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It's rather unnerving that Brandon refuses to call the man who showed up at the end of the Way Of Kings 'Talenel'. He talks about him "the man who calls himself Taln".
One theory is that Talenel is so broken that he is not the man he was anymore. So he used to be Talenel, but that man is dead. Simple explanation, could be probable, but I am not sure Brandon actually would have gone with that.

Here is some ungrounded theorising without (almost) any proof.
Since this "Taln" (from now on I will simply call him Taln and the "real" Herald Talenel'Elin) thinks about constant torture and fire and his mantra is something a Herald could definitely say, then I suppose he really was in Damnation (on Braize). Since Talenel was there for 4500 years, somebody who was there with him could definitely have his words ingrained (is this good word?) in his mind. Even if he does not know the language it is spoken in (but I suppose Shardholder would know).
Well, of course there could be another inhabitant of Braize, nobody said that Heralds are the only ones tortured by Odium.
But Hoid seems to know him - well, I suppose he knows Heralds, but that is not what we're talking about here - and Hoid knew Rayse. So it could be him.
Now, how the hell Rayse ended up in this situation?
Maybe he got sick of being force of evil, maybe his mind broke from this constant hatred, maybe he couldn't cope with being responsible for so many genocides and death of his fellow Shardholders. Maybe he gave up Odium and switched with someone, then went to atone for his deeds in place of Talenel. Maybe the person he switched with was Talenel and Talenel took up Odium.
Or maybe Talenel soloed him and won. Well, he already was in place which he couldn't die in, no matter the damage done to him. He was effectively immortal and even had his Honorblade! Who could stop him from going against Odium?
Of course, the Oathpact and mechanism of Desolations may be grounded on him being tortured, but Talenel could have finally broken after thousand or two of torture meant for ten people and gone rampage. And killed  defeated Rayse, but was forced to take his place. Or maybe someone entirely different took up Odium.
But before Odium changed holders, he activated the time-trigger and the Desolation still was started eventually (remember, the start is when voidspren are released, the rest is just matter of time).

The important bit is that Rayse was exposed to Heralds' Torture, broke, and was finally released to Roshar, and anything that was left in his mind was the words that Talenel repeated for thousands of years.



Yeah, yeah, I know it's far fetched, but this whole thing with "Taln" is boiling my mind :D

Disclaimer: I don't really believe that Taln is Rayse. I just thought "hey, what if... the man we thought was Herald is in fact the person who held the power which is a Big Bad?"

Edited by Oversleep
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I think you just broke the Cosmere with your crazy outlandish theory.

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I think this is even crazier than my "Taln is Nohadon" theory.

 

Also, Rayse IS Odium, at least from what I understand.

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I think this is even crazier than my "Taln is Nohadon" theory.

Thanks!

Also, Rayse IS Odium, at least from what I understand.

That's true and that's false. There is a difference between Shardholder and the Shard itself, even if the Shardholder is entirely warped by the Intent.

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Personally, i think Brandon's just trolling us with his refusal to confirm that he is, in fact, Talenel.

 

And I don't think Rayse has any intention of giving up his Shard; he seemed very crafty and power-hungry from what I've gathered.

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He is probably more so now. Remember how Marsh was completely willing to go along with whatever Ruin wanted him to do when Ruin focused on him? Picture that all the time, but more subtle, gradually shaping your every action, your every movement, your every thought towards one, all-consuming Ideal. That is what it is like to hold a Shard.

By the Almighty's tenth name, Shards are Ideals. Shards are super spren that make the Stormfather look like a windspren.

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He is probably more so now. Remember how Marsh was completely willing to go along with whatever Ruin wanted him to do when Ruin focused on him? Picture that all the time, but more subtle, gradually shaping your every action, your every movement, your every thought towards one, all-consuming Ideal. That is what it is like to hold a Shard.

By the Almighty's tenth name, Shards are Ideals. Shards are super spren that make the Stormfather look like a windspren.

