EmanEmal

Consequences of betraying the oath stone.

24 posts in this topic

Now I’ve seen a lot of posts about Szeth abandoning his truthlessness and deciding to ignore his orders to kill Dalinar or whatever, and how awesome it would be for him to become a good guy, and it would be quite cool.


But


    I have my doubts


You see the Shin seem to be a rational and sound people, a people who hate violence, and yet this tradition of truthless seems totally crazy. I could buy if it was just the lifetime of absolute servitude with no absolution from your sins, maybe, it would still be extremely odd as every system of morality’s goal is to stop people from breaking its rules so forcing someone to do so is extremely odd


But


    They give this truthless requires a shardblade (Possibly an honorblade) It just seems odd, odd enough that I feel that it is safe to say that this punishment is not just an arbitrary decision. It’s not just a form of punishment, even if it is somewhat similar to the fate of people who pick up normal weapons.


    My theory is that something that Szeth did has caused something to start happening, something that he now has to hold back through the trial of being a truthless.

   

I think that something started the return of Odium and the desolation and now Szeth has to maintain his oath as a truthless for as long as possible to delay it for as long as possible. So when he breaks his oath the proverbial gloves come off and we go into round one of the last desolation.


I have a few points to support this theory


    It has been theorised that Szeth’s blade is an honor blade, if this were true then I would like to point to the original world changing effects of the Heralds putting them down, an act that somehow stopped the cycle of Desolations, if szeth had now picked one up then it stands to reason that it is possible that it has something do with unstopping them.


    Second Shivor is the only large place on Roshar where the high storms don’t reach, there are also no spren in Shivor (at least there are none just hanging around) Which strikes me as very odd. Now I have always wondered what the Rosharn shads version of, can’t see metal, was. There is, what I consider, a hint in the first interlude at the pure lake. Basically they believe that the evil god can’t see them when they are on certain sacred grounds and so they are free to worship as they please there. So I figured I should run with that, what if there was some way to seal off a section of land from the power of the Shards, if that were the case then Shivor, the huge odium safe zone, would be the best place to hide the desolation trigger, as I shall call it.


    Now do you recall the last scene with Szeth where he meets his employer at Karbanath. There is a very brief section there where Szeth contemplates killing Tarvagian instead of following his orders. This section not only proves that Szeth can break his oath but it also is worded suspiciously “but honor prevailed for now” ← (weak evidence I know but directly after this, the next chapter, also this is parafrased I'll get the exact quote later, when I have my book again), you get a scene of hoid describing the bowl movements of the world and a herald breaking down the gates of Kolinar. Just after.


It would also make for an amazing scene if he ever did break his oath.


So there it is, am I right, am I wrong, what do you think is the desolation trigger, what do you think will happen when\if Szeth breaks his oath.

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I think when Szeth breaks his oath to his stone, he will discover that, like the people from the land the wandersail discovered, he is responsible for his own actions. He is responsible for every death he wrought. And I believe he will be broken for a long time and try to bring balance.

I think the desolation trigger is the parshendi summoning a storm using the red lightning spren, a storm that will open a portal allowing Odium to slip through into their world. It I'd also possible, I suppose, that he is actually imprisoned in galivars sphere.

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I think when Szeth breaks his oath to his stone, he will discover that, like the people from the land the wandersail discovered, he is responsible for his own actions. He is responsible for every death he wrought. And I believe he will be broken for a long time and try to bring balance.

I agree with this.

However, there is also the possibility that he will never break free of his oathstone in that way. He could be freed, somehow, and feel that he is absolved of his crimes. He could die. He might even never break free. I was thinking about this, and I thought this might be a curse from Nightwatcher, with the Windrunner powers his boon. We might be able to see where his character is going better after Words of Radiance, but we don't have enough to go off of right now.

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I don't think the act of being truthless is Metaphysical.  And I don't think the Shin are as rational as we like to think.  Brandon made it clear in the previous book that within Roshar people will exploit any system of rule, from the eldest rule to light eyes ruling, and everything else.  There will always be some form of corruption in Government, it's human nature, and a necessary part of governing.

The Shin have their own faults.  Szeth's truthlessness leading to planetwide discord is more than enough to prove that.  

You could be right and there is some kind of grand master plan behind his truthlessness, but I don't think so. I think it's a curse that was wrongly handed to someone too easy to exploit, and that he's stuck with it for too long.

