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[OB] My problem with Jasnah

136 posts in this topic

@PhineasGage oh, definitely. I have a few presentations during the 08 and 16 US election cycles about gender norms, which were devoid of actual “politics” and more about how we perceive female leaders. Men tend to get more leeway to be likable and competent, but there is also definite backlash (some of my published research suggests that “nice” “humble” guys make less money and are less likely to be promoted than jerky dudes are, for instance. And yes,  “jerky dudes” is a totally academic turn of phrase! Lmao). I am more familiar with academic articles on the topic, but i know there was a nice intro to the idea by Amy Cuddy and Peter Glick in the Boston globe recently: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/10/23/how-stereotypes-divide-and-conquer-women/cOqGosHTkBqaLSDCXT0WwI/story.html. They have a theory about stereotype content that is useful as background. :-) i could probably write my own book. Maybe i will. Post tenure, of course lol. Y’all can add your insights. It’ll be “gender norms in fantasy”. Hah

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If I had any doubts about Jasnah having feelings, they evaporated as soon as I saw her crying at the Gavilar's funeral. Not to mention the brilliant goodbye ritual with the all day reading of The Way Of Kings. 

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32 minutes ago, Ailvara said:

If I had any doubts about Jasnah having feelings, they evaporated as soon as I saw her crying at the Gavilar's funeral. Not to mention the brilliant goodbye ritual with the all day reading of The Way Of Kings. 

Yeah too true it was very touching. 

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3 hours ago, treblkickd said:

I see where you're coming from with this opinion of Jasnah's character, but I think that her appearance of cold logic/reason are quite clearly revealed to be a defensive veneer that she puts up. Two scenes in particular in Oathbringer make it clear that Jasnah is just as compassionate and vulnerable as any other character in the book: the first is her spanreed/IRC chat session with her scholar friends, and the second is when she tracks down Renarin during the battle at Thaylen City. The thing about Jasnah is that she does not, in fact, just do "what must be done". She explicitly does the opposite with Renarin. 

We don't currently know a whole lot about Jasnah's backstory, but there have been clear hints that she suffered some sort of severe trauma. I would guess that the public face that Jasnah wears in her current state is very much the result of coping with trauma, possibly abuse. 

To your argument that her character is the core tenet of the Elsecallers, i.e. aspiring toward pure logic and pragmatism, I just had a new thought about how to interpret the various "core tenets" or archetypal Radiant personalities. It may actually make more sense if these archetypal personality traits of the various orders of KR are really more about the coping mechanisms that broken people use to manage their trauma. Shallan, for example, handles her trauma with lies and self-deception. Jasnah handles it by imposing upon herself a strict logical code of thought. Lift copes by aggressively empathizing with the downtrodden and disadvantaged and pushing back against opportunities to live a life of luxury and privilege. Kaladin is haunted by the friends and companions he's lost, and he copes by finding new groups/friends to fight for and try to help survive. I'm literally just thinking of these as I type them now, but I think it makes much more sense to think about the archetypal Radiant traits/tropes as differences in coping mechanisms rather than fundamental differences in character.

I don't think that Jasnah is completely without empathy or compassion, but that she struggles to express it and it is not always high on her list of priorities. I do very much think that the core tenets are bound to the KR's 'brokenness'. Jasnah does consider others, but generally as an afterthought to her initial statements/actions, she recognizes it as a weakness and works on it.

