The Rooster

Vorinism and the Decline of Historic Knowledge

53 posts in this topic

I have a theory and while I think it might be a little obvious I don't think it's been brought up directly on the forums.  Here's the gist.  

The Vorin church over the past 4500 year has been run and structured for the main purpose of confusing and  corrupting knowledge of the Knights Radiant, the Desolations, and the Voidbringers.  I also believe that this was due to the influence of Odium as any long term effort to hurt the people of Rhosar's chances to survive the final desolation could potentially be accredited to the Odious one.  Furthermore their takeover of the Silver Kingdoms during the Hierocracy preceding the intervention of the SunKing was not folly, but their masterstroke.  They were able to destroy practically all books or resources containing any knowledge of the past (except the library of Karbranth of course).  Lets take a look at what we know about the church and how it's very structure prohibits the spread of knowledge.

Devotaries are the main way by which pious Vorin's show their faith.  A Devotary has each devotee devote themselves to ONE noble aspect of the church.  The male arts are brute and mostly involve fighting, since the church teaches that the greatest calling a man can fulfill is to be the greatest of warriors and to ascend to the Tranquiline Halls and reclaim them for man.  This Devotion caused men to hold no interest in scholarship, lighteyed males had better rule a town/halmet/city/territory get to war or become and ardent, that is what is proper.  They have no desire to read or gain knowledge of the past, reading is a shameful activity for a man, better to have a proper lady read to you.  Even the amount of reading that Dalinar has pursued caused court gossip, thoough the fact that the book is the Way of Kings doesn't help.    The female Devotary arts are mostly art (painting, music, poetry, embroidery) and scholarly pursuits, but a real lady should try to stick to the flowery ones since the most prominent scholars tend to become Heretics like Jasnah Kholin (I'm just riffing here some of this isn't explicitly said but are either implied or are the feelings I get from reading) {Also I don't agree with the sexist nature of this I'm just talking like an Alethi here).  What they've done is separate those with Power (Men, Warlords, High Princes) from those with knowledge (Women, Scholars, Artists ) .  Now I know a good light eyes couple will always be paired up, but even in this context the females are hiding knowledge in simple messages and texts with footnotes that men don't know about.  And what men can read?  Ardents can!  And through this power they can have a greater influence on history.

**Spoiler

This separation of pursuits is eerily close to the different Parshendi forms influencing different focuses.  Coincidence, I think not.  Influence of Odium, I think so)

Spoiler **

The distinction between Vorinism and Old Vorinism is the reverence of the KR and the Heralds.  They were venerated once and now are thought of as betrayers.  Now the Recreance sure didn't help this, but a huge shift in trends like this needs some kind of push to get things going.  Then it needs a stealthy hand to guide it on the right track.  This is how Over the years, possibly without the entire churches overt knowledge, they could quietly secret away bits of lore and knowledge until we get to the current model of understanding about the past (not much that's accurate).   Now if it is a smaller subset of the church driving this, it could be that during the Sunmaker's destruction of the Heirocracy,  this piece of the church would need to completely break off to survive.  They wouldn't disappear however they'd become ... The Ghostbloods.  Do they have a secret library of old world knowledge?  Is it the library of Karbranth?  Tune in for WOR and hope we find out!

I'm kind of running out of steam now so I'll come back later with some references and the like.  But I think this is an interesting topic of pursuit and I hope it sparks some conversation.

Edited by agrooster
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Much of what your saying stands to reason but I don't agree that Odium influenced Vorinism, 

 

"Did our enemies realise that the harder they fought, the stronger we resisted?...But ignore the steel long enough, and it will eventually rust away". On the back of the hardcover. 

 

I think Odium just left for 4500 years and let men fight amongst themselves. Also I really like you theory that the Ghostbloods are a rogue splinter of old Vorinism.

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Odium's on Roshar and Invested too much to leave. Its fairly obvious that Alethkar culture has been twisted into something that serves Odium's purposes. Culture and religion play off each other constantly; one changes the other and the other changes one over lifetimes. So it makes sense that Vorinism would be part of this corruption of culture.

