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Fifth of Daybreak

When Shallan pieces together Kabsal's death

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On my latest readthrough of WoK in preparation for Oathbringer, something struck me about Kabsal's death that hadn't before. Jasnah's actions all not only point towards suspicion of Kabsal, but intent to kill him, and a reckless disregard for the life of Shallan in her attempt to catch the assassin in his own trap. Here's the scene below in a spoiler tag for length:

 

Spoiler

He smiled, pulling a stool over for himself. “I think,” he said, “that the lack of color in these places is what keeps people sick so long. That and the lack of proper food.” He winked, turning the jar toward Shallan. It was deep, dark red. “Strawberry.”

“Never heard of it,” Shallan said.

“It’s exceedingly rare,” Jasnah said, reaching for the jar. “Like most plants from Shinovar, it can’t grow other places.”

Kabsal looked surprised as Jasnah removed the lid and dipped a finger into the jar. She hesitated, then raised a bit of the jam to her nose to sniff at it.

 “I was under the impression that you disliked jam, Brightness Jasnah,” Kabsal said.

“I do,” she said. “I was simply curious about the scent. I’ve heard that strawberries are very distinctive.”

She screwed the lid back on, then wiped her finger on her cloth handkerchief. “I brought bread as well,” Kabsal said. He pulled out a small loaf of the fluffy bread. “It’s nice of you not to blame me, Shallan, but I can see that my attentions were too forward. I thought, maybe, I could bring this and …”

“And what?” Jasnah asked. “Absolve yourself? ‘I’m sorry I drove you to suicide. Here’s some bread.’ ”

He blushed, looking down

. “Of course I’ll have some,” Shallan said, glaring at Jasnah. “And she will too. It was very kind of you, Kabsal.” She took the bread, breaking off a chunk for Kabsal, one for herself, then one for Jasnah. “No,” Jasnah said. “Thank you.” “Jasnah,” Shallan said. “Would you please at least try some?” It bothered her that the two of them got on so poorly. The older woman sighed. “Oh, very well.” She took the bread, holding it as Shallan and Kabsal ate. The bread was moist and delicious, though Jasnah grimaced as she put hers in her mouth and chewed it.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (pp. 682-683). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

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So Jasnah here, as she herself later tells Shallan, anticipates that this is the last interaction that she will have with Kabsal, and she is presented with a unique opportunity to grab the jam. Since strawberry is rare, she has a readily available excuse, the scent, to grab the jar and touch the jam and soulcast it. Her hesitation before she actually sniffs it is evidence that she did not actually intend to smell it, and knows that it is going to smell rancid due to the soulcasting. She likely here has anticipated that the jam has an antidote since she is not fond of jam herself. This gives her a way to at the very least prove her hypothesis about Kabsal. If she's wrong, all she's done is ruin a good jar of jam. Shalln comes to the faulty conclusion that Jasnah suspected poison is in the jam, but Jasnah doesn't need to get rid of poison she has no intention of ingesting, and she certainly doesn't need to cover up the fact that she tampered with the antidote, as Shallan observed she had:

Quote

She began to draw, fingers unsteady, sketching Jasnah on that day in the hospital. Sitting beside Shallan’s bed, holding the jam. Shallan hadn’t taken a distinct Memory, and wasn’t as accurate as if she had, but she remembered well enough to draw Jasnah with her finger stuck into the jam. She had raised that finger to smell the strawberries. Why? Why put her finger into the jam? Wouldn’t raising the jar to her nose have been enough? Jasnah hadn’t made any faces at the scent. In fact, Jasnah hadn’t mentioned that the jam had spoiled. She’d just replaced the lid and handed back the jar.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 966). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

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But Shallan was far too caught up in the realization that Jasnah had a fake soulcaster to continue to follow the trail to its logical end, or maybe she was too sick from the poison to remember all of the details. Either way, Jasnah has no reason to soulcast the Jam if she suspects the poison is in there, as she has no need. In fact, as the first selection shows she never intended on eating anything at all until Shallan forced the issue. This was a crime of opportunity that put Shallan right in the crossfire. Shallan comes to the wrong conclusion and thinks that Jasnah is trying to protect her, which is understandable, it's not an assumption you want to make about your mentor and hero, especially when you have personally betrayed that person. 