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1 hour ago, Bliev said:

@PhineasGage oh, definitely. I have a few presentations during the 08 and 16 US election cycles about gender norms, which were devoid of actual “politics” and more about how we perceive female leaders. Men tend to get more leeway to be likable and competent, but there is also definite backlash (some of my published research suggests that “nice” “humble” guys make less money and are less likely to be promoted than jerky dudes are, for instance. And yes,  “jerky dudes” is a totally academic turn of phrase! Lmao). I am more familiar with academic articles on the topic, but i know there was a nice intro to the idea by Amy Cuddy and Peter Glick in the Boston globe recently: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/10/23/how-stereotypes-divide-and-conquer-women/cOqGosHTkBqaLSDCXT0WwI/story.html. They have a theory about stereotype content that is useful as background. :-) i could probably write my own book. Maybe i will. Post tenure, of course lol. Y’all can add your insights. It’ll be “gender norms in fantasy”. Hah

Hey that article was a great read. Thanks for linking it. I think the idea of investigating gender norms in fantasy would be really interesting - although I guess it probably has been done? I think that understanding the roles in literature tell us a lot about society at the time of writing. I personally (as a woman) think Brandon generally does a good job with his female characters though I'm not always sure he "finishes" their arcs so well. Arranged marriage = success being something he has used multiple times for example. They haven't reduced my enjoyment of any given story as a whole, but it is overdone. Obviously his male characters end up getting into arranged marriages too, but as a genre, fantasy tends to have all the women get married off but some male characters stay single. Maybe, despite the high death rate and dragon count in fantasy, there are simply more men? ;)

If you have any more reading suggestions I'd love to see them. I guess gender norms come under sociology? I have done a little sociology as part of my degree, but it relates more to healthcare and accessing it. You know, cultural values/boundaries/race as a concept, "the sick role" etc. We didn't touch on the topic of gender norms in wider society.

In order to try and drive my post back into the topic of the thread, I was thinking about how the characters would be "classified" by the article's 3 categories. This is where I think Sanderson did a good job because whilst you could put most of them in, there is always a 'but' floating there - much more like real women than you sometimes see in the genre. We also aren't subjected to the other idea of "maiden", "mother" and "crone". The only author who has successfully pulled that off regularly for me was Terry Pratchett and that was because he subverted it so storming well.

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8 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

The only author who has successfully pulled that off regularly for me was Terry Pratchett and that was because he subverted it so storming well.

I just have to say it's nice to see someone else use the Stormlight "curses" in real life. I told my daughter yesterday that she needed to put her "storming shoes on" for goodness sakes, and my husband looked at me like I had three heads. haha!

And, yes--sociology + psychology (I'm particularly interested in how this manifests itself in the workplace/business).

Re: "the real topic", I think BS does a good job; it's one of the main reasons I've become such a fan. His female characters are much more self actualized. You have to actively fight these tropes because they are so strongly socialized into the psyche. I hope, actually, that they don't "ship" Jasnah with anyone else for that particular reason: she doesn't seem to "want" a husband, and many people/women don't. Does she need a "man"? I liked that BS did that with (war breaker "spoilers"):

Spoiler

 Vivenna, actually--where even if one sister was traditionally paired in an arranged marriage, and found her "true love" and partner, Vivenna eschewed this and sought to find herself. She didn't seem attracted to Vasher and just wanted guidance, not true "companionship". It was a start for me. 

Complicated women are hard, particularly when so many fantasy readers are men/boys (we see this in comics too), where they have harder times identifying with female characters, particularly those who don't fit stereotypes/expectations, and who make them uncomfortable. I think BS is very good at making female characters that are easy for men to identify with, which I appreciate. I also like that he seems to be actively making female characters here (Jasnah, Venli) who may *not* be so easy for men to identify with. Because it shows the wide range of personalities that women can have--scholar, asexual, ambitious, etc. without making their arc center on love or affection or relationship, even if it's still the dominant cultural norm for women. Now, creating a new species of humanoid without the same cultural conventions (mate form, anyone??) makes that easier, I suppose! haha

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I'm relistening to Way of Kings and just finished the chapter called the lesson with Jasnah, Shallan and the murderers and and I think it's pretty clear that Jasnah suffered some of abuse by a man or men. Her voice changes when she and shallan are arguing afterward.

