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shawnhargreaves

Underestimating Cultivation

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Re-reading WoK and WoR in preparation for next week, I realized I've been making some inadvertent assumptions that I'm not very happy about.  This isn't so much a theory as a late realization of reader bias...

First some things I am pretty confident are true:

  1. There are two shards invested on Roshar: Honor and Cultivation.
  2. A third Shard, Odium, has influenced Roshar in important ways but is not fully invested there.
  3. Surgebinding is a mix of Honor and Cultivation.
  4. Different KR orders are different blends between the two (eg. Windrunners are mostly/all Honor, while Edgedancers) are mostly/all Cultivation).
  5. The KR orders were created in imitation of the Heralds.
  6. This all has to do with the Oathpact, Desolations, and the Voidbringers in ways that we don't yet understand.  These things are Big and Important.

And now some things that I've been assuming without having stopped to think much about them:

  1. The Oathpact and Heralds were created by Honor (why else would they be called Honorblades, right?)
  2. The Desolations were in some way part of an epic conflict between Honor and Odium.
  3. Cultivation is good (because that's like, gardening, and I like vegetables...)
  4. Cultivation must therefore be basically on Honor's side.  Mixed magics and all.  She probably helped him with that big fighting-Odium thing.

So hold up, thinks I today.  As far as we can tell, Surgebinding is powered equally by both Shards (to differing extents per order) - so why would all of the Heralds have more to do with Honor than Cultivation?

Why am I assuming this must be a case of Odium vs. man-god, with woman-god reduced to a less important, helping out around the edges type role?  Unquestioned implicit bias going on here at all? :-)

Now, this is where an actual theory would go if I had one.  Which I don't.  Instead, I will note that now I bother to think about this more carefully, it seems to me that a full Shard like Cultivation is probably overflowing with goals and strategems and irons in the fire that we haven't seen yet.  And that these goals/strategems are probably not identical to those of Honor (they could even be opposed, but more likely run perpendicular in some areas).  And that of the things we have already seen, there's probably a lot of Cultivation influence going on as well as Honor and Odium influence.

I think I've been underestimating Cultivation.

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Agree 100%....I’d say that pretty much sums up a lot of us readers out here. To quote Ollivander, “I think we can expect great things out of you, Mr. Potter.” Maybe we will get to meet the shard in Oathbringer. We’ve met what’s left of Honor (stormfather), I’m fairly confident/hopeful that we will meet Odium, why not Cultivation? Definitely been a sideline character/benchwarmer so far.

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Cultivation is definitely active. 

Quote

Wolfbeckett

Are things that are written by scholars on Roshar suspect? In Mistborn, Ruin could change anything that was written down, so can Odium do the same? Are written words on Roshar: untrustworthy, trustworthy because that ability was somehow limited to Ruin, or trustworthy because Odium COULD do it but just won't because it's not his style/he doesn't consider it?

Brandon Sanderson

Odium didn't have a hand in creating Roshar, and his essence doesn't permeate it in the same way as Ruin permeated Scadrial. This gave Ruin a great deal more power over things like this--except when he ran into metals, of course.

Another difference is that Odium has a fully-living, fully-aware, and very powerful Shard opposing him. (Contrasted to one that was half-dead and going mad.)

So yes, you can trust much of what was written. Odium can be subtle when he needs to be, but his primary avenue of attack has been along a different line than the one Ruin used.

Emphasis mine. 

Add in that the Diagram screams of Cultivation's intent (strengthen the whole through aggressive pruning and directed growth) and yeah, she involved. 

Cultivation's intent lends itself to subterfuge. She's a planner. A web weaver. If you see Cultivation acting outright, it will be because she's backed into a corner and doesn't have a subtle option. 

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7 hours ago, shawnhargreaves said:
  1. Cultivation is good (because that's like, gardening, and I like vegetables...)

I think your view of the shards is a little limited.

A shard isn't inherit good or evil. Shards like Honor or Cultivation could allow horrible actions without too trouble.

Honor is about keep your word and the oaths you take. To Honor swear to protect someone just to then betray him and swear to kill someone to then spare him...are probably the same stuff.