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I think when Szeth breaks his oath to his stone, he will discover that, like the people from the land the wandersail discovered, he is responsible for his own actions. He is responsible for every death he wrought. And I believe he will be broken for a long time and try to bring balance.

 

 

Actually when Szeth is talking with Taravangian he accepts responsibility for his acts.

 

"I am not absolved,"..."It is a common mistake stone-walkers make.  Each life I take weighs me down, eating away at my soul."

 

"To kill, to have no choice, but to bear the sins nonetheless.  I am Truthless."

 

Huh...It just occurred to me that this scene also indicated that as intelligent and knowledgeable as Taravangian is there are gaps in what he knows.  He assumed that Szeth is absolved of the killings he does on his masters behalf.  I would think that Taravangian gathered as much information about Szeth as possible before "recruiting" him and yet he missed this.  It makes me wonder if their could be other things that he is doing based on false assumptions or faulty intelligence.

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Actually when Szeth is talking with Taravangian he accepts responsibility for his acts. 
"I am not absolved,"..."It is a common mistake stone-walkers make.  Each life I take weighs me down, eating away at my soul." "To kill, to have no choice, but to bear the sins nonetheless.  I am Truthless."

Exactly

Szeth is already revolted with him self

 

He could hear the dead scream every time he closed his eyes. They grated against his soul, rubbing it to nothing, haunting him, consuming him.

The guy can't really go much farther down. Totally unlike the people from the story who would just blame there king and go about their lives.

 

I am really thinking that there are more direct worldly consequences to falling his oath

 

 

 

 And I don't think the Shin are as rational as we like to think.  Brandon made it clear in the previous book that within Roshar people will exploit any system of rule, from the eldest rule to light eyes ruling, and everything else.  There will always be some form of corruption in Government, it's human nature, and a necessary part of governing.

 

Corrupt and rational are two very different things, Corrupt I could buy, Selfish, Greedy, or Exploitative I could buy, but in order to impose a system like the truthless, by conventional wisdom, you would have to be insane. And I wont buy that the Shin are ruled entirely by madmen without evidence.

 

There is no political gain here, no one benefits from Szeth's punishment, Szeth had to be armed with one
of the single most valuable things in the world as a part of it no one would just give that up out of corruption, they would do the opposite and try and take it if they were out for personal gain. 
 

I also would like to point out that Szeth is a highly intelligent man and it seems that it would be somewhat difficult to trick him for so long. The amount of mental and physical trauma he has to endure is huge, so it would take an equally huge act to trick him.

 

And even if they were insane enough and corrupt enough to do something like what you described and Szeth fell for it then why wouldn't they keep the oath stone, and thus one of the most powerful weapons in the world, for them selves or at least with some kind of agent they commanded. They gave the oath stone away to some random merchant, that doesn't strike me as a master stroke of political betrayal.

 

There has to be some reason for this whole thing to exist, it seems to me that the evidence links it to the desolations.

 

(Also I made an error in my first post, the last Szeth chapter and the epilogue aren't back to back like I had thought, but they are still very close together, my bad)

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Where do we keep getting this, "The Honorblade is part of his curse" stuff?  He's can't give it up, but that could be entirely separate(No Stonewalker may possess an Honorblade or something like that.  I don't think it's part of his punishment.

Moreover lots of people benefit politically from his punishment.  It's possible he made enemies in Shinovar that exiled him.  Taravangian certainly benefits.  All the rivals of his victims benefit.  My entire point was that I don't think that was the plan.  

Hell, it's possible his banishment is because he misused the Honorblade...  Or a punishment for having it(which is different from him having to have it for his punishment.)  Imagine if bonding an Honorblade is forbidden and he bonds it.  In order to unbond it it has to be passed to someone else(and if they're forbidden nobody in Shinovar can take it) or he must be executed.  The Shin don't seem the corporal punishment type, so they banish him(make him truthless.)  I think the Shin don't realize what they've done by throwing him out into the world.

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I personally don't think Szeth's blade is an Honorblade, as I've seen too much evidence against this, like how when he passes out, his sword disappears, but when the Herald at the end of WoK passes out, his blade remains.

 

Also, remember how when the merchants were haggling, they downplayed the value of everything? Shin do not like when people value something highly, and consider it trashy. Perhaps since Shardblades are so valuable, they are disliked by the Shin? Not to mention, the blades are made of metal as far as I can tell, and you have to break rocks to get to metal, which the Shin find as an abhorred act. Still, all of this together does not make me think they would throw out Shardblades. They do have plans to get it back when he dies, so who knows.

