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Naerin

[OB] How Odium will lose (Plus thoughts on the Thrill and the Everstorm)

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[ Spoilers from the first 30 chapters of Oathbringer currently released ]

So with the "final Desolation" pretty much officially underway as of the end of WoR, the main question going through my mind has been: how the hell can Odium actually lose???
Think about it. We know from Dalinar's visions and various other lore elements that in the past each Desolation nearly wiped out humankind. In fact, the justification for the current level of technology (or lack thereof) is that civilization is basically pushed back to the bronze age with each Desolation because of how devestating they are.
And now consider this: that was with the full, organized strength of the Knights Radiant. Literal armies of them. Plus the Heralds!

Now we have the Final Desolation coming, and so far there's only a handful of fledgling Knights Radiant, none of whom even have their Shardplate yet. Not only that, but the existing nations are super divided, and at the start of Oathbringer it looks as though it will not be easy to unite even a small number of them. So how can Odium screw this up? How could this be even a close fight?

It seems to me that the only possibility is that the Listeners (at least some of them) are going to fight with humans. This is being set-up already at the beginning of Oathbringer, where we see groups of former parshmen slaves, healed by the Everstorm, basically just on the run. Not trying to attack, not out to kill humans in vengeance even (though they have real cause to want revenge). Just trying to survive, and most importantly not yet infused with any type of Voidspren (at least not in any obvious way). We also know that the Listeners way back made a choice to cut themselves off from their gods (Odium and co), restricting their forms drastically but earning freedom. They assassinated Gavilar in an effort to stop their "gods" from returning. They don't want to be Voidbringers, and I can totally see at least some of them fighting to maintain their freedom, refusing to be used by Odium. This could be what is "different" about this Desolation, the edge that humanity needs to balance the scales just enough to have a hope of winning. 

It would also fit with the themes established throughout the Cosmere books (spoilers for Mistborn series coming).

We know from The Hero of Ages that the Deepness was in fact the mists. But more than that, it was Preservation's power tainted by Ruin. Ruin caused the Snapping process to be more brutal than it needed, killing people instead of just awakening their powers, covering the land and blocking out the Sun when it wasn't meant to, etc... This was Preservation's actual power, but Ruin managed to influence it. This shows that the influence of the Shards is not always rigid and distinct. There is overlap and intermingling, where multiple Shards use the same basic phenomenon. 

That is what the Thrill has to be. Dalinar's first revealed vision, where he fights Midnight Essence, with a poker. The Knight explains that any who feel the desire to fight should be compelled to go to Aletha. The Thrill USED TO BE a force for good, a way of telling people that they were destined to fight evil alongside the Knights (either as a full member or as a "squire." Since then, it has been twisted by Odium into something that makes people lust for battle and death. And without actual monsters around, they turn on each other, or make a game out of war, or almost kill their own brother. Odium is doing the same thing that Ruin did. 

But maybe it can go both ways. I've seen others here comment that it is odd that the Everstorm seems to heal the parshmen, making them whole again by reforging their Connection (incidentally, because of how we know this works from the second Mistborn series, this explains why they all speak unaccented Alethi). This seems like a very un-Odium thing for the Everstorm to do, especially since they do not seem to be possessed by Voidspren yet. What if Cultivation pulled the same kind of trick? Twisting the Everstorm just enough that it healed parshmen without automatically dominating them, giving them at least a chance to resist, run, be free, what have you? We know from the Jasnath-Hoid dialogue that the Everstorm is "new" or at least working differently than how the Desolations worked in the past. Perhaps the reason is that this time there are forces other than Odium at work on it.

There are even hints about this in the depiction of the Midnight Mother. During Shallan's interactions, it is revealed that she was created to sow chaos, but that over time she became curious. Yes, it is a twisted, warped curiosity. But consider her actions at Urithiru. Did she flood the tower with monsters? Did she set about assassinating actual targets? No, she just copied what humans were already doing. Does this seem particularly effective? Or does it seem like a lost, broken creature trying to comprehend these creatures through the only relationship she understands: violence? My point is just this: she has actually changed since her creation. Just like the Everstorm is different this time. Just like maybe the Listeners aren't behaving the way Odium might want this time around. A big theme so far is how the good guys, left to their own devices, become corrupt and fell. But I think Brandon is hinting that maybe, just maybe, the reverse is true for the villains. Odium is banking on how time changes humans, makes them forget why they fought and abandon what they once were. But wouldn't it be poetic if the same was also happening to his forces? The Unmade have changed, however slightly. The Listeners seem to have changed as well. And maybe this time around they will surprise him, make him think that he could actually lose...

