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Why Joel didn't become a Rithmatist (spoilers)

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I had a niggling feeling after reading the the Rithmatist like I missed something about why Joel didn't become a Rithmatist. As I was reading the part about him entering the chamber for the masters acceptance and realised that he put the mechanical coin in his pocket. I think that coin may have been part of why the stick figure went away thus leaving Joel a non- Rithmatist. Any thoughts?

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My theory is that Joel's reaction to the chalk guy was too analytical, and that this is why they normally do the ritual on children, and also why it's done as a religious ritual surrounded by awe and wonder. It's sort of the same idea as the gear scaring wild chalkings, only more internal.

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I doubt it was the coin, if only because that would be too cheap, for lack of a better word. Not necessarily just on Brandon's part as an author, but on a universe-level with Joel not becoming a Rithmatists, again, because of completely arbitrary circumstances. Also, all the other chalklings we've seen have only freaked out when they see the gears themselves, and the coin was in his pocket. Maybe the "Shadowblaze" could have sensed it or something, but I don't think so.

And I'm sure a fair number of the children of the wealthy have walked into the chamber with a coin and come out Rithmatists.

I like Morsk's idea, though.

EDIT: Conspiracy theory! Aside from any other way in which the powerful may game the system to make their children Rithmatists, one method could be to promote a custom of carrying a watch/dollar into the inception chamber, which all but the exceptionally poor then do, and then those in the know stop their children from doing so.

I say that the powerful are gaming the system as if it's a fact because it nearly has to be. Melody's family is an impossibility, flat out: either the statisticians are lying about Rithmatists' children being "chosen" or most Rithmatists don't have the pull/knowledge/desire to get their kids picked, but something is going on with the Muns.

Edited by Kurkistan
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I doubt it was the coin, if only because that would be too cheap

Ha :P

I actually like the idea that the coin had something to do with it, we already have a bit of a tie in with gears being related to the origin of rithmatics.

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Well, it is quite likely that the Shadowblaze things are just counterparts of Forgotten, that also possess people and are sentient. Maybe they thought that Joel would be of more use as non-rithmatist for any number of reasons, including the fact that Nalizar seems to have trouble concentrating on non-rithmatist. I find coin unlikely for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the creature lives in a place surrounded by gears, and should have acclimated.

As for the Muns - one possibility that occurred to me is that they have their own family chamber. As long as it attracts even one Shadowblaze, they can present only their own children until it chooses one. Or maybe they'd have the means of forcing one, then.

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I'm pretty sure that most non-chosen children don't see the ShadowBlaze.  It would be rather difficult to keep the secret if they did.  So Joel's rejection was different from most rejections.

 

One possibility that occurred to me is that Joel tried to touch the creature, which might have driven it off.  But it seems like many children, when confronted with a weird magical creature, might try to touch it, and again, I don't think there are any other instances of the creature appearing and the child not becoming a Rithmatist.

 

As far as the coin goes, remember that the guy who discovered Rithmatics had a watch.

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I assumed the size of the wild chalklings was about the same size as the ShadowBlazes. The big ShadowBlaze Joel saw might have been different from the ones that other kids get and he may end up connecting to that guy in the future. Perhaps during a visit to the Grand Canyon? What really worries me is the kid almost seems willing to become a Forgotten to gain Rithmatic Power. (page 354)

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Given the small excerpt from the book Joel "borrowed" on how people become Rithmatists we know that there is the Shadowblaze which is the large primitive chalk-like creature he saw and it must be "chained" in some way. Also it has its fourth entity removed and as I try to figure that one out I can't. The way or time that it is done appears to be unknown or undeterminable. The bindagent is a being controlling power or it is the power that must be transferred to another. The vessels are what the bindagent would transfer the power to, and great care must taken to choose the right vessel as the entire process appears to be irreversible and a wrong decision could have dire consequences.

My guess is that the Shadowblaze is the bindagent, or controls the bindagent, and it must be "chained" by or to the vessel. In this way the power that creates a Rithmatist is indentured upon the vessel or person in the rite. The Shadowblaze must determine if the person. I don't know how the Shadow blaze determines who is and who isn't worthy, but something obviously went wrong with what Joel did. Perhaps he was supposed to wait for the Shadowblaze to touch him and have it start the process, or perhaps he didn't give it time to watch and examine him thus scaring the Shadowblaze away. The vessels are obviously the humans or the recipients of Rithmatic power. Either way he could go back to try and see the Shadowblaze but the chances of him getting back into the chamber are pretty slim.