Cultivation is probably about the improvement, it's not inherit to help people or to harm them...they are mostly a side effect. She would let a good amount of Roshar to freely be destroyed to allow the worth part to survi

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On 11/6/2017 at 10:23 PM, shawnhargreaves said:

She probably helped him with that big fighting-Odium thing.

"She did"

On 11/6/2017 at 10:23 PM, shawnhargreaves said:

Cultivation is good (because that's like, gardening, and I like vegetables...)

As stated by Yata, that's a bit limited. To use gardening as an example, you're familiar with the concept of pruning a plant and/or pulling weeds right? Pulling weeds is kinda destructive(a term that is usually associated with bad things). We pull up weeds and prune plants so that they can grow more. That's Cultivation.

Let's scale it up. Hurricane destroys a city, so we rebuild it stronger than before. That's also Cultivation. Plague hits, most people die, but the survivors now have new antibodies to be more resistant to it. That's Cultivation too. To quote Ultron(of all people)

Quote

Ultron: That is not... the human race will have every opportunity to improve!
Wanda Maximoff: And if they don't?
Ultron: Ask Noah.

It's fully within her power to let Roshar burn so it can rise from the ashes stronger than ever.

On 11/6/2017 at 10:23 PM, shawnhargreaves said:

As far as we can tell, Surgebinding is powered equally by both Shards (to differing extents per order) - so why would all of the Heralds have more to do with Honor than Cultivation?

Well, the Oathpact specifically was between the Heralds and Honor, and only them. As for powering their Surgebinding, the Heralds were powered by Honor directly.

Quote
Question ()
How many parties were there to the original Oathpact?
 
Brandon Sanderson
The Heralds and Honor. They thought that by walking away from their oaths, that it would break the Oathpact. They're going to find out that it's not quite as broken as they had previously thought (meaning the Heralds).

[04:22]

Q: The Heralds, back before Honor died, were they directly powered by Honor?

A: Yes. You’ll find out more about that, but the Honorblades were pieces of Honor’s soul that he gave them and direct access to his essence.

Q: Like Vin and Elend?

A: Yeah, a little like that. That’s why Honorblades don’t work like Shardblades do, like Radiants do.

Taken together, I think this is why we assume what we do.


On 11/6/2017 at 10:23 PM, shawnhargreaves said:

it seems to me that a full Shard like Cultivation is probably overflowing with goals and strategems and irons in the fire that we haven't seen yet.

Oh absolutely. A Shard that's been active on the planet for at least 7 millennium is certainly up to something. However, I don't think the fact that she's up to something is a big deal. I think the fact that we can't really pin her mark on anything is the big deal. Her touch seems much more subtle, and subtlety allows one to play a dangerous game.

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@The One Who Connects We can pin her touch on stuff though. As @Calderis says, the Diagram seems to be of Cultivation. 

As for the OP, there has been speculation on Cultivation. I think that her background role in the books (she has just been referenced a couple of times) is the main reason to why we see more talk about Odium and Honor. 

Also, I don't really like vegetables.

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On 11/7/2017 at 1:56 AM, Calderis said:

Cultivation is definitely active. 

Emphasis mine. 

Add in that the Diagram screams of Cultivation's intent (strengthen the whole through aggressive pruning and directed growth) and yeah, she involved. 

Cultivation's intent lends itself to subterfuge. She's a planner. A web weaver. If you see Cultivation acting outright, it will be because she's backed into a corner and doesn't have a subtle option. 

I think this. Cultivation strikes me as the archetypal web weaver. She is playing the long game, trying to get SOMEONE into position to bully Rayse out of her star system without getting ganked like Tanavast. 

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1 hour ago, Toaster Retribution said:

Also, I don't really like vegetables.

Does this mean Cultivation = Pure Evil?  If we are talking about boiled beets, I might have to agree.

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On 11/7/2017 at 5:57 AM, Yata said:

I think your view of the shards is a little limited.

A shard isn't inherit good or evil. Shards like Honor or Cultivation could allow horrible actions without too trouble.

Honor is about keep your word and the oaths you take. To Honor swear to protect someone just to then betray him and swear to kill someone to then spare him...are probably the same stuff.

