Solitary Recluse

Dalinar's request from the Nightwatcher and the Kholin surgebinders

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I may have stumbled onto the answer to two running mysteries during a recent reread of The Way of Kings. The theory is running so strong in my head I was forced to register to these forums to see what others think. I've yet to see this theory anywhere yet which is amazing considering the vast multitude that these forums produce.

 

There are a few pieces of information that are needed as a base so I'll go through those first.

 

In Chapter 61 we get part of the answer.

 

She gives curses in exchange for granting small desires. Always one curse and one desire. Father I assume you know what both of these things are?"

"Yes," he said. "I know exactly what my curse was, and it does not relate to this."

The curse he speaks of is of course his loss of memories of his dead wife. Few doubt this obvious part, but the Boon has been more elusive.

 

Later in Interlude I-7

 

The Nightwatcher doesn't trick you or twist your words. You ask a boon. She gives you what she feels you deserve, then gives you a curse to go along with it. Sometimes related, sometimes not."

 

Many have commented on the unlikelihood or seeming incongruous nature that nearly every Kholin character is either a surgebinder or at least has been seeing spren. When the other surgebinders from the interludes and Kaladin have been far apart and alone, every single one of Dalinar's family is becoming a Knight's Radiant.

 

In Words of Radiance Interlude I-9, Wyndle says that Lift was chosen for him to bond to because she had visited the Nightwatcher. That there is the connection.

 

The Boon Dalinar received was for every one of his relatives to become a surgebinder.

 

Now of course this wouldn't be what he asked for. Surgebinding was a fantasy at the time. His request was almost certainly more like "I wish that all members of my house to succeed in whatever way they wish," but the Nightwatcher through some form of Cultivations clairvoyance knew that surgebinders would be needed and the Alethi would need them more than any others. I like this as his request because it is vague enough where he could believe to have been granted it without being aware of what was actually delivered.

 

I have no direct confirmation of this theory, but the fact that it can solve two ongoing mysteries at once just feels right.

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To be fair, we don't know for certain that Dalinar's memories of his wife were the curse. It's possible he asked for something like 'to have the pain of losing my wife taken from me' or something like that, though it being the curse does seem more likely. Though maybe that was the boon and the bane was 'giving you exactly what you wished for'.

 

Whether the unusually large number of surgebinders in Dalinar's family is the boon probably has more to do with the precise dimensions of the Old Magic's power. I don't think Cultivation has any pull with the Stormfather but if enough of the other types of Radiant!Spren are connected enough to her, it could be possible the Nightwatcher was able to stack the deck in the Kholin family's favor. Maybe. The whole need for a 'broken' soul to form a Nahel Bond could make it either more plausible (if you think the Spren might set out to break someone's deliberately to encourage bonding) or less (if you don't). I don't think the Nightwatcher can just break a soul sufficiently on her own but maybe her power could encourage Spren to seek out particular individuals if they otherwise meet the necessary criteria.

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I'm kind of new to these boards since I just recently read TWoK and WoR but the thought that came to me was that they're sometimes related. My first thought was that whatever is causing Renarin's issues was originally deadly, so Dalinar's boon was to save his son's life and in return for one member of his family's life he lost all memory of another family member. Don't know if this is a common theory but it was the one that came to my mind as I read.

 

In this way, Renarin became a Surgebinder because although he didn't go to the Nightmother for a wish, he would have been affected by her (or maybe he was brought there by his father).

Edited by Darth_Hel
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To be fair, we don't know for certain that Dalinar's memories of his wife were the curse. 

For all we known it could have very well been the boon  :D

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I'm kind of new to these boards since I just recently read TWoK and WoR but the thought that came to me was that they're sometimes related. My first thought was that whatever is causing Renarin's issues was originally deadly, so Dalinar's boon was to save his son's life and in return for one member of his family's life he lost all memory of another family member. Don't know if this is a common theory but it was the one that came to my mind as I read.

 

In this way, Renarin became a Surgebinder because although he didn't go to the Nightmother for a wish, he would have been affected by her (or maybe he was brought there by his father).

 

Whoa... There is the curiosity going around about Renarin's visions not being from his surges. Maybe this is a side effect of Dalinar's boon. Renarin now is more Invested by something (Cultivation?) than normal so he gains some of Cultivation's future sight ability, but it is involuntary vision sight because of the nature of the boon itself (not the curse). I guess we simply don't know enough.

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"I wish power for my family" or something along those lines. And then he cant remember his wife. The Nightwatcher has a lovely sense of humor XD

 

I think that makes sense.

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I've always thought it was something like "Give me the power to resist coveting my brother's throne." Or, "put aside my jealousy and help me serve Gavilar."

