Toaster Retribution

[OB] My problem with Jasnah

136 posts in this topic

I love Jasnah. She's my favorite Radiant, but Taravangian is also probably my favorite character... So. 

Amaram on the other hand... 

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Yeah, I could see how Jasnah's personality is polarizing. She's the brutally honest type (and very ruthless to boot). 

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34 minutes ago, Toaster Retribution said:

2. Her treatment of Shallan. Shallan has become an accomplished Radiant, who has saved the entire Alethi force, found Urithiru, and fought off an Unmade. Jasnah makes her a scribe. I understand that Jasnah is more experienced, that she can teach, and that Shallan needs to learn things, but giving her scribe duty is stupid. For one, it shows that Jasnah considers Shallan to be below her in status. Two, Jasnah should be able to figure out that Shallan might start to feel rebellious if she is treated like a random servant. Three, Shallan deserves to be treated as more of an equal, after all she has done.

This initially bothered me too, but it fits with Janah's Socratic style of teaching. She knows that having Shallan scribe their meetings is beneath Shallan, but she is forcing Shallan to come to this realization herself and to stand up for herself. This is similar to her frustrating method of having Shallan come up with her own explanations for things and not just providing easy authoritative answers, by making her work towards the goal of determining things on her own she helping her on the path to true scholarship, which is all about coming to your own conclusions.

I agree though, it was frustrating her slipping into the previous Teacher/pupil relationship. If she had been a little less close minded about Shallan, they could have done some interesting things together (like maybe train in Shadesmar, talk about Jasnah's travels to the Spren Cities, talk about the Ghostbloods (Shallan's infiltration or the reason they want Jasnah dead), use soulcasting to resuscitate moldering fragile manuscripts from the Urithuru library, etc). Some lost opportunities here in this relationship, but there are still 2 books to go in the back 5, so I'm not too worried.

Edited by hoiditthroughthegrapevine
Added a bit at the end.
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As a major Jasnah fan-girl, i concur with many who have explained their respect for her above. She’s widely regarded as brilliant and strong, and she knows that she knows more than most/all of them about what’s going on. She’s also the most advanced KR. But i love that she accepts what she doesn’t know and strives for perfection instead of believing she’s already perfect. That’s what keeps her from being “arrogant” to my mind. 

I also think it’s poignant that throughout WoR and part 1 of OB, Shallan is actively trying to be what Jasnah taught her to be: confident, less impulsive, seeking knowledge. Part of this is because i think Jasnah thought Shallan was an elsecaller squire, of sorts, but it’s actually exactly what Shallan does need to learn. She remits back to her childish chafing at authority when Jasnah returns—and that’s both of their faults. But i think it’s beautifully portrayed by BS from both of their perspectives. 

Edited by Bliev
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16 minutes ago, Bliev said:

As a major Jasnah fan-girl, i concur with many who have explained their respect for her above. She’s widely regarded as brilliant and strong, and she knows that she knows more than most/all of them about what’s going on. She’s also the most advanced KR. But i love that she accepts what she doesn’t know and strives for perfection instead of believing she’s already perfect. That’s what keeps her from being “arrogant” to my mind. 

I also think it’s poignant that throughout WoR and part 1 of OB, Shallan is actively trying to be what Jasnah taught her to be: confident, less impulsive, seeking knowledge. Part of this is because i think Jasnah thought Shallan was an elsecaller squire, of sorts, but it’s actually exactly what Shallan does need to learn. She remits back to her childish chafing at authority when Jasnah returns—and that’s both of their faults. But i think it’s beautifully portrayed by BS from both of their perspectives. 

I agree with everything said here :)

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10 minutes ago, RShara said:

I agree with everything said here :)

:-)

If I didn’t feel like calling someone your spirit animal was disrespectful to Native cultures, Jasnah would be mine. :-) mid thirties, feminine yet badass, unapologetic scholar and heretic. Yes, i do love her! Haha

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2 minutes ago, Bliev said:

:-)

If I didn’t feel like calling someone your spirit animal was disrespectful to Native cultures, Jasnah would be mine. :-) mid thirties, feminine yet badass, unapologetic scholar and heretic. Yes, i do love her! Haha

Jasnah explains my worldviews better than I do...

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I love that she's so intelligent and confident and unapologetic for it.  Can't wait to read her viewpoint novel.  So many intelligent people are embarrassed, faux-humble, or apologetic for their intelligence, particularly when it's a woman.  It's refreshing to see someone who is proud of her intelligence while recognizing her faults without being embarrassed about them.

