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Savanorn posted a topic in Stormlight ArchiveOdium, Desolations, Recreance and Gavilar. Why is being a surgebinder so dangerous? Why are they the force that ‘could’ return Desolations to this world? (To quote Nale) I've wondered this, I've turned it over, and one answer keeps coming back. I call, and it comes, again. I’ll elaborate on this in the body ahead, but I sincerely hope you’ll forgive my love of long speech, I hazard a guess that others have guessed as well. The Nature of Surgebinding, Stormlight is raw surges, raw energy, it is colourless but through its use the Radiants were able colour it, and make use of surges selective to their bonded spren, like shooting light through a filter, and taking only a selection of the spectrum. It’s an analogy I like, although I’m not sure if it’s of my own device. A Windrunner Invests Stormlight, and he can bond or lash. Furthermore, if trapped in a gem, a fabrial may harness this stormlight to an effect determined by the gem. In this case, the gem is the filter. So, you can change the vessel, that is, the filter (different surgebinder, different gem) but what if that isn’t the only thing you could change? What if a Surgebinder could Invest an entirely different kind of Light? Voidlight, Voidbinding, and Gavilar’s Design We’ve seen a different Light, perhaps even, a different form of Investiture. There are hints that this exists, termed Voidbinding, but I’m doubtful this is of the exact same vein. What I speak of is Odium’s sphere. The black sphere Gavilar held. Strongly implied to be of Odium. Gavilar believed he could return the Parsheni gods, which we now know to be Voidspren, and this black sphere seems by far the most likely means to that end. Only… there’s a problem with this; a Parsheni cannot Invest. They can bond a spren, sure, and surely it is possible that Gavilar’s sphere contained a voidspren for the Parsheni to bond, but this explanation seems…mundane, and at the very least it does not match the description of the Stormspren we see in Word’s of Radiance. I have another theory, but I’ll backtrack a moment. Why was Gavilar so interested in the Knights Radiant? I've asked myself this of a time, and the answer that returns is simple, “Gavilar wanted a Radiant, because Radiants can surgebind” We've seen Amaram, who was a confidant of Gavilar, greatly desires the return of the Heralds, and I believe Gavilar is referenced as a pious man, and my bet is that Gavilar sought to begin a Desolation so that the Heralds would return. Now, he may have been manipulated by Odium, as Shallan’s father was. Certainly Navani saying that he had a darker side is some points in that direction, although hardly conclusive. He could have just been a pious man who sought the return of the Heralds through some misguided Faith. But, I digress. As I said, long speech. Now, I think that Gavilar’s design required a Radiant. A Radiant to Invest with the essence of Odium, this then, is what begets a desolation. Further Speculation on Desolations So then, we’re on the same plateau. I’m sure those of you who read this, insightful gems you are, have already guessed the implications of this. A Desolation is caused when a surgebinder Invests Odium. A Desolation is caused when a Herald breaks under torture. But breaks to do what? Well…you’ve probably deduced my meaning. We’ve seen glimpses of what Damnation is like, hooks through flesh, fire melting skim, fat and bone. Searing agony, doubly so for a surgebinder, knowing it could all stop if only they drew a little Odium into them. We’ve seen how stormlight heals and fortifies the body, I can imagine for the Heralds, surgebinders, being trapped in Damnation without access to Stormlight, but with Odium’s essence all around them. I can’t think of a better way to break them. This also explains why the Heralds bring a Desolation, they can tap Voidlight and return to Roshar, but in doing so they bring Voidspren which can then infect and/or corrupt. Only, this time, the Heralds stayed. They stayed because they were too broken to go back, and because they knew if they stayed, the Pact would hold, as long as Taln remained. Taln, who is famous for impossible last stands, Taln who, I feel, would be the last to break. I his disregard for his own life implies a lack of fear of Damnation and suggests that he wasn’t broken. Not yet, and…perhaps…not now. If Taln in Words of Radiance is not Taln truly. Shin Stone Shamanism and Recreance This, then, would explain the reason why the Shin view the Stormlight as profane. A lot of Stone Shamanism, or at least in Szeth’s experience and being Truthless, seems to relate to the return of Desolations. Surely, then, anyone who could Invest Stormlight is