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1 minute ago, Bliev said:

I just have to say it's nice to see someone else use the Stormlight "curses" in real life. I told my daughter yesterday that she needed to put her "storming shoes on" for goodness sakes, and my husband looked at me like I had three heads. haha!

And, yes--sociology + psychology (I'm particularly interested in how this manifests itself in the workplace/business).

Re: "the real topic", I think BS does a good job; it's one of the main reasons I've become such a fan. His female characters are much more self actualized. You have to actively fight these tropes because they are so strongly socialized into the psyche. I hope, actually, that they don't "ship" Jasnah with anyone else for that particular reason: she doesn't seem to "want" a husband, and many people/women don't. Does she need a "man"?

I only started since joining here - but I used it earlier today when talking to my SO about how cold it was all of a sudden. He just took it in stride after a brief pause to check if I was referring to the storm we actually had earlier today. But he's basically as weird as me. He uses BSG expletives.

I don;t ship Jasnah either. I like her as is. If she wanted to have a partner of any description I'd be all for it, but I agree with you that she doesn't seem to want or need one. And I don't think we are meant to feel like she is simply ignoring social convention because she can. I think she genuinely doesn't want to go down that path and doesn't think anyone should have the right to make her. It would have been very easy to make her feel like she was simply not getting married to make a point. I also agree with your Warbreaker comment

I like how Sanderson has addressed the issue a little bit from the other side. Oh I know Shallan 'benefits' from being married to Adolin, but actually Navani pushed for it because she thought Adolin should be married and (presumably) start having children. He's sold off pretty quickly. Now we all know Shallan is worth her weight in gold from a marriage perspective as a KR (unless she's completely broken - but that's a different matter), but the Kholins were technically prepared to sell Adolin off to a lowly foreign House with no allies and no prospects when they agreed to the arrangement. I actually felt that Shallan, strangely, had more options than Adolin did - Jasnah would likely have supported if she'd said it was too sudden, but Adolin had Navani (who was pushing for it) likely encouraging him. Shallan however (a bit like in that article) goes along with it because it was the expected "normal" outcome. A bit like a dog finding it's leash perhaps?

1 minute ago, Bliev said:

Complicated women are hard, particularly when so many fantasy readers are men/boys (we see this in comics too), where they have harder times identifying with female characters, particularly those who don't fit stereotypes/expectations, and who make them uncomfortable. I think BS is very good at making female characters that are easy for men to identify with, which I appreciate. I also like that he seems to be actively making female characters here (Jasnah, Venli) who may *not* be so easy for men to identify with. Because it shows the wide range of personalities that women can have--scholar, asexual, ambitious, etc. without making their arc center on love or affection or relationship, even if it's still the dominant cultural norm for women. Now, creating a new species of humanoid without the same cultural conventions (mate form, anyone??) makes that easier, I suppose! haha

Yes I am very much looking forward to the Eshonai flashbacks (next book perhaps) because I think that the differences between the Parshendi and humans will be fascinating. I was thinking about this and how we see the Parshendi have war pairs - presumably 2 Parshendi who have some kind of "marriage" oath, and Eshonai thinks of Venli and her "once mate" as a scholar pair. As mateform is a thing, I wonder if pairs are always male/female in all aspects of their lives? I mean, if you don't have the desire to mate when not in mate form, then presumably the genders of both members of the pair is irrelevant? What about gender roles both in and outside of mateform? Are we going to see femalen Listeners expected to raise children or is their whole system different? We saw Eshonai's mother and she seems to have been involved in raising her girls, but that doesn't mean it is the norm. There aren't the same prejudices as the Alethi have about femalens fighting (Eshonai is their general for one thing) - but then that is true for a few human populations elsewhere on Roshar.  There was some prejudice that Rlain mentioned iirc regarding skin patterns? I think we will see some prejudices (they are still people after all) but hopefully some interesting ones. It is probably possible to write some interesting ideas about that without making it too obvious an Earth parallel but still similar enough that the idea is debated (I just can't think of any right now)

