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SovietAmerica posted a topic in Stormlight ArchiveSo, I’m on my 10th or so read through of SA, and just started RoW again. We learn during the evacuation of hearthstone that Kaladin has lines of squires ready, but that he needs Spren for them to say their third ideal and become full knights. In earlier books, specifically the end of WoR (when Kaladin earns his blade) and End of Oathbringer (When Teft and The Loren earn their blades/become full knights) it is on their second. As well, though this deals with Skybreakers rather than Windrunners, back in Oath bringer, when Szeth is joining the SBs, he says the first ideal, but cannot consume Stormlight, unlike both Vathah (who seems to have done it without saying and ideals at all) or Kaladin (who also seemed to have done it without saying oaths) is this because the skybreakers are more “orderly” than other sects of Radiants? In general, the rules for ideals and progressing through radiancy have seemed somewhat inconsistent throughout the books, the only true consistency being that you get your armor at the 4th Ideal. Actually, we also never seem to see Nale in his armor, even though we know he is a sky breaker of the 5th ideal. Sorry for the rambling, more ideas come to me as I’m writing out this post.
My argument here is quite simple. The first ideal of the Knights Radiant, shared across all orders, is “Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.” While the meaning and connotations of this oath are somewhat vague in some respects, Sanderson does try to explain the meaning somewhat in TWoK. I’m writing this off the top of my head, so I don’t have exact references, but when Kaladin is discussing this ideal with Bridge Four in the chasms, we are privy to some of his thoughts regarding the words. Essentially, what we learn is that “journey before destination” means that your goal, however noble it may be, must be achieved through means you know to be right and good. So, for instance, if your intended goal, or “destination,” is preventing another desolation, then the means, or “journey,” by which you achieve this goal must be achieved without doing something you know to be wrong, such as killing innocent radiants simply because they are forming nahel bonds. (Sorry, I’m an audiobook reader so my spelling might be wrong.) We know that Nale knows killing radiants is wrong, due to his multiple confessions of this fact throughout the series. He believes that the evil means he uses are justified by his goal of preventing the desolation. Regardless of these feelings, however, he has still broken the first ideal of the knights radiant, and yet he still retains a fifth-level bond to his highspren. In fact, all of the skybreakers retain their bonds, and I highly doubt that not a single one of them believes that killing radiants is wrong, even if they think it’s justified. I don’t know if Brandon has an explanation for this, but if not he’s written himself into quite the corner, as he has established that, by Nale’s own perception, he has broken the first ideal — a restriction placed upon nahel bonds to prevent people from using surgebunding to do the exact things that Nale and the skybreakers are doing — and yet he and his order retain their nahel bonds. Thoughts?
Like many people, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the SA5 prologue since it was released. I have a lot of thoughts about it, but one that I want to focus on is the words that Gavilar says as potential oaths. The words Gavilar tries that the "Stormfather" dismisses are: "I swear this oath: to serve Honor and the land of Roshar as its Herald. Better than these did.” “If I should die, then I would do so having lived my life right. It is not the destination that matters, but how one arrives there." And then we get this moment: This immediately struck me as odd. If Gavilar is interacting with the Stormfather, his oaths should be similar to Dalinar's. I am assuming that Gavilar is already aware of the First Oath, as this seems to be reasonably common knowledge during the modern era. So we should be comparing these words to the Second Oath of the Bondsmiths. Dalinar’s second oath is “I will unite instead of divide. I will bring men together.” In what way is “Give it to me. Now. I need it” almost this? The answer of course is that it isn’t, not at all. But Gavilar does not think he is becoming a Bondsmith, or even a Radiant. He thinks he is becoming a Herald. Is he right? I think he might be. We do not know the mechanism by which the Heralds became Heralds, but given this was a pact with Honor, the swearing of some form of oath is almost certainly part of it. What Dalinar does is swear to behave in a particular way, and that appears to be the same for most Radiants. The words that Gavilar is “close” with however, is a demand to take a particular position. Given what is required of the Heralds, an honourable being like Tanavast would only give this position to those who went into it willingly. It is not honourable to assign to someone eons of torment and torture without their informed consent. Proving Day appears to be a pivotal moment for the Heralds. Perhaps they were given a taste of what they were in for, and then asked if they were willing to take up that burden. The words they swear are not a commitment to behave in a particular way, but an affirmation that they are willing to take on the burden of being a Herald, and a request to take the powers that come with it. This would be much closer to the words Gavilar says. It's a small moment, but I think potentially gives us a big hint about the difference between becoming a Radiant and becoming a Herald. The other important aspect of this is that when Gavilar reveals that he would just give up each time he died and return, the "Stormfather" very quickly breaks with him and leaves him to die. The being strongly implies he has the power to prevent his death. The fact that Gavilar was "close" to becoming a Herald means he can't be allowed to live. This selfish man cannot be allowed to take up the mantle of being a Herald, it would quickly release the Fused. That's important to note, as there is a lot of speculation about if this "Stormfather" is in fact someone else. If this line of reasoning holds, we can be confident that this being is not under the influence of Odium or his forces. Odium would jump at the chance to have Gavilar become part of the Oathpact.
I'm sorry if this is something of an incoherent mess, but I'm writing this half-asleep and I may not know what I'm saying. From what we've seen so far in SA, the budding Radiants have to figure out their oaths on their own. They reach a point in their development where they exemplify the spirit of the oaths, and then they suddenly know the right words to say. And they don't know that their spren can turn into swords. Wyndle says (or rather, dances around the topic not-saying) that bondspren are not allowed to mention the Shardblade thing before it happens. Since there's only a handful of proto-Knights scattered all around Roshar, and it's been thousands of years since the KR were a thing, they can't know anything in advance. But as you get more and more Radiants, sooner or later they're going run into someone else of their own order. And the Noobs Radient are going to ask their more experienced counterparts, "So how does this work, exactly?" The system is going to change, unless the bondspren have some objection to sharing the Words. Would the bondspren want the Words to stay secret? Would they object to their human partners telling the Noobs Radiant where Shardblades come from, or is it just against the rules for the spren to say it? Because if it's supposed to be all Top Secret Classified Keep Out That Means You, I can't see that working very well. It only takes one person to hear a KR talking to her sword and drawing a conclusion, or one Knight to have a Kaladin moment and find his Words while in public, and word will spread. Two possible conclusions about the Words: 1. The Words are instinctive when you reach a certain level, but nothing bad happens if you say them early. Nothing good happens either; the Words are just words until you grow into them. You can't just, say, bond a cultivationspren, read the Edgedancer oaths off of an index card, and boom, you're a full-blown Edgedancer. 2. It's the intent to fulfill your oaths that counts. You can read them off an index card and progress all at once if you sincerely mean to hold up your Order's Ideals. The KR 2.0 is doing things the slow way because they don't have anyone to tell them what the Ideals are until they level up themselves. Just to put that out there as a hypothetical possibility that I don't think fits with what we've seen; something in the back of my head that I don't have words for sees a way this makes sense, but that may be because of the aforementioned sleep-deprivation. I'll come back and see if still works when I'm not tired. Closemouthed Spren: Are bondspren mum about the swords because it's against their nature to give Radiant spoilers, or do they have a specific reason for keeping quiet? Also, do they forget the Ideals until their bond develops, or are they deliberately not telling those, either? Discuss.