heat give rise to what flamsepren are and draw those spren to the things that people associate with those ideas, but artifabrians have figured out ways to work with that relationship in reverse and produce heat from manipulating an instantiation of those ideas. Once spren stop being (essentially) passive offshoots of people's ideas, maybe their natures will become wildly more malleable.