taxilian

[OB] Taravangian and the Diagram -- not what we think?

45 posts in this topic

I had a very similar thought. It's pretty explicit in the book that Cultivation kind of played Dalinar for the good of the world with the whole memory-ectomy (let's go with "memorectomy") thing. She knew Odium saw Dalinar as a weapon, but she also figured Dalinar would become a good man without all his guilt. So she gave him his memories back at the right time so that he would own his pain instead of giving it away.

Well, I think the Diagram might just be memorectomy, part 2. Taravangian is set-up in a strange way now, but we don't know where his true loyalties lie just yet. I think the man is a snake, but I wonder if we aren't looking at a professor Snape styled redemption arc for Taravangian as well. Honestly, I kind of hope not, but there is narrative value in having him recant his "ends justify the means" logic.

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Yeah that’s what II thought. His story is a mirror to Dalinars.

II worry though that we are too caught up in “the end justifies the means” being bad. We’re not talking about two innocent men and one guilty here. We’re talking about the end of the world. Saving the most people we can possibly save in an Armageddon situation. Extinction, you work against it right?

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This was something i actually posted on the full book reaction thread, thanks for making a full topic out of it!

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1 minute ago, Storyspren said:

Yeah that’s what II thought. His story is a mirror to Dalinars.

II worry though that we are too caught up in “the end justifies the means” being bad. We’re not talking about two innocent men and one guilty here. We’re talking about the end of the world. Saving the most people we can possibly save in an Armageddon situation. Extinction, you work against it right?

What Taravangian is currently aiming for is not to save the world. At best he might save a teeny tiny bit and is actually making things worse (aiding the enemy). Selling out humanity just to save some people close to you is not going to win you any friends or get you any awards. And that's even assuming it works out in practice.

That being said, I like the idea of a double-cross with Odium. After all, if what Taravangian was asking Odium for was good enough for Super-T then surely the best thing to do would be to escape through Shadesmar long ago? He could have probably arranged for a few thousand people to escape at least. So maybe Super-T has bigger plans?

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I'll chime in to agree, this was my take from that scene as well. Cultivation gave him just enough capacity to do what he needed to do, but never showed him the end result, just what would lead there.

I'm expecting a double-cross from Taravangian that he doesn't see coming. He'll think he's following the Diagram to save Kharbranth, but his actions will lead to what needs to happen, just like they did this book, and last book.

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49 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

...Selling out humanity just to save some people close to you ...

But he never ever puts it that way in his POVs. His internal monologue is surely controlling. 

Not to mention that neither Cultivation nor her daughter would have given him the knowledge/power to rampage round the world just to save his own people. 

Cultivation’s plans for Big T can’t be to help odium can they? 

It was always a doublecross by cultivation from the beginning. She sent big T in as an agent because that’s what would fulfill both the boon he asked for and her own goals. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Storyspren said:

But he never ever puts it that way in his POVs. His internal monologue is surely controlling.

Not to mention that neither Cultivation nor her daughter would have given him the knowledge/power to rampage round the world just to save his own people. 

Cultivation’s plans for Big T can’t be to help odium can they? 

It was always a doublecross by cultivation from the beginning. She sent big T in as an agent because that’s what would fulfill both the boon he asked for and her own goals.

I'm not disagreeing that it's possible that Cultivation's plan with Taravangian could involve a double cross. It seems quite plausible to me.

What I am saying is that Taravangian's current approach is selling out humanity:

Quote

The words started to fade all around them. Leaving him alone. Alone and stupid. He blinked tears from the corners of his eyes. “Kharbranth,” he said. “Preserve only Kharbranth. You may destroy all other nations. Just leave my city. It is what I beg of you.”

The world was lost, humankind doomed.

 

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Understood that.

The evidence you quote comes, crucially, after the following:

“Taravangian looked up and there, glowing in front of him, was a set of words. A message from himself, in the past. Incredible! Had he somehow seen even this?
Thank you.”