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36 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

I don;t ship Jasnah either. I like her as is. If she wanted to have a partner of any description I'd be all for it, but I agree with you that she doesn't seem to want or need one. And I don't think we are meant to feel like she is simply ignoring social convention because she can. I think she genuinely doesn't want to go down that path and doesn't think anyone should have the right to make her. It would have been very easy to make her feel like she was simply not getting married to make a point. I also agree with your Warbreaker comment

And @Bliev I'm going to have to disagree with you guys here.  I'm totally happy with Jasnah staying out of a relationship for any and all reasons (she doesn't want to be in one, she's asexual, whatever it is), but I do think it would be interesting to see her have to grapple with romantic feelings (be it with man, woman or Parshendi, hehe.)  It does seem like she's been avoiding romance, maybe hinting at past trauma as many have mentioned, and at the very least she seems to have vehemently rejected it in the past (Amaram, not that he was a stellar option).  I'm guessing we won't see movement on this until she becomes a headline character in the second half of the series, but I would be interested in seeing how she comes to terms with romantic feelings in light of her incredibly independent and a bit standoffish nature.

ETA: I forgot to add, in an Alethi society where social norms are changing drastically (darkeyes leading, women fighting), I also think it will be easier for Jasnah to come into contact with potential romantic interests who aren't going to try and fit her into the box where I imagine she was often put (pretty princess), so I think there will be a lot more options with whom she could find a meaningful romance.

36 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

Yes I am very much looking forward to the Eshonai flashbacks (next book perhaps) because I think that the differences between the Parshendi and humans will be fascinating. I was thinking about this and how we see the Parshendi have war pairs - presumably 2 Parshendi who have some kind of "marriage" oath, and Eshonai thinks of Venli and her "once mate" as a scholar pair. As mateform is a thing, I wonder if pairs are always male/female in all aspects of their lives? I mean, if you don't have the desire to mate when not in mate form, then presumably the genders of both members of the pair is irrelevant? What about gender roles both in and outside of mateform? Are we going to see femalen Listeners expected to raise children or is their whole system different? We saw Eshonai's mother and she seems to have been involved in raising her girls, but that doesn't mean it is the norm. There aren't the same prejudices as the Alethi have about femalens fighting (Eshonai is their general for one thing) - but then that is true for a few human populations elsewhere on Roshar.  There was some prejudice that Rlain mentioned iirc regarding skin patterns? I think we will see some prejudices (they are still people after all) but hopefully some interesting ones. It is probably possible to write some interesting ideas about that without making it too obvious an Earth parallel but still similar enough that the idea is debated (I just can't think of any right now)

Off topic, but I've been a bit dreading the Eshonai-focus book, so thank you for this because these are great points of interest that are making me reconsider that feeling!

Edited by Dreamstorm
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5 minutes ago, Dreamstorm said:

And @Bliev I'm going to have to disagree with you guys here.  I'm totally happy with Jasnah staying out of a relationship for any and all reasons (she doesn't want to be in one, she's asexual, whatever it is), but I do think it would be interesting to see her have to grapple with romantic feelings (be it with man, woman or Parshendi, hehe.)  It does seem like she's been avoiding romance, maybe hinting at past trauma as many have mentioned, and at the very least she seems to have vehemently rejected it in the past (Amaram, not that he was a stellar option).  I'm guessing we won't see movement on this until she becomes a headline character in the second half of the series, but I would be interested in seeing how she comes to terms with romantic feelings in light of her incredibly independent and a bit standoffish nature.

Understatement of the year!

