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Looney theory time Dalinar is old, as in maybe a reincarnation of Tanavast or the Sunmaker. Maybe something entirely different. Reasons : in Oatbringer he states that he never felt young and that he has a feeling that the light (spiritual realm?) is familiar to him. I'm not sure about the reincarnation, any WOB about that? Anyways rip away guys!
First off sorry for my rambling, I’m not a writer, just a reader. I hope you understand the message. Secondly, I would like to make clear that I do not want to insult anybody with this letter, it’s just my sarcastic way of addressing all the criticism I’ve seen about Oathbringer. I feel that all the critics have been reading a different print, one that my eyes will never see. Everybody has an opinion, and it’s good to have discussions, that’s why we love the 17th Shard, so I want to express mine. I feel that people are getting blinded by their own expectations and I would like to show them a different way, reading a book not based on your expectations, but how it's written by the author. It’s definitely isn’t a perfect book, but it sure as damnation isn’t reeking of writers block either. I’ve seen too many onetime readers express their dislike with Oathbringer, because they had different expectations. “I think I'll get a lot more out of the second read now that I know what to expect”, sure mate, how about you “Read it how it is, not what you expect it to be.” That’s also the summary, so if this letter is too long for you to read, you can base my opinion on that quote. Dear Oathbringer critic, Every person is allowed their own opinion, so let me give you mine. You might probably know this expression: Journey before destination. Saying Oatbringer didn’t fulfill your expectations is like going to the end of the book, with your expectations, and then being mad that the arrival there wasn’t how you imagined it. Well guess what, you are the reader and Sanderson is the writer, and the journey is not what is evil. (pulp fiction reference intended) Because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, it was just shown in a different way. Your lack of scope has prevented you from enjoying this book. Then you start blaming him for not setting expectations or making a promise for the ending? Not delving more into Sadaeas’s murder? Not giving more POV’s to Amaram? Dalinar politics are boring? Losing pace with the Shadesmar part? Not having a flow in the book? Female Axehound please…. Let me introduce you to how I read this amazing book: Lack of Expectations/ Promises Did you really not see the promise in this book? The expectations set by the author? The promise is to see Dalinar become the good or the bad guy, the genius of this is that you genuinely do not know which way it will go and that the border between good and bad is very thin in Sanderson land. The delivery is the outcome itself in an epic battle. Your expectations should be to see the strife, that it doesn’t come easy, to see a world unfold before your own imagination through his words and to see the progression of the characters. The expectation set by Sanderson for the last part? It’s to have a showdown between Dalinar and the villains. It was not a showdown with Odium personally; you have to save something for the rest of the series, but it was a showdown with the characters that he influenced for three books, by his evil plans. Some get revealed in this book, some do not and some are saved for future plots. The situation was bad for Dalinar, and all hope got crushed by the turn of Sadeas’s army, you were fearing for the life of your favorite characters, but they prevailed by a multitude of character progression shown over three books, hello expectation, hello delivery of promise. The way leading up to a characters choice is way more important than for example, a ring bouncing around the world finding its way to be destroyed. The characters do not stumble along, they are shown progressing. “Sadeas’s army turned so suddenly? It only gets revealed in the end, it doesn’t have a buildup,” you say? What would the story be with you knowing exactly what the villain is preparing? Would the reveal of Sadeas’s army changing sides have that much impact if you were expecting it? In retrospect all the signs were there that they would turn, but you didn’t see it. It’s like (Mistborn Spoiler alert , all the signs were there but you didn’t see it. That’s what makes Sanderson so outstanding, he waves stories in front of your eyes and you don’t see it till the very end, and you are amazed that you didn’t figure it out sooner. In your case you didn’t ever see it. The turn of the army has been building up for three books, open your eyes. “Amaram's turn happened off screen?” Personally I was amazed that he went so far, I hated him and thought he was bad, turns out he’s worse than I thought, boom. In retrospect you feel stupid for not realizing it sooner, all the signs where there: his evil ways with Kaladin, the constant double face that was only revealed to a few people and the Sons of Honor who were actively planning to bring back the Heralds (read bring back the Voidbringers). Think about it: Gavilar with his voidsphere… Unknowing or not on which side were they? Sure, he could have given Amaram more story, but he chose not to, it's the authors choice. But this book is about Dalinar, you see his progression and do not know if he will turn out to be the bad guy or not, in fact many thought he will turn to Odium, but in the end, after an expectation setup through the whole book, he finds himself and shows that you can be a better man in spite of all your horrible mistakes. The rest of the book ties in with this perfectly. Then there is the fact that this book is actually four books in one, with each book having a, surprise surprise, intro, main plot and conclusion. I