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From Mraize's letter, we know: And then back in the prologue of Oathbringer, we have: So, the prologue meeting that Eshonai stumbles into appears to be a Sons of Honor meeting between Gavilar and Amaram and four others (one soldier, two fine ladies, and one old man in robes), where no guards were even at the door, presumably because they wanted a very secretive meeting where even guards were not allowed to listen in. My question is, who are the four others? Restares, perhaps Taravangian The old man in robes appears to be Restares. Amaram writes in a spanreed to Restares (WoR Page 1059), saying, "It has ever been our burden as the Sons of Honor." Amaram had also presumably consulted with Restares via spanreed when deciding slaughter his own men so that he could steal Kal's Shardblade: "Restares is right— this is what must be done. For the good of Alethkar.” (WoK, Page 703) Restares is only mentioned in three places over all three books: as one of three of Gavilar's suspects during his assassination (WoK prologue), when Amaram slaughters Kal's men (WoK), and when Amaram writes to Restares via spanreed (WoR). The Stormlight Archive Wiki states that Restares is an Alethi brightlord, but I'm not sure that we know this even though Amaram implies that Restares said the theft of the Shardblade was for the good of Alethkar. We never hear anything of Restares at all, which knowing Sanderson makes me suspect that Restares is a fake name given how often he gives other names to characters - Heralds like Darkness, Ash, Ahu, and Tezim or the five Scholars - to obfuscate their true identities. I wonder if Restares is not in fact Taravangian or some other old dude we know well. In Oathbringer (Page 242), Dalinar tells us that he had met Mr. T before "his strange illness five years ago." And then the strongest evidence that Taravangian is Restares and a Son of Honor is this quote from WoR: After Gavilar's death and access to the visions ended, Mr. T seeks the Nightwatcher, asking that he be the one to unite them, which led to the Diagram. I will leave all discussion of the Diagram to other wonderful threads, though it does seem that followers of the Diagram and Sons of Honor diverge a bit. However, keeping his position in the Sons of Honor (if he is Restares) would be a brilliant way to keep the information flowing from surviving allies there. Torol and Ialai Sadeas Torol Sadeas is undeniably close to Gavilar, willing to sacrifice his life for Gavilar's own during the assassination attempt and always 100% loyal to Gavilar despite the fact that, following Gavilar's death, he's tried his best to undermine and even kill Dalinar at every possible step. Why the difference? Apparently, Torol was privy to secrets about Gavilar's true, ruthless and Machiavellian nature - secrets of which Dalinar and Elohkar and even Jasnah apparently had no inkling. How is that possible? What secrets did he know? And wouldn't we peg Torol as Gavilar's closest and most trusted companion outside of family? Didn't Torol do all of the politicking with Gavilar when Dalinar refused? So to me, it makes enormous sense that Torol was a Son of Honor, sharing the same ruthlessness and Machiavellian approaches as Gavilar and Taravangian and Amaram. In fact, Meridas was likely recruited by Torol, as was Ialai. Just like House of Cards, Torol and Ialai are playing this game together, 100%. So my thoughts are that Torol actually dressed in his soldier attire for the signing of the treaty with the Parshendi (hence he and Amaram make the two soldiers), and Ialai is one of the two women in long dresses. So the other woman could be... Aesudan We see Gavilar pushing Jasnah into Amaram's arms. Obviously, Gavilar wants to keep the Sons in the family. And Aesudan tells El in OB that his father was ever so much better than he was: Aesudan knows of one (but perhaps not the other) of Gavilar's spheres, and she seems to have continued trapping more bad spren, going even a step further by bonding. But how was she privy to Gavilar's grand plans? How did she know of his father's work and his ancient (evil) spren? I'm thinking that was because she was one of the lady Sons. Yet again, we see the same ruthless, Machiavellian nature in Aesudan as we do in Gavilar, Amaram, Torol, Ialai, and Taravangian. They all fit beautifully together.