Anyway, for what it counts, I love Jasnah. Not because she's a nice, agreeable person that makes me feel right at home. I agree that she is a bit caught up in her own ingenuity, but as Shallan points out, that's because she's usually right about things. That doesn't make her any more likable from a personality standpoint, but it makes her feel real. Not everyone can be as endlessly humble as Adolin. At least she's not Amaram, who thinks he's all important but is actually dead wrong. I didn't really have a problem with how Jasnah treated Kaladin because that's how I expected her to treat Kaladin. She treated Shallan the same way when she first met her, too. Then there's those awesome little hints we got in OB, that told us she wasn't as heartless as she claimed, but she just does it to protect herself. Whether it was their intention or not, she's used to being hurt by people she loves. That does all kinds of things to your brain.

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5 hours ago, RShara said:

Sorry but I feel like you're completely wrong here.  She's compassionate to Shallan, apologizes when she's wrong.  She's compassionate to Renarin, both throughout their lives and when she spares his life.  She's compassionate to Taravangian, who she thinks is simply a kind man.  She's compassionate toward the human race, whom she wants to survive.  Actions speak louder than words, and she acts quite compassionate, whenever she can without risking bad consequences.

 

I feel that we don't have the same definition of compassion then. Compassion is a virtue by which an individual is prone to percieve or feel a stranger's pain, and is pushed to remedy it. There is no compassion when there is no bridging of the divide between oneself and the unknown. And there is no compassion without actions to actually solve what is causing pain. There is a difference between pity and compassion.

For Shallan, she simply apologize because she realize that she was wrong, and then offers an apology. That's it. It's an every day act that requires no compassion. For Taravangian, she only have access to his kind side, and doesn't see the atrocities he has committed. She knows he is not a fool, because of the discussion they had in Karbranth. She know his reputation and actions in Karbranth, which all paint him as a Kind man. Of course she is going to describe him as a kind man, that is the projection that mister T. sends to the world. It doesn't take compassion to consider T. a kind mind. As for Renarin, how could would you have to be to kill your own cousin, kneeling before you and crying because he thinks he is a vector of evil ? Jasnah changes her mind only when she sees that Renarin is willing to die, so that humanity has a better chance of surviving.

Wanting to save humanity when one is human is not an act of compassion. What would be compassion would be wanting to save the Parshendi while being human. It takes an action to bridge the divide to an unknown, considering how things stand for them, feeling what they feel and then acting on it.

 

Jasnah is not compassionate. No compassionate person would have killed the tugs in Karbranth like she did. What she did was a very logical solution, but it was not compassionate. A compassionate person would have acted on what caused these men to become robbers / murderers, tried to solve the problems leading to criminality, offered reinsertion into society after the purging of a sentence. Jasnah tried nothing to solve the problem, but directly tried the fastest way. Efficency and necessity are cold and harsh mistresses, but in this case, necessity was a lie. How can you call yourself compassionate when you use murder as a lesson to your ward ? At least Nalan knows what he is doing and purposedly rejects compassion as a virtue.

 

Do not mistake me, I love Jasnah. Because I am drawn to selfless extremist personalities that know what they are doing, and that are able to justify their extreme actions coherently. I love Taravangian too. Because it takes an amazingly strong person to see that the end of world is coming and deciding to salvage most of what you can. They both are very selfless persons, that act not to further their gain, but on behalf of others. But there is a differance between being selfless and compassionate. One can commit atrocities while being selfless.

Edited by Rasha
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Jasnah is a perfect example of someone who we love on paper/on tv, but would HATE in real life. We all know those people who "just can't handle stupid"--well, unfortunately most people are going to seem stupid to Jasnah. It's definitely a personality flaw, and if she doesn't resolve this, she'll make a terrible ruler. Hopefully we get to see her evolve in the next book, because she is overall a good person trying her best.

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Actually, I think I'd love her in real life too.  I know exactly how she feels, and I would love to meet her and learn from her.

 

That's one of the reasons I love her character.  People actually say the exact same things about me that they say about her (even in this very thread).  I also love logic and reason.  And have been accused of being emotionless, cold, etc.  Which is actually completely wrong.  I just don't believe in baseless emotions.  The whole "emotion is illogical" idea drives me nuts!