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One thing that has always struck me is the present perception of the KR and the Recreance.  There have been no desolations since the Recreance, no major historical world conflicts, nothing that seems to require the efforts and influence of the KR.  Yet the KR did not "abandon" the people, they "betrayed" them.  There is a world of difference between those words. 

 

How did the Recreance come to be termed as a betrayal?  The KR did not turn on the people as is sometimes hinted.  They simply, by all appearances so far, jumped ship.  It seems clear that this had to be the result of a direct choice to reframe this.  Since the principles set forth by the Sunmaker are so starkly different (even possibly opposite) than those of the KR, I suspect that he was the source of the paradigm.  If you want an new idea to take hold you either cozy that idea up to established ideas and slowly differentiate or you directly contrast that idea with an established idea and point out how bad the established idea is.

 

That being said, I would not rule at complicitness of Vorinism and the Ardentia in this change.  If the writing was on the wall for the Ardentia at the time of the Heirocracy, then the Sunmaker could have manipulated them into complicitness in exchange for their survival as a body of influence.  The Sunmaker then condemns the KR, the Ardentia "admits" the KR "turned against humanity", the Sunmaker publicly suggests that Vorinism be changed, and that the Ardentia take on a new politically impotent role in society.  The Ardentia now is in a position to alter and affect a change in the peoples thinking in the name of "openness and coming clean" about the past.  

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**A SPOILER OR TWO**

 

When Dalinar was talking to God in the last vision, God told him that Odium's plan was to bide his time because he knew the people would do more damage to themselves than he could do. I don't know if the loss of information was due to Odium or to basic human power struggles; Sanderson manages to write parallels between Roshar and our world and our world has shown that victors write the history. Perhaps they wanted it to look like the KR abandoned the people when something on a much larger, much less controllable level happened.

I don't think Karbranth is the hub of all the old knowledge, however. We saw that Taravagian was part of some organization that was very dark and widespread and that Jasnah was having problems finding anything mentioning the times of the Voidbringers; there is probably a secret store of arcane texts belonging to whatever group the king belongs to.

Re-reading the prologue of WOK, it seems like Teln was the only one holding back any further Desolations. Did the KR abandon their posts because they felt like they weren't needed? Were they being treated like the personal army of kings? Maybe the people BETRAYED them.

I just can't wait for this to unfold in future books.

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You don't change a people to tear down their heroes. You tear down their heroes to change the people. The KR betrayed the people.

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You don't change a people to tear down their heroes. You tear down their heroes to change the people. The KR betrayed the people.

 

I agree there's alot of room to debate in Odium's overt attention causing this trend.  But I think it's pretty clear that the way Vorinism is set up does not lend itself to consistent Tribal knowledge being faithfully passed down among the parishioners.  This plays right into Odium's hand as the people of Roshar are unprepared for the Final Desolation.  I hope in the future we get to meet some super high ups in the Vorin church it will be interesting to see more of that infastructure.

 

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You don't change a people to tear down their heroes. You tear down their heroes to change the people. The KR betrayed the people.

 

Considering what we have so far been given regarding the KR and the Recreance, I am reluctant to accept (yet) that the KR "betrayed" the people.  We haven't yet seen anything to suggest that the KR left in time of dire need or where such a need was expected.  Everyone was told they won the last desolation, the Heralds bailed.  This brings up another interesting point.  The Heralds bailed, but are still revered.  The Radiants bailed, but are vilified.  It will be interesting to see what actually happened and why this difference exists.  For the time being, I stand by my supposition that the Sunmaker is the source of the vilification of the KR.

 

The KR would have been held high in the estimation of the people, but they are apparently confused by the Recreance.  Vorinism clearly held the KR to be of particular significance since Kabsal identifies the Recreance as the first great failure of Vorinism.  The Heirocracy occurs: the establishment which doctrinally upheld the KR tries to take over, the Sunmaker sees an opening to politically destroy the Ardentia as well as weaken the esteem in which the KR are held by the people.  If the Ardentia who upheld the KR are bad, then people will be be more likely to believe the KR were bad as well.  The Sunmaker proposes significant social change and the people are now in a mind set to give place for such a change.