What do you think?

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I think you're a bit wrong, Lurth. Here's the full excerpt.

 

"The chaining of a Shadowblaze, fourth entity removed, is an often undeterminable process, and the bindagent should consider wisely the situation before making any decisions regarding the vessels to be indentured."

 

I read that as the "bindagent" being a person, seeing as the book was written for humans and thus addresses its advice of "considering wisely" to the reader. This is another of the things which I think suggests a high level of human involvement in the Rithmatist-choosing process: if the "bindagent" is a person, then they intentionally release the Shadowblaze, or at least guide it.

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Yeah I read the bindagent as being the potential rithmatist, the fourth entity removed part is interesting though, removed from what? It's been established that rithmatists have varying religious beliefs so it can't be anything too religious in nature.

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I really don't know how you can read the bindagent as the potential rithmatist, or really as anyone besides a current Rithmatist, given the book it's referenced in. If you strip away all the jargon, I read this:

 

"The binding of a Shadowblaze to a potential Rithmatists is not a definite process. Those in charge of the binding should consider their choice of potential Rithmatists carefully before attempting to bind a Shadowblaze to them."

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Those in charge of the binding? How do you mean?

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Devoid of any context, when I read the word, "bindagent" it makes me think of the substance that binds one thing to another. If that's the case though, it would imply whatever is chaining the Shadowblaze to the Rithmatist is conscious, which doesn't make much sense.

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@Voidus

I was suggesting that some human agent has some amount of control over who gets picked, on some level. It may just be making favored-options smell better, for all I know, but something intentional and at least mildly controlled. Not entirely controlled, what with the "indeterminable", but not a toss of the die either. My "paring down" might not be entirely accurate, but the passage clearly suggests a human agent as the "bindagent" to me.

 

@Windy

That's why I think it is an agent (as in a person) who does the binding. None of this is helped by the fact that Brandon was obviously trying to be as obtuse as possible while (because it's Brandon) also happening to reveal the entire solution to the core mystery of the series to the astute reader.

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I think you're a bit wrong, Lurth. Here's the full excerpt.

 

"The chaining of a Shadowblaze, fourth entity removed, is an often undeterminable process, and the bindagent should consider wisely the situation before making any decisions regarding the vessels to be indentured."

 

I read that as the "bindagent" being a person, seeing as the book was written for humans and thus addresses its advice of "considering wisely" to the reader. This is another of the things which I think suggests a high level of human involvement in the Rithmatist-choosing process: if the "bindagent" is a person, then they intentionally release the Shadowblaze, or at least guide it.

The bindagent could very well be a person, but I don't think so. All uses of the "word" bindagent in contexts outside of this book appear to imply at it is authority or power that belongs to and must be assumed by another. There could be something controlling the Shadowblaze, but it would appear not to be a human. Based on some of the histories we have seen about the Spanish explorers we know they saw them on cliff walls. This implies that they could be:

A. The Rithmatic remnants of long lost, advanced civilization.

B. Wild chalklings that are "good".

C. The servants of a God.

First off, if they are chalklings they are far more advanced than any others we have seen created by humans so I am disinclined to believe that they of human creation.

I believe it is a combination of B and C. I believe that they are a natural occurrence within the system created by whatever supreme being controls this world in order to bestow Rithmatic power upon humans. The bindagent is obviously sentient otherwise it could not makes the wise decision, but I don't believe a human is controlling the system. The power that is the bindagent could very well be a being that attaches itself to the vessel very much like the forgotten attached to Harding, but the bond would be much stronger. Also the fact the book was written by humans, for humans doesn't mean they control it. We write about stars and we know what affects them, but we don't seriously impact them.

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@Voidus

I was suggesting that some human agent has some amount of control over who gets picked, on some level. It may just be making favored-options smell better, for all I know, but something intentional and at least mildly controlled. Not entirely controlled, what with the "indeterminable", but not a toss of the die either. My "paring down" might not be entirely accurate, but the passage clearly suggests a human agent as the "bindagent" to me.

I agree that it's a human agent, but I was thinking more along the lines of the potential rithmatist to be, in picking a vessel for the shadowblaze to bind it to them, granting rithmatic powers.

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Looked closer into the meaning of bindagent. Can mean a lot of things. Including:

A binding agent.

A person who delivers a package.

A power or authority to be assumed.

A person who enforces a contract.