Edited by RShara
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Here's the deal. We don't know the Elsecaller oaths. That could be shaping what she does. She's been been willing to if not already killing people for years trying to keep her family safe and together. (See the beginning of WoR) She seems like a mix of the Wind runners and the Sky breakers: driven to protect, but not those she hates; thinking dispassionately about the right, just way, (see her deciding to kill Renarin and the thugs in the alley) yet not going through with the Renarin murder, thus violating her own logical morality. 

Her oaths could be affecting her, but another theory is this: she's awfully good at the whole logical, scholarly approach to morality, but when she needs to get her hands dirty actually effecting her cold, calculated plans, her conscience gets in her way, and she can't do it. This also would make the Amaram/King T parallel moot. Whom has she killed up to this point not in self defense (ish)?

WAIT. Did I just I ply that Jasnah has a CONSCIENCE? Mind blown!:o

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I don't think Jasnah lacks compassion. If she did, she would have killed Renarin, even though he is her cousin. But then, I wouldn't call Jasnah the most compassionate character in SA. She does "temper her compassion with logic" as she herself states, and sometimes I think that she is having a bit much logic, and a too small amount of compassion.

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I am blaming myself for not seeing this topic earlier.... Yet, as many upvotes as I gave on my climb through these ~120 messages, I think there are some things about Jasnah in Oathbringer (and in the entire Stormlight Archive) that bear additional repetition and stress.

 

First and foremost, she is my favorite character, by a mile. In my, very personal opinion, in Oathbringer, she steals nearly every scene she is.  In fact, some of the things the OP is blaming her for, in my opinion, are actually moments of awesome. Let's have a quick go at it.

 

Jasnah and the Heralds... It seems like a lot of people concentrate on "And kill them" part of Jasnah's suggestion. Yet, the "We need to find Heralds" part of it is actually brilliant, and none of the other people in the room have thought of this before.   The logic here is clear. Jasnah is actually not suggesting a sacrifice of some random people (or even of some specific mundane people). She is suggesting that Dalinar and Co. find the people who entered an Oathpact with Honor  and ask them to do the job they agreed to do. This is very different than other examples of people willing to sacrifice other people.  It is even more interesting that this suggestion comes from the heretic in the room (although, at this point the notion of a heretic is pretty meaningless to everyone except for the Vorin religious hierarchy), rather than from the devout Vorins taught that Heralds protect them from Desolations. I mean, she literally just asks that the Vorins ask their Prophets to do what they are supposed to.  

 

Jasnah and Kaladin... Brandon uses the scene to highlight the differences in how  various Orders of Knights Radiant approach the same problems. This is important, because up until recently we've been getting a somewhat skewed image of who the Knights Radiant are. In the scene we had a quintessential Windrunner and a quintessential Elsecaller air out their reasoning. Seeing Knights Radiant passionately disagree and continue working together is important, and this is exactly how this scene pans out. Everyone seems to forget that in addition to "bridgeman", and "woman are you insane", we also had a "I'll get some skyeels for you to cuddle with" and "I will happily cuddle with skyeels if your dudes spend some useful time immitating them" exchange. Jasnah is right. rust needs to be done, and Kaladin needs to see to his  responsibilities. Kaladin actually sees it and gives her respect at the end.  I do not see this exchange as problematic at all. I see the entire sequence, from the moment Jasnah takes the discussion over with her suggestion to find Heralds, to the end of the meeting, as a philosophical argument.

 

Jasnah and Shallan. Here things are simple and a lot of people have called it. Shallan is being extremely self-centered, and neglectful. Jasnah actually does her homework on Shallan (!), and continues her education. 

