LordCitrus

[Spoiler] Is the revealed weakness correct?

17 posts in this topic

I had a fun time following all of Sanderson's red herrings around. The opening teaser kind of shoved the idea that crossfire / not-intending to hit was the flaw, so that was thrown out pretty quickly.

 

Once we got to the secret propaganda room, it seemed obvious that it was connected to his weakness, implying either Steelheart wanted to be feared, hated, or otherwise seen as evil. I personally went with the idea that it was belief in Steelheart's goodness that is his weakness, afterall, David's father 'saved' Steelheart because he presumably thought Steelheart was a good epic.

 

The reveal was acceptable, but we have to remember the fear thing is just David's theory, which I see several flaws in.

1) Epics have been shown to be arrogant-- why wouldn't another powerful epic with prime invincibility have punched through the Fear-Shield before? Especially before Steelheart was known, in the early days when he was challenged. Someone like Nightweilder, for example, wouldn't fear Steelheart in a fight as both sides would expect a draw due to their invunlerability.

 

2) Fear can be destroyed. For example, a staple of the world of fantasy: the lone survivior of a massacre, with his entire family slaughtered and no one left in the world... ending up in a reckless or apathetic, ~fearless~ state, as they have nothing to lose. I'm sure Steelheart created a fair number of these situations. The products would have no fear and a desire for vengence.

 

On the other hand, the belief in Steelheart's goodness theory can still hold for both nicks in his armor.

1) Father still thought he was a good epic, and saves him from deathpoint.

2) Steelheart built up an island of stability in a chaotic world. His massacres serve to protect himself, and in turn ensure the continuing stability and peace of his city. It isn't that much of a stretch to see that Steelheart probably sees himself as a good guy. It's what villan usually does anyway right?

 

Unlike the theory of fear, the Steelheart-goodness theory protects him from a lot more situations.

1) the unknown: perhaps you haven't heard of the mighty Steelheart

2) As another tier 1 epic, you aren't bothered by Steelheart, but don't really think he's a saint either

3) It would take someone with deranged morals or eyesight to believe Steelheart has a heart of gold. Keep in mind that David's father had the benefit of encountering Steelheart before he was known to slaughter people.

**apologies for redundancy

 

I just feel this theory fits perfectly, especially since Sanderson so neatly skirts this particular one (and I highly doubt it never crossed his mind). We are introduced to the Faithful theory, which is the belief that there *are* good epics out there / that will come, but the incredibly similar theory of believing in Steelheart specifically is never brought up.

 

The only question I have is... why? Steelheart is dead, and if David's theory was in fact, wrong, does this change anything in the future books? Why present a false theory as truth?

 

=================

Oh, actually second question: did Steelheart known his weakness, and... how? The goodness theory seems kind of hard to prove. I'd assume it happened early on, before the bank incident-- loving family / friends and all that.

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That's a good point. I did briefly wonder how likely it was that absolutely nobody had ever faced Steelheart without fear before. What about Deathpoint in the prologue? Are we expected to believe Deathpoint was already afraid of Steelheart before Steelheart survived his attack?

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How about another potential theory that hasn't been falsified:

 

Steelheart needs a 'Normal' and an 'Epic' acting together to hurt him. In the bank, Deathpoint was trying to attack him at the same time David's father fired the gun. At the final showdown, David + Steelheart took down Steelheart.

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That's a good point. I did briefly wonder how likely it was that absolutely nobody had ever faced Steelheart without fear before. What about Deathpoint in the prologue? Are we expected to believe Deathpoint was already afraid of Steelheart before Steelheart survived his attack?

 

That's an interesting point. Deathpoint didn't look like recognized or had even heard of Steelheart the first time he tried to point at him. After that first attempt fear was quick to sink in though. Unless Steelheart instilled some kind of primal fear in Deathpoint - guy's pretty impressive to look at, from what I understand, and that could be a factor when combined with his arrogance and confidence (in that scene).

 

How about another potential theory that hasn't been falsified:

 

Steelheart needs a 'Normal' and an 'Epic' acting together to hurt him. In the bank, Deathpoint was trying to attack him at the same time David's father fired the gun. At the final showdown, David + Steelheart took down Steelheart.

I am not buying this one. Prof had been fighting Steelheart for quite some time, and he had a non-Epic aid him at least once before David got a chance to get there. Abraham fired a shot, and Cody also led those Enforcement guys to misfire at Steelheart (though this one won't qualify, as they didn't really cooperate - but Abe, definitely). 