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Just now, RShara said:

I love that she's so intelligent and confident and unapologetic for it.  Can't wait to read her viewpoint novel.  So many intelligent people are embarrassed, faux-humble, or apologetic for their intelligence, particularly when it's a woman.  It's refreshing to see someone who is proud of her intelligence while recognizing her faults without being embarrassed about them.

Particularly in the equivalent of medieval times! I mean, Alethi culture is pretty darn patriarchal, even if they do ascribe reading and writing to women—they are still “lesser than”. She refuses that. I love it. A woman before her time. 

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I too am a Jasnah fan I like the fact that she is not afraid of anything and is willing to let people know. I also think there was more to that Kaladin Jasnah exchange than first meets the eye. I am very happy Kaladin has moved on from the mentally unstable,  I think he and Jasnah compliment each other a lot better than Shallan does.  Jasnah can learn empathy from Kaladin since she doesn't seem to have enough of it and I think she will learn the dangers of a brillant mind lacking compassion. Mean-while I think Kaladin can learn more about caring a little less from her. At the end of the scene if you look close she does give Kaladin a smile.  For any other person that might as well be a passionate kiss.  I have called it for years Jasnah and Kaladin are the perfect team.

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Jasnah has plenty of compassion.  Just not for people who don't deserve it.

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Here's the thing with Jasnah, she doesn't care about other's perception of her. Not. One. Bit. Your assessment of her isn't too far off, but the reasons you dislike her are actually some of the reasons I did like her in this book. 

I'll start with Shallan. Whether she likes it or not, she is still Jasnah's ward. A Knight's Radiant, yes, but she's still supposed to be training under Jasnah. And I believe Jasnah tried to teach Shallan a tough lesson in this book: strong leaders lead with a servant heart. Shallan started to become very preoccupied with her own self in this book. The split personalities, the questioning of how Adolin saw her, the questioning of how Kaladin saw her...if Shallan wasn't thinking about herself, she was thinking about how others viewed her. Jasnah knows that is a habit she needs to break out of. 

Being humble isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. Shallan needed to learn that in this book, and I do think she started slowly coming around to that at the end. 

As far as the Voidbringer conversation, I did think her conclusion seemed too extreme (and maybe not that well thought out). Killing the Heralds would just send them back to Braize, and if the past is any clue, one of the ten would have broken potentially within the next 10 years. It seemed to me like killing the Heralds would be a bandaid fix to a problem that needs surgery. 

The part of this book that made me love Jasnah the most though, despite some flaws that she does have, was her moment with Renarin. There was a story in this book about a former king who executed everyone in his family due to his fears of being murdered for the throne. He chocked to death the very night of the executions. I think this foreshadowed something important about Jasnah. She learned from the past failures of former monarchs. Her love for her family showed in this book, and to me, that scene helped make her a more complete character. 

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Just now, RShara said:

Jasnah has plenty of compassion.  Just not for people who don't deserve it.

Fully agree. 

Her defense of Taravangian against the slander if people who thought him simple are another example. 

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1. Kaladin : I think she was in part baiting the only unkown to her in that room, trying to figure out what he's made of, she was quick to drop the subject after a simple counterargument drom Dalinar, an argument you'd think she would have tought of herself, the smile at the end gives some credence to my assumption.

2. Shallan : For all her accomplishments, she still behaves like the kid she is, for all her good intentions she's a wild card and probably the least reliable radiant in the tower. So i'm all for Jasnah trying to whip her into shape.

You also can't compare Jasnah to Taravangian (let's just not bring Amaram into this, ok ?) who in his despair is willing to sacrifice most of mankind to save a few while relying on the mercy of a known to be destructive entity. To be fair, we don't know the extent Jasnah would be willing to go and in all honesty i can't fault Taravangian for what he's trying to do, he's prepared to damnation himself to save his people and there's much to respect in that, meanwhile our heros are hoping things are going to somehow work out even though they're facing an ennemy who killed their "god" and already conquered half the continent in a couple months.

PS : this forum's brand of censorship/cosmerisation can sometimes be annoying.

Edited by Darvys
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A lot of people have brought up good points regarding Jasnah. Answers to some specific things:

@Dreamstorm Jasnah should be able to extend above pettiness though. Kaladin is upsetting the social standards, but Jasnah of all people, who has been upsetting social standards her whole life should be okay with it, especially in the face of a Desolation. As for Shallan, while Jasnah doesn't know about her growth, she knows about her exploits, which should be enough. I totally agree that Jasnah should have flaws though, and she is a great character. I just dislike her as a person. I imagine that I would clash pretty hard with her if she existed IRL, which is what I am reacting to.

@hoiditthroughthegrapevine I can see what you mean about the method, but I do think that it is a pretty lousy method, at least for OB Shallan, who is independent enough already.