Subvisual Haze posted a topic in Stormlight Archive (No RoW)The lives of Kaladin, Moash, and Elhokar were placed on a collision course for tragedy after The Roshone Affair. In this event we infer that Moash's silversmith grandparents were imprisoned, and later died in prison, based on the greed of Roshone who used his influence over King Elhokar (in charge of Kholinar due to the absence of his father and Dalinar) to carry out the plot. When Dalinar was alerted to the disaster details were suppressed and Roshone was exiled. This single critical event would have a domino effect resulting in: the death of Moash's family and embittering of Moash the exile of Roshone to Hearthstone and the eventual levying into the army and death of Tien (destroying Kaladin's "innocence") Kaladin and Moash uniting in a temporary treasonous plot against Elhokar Kaladin temporarily losing his bond with Syl and nearly turning against Dalinar Kaladin and Moash experiencing a falling out, resulting in Moash being exiled from Bridge 4, and ultimately joining The Singers The death of Elhokar at Moash's hands. Many classic literary tragedies tend to have a critical miscommunication or misunderstanding at their root. There is also often a single antagonistic character whose manipulative or evil actions result in the downfall of others. I believe Queen Aesudan, not King Elhokar, was ultimately responsible for the death of Moash's family. Elhokar however, displaying his usual characteristics of loving and protective husband, along with his propensity to trust the wrong people, chose to assume responsibility for his wife's actions. This sets the perfect recipe for a tragedy wherein Kaladin and Moash are set on a path of vengeance based on the incomplete assumption that Elhokar was entirely responsible for the tragedies in their life. Moash ends up killing a person who did not bear true responsibility for his plight, and indeed Moash is now serving one who did bear responsibility for the evils done to him (Queen Aesudan, likely already acting under the influence of Odium+Unmade). I can't really prove this was likely the case, but it is a fun thought to consider, and it would connect a lot of clues and offer an important twist on the story. A couple possible clues: 1 - Approximate Time of the Roshone Affair This quote places the time of the Roshone Affair pretty accurately. It occurs in the brief interval where the Listeners had been discovered and King Gavilar had developed an interest in them, but before Gavilar had been assassinated. Perhaps one year or less before the assassination? Dalinar was likely in an alcoholic bender at this time instead of watching over and instructing Elhokar, another tragic "what if?" element to the event. The second half of this quote is interesting because at first glance the "someone he trusted" is heavily implied to be Roshone. It is worded just loosely enough though that Dalinar could be referring to a third party. 2 - If Aesudan was suspected of being involved in this affair, it explains certain reactions by Dalinar and Jasnah. We are never given a specific reason why Jasnah was arranging for an assassination of Queen Aesudan via Liss, nor why she eventually retreats from her request opting for further observation. If Jasnah highly suspected that Aesudan bore responsibility for the Roshone Affair (but wasn't completely certain due to Elhokar covering for her), that may be enough to make Jasnah highly consider an assassination, but then decide it needed further observation. We learn later that Jasnah considers the stability of her family's rule to be of critical importance, thus her recognizing that Aesudan is both a terrible ruler/person and also has the blind loyalty of Elhokar would establish Aesudan as a clear risk to the family's ability to maintain power and not coming into internal conflict with one another. We also are given heavy hints early on that Dalinar does not trust Aesudan. Mraize's letter indicates that Dalinar's trusted soldier Bordin was purposefully left behind in Kholinar to keep an eye on the Queen (Bordin later leaves the city to deliver Taln and the shardblade to Dalinar). Dalinar also seems distressed that Navani has left Kholinar, hoping that she would provide leadership advice to Aesudan. Navani declares however that the Queen is politically competent (and reading between the lines, likely ignores Navani's advice entirely). We later learn that Aesudan is a cruel and petty ruler who has been under the influence of Odium's Unmade for an indeterminate period of time. 3 - Characters of Elhokar and Roshone What was done to Moash's grandparents was monstrous, but in hindsight it doesn't seem to match the characteristics of either Elhokar or Roshone, the two characters we are told are responsible. Elhokar was a pretty terrible ruler for much of the time we are with him, he trusts the wrong people, and occasionally displays a temper. Even so, agreeing to throw some elderly artisans in the palace dungeons merely to financially benefit an ally seems much more cold-hearted than the Elhokar we know. If however Aesudan was