 

Given what we have so far, this line of reasoning makes the most sense to me.  Though, it is entirely possible that (at least some of) the KR did turn against rather than away from the people, I have not seen any evidence of that yet except for the general regard of the people that this was the case.  So far, the events don't match this line of thinking though.

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I'm sure it works both ways. I'm sure the misdeeds of the KR have been greatly exaggerated. However, its impossible to vilify a perfect hero. Before stepping down, the KR did things that made it possible for them to be vilified. Stepping down at a time of peace (when they weren't needed) wouldn't be enough to turn them into villains. They would still be revered.

Read the epigraph quotes. "We were loved once" "Almighty, why have you forsaken us" etc. There's evidence that the KR were betrayed from both ends: by Honor and by the people. Honor's betrayal (or death followed by Odium's wirk) made them vilifiable, the people's betrayal made them vilified. The knowledge of both made them quit.

Looking forward to more information too, and of course this is all speculation. Having to say so every time seems strange to me.

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You may have a some good points there.

 

Unfortunately, things do change over a long period of time.  4500 years ago to us was well before the ages of Greece and Rome.  Imagine how much information has been lost just about those two cultures.  Just think about how much the power of the Pope has changed in the last few hundred years.  At one point he had powers above Kings and Emperors, now well, not so much.  What used to be one "universal" Christian church has fractured into different belief structures.  Even inside the Catholic church different Popes have expanded and reined in excesses (or at least what different factions thought were excesses.)  

 

Just thinking about the Reformation.  How many works of art and literature were lost when Churches and Abbeys were destroyed?  All of that could have an effect on how people view their past.  Imagine and Imperial Papacy where the church actually set out to rule all of Europe.  How do you think the people of today's Europe would view it after it failed?

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Odium's on Roshar and Invested too much to leave.

 

IIRC (what includes that I err) BS said that Odium didn't invest much because of his nature. Though "Odium has his fingers in a LOT of things." this statement doesn't imply he does much investing. 

 

The KR betrayed the people.

 

Did BS confirm this yet? 

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You may have a some good points there.

 

Unfortunately, things do change over a long period of time.  4500 years ago to us was well before the ages of Greece and Rome.  Imagine how much information has been lost just about those two cultures.  Just think about how much the power of the Pope has changed in the last few hundred years.  At one point he had powers above Kings and Emperors, now well, not so much.  What used to be one "universal" Christian church has fractured into different belief structures.  Even inside the Catholic church different Popes have expanded and reined in excesses (or at least what different factions thought were excesses.)  

 

Just thinking about the Reformation.  How many works of art and literature were lost when Churches and Abbeys were destroyed?  All of that could have an effect on how people view their past.  Imagine and Imperial Papacy where the church actually set out to rule all of Europe.  How do you think the people of today's Europe would view it after it failed?

 

Thinking about this is exactly what lead to me posting this.  If our records are bad their would be even worse since half of the population who would be priveleged enough to read refuse to due to religous cultural mores.  And who put these custom in place?  Well after reading the discussion above it was either the Vorin Church or the Sunmaker.

 

When was the end of the Heirocracy?  I've always thought it was 500 years before present day in the books.  Is there any reference to WHEN the Sunmaker happened?  Could be important.

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How did the Recreance come to be termed as a betrayal?  

Great question. 

Consider the Heralds:  Though it was a lie, they apparently won the war on Roshar and took it to the enemy.  They were revered.

 

Now consider the Knights.  In battle against "devils", they deserted.  Powerful allies of the Vorin ardents, they abandoned the struggle in midcourse and refused to use their power for "good".  By doing so, whatever crusade they were on is thrown into question.  The remaining forces behind the crusade would have have had no choice but to brand them traitors to continue the fight. 

It has been suggested that the Knights were corrupted and realized it.  It could also be that their allies among the ardentia were corrupted.  The Knights may not have wanted to take over, but were unable to take part in a struggle that wasn't in accordance with their purpose. 

