MrakeDarshall

theory
An Possible Explanation for Taravangian's Diagram

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So we know Taravangian is acting pretty evilly (although he believes he is saving the world). He is sending assassins after everyone (including Dalinar), and a lot of what he is doing is a direct threat to honor and the radiants.

 

Initially, I thought he was probably somehow under the corruption of odium... But maybe not.

 

You see, everything he does is shaped by his gift from the nightwatcher. And the nightwatcher is a splinter of cultivation.

 

I don't think we know for sure that cultivation's and honor's intents are in perfect accord. Maybe both are trying to save things but they still work against each other to an  extent.

 

Odium might well still be involved... But I think we should not assume that cultivation is basically aligned perfectly with honor. Cultivation is a distinct third shard acting on this planet.

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This is just my personal theory on it, but the way I see it, The Knights Radiant are the long shot, the gamble. If they succeed, and avert the crisis, then that's the best Roshar's going to get. But that chance is slim. So ol' Taravangian is given the diagram from possibly, cultivation, which has a better chance of success, but involve the death of lots of good people, including people who have enough personal honor to reject his plan. Many of which have been picked to be knights radiant, or will be. Or could have been. So Taravangian is playing it safe, trying to keep Roshar alive, but afterwards, it leaves him as the dictator of a world. (At least that's where I see his plan going.) That's probably just an aside to him, from what I've figured out, but due to his "infliction," he has a remarkable lack of morals, as we can see by his gathering of death rattles. The Knights Radiant are kinda the leftovers of Honor's plan to rescue the planet, while the Diagram is the updated and more assured, but not taking the common man into account. Or entire countries, as we can see from that one country that Taravangian started a war in. It's in the pursuit of the "greater good," right? So it's all okay, right? Apparently not, as many people come away from WoK and WoR seeing Taravangian as a villain, which he is. But he's got his heart in the right place. On some days. Hope this made sense, and once again, this is just my viewpoint on things.

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To continue the metaphor, Taravangian's plan would be akin to pruning a plant to make it hardier, while the Knights Radiant will try to shelter it and prevent it from being damaged any more than is unavoidable.

jW

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The Diagram didn't come from Cultivation, only Taravangian's increased intellect / deceased compassion came from Cultivation/nightwatcher.  She does appear to have given up on Roshar, but there's no reason to think the Diagram was inspired by anything other than Taravangian's super high sociopathic intellect.  In fact, if any shard help inspire it I'd say Rayse was behind it as it is weakening the human nations and the efforts to reform the KR. Also as far as we know it fails to make the parshmen/parshendi = voidbringers connection Jasnah made.  Surely if the Diagram identified that connection he would be slaughtering dull forms left and right to stop them.

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Well, it's possible Cultivation could see that Taravangian would create the Diagram, etc. I agree though -- it's hard to see how the Diagram is the better/more lilkely to succeed version. It's worth keeping in mind that Taravangian seems to lose his understanding of morals/ethics/empathy as his intelligence increases and the Diagram was created when he was his most intelligent -- i.e.  there are likely ramifications to the things he is doing that were not properly considered when the Diagram was created.

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My view on the Diagram is that the diagram foretells the future, and we keep getting told that foretelling the future is of him.

Edited by Nyali
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Except as far as we know, all of the shards/vessels can predict the future though and the wish was granted by Cultivation's uber spren, so why would it be coming from Odium? The Death Rattles could be influenced by Odium though.

 

But more to the point, his wish for the capacity to save the world. In other words, he was so intelligent that day that he could predict what would happen much like a grandmaster of chess can predict ridiculous numbers of turns ahead with needing magic. As far as we know, the only "magic" going on is only to carry out the wish and the bane, which comes from Cultivation.

 

We have seen several shards/vessels predicting the future, including Honor in SA,and others in e.g. in the Mistborn series (mega spoilers)

Leras and Kelsier, and maybe Ruin/Ati (if not on-screen, it's strongly implied).

 

We also know Hoid has some kind of future prediction thing going on, so whatever power he is tapping into somehow predicts the future and I would be shocked to find out that that power comes from Odium given how dangerous he implies being on Roshar is.

Edited by Argel
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Except as far as we know, all of the shards/vessels can predict the future though and the wish was granted by Cultivation's uber spren, so why would it be coming from Odium? The Death Rattles could be influenced by Odium though.

 

But more to the point, his wish for the capacity to save the world. In other words, he was so intelligent that day that he could predict what would happen much like a grandmaster of chess can predict ridiculous numbers of turns ahead with needing magic. As far as we know, the only "magic" going on is only to carry out the wish and the bane, which comes from Cultivation.

 

We have seen several shards/vessels predicting the future, including Honor in SA,and others in e.g. in the Mistborn series (mega spoilers)

Leras and Kelsier, and maybe Ruin/Ati (if not on-screen, it's strongly implied).

 

We also know Hoid has some kind of future prediction thing going on, so whatever power he is tapping into somehow predicts the future and I would be shocked to find out that that power comes from Odium given how dangerous he implies being on Roshar is.