Quote

“You suspected Kabsal of being an assassin,” Shallan said. “You knew immediately what had happened when I fell; you were expecting poison, or at least were aware that it was possible. But you thought the poison was in the jam. You Soulcast it when you opened the lid and pretended to smell it. You didn’t know how to re-create strawberry jam, and when you tried, you made that vile concoction. You thought to get rid of poison. But you inadvertently Soulcast away the antidote

. “You didn’t want to eat the bread either, just in case there was something in it. You always refused it. When I convinced you to take a bite, you Soulcast it into something else as you put it in your mouth. You said you’re terrible at making organic things, and what you created was revolting. But you got rid of the poison, which is why you didn’t succumb to it.”

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 968). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

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This will be a large enough realization, that Jasnah was willing to gamble with Shallan's life to kill an enemy, but it becomes even more egregious than that when another few details are brought into the context of the situation.

Quote

Jasnah. Her voice was distant. “She’s been poisoned. I need a garnet. Bring me a garnet!”

There’s one in my pouch, Shallan thought. She fumbled with it, managing to undo the tie of her safehand’s sleeve. Why … why does she want … But no, I can’t show her that. The Soulcaster! Her mind was so fuzzy.

“Shallan,” Jasnah’s voice said, anxious, very soft. “I’m going to have to Soulcast your blood to purify it. It will be dangerous. Extremely dangerous. I’m not good with flesh or blood. It’s not where my talent lies.”

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 687). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

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Not only does Jasnah move forward with this plan knowing she's not in any danger, putting her ward in harm's way, but she does so knowing that her talents make it dificult for her to save Shallan, and she does it without a garnet on her to perform the soulcasting necessary to save Shallan. Jasnah is so obsessed with the mere opportunity of taking out a member of the Ghostbloods that she's willing to risk Shallan's life when Jasnah doesn't have the tools necessry to save her, even though it would not be difficult to have those tools on hand. Jasnah is one of the wealthiest women in the world, a garnet should be easy for her to gain access to, and it stands to reason she would want to have one around as a soulcaster for how useful it could be, especially if you plan on risking the life of one of your dependents to kill an enemy.  


I think it will have a profound effect on Shallan's opinion of Jasnah if she ever reexamines the events and realizes what happened, especially when she correlates them with the things Mraize has said to her. 

Quote

“You killed Jasnah,” Shallan hissed.

“Yes. After she, in turn, had assassinated a number of our members. You didn’t think her hands were clean of blood, did you, Veil?” She looked away, breaking his gaze.

Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive, The) (p. 1056). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

It's actually entirely possible that this is another 'truth' that Shallan has realized and hidden away to protect her admiration for Jasnah, though I don't find this as plausible as Shallan drawing her own false conclusions. I think she'll follow the logical steps later and realize the mistake she made and Jasnah's true intentions, and I think that will push her closer to the Ghostbloods. 

 

As an aside, I just watched Deathnote for the first time recently, and going through Kabsal's death scene, I felt a strong paralel to one of Jasnah's quotes.

Quote

“It appears you got a bad jar,” Jasnah said.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 683). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

 

Kira.jpg

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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I think Jasnah really suspected there was poison in the jam. She may not have intended to eat any of it, but she probably thought that Shallan would try it. She soulcast away the "poison" in the jam so that Shallan wouldn't die when she ate it. She knew there was the possibility of poison in the bread, so she soulcast it before she ate it herself. But there wasn't any easy way to soulcast the bread without looking super suspicious. With the jam, as you said, Jasnah was "curious about the scent" because it was so exotic, so it was at least somewhat reasonable that she took some and sniffed it. There was no reason for her to grab the whole loaf of bread though, especially since she didn't plan on eating any of it. The bread didn't appear unusual in any way, so if she'd picked it up and examined it, it probably would have tipped Kabsal off that Jasnah suspected an assassination attempt. That's my opinion, anyway.

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45 minutes ago, 8giraffe8 said:

She soulcast away the "poison" in the jam so that Shallan wouldn't die when she ate it. She knew there was the possibility of poison in the bread, so she soulcast it before she ate it herself. But there wasn't any easy way to soulcast the bread without looking super suspicious.