What if the struggle they were engaged in was neutral or even furthered Odium's cause?  Maybe something like the scouring of Aimia. 

 

From chapter 52:

"It has to be the rear defense force," one soldier muttered.

They can't have gotten through our lines.  Not with the Radiants fighting...." ... "... the Order of the Stonewards, my lord," the still-mounted scout was saying.  "And a large number of Windrunners.  All on foot."

"But why?" the darkeyed officer demanded.  "Why are Radiants coming here? They should be fighting the devils on the front lines!"

 

They were able to destroy practically all books or resources containing any knowledge of the past (except the library of Karbranth of course).

 

The Way of Kings and the Dawnchant were apparently preserved at Vanrial, near the Silent Mount in Jah Keved.

Edited by hoser
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The span of time between the Recreance and the Heirocracy and between the Heirocracy and the present are very key to this discussion.  If enough generations had passed between the Recreance and the Heirocracy then it is easier to change peoples feelings about those things since they become abstractions in their mind.  They no longer have a frame of reference for the people or events of the time. 

 

 However, its impossible to vilify a perfect hero.

 

Actually I think a perfect hero would have played well in the scenario I laid out.  If the KR were more relatable to the people, then the stories of them would be more plausible.  If the KR were taught to be and perceived to be 'a perfect hero' then it makes it more likely that the people would accept them as constructs of the Ardentia vaunted for the purpose of securing power and authority for the Ardentia. 

 

Look at some of the criticism of WoK as an example. ' Dalinar and Kaladin are too perfect, too good, too righteous'.  A large segment of our population rejects stories of heroes unless the heroes have moral flaws.  Kaladin's depression is not enough, that is an internal flaw.  His choices and motives are too pure.  The same kind of thing goes for Dalinar.  Personally, I find it refreshing to have heroes that are truly good people, not who just do good things.  But there are so many people out there who disagree with me on that.

 

It is not that hard to take down a pure hero when the people have no personal knowledge of them other than stories.

 

Edit: typo

Edited by Shardlet
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However, its impossible to vilify a perfect hero.

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

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Universal literacy is a relatively recent idea.  Even some priest during the middle ages could not read.  It sort of makes sense though.  Before mass production of books (read printing press) books were enormously expensive.  When scribes have to write each work by hand, they are pretty much reserved for the elite of the elite. Early books also relied on stuff that just doesn't preserve all that well except under ideal conditions.  Mix rarity of written material and readers with time and disasters like raids, fires, and water damage, and it is surprising that anything would actually survive.  Throw in a massive shift in language such as the split between Latin, French, Spanish mixed with conquest by tribes speaking another language like German and the chance that anything but the super, super elite could read a work from 4500 years ago is very, very, very slim.

 

Enforced illiteracy has historically been a way to control the flow of information.  It is always much easier to conceal information when only  tiny portion of your population can read.  Still, very few occupations during the medieval period actually required literacy.  Farriers, Farmers, soldiers, spinners, brewers, miners, and the like really don't need to be able to read to perform their duties.

 

 

 

Thinking about this is exactly what lead to me posting this.  If our records are bad their would be even worse since half of the population who would be priveleged enough to read refuse to due to religous cultural mores.  And who put these custom in place?  Well after reading the discussion above it was either the Vorin Church or the Sunmaker.

 

When was the end of the Heirocracy?  I've always thought it was 500 years before present day in the books.  Is there any reference to WHEN the Sunmaker happened?  Could be important.

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The Way of Kings and the Dawnchant were apparently preserved at Vanrial, near the Silent Mount in Jah Keved.

 

 

About the Dawnchant I'm with you. But Way of Kings? I'm unsure; there must be at least 3 those books around.

 

 

1. The one Gavilar owned and now is Dalinar's.

 

2. The Envisagers must have one: 

 

 

“Isn’t everything? There was some old king who came up with all this. Had his wife write it in a book or something. My mother read it. The Radiants based the Ideals on what was written there.” -- Teft told Kaladin, TWoK Ch. 59

 

 

3. Shallan('s father) has one. 

 

"I (Shallan) have read through the complete works of Tormas, Nashan, Niali the Just, and—of course—Nohadon.” Shallan told Jasnah, TWoK Ch. 5

 

Maybe the Envisagers have (or at least had) access to the Vanrial. 

