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HoidsRock

[OB] Why the Safehand?

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Shallan strode forward, arm out, and let the illusory sleeve covering her hand vanish. She pulled off her glove, stepped right up to the mass of tar and voiceless screams.

Then pressed her safehand against it.

Why does Shallan use the safehand against the Midnight Mother?  Shallan obviously has the proper Vorin inhibitions about it.  As best as I can tell, unlike Navani, "Shallan Davar" (as opposed to "Veil") has never worn one.  Furthermore, in chapter 32:

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She smiled and snuggled into her blankets, drinking her tea and—for the moment—putting out of her mind that basically an entire troop of soldiers had seen her with her glove off. She was kind of an adult. She could deal with a little embarrassment.

Mentioning it here again so soon struck me as important.

I went to the new Arcanum (an absolutely awesome resource!) and all of the WOB on safehands are roughly the same.  Men, by declaring swordplay a two-handed art and that two-handed arts were masculine while one-handed arts were feminine, effectively kept shardblades to themselves.  There didn't seem to anything about a secret power, purpose, etc. with the safehand.

So why does she pull off the glove in the middle of a group of men?  So she could summon Pattern to her right?  Maybe, but not only does she not use Pattern that way in the encounter that files, it seems more instinctual than that.  It is so instinctual that it overcomes her ingrained Vorin social mores.

My starting theory is that Shallan knew she had to open herself to the Midnight Mother (which she did):

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Shallan was open to this thing. Laid bare, her skin split, her soul gaping wide. It could get in.

in order to fight it.  Initially, this is Shallan fighting Re-Shephir with Pattern and her true honest self (she of course has to lie about who she is later in order to win the confrontation).  Removing the glove was an instinctual way to open herself up.

I am not satisfied with this theory but wanted to throw something out there to start the discussion.  Other ideas?

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I mainly read it in the same way

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Makes sense to me. Less as anything actually to do with the safehand, and more as a quirk of perception. Vorin belief has made the safehand a symbol of intimacy. That belief makes it so. 

By using the safehand for an intimate touch, she did what was necessary to connect with Re-Shephir on an intimate level. 

Edited by Calderis
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1 minute ago, ScavellTane said:

Is she holding Pattern on her other hand?

Certainly not initially as she uses the freehand to pull off the glove.  I don't think she recalls her Patternblade:

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Pattern clung to Shallan, and she to him, holding on for dear life.

That could be a metaphorical/spiritual "clinging" except that we also get

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In her mind’s eye, Shallan envisioned herself holding tightly to Pattern in his humanoid form, the two of them huddled down before the spren’s attack.

Which seems to imply to me that the first "clinging" is physical.

Contra this (i.e. in support of the idea that she did recall her Patternblade), Pattern speaks in her mind.  Has Pattern, versus Patternblade, ever spoken directly into Shallan's mind?

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5 minutes ago, HoidsRock said:

Certainly not initially as she uses the freehand to pull off the glove.  I don't think she recalls her Patternblade:

That could be a metaphorical/spiritual "clinging" except that we also get

Which seems to imply to me that the first "clinging" is physical.

Contra this (i.e. in support of the idea that she did recall her Patternblade), Pattern speaks in her mind.  Has Pattern, versus Patternblade, ever spoken directly into Shallan's mind?

Does the battle not simply play in the Cognitive Realm, though? It seems to be a battle of willpower, which would, I assume, be Cognitive, or maybe even Spiritual. Of the Cognitive Realm we know for sure that Pattern appears as a full-sized man.

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3 minutes ago, Leyrann said:

Does the battle not simply play in the Cognitive Realm, though?

Definitely plays there as she does picture Pattern in Shadesmar form.  I think it is also taking place in the physical realm.  She does feel the need to touch Midnight Mother to at least establish the connection.  That's why I took the first "clinging" as physical. 

I suppose it's possible that Shallan removes glove, touches Midnight Mother, and recalls Patternblade.  That last step proves to superfluous as all three are transported to:

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A place beyond this room in the tower, beyond even Shadesmar.

 

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1 hour ago, HoidsRock said:

Definitely plays there as she does picture Pattern in Shadesmar form.  I think it is also taking place in the physical realm.  She does feel the need to touch Midnight Mother to at least establish the connection.  That's why I took the first "clinging" as physical. 

I suppose it's possible that Shallan removes glove, touches Midnight Mother, and recalls Patternblade.  That last step proves to superfluous as all three are transported to:

 

Ah yes I'd forgotten the exact wording. Guess it was actually fought in the Spiritual Realm then, if it's beyond Shadesmar. That would also explain why she needed to touch the Unmade; they had no Connection, and there's not something like distance in the Spiritual Realm, so the touching could double as a very rudimentary form of Connection, which then allowed her to fight.

Edited by Leyrann
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Btw speaking of WoB's there is new one on this subject. 

 

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

When Shallan reached out to the Midnight Mother, would it have mattered if she used the right hand?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It would not have mattered. Good question!

 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/171-oathbringer-release-party/#e8152

 
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For what it's worth, Malata uses her safehand to inscribe the table in her scene at the end of Oathbringer.

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