Excerpt From
Oathbringer
Brandon Sanderson
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/oathbringer/id1198279804?mt=11
This material may be protected by copyright.

So his approach is to say whatever is necessary to implement whatever it was he understood from the diagram. It’s not selling out the rest of humanity if it’s a lie from the beginning. 

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It may not matter what current Mr T or supersmart Mr T's plans were at all - every aspect of his capacity to help has come from the Nightwatcher and/or Cultivation. If it's the former, then the alternating IQ and Empathy might just be a potentially lethal prank (except that pragmatic Mr T was always with the Sons of Honour, right? Not a point in his favour. I suspect he always planned to bargain with Odium and join him but save as many humans as he can, just as Odium said, and the others would be "sacrifices" alla Amaram-thought).

But if it's the latter, Cultivation, then it's her plan that matters - anything combo of empathy and intelligence he gets is up to her and he is just a tool that thinks he has a say in the matter

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23 minutes ago, IndigoAjah said:

It may not matter what current Mr T or supersmart Mr T's plans were at all - every aspect of his capacity to help has come from the Nightwatcher and/or Cultivation. If it's the former, then the alternating IQ and Empathy might just be a potentially lethal prank (except that pragmatic Mr T was always with the Sons of Honour, right? Not a point in his favour. I suspect he always planned to bargain with Odium and join him but save as many humans as he can, just as Odium said, and the others would be "sacrifices" alla Amaram-thought).

But if it's the latter, Cultivation, then it's her plan that matters - anything combo of empathy and intelligence he gets is up to her and he is just a tool that thinks he has a say in the matter

I don't think he has ever been in the sons of honor... I do believe you are mixing up your secret groups now.

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7 minutes ago, Blacksmithki said:

I don't think he has ever been in the sons of honor... I do believe you are mixing up your secret groups now.

He technically was, he conspired with Gavilar who founded the sons of honor. He split from the rest of the group and made the Diagram when he went to the Nightwatcher and then had his super smart day.

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10 minutes ago, Blacksmithki said:

I don't think he has ever been in the sons of honor... I do believe you are mixing up your secret groups now.

Sorry, you're right - both groups are separately linked via Gavilar but we have no evidence T was in the SoH

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17 minutes ago, IndigoAjah said:

Sorry, you're right - both groups are separately linked via Gavilar but we have no evidence T was in the SoH

Sons of Honor: Bring back herald ---> bring back church

Diagram: Not go extinct.

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2 hours ago, DiamondMind said:

He technically was, he conspired with Gavilar who founded the sons of honor. He split from the rest of the group and made the Diagram when he went to the Nightwatcher and then had his super smart day.

I don't know that we actually know that Gavilar *founded* the sons of honor; in fact, Mraize sorta implies otherwise in OB chapter 40:

Quote

“You are familiar with the first of these, the men who call themselves the Sons of Honor. The old king of Alethkar—the Blackthorn’s brother, Gavilar Kholin—was a driving force in their expansion. He brought Meridas Amaram into their fold”

Excerpt From: Brandon Sanderson. “Stormlight 3: Oathbringer.”

This indicates that he was "a driving force in their expansion" but not that he actually founded them.

What I am starting to think is that "supersmart T" actually put something in motion that he knew his less smart self would not understand, setting himself up to pursue the course you currently see while actually setting himself up to subtly fail at that course and ultimately double-cross odium. Cultivation is pretty clearly known to be working against Odium (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/97/#e2729):

Quote

Seonid

If Cultivation and Honor were romantically involved, why did Cultivation not help Honor against Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

She did.