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About the Dawnchant I'm with you. But Way of Kings? I'm unsure; there must be at least 3 those books around.

 

 

1. The one Gavilar owned and now is Dalinar's.

 

2. The Envisagers must have one: 

 

 

 

 

3. Shallan('s father) has one. 

 

 

Maybe the Envisagers have (or at least had) access to the Vanrial. 

I believe that there are multiple copies now spread around the continent.  I also believe that there was a time in which some number of copies at Vanrial were the only ones.  I wish I had the electronic copy of the book, so I could search up the word "Vanrial" and find the text I remember to that effect.  I would be grateful if someone who has the electronic version would do the search. 

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here ya go

“Urithiru was said to be the center of the Silver Kingdoms, a city that held ten thrones, one for each king. It was the most majestic, most amazing, most important city in all the world.”

“Really? Why hadn’t I heard of it before?”

“Because it was abandoned even before the Lost Radiants turned against mankind. Most scholars consider it just a myth. The ardents refuse to speak of it, due to its association with the Radiants, and therefore with the first major failure of Vorinism. Much of what we know about the city comes from fragments of lost works quoted by classical scholars. Many of those classical works have, themselves, survived only in pieces. Indeed, the single complete work we have from early years is The Way of Kings, and that is only because of the Vanrial’s efforts.”

“Anak malah kaf, del makian habin yah,” Navani said. “Sound familiar?”

Dalinar shook his head, baffled.

“It sounds a lot like what father was saying,” Renarin said. “When he was in the vision.”

“Not ‘a lot like’ Renarin,” Navani said, looking smug. “It’s exactly the same phrase. That is the last thing you said before coming out of your trance. I wrote down everything—as best I could—that you babbled today.”

“For what purpose?” Dalinar asked.

“Because,” Navani said “I thought it might be helpful. And it was. The same phrase is in the Analectics, almost exactly.”

“What?” Dalinar asked, incredulous. “How?”

“It’s a line from a song,” Navani said. “A chant by the Vanrial, an order of artists who live on the slopes of the Silent Mount in Jah Keved. Year after year, century after century, they’ve sung these same words—songs they claim were written in the Dawnchant by the Heralds themselves. They have the words of those songs, written in an ancient script. But the meanings have been lost. They’re just sounds, now. Some scholars believe that the script—and the songs themselves—may indeed be in the Dawnchant.”

“And I…” Dalinar said.

“You just spoke a line from one of them,” Navani said. “Beyond that, if the phrase you just gave me is correct, youtranslated it. This could prove the Vanrial Hypothesis! One sentence isn’t much, but it could give us the key to translating the entire script. It has been itching at me for a while, listening to these visions. I thought the things you were saying had too much order to be gibberish.” She looked at Dalinar, smiling deeply. “Dalinar, you might just have cracked one of the most perplexing—and ancient— mysteries of all time.

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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I believe that there are multiple copies now spread around the continent.  I also believe that there was a time in which some number of copies at Vanrial were the only ones. 

I wish I had the electronic copy of the book, so I could search up the word "Vanrial" and find the text I remember to that effect.  I would be grateful if someone who has the electronic version would do the search. 

 

 

At the italic-part: I'm with you there. I was referring to "nowadays" with my three books. :)

 

 

 

That I totally forgot about this passage: 

Many of those classical works have, themselves, survived only in pieces. Indeed, the single complete work we have from early years is The Way of Kings, and that is only because of the Vanrial’s efforts. TWoK Ch. 45

 

 

I think, that's what you remembered. 

 

Edit: I was too slow with my post. :) 

Edited by Meg
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here ya go

Thanks!

 

Interesting that I don't see the "here ya go" in the original post, but when I "quote" it, it shows up. 

 

Meg, this is what I was attempting to refer to. 

