Guimond777

Things I'm confused on....(spoilers, naturally)

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So I just finished the book last night, but it left me with more questions then I'm used to having in a Sanderson novel.  I'm sure I may have just missed the answers to some of these, but please feel free to fill me in...

 

1) I understand that Davids father in the alternate dimension is Steelheart.  But in the normal dimension, David fights Steelheart and beats him, but winds up becoming Steelheart of his dimension.  So doesn't that technically mean that there was TWO Steelhearts? (The original from book one, and now David?).  I feel like I missed something here....how did David all of a sudden get the original Steelhearts (the one he killed) powers?  (I didn't read the 2nd book as in-depth as I'd like so maybe I missed something in it?).

 

2) Calamity talks a lot about how "they" wouldn't allow him to do such-and-such.  Who is "they"?  It sounded to me as if there was an even higher power then Calamity pulling the strings, but it is never explained on who or what that power is/was.  Sanderson said that this series was "finished"...so it begs the question why he left something like this open-ended.  Am I mistaken on something?

 

3) Did it ever explain what Atlanta was a big moving pile of salt?  What was causing the Salt?  Larceners power?  I just assumed it was him, but I don' think it was ever explained why the New Atlanta acted like a salt cube.

 

4) Speaking of Larcener, did anyone else get a sense of Deus-ex Machina feel out of him?  Turns out Calamity was a random Epic that only appeared in the 3rd book halfway through?  I don't know...didn't sit completely well with me.

 

5) So what exactly *was* the deal with Obliteration?  Was he good?  Bad?  Just some loony Epic?  Did he survive the end?  His story was left completely open-ended.  

 

6) Mizzy randomly became an Epic *after* Calamity was taken care of?  How?  What's her powers?

 

I don't know....it just seems that there was a lot of open-ended questions for a series that is supposed to be "wrapped up".  We are left to assume a lot (whats the deal with Tavi?  How did Dean kill David in the alternate dimension?  What happens now that Calamity is gone, are we to assume the darkness is now gone?).  I can't help but feel Sanderson left things open-ended in case he ever wanted to revisit this series and add on to it. 

 

Can someone help clarify these things for me?

Edited by Guimond777
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1. Either he just happened to get those powers by chance, or in book 2 when calamity wanted to change him David was probably thinking of Steelheart or something.

 

2. "They" is referring to Calamity's race.  Apparently there is a race of "Gods" that go around the universes doing stuff.  The Reckoners triology is complete, but Sanderson will be writing a series called "Apocalypse Guard" which is set in one of the core possibilities that Megan's powers can reach.  So there will probably not be any of the same characters, but it might address some of the questions about Calamity's race.

 

3. An epic did it, then Larcener stole that power and continued it.

 

4. They figured out Calamity was an epic in book 2.  I assumed it was some superpowerful crazy radiation looking alien thing, I thought it was kinda cool that he hid among humanity as an aloof kid.  Turns out I was right, and his attitude and reasoning for pretending to be a human made sense.  He was a confused alien, trying to figure out humanity.

 

5. He was human. Being good or bad is an ideal that nobody can really achieve.  He was an epic that faced his fear and dealt with the darkness, but he is still a human and humans can be pretty messed up.  We may see more of him, but who knows. You can probably assume that David dealt with him using his awesome new powers.

 

He might revisit some stuff in Apocalypse Guard, he might not.  Not everything can be, "and they lived happily ever after".  Life goes on, so do stories, but we don't always get to find out what happens.

 

http://brandonsanderson.com/the-apocalypse-guard/

Edited by tobar14
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Thanks for the response.  It just seems to me like there is quite a lot of assumptions and open-ended discussions with this series...something I'm not used to seeing in Brandon's works...especially with him saying that he was "done" with the Reckoners series.  Not like him to leave so much ambiguity on a "finished" series.

 

I guess Apocalypse Guard will more then likely expand on these questions....it's almost like he's setting up another Cosmere, but instead of planets, he's using dimensions.  

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So, for number 1, Calamity said that he'd give David 'thematically appropriate' powers. No one has made more of an impact on his life than Steelheart, and David even ended up killing him. Probably why Calamity gave him those powers. 

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Also, Calamity probably thought it would be really, really funny. Not that he obviously has a sense of humor, but it's what I would do.

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David's nickname is "Steelslayer".  Giving him Steelheart's powerset is pure black comedy - particularly since at the time, Calamity expected David to go nuts after receiving the powers.

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Maybe Obliteration is the reason for the apocalypse in Apocalypse Guard...

And maybe the Reckoners series are actually Cosmere because the Cosmere is just one of the far off dimensions...

And maybe Brandon is just trolling us at all...

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My guess is the alternate Prof had Tavi before going dark but in the main reality he didn't have a daughter or killed her and supressed the memory.

With David's dad, my guess is he killed David trying out a power like Edmund killed his wife.

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1. What confused me about the Steelheart thing is that the powers have some kind of genetic component to them. While Calamity said that he'd give David "thematically appropriate powers," it wasn't clear if that was because David's genetics were coded to the same power as Steelheart's, which was hilarious to him, or if Calamity was choosing to give him those powers for irony's sake. For all we know, the fact that David's father and Steelheart had the same exact power set might mean they're related. It would help explain why David's father didn't fear Steelheart in the end, going so far as to stand up to him and tell he that he was supposed to be a hero, and to save his life by killing his attacker.