Cultivation is probably about the improvement, it's not inherit to help people or to harm them...they are mostly a side effect. She would let a good amount of Roshar to freely be destroyed to allow the worth part to survi

The diagram would kind of actually fit with Cultivation a bit.  To use another gardening metaphor, it would be like pruning hedges.  Or maybe plowing a field overgrown with weeds so you can plant a new crop.  Effective methods perhaps, but those methods aren't very nice to the people being pruned or plowed under.  

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Cultivation is directed change, where ruin is directionless change. Change can be either good, neutral, or bad, but cultivation will seek to always be improving and strengthening the most worthwhile parts of Roshar. Desolations are actually quite in keeping with her ideals, and it may have been hard for her to fight those desolations outright. As well, when honour was near-death, it may have been difficult not to prune him and take whatever power she could grasp. 

I think her ideal is much more complicated than we have been told. There is a WOB that honour and cultivation were lovers, and likely that kept the two ideals closer, but as time went on I suspect the two ideals drifted apart.

 

Would honour kill Cultivation in order to defeat Odium? I think not. Would Cultivation kill Honour in order to defeat Odium? I think quite definitely. 

Edited by teknopathetic
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Please don't mock me if the answer is obvious... But who are the two figures stomping off after the Highstorm while Kaladin and Shallan are in the chasm at the end of WoR?

One was an "enormous figure walking up there, a glowing inhuman form, followed by another, alien and sleek striding the storm. Leg after leg, until the glow passed."

I remember being fascinated and confused but then getting too caught up in the climax of the book to dwell on it. 

The reason I'm asking this here: my initial subconscious explanation was that Cultivation strides the Highstorms to mix her own investiture with that of Honor's. Weak, I know. But I can't come up with anything better.

Edited by OathKeeper
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@OathKeeper

Those are Odiums pizza deliverymen. We have confirmation per WoB.

 

 

 

 

Nah, just kidding. They are called Stormstriders on the forums, though I don't know if that is an official name. I doubt they are of Cultivation, but that is just my gut feel.

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Another reason to not underestimate Cultivation, is how she has designed the flow of Investiture. Remember, Ruin had a 1024 year turn around for his Investiture to recycle. Voidbringers are supposed to be able to hold Investiture indefinitely, which is suggestive of a long return period to recycle. 

But Cultivation has made her Investiture both slippery and abundant, which is suggestive of a very short recycle time. 

In other words, she could use every last bit of Investiture she has, and turn around and use it all again in a week, instead of waiting years and years. And considering that (according to Dalinar's visions) highstorms have only been getting stronger since the last Desolation, that suggests that She has only been getting better at this. 

Much of this is speculative, but it suggests She has not been idle, and is ready to unleash on him. Sayings about hell, fury and scorned women apply any time you kill a woman's lover. She is ready for Odium. 

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16 minutes ago, ZenBossanova said:

Voidbringers are supposed to be able to hold Investiture indefinitely, which is suggestive of a long return period to recycle.

"They can hold it better. It’s not permanent."

Quote
Brandon Sanderson
And even though Szeth says that he thought Voidbringers could hold it they can’t. Like it is just not the way that it works.

Argent
Can they just hold it better?

Brandon Sanderson
They can hold it better. It’s not permanent. Now there are things that can do it permanently but--


21 minutes ago, ZenBossanova said:

But Cultivation has made her Investiture both slippery and abundant, which is suggestive of a very short recycle time.

From the same WoB, that's mostly an environmental thing that was around before her arrival.

Quote

Brandon Sanderson
Part of this is kind of inherent to the Shard and the power it’s coming from. I mean the power of Endowment is just going to stick, that’s part of the nature of its magic. Does that make sense? But it also kind of has to do with how the ecosystems are working. For instance the Stormlight is essential to the ecosystem of Roshar, it needs to be expended, it needs to get out and-- It’s like evaporation, does that make sense?

Argent
Recycling? Not the recycling but the cycle of--

Brandon Sanderson
Yeah, yeah like the cycle of water. And so just part of the way the nature of it works, it /has/ to get out, it /has/ to leak out, it has to run out. I mean it leaks even from spheres, right?

Argent
And when you lash things it’s temporary--

Brandon Sanderson
Yep. And even though Szeth says that he thought Voidbringers could hold it they can’t. Like it is just not the way that it works.

I agree that the recycle time is rather short, but that's not something her or Honor did.

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