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I believe it's more than just not fearing him. You have to have no doubt in your mind what so ever that your not afraid of him. Any hint or even a passed feeling would ruin it. For example David didn't fear steelheart killing him but he'd grown up fearing him so he couldn't kill him. There has to be no fear in the slightest. Not just courage. Even epics who challenged him are paranoid creatures. By that standard the would fear anything and seeing steelheart is supposed to make you feel afraid. David's father hurt him because David's father admired steelheart and never once feared him. It's like seeing superman, would you be afraid? Nervous maybe but not afraid. Steelheart set up his rule in a way that made it so everyone has feared him at some point. It was steelheart who killed himself. Arrogance wouldn't give him any reason to be afraid of himself of all people. Steelheart knew his weakness which is why he made propaganda and showed how scary he was. Any fear he created was another victory in hiding his weakness. Literally nobody wasn't afraid of him.

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Re: Deathpoint, I suppose it's possible that part of the whole Epic Insanity package is paranoia. Even so, it's something to think about.

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Food for thought indeed. I however think its stretching it saying Deathpoint feared Steelheart before he launched his first attack. Atleast my impression from all the epics we've seen, they all exclude supreme arrogance. It just goes against what we've seen of the epics that Deathpoint would be afraid of Steelheart before he was famous.


I personally think somewhere in Calamity, David will base his decision on how to counter Calamity by learning from Steelhearts weakness. Thus, his first try will not work. 


We've also seen Sanderson do similiar things ( Mistborn: The whole earring thing)

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I think "fear" in this case is like "doesn't see Steelheart as a threat to himself" - which most Epics would, to some degree (see:paranoia), while Steelheart himself never considered suicide :)

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I think the fear theory works for a couple of reasons.

 

1. Even if you think you are superior or equal to Steelheart or even if you don't know what he is capable of there would still be a fear of him in a combat situation. David's Dad thought he should be an ally so confusion not fear was his overriding response.

 

2. Steelheart's propaganda campaign. Clearly he had worked out his own weakness and so was aiming to increase people's fear of him.

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My interpretation of "doesn't fear you" is... a pretty harshly demanding state. I think it requires an utter, soul-deep belief that you are in no harm. This person could hold a knife to your throat (and if you're an Epic, be equipped with your weakness) and you wouldn't worry one bit. Even for the "I have nothing left to live for" fearless example from above, even though you don't fear death itself, you are still aware of the fact that he could, and given the opportunity would, kill you. I guess that what I'm saying is, I think David phrased it as "one who doesn't fear you," but it's really the same statement said the other way around, "one who trusts you."

 

But that's just my two cents.

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I think the statement "One who trusts you" probably works better.  It's not really inconsistent with what David said or what we saw, but it shows how stringent the requirement is.

 

And best of all, it was certainly not true of Deathpoint at any point.

Edited by happyman
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I think I'm on board with Darnam's interpretation.

 

In general, arrogance doesn't erase fear, it just outweighs it. Deathpoint could have been shot and killed by even one of the security guards: just because he could kill them first doesn't mean that he had no reason to fear them. Steelheart was obviously an Epic, so the possibility of harm is in the cards.

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I asked about this today. David was absolutely correct with his final guess - Steelheart can only be hurt by someone who doesn't fear him. We will also find out more about weaknesses in general in Firefight.

 

I also asked whether the Epics' weaknesses are related to things, events, or phenomena they experienced negative emotions (fear, hate) before their transformation. This one is waiting for Firefight.

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To be honest, this weakness is kinda a paradox too.

 

So, if it really takes someone that doesn't fear SH to take him out, SH knows full well that he himself could be a danger to himself if someone set up a scenario where SH would hurt himself and checkmate him, this means SH would fear himself so it wouldn't work...

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I am not sure fear works like that. I know I can cut my cut my wrists, or even extensively torture myself at any point of time, but I've never been afraid of myself. 

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To be honest, this weakness is kinda a paradox too.

 

So, if it really takes someone that doesn't fear SH to take him out, SH knows full well that he himself could be a danger to himself if someone set up a scenario where SH would hurt himself and checkmate him, this means SH would fear himself so it wouldn't work...

 

Well, David's father knew full well Steelheart was physically capable of killing him. Steelheart may or may not have realized it was theoretically possible to injure himself, but he certainly wasn't expecting it to happen. Certainly, at the time of his death Steelheart was absolutely confident in his superiority and invincibility. Maybe if things had been going worse for his subordinates and he didn't know where Prof was, he'd have been nervous enough to start worrying about how they might bypass his weakness and figured out that they might try tricking him into self-destructing, which would negate it. But he was gloating about how he was perfect and divine as his foes lay prostrate before him, not worrying about what might go wrong.

 

If he had figured out that Davis's plan would work, I expect he wouldn't have made killing enemies with their own weapons his trademark, especially once Davis began describing his weakness.

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I don't believe it's even possible to be insecure under the influence of EE. These people seem to deficient in self restraint and introspection. Only fear of those with greater power seems to register as something they should be cautious of, but even then, they appear to secretly think that in the right circumstances they could take out more powerful epics. So I'd say that the thought that someone could use SH as a weapon against himself never even registered as a possibility.

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