Why does it matter if she looks suspicious or not? If her intention is to save Shallan and she just needs to have Kabsal held under suspicion until Jasnah can have the things tested. She mentions later that they tested for antidote in other jars, and they named the poison they found in the bread. 

 

45 minutes ago, 8giraffe8 said:

With the jam, as you said, Jasnah was "curious about the scent" because it was so exotic, so it was at least somewhat reasonable that she took some and sniffed it.

 

This is answered by Shallan in the text. 

Quote

“It smells terrible! This is jam?” It smelled like vinegar and slime.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 683). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

She began to draw, fingers unsteady, sketching Jasnah on that day in the hospital. Sitting beside Shallan’s bed, holding the jam. Shallan hadn’t taken a distinct Memory, and wasn’t as accurate as if she had, but she remembered well enough to draw Jasnah with her finger stuck into the jam. She had raised that finger to smell the strawberries. Why? Why put her finger into the jam? Wouldn’t raising the jar to her nose have been enough? Jasnah hadn’t made any faces at the scent. In fact, Jasnah hadn’t mentioned that the jam had spoiled. She’d just replaced the lid and handed back the jar. Shallan flipped to another blank page and drew Jasnah with a piece of bread raised to her lips. After eating it, she’d grimaced. Odd.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 966). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

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Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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I think that's a rather harsh read on Jasnah. Nobody eats just bread (usually), so it was reasonable to assume the poison was in the jam; she soulcasted the bread because she and her brother have the same paranoia bone. I don't see it as her being reckless with Shallan's life.

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13 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

I think that's a rather harsh read on Jasnah. Nobody eats just bread (usually), so it was reasonable to assume the poison was in the jam; she soulcasted the bread because she and her brother have the same paranoia bone. I don't see it as her being reckless with Shallan's life.

I think all of the evidence points to this. Jasnah employs an assassin and was planning on killing the queen. Jasnah kills ghostbloods. Jasnah casually threatened Wit for nothing. Kabsal was surprised when Jasnah grabbed the jam and alarmed when it didn't smell the way it was supposed to because he knew what was up.  He eats it anyway out of desperation, and still tries to save Shallan as well, despite it making him physically ill.

Spoiler tag for length

Spoiler

“It’s exceedingly rare,” Jasnah said, reaching for the jar. “Like most plants from Shinovar, it can’t grow other places.”

Kabsal looked surprised as Jasnah removed the lid and dipped a finger into the jar. She hesitated[long enough to soulcast] , then raised a bit of the jam to her nose to sniff at it.

“I was under the impression that you disliked jam, Brightness Jasnah,” Kabsal said.

“I do,” she said. “I was simply curious about the scent. I’ve heard that strawberries are very distinctive.” She screwed the lid back on, then wiped her finger on her cloth handkerchief.

“I brought bread as well,” Kabsal said. He pulled out a small loaf of the fluffy bread. “It’s nice of you not to blame me, Shallan, but I can see that my attentions were too forward. I thought, maybe, I could bring this and …”

“And what?” Jasnah asked. “Absolve yourself? ‘I’m sorry I drove you to suicide. Here’s some bread.’ ”

He blushed, looking down. “Of course I’ll have some,” Shallan said, glaring at Jasnah. “And she will too. It was very kind of you, Kabsal.” She took the bread, breaking off a chunk for Kabsal, one for herself, then one for Jasnah. “No,” Jasnah said. “Thank you.” “Jasnah,” Shallan said. “Would you please at least try some?” It bothered her that the two of them got on so poorly.

The older woman sighed. “Oh, very well.” She took the bread, holding it as Shallan and Kabsal ate. The bread was moist and delicious, though Jasnah grimaced as she put hers in her mouth and chewed it.

...

“The jam?” Kabsal prodded again.

Shallan frowned. He was particularly insistent about that jam. She raised the jar and sniffed at it, then pulled back. “It smells terrible! This is jam?” It smelled like vinegar and slime.

“What?” Kabsal said, alarmed. He took the jar, sniffing at it, then pulled away, looking nauseated.

“It appears you got a bad jar,” Jasnah said. “That’s not how it’s supposed to smell?”

“Not at all,” Kabsal said. He hesitated, then stuck his finger into the jam anyway, shoving a large glob into his mouth

. “Kabsal!” Shallan said. “That’s revolting!”