Edited by Naerin
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1 hour ago, Naerin said:
Spoiler

But more than that, it was Preservation's power tainted by Ruin. Ruin caused the Snapping process to be more brutal than it needed, killing people instead of just awakening their powers, covering the land and blocking out the Sun when it wasn't meant to, etc... This was Preservation's actual power, but Ruin managed to influence it.

You should really put that in a proper spoiler tag. You are also partially wrong here, so Mistborn Spoilers

Spoiler

It killed those that were young, old or sickly, the ones who wouldn't survive a beating to awaken their powers either. Not being able to handle the trauma was a natural side effect of their weakened/failing health. But that was all Preservation.

Quote

Andrew the Great
Before the Ascension, why did the mists appear just as the Well was gaining power? Did they come out at other times?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)
This one is trickier. From what I got out of it, it's because the mists are a manifestaion of Preservation, and physical manifestations of Preservation (including Allomancers) are intended to do two things - stop Ruin, and protect the Well of Ascension. Which are kind of the same thing. So, when the Well was dormant, the mists didn't really have much to do. The Deepness form of the mists is a result of the conscious part of Preservation freaking out and trying to produce a way to protect the well, mostly by producing more Allomancers. That's why the mists do all the funky things in the Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages - they're trying to produce more Allomancers to combat Ruin.


Andrew the Great
Why did the mist sickness only happen after the Lord Ruler's death?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)
It didn't. It just happened on a much smaller scale. As you remember, the Lord Ruler basically meant stagnation. Because it seemed the Lord Ruler would be taking the power again (as was intended, and as apparently had been done many times before), and because of the extreme stability of the Final Empire, Preservation (though it really only had a shadow of it's mind left) wasn't as freaked out. After the LR died, Preservation began to attempt to create more Allomancers for the reasons mentioned in question 7. It also left clues, such as the number 16 everywhere, so that people would know it was Preservation doing it, and not just random chance, or ruin. Turns out that that didn't work so well.

All Ruin did was get them out during the daytime because the mists were operating on autopilot.

Quote

In those early days, before the Ascension, the mists began to Snap people as they did during our time—but this action of the mists was one of the only ways to awaken Allomancy in a person, for the genetic attributes were buried too deeply to be brought out by a simple beating. The mists of that day created Mistings only, of course—there were no Mistborn until the Lord Ruler made use of the nuggets.

The people misinterpreted the mists' intent, as the process of Snapping Allomancers caused some—particularly the young and the old—to die. This hadn't been Preservation's desire, but he'd given up most of his consciousness to form Ruin's prison, and the mists had to be left to work as best they could without specific direction.

Ruin, subtle as ever, knew that he couldn't stop the mists from doing their work. However, he could do the unexpected and encourage them. And so, he helped make them stronger. That brought death to the plants of the world, and created the threat that became known as the Deepness.


Andrew the Great

Where do the mists go in the day, why do they just disappear?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The mists are kind of like the physical manifestation of Preservation's power. During the day, the power is still there, but the mists that accompany them during the night are burned away by the sun. So really, it's more that they are somehow linked to Preservations power, and come out at night with the power, but they can't stay with the power during the day because of the sun.

Per both Harmony and Brandon, the mistsnapping deaths are on Preservation, which is why Harmony lowered that trauma threshold. The plant-life deaths are on Ruin, but that was only possible because the mists weren't being controlled by Preservation at that point.


1 hour ago, Naerin said:

The Thrill USED TO BE a force for good, a way of telling people that they were destined to fight evil alongside the Knights (either as a full member or as a "squire." Since then, it has been twisted by Odium into something that makes people lust for battle and death.

Ah, more disagreement. We have it more or less confirmed by Taravangian and Brandon that the Thrill is tied to Nergaoul, one of the Unmade. I don't think the Unmade were ever a force for good, or (assuming they were something else before and got corrupted by Odium, a theory I do not support) that they had the powers they presently have. Also, have this:

Quote

Q: I find the Shin fascinating. Given their reputation for docility and Szeth's internal monologues, am I right in thinking that the Shin do not feel The Thrill? If so, is this due to the protection of Cultivation or sheer distance from Nergaoul? And finally, is an awareness or fear of the Thrill the reason for the Shin societal disdain for soldiers or is it primarily to discourage use of the honour blades?
 
A: Distance is the big factor here, though there are cultural reasons for things as well. In addition, being very close to something tied to Honor reduces the effects of things like the Thrill. As for the Shin culture, you'll find a great deal in the next three books, so I'd rather not say much now.