@Fifth of Daybreak You raise a lot of valid points. The one thing I can throw back is that even if Jasnah is aware of her faults, she has to try fixing them. Constantly losing her temper (Kaladin, Amaram) is something she needs to deal with, not just acknowledge.

@Bliev I can see your point, but I still think that a measure of arrogance comes across when dealing with people she feels are below her, or people she disagrees with, like Kaladin. 

 

Furthermore, I should add that I also have problems identifying with Jasnah, partly because of that she is totally different from me in personality, and partly because she feels so cold most of the time. This is not her fault though, and more a personal thing for me.

EDIT: Saw two more I needed to answer:

@RShara Jasnah has compassion, as long as you deserve it. I don't agree. The parshmen and the Heralds both deserve compassion, but she gives none.

@Darvys

Jasnah: Sacrifice ten people to save mankind.

Taravangian: Sacrifice thousands to save mankind.

Amaram (why not?) Sacrifice four to save many. 

The difference lies in the numbers only, as far as I can see. 

Edited by Toaster Retribution
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3 minutes ago, Andy92 said:

 

As far as the Voidbringer conversation, I did think her conclusion seemed too extreme (and maybe not that well thought out). Killing the Heralds would just send them back to Braize, and if the past is any clue, one of the ten would have broken potentially within the next 10 years. It seemed to me like killing the Heralds would be a bandaid fix to a problem that needs surgery. 

 

Can't the Fused just return to the Everstorm now, instead of heading back to damnation when they die? So even if they sent the Heralds back, they would still have to deal with the Fused that have already arrived, right? I really don't see how killing the Heralds would solve their current predicament beyond stopping more Fused from making the jump from Braize to Roshar. 

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Jasnah is a strong female character who is incredibly accomplished and knows exactly what she is talking about but probably of her heresy has had to work twice as hard to get her opinion heard. I think that her seemingly callous nature is a facade she needed to create to get to the place she is now. Along with the striking moment with Renarin, there was also the moment with Ivory where she lets a little of that facade crack and shows that she is not as callous as everyone thinks she is and that really shows who she is as well. 

But as for her actions with Kaladin and Shallan, in both those situations she knew best. I don't think it's arrogance, I think it is a defense mechanism that has been working for her and she also has a reputation to keep up. 

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@Toaster Retribution One other thing to think about in regards to Jasnah's character is that we saw how she was broken in OB, she had a spell of seeming insanity as a kid, so one of the reason's she might come off as so cold is that it requires a lot of willpower for her to keep it together. All KRs are flawed humans, some KRs wear their flaws more visibly than others (like the storming bridge boy that's always glaring at people), but there are hints that her baseline controlling demeanor is in some manner an overcompensation for the moment in her life when she lost control of the what she considers the most important aspect of herself, her mind.

 

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The Parshendi are currently trying to massacre her people.  The Heralds betrayed her people.  Why would she think that they deserve compassion?

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23 minutes ago, Varenus said:

Can't the Fused just return to the Everstorm now, instead of heading back to damnation when they die? So even if they sent the Heralds back, they would still have to deal with the Fused that have already arrived, right? I really don't see how killing the Heralds would solve their current predicament beyond stopping more Fused from making the jump from Braize to Roshar. 

You're probably right. The new Everstorm is throwing a big wrench into the cycle of how the Desolations used to be. 

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20 minutes ago, hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

@Toaster Retribution One other thing to think about in regards to Jasnah's character is that we saw how she was broken in OB, she had a spell of seeming insanity as a kid, so one of the reason's she might come off as so cold is that it requires a lot of willpower for her to keep it together. All KRs are flawed humans, some KRs wear their flaws more visibly than others (like the storming bridge boy that's always glaring at people), but there are hints that her baseline controlling demeanor is in some manner an overcompensation for the moment in her life when she lost control of the what she considers the most important aspect of herself, her mind.

 

Good point. Her being cold is not really why I dislike her though. It is just one of the reasons as for why I have a hard time relating to her, but I wouldn't say that it is a flaw.

11 minutes ago, RShara said:

The Parshendi are currently trying to massacre her people.  The Heralds betrayed her people.  Why would she think that they deserve compassion?

The parshmen have been enslaved for 4,000 years, and the humans stole their home (it is implied that Jasnah knew that by then). The Heralds were basically tortured for eternity. Those are sound reasons to feel compassion. 

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2 minutes ago, Andy92 said:

You're probably right. The new Everstorm is throwing a big wrench into the cycle of how the Desolations used to be. 

I think if the Heralds went back to Damnation, and didn't break, it would prevent the Fused from respawning when killed.  So they'd still have to kill the Fused that are on Roshar, but once dead, if the Oathpact is revitalized, then they should stay on Damnation.

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