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I personally don't think Szeth's blade is an Honorblade, as I've seen too much evidence against this, like how when he passes out, his sword disappears, but when the Herald at the end of WoK passes out, his blade remains.

 

Also, remember how when the merchants were haggling, they downplayed the value of everything? Shin do not like when people value something highly, and consider it trashy. Perhaps since Shardblades are so valuable, they are disliked by the Shin? Not to mention, the blades are made of metal as far as I can tell, and you have to break rocks to get to metal, which the Shin find as an abhorred act. Still, all of this together does not make me think they would throw out Shardblades. They do have plans to get it back when he dies, so who knows.

That strikes me more as the Herald died.  Have you read the excerpts on the Tor page?  I won't say much but it is HEAVILY implied that Szeth has an honorblade.

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I personally don't think Szeth's blade is an Honorblade, as I've seen too much evidence against this, like how when he passes out, his sword disappears, but when the Herald at the end of WoK passes out, his blade remains.

Much of the recent argument in favor of it being an honorblade comes from the Eshonai interlude

it is strongly implied in the interlude that honorblades bestow surgebinding on the holder of the blade. Since Szeth does not hold a nahel bond, this seems the most logical source of his windrunner abilities.

As to the sword disappearing, yes that could be evidence against but we also don't know if honorblades react differently when being wielded by a regular person if their herald is still alive.

Edited by aWESomeness summoned
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That strikes me more as the Herald died.  Have you read the excerpts on the Tor page?  I won't say much but it is HEAVILY implied that Szeth has an honorblade.

When a Herald dies, their Blade disappears. So he is definitely still alive, just unconscious, so the situation still applies.

Edited by cris34b
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The evidence that Szeth has an honorblade is not actually that strong.  However, there are several strange things going on with Szeth.  His blade does unique things, such as temporarily changing his eye color.  He can surgebind without a spren.  He thinks that when he dies he is going to be tortured.  WOR spoiler

The Eshonai interlude makes it look like the Parshendi know that possessing an Honorblade allows a person to surgebind in a different way.  They are scared that surgebinding has returned, and the idea that Kaladin may have just had an honorblade reassures them.  The Parshendi used to own Szeth for a short period of time.

 

If Szeth has an Honorblade, then we can just take all of the strange things about Szeth and answer them by saying "his Honorblade did it."  WOR Spoiler

Szeth having an honorblade could also explain why the Parshendi think an honorblade would allow someone to surgebind, they used to own an example of a person surgebinding through an honorblade.

 

In Short, the Honorblade theory takes several confusing problems and answers them all, but leaves us with only one new issue to figure out, where did he get it?

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The evidence that Szeth has an honorblade is not actually that strong.  However, there are several strange things going on with Szeth.  His blade does unique things, such as temporarily changing his eye color.  He can surgebind without a spren.  He thinks that when he dies he is going to be tortured.  WOR spoiler

The Eshonai interlude makes it look like the Parshendi know that possessing an Honorblade allows a person to surgebind in a different way.  They are scared that surgebinding has returned, and the idea that Kaladin may have just had an honorblade reassures them.  The Parshendi used to own Szeth for a short period of time.

 

If Szeth has an Honorblade, then we can just take all of the strange things about Szeth and answer them by saying "his Honorblade did it."  WOR Spoiler

Szeth having an honorblade could also explain why the Parshendi think an honorblade would allow someone to surgebind, they used to own an example of a person surgebinding through an honorblade.

 

In Short, the Honorblade theory takes several confusing problems and answers them all, but leaves us with only one new issue to figure out, where did he get it?

It would make sense if the first prologue took place in what is now Shinovar, something I've believed for quite a long time, and I don't know exactly why other than it's an impression I've had since my first readthrough.

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I never thought it was in Shinovar, since it mentions pillars of natural rocks, and said that no plants grow there. Doesn't sound like what we've seen so far of Shinovar. Though maybe, lets say it is in Shinovar. The Shin people find that battle site, right? And what do you know, there are giant creatures of rock lying next to skeletons(if there are any skeletons left), clearly the cause of some of the damage, and this rock ripped itself from the ground.

 

Maybe this is why they revere rock and find it horrible to break it? Either A: because they worship these dead rock creatures for some reason or... B: They see these things are evil, and they destroyed rock, so we cannot become evil by also destroying rock.