There are several things that make Taravangian's day of brilliance seem very out of place in the context of his boon and curse. Unlike other days, he wasn't able to remember anything about this day. While his power works on a distribution grid, there is one obvious outlier. The diagram seems to just be creating as much chaos as possible, and we haven't really seen any end goal from it. It just seems devised to make Travangian think he is doing the greater good when he is really just helping Odium by making Roshar unstable before his desolation IMO.

I think it is more likely to be Cultivations influance, but it is very sketchy over all.

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My guess is the memories of that day are so tied to his intelligence that he doesn't have the capacity to remember anything. That and if you take his intelligence out of the picture, then all he was doing was scribbling on the walls. With that said, it's a good point that we don't know for sure if everything that day was tied to his wish/bane. On the other hand, what makes Travangian so special at that point and time? It seems like Odium's interest would pick up after the Diagram and after the less intelligent Travangian figured out how to interpret it. Of course, Odium could have influenced some of that as well. But it just seems to me that Odium would have less reason to focus on Travangian until after he started doing things based on the Diagram. And I suppose, that may be enough of an influence.

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What made Taravangian special is his willingness to trust himself and to do anything that was up on those walls. That, coupled with the means to do so.

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Yeah, but when would Odium notice him? The idea that Diagram has been influenced by Odium requires that Odium was paying enough attention to influence him that day. I could see where Odium did notice as that day went on (making the early portions of the Diagram less suspect), but I'm having a hard time believing that Odium was paying that much attention to Taravangian up to that point (beyond that Taravangian was a king). As far as we know, Taravangian doesn't become a major player until after The Diagram. Don't forget they needed his day of his second higest intelligence to really get the ball rolling on deciphering The Diagram.

 

Though I suppose one question to ask is what language was The Diagram actually written in --- e.g. what if that language Taravangian made up was actually a language from Yolen or a shardworld?That would be interesting!

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In my theory, at least, the day of the diagram itself is a fabrication. Taravangian never actually gained incredible intelligence. He was controlled by Odium to scribble all he did, and then had his memory wiped. Odium knew that Taravangian had reason to believe in what he was writing and would thus follow through with it. Like I said, it's just my theory but it makes sense to me.

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Yeah, but when would Odium notice him? The idea that Diagram has been influenced by Odium requires that Odium was paying enough attention to influence him that day. I could see where Odium did notice as that day went on (making the early portions of the Diagram less suspect), but I'm having a hard time believing that Odium was paying that much attention to Taravangian up to that point (beyond that Taravangian was a king). As far as we know, Taravangian doesn't become a major player until after The Diagram. Don't forget they needed his day of his second higest intelligence to really get the ball rolling on deciphering The Diagram.

While I don't think Odium was messing with the Diagram, I have to say that I find it hard to believe Mr.T wasn't a major player until he wrote it. Why? Because of Gavilar.

Gavilar, previous prophet of a dead god and holder of the mysterious black sphere, possible proto-bondsmith, unifier of Alethkar, would be bringer of the dreaded Listener gods. He was a close enough friend to Taravangian to tell him his visions. Why were they so close? It could be because of Mr.T apparent virtue and Gavilar's growing honour. Or it could be because they were working together in the past.

A great spy network like the one Taravangian operates isn't born in one day and spreads across the world in another. Specially one capable of tracking down Szeth and killing his target before he does it. I believe Mr.T has been playing his game of shadows from his little innocent looking city since before Gavilar's conquests, and was one of the alethi King's main investors and supporters.

That is a person Odium would be wary of.

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What I find most interesting about the diagram is that his 'intellect' has a lot more information than can be known just from intuition. Intellect take data and posits hypotheses from that data. Mr T. Is getting new data as far as I can tell, he is being fed understanding from a more knowledgeable source (i.e. A Shard) I find it highly likely that he is being influenced by odium because his method of unification is something so Odium-esque (if you destroy all but one then the remaining are supremely unified).

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What I find most interesting about the diagram is that his 'intellect' has a lot more information than can be known just from intuition. Intellect take data and posits hypotheses from that data. Mr T. Is getting new data as far as I can tell, he is being fed understanding from a more knowledgeable source (i.e. A Shard) I find it highly likely that he is being influenced by odium because his method of unification is something so Odium-esque (if you destroy all but one then the remaining are supremely unified).

 

Interestingly, Taravangian's version of unification, and just about everything he does, is the exact opposite of the Knights Radiant. He murders in the hopes of preserving life, he cares only about the destination and not what he has to do to get there, and he presents weakness at every turn to hide his strength. He protects no one, not even those he loves, he kills those who cannot protect themselves, he shares only lies with the world and his very Diagram is likely a lie, he divides, and he can't see what he's doing.

 

His ideals are so far against the ideals of Honor that it just makes so much sense for him to be a pawn of Odium.