 

Logically,  if the ardents (or anybody, really) were leading the Silver Kingdoms in a war and the Radiants suddenly quit, the warleaders would have to discredit the Radiants and call them traitors. 

Odium, if he wanted pervert the existing knowledge, would have every reason to cause the destruction of documents, inspire the language to change (people have speculated that this could be done in the cognitive realm) so the old documents couldn't be read and have half the population be voluntarily illiterate. 

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Yeah I edited that post to add content.

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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At the italic-part: I'm with you there. I was referring to "nowadays" with my three books. :)

 

 

 

That I totally forgot about this passage: 

 

 

I think, that's what you remembered. 

 

Edit: I was too slow with my post. :)

Meg, thank you also and I hope you don't mind an upvote also. 

What makes the discussion of Vanrial particularly interesting is that there is another quote that I am too lazy to find.  I believe Jasnah laments the inability to translate the Dawnchant and suggests that there are some quantity of unreadable documents that will become readable as a result of Dalinar's efforts.   There will presumably be new information about ancient times as the Dawnchant gets puzzled out.

 

In Words of Radiance:

Dalinar is consciously narrating in the vision to give Navani more to work with.

 

In my failed search for quotes, I did find one thing:

When was the end of the Heirocracy?  I've always thought it was 500 years before present day in the books.  Is there any reference to WHEN the Sunmaker happened?  Could be important.

from chapter 26

A disturbing thought.  Looked at another way, those phantom commands to "unify" sounded a great deal like what the Hierocracy had said when it had tried to conquer the world five centuries before.

 

The implication I get is that the Vanrial must have been copying and translating tWoK as the language evolved.  Intermediate copies or documents detailing the rate of language change would be very interesting.  I wonder if Jasnah has been or will go to the Vanrial at Silent Mount. 

Edited by hoser
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Meg, thank you also and I hope you don't mind an upvote also. 

What makes the discussion of Vanrial particularly interesting is that there is another quote that I am too lazy to find.  I believe Jasnah laments the inability to translate the Dawnchant and suggests that there are some quantity of unreadable documents that will become readable as a result of Dalinar's efforts.   There will presumably be new information about ancient times as the Dawnchant gets puzzled out.

 

In Words of Radiance:

Dalinar is consciously narrating in the vision to give Navani more to work with.

 

In my failed search for quotes, I did find one thing:

from chapter 26

 

The implication I get is that the Vanrial must have been copying and translating tWoK as the language evolved.  Intermediate copies or documents detailing the rate of language change would be very interesting.  I wonder if Jasnah has been or will go to the Vanrial at Silent Mount. 

 

 

You're welcome. I'm sorry to play the wiseacre: It's not Jasnah lamenting but Navani (that happened after the Nohadon-vision):

 

“Because,” Navani said “I thought it might be helpful. And it was. The same phrase is in the Analectics, almost exactly.”

“What?” Dalinar asked, incredulous. “How?”

“It’s a line from a song,” Navani said. “A chant by the Vanrial, an order of artists who live on the slopes of the Silent Mount in Jah Keved. Year after year, century after century, they’ve sung these same words—songs they claim were written in the Dawnchant by the Heralds themselves. They have the words of those songs, written in an ancient script. But the meanings have been lost. They’re just sounds, now. Some scholars believe that the script—and the songs themselves—may indeed be in the Dawnchant.”

“And I…” Dalinar said.

“You just spoke a line from one of them,” Navani said. “Beyond that, if the phrase you just gave me is correct, you translated it. This could prove the Vanrial Hypothesis!

 

 

But your quote is amazing too, I didn't remember that. :)

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You're welcome. I'm sorry to play the wiseacre: It's not Jasnah lamenting but Navani (that happened after the Nohadon-vision):

 

 

 

But your quote is amazing too, I didn't remember that. :)

Nice quote. 

I was remembering something different.  Jasnah talking to Shallan about existing documents in the Dawnchant that are currently unreadable.  I wonder whether one of you wizards with the electronic versions could search up "Dawnchant".  I need to get my own electronic copy.

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