 

Jasnah and compassion.  I cannot understand what the argument is even about.  Reread the WoR Prologue. Reread any pre-Thaylen City Jasnah viewpoint. What you see there is in a stark contrast with Shallan's view of Jasnah. What we see in Jasnah's POVs (including the apocryphal one) is someone absolutely terrified about what is coming and feeling a huge burden of responsibility, and as of late - also of guilt and frustration that all her time spent preparing for what has come is, in her mind, completely wasted.  We see a consciousness of a person who feels a huge burden of responsibility.  Some of this may be arrogance (Jasnah feels that she is the one who should be best equipped to face this responsibility), but she is also not wrong.  Jasnah spends her entire viewpoints in an internal monologue and conversations with Ivory (who is quietly, a truly awesome spren) in constant doubt of herself and her actions and their consequences.  I cannot believe this is not apparent to anyone reading her POVs.  

 

This, btw, makes her even more awesome.

Jasnah embodies the first attribute of the Elsecallers from the very beginning. But in Oathbringer we finally see that she also embraces the second attribute, Caring. I've said elsewhere, I suspect that the Second and Third Ideal of Elsecallers is something like "I will be the voice of reason", and an extension of it (in the same way in which the Third Ideal of Windrunners extends and strengthens their Second Ideal), but that the Fourth Ideal, which I do not doubt Jasnah has already spoken, is something like "I will not lose empathy" or "I will not lose my compassion"  (my other reason for thinking about it is because for story-building reasons a person who combines intelligence AND compassion needs to be contrasted with Taravangian, who alternates them, and Jasnah fits the bill perfectly as such a contrast).

 

Edited by emailanimal
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My problem with Jasnah is that when she confronts Renarin at the temple she was wearing slippers but the book cover depicts her wearing boots. -_-

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4 hours ago, ScavellTane said:

My problem with Jasnah is that when she confronts Renarin at the temple she was wearing slippers but the book cover depicts her wearing boots. 

The boots are also mentioned explicitly as part of her attire before she starts going Elsecaller on the enemy.

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15 minutes ago, emailanimal said:

The boots are also mentioned explicitly as part of her attire before she starts going Elsecaller on the enemy.

Quote

Jasnah undid the buttons on her safehand sleeve and pinned it back, exposing the gloved hand underneath. In preparation, she’d also worn a scout’s yellow and gold havah, with shorter skirts slit at the sides and front, trousers underneath. Sturdy boots.

Unfortunately the slipper part comes right after the boots.

Quote

Jasnah moved into the temple, gripping her Shardblade, stepping on slippered feet. The red spren rising from Renarin—like a snowflake made of crystal and light—seemed to sense her and panicked, disappearing into Renarin with a puff.


 

Edited by ScavellTane
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Honestly Jasnah (and Kaladin of course) maybe the reason I keep on reading the series. And since we won’t see her flashbacks until book 10(?) looks like I will have too. I am firmly more than ever (now that I don’t really care for  Shallan) a Jasnah fan. 

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23 minutes ago, ScavellTane said:

Unfortunately the slipper part comes right after the boots.

Quote

Jasnah moved into the temple, gripping her Shardblade, stepping on slippered feet. The red spren rising from Renarin—like a snowflake made of crystal and light—seemed to sense her and panicked, disappearing into Renarin with a puff.


 

Hmmm that could either be an error, or it could be that it's referring to how she's moving very carefully--as if her feet were slippered.  You should ask in the Typos thread.

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On 11/29/2017 at 8:06 AM, ScavellTane said:

Unfortunately the slipper part comes right after the boots

Someone needs to alert Peter.

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18 minutes ago, emailanimal said:

Someone needs to alert Peter.

He already did and Peter said he'd get it fixed. Does it seem like there are more typos and continuity errors than usual in OB?