responsible for throwing some inconvenient darkeyes in dungeon, it is fitting with Elhokar's character that he would try to protect her and refuse to think ill about her. Roshone is another character who while greedy, underhanded, and unpleasant doesn't seem to sink to the level of murderous to achieve his goals. Indeed in the Hearthstone flashbacks Roshone seem to rely on bullying and peer pressure to try to get back Lirin's stolen spheres, rather than directly threatening his family or imprisoning them. Lirin notes that he is of high enough Nahn to have rights against unlawful imprisonment by Roshone, but the events of the Roshone Affair clearly demonstrate a flaw with that line of thinking. The fact that Lirin and Hesina seem to have grown accepting of Roshone's presence by the events of Oathbringer may indicate that Roshone isn't as malicious as has been suggested. Perhaps Roshone originally proposed an underhanded scheme to pressure Moash's parents into joining his monopoly, but it was Aesudan who chose to escalate matters into imprisoning them? 4 - Elhokar's Cryptic Elhokar had attracted the attention of a Cryptic (liespren) and was on the path to becoming a Lightweaver before his tragic end. We'll never know for certain what specific lies Elhokar had been telling himself that attracted a Cryptic ("I am a good and effective King" seems one painful possibility). His uncompromising belief that his wife was a good person and just ruler seems very likely to have been one of them though. During the infiltration of Kholinar when he otherwise displayed traits of a good leader he repeatedly refused to consider the possibility that Aesudan was responsible for the situation in the city. Admitting this would likely have been one of his Truths for a Lightbringer oath. Thus completes the tragedy of Elhokar, his greatest flaw and the seed of his downfall was loving and trusting his wife too much. 5 - Random Quote That Probably Means Nothing Behold the offhand reference to a card game that Lirin makes when Roshone first arrives at Hearthstone: "The tower" is commonly used as a symbol of House Kholin, it and a crown are the chapter header image for Dalinar. Mentioning the Queen in contrast to the tower here would be a fantastic wink from Brandon if did turn out that the Queen (Aesudan), not the Tower (Elhokar) was responsible for the Roshone affair and its fallout. Or it might mean nothing at all
I've searched through the forum and haven't found any threads specifically discussing this, which is a little surprising. If such a thread exists and I missed it, I apologize. Now on to the topic. What's the deal with Aesudan Kholin, Elhokar's wife? In the WOR prologue, we learn that Jasnah was contemplating having Aesudan assassinated by Liss before changing her mind and having her merely spy on the queen for the time being. But why? what's so special about Aesudan? Who is she? What sort of threat does Jasnah believe her to pose to her family that she is willing to go as far as have her assassinated? Sure Aesudan, as shown in Lhan's interlude chapter in WOR, is definitely not a really good person nor a good ruler, throwing lavish parties and being excessive, wasteful and out of touch with and uncaring of the common people. All of this make her a terrible person but it's not enough to justify Jasnah's actions against her. Like Jasnah had to have been convinced that Aesudan was serious bad news for her family to even contemplate going as far as an assassination attempt. Not to mention Jasnah had this planned while Gavilar was still alive, so Aesudan wasn;t even queen then. There's also the fact that Bordin, said to be one of Dalinar's most trusted servants, had been left behind in Alethkar to spy on Aesudan, or at least this is what Mraize claims. If that's true then does that mean Dalinar shares at least some of Jasnah's suspicions regarding the queen? I highly doubt he knows about Liss and Jasnah's almost assassination attempt against Aesudan since I'm sure he wouldn't have approved of it. But both Dalinar and Jasnah must now something about Aesudan that warrants having people spy on her. And how do the Ghostbloods know about, for that matter how much do they know? Is Aesudan somehow connected to them? Or maybe she's associated with the Diagram or some other secret organization since Roshar seems to be crawling with them. I think it's pretty obvious that there's more to her but what? There's something else mentioned in the Lhan interlued that might also be relevant somehow: Why is that? What has she done or things she's done that led her to believe the Almight might be displeased with her? I don't have any concrete theories about this yet myself, gotta do a little more investigation, dig a little deeper, look for more hints and foreshadowings and things like that if there are any in the relevant chapters before forming one. But I figured I start this discussion here to see what you guys think and if any of you have any theories/ speculations of your own or know of any WOBs regarding this because this is something that has been on my mind since I finished WOR.