Dragon314

szeth's oathsone

9 posts in this topic

There is probably a post on this topic.

This however is a specific theory.

In WoK, as Taravangian is showing seth around, he thinks:

 

 

He almost killed him. But honor prevailed.

 

At first glance, this means that Szeth's sense of Honor makes him decide to stay his hand.

However, what if it means that the oathstone is a splinter or bounded to a splinter of the shard Honor.

 

Thoughts? Upvotes? :ph34r:

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I feel like that would take away from Szeth's character, transforming him from a man driven mad by the duties his own personal sense of honor demands he carries out, in constant conflict between his conscience and his duty, into a puppet.

 

As readers, we are supposed to support windrunners more than skybreakers, because that's what the main character is. As such, by watching Szeth carry out atrocities because his laws demand it, it makes the reader think, "Why doesn't he just ignore his laws?," the readers are subtly aligned with windrunner ideology - do what is right, not what is required by laws.

 

Plus, another main theme in the story is that honor has many forms, many of which conflict with each other. Why would his oathstone specifically be connected to skybreaker ideology?

 

Finally, this was done with Marsh in mistborn, I don't think Brandon will do the same character twice.

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I feel like that would take away from Szeth's character, transforming him from a man driven mad by the duties his own personal sense of honor demands he carries out, in constant conflict between his conscience and his duty, into a puppet.

 

As readers, we are supposed to support windrunners more than skybreakers, because that's what the main character is. As such, by watching Szeth carry out atrocities because his laws demand it, it makes the reader think, "Why doesn't he just ignore his laws?," the readers are subtly aligned with windrunner ideology - do what is right, not what is required by laws.

 

Plus, another main theme in the story is that honor has many forms, many of which conflict with each other. Why would his oathstone specifically be connected to skybreaker ideology?

 

Finally, this was done with Marsh in mistborn, I don't think Brandon will do the same character twice.

 

Then why does the laws of the Shin supersedes the laws of other countries or more importantly human rights? Little wonder people align themselves more readily with Kaladin: Szeth's attitude of blind obedience to religious and governmental rules is what gave us the Nazi, terrorism and suicide bombers. 

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Then why does the laws of the Shin supersedes the laws of other countries or more importantly human rights?

I'd imagine that's because his laws require him to do whatever the bearer of the oathstone orders him to do. This creates a paradox, and in that event the oathstone takes higher priority.

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I'd imagine that's because his laws require him to do whatever the bearer of the oathstone orders him to do. This creates a paradox, and in that event the oathstone takes higher priority.

 

Sure enough, but this is what Nuremberg was all about... The person who obeys an order which goes against morality is as guilty as the person who issued the order. 

 

Szeth shouldn't have accepted to kill for the owner of the stone. He should have drawn the line there. 

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I feel like forcing someone from a culture where warriors are the lowest class to kill by giving him an honorblade, a command to obey all orders from the owner of the oathstone, and letting those owners put two and two together is probably the entire point of this punishment in the first place.

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I think the Oathstone is more symbolic, it is only as strong as Szeths sense of honor. 

 

I always viewed Szeth as more of a tragic victim. He literally has nowhere to go, exiled by his people for a crime he didn't commit, forced into slavery, bound only by his sense of honor. Slowly being driven mad by self hate and the actions he is forced to commit. He is one of my favorite characters because he is so complex.

 

I think the whole point of his arc is to highlight the culture clash. Kaladin follows Honor, which is a slippery slope when he was caught between his promise to Dalinar and his promise to Moash. Syl didn't care he was being treasonous only that he couldn't keep his word. To 

Szeth is being punished for breaking certain laws, the last thing he wants to do is break more laws. So he follows them and is caught in the never ending morality loop.

 

 

 

 

As readers, we are supposed to support windrunners more than skybreakers, because that's what the main character is. As such, by watching Szeth carry out atrocities because his laws demand it, it makes the reader think, "Why doesn't he just ignore his laws?," the readers are subtly aligned with windrunner ideology - do what is right, not what is required by laws.

 

I applaud you sir! +1

To the Windrunners Honor supersedes Law and to Skybreakers Law supersedes Honor i generally see them more as two sides of the same coin.

 

The Windrunners would seem like Vigilantes to the Skybreakers and The Windrunners would see the Skybreakers as stiff necked.

I can already see why they had so much trouble getting along and coordinating with each other. Kaladin and Szeth are two of my fave Cosmere characters so i like them both but personally if i was in a position to join one of them i would be leaning towards Skybreakers.

Honor is good and all but it is more for the individual, Laws are more general and stabilizing.

 

 

 

@Dragon314 +1 :ph34r:

Edited by WEZ313
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Apologies for the long post, this touched on some things I've spend a little bit of time thinking about recently...

