kalaxin

Final Desolation Theory

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This is a theory I've been thinking about in regards to the desolation that we're about to see in the upcoming SA books and how it differs from the previous desolations that have occurred on Roshar in the past.

At the end of WoR, Hoid and Jasnah have a conversation about the desolation and the everstorm. Hoid mentions that the everstorm is going to transform the parshmen into voidbringers, to which Jasnah replied that it didn't happen that way in the past. So I'm trying to speculate as to why that is.

We, sort of, know that desolations occurred when the Heralds broke under the torture they were forced to endure in damnation and returned to Roshar. Here are the WoB where this is discussed:

AhoyMatey Is a Desolation caused when a Herald breaks under torture?

Brandon Sanderson This person is asking the right kinds of questions.

and:

Question

What caused a Desolation to end? Was it just the defeat of Odium's forces? Because the Desolations start when the Heralds break under torture.

Brandon Sanderson

Because the Heralds can no longer be in existence. There is a certain period of time that they can be there, and after that, if they're there, they will start a new one. So the Heralds do need to leave for a Desolation to end.

So something about the Heralds leaving "damnation" also allowed the voidbringers to come to Roshar (I won't open the can of worms of why or how but this seems pretty reasonable). So now that Taln has been broken and returned to Roshar, the Final Desolation has arrived. However, getting back to my point, it's different this time.

My theory is that it's different this time because the parshmen are already inhabitants of Roshar. I think that in the past the voidbringers arrived on Roshar during the desolation, then were driven out  by the Heralds and Knights Radiant.

At the end of the supposed last desolation, the parshmen were subjugated rather then driven out of Roshar. So rather than the oathpact physically holding back the voidbringers, it had been preventing voidspren, as splinters of Odium, from crossing from the Cognitive realm into physical Roshar. When Taln broke and returned to Roshar, this block was removed, which I think is why the Stormfather tells Eshonai that he can't stop her transformation. So the Everstorm brings with it the voidspren and will transform parshmen where as previously the desolations occurred when the voidbringers themselves returned to Roshar.

Sidenote: some question I would like to ask Brandon is whether parshmen or listeners inhabited Roshar between desolations and if Eshonai would have been able to bond to the stormspren before Taln arrived on Roshar.

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I was going to try and refute this based on one of the chapter openings, but when I looked it up didn't actually say what I thought. 

I thought it mentioned the transition from peaceful to aggressive,but this is what I found. 

Quote

Like a highstorm, regular in their coming, yet always unexpected.” —The word Desolation is used twice in reference to their appearances. See pages 57, 59, and 64 of Tales by Hearthlight.

Wait, it's at the end of tWoK, when Jasnah shows Shallan her notes on the voidbringers. 

Quote

Suddenly dangerous. Like a calm day that became a tempest

The two together especially make me think the Parshmen transition from placid to threatening is not a new occurrence. 

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1 hour ago, Calderis said:

The two together especially make me think the Parshmen transition from placid to threatening is not a new occurrence. 

Point to you, I'll definitely have to think about that more; however, on the flip side I-4 of WoR says:

"The listeners had made a decision centuries ago, a decision that set them back to primitive levels."

I think we can accurately say that this decision was to take on dullform or slaveform to free themselves of their gods and that it occurred at the end of the Aharietiam. That makes it sound like the transition only occurred once.

 

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I personally think that in the past, they were like the Parshendi. They were not the near mindless slaves that we see in Parshmen, but they weren't aggressive without reason. They were just a normal race of people. 

So I think that your original hypothesis is half right. They did physically exist, but they weren't the blank voidspren recepticle that Parshmen have become. 

It doesn't contradict any in book information that way, and it still shows that this desolation is drastically different. 

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I agree that they were originally just a normal race of people; in all likelihood they existed on Roshar before Odium came to the system. Maybe the quote from Jasnah's notes is discussing the first desolation that occurred where they suddenly became aggressive and violent.

In that case it is still possible that they didn't inhabit Roshar during the time between desolations.

I will admit this is probably a little bit of a stretch, but it does seem consistent with what we know.

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I think the Parshendi nation were a collection of listeners who voluntarily severed their ability to bond most formed and that made them immune to whatever Melishi did to make parshmen (listeners that are trapped in slave form). But because the parshendi retained more intelligence than parshmen they could discover new forms. Most forms were only discovered very recently. 

But i think listeners were in Roshar between previous Desolations. What nale says in edgedancer isn't clear but I think he means between previous Desolations

Quote

What you saw are a few listeners who remain from the old days, ones free to use the old forms. They summoned a cluster of Voidspren. We’ve found remnants of them on Roshar before, hiding.”

 

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2 hours ago, kalaxin said:

I agree that they were originally just a normal race of people; in all likelihood they existed on Roshar before Odium came to the system. Maybe the quote from Jasnah's notes is discussing the first desolation that occurred where they suddenly became aggressive and violent.

In that case it is still possible that they didn't inhabit Roshar during the time between desolations.

I will admit this is probably a little bit of a stretch, but it does seem consistent with what we know.

What I meant is that I think this one is different in that the Parshendi were enslaved and became Parshmen, and now, without a Spren, they are just blank slates awaiting a spren willing to bond more forcefully than the typical spren that must be attracted. 

In the past, I think they were just a people who coexisted with the human inhabitants of Roshar, and at a desolation, with the Forms of power, they suddenly became an active threat, but they would have had to sought out or accepted the forms, and they weren't integrated into human society. 

So while this desolation is difficult, I don't think they were ever physically absent from Roshar. 

@Extesian very good thought. Dull form would serve an actual purpose if it's adoption protected those who abandoned the other forms from the transformation to Parshmen. 

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