 

What if the Shin choose option A and become evil? Shin Voidbringers. Spread the word. :P

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Like I said, not sure why. Probably because it felt like that was how Szeth got his blade, which he refers to as profane in comparison to most blades. And a lot can change in 4500 years. It makes a form of sense that the people were pushed all the way to Shinovar for the last battle asas well, and war does tend to destroy things. Plus the people who lived nearest the fighting are the most likely to loathe violence.

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Corrupt and rational are two very different things, Corrupt I could buy, Selfish, Greedy, or Exploitative I could buy, but in order to impose a system like the truthless, by conventional wisdom, you would have to be insane. And I wont buy that the Shin are ruled entirely by madmen without evidence.

 

There is no political gain here, no one benefits from Szeth's punishment, Szeth had to be armed with one
of the single most valuable things in the world as a part of it no one would just give that up out of corruption, they would do the opposite and try and take it if they were out for personal gain. 
 

I also would like to point out that Szeth is a highly intelligent man and it seems that it would be somewhat difficult to trick him for so long. The amount of mental and physical trauma he has to endure is huge, so it would take an equally huge act to trick him.

 

And even if they were insane enough and corrupt enough to do something like what you described and Szeth fell for it then why wouldn't they keep the oath stone, and thus one of the most powerful weapons in the world, for them selves or at least with some kind of agent they commanded. They gave the oath stone away to some random merchant, that doesn't strike me as a master stroke of political betrayal.

 

There has to be some reason for this whole thing to exist, it seems to me that the evidence links it to the desolations.

 

(Also I made an error in my first post, the last Szeth chapter and the epilogue aren't back to back like I had thought, but they are still very close together, my bad)

 

I don't have much to add to the Shardblade/Honourblade discussion, but I do want to say this; I don't believe there is a compulsion for Szeth to follow the orders of the stone beyond any cultural imposed ones.

 

We haven't seen enough of the Shin to know about their culture. If I recall correctly though (and I might not be, so please, call me out on it), Szeth is an oddity in Roshar. I don't recall hearing about another Shin anywhere else, beyond as a deliverer of death words in an epigraph. Their bartering tool, of respecting honour and devaluing products, is so alien that it completely baffled the merchants who visited them, and that's to say nothing of their landscape.

 

Everything we've seen of them so far leads me to believe they are fairly isolated from the greater problems of Roshar, so I can see the oathstone working in that culture. If you're raised to believe something, it becomes ingrained fairly strongly in you, particularly when, as Szeth indicates, no following the rules is worse than damnation, it's non-existence.

 

The other kingdoms of Roshar don't seem concerned about the Shin, and they aren't worried about them. That means that getting rid of a Truthless means tying a stone to the tail end of someone's wagon and telling them to go fetch. They aren't going to disobey that, and the chances of you ever seeing them again are slim to none. 

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I don't have much to add to the Shardblade/Honourblade discussion, but I do want to say this; I don't believe there is a compulsion for Szeth to follow the orders of the stone beyond any cultural imposed ones.

 

We haven't seen enough of the Shin to know about their culture. If I recall correctly though (and I might not be, so please, call me out on it), Szeth is an oddity in Roshar. I don't recall hearing about another Shin anywhere else, beyond as a deliverer of death words in an epigraph. Their bartering tool, of respecting honour and devaluing products, is so alien that it completely baffled the merchants who visited them, and that's to say nothing of their landscape.

 

Everything we've seen of them so far leads me to believe they are fairly isolated from the greater problems of Roshar, so I can see the oathstone working in that culture. If you're raised to believe something, it becomes ingrained fairly strongly in you, particularly when, as Szeth indicates, no following the rules is worse than damnation, it's non-existence.

 

The other kingdoms of Roshar don't seem concerned about the Shin, and they aren't worried about them. That means that getting rid of a Truthless means tying a stone to the tail end of someone's wagon and telling them to go fetch. They aren't going to disobey that, and the chances of you ever seeing them again are slim to none. 

Well they certinaly are rare, at one point Szeth thinks on how he is the only Shin in the city, but they are common enough that there exist steriotypes of them and that seeing one going about buisness is aparently not worthy of note. Several of the texts that Jasnah asks Shallan if she had wread were also published by shin.

 

While they are quite isolated I don't think that that hampers their involvement with the bigger problems in roshar mainly because no one on Roshar seemes to know exactly what those are and those who do know have no intention of sharing. They also have to have some form of acctivity out side their home land, there is a group of doods that will reclaim Szeth's blade when he dies, so it seemes to me that they have every means to be connected in all this crazyness.