He coughed, but forced it down. “Not so bad, really. You should try it.”

“What?”

“Really,” he said, forcing it toward her.

“I mean, I wanted this to be special, for you. And it turned out so horribly.”

“I’m not tasting that, Kabsal.”

He hesitated, as if considering forcing it upon her. Why was he acting so strangely? He raised a hand to his head, stood up, and stumbled away from the bed.

 

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 682). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 
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Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
Repairing spacing in quotes
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Jasnah's vigil outside the hospital room shows that she'd come to care for Shallan. Her worry is in direct contrast to this entire idea. 

Her panic and need to save Shallan, which she goes through with even after Shallan exposes her theft, go against it as well. 

I don't believe for a second that Jasnah intended for Shallan to be poisoned. 

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1 hour ago, Calderis said:

Jasnah's vigil outside the hospital room shows that she'd come to care for Shallan. Her worry is in direct contrast to this entire idea. 

Her panic and need to save Shallan, which she goes through with even after Shallan exposes her theft, go against it as well. 

I don't believe for a second that Jasnah intended for Shallan to be poisoned. 

Her vigil was for Shallan's suicide. Of course she'd panic when her actions directly were causing her Ward's death and we're well before she revealed the soulcaster. Your points seem to be made based on what you expect and not based on text.

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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5 minutes ago, Fifth of Daybreak said:

Her vigil was for Shallan's suicide. Of course she'd panic when her actions directly were causing her Ward's death and we're well before she revealed the soulcaster. Your points seem to be made based on what you expect and not based on text.

Why would she wait outside Shallan's room, worried about the health of her ward, to turn around immediately and intentionally risk her life? It's the beginning and end of the same scene. 

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On 10/28/2017 at 1:56 PM, Calderis said:

Why would she wait outside Shallan's room, worried about the health of her ward, to turn around immediately and intentionally risk her life? It's the beginning and end of the same scene. 

It's a crime of opportunity. Jasnah had about three seconds to make the decision. It wasn't premeditated and well thought out. 

Quote

That and the lack of proper food.” He winked, turning the jar toward Shallan. It was deep, dark red. “Strawberry.”

“Never heard of it,” Shallan said.

“It’s exceedingly rare,” Jasnah said, reaching for the jar. “Like most plants from Shinovar, it can’t grow other places.”

[Edit: As Reborn Radiant has pointed out, this is a contradiction of my main theory, and I retract the poor argument.]

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
Logically beaten down.
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4 hours ago, Fifth of Daybreak said:

Jasnah is so obsessed with the mere opportunity of taking out a member of the Ghostbloods that she's willing to risk Shallan's life when Jasnah doesn't have the tools necessry to save her, even though it would not be difficult to have those tools on hand. Jasnah is one of the wealthiest women in the world, a garnet should be easy for her to gain access to, and it stands to reason she would want to have one around as a soulcaster for how useful it could be, especially if you plan on risking the life of one of your dependents to kill an enemy.  

 

Just now, Fifth of Daybreak said:

It's a crime of opportunity. Jasnah had about three seconds to make the decision. It wasn't premeditated and well thought out. 

 

You're contradicting yourself. She didn't have a garnet because she didn't expect to put shallan's life in harm. 

 

8 minutes ago, Fifth of Daybreak said:

Her vigil was for Shallan's suicide. Of course she'd panic when her actions directly were causing her Ward's death and we're well before she revealed the soulcaster. Your points seem to be made based on what you expect and not based on text.

No, your point, especially this one seems to be made based on what you expect and not based on text. Jasnah was worried about shallan herself. Of course she would feel guilty if someone died because of theher supposed severity of wardship under her but it doesn't mean she didn't actually worry about shallan. Moreover Jasnah needn't be there if all she was worried was about shallan attempting suicide again, she would have just hired someone. I don't even know why soulcaster would come into a question at this point at all.

 

1 hour ago, Fifth of Daybreak said:

Jasnah employs an assassin and was planning on killing the queen. Jasnah kills ghostbloods. Jasnah casually threatened Wit for nothing.