I think the Oathstone is more symbolic, it is only as strong as Szeths sense of honor. I always viewed Szeth as more of a tragic victim.

I completely agree with you about Szeth's story being a tragedy. The irony is that before his run in with Kaladin, Szeth was seeking invalidate those laws that his sense of honor compelled him to obey. Kaladin's existence (and obvious lack of an honorblade) proved to Szeth that he was not, in fact, truthless. In Szeth's mind, this freed him from the obligation of the Oathstone. Taravangian noted this, too. So, honorable service to falsehoodis not honor at all; it is delusion. For other examples, look at the actions of Nalan, Amaram, and Eshonai; each of these individuals commit atrocities in their efforts to do the "right thing" because they lacked accurate information or believed a lie (I'm assuming that Nalan is wrong about the effect that killing surgebinders has on the arrival of desolations). Honor must serve truth to be honorable. The discovery of such a falsehood could be the philosophical impetus behind the Recreance and the fall of the Knights Radiant (such as the discovery of the Almighty's death when we was thought to be alive).

 

 

To the Windrunners Honor supersedes Law and to Skybreakers Law supersedes Honor i generally see them more as two sides of the same coin. The Windrunners would seem like Vigilantes to the Skybreakers and The Windrunners would see the Skybreakers as stiff necked... If i were in a position to join one of them, i would lean towards the Skybreakers.

Honor is good and all but it is more for the individual, Laws are more general and stabilizing.

Justice is supposed to be the basis of the law. However, justice is not a qualitative attribute that is not easily quantifiable. This is the reason that District Attorneys measure their effectiveness in convictions, guilty pleas, and plea bargains instead of units of justice. Since justice is not objectively quantifiable and the perception of justice depends on perspective, I agree that it is individual. This is why society tries to act through impartial jurors and judges in the judicial system. Impartiality attempts to make the perspective of the judge and/or jury neutral which is supposed to make their verdict approximate an objective pronouncement of justice. The problem is that no system can perfectly eliminate bias, the rules of the system can be exploited to circumvent justice, and sometimes the laws themselves are unjust or otherwise flawed. This means that there are times when the judicial system wrongly condemns/punishes the innocent and times when it permits the guilty to escape justice.

In this environment, do we need to permit a limited amount of vigilante justice to correct the mistakes of the justice system? Personally, I would say that this is more dangerous since vigilantes are likely to act on imperfect knowledge and to be motivated by strong emotions like anger, grief, or revenge. So, only someone with perfect or near-perfect knowledge could possibly dispense justice better than the justice system.

Let's look at an example, Batman and the Punisher are two well known fictional vigilantes that have both recently made appearances (Batman in Batman v. Superman and the Punisher in Daredevil (Season 2) on Netflix) While Batman v. Superman portrays Batman a little differently, he is usually considered the "good guy" because he is extremely smart, considered to be the world's greatest detective, has the money to act on his knowledge, and he refrains from killing those he acts against (which serves as a passive acknowledgement that he's not God and that he could be wrong). Now the Punisher is usually regarded as a pseudo-justified, almost psychotic threat; he's a loose cannon that is nearly as bad as the criminals he murders in pursuit of his own brand of justice. The Punisher's status as a "good guy" is shaky and comes only reluctantly as a nod to the fact that most regard the people he kills to be "bad guys." In the real world, vigilantes look a lot more like the Punisher than they do Batman.

Perhaps this is why the Bible admonishes the faithful with this tidbit from Chapter 12 of Paul's letter to the Romans:

"Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'" - Romans 12:19

NOTE >the "Vengeance is mine" quote comes from Deuteronomy 32:35

However, the Skybreakers have forsaken their oaths (namely 'life before death' and 'journey before destination') in their murder of surgebinders. One major theme of the book is that it is not honorable to sacrifice the few for the benefit of the many without the consent of those being sacrificed. So, the Skybreakers have abandoned honor and they are justifying this by maintaining the appearance of working within the confines of the law. They are perverting the just intent of the law to accomplish their vision of order (they are placing the destination before the journey).

If order and stability are superior to honor and justice, then it could be argued that Hitler's Third Reich was "good." Hitler certainly valued order and stability... he forced that order upon Germany under the guise of political legitimacy. Then once he stabilized the German economy and solidified his hold on the country, he started to force his brand of "order" on Poland, France, Brittan, and Russia. For that matter, Apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow era in the United States are both examples of legalized oppression where the law was used dishonorably/unjustly to oppress others.