And your point is...?

If you are trying to say that Rayse didn't give up Odium, fine. I listed other possibilities. Maybe Rayse went insane. Maybe Talenel defeated him.

Maybe he wanted to hate himself too (it matches the Intent) and tortured himself and as a result broke. And he's still Odium, but insane and now wanders Roshar as Taln and is managing Desolation subconsciously :D

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Sometimes the simplest theory is the true one: Taln is none other than the Herald Talenel'elin.

 

Maybe there's a bunch of WoBs somewhat implying that he isn't.  But I both suspect and hope that it's just Brandon trolling his fans, and for exactly the same reason.  Why?  Because there's a fair bit of evidence in the books to suggest that he is exactly who he claims to be, and literally nothing in the books to suggest that he isn't.  Every bit of suspicion that he isn't who he claims to be comes--as near as I can tell--solely from WoBs.

 

Brandon's foreshadowed a lot of things (even the probable ability to surgebind with music rather than stormlight, which won't come into play until at least book 5 by my guess and probably not until book 7 or 8), so the idea that just hasn't done so in this case doesn't make much sense.  I'd go so far as to call it a flaw in the books--a plot hole--if this does indeed turn out to be the case.

 

If anyone has any evidence from the books to suggest that Taln is anything other than a Herald, I'd be pleased to hear it.

 

As for the Taln is Rayse theory, well, it's certainly novel, but I very sincerely doubt that it turns out to be correct.

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But Hoid thinks that Rayse is one of the Greatest Dangers in theCosmere.

 

I suppose that if Rayse manifests itself in front of him, Hoid will overreact.

Edited by Yata
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Sometimes the simplest theory is the true one: Taln is none other than the Herald Talenel'elin.

 

Maybe there's a bunch of WoBs somewhat implying that he isn't.  But I both suspect and hope that it's just Brandon trolling his fans, and for exactly the same reason.  Why?  Because there's a fair bit of evidence in the books to suggest that he is exactly who he claims to be, and literally nothing in the books to suggest that he isn't.  Every bit of suspicion that he isn't who he claims to be comes--as near as I can tell--solely from WoBs.

 

Brandon's foreshadowed a lot of things (even the probable ability to surgebind with music rather than stormlight, which won't come into play until at least book 5 by my guess and probably not until book 7 or 8), so the idea that just hasn't done so in this case doesn't make much sense.  I'd go so far as to call it a flaw in the books--a plot hole--if this does indeed turn out to be the

 

If anyone has any evidence from the books to suggest that Taln is anything other than a Herald, I'd be pleased to hear it.

 

As for the Taln is Rayse theory, well, it's certainly novel, but I very sincerely doubt that it turns out to be correct.

Well said,

My thoughts exactly.

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Well, of course Taln recognizes Shallan as "one of Ishar Knights". That's evidence for him being Talenelat. But why Brandon keeps calling him this way? He may twist his words as much as he likes, but he never lied, correct?

Still, the image of Herald getting fed up with everything and fighting Odium one on one is epic :D

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One point against Taln being Taln: in his chapter, at a point it is implied he is recitating his mantra, it does not show up. Instead, we hear Dalinar and Elhokar's reactions the mantra and "Taln" thinks: "The Gift. The words. Not his. Never his. Now his."

Maybe someone was forced into becoming a new Taln?

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There are plenty of things that suggest Taln may not be Taln. 