I feel like the timeline will line up and have him visit the Nightwatcher right after he almost decided to kill his brother. Just my theory...

Edit - Also fueling this theory is how ashamed he is that he went. I think he either asked for something silly, our he is ashamed that his jealousy drove him to seek the old magic.

Edited by Kaladin al'Thor
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Whoa... There is the curiosity going around about Renarin's visions not being from his surges. Maybe this is a side effect of Dalinar's boon. Renarin now is more Invested by something (Cultivation?) than normal so he gains some of Cultivation's future sight ability, but it is involuntary vision sight because of the nature of the boon itself (not the curse). I guess we simply don't know enough.

 

I don't know why so many people think Dalinar's boon/curse have anything to do with Renarin. It is likely they didn't. The visit to the Nightwatcher was years ago.

 

 

I've always thought it was something like "Give me the power to resist coveting my brother's throne." Or, "put aside my jealousy and help me serve Gavilar."

I feel like the timeline will line up and have him visit the Nightwatcher right after he almost decided to kill his brother. Just my theory...

Edit - Also fueling this theory is how ashamed he is that he went. I think he either asked for something silly, our he is ashamed that his jealousy drove him to seek the old magic.

 

It has been my assumption for the longest time.

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I don't know why so many people think Dalinar's boon/curse have anything to do with Renarin. It is likely they didn't. The visit to the Nightwatcher was years ago.

 

 

Well, Renarin would have been born before he visited the Nightmother considering that as a result of the visit Dalinar couldn't remember Renarin's mother, so a childhood disease that was killing him would have fit. I don't get the idea from the text that Renarin's illness is anything new.

Edited by Darth_Hel
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I believe it is implied that Dalinar went away to see the Nightwatcher shortly before they found the Parshendi. A year or two i think(Just before Roshone arrived at Hearthstone, I am unsure of the timeline). That would have made Renarin about 15ish right? In the text they say Renarin has had his issues since at least the age where he would choose a master to teach him to sword which is 8 or 9. There might be a reference to him having it earlier but I'm not sure. I dont pay too much attention to Renarin as Adolin is much more interesting to me.

 

So it doesnt make much sense to me that he would have waited so long if Renarin had problems to go see her if that was what he was going to ask for his boon.

 

@Maxal - I swear we are on the same page pretty much everytime I see you post, haha!

Edited by Kaladin al'Thor
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Yea, was never quite sure when he went to see the Nightwatcher. Although with the few things that seem important to him (His Family, His Country, Codes of Honour) there could be several things that could make him go there. His sons though seemed to ultimately be the most important thing to him. So, if there was one thing that might drive him to seek out the Nightwatcher, I think it would fit his character to be protecting one of his sons.

Edited by Darth_Hel
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Well, Renarin would have been born before he visited the Nightmother considering that as a result of the visit Dalinar couldn't remember Renarin's mother, so a childhood disease that was killing him would have fit. I don't get the idea from the text that Renarin's illness is anything new.

 

Renarin was about 10-1 years old at the time of the visit. He is autistic, which he had since birth. As for his seizure, a quick Internet search has told me the percentage of autistic children having seizure is considerably higher than in the normal population, so the two appears to be linked. He likely had them since childhood, a thought reinforced when he tells Kaladin he has had them since he was a child. A child was presumably before he hit puberty.

 

Besides, someone did ask Brandon if the boon had anything to do with a sickness in Renarin and he said no.

 

 

I believe it is implied that Dalinar went away to see the Nightwatcher shortly before they found the Parshendi. A year or two i think(Just before Roshone arrived at Hearthstone, I am unsure of the timeline). That would have made Renarin about 15ish right? In the text they say Renarin has had his issues since at least the age where he would choose a master to teach him to sword which is 8 or 9. There might be a reference to him having it earlier but I'm not sure. I dont pay too much attention to Renarin as Adolin is much more interesting to me.

 

So it doesnt make much sense to me that he would have waited so long if Renarin had problems to go see her if that was what he was going to ask for his boon.

 

@Maxal - I swear we are on the same page pretty much everytime I see you post, haha!

 

I agree it does not make sense to have waited for so long if it was to cure a disease. Besides, it was a very poor deal as Renarin IS sick. Anyway, it was confirmed it was not that, I'm just curious why so many people think Renarin has anything to do with it.

 

LOL. Great minds think alike  :ph34r:  :lol:

 

 

Yea, was never quite sure when he went to see the Nightwatcher. Although with the few things that seem important to him (His Family, His Country, Codes of Honour) there could be several things that could make him go there. His sons though seemed to ultimately be the most important thing to him. So, if there was one thing that might drive him to seek out the Nightwatcher, I think it would fit his character to be protecting one of his sons.