So, I can't say that I agree with your choice of "law abiding stability" over the messiness inherent in the individual nature of justice & honor. Collectivism destroys individual liberty in service of the "greater good." The less understood aspect of this is that Collectivism destroys the individual conscience as well since everyone in the collective is coerced by the law to act in ways that serve the collective; the law legislates morality instead of allowing individuals to choose between right and wrong.

TL;DR → I agree that Szeth's story is tragic. Vigilantes could potentially act justly, but without near-perfect knowledge they are likely to do more harm than good. Individually interpreted honor/justice is better than the stability and order imposed by a legal code that fails to base itself on something other than justice.

Edited by KidWayne
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No problem :) This is one hell of a post by the way haha  :ph34r:

Apologies for the long post, this touched on some things I've spend a little bit of time thinking about recently...
I completely agree with you about Szeth's story being a tragedy. The irony is that before his run in with Kaladin, Szeth was seeking invalidate those laws that his sense of honor compelled him to obey. Kaladin's existence (and obvious lack of an honorblade) proved to Szeth that he was not, in fact, truthless. In Szeth's mind, this freed him from the obligation of the Oathstone. Taravangian noted this, too. So, honorable service to falsehoodis not honor at all; it is delusion. For other examples, look at the actions of Nalan, Amaram, and Eshonai; each of these individuals commit atrocities in their efforts to do the "right thing" because they lacked accurate information or believed a lie (I'm assuming that Nalan is wrong the effect that killing surgebinders has on the arrival of desolations). Honor must serve truth to be honorable. The discovery of such a falsehood could be the philosophical impetus behind the Recreance and the fall of the Knights Radiant (such as the discovery of the Almighty's death when we was thought to be alive).

 

The thing that infuriates me the most is that Szeth is put in an unwinnable position... He was ostracized, disgraced, exiled into slavery and is continuously still punished for a crime he is innocent of and forbidden to commit suicide. There is no escape for him. I do slightly disagree with you about meeting Kaladin and it obvious that he didn't have an Honorblade. From Szeths perspective he could have simply been hiding it while still maintaining his basic Surgbinding abilities. In fact Taravangian crafts a rather plausible excuse for this, an explanation Szeth is desperate to believe. While it might be obvious to us that Taravangian is lying and Szeth is on the wrong side to him it is not, he is on no side he simply obeys because the Oathstone is all he has left. He clings to the laws of his people, he is riddled with self doubt and disgust so he simply does as he is told.

 

 

Perhaps this is the Bible admonishes the faithful with this tidbit from Chapter 12 of Paul's letter to the Romans:

Quote

"Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'" - Romans 12:19
NOTE >the "Vengeance is mine" quote comes from Deuteronomy 32:35

However, the Skybreakers have forsaken their oaths (namely 'life before death' and 'journey before destination') in their murder of surgebinders. One major theme of the book is that it is not honorable to sacrifice the few for the benefit of the many without the consent of those being sacrificed. So, the Skybreakers have abandoned honor and they are justifying this by maintaining the appearance of working within the confines of the law. They are perverting the just intent of the law to accomplish their vision of order (they are placing the destination before the journey).

If order and stability are superior to honor and justice, then it could be argued that Hitler's Third Reich was "good." Hitler certainly valued order and stability... he forced that order upon Germany under the guise of political legitimacy. Then once he stabilized the German economy and solidified his hold on the country, he started to force his brand of "order" on Poland, France, Brittan, and Russia. For that matter, Apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow era in the United States are both examples of legalized oppression where the law was used dishonorably/unjustly to oppress others.

So, I can't say that I agree with your choice of "law abiding stability" over the messiness inherent in the individual nature of justice & honor. Collectivism destroys individual liberty in service of the "greater good." The less understood aspect of this is that Collectivism destroys the individual conscience as well since everyone in the collective is coerced by the law to act in ways that serve the collective; the law legislates morality instead of allowing individuals to choose between right and wrong.

TL;DR → I agree that Szeth's story is tragic. Vigilantes could potentially act justly, but without near-perfect knowledge they are likely to do more harm than good. Individually interpreted honor/justice is better than the stability and order imposed by a legal code that fails to base itself on something other than justice. 

 

Im not very religious so im probably going to shy away from the Bible quote but I would never claim Hitler was good. He merely used hatred, racism and fascism as a stepping stool to power not out of any great love of order and stability. Instead of using a radicalized version of Law and stability like Nazism, id much rather use the Magna Carta as an example of Stability and Order.

 

The reason i personally prefer Law and Stability to Honor is because it is more clear cut, it helps the many where as honor is more idealism. I think it's just mostly a matter of opinion.

 

I meant as in i would say the Skybreaker Oaths and uphold their virtues or former virtues these days but i wouldn't necessarily join Nalan and his twisted perverse version of Law. 

Edited by WEZ313
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