will further address these books as they are called, parts. They each set expectations, deliver on those expectations or do worldbuilding (you know, something very important in the epic-fantasy genre). Shadesmar anybody? Now for you to not see these expectations and delivery baffles me to the point of me having to write this letter. I will start by showing you that there is, in fact, expectation and delivery, for almost each part and for the end of the book. The parts that don’t have these do have something else that we love, worldbuilding. There is part I which is first off an introduction and secondly shows Shallans struggle with the Unmade. It also goes in to some threads left by Words of Radiance, including the aftermath of Sadeas’s murder, like Adolin having a hard time deciding if it was a good thing or a bad thing and not being able to tell Shallan or anybody else about it. Lalai appointing Amaram to lead the House and Dalinar not agreeing with the murder. Just because you people were expecting it to be addressed in a different way doesn’t mean it didn’t get addressed. Expectations set by the author? A confrontation with the unmade, delivered. Tie in for the rest of the book? Information about the Unmade, voidbinding, all the character set up for the rest of the book. Part II is worldbuilding, character development and an introduction to the Grand Villain of the Stormlight Archive books and the instigator for all bad things happening in Oathbringer, Odium. No expectations are set for the end of this part, but delivered? The Villain himself, the back story behind the breaking of the oathpact, Bridge Four POV’s, setup of a new villain, Moash, with his motivations and influence by Odium (it’s not my fault, give in, which ties in with Dalinar’s story) and the struggle of Shallan with her new found position and the contrast to her relationship with Jasnah. What more do you need in a part that sets up not only parts for Oathbringer but for the entire series? If it wasn’t enough of what you wanted, try writing it yourself. Part III is the fight for Kholinar and it shows that not all Brandon’s stories have a happy ending, this in turn makes you doubt that Dalinar will prevail. Next to that there are the political troubles for Dalinar in uniting Alethkar with the other nations; this is the expectations set up for the struggle at the end of the book and for future strife and conflict with the other nations. It shows how hard it was for Dalinar to unite these nations, oh wait, it shows him trying but not succeeding to unite them, so he has to save the day with help of the Knights Radiant, whose story is told in the rest of the book.. That’s what’s called a story, the one you didn’t see, because you were expecting something else. Part IV is the journey through Shadesmar and a tie in of Dalinars horrendous past. Shadesmar is a setup of worldbuilding that, I strongly felt, needed to be written. It wasn’t a struggle for me because I was expecting to learn things about Roshar and Shadesmar, not expecting anything all you naysayers were expecting. Whatever that was. Expectations man, not looking for what you want to see, but READING what the writer wants to show you and imagining it. Then theorizing what’s going to happen, that’s where the fun is. Not in being upset when the writer doesn’t conform to your expectations. Part V is the tie in. “No grand expectation is set or promise made (throughout the book) for the last few hundred pages or so….” Oh really… The grand expectation is Dalinar’s story, it’s his book. Where you not wondering if he will be the good guy or the bad guy? Wasn’t the whole book set up for this one expectation that he will turn good or bad? You were not expecting this massive confrontation between Dalinar and the forces of Odium?? Where you not scared to the core that he will turn out to be evil after all? And does the book not deliver in the grandest way possible Dalinars journey towards his choice to be a better man? Next to these points all leading inevitably to a grand conclusion, you have the story arcs of Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, Szeth, Lift and Bridge Four. Their story arcs converge in the end to fight the evil. Then there’s Venli, Navani, Taln, Ash, Taravangian and Moash who experience progress. Moash is not only riding his past choices, he definetly makes new ones. There’s worldbuilding for a planet that defies our logic, but follows the strict rules of the Cosmere, and it all makes sense. If you are not entertained by worldbuilding and all these stories and you are not excited to read about these characters in the next twenty years, you should switch to a different genre. But I think most of you are in to all these things, so my question to you is this, why do you let yourself be guided by your own expectations and not the ones Sanderson has set? Why are you not enjoying the read as it is? Why are you trying to find faults with the author when the fault is obviously with you? Why don’t you do a reread and find out more? The sheer amount of scope, worldbuilding and development of characters in Brandon’s books is amazing; you just have to see it. Everything ties together in the end, and just because there is no way to address all the characters all the time, the writer needs to choose which stories to tell. Don’t be mad if the writer isn’t telling the story that you wanted, because it’s not your story, it’s his, so enjoy it. No book is without fault, and things could be better, but it doesn’t get much better than Sanderson, and, thank the Almighty, he’s still learning too. So I employ you to read the next Stormlight Archive book with an open mind, to suck in all that information that is given, not expected by you, and to enjoy it for what it is. I can truly say, you won’t be disappointed, because I know Sanderson delivers, ALWAYS. Yours sincerely, Felt