I think this combined with the fact that KR don't feel the Thrill should preclude the possibility of the Thrill being in any way related to Honor or his Knights.


1 hour ago, Naerin said:

There are even hints about this in the depiction of the Midnight Mother. During Shallan's interactions, it is revealed that she was created to sow chaos, but that over time she became curious. Yes, it is a twisted, warped curiosity. But consider her actions at Urithiru. Did she flood the tower with monsters? Did she set about assassinating actual targets? No, she just copied what humans were already doing. Does this seem particularly effective? Or does it seem like a lost, broken creature trying to comprehend these creatures through the only relationship she understands: violence? My point is just this: she has actually changed since her creation.

Re-Shephir appears to be sentient, but not fully sapient. There's an important distinction that needs to be made because of that. She was not created, but ordered to sow chaos, to confuse and destroy men. She has the ability to imitate, to learn, but was forced to only use it in a specific way. As any story/movie about AI will tell you, something with the ability to learn and without restrictions on its actions can be unpredictable and dangerous. Given her imprisonment, I think Odium may have set her aside and directed his influence elsewhere. Now she is free of her prison and her master. She is using that ability to learn as she sees fit, albeit colored heavily by that murderous past. I don't think she has changed as a result of a Shard's influence, but from a lack of Shardic influence. I'd consider this to be closer to the real Re-Shephir, without Odium's direct control guiding her actions.

Also bear in mind that she was trapped for up to two millennia. Confinement for that long a period will change anyone and anything.


1 hour ago, Naerin said:

A big theme so far is how the good guys, left to their own devices, become corrupt and fell. But I think Brandon is hinting that maybe, just maybe, the reverse is true for the villains.

This is amusing to me. This line is the premise(or point) behind the theory, even if the theory itself goes in a little different direction. I agree with this line, while disagreeing with most every piece of evidence in the theory.

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Thanks for the information. I was going off of what was in the books only for my Mists/Thrill interpretations but obviously lacked some context. Could have sworn the stuff from Mistborn was more or less explicitly stated within the books but I suppose that was just character interpretation. Ah well.
I guess I read too much into the brief exchange from Dalinar's visions as well. Or perhaps the comment about "all those with a desire to fight" coming to them was in reference to needing the protection of Honor, since that might indicate they were tainted by Nergaol (Urithiru being the place "closest to Honor" after all). Ah well again. 

 

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11 hours ago, Naerin said:

Could have sworn the stuff from Mistborn was more or less explicitly stated within the books but I suppose that was just character interpretation.

The "character" was Harmony, so it had some weight to it. But the wording he used was "encourage the Mists." What was actually done to encourage them is up for debate, so there is still a bit of potential for a Shard influencing the power of another one, but it's not as certain as you thought. I originally thought that MB Spoilers

Spoiler

In Era 2, there are two Mists, showing that Harmony is in fact a combination of Ruin and Preservation.

Per Brandon, sunlight burns away the Mists back in Era 1(which is how sunlight and mist/fog works in real life, for the record). Per Harmony, Preservation's mind was occupied with Ruin's prison, so the mists were running on autopilot. I feel like Preservation could have made the Mists show up during the day anyway if he purposely put more power into them.

Mists were the gaseous form of his power, so more power = more Mist. More Mist would take longer to burn away, making it last longer during the day. So if Ruin were to put his Mist above Preservation's Mist, Ruin's would burn away first, letting Preservation's Mist stay at full strength for longer before falling prey to the Sun.

Allowing something to do its work more effectively is a form of encouraging it to do its work, albeit technically.

Both of our ideas could work, but we won't know what actually happened until Brandon sees fit to tell us.


12 hours ago, Naerin said:

Thanks for the information. I was going off of what was in the books only

No problem. Brandon has provided a lot of information that isn't in the books yet/at all, some of which changes how we view the info in the books. Either way, for a first theory, you made a pretty good one. Props for that

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Dont know where to post this. Its about 17th shard review and Odium champion.

Following quotes hit me:

Quote

There are things that happen in Oathbringer that I didn't expect we'd get until the back half of this ten book series. It's shocking what all happens in this book.

 

Quote

Oh, and that's just the first half of the avalanche because then [redacted for swearing] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] with [REDACTED] and it's just insane. The most intense thing ever.

First quote means the thing we expected to happend much later will happen in this book. Well, most of us thought the fight against Odium Champion will happen somewhere in the 5th book or even later. But i think the last quote hide the following text:

Quote

Oh, and that's just the first half of the avalanche because then [f-king] [Dalinar/Kaladin] [clashes] with [Odium's Champion] and it's just insane. The most intense thing ever.

 

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