 

Yeah... He does love his son and yet... he still decided letting Adolin duel to his death was preferable than jeopardizing his political agenda. However, I do agree he would more readily protect Renarin than Adolin. With Adolin, Dalinar is... different. 

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Thanks, like I mentioned I'm a relatively new reader of the books, so haven't read most theories or stuff that Brandon has said on them. Good to know that one was specifically nixed. I knew about the autism but didn't realise that seizures and autism were commonly linked.

 

I think with Adolin, he knows what his son is capable of doing. Adolin is a great duelist and capable warrior so he doesn't feel the need to protect him as much as he does Renarin. 

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Thanks, like I mentioned I'm a relatively new reader of the books, so haven't read most theories or stuff that Brandon has said on them. Good to know that one was specifically nixed. I knew about the autism but didn't realise that seizures and autism were commonly linked.

 

I think with Adolin, he knows what his son is capable of doing. Adolin is a great duelist and capable warrior so he doesn't feel the need to protect him as much as he does Renarin. 

 

Bah it was an old one lingering somewhere in the old Reddit AMA. In any advent, we are going to find out soon enough in the next book. 

 

It is not just he knows Adolin can take care of himself, he is just not the same with him as he is with pretty much anyone else. With Adolin, there is something more... he can't fail. Not with him, he won't allow himself to. There seem to be a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to his eldest son and I have grown to think "love" has been buried within many others such as "expectation" and "duty". He naturally sympathizes more with Renarin, as the less talented younger brother, than with Adolin. It's hard to explain, but with Adolin he sees a younger version of himself, he sees all that he hated about himself and he does not want to see it happening again, so he is hard, harsh even. With Renarin, he sees the softer side of him, so he wants to nurture him, to protect him, to shelter him.

 

Dalinar does not see Renarin's strengths just as he does not see Adolin's weaknesses. I am not entirely sure of what I am advancing, but it is very strange. 

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To be fair, we don't know for certain that Dalinar's memories of his wife were the curse. It's possible he asked for something like 'to have the pain of losing my wife taken from me' or something like that, though it being the curse does seem more likely. Though maybe that was the boon and the bane was 'giving you exactly what you wished for'.

 

Whether the unusually large number of surgebinders in Dalinar's family is the boon probably has more to do with the precise dimensions of the Old Magic's power. I don't think Cultivation has any pull with the Stormfather but if enough of the other types of Radiant!Spren are connected enough to her, it could be possible the Nightwatcher was able to stack the deck in the Kholin family's favor. Maybe. The whole need for a 'broken' soul to form a Nahel Bond could make it either more plausible (if you think the Spren might set out to break someone's deliberately to encourage bonding) or less (if you don't). I don't think the Nightwatcher can just break a soul sufficiently on her own but maybe her power could encourage Spren to seek out particular individuals if they otherwise meet the necessary criteria.

I also thought that in his case the boon and curse were the same as you say. Very tidy.

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I may have stumbled onto the answer to two running mysteries during a recent reread of The Way of Kings. The theory is running so strong in my head I was forced to register to these forums to see what others think. I've yet to see this theory anywhere yet which is amazing considering the vast multitude that these forums produce.

 

There are a few pieces of information that are needed as a base so I'll go through those first.

 

In Chapter 61 we get part of the answer.

The curse he speaks of is of course his loss of memories of his dead wife. Few doubt this obvious part, but the Boon has been more elusive.

 

Later in Interlude I-7

 

Many have commented on the unlikelihood or seeming incongruous nature that nearly every Kholin character is either a surgebinder or at least has been seeing spren. When the other surgebinders from the interludes and Kaladin have been far apart and alone, every single one of Dalinar's family is becoming a Knight's Radiant.

 

In Words of Radiance Interlude I-9, Wyndle says that Lift was chosen for him to bond to because she had visited the Nightwatcher. That there is the connection.

 

The Boon Dalinar received was for every one of his relatives to become a surgebinder.

 

Now of course this wouldn't be what he asked for. Surgebinding was a fantasy at the time. His request was almost certainly more like "I wish that all members of my house to succeed in whatever way they wish," but the Nightwatcher through some form of Cultivations clairvoyance knew that surgebinders would be needed and the Alethi would need them more than any others. I like this as his request because it is vague enough where he could believe to have been granted it without being aware of what was actually delivered.

 

I have no direct confirmation of this theory, but the fact that it can solve two ongoing mysteries at once just feels right.