 

 

2. I thought it was clear that "They" were aliens from another dimension who had one of their number be born into a human body in dimensions like ours to give supernatural abilities to the people of that world, and then return to their home dimension. Invocation did it correctly and according to plan in Firefight's dimension, but Calamity decided to ignore the plan and stick around, causing his moods to influence the people who used the powers he channeled to them when those powers were used. In the end, he's shamed into returning home like he should have done eleven years earlier.

 

(Btw, I could be wrong about this, but I had the impression that the reason everyone uses "sparks" as a curse was because Calamity's swears that he made up while growing up as a human child imprinted on society causing everyone to tend toward his swear word (I think Calamity says the full swear as "by the eternal spark" or something). But, in the world influenced by Invocation, everyone uses a different specific swear word, presumably one that Invocation made up while growing up on his (or her!) Earth.)

 

 

The interpretation that immediately came to my mind, having majored in English Literature at one point in college where every third book is actually a metaphor for Christianity, was that "They" were the Holy Trinity and the story was the result of the thought experiment, "What would happen if the Second Coming arrives, Christ is reborn, and he looks around and goes, 'Screw this place. People are terrible. I'm going to set it all on fire and watch it burn.' "
 

 

 

3. It was an epic power. In Firefight's world, an epic with that power steers the city around. While Larcener might have reabsorbed that epic's powers in David's world, the fact that the city still moves and is still made of salt in Firefight's world means it's not just a creation of Larcener. I think Larcener picked that city to set up his double in because it let him move around the world while staying still. It suits someone like him - supremely curious and supremely lazy.

 

 

4. Larcener didn't feel like a deus ex machina to me. Well, first of all because that's a horrible allusion, it's more like Terminator sitting in a bubble bath. No, no, it makes sense, see you know Terminator is out there wrecking havoc on the world, so you don't expect to find him in a bubble bath, but he's there because he doesn't understand the bubbles. He's just staring at them constantly and making a sort of whining sound, so you wonder what's up with him, but it's not like he's the only robot in the tub. Yet, though he looks like the other robots, he can switch them off. None of the others can find the off switch, so you're like, well, it's right there, so how is that weird? Of course he can turn them off, that's a power robots can have! But it's not, see, because the switch is invisible! Only he can do it because he actually built them. So when you finally find out the secret, it all clicks in, and you now understand why he had to blow up your rubber ducky. .... and I think I'll stop now. David must have been really fun to write xD

 

 

But seriously, there's a huge mountain of clues as to who Larcener really is. There are a pile of oddities surrounding him, none of which stand out, but together they're definitely something. It's mentioned that his ability to permanently steal powers is unique to him. No other specific powers are unique - they're commonly similar enough that they can be categorized with a very neat and tidy system. Sure, specific power portfolios are often unique, but not individual powers. Second, he refuses to fight. He's arrogant and commanding and has dozens of prime invincibilities, but is too cowardly to fight. He acts like a spoiled brat but doesn't even use his powers to intimidate the Reckoners into doing what he wants them to do. That means he must have fought off the darkness, but at the same time, when David looks deeply into his eyes, David sees the darkness there in full force, stronger than he's ever seen it before. If Larcener felt that way, why would he just sit there, arrogant and selfish, but not murderous and imperious? He breaks the pattern.

 

Then there's the scene when Larcener tries to steal Megan's powers. The same exact icy feeling is described as when David was granted powers in "Firefight." It was a very specific description. And then it doesn't work, but that makes no sense, Larcener's powers aren't being negated by a weakness. There's no reason for his powers to fail on her, but her claiming them completely in a way that allows her to completely rid herself of the darkness makes him powerless to remove her powers. There's also his reaction to David's fanboyism over epics when Larcener first arrives at their base.

 

There are tons of clues in the text about it. Personally, when I read it, I thought Larcener was going to turn out to be someone who faced his fears early on, defeated the darkness, but then saw how broken the world was and how horrible people were, so he became an apathetic despot who sorta ruled when he felt like it, but mostly let people do whatever they wanted, secure in his own immortality. But, when David looks into his eyes and sees the writhing darkness there, stronger than in anyone else, I realized that couldn't be it. Something was wrong with the whole situation. I didn't figure it out before the reveal, but I wasn't surprised by the reveal because I had been trying to figure out what Larcener was actually trying to do.

 

Honestly, when David first gets to the ISS and finds him there, I thought the change in behavior at the end when he comes and takes Prof's powers was him deciding to execute Prof's (well, Regalia's) plan himself, and he had already done it and taken Calamity's place. But then everything made sense.

 

 

5. Obliteration was a sociopathic serial killer who thought he was sent by God to cleanse the world of sin (meaning, kill everyone) and bring about the End of Days. He was in complete control of himself the entire time, as of four years before the first book begins. He thought about what to do for a while after coming to himself, decided it was irrevocably broken, and then decided to end it. In other words, he was a perfectly ordinary mass murderer like we get all too often these days. Except with the power to incinerate entire cities in seconds.

 

 

6. Yeah, seriously, what was up with that? It was so random and sudden. Was it just Brandon's way of telling us that new epics would still appear even without Calamity? I really felt that one line came out of nowhere, and the lack of followup on it on the final book of the series really bugged me. Normally, Brandon's books have extremely "neat" endings, with everything relevant to the story tied up and the only loose ends being huge cosmological questions, like the "They" that Calamity spoke about.

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Brandon seems to like leaving things a little open at the end of a series, so you can imagine the stories that happen later yourself, and so it doesn't feel like everything was 'used up' in one series. 

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