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Torol Sadeas

Jasnah Kholin is not as smart as she thinks she is, and I love that

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I'm very curious if people agree with me on this. Now, Jasnah is among the characters I like, partly because her powers are cool and she mastered them almost as well as Kaladin mastered flying. And partly because I think other character's completely overestimate her, which I love a lot. 

More specifically, I disagree with the notion that she is a genius. There are many times she is just plain wrong or shows bad judgement. Most notably is of course the meeting with the other Radiants in Oathbringer. Where she dismisses Kaladin's accounts and wants to murder all parshmen. This is just bad judgement, there is no way to spin it. Kaladin clearly had a better grasp on both the consequences of war and on the Parshmen situation. Contrary to her, he has seen both. Her reaction shows she is completely unwilling to consider his very valid points- contrary to Dalinar by the way, who answers him very reasonably. I can only think that she completely underestimated Kaladin. Still, a wise person would know that Kal simply knows more about this topic than Jasnah does. After Rhythm of War it is clear to everyone that Kaladin was right in this discussion. He may sound a bit naive at first, but what he has seen needed to be considered. The path of Venli, Rlain and Leshwi proved him correct. The parshmen are not necessarily their enemies. Then she wants to capture the Heralds and kill them to put them back to Braize. Putting morals aside, this is a truly moronic idea. One of the dumbest things anyone in all four books ever suggested. Nothing logical about it, at best it's a waste of time. At worst, you make yourself an enemy of the 9 most powerful beings on Roshar, who would do anything to prevent going back to Braize.  

Then, she completely misunderstands Shallan all the time, I mean how can you not understand that the girl loves her new independence. You even heard what she accomplished alone, and yet you still think she wants to be treated as inferior? Very weird, even if I agree with her that Shallan's training wasn't complete. Just talk it out and don't act like it's natural that you still give her orders.  

I also don't know why she thinks killing Renarin is in any way the "logical" or rational next step. I know she doesn't do it in the end (which made me like her a lot more), but even if you believe , wouldn't you want to find out more about his situation and spren before you murder him? 

This is not to say she isn't intelligent, she certainly is. But I think she is not the genius people portray her as and honestly not even as intelligent as people like Lirin, Navani or Kaladin. She seems stuck on what she perceives as logical/rational and is very unwilling to consider other people's viewpoints. Personally, I actually like that she is constantly wrong about things. It humanizes her more, which is also why I loved her battle chapter in Rhythm of War and her sparing Renarin in Oathbringer. It's a really nice contrast to Shallan's viewing her as a divine figure.  

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Of course you'd say this Sadeas lol

 

But yeah, you're not wrong at all. Jasnah thinks she's hot rust, and so does everyone else, but she makes mistakes and has issues, especially with emotional things.

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Posted (edited)

Shallan captured it perfectly, way back in TWoK (ch 29) - though she wasn't talking about Jasnah then - the irony is how it applied to Jasnah after all:

Spoiler

“And what would be the right word, then?”

“I don’t know. ‘Errorgant,’ perhaps.”

Jasnah raised a skeptical eyebrow.

“It means to be twice as certain as someone who is merely arrogant,” Shallan said, “while possessing only one-tenth the requisite facts.”

 

Edited by Treamayne
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Posted (edited)

None of those arguments pertain to Genius or a lack of it; Genius doesn't mean Paragon.  Jasnah Kholin is objectively a Genius:  Genius means you mental capabilities that are significantly above average (and in some usages are specifically natural born talents), she made herself one of the foremost Scholars of her entire world by her mid-20's. But genius wont make you Moral, Humble, or Infallible. She is a cold, calculating, Machiavellian ruler that has a sense of morality that is certainly atypical among protagonists, she can be arrogant and she is a mortal person that is capable of mistakes.  Truth is most of those failings are pretty traditional for people that receive the "Genius" label.

Edited by Quantus
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Posted (edited)

Completely agree that she is not as smart as people perceive her to be, and also completely agree w/ Quantus that she's a genius. 

It's the extra extreme genius that people confuse w/ her actual intelligence that gives her some of the commanding Aes Sedai kinda presence, and the respect people give her.

Edited by Anomander Rake
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So if we got this right jasnah is a genius by the definition of the word as well as her accomplishments in world. 
but she sometimes gets too caught up in this immortal image that people paint of her and begins to act errogant even to the point of antagonizing people with suggestions that don’t make sense.

(Alethi seem to have a weird tradition that if you lose your cool that your argument is wrong) and this seems to be what jasnah uses to make her way through the alethi court.

 

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43 minutes ago, Rg2045 said:

So if we got this right jasnah is a genius by the definition of the word as well as her accomplishments in world. 
but she sometimes gets too caught up in this immortal image that people paint of her and begins to act errogant even to the point of antagonizing people with suggestions that don’t make sense.

(Alethi seem to have a weird tradition that if you lose your cool that your argument is wrong) and this seems to be what jasnah uses to make her way through the alethi court.