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Interestingly, Taravangian's version of unification, and just about everything he does, is the exact opposite of the Knights Radiant. He murders in the hopes of preserving life, he cares only about the destination and not what he has to do to get there, and he presents weakness at every turn to hide his strength. He protects no one, not even those he loves, he kills those who cannot protect themselves, he shares only lies with the world and his very Diagram is likely a lie, he divides, and he can't see what he's doing.

 

His ideals are so far against the ideals of Honor that it just makes so much sense for him to be a pawn of Odium.

This is why I'm so suspicious of Odium's involvement with the diagram. It's just so oppositional to what we have seen from Honor.

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I'm still of the opinion that it's more of Cultivation than Odium or Honor. I presume that both Honor and Cultivation are responsible for Surgebinding, while the Oathpact and the Heralds are mostly Honor's plan for dealing with Odium. Cultivation may have supported and assisted that plan, or even have been a part of creating it, but I wonder if now she thinks it's folly and has decided to use Taravangian to create a new way through this True Desolation, pruning and cultivating a remnant of humanity instead of honorably standing and fighting, which she might see as suicide. It's exactly the type of action I can see a Shard of Cultivation taking in that situation. Remember, Shards and their intents aren't inherently evil or good, so nothing says that we have to accept what Cultivation does as good.

jW

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Has anyone considered that maybe he got the boon and the curse completely backwards? He fluctuates between intelligent and compassionate and has used the intelligence as his route to saving the world but what if compassion is what was needed. For that matter he was given what the night watcher believed was required and we have been given no evidence that it is omnipotent so the night watcher could be mistaken about what's necessary. 

Edited by fish321
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I do agree that it is possible that The Diagram is not congruous with Honor's ideals of saving Roshar, which makes sense, since they have different intents and ideals. I also like the idea that Fish 321 suggested. Maybe he has it backwards. I think it works in a very twisted way. With the return of the desolation, there are going to be deaths, and it's impossible for it to end without many people dying. So Taravangian needs the emotionless logic to come up with the plan, but the plan deals with the lives of other people, and so he needs to be compassionate about the people in the Diagram's execution, especially because it means the death of many innocent people. IDK. Just my random thoughts. It sort of makes sense, but it is still very twisted and morbid in nature. 

I do think that the diagram's construction stems from Cultivation, or at least from Taravangian's boon/bane,  but (Hero of Ages related)

is it possible that Odium influenced The Diagram in the same way that Ati influenced the prophecy on Scradrial?

Just a thought.

 
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Do we know how long ago the Diagram was drawn?

Could be that it was decades and decades ago, enabling him to become secretly rich and powerful over time, and establish his network of spies and establish the Ghostbloods.

 

 

It does seem very suspect to me. I completely fail to see how any of what he is doing could be good. If he plans to unite the world, certainly a noble cause, it seems unlikely that the Taravangian that the world knows would be able to do it. And even if he does, what is the good of uniting the world if it has already been torn apart by civil war? Jah Keved, one of the strongest militant nations on Roshar, has been devastated. How many tens of thousands died that could have fought the Voidbringers?

 

And if the Everstorm transforms the Parshmen into the Voidbringers, and the True Desolation has begun, then Taravangian has chulled the pooch big time. He destablizes the world just before the apocalypse begins!

It seems to me that, unless what I can gather from the end of Words of Radiance has mislead me, the True Desolation has just begun, and the Diagram has lead the world into chaos and failed already. If Cultivation sent it purposefully as part of a new plan, then she has also chulled the pooch massively, and if Odium influenced or sent it... then well good on him, the sneaky git.

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Do we know how long ago the Diagram was drawn?

Could be that it was decades and decades ago, enabling him to become secretly rich and powerful over time, and establish his network of spies and establish the Ghostbloods..

We know the Diagram and the Ghostbloods are, if not outright opposed, at least different and non-cooperative groups.

As for when the Diagram was written, some believe it was before Szeth was made truthless, due to the mention of "creating a weapon" when talking about the Shin and the honorblades, while others like me believe it was after Gavilar's death, due to how Taravangian believes he is continuing his friend's work.

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We know the Diagram and the Ghostbloods are, if not outright opposed, at least different and non-cooperative groups.

As for when the Diagram was written, some believe it was before Szeth was made truthless, due to the mention of "creating a weapon" when talking about the Shin and the honorblades, while others like me believe it was after Gavilar's death, due to how Taravangian believes he is continuing his friend's work.

 

ahhh ok, my bad, all these secret societies confuse me :P

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We know the Diagram and the Ghostbloods are, if not outright opposed, at least different and non-cooperative groups.

As for when the Diagram was written, some believe it was before Szeth was made truthless, due to the mention of "creating a weapon" when talking about the Shin and the honorblades, while others like me believe it was after Gavilar's death, due to how Taravangian believes he is continuing his friend's work.

We do have confirmation from Brandon (and Peter) that Taravangian went to the Nightwatcher after Gavilar's assassination, so likely the Diagram was also made afterwards.

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We do have confirmation from Brandon (and Peter) that Taravangian went to the Nightwatcher after Gavilar's assassination, so likely the Diagram was also made afterwards.

We do? Nice to know I was right then :P!

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