As someone else said, you are viewing jansah under an extremely harsh light. Jasnah emplyed an assassin and was attempting kill the queen because she probably had a reason to assume that the queen might harm the kholins. But since she was not sure, she CHANGED her opinion at the last second. Jasnash was under extreme hurry, and possibly strain from her time in Cognitive realm. She was in a hurry because she wanted to go and warn everyone about desolation. She threatened wit, that's all, she most definitely would not have killed him. 

As for jasnah killing ghostbloods, again, they are the ghostbloods. Actively trying to bring about desolation and take advantage of it. 

1 hour ago, Fifth of Daybreak said:

Why does it matter if she looks suspicious or not? If her intention is to save Shallan and she just needs to have Kabsal held under suspicion until Jasnah can have the things tested. She mentions later that they tested for antidote in other jars, and they named the poison they found in the bread. 

As you said again, she did not have time to plan it through. She assumed the poison was in jam, so she soulcasted it away. She was dubious of bread too, so she soul casted it too, but she didn't have enough time or wherewithal to do something about shallan's bread as well. 

 

All in all, Jasnah is a hard woman, sure, but she is not the kind of person who would be fine with killing off shallan just to get a ghostblood. 

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12 hours ago, Reborn radiant said:

You're contradicting yourself. She didn't have a garnet because she didn't expect to put shallan's life in harm. 

This is fair, I am contradicting myself. She had to suspect that the antidote was in the jam before this if she suspected poison, it's the only reason to soulcast the jam and then wipe her finger off. In which case, Jasnah is just betting on herself and the availability of resources in a hospital setting.

 

12 hours ago, Reborn radiant said:

No, your point, especially this one seems to be made based on what you expect and not based on text. Jasnah was worried about shallan herself. Of course she would feel guilty if someone died because of theher supposed severity of wardship under her but it doesn't mean she didn't actually worry about shallan. Moreover Jasnah needn't be there if all she was worried was about shallan attempting suicide again, she would have just hired someone. I don't even know why soulcaster would come into a question at this point at all.

No where do I say she doesn't care about Shallan, only that she's willing to risk her life to kill a ghost blood. Also, in the same scene Jasnah also blames Shallan's attempt on Kabsal, so we can't be entirely sure about her guilt or not. I didn't bring up the soulcaster.

 

12 hours ago, Reborn radiant said:

As you said again, she did not have time to plan it through. She assumed the poison was in jam, so she soulcasted it away. She was dubious of bread too, so she soul casted it too, but she didn't have enough time or wherewithal to do something about shallan's bread as well. 

If you suspect poison, you tell someone. Point blank. She has time to say no to bread, then say yes and Soulcast it after taking the jar and opening it and Soulcasting the inside and closing it and handing it back. She doesn't like jam and has made that knowledge public. She has no reason to suspect jam. Kabsal knows this.

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Powder forms of poison are unreliable unless used in quantities that are dangerous to unintended targets. And poison is far more likely in a substance that a liquid can be added to after it cooked. 

The idea of poison in the jam is a much more natural expectation. Unless Brandon says otherwise, I believe that Shallan's reasoning is sound. 

Jasnah intentionally soulcasting away the poison, when without Shallan's prodding she'd have never eaten the bread at all, makes no sense. 

I believe that she thought that Kabsal was less competent than he actually was, and placed the poison in the jam in one last effort to get her to eat some, and by soulcasting the jam she was protecting Shallan.

Killing Kabsal intentionally also makes no sense. Killing Ghostbloods isn't the issue here, it's that if she were going to act against him she'd have wanted him captured alive to be questioned. 

Edited by Calderis
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15 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Powder forms of poison are unreliable unless used in quantities that are dangerous to unintended targets. And poison is far more likely in a substance that a liquid can be added to after it cooked. 

The idea of poison in the jam is a much more natural expectation. Unless Brandon says otherwise, I believe that Shallan's reasoning is sound. 

Jasnah intentionally soulcasting away the poison, when without Shallan's prodding she'd have never eaten the bread at all, makes no sense. 

I believe that she thought that Kabsal was less competent than he actually was, and placed the poison in the jam in one last effort to get her to eat some, and by soulcasting the jam she was protecting Shallan.

Killing Kabsal intentionally also makes no sense. Killing Ghostbloods isn't the issue here, it's that if she were going to act against him she'd have wanted him captured alive to be questioned. 