 

That sums it up nicely.  And those failings probably have more to do with being a top dahn celebrity that her mental state.  Elkhart had all the same problems with buying into his own hype at bad times.

(My phone autocorrected his name and I choose to let it stand for the deer-fop mental image :) )

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Agreed. There's also the fact that to become a radiat, you must be broken in some way. So, Jasnah was broken as well, and it is possible that her arrogance stems partially from that break.

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On 5/27/2022 at 5:40 AM, EmulatonStromenkiin said:

Agreed. There's also the fact that to become a radiat, you must be broken in some way. So, Jasnah was broken as well, and it is possible that her arrogance stems partially from that break.

Yeah.

The "need to be broken" thing may be partially in world belief that may not be 100% true in all cases, but for Jasnah it seems that she had some kind of childhood mental issue which has driven her focus on logic/reason above all.

And that focus does drive her arrogance, because most people don't think that way, so she sees herself as superior to them. She believes that she's not as rational as she should be, so what about all those other people that don't even try?

But that doesn't mean her intelligence and reason aren't really very exceptional. Ivory, who ought to know, does describe her as far more rational than other humans. And she does display an ability to think outside her expectations & context -- eg making the Parshmen/Voidbringers connection when nobody else could even imagine them as a threat, pushing to abolish slavery & dueling, etc.

And I think given what she knew at that point, killing the Heralds to send them back to Braize wasn't an unreasonable suggestion. It now looks like that wouldn't have worked, but from what the Stormfather had just told them, it sounded like it would have. And it's not like Moash had that much trouble killing Jezrien... most of the Heralds aren't that functional now. (Ishar and Nale, though, yeah would not be easy...)

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Posted (edited)

I get the feeling that one of Jasnah's defining traits is a lack of empathy. Maybe not to sociopath levels, but she lacks a certain sentimentality and emotional motivation that others seem to expect and they never get comfortable seeing her not display them.

I suspect that Jasnah actually is as smart as she thinks that she is, but that her judgement is not as unerring as she assumes. She doesn't seem to have much capacity for humility or doubt: if she's convinced herself, how could she be wrong? Though I think that even that is more of a "we have to do something now, and here is the best thing I can think of to do, so we have to do it" sort of situation. As others have pointed out, she relies on her social and political station to get her way more than anything else anyhow, and doesn't seem to grapple with that. But I, too, like the examples of her being wrong about things for the same reasons the OP describes.

While I disagree with her decisions on matters like annihilating all Parshmen or killing Renarin a lot of that is due to the broader perspective that being a reader of the novels allows me. She presumes that the Fused will continually be overtake Parshmen bodies, that the Fused will work endlessly towards eradicating humans from Roshar, and that the Parshmen will gladly assist them in that. She's wrong about some of those to varying degrees, but under those assumptions it wouldn't seem like there are a lot of alternatives to total war all the way to the end.

Definitely she should have listened to Kaladin instead of dismissing him, but she's focused on winning the Desolation for sure and avoiding human extinction on Roshar. I can see how that line of thinking might be appealing to someone, particularly someone raised in a royal family in a culture that glorifies war. And if she lacks empathy or sentiment I can see it being hard to sway her away from it.

I wonder if more POV chapters for Jasnah will show a more nuanced person, feeling and dealing with doubt and uncertainty. I assume we'll find out at some point.

Edited by Returned
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17 hours ago, Returned said:

I get the feeling that one of Jasnah's defining traits is a lack of empathy. Maybe not to sociopath levels, but she lacks a certain sentimentality and emotional motivation that others seem to expect and they never get comfortable seeing her not display them.

I suspect that Jasnah actually is as smart as she thinks that she is, but that her judgement is not as unerring as she assumes.

She at least acts that way; I think that may be as much her belief that her actions should be based on reason/shouldn't be swayed by emotion as an actual lack of empathy, though.

Yeah, exactly - she has the intellectual arrogance which is very common to a lot of genuinely very smart people.

18 hours ago, Returned said:

While I disagree with her decisions on matters like annihilating all Parshmen or killing Renarin a lot of that is due to the broader perspective that being a reader of the novels allows me.

And it's important that she did change her mind on Renarin once she saw what was actually happening.

If Renarin really had been working on Odium's side she probably would have had to kill him. At this point there was no real authority able to put him on trial, Alethkar was missing its king and Renarin is too high status to be subject to ordinary courts I'd think.

We can perhaps blame her for jumping to that conclusion but I'm not sure that's fair -- the situation really did look bad. And again, she realized in time what was really happening.

18 hours ago, Returned said:

I wonder if more POV chapters for Jasnah will show a more nuanced person, feeling and dealing with doubt and uncertainty. I assume we'll find out at some point.

I think that's pretty much guaranteed.

It's clear from the scene in OB with her and Ivory that she doesn't see herself as the hyper rational person everyone else sees, & that she has a deep fear of losing her sanity -- I think the latter is part of why she focuses so much on acting from reason rather than emotion.

(Though having to constantly defend her beliefs, both academically and against the local religion, probably is also a big part of it.)

 

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