Another thing to remember is that Cultivation is better at seeing the future than Honor is:

Quote

“The figure squinted at the horizon. “I cannot see the future completely. Cultivation, she is better at it than I”

Excerpt From: Sanderson, Brandon. “The Way of Kings.” (Chapter 75)

 

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I can see Taravangian being a Gollum like character from LoTR.  Helps kill the big baddie inadvertantly

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6 hours ago, taxilian said:

Evidence:

  • When Odium looked at the diagram, there were things that he apparently somehow could not see -- things that were hidden from him:

     

  • The diagram seems to almost "change" as it goes -- this could be contingency planning, but it could also be that the goals they think they work towards are not actually the real goals.

This feels far-fetched, but at the same time it looks like *something* strange is going on. Perhaps Taravangian has unwittingly set himself up as a double agent.

 

It's worth noting that the future that's blocked from Odium appears to be due to Renarin:

Quote

Somebody had to make the difficult decisions. He slipped off his golden seat as Odium studied another portion of the Diagram. There. Behind where the bed had stood. A section of words that had faded from golden to black. What was that? As he drew near, Taravangian saw that the words were blacked out into eternity starting from this point on his wall. As if something had happened here. A ripple in what Odium could see …

At its root, a name. Renarin Kholin.

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (p. 1216). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.

Presumably this is due to Renarin's bond with the corrupted spren somehow causing Odium to be unable to predict Renarin's influence (i.e. why the events near end of Oathbringer did not correspond to Renarin's visions). So it's not likely to be a direct effect of the Diagram.

It's always possible to postulate that Taravangian is/was playing an even longer game than what we see - the problem is that you can always suggest that. For example, it's possible that all of the 'errors' in the Diagram are intentionally put there to make sure the people who are trying to interpret the Diagram act in the proper manner (e.g. Taravangian's attempt to kill Dalinar is actually what causes Kaladin to advance as a KR/Dalinar to go on the proper path). The issue is that you can always claim that (just as planned!) and while in this case it's somewhat more likely than normal to be true, in a sense it's a cheat, since effectively it'll be justifying his actions post facto.

That said, the words that show up for Taravangian to read seems to suggest that at the very least, this particular contingency was planned for to some extent. Whether this outcome is what the Diagram expected, who knows? (which is why I rather dislike this kind of reasoning, since it really doesn't tell us much about what's going to happen)

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The only thing I'm likely to accept from the Diagram is that they excel at making things harder from our heroes, therefore forcing them to become even greater. Practically 7 Radiants with a bit of help from Adolin rallying some Thaylen troops held Thaylen city alone against an entire army of Voidbringers. If T hadn't shattered the coalition there would have been a huge army to back them up and they wouldn't have needed to stretch out to defend the city alone. And maybe Dalinar wouldn't have Ascended as he wouldn't have run out Kamikaze style. Thats as far as I'm going to accept the Diagram doing "good".

Of course like Kaladin told Amaram, this doesn't mean the Diagram did anything to help, it just identified who was strong enough to fight. 

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46 minutes ago, WhiteLeeopard said:

The only thing I'm likely to accept from the Diagram is that they excel at making things harder from our heroes, therefore forcing them to become even greater. Practically 7 Radiants with a bit of help from Adolin rallying some Thaylen troops held Thaylen city alone against an entire army of Voidbringers. If T hadn't shattered the coalition there would have been a huge army to back them up and they wouldn't have needed to stretch out to defend the city alone. And maybe Dalinar wouldn't have Ascended as he wouldn't have run out Kamikaze style. Thats as far as I'm going to accept the Diagram doing "good".

Of course like Kaladin told Amaram, this doesn't mean the Diagram did anything to help, it just identified who was strong enough to fight. 

That being said, would that really have done any good though? My impression was that any Alethi who wasn't a KR or a squire was basically in danger of getting possessed/taken over by Odium. And last I checked, they were providing most of the military forces in the coalition (apart from the ships.) Perhaps Super T forsaw this and knew that if the huge army had been present, the huge army would have likely been co-opted by Odium through the Thrill and then the Thaylens would've been knee-deep in crem.