putting the world in peril of a Desolation. It would make sense then, that this fear of surgebinders take root, assuming the superstition to be based in some fact. If, perchance, the Radiants knew this to be true, or found it out, it would explain Recreance as well. It takes one surgebinder to bring another Desolation, to sweep the slate clean. It might well make sense. As long as the Radiants remain, the possibility of massive failure awaits, a second Desolation. Without a surgebinder, the possibility is almost nothing. Moreover, the death of the spren makes them exceedingly unlikely to trust humans again, lowering the likelihood of future bonds even more so, and it also makes sense why the last Radiant Dalinar speaks to is so morose about the inevitability of the Last Desolation. Moreover, we know there is some war when the Radiants desert their oaths. Perhaps they feared the ramifications of a losing side will to go to extreme, Odium-investing, measures. As I said, it only takes one. As a final aside, I think it is Odium's cunning that is the reason we haven't seen an Everstorm before. He had to break or corrupt the Heralds, he had to let the rot set in with people (or selectively reveal information to catalyse this) and at the end he unleashes his most devastating device. Exactly when people have no Herald, no Knights Radiant, barely a sense of unity and Parshmen in every city. That said, I'm not sure if the Everstorm is the Final Desolation, or merely an aspect of it. I could certainly imagine that this could well be Opium trying to sweep the field and pull out all the stops. The Acknowledgements of Alternates: (A Few) It then should come as no surprise that there are alternate hypothesis that some may dare to say are more credible. Certainly, Nale could merely mean what we saw in Words of Radiance. The Parsheni were, in part, pushed to become Stormform based on the appearance of Kaladin at the Battle of the Tower. The return of Surgebinders begat the return of Voidbringers. It is also possible that the Black Sphere is not the cause of a Desolation, but rather the essence of Odium that allows him to choose a champion, or something else to this extent. Midnight essence, even. I should note that the nature of damnation is also highly speculative, as is the possibility of a surgebinder Investing voidlight. Or even voidlight behaving as stormlight does. Perhaps they have radically different types of Investiture, or mayhap voidlight cannot be Invested. I do not know if Recreance ties in well with my theory or not, this is just where it has taken me, yet it feels meaningful, it feels right. I also think that it could be due to Bondsmiths getting some special insight into the death of Honour, or Odium in general just influencing some important people at the right time. Odium clearly does not need to be physically present to influence people, I surmise an Investment by Odium would be a lot like a Parsheni bonding a Stormspren, but it might not even be necessary. Thank you.
The theory basically is, the Nightstone is part of the body of Cultivation in physical form. Here's my reasons. When Szeth killed Gavilar and he gave Szeth the sphere it was night. Quote from Szeth: Prologue. So we have a sphere that glows with a black light at night. Next is a quote from a very unreliable source, but the details are too exact to be a coincidence in my opinion. So I reason that there must be some grain of truth in it. Quote from Szeths POV about Tooks story: I-3 The Glory of Ignorance. Now while I think that most of Tooks story is idle boasting, I do believe that he's at least seen a sphere that's same as the one Gavilar had, maybe even the same one. The description of a sphere that glows black at night is too big of a coincidence I think. Connections to Cultivation: The Shin seem to worship Cultivation, they also revere stone. Maybe Cultivation invested in the rock and minerals of the planet? Cultivation and the Nightwatcher are suspected to be the same person The stone glows black at night. Connecting to the Nightwatcher? (Cultivation) Tooks unreliable account of sealing it from the Nightwatcher (Cultivation) Possible conclusion - The Nightstone is a part of the body of Cultivation in physical form. Now there's a lot of holes and no evidence to connect the sphere to Cultivation other than guesses and dubious stories, and I'm not sold on the theory myself, but I thought it an interesting enough theory to share with you guys. ====================== My other thought, based on this quote: chapter 58 - The journey Was that the sphere is connected to the Midnight Mother, possibly one of the Unmade. Maybe the Unmade are the Parshendi dark gods and Gavilar was going to do something with the stone that would risk their return.