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I was recently re-reading the ending of Words of Radiance, particularly the scene where Dalinar speaks his first/second ideals, thus becoming a bondsmith. However, he joined with the Stormfather, who was against this, and reacted angrily upon Dalinar's speaking the First Ideal. While I was reading, it occurred to me that in the Wheel of Time series, forming a similar bond to create an unwilling Warder was seen by the characters as little better than rape, due to the man's inability to resist the bond. Essentially, Dalinar has forced an ancient and sentient spren into a mental and magical bonding without it's consent or agreement, forcing said spren to provide him with the ability to control Stormlight, and at the same time, putting the Stormfather's very existence into danger if Dalinar abandons his vows. In your opinion, was this an immoral action?
I drive myself mad wondering why you do it. Year in, year out, doing the same old thing for a world that just keeps changing on you. Nothing's the same over the years except you. And you don't even act like it fazes you. Your beard is never whiter. Your face never has any more wrinkles than last year. I don't know if I'm strictly ungrateful for the things you do. Last year's train set was pretty awesome, and my sister loved her pitcher's glove. I smiled. She smiled. Mom smiled. We all smiled because of you. It's just... You remind me of my uncle. He was a big guy like you. Always a smile on his face. He only came around every Thanksgiving, and I'm at least ninety percent sure it was Mom's turkey that lured him in. We all loved him so much--he was just a cool uncle, you know? He'd pull a quarter out of your ear and let you keep it. He'd make Mom scowl at him by teaching us how to have sword fights with sticks in the yard. He was the kind of guy who made the holiday feel so much more special just by being there, grinning down at you and sharing the merriness around. He was also a raging alcoholic and a con man. He's lost weight in the postcards, though. Orange really brings out his complexion. Look, I'm not saying... I just think... ugh. I'm only writing this stupid letter to sort out my feelings. You remind me of our pastor. Mom takes us to help out at the food pantry every Wednesday, and he's always there. He's a stiff guy in a nice suit, but he's all smiles. He tells us how much God loves us, which I don't doubt. He tells us how important it is to help the needy, which I don't doubt. But while we're carrying boxes of beans and helping sort all the food on the shelves, all he does is stand in the entrance hall listening to raggedy poor people tell him "God bless you" all day. I guess it's important that the homeless people come in and meet a smiling face, but it just feels... it just feels like he could be doing more, you know? It feels like he's just lapping up the praise when he could be helping. I mean... Look at you. Look at all the things you can do. You're amazing. You can do things that make Harry Potter look like a documentary on card tricks. And every year you use all that power just to make little children happy. That's amazing, right? You're amazing, right? But... There are people dying. There are people who don't have enough food. There are people who don't have enough water. There are people who are sick and don't have medicine. There are people being hurt by other people. There are people on the streets who don't have blankets and might wake up as a frozen poverty-sicle. You could deliver a hot steaming bowl of soup to every hungry person in the world in the time it takes me to write this letter. You could bring people medicine instead of toys. Bring them water instead of milk and cookies. I guess... You... You remind me of Dad. He only came at Christmas too. He'd come in the door, nod at Mom, and come sweep us up in a big bear hug. He'd reach under his jacket and give us both a present. He'd say that you let him bring those ones early. Then he'd play games with us. He'd talk about proud he was of me, how clever I was for my age. He'd rave about how great my sister was at baseball. He'd make us feel special. He'd make all of Christmastime special for us just by being there. At least... he used to. He was there to make us smile there at Christmastime, but where is he now? He stopped coming. He took care of us at Christmastime, but where was he the rest of the year? Where was he when I skinned my knee? Where was he when the truck hit our puppy? Where was he when I actually needed him? I just... agh. I worry, you see. I see you grinning at me from Christmas cards. From gift wrappings. I see you on TV and in movies and on the ornaments we put on the tree. Everyone loves you. Everyone talks about how great you are. How kind you are. How much you want to take care of us. And I start getting angry. I worry that you're my uncle. All smiles and fun, but rotten inside. I worry that you're my pastor. Just lapping up praise while everyone else does the real work. I worry... I know that you're my dad. You're not there for us when we need you. You're all baubles and milk and cookies while people who need your help are hurting. And I keep getting more angry, 'cause when I write this I know that I'm right. There's nothing stopping you from helping more, is there? There's no magic stopping you. You just like having everyone talk about how wonderful you are! You don't want to be sweating in Africa helping people. You're not just magical, you want people to know how magical you are. You want people to write poems about how great and mysterious you are. You want people to make movies about you. You want all the children in the world to think you're the coolest thing ever. You want suckers like me to write you letters. I'm right, aren't I? You could help, but you WON'T. You could solve all the problems in the world in one night, but you WON'T. You could be there for us, but you WON'T. Now I know what you are. Now I know not to smile back at your stupid face on the postcards. Now I know to save our milk and cookies and feed them to the pigeons or something. Merry Christmas, you fat egomaniac. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So I'm hoping this topic can remain as civil as the last LDS connections in Brandon's work thread. I'm not even sure there's much for people to say, but when I was reading this book, I had two Mormon connections scream at me, so I had to get them out: 1. Kaladin's internal debate over whether to kill Elhokar: In the beginning of the Book of Mormon (1st Nephi 4), a righteous man (Nephi) is commanded to slay a man in order to bring back the scriptures for his family. A couple of quotes from this chapter seem to have direct parallels in Kaladin's struggle. First, Nephi comes upon Laban drunk and passed out in the streets, and is commanded by the Holy Spirit to kill him. It's interesting that Kaladin makes exactly the opposite choice. I listened to the audiobook, so I don't have the direct quote, but he says, "If I was going to kill him, I'd do it out in the open in front of everyone, not when he's lying there helpless and drunk." As Nephi is debating the morality of slaying this man with the Spirit, the Spirit says, "Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." In addition to the obvious way that Kaladin goes directly counter to this statement, this idea is a major tie in to the Taravangian plot-line as well: who has the right to say a man's death is for the greater good? Anyway, as a Mormon reading this Kaladin scene, it seemed like it was constructed to directly contrast with this scriptural story, and it really enhanced my reading of it. 2. Dalinar's visions being exposed at the party: When Dalinar found the altered vision texts going around at the party, my mind instantly went to a story from early in the life of Joseph Smith. After translating the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, these pages were lent to an associate from whom they were then stolen. Smith received a revelation that stated he should not retranslate these pages because his enemies would alter the previous translation, so that the comparison would discredit him. I dunno, maybe this is a tenuous stretch, but it instantly jumped to my (Mormon) mind in reading this scene with Dalinar being discredited with a slightly altered version of the truth. What do you think? Not sure where I'm going with this, but wanted to share in case anyone else is interested.