Oh my badness, this is FANTASTIC! I can't believe I haven't seen anyone come up with this before. If he thought his family was broken enough by Shshshsh's death, then I can definitely see the Nightwatcher granting a boon that would involve a bond. Although, this makes me wonder now, what was Lift's curse, to go with the boon of being a surgebinder?

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Oh my badness, this is FANTASTIC! I can't believe I haven't seen anyone come up with this before. If he thought his family was broken enough by Shshshsh's death, then I can definitely see the Nightwatcher granting a boon that would involve a bond. Although, this makes me wonder now, what was Lift's curse, to go with the boon of being a surgebinder?

 

Had you all forgotten Adolin is NOT a surgebinder... and, as far as we know, neither is Elhokar.

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Or Navani, for that matter. Not sure if she counts as enough of a Kholin for that kind of discussion.

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I suppose there could be several vague statements made by Dalinar to the Nightwatcher that could result in the current numbers of surgebinders near/related to him.

 

1. Help me protect my family (so the nightwatcher arranges for Renarin to become a surgebinder to protect the weakest of them, as well as somehow arranging for Kaladin and Shallan to end up near them.)

 

2. Help me to keep Alethkar united (surgebinder powers would certainly allow him to protect the country, especially with so many loyal to him)

 

3. Help me not to covet my Brother's throne (putting him a position to lead surgebinders can give him a higher purpose than merely ruling Alethkar)

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Or Navani, for that matter. Not sure if she counts as enough of a Kholin for that kind of discussion.

 

I tend not to count her as a Kholin because she simply married into the family as opposed to being born to it.

 

 

I suppose there could be several vague statements made by Dalinar to the Nightwatcher that could result in the current numbers of surgebinders near/related to him.

 

1. Help me protect my family (so the nightwatcher arranges for Renarin to become a surgebinder to protect the weakest of them, as well as somehow arranging for Kaladin and Shallan to end up near them.)

 

2. Help me to keep Alethkar united (surgebinder powers would certainly allow him to protect the country, especially with so many loyal to him)

 

3. Help me not to covet my Brother's throne (putting him a position to lead surgebinders can give him a higher purpose than merely ruling Alethkar)

 

I sincerely do not think number 1) and 2) are it. 

 

For number 1), there was no reason for him to ask to protect his family at the time where he made his visit. The kingdom was stable and it is likely there were no open threats.

 

For number 2), unless Alethkar unity was threatened at the time where the made his visit, I doubt that's the reason.

 

I thus don't believe the number of surgebinders have anything to do with his oath: the events are simply too far apart in time. He visited the Nightwatcher some 7-8 years ago.

 

I personally believe number 3) is it, but it could also be related to his wife's death or the circumstances as to how she died... Bandon told us there were little sickness in Roshar, so what did a relatively young woman could potentially die of? They don't have plague or crippling diseases... One of my guesses has been she died in childbirth, but surely someone would have mentioned the baby who died as well. Another one of my guesses was she was assassinated... but that's far-fetched, so I guess we are back to sickness. Weird.

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For the first one I was thinking that Dalinar had just lost his wife and either due to how she died or because he was now a single parent did not feel up to the task of raising his children, depending how much he relied upon her. So going to the Nightwatcher for that might work.

 

For keeping Alethkar united, he must have always realized to some degree that it was just an alliance of scheming nobles kept together by force more than anything else. So he may have wanted to ensure he could hold it together.

 

 

Thing is that we really don't know much about Dalinar's wife at all. How much did she want Dalinar to attempt to take the throne? Was she similar to Sadaes' wife and a master schemer? Its possible that she could have been killed due to some plot against Gavilar, and removing his memories of her would be part of the boon he wanted. Although, if that did happen it would have had to have been covered up, since I doubt Navani would have been so willing to discuss her had that been the case. Each of the flashbacks so far have come with somewhat heavy implications for the characters that has them, so I'm thinking if Dalinar's wife and his visit to the Nightwatcher is Dalinar's flashback sequence, there needs to be more to it than something simple like coveting his brother's throne. Either his wife had to have been pushing him over the edge, or Gavilar may have done something, not sure.

Edited by Darth_Hel
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I personally believe number 3) is it, but it could also be related to his wife's death or the circumstances as to how she died... Bandon told us there were little sickness in Roshar, so what did a relatively young woman could potentially die of? They don't have plague or crippling diseases... One of my guesses has been she died in childbirth, but surely someone would have mentioned the baby who died as well. Another one of my guesses was she was assassinated... but that's far-fetched, so I guess we are back to sickness. Weird.