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I think not every Alethi was susceptible. Amaram's troops were specifically primed for possession, led for years in a way without honor and directed to hate Dalinar Kholin for "murder of their Highprince". Dalinar's army disciplined and led according to codes wouldn't have fallen. And I don't think Odium had enough of his spren to possess more then that.

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18 minutes ago, Kasimir said:

That being said, would that really have done any good though? My impression was that any Alethi who wasn't a KR or a squire was basically in danger of getting possessed/taken over by Odium. And last I checked, they were providing most of the military forces in the coalition (apart from the ships.) Perhaps Super T forsaw this and knew that if the huge army had been present, the huge army would have likely been co-opted by Odium through the Thrill and then the Thaylens would've been knee-deep in crem.

What kessler said. I think Amaram/Sadeas army was the most susceptible to Thrill-Odium. Kholin army would have likely been almost inmune, and as we saw some highprinces (Sebarial) were just sending their own troops over to the Kholins. As an aside at least Dalinar finally managed to unify Alethkar, half of the highprinces are now fully behind whatever he wants to do :). Too bad the conflict escalated so fast ^^.

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I believe Cultivation IS trying to use the diagram to backstab Odium, but i doubt he'd be blind to that, she got him once, i find it hard to believe she'll manage to get him again. When both sides have a way however imperfect to see the future it becomes really difficult to make plans long term. While genius T could be using dumb T, there's nothing to stop Odium from cutting a string or two along the way and replacing them with his own. Curious to see how it'll play out, but i don't think it'll be to the benefit of mankind.

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I feel like Taravangian setting himself up as a double agent can only go badly. One mistake, one day where he is too smart, and it all falls apart. It's a high risk/high reward strategy. The only reason you would go for that if you were as smart as he was on that day is if it really is the only option, which means either he is wrong, or the radiants are going to fall again.

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Well...suppose his boon from the Nightwatcher (or perhaps Cultivation - maybe she took his memory of that meeting like she did with Dalinar) is another example of Cultivation getting one up on Odium.  If the Diagram really is of Cultivation, it may be that she foresaw Taravangian's request, foresaw what would come of it and she...performed a little bit of surgery on him (or maybe the bits of Diagram referring to Renarin came from her directly and so are hidden) so that Odium is set up for a fall, believing T is an ally when in reality something hidden/further down the line will cause him to flip back.  I don't like Taravangian one bit.  But I think he does honestly regret having to act this way, so there may be a way out for him in the end, though honestly I'd hope he doesn't survive it.

It's interesting to me that Renarin is...off the table.  I guess the one thing Odium could not or did not foresee is one of his creatures/tools breaking from the fold enough to give his enemies a weapon against him.  Renarin can make use of Odium's essence in a sense to see the future.  In a sense, it's like Odium and Renarin can both burn atium, but only Renarin knows they both can do it.  He knows he can be wrong in ways Odium doesn't, yet, and that may have a long chain of rippling effects reaching outward - it gives the KR a man on the inside, as it were.  I think it's a point in both Jasnah's and Renarin's favor - Jasnah's that she had compassion on her cousin who is bound to a corrupted spren, Renarin that he was such a young man as to engender said response - he's possibly the most genuine being we've seen in the series to date.  It's interesting that this kid who is likely on the spectrum is set up to be such a game-changer.

I'd love to see some sort of account of Glys and Sja-anat meeting, how that went, and if Glys really gave his consent, why he did so.

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I have always thought Taravangian was wrong in what the boon and curse are, he asked for capacity, I think smart T is the curse, and the true capacity to save was the compassion. With what is revealed in OB I think the diagram is a trap, Adrotagia and Mrall are discussing how many errors there were and how it was wrong. I tend to agree it wasn't  wrong, just led to outcomes that we're towards what benefitted Cultivations goal.  If Odium uses the diagram it may have the same effect  to mislead him. 

Just as I think, Taravangian unknowingly is not saving Karbranth, but sacrificing it. 

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