 

And I will agree with you that it is possible for the punishment to be a souly traditional religious sort of affair I don't believe that it is likely to be a form of political trick.

 

I also don't think that it was done just to get rid of Szeth, the way it gits talked about in the interlude the whole thing comes off as sad and full of regrets but nessacary, at least that is my view.

 

You are right that we don't realy know much about the shin though, so they could just be wierd, but they still need a reason to do what they do, and the one that makes the most since to me is that the practice is in place to prevent the potintal destruction of the world. Which is a bit over the top but it is all I've got.

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I get the feeling that Szeth got into an argument/held a belief contrary to most of the Shin people (or their rulers at the very least):

He had heard that the Voidbringers could hold [stormlight] in perfectly. But then, did they even exist?

His punishment declared that they didn't. His honor demanded that they did.

He is being punished because they don't exist. His honor hinges upon whether or not they did.

I would speculate that he claimed that the Everstorm was approaching, and the Shin leaders refused to believe that this would/could be the case, assume that Szeth is lying (has no truth), condemn him to be a truthless, until he dies, he is released, or can prove his claim.

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I think you are on the right track.

Here's a legend Navani told:

 

 

In order to repopulate her fallen people, she climbed the peaks of Dara — the myth changes, listing different modern mountain ranges as the true peaks of Dara—to find stones touched by the Heralds themselves. She brought them to Nadris on his deathbed and harvested his seed to bring life to the stones. They hatched forth ten children, which she used to found a new nation.

 

I think there's a connection here.

 

In the prelude Jezrien said:

 

 

Ishar believes that so long as there is one of us still bound to the Oathpact, it may be enough. There is a chance we might end the cycle of Desolations.

 

In Rysn interlude was said that all Shin soldiers have oathstones and that's the way they are traded, may be imitating in a way the Heralds. Szeth most likely has Jezrien's Honorblade, so why not his oathstone assuming the Heralds had ones as the legend implies? 

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I also think that the betraying the Oath Stone has real consequences.  In addition to the reasons mentioned above, I think that the fact that the Shinovar merchant said Szeth is Truthless and is therefore, absolutely worthless, means that Szeth actually holds immeasurable value.  Ha, I really hope that's it and not some mumbojumbo about Szeth having an honorspren when no spren are seen in Shinovar.

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What if Szeth's Honorblade and his Oathstone are supposed to prevent him from doing whatever Truthless people are feared for?

 

If holding Jezrien's Honorblade does make one a Windrunner, what if it also overrides or suppresses pre-existing Investiture? So if Truthless people can do something terrible, like access some kind of Voidbinding (or whatever the Unmade use), then making them hold an Honorblade would suppress Odium's Investiture on them. If so, perhaps the Stone Shamans had some justification to force Szeth into his current situation.

 

Take note, I'm not saying that Szeth was evil before his slavery. It's perfectly possible that he became Truthless by accident. But if my theory is true, then the Stone Shamans had no choice. Executing him would be against their religion, imprisoning him would be impossible, and letting him go would be idiotic. Perhaps every other Truthless before Szeth had been given to masters who were never as ambitious as the Parshendi or Taravangian, so nobody expected Szeth to cause so much destruction as he is now causing.

 

Anyway, I believe Szeth is under a special form of compulsion that does not make him to perform tasks against his will, but instead makes him believe that those tasks are the "honorable" things to do. In that case, he will only ever break his oaths if he ever loses his sense of honor, or if someone else overrides the Stone Shaman compulsion.

Edited by skaa
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ZENITH
Is Szeth bound to his Oathstone by anything but honor (not the shard. No loopholes here )?
BRANDON SANDERSON
RAFO
TAGS
szeth,  oathstone,  rafo

Im guessing it will be explained in the third book but i think it will be something more than just a regular honor bound promise.

I also think it might have something to do with his ability to surgebind without the Nahel Bond.

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Since spren are physical manifestations of ideas, it seems reasonable that Szeth's strong faith in his Oathstone could produce a physical reaction. So I think until Szeth is given a strong reason to believe that his punishment was in error, there is a good chance that abandoning his Oathstone could have serious consequences for him. 

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Szeth's actions are not particularly honorable but the fact he keeps his oath to the stone despite that is honorable in a way.

In WOR he should carve out MR.T's eyes out with a rusty spoon.

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