Edited by Lurthemir
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Maybe I'm just being weird here, but I just can't get around seeing the bindagent as someone who is the intended audience of the book. Therefore, the bindagent must be a person, and a person who is already a Rithmatist. What reason is there for this book to council that an eight-year-old "should consider wisely", a directive, when a merely potential Rithmatist will never read it? It's not saying "would be well-served to consider wisely" or "benefits from considering wisely", but advising future action.

 

I read the "vessel" as a potential Rithmatist, myself.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Maybe I'm just being weird here, but I just can't get around seeing the bindagent as someone who is the intended audience of the book. Therefore, the bindagent must be a person, and a person who is already a Rithmatist. What reason is there for this book to council that an eight-year-old "should consider wisely", a directive, when a merely potential Rithmatist will never read it? It's not saying "would be well-served to consider wisely" or "benefits from considering wisely", but advising future action.

I read the "vessel" as a potential Rithmatist, myself.

I see it this way.

Shadowblaze: large extremely advanced wild chalkling that must be bound to a vessel.

Bindagent: the power that binds the Shadowblaze to Rithmatist thus granting Rithmatic power. (This could be the Shadowblaze itself too.)

Vessel: Potential Rithmatist.

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Also what is the fourth entity? And if there's a fourth there must be at least three more.

Edited by Lurthemir
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Maybe I'm just being weird here, but I just can't get around seeing the bindagent as someone who is the intended audience of the book. Therefore, the bindagent must be a person, and a person who is already a Rithmatist. What reason is there for this book to council that an eight-year-old "should consider wisely", a directive, when a merely potential Rithmatist will never read it? It's not saying "would be well-served to consider wisely" or "benefits from considering wisely", but advising future action.

 

I read the "vessel" as a potential Rithmatist, myself.

Hmm, I do kindof see your point here, I think I'm just stubbornly holding to my initial perception at this point :P I just can't get over feeling that since it's in a Rithmatist library that that is the intended audience, it's not in the church library or anything

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I feel mildly annoyed to be ignored so thoroughly :)

Regardless, I find the phrase very ambiguous. Fir example, fourth entity removed - is that Shadowblaze with something removed, or is Shadowblaze itself " fourth entity removed"?

Also, the fact that Nalizar can distinguish Rithmatists probably means that he sees something attached to them that is familiar, while other humans look like crows do to us - more or less the same. Hence the probability that, in fact, the church is secretly controlled by a cabal of Shadowblazes.

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Sorry for ignoring you, Sats.  :unsure:

 

Your thoughts struck me as plausible and I was in the middle of total war with a few people, so I just let them stand.

 

I hesitate to give too much power to the church: puppets, my dear Satsuoni, everyone is a puppet to our Rithmatic overlords!

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For all we know, the top of the church might be Rithmatic, or taken over by Shadowblazes completely. :) And the lower tier just point out better victims... Joel should read the whole book, and pester Melody till she spills. She was ready to do it, too... Maybe asking Nalizar is a better bet for him :) And I wonder who were "they" he mentioned...

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At first: I'm really curious to know what the "fourth entity" is. I'm not good at any kind of physics or something related to, but may that "fourth entity" be the time? As for "mankind" measuring of time plays a very big role, Nalizar said:

 

"Do you know why time is so confusing to some of us, Joel?" Nalizar asked.

Joel said nothing.

"Because man created it. He sectioned it off. There is nothing inherently important about a second or a minute. They're fictional divisions, enacted by mankind, fabricated. ... Yet in human's hands, these things have life. Minutes, seconds, hours. The arbitrary becomes a law. For an outsider, these laws can be unsettling. Confusing. Frightening. ... Others of us ... take more concern to understand--for a person rarely fears that which he understands." 

 

The Rithmatist, Chapter 25 (page 361 Hardcover)

 

 

Another thing that strikes me as it is mentioned a few times in the book: 

 

A new Rithmatist can only be made once an old one dies. 

The Rithmatist, Chapter 25 (page 360 Hardcover) as one quote for it.

 

Thus I wonder whether this inception ceremony is a fake event for most of the children. 

 

There seems to be a fixed contingent of possible Rithmatists (alive). So: Is mankind lacking (a lot of) actual Rithmatists? Or is that ceremony a fake as for it seems to be clear that not every potential new Rithmatist can be chosen for not exceeding that given contingent?

.

edit: adding spoiler-tags

Edited by Meg
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