I'm not sure that the last part of this is sound. Jasnah is in a foreign kingdom, without resources to hold or maintain a prisoner, and said kingdom is ruled by (what she thinks) is a well meaning idiot that is constantly confounded by his scheming lighteyes. Seems like it would be in Jasnah's best interests to eliminate the Ghostblood and set a trap for the next one, but even then... she says she doesn't know much about them. That indicates she's never caught one or been in a position to question one. The Ghostbloods are a problem because they threaten her life, but they aren't her primary focus. I don't see Jasnah being willing to let the world burn just to satisfy her curiosity on who is trying to kill her.

By the by, a better argument about Jasnah being cavalier with Shallan's life is that she Elsecalled away from her assasins and left Shallan in a boat, surrounded by assasins, with little to no idea how to use her powers, and her first question after she comes back isn't "What happened to Shallan?". 

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5 minutes ago, Vortaan said:

By the by, a better argument about Jasnah being cavalier with Shallan's life is that she Elsecalled away from her assasins and left Shallan in a boat, surrounded by assasins, with little to no idea how to use her powers, and her first question after she comes back isn't "What happened to Shallan?". 

Jasnah wanted to go back, but she couldn't. She did what little she could to help, though. You can read it here.

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3 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

Jasnah wanted to go back, but she couldn't. She did what little she could to help, though. You can read it here.

Thanks I hadn't seen this!

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57 minutes ago, Calderis said:

The idea of poison in the jam is a much more natural expectation. Unless Brandon says otherwise, I believe that Shallan's reasoning is sound. 

Shallan's reasoning is very sound. I cannot tell you how many times I've listened to the book before I put these thoughts together. Being based on sound reasoning doesn't always mean correct.

 

57 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Jasnah intentionally soulcasting away the poison, when without Shallan's prodding she'd have never eaten the bread at all, makes no sense

I agree, which is why I came to make this theory. Jasnah flat out refuses the bread the first time. It makes more sense if you look at the situation that Jasnah was not attempting to soulcast away a poison but soulcast away an antidote. 

 

57 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I believe that she thought that Kabsal was less competent than he actually was, and placed the poison in the jam in one last effort to get her to eat some, and by soulcasting the jam she was protecting Shallan.

Killing Kabsal intentionally also makes no sense. Killing Ghostbloods isn't the issue here, it's that if she were going to act against him she'd have wanted him captured alive to be questioned. 

So then if you suspect that he's got poison, and you want him imprisoned, you can have the king whose niece you saved hold him prisoner while you test the food for poison instead of destroying the evidence in a poor attempt to save someone. 

It seems like the main argument against is that Jasnah was acting as Shallan argues and soulcast the jam fearing poison to save Shallan's life. 

Her chain of logic would then look something like this:

I suspect Kabsal is trying to poison me. 

I dislike jam, and have told Shallan this, but Shallan likes jam and Kabsal is observably infatuated with Shallan. 

There might be poison in the jam, I will protect Shallan by finding an excuse to grab the jam with a distinct flavor and taste and soulcast it to something else without poison even though this is a food I will publicly not eat. 

I will publicly accept the food Kabsal knows I will eat and will secretly change it while eating it, enduring great discomfort to hide the change in case the bread is poisoned as well, but will not act to prevent Shallan from being poisoned by the bread. 

 

It does not add up.

 

To couch my harsh assessment, I can also see Jasnah having the upper hand in the argument that would follow. 

Quote

"You gambled with my life Jasnah!" Shallan cried. 

Jasnah sniffed. "It was hardly a gamble. You're still here, so we have empirical proof I knew what I was doing."

 

 

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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I am quite sure Jasnah believed the Jam could be poisoned (no for sure, but She considerated the possibility).

In this context, Soulcasting a possible treat is a good Plan.

Jasnah had tons of way of killing Jim if She wanted without raise suspicion on herself and put in dangerous people (Shallan).

A Plan like the One you suggest, is simply too caotic and random to be' something Jasnah planned. 

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On 10/29/2017 at 1:07 AM, Yata said:

I am quite sure Jasnah believed the Jam could be poisoned

Then her actions are inconsistent with any course of action that would lead to either preventing Shallan from being poisoned or the soulcast Jam having any personal effect on her. If one of her goals was to prevent Shallan's poisoning, she obviously suspected the bread and did nothing to stop it. This point hasa not been addressed. 