Things that seem off if Taln were Rayse:

  • Hoid is there when maybe-Taln arrives.  He knows and can likely sense investiture.  He has been hiding from Odium/Rayse for fear that his soul will be scattered and/or disintegrated.  He knows Rayse.  He calls maybe-Taln, "my confused, unfortunate friend” and continues with what he is doing to stop Odium/Rayse.   Hoid says this about Rayse: "Rayse, on the other hand, was among the most loathsome, crafty, and dangerous individuals I had ever met." Hoid also admits to having a grudge against Rayse: "You have accused me of arrogance in my quest. You have accused me of perpetuating my grudge against Rayse and Bavadin. Both accusations are true."  Had Rayse appeared with or without Odium, Hoid's response and subsequent actions would have been very different. 
  • There is WoB here that Odium's goal is to "destroy them (shards) all and be the only one left at his power level".  Giving up his Shard and/or becoming a nearly mindless madman doesn't seem to fit the goal. 
  • Odium's Unmade continue their activities throughout the second book (including apparently controlling the stormform Parshendi leader).  The Everstorm is unleashed.  When the assassination attempt on Dalinar occurs, both Syl and the Stormfather seem aware of Odium's presence and/or attention.  In short, Odium's efforts seem to be continuing his plans throughout.  This does not seem consistent with an inactive or newly taken over Shard.  
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We should start a topic and compile everything we know about "Taln". I missed the part the Pulse mentioned:

 

One point against Taln being Taln: in his chapter, at a point it is implied he is recitating his mantra, it does not show up. Instead, we hear Dalinar and Elhokar's reactions the mantra and "Taln" thinks: "The Gift. The words. Not his. Never his. Now his."

Maybe someone was forced into becoming a new Taln?

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At what point does Brandon say the "man who calls himself Taln"? Is it simply that it was a RAFO that the man who calls himself Taln is a herald and that fact had not been revealed yet?

 

We could easily refer to Hoid as the man who calls himself Hoid.  Hoid is not his real name as we know but that doesn't change who he is.  We just know him as Hoid... hence the man who calls himself Hoid.  Maybe reading too much into it?

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At what point does Brandon say the "man who calls himself Taln"? Is it simply that it was a RAFO that the man who calls himself Taln is a herald and that fact had not been revealed yet?

We could easily refer to Hoid as the man who calls himself Hoid. Hoid is not his real name as we know but that doesn't change who he is. We just know him as Hoid... hence the man who calls himself Hoid. Maybe reading too much into it?

Here you go:

Q: 12. Are all the heralds aware that Taln is back?

A: If that person actually IS Taln. I'm not saying he's not, but he may not be who you would think he is.

And then the 17thShard went insane (I guess, since I wasn't here yet at the time). I believe there are more WoBs, also with this "man who calls himself Taln" expression.

Edited by Oversleep
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Now that I look closely, it's worded to indicate that Taln is on Roshar, but he is probably not who we think he is.

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Thanks!

That's true and that's false. There is a difference between Shardholder and the Shard itself, even if the Shardholder is entirely warped by the Intent.

Pretty sure that Hoid's biased statements make it seem like there wasn't much of a difference even before they joined together though.  

Also as far as a herald fighting a shardholder,  I don't see it.  I look at it akin to giving an ant a fancy sword and telling to destroy a nuclear attack sub.  

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More like a Shardholder versus a full Knight Radiant.

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Yeah, but being immortal gives you an edge. No matter what your opponent does, you shrug it off. But if you succeed, then it's for good.
I can't think of a way for a living person to take on a Shard - they're not corporeal, after all.

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Thanks!

That's true and that's false. There is a difference between Shardholder and the Shard itself, even if the Shardholder is entirely warped by the Intent.

 

 

Pretty sure that Hoid's biased statements make it seem like there wasn't much of a difference even before they joined together though.  

Also as far as a herald fighting a shardholder,  I don't see it.  I look at it akin to giving an ant a fancy sword and telling to destroy a nuclear attack sub.  

 

Hoid said Rayse was a good match for Odium. Ati became Ruin unrestrained because his personality wasn't strong and he was a bad match for Ruin, which overwhelmed his kind personality. This makes it much more likely that Rayse has some or even significant influence on his current personality. Hoid made it sound like the reason he's doing what he's doing is as much because he's afraid of Rayse as he is afraid of Odium.

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