And there is the question of what happened to her corpse. Rich lighteyes generaly soulcast their dead to stone, but we have no mention of her statue. Perhaps whatever killed her also disfigurated her. Or it was too shameful to be remembered.

Perhaps it was because Dalinar Kholin would rather forget who killed his wife. Because he could never forgive the man who did it. Because he could not find peace while that man was alive. Because he would sooner forget his wife than live knowing he was her murderer.

Dalinar's boon was to forget everything. Dalinar's curse was to forget everything. The Nightwatcher gave him only what he needed and deserved.

Edited by CognitivePulsePattern
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For the first one I was thinking that Dalinar had just lost his wife and either due to how she died or because he was now a single parent did not feel up to the task of raising his children, depending how much he relied upon her. So going to the Nightwatcher for that might work.

 

For keeping Alethkar united, he must have always realized to some degree that it was just an alliance of scheming nobles kept together by force more than anything else. So he may have wanted to ensure he could hold it together.

 

 

Thing is that we really don't know much about Dalinar's wife at all. How much did she want Dalinar to attempt to take the throne? Was she similar to Sadaes' wife and a master schemer? Its possible that she could have been killed due to some plot against Gavilar, and removing his memories of her would be part of the boon he wanted. Although, if that did happen it would have had to have been covered up, since I doubt Navani would have been so willing to discuss her had that been the case. Each of the flashbacks so far have come with somewhat heavy implications for the characters that has them, so I'm thinking if Dalinar's wife and his visit to the Nightwatcher is Dalinar's flashback sequence, there needs to be more to it than something simple like coveting his brother's throne. Either his wife had to have been pushing him over the edge, or Gavilar may have done something, not sure.

 

Hmmm the mother died a few years before he went to the Nightwatcher. It could be he thought the task of taking care of his young sons was growing heavy, but Adolin had moved into his teenage years. There was still Renarin, but somehow, I have always assumed Adolin was the one mostly taking care of his brother, not Dalinar. Dalinar would have often been away, so the boys were likely left to the care of tutors.

 

Why go now to the Nightwatcher? Why not right after? 

 

As for the unity of Alethkar, he has not had those thoughts until Gavilar died. He never second guessed his brutal tactics until much later, so I doubt he was dreading the kingdom falling down. Besides, Gavilar was a strong king. It seems doubtful.

 

We know next to nothing of the mother. We know Navani thought her calm, likable, charming, but stupid. She thus does not strike me as a schemer. We also know she ingrained most of Adolin earlier sense of morality into him, by earlier I mean the side of him not being influenced so heavily by Dalinar. I suspect his tendency to jump in front of bullies comes from her, so she may have the kind of person who hated quiet bystanders and the political game. She must have kept away from it which may be why Navani thought her so simple minded. She was also a foreigner whom Dalinar presumably met during his trip to the West he made as a young man.

 

Why would people want her dead? I don't know... but we do know Dalinar talks of a day, at about the same time as his visit, where his jealousy for his brother nearly threatened to have him kill him and steal the throne. This event happened after her death, so I suspect she was reigning him in, helping him control his dark side, but when she died, he lost all control. He woke up in time to get rid of the jealousy. Perhaps his sons have something to do with it, I dunno.

 

 

And there is the question of what happened to her corpse. Rich lighteyes generaly soulcast their dead to stone, but we have no mention of her statue. Perhaps whatever killed her also disfigurated her. Or it was too shameful to be remembered.

Perhaps it was becaise Dalinar Kholin would rather forget who killed his wife. Because he could never forgive the man who did it. Because he could not find peace while that man was alive. Because he would sooner forget his wife than live knowing he was her murderer.

Dalinar's boon was to forget everything. Dalinar's curse was to forget everything. The Nightwatcher gave him only what he needed and deserved.

 

Wouldn't Adolin speak of it if his beloved mother had been assassinated or disfigured? Her stone may still be in Kholinar.... We just don't know.

Edited by maxal
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Wouldn't Adolin speak of it if his beloved mother had been assassinated or disfigured? Her stone may still be in Kholinar.... We just don't know.

For this half baked thery of mine, I am assuming it was said to the boys their mother died in an accident. If the body was too damaged, it would be possible for cremation to be seem as a more respectful option compared to preserving the damaged remains for eternity.

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For this half baked thery of mine, I am assuming it was said to the boys their mother died in an accident. If the body was too damaged, it would be possible for cremation to be seem as a more respectful option compared to preserving the damaged remains for eternity.

 

A ploy which may have worked had the boys been really small, but Adolin was nearing on his teenage years... Surely he would have questioned and not readily accept such a poor answer.

 

Besides, what kind of accident could she have died of??? Her death is so mysterious...

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