 

On 10/29/2017 at 1:07 AM, Yata said:

Jasnah had tons of way of killing Jim if She wanted without raise suspicion on herself and put in dangerous people (Shallan).

A Plan like the One you suggest, is simply too caotic and random to be' something Jasnah planned.

I think you're underestimating the brilliance of both the plan and the depth in which she has read Kabsal, not to mention the need for proof to verify her suspicions. She suspects Kabsal, at the very least of wanting to steal her soulcaster, she has intimated that much to Shallan. She has no proof of that, just a healthy paranoia. She observes the regularity of which he brings bread. She notes that he takes stock of her dislike of jam and always offers her bread without jam. 

Quote

Kabsal hesitated in the doorway. He’d left a basket of bread and jam on the desk. The top of it was still wrapped with a cloth; Jasnah hadn’t touched it, though he always offered her some as a peace offering. Without jam, since Jasnah hated it.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 638). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

 

She begins to form a plan. Kabsal could be putting poison in the bread, a food Jasnah will eat, and antidote in the jam a food Jasnah dislikes, but Shallan likes, a woman he is obviously infatuated with, and he as an ardent male is allowed to eat, so they can consume it in her presence without suspicion. If she is correct, she can get rid of the antidote and purify Shallan's blood if there's poison. All she'll have done is removed Kabsal's ability to save himself. If she's wrong, she won't have killed an innocent person as she won't have gotten rid of an antidote for a poison that doesn't exist.  This I think is perfectly in character. Evidence-based judgement assessment with an easy way to test the hypothesis that will prove harmless if she's incorrect without ever having to admit fault on her part. 

 

To other replies on this thread about me being overly harsh on her, I just want to refer to a few pieces of text, as well as the fact that she brought her underage ward to witness premeditated murder as a lesson on philosophy. The signs are hanging on the wall. 

 

Quote

Jasnah Kholin pretended to enjoy the party, giving no indication that she intended to have one of the guests killed.

Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive, The) (p. 17). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

Jasnah’s family was safe from the likes of these. Unless she herself employed the assassins, of course.

Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive, The) (p. 25). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

She also tries to cover up her soulcasting of the jam. She is knowledgeable of strawberries, saying she's heard about the scent, but then doesn't express alarm that it smells like vinegar. She makes sure she's the first person to get the jar so that no one has a frame of reference before the scent is changed. Then here at this quote, again from Strawberry, bolding mine:

Quote

The older woman sighed. “Oh, very well.” She took the bread, holding it [long enough to soulcast] as Shallan and Kabsal ate. The bread was moist and delicious, though Jasnah grimaced as she put hers in her mouth and chewed it.

“You should really try the jam,” Kabsal said to Shallan. “Strawberry is hard to find. I had to make quite a number of inquiries.”

“No doubt bribing merchants with the king’s money,” Jasnah noted. Kabsal sighed.

“Brightness Jasnah, I realize that you are not fond of me. But I’m working very hard to be pleasant. Could you at least pretend to do likewise?”

Jasnah eyed Shallan, probably recalling Kabsal’s guess that undermining Vorinism was the goal of her research. She didn’t apologize, but also made no retort.

Good enough, Shallan thought.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (pp. 682-683). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 
 

Is Jasnah eyeing Shallan because she recalls Kabsal 's guess as Shallan supposes, or is it because she understands why Kabsal is so insistent on the jam and is searching for the first symptoms of poison?

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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15 minutes ago, Fifth of Daybreak said:

To other replies on this thread about me being overly harsh on her, I just want to refer to a few pieces of text, as well as the fact that she brought her underage ward to witness premeditated murder as a lesson on philosophy. The signs are hanging on the wall. 

It was an effective lesson and accomplished multiple goals. Maybe I just think to in line with Jasnah, but it did exactly what she wanted it to do on all counts. 

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4 minutes ago, Calderis said:

It was an effective lesson and accomplished multiple goals. Maybe I just think to in line with Jasnah, but it did exactly what she wanted it to do on all counts. 

I don't disagree with any of this. I don't feel like I'm attacking her here. If anything, this revelation I presented has made me more in awe of her character. 

It seems like it all boils down to whether you answer yes or no to one question: 

Would Jasnah be willing to risk Shallan's life in this way, knowing her own abilities and the skills of the surgeons around her could help, in order to kill a possible assassin?

To me it's an easy yes and it doesn't diminish, change, or alter my respect for Jasnah in any way. The only thing that's different is I have a much healthier respect for her ability to outmaneuver and read someone like Kabsal. 

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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By my understanding of the story, she wasn't even aware he was a Ghostblood until after his death. This is why I mentioned questioning him earlier. She knew he was not what he appeared to be, but I don't believe she did things in the way that you say precisely because of the fact that she's aware of her own limitations. 

She tells Shallan on the Wind's Pleasure about the nature of power, and the illusion created through perception. She's mastered this. She appears to be in darkness more control of things than she actually is, and this is completely intentional. 

I don't believe she caused Shallan to be poisoned intentionally, precisely because in the moment before trying to save her, when she knows nothing of the stolen Soulcaster, that soulcasting Shallan's blood will be very dangerous. If it were something she were completely confident in, she may have warned of the sensation... But that admission of danger shows a level of risk. A loss of control that Jasnah does not normally allow. She knew that she could fail, and if she did, Shallan would die. 

So no, I don't think she'd risk Shallan's life here. If she knew without a doubt that she could save her sure. I don't think that's the case though. 

Edited by Calderis
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12 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I don't believe she caused Shallan to be poisoned intentionally, precisely because in the moment before trying to save her, when she knows nothing of the stolen Soulcaster, that soulcasting Shallan's blood will be very dangerous. If it were something she were completely confident in, she may have warned of the sensation... But that admission of danger shows a level of risk. A loss of control that Jasnah does not normally allow. She knew that she could fail, and if she did, Shallan would die. 

So no, I don't think she'd risk Shallan's life here. If she knew without a doubt that she could save her sure. I don't think that's the case though. 

2

I think there was one thing that caught her off guard. 

Quote

“He was playing you, child. The whole time, he was using you to get to me. To spy on what I was doing, to kill me if he could.” She spoke of it so evenly, so emotionlessly. “I believe he used much more of the powder during this last attempt, more than he’d ever used before, perhaps hoping to get me to breathe it in. He realized this would be his last opportunity. It turned against him, however, working more quickly than he’d anticipated.”

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 698). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

Jasnah knows this isn't what happened. She knows that the jam was soulcast. She knows the antidote was gone. I think this is a confession. Jasnah feels guilt over how close Shallan came to dying. She had no reason to soulcast the jam, none, a point no one has addressed. Jasnah had no need to spare Shallan for her crime, no need to give her information, no need to confront her personally. She does so out of personal guilt and the need to confess, in what way she can. She came back for the same reason she did the first time, she cares about Shallan and wants to atone, but:

Quote

"Unfortunately I’m … unaccustomed to such behavior.”

“Apologizing?”

“Yes.”

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (pp. 679-680). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

Shallan's confession gave her the perfect cover. 

I understand the want to view Jasnah through the best lens, but I'm just not seeing any evidence otherwise. and after all;

Quote

"Pride is often mistaken for faultlessness.”

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 680). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

 

 

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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Basically your main question is why did Jasnah let Shallan eat the bread if she was suspicious enough to soulcasted it before eating, that's the main argument you base your perception, correct?

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5 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

Basically your main question is why did Jasnah let Shallan eat the bread if she was suspicious enough to soulcasted it before eating, that's the main argument you base your perception, correct?

I think Jasnah Soulcasts everything before eat it if She isn't 100% sure about the food

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1 hour ago, Aleksiel said:

Basically your main question is why did Jasnah let Shallan eat the bread if she was suspicious enough to soulcasted it before eating, that's the main argument you base your perception, correct?

Along with the other evidence presented. If we base the assumption that she soulcast the jam to get rid of poison, then we have no Logical reason for that action. It serves no purpose to Jasnah personally, and she does nothing else to prevent Shallan from being poisoned by bread. She also has no reason to be suspicious of jam, something Kabsal has noticed, as he always only offers her bread without jam.

Quote

I think Jasnah Soulcasts everything before eat it if She isn't 100% sure about the food

She doesn't eat the jam.

Edited by Fifth of Daybreak
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