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Something I’d like to add to the post, it’s quite possible that Jasnah, like Renarin, is on the autistic spectrum. I am going to go ahead and copy and paste a Tumblr post on the subject and see if it affects anyone’s opinion on the subject 

 

speaking of I will also lead with a link to the TVTropes page on Asperger’s (Now gruoped into the Autism spectrum) for a reference that might be helpful ESPECIALLY as it clarifies the difference BETWEEN Lacking cognative empathy, the ability to instinctively UNDERSTAND what emotion another person is feeling which is common to autistics, and lacking apathive empathy, the ability to CARE about what other people think or feel which is more along the line of sociopaths. The irony is that the former is often mistaken for the latter. This is DESPITE the fact that while they may not OFTEN notice when a person is in pain, when they DO NOTICE, someone on the autistic spectrum tends to be MORE EMPATHIC AND CARING then a regular person. I hope the link will explain things better, it’s just if the speculation is right Brandon has set us up for one hell of a twist.

 

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/AspergerSyndrome

EDIT: I am not saying that Jasnah is neesecarily on the same spot as Asperger’s. But as someone diagnosed (by a doctor) I can vouch for the accuracy of said page. And there’s enough potential crossover to make it useful.

 

Autistic!Jasnah: Masterpost

Okaaay, so, as you might have guessed from the title, this post is a long list of reasons Jasnah Kholin is autistic af.  

The short version: Jasnah is autistic because I, a Known Autism, say so. Have a nice day. 

The long version (format): A long series of chronological quotes that all follow this pattern: Quote. *Insert ramble about why this is an Autistic Thing* *Possible and probable further ramble about why I’m emotional about that. 

That’s literally it, people. Buckle up, I’ve picked through all three books (yes all three) to compose this post for y’all. It’s not going to be short. 

To business: 

The Way of Kings: 

 Jasnah glanced at Shallan, noting her, then returned to her conversation.

Introducing Jasnah ‘I don’t have time for social niceties I’m busy’ Kholin. From the first interaction she’s…Bad at interacting. Iconic. 

“Then we shall do an evaluation. Answer truthfully and do not exaggerate, as I will soon discover your lies. Feign no false modesty, either. I haven’t the patience for a simperer.”

Jasnah is both blunt, direct, and honest in her speech as she is in her expectations from others. She doesn’t have the energy to deal with manipulation/lying/tarting up the truth to make it more socially acceptable bc she is a busy autistic lady with rust to do. (really, though, what she’s literally demanding here is the first rule of the autistic’s guide to easy conversation. Clear. Simple. To the point. To frills, no fuss.) 

 Jasnah didn’t argue further, and Shallan could see from her eyes that it was of no consequence to her if the king risked his life. The same apparently went for Shallan, for Jasnah didn’t order her away.

People do what people want to do and Jasnah doesn’t waste any time pretending she cares/that it matters to her for the sake of appearances. Again, this woman has a vendetta against typical social niceties and I love it. 

“Now?” the king said, cradling his granddaughter. “But we are going to have a feast—”

“I appreciate the offer,” Jasnah said, “but I find myself with an abundance of everything but time.”

Do I need to point out the lack of social niceties again or are y’all sensing a pattern at this point? *King lovingly embraces his darling granddaughter that Jasnah just saved and orders a feast prepared in her honour* Jasnah: ‘Thanks but no I’m too busy to socialise.’

Jasnah was also a rationalist, a woman with the audacity to deny the existence of the Almighty himself based on her own reasoning. Jasnah would appreciate strength, but only if it was shaped by logic.

Jasnah feelings>>>>>>logic. This is a fairly common theme, of Jasnah being ruled less by emotions/sentiment/societal pressures/expectations and much more by logic/her own reasoning. She has her own way of looking at the world, her own rules for how it works, and she won’t be swayed by anyone else’s opinions on how she should feel/behave. 

Jasnah turned to look out of the balcony into the dark space of the Veil. “I know what people say of me. I should hope that I am not as harsh as some say, though a woman could have far worse than a reputation for sternness. It can serve one well.”

Jasnah not being very self-aware in how people actually perceive her is also an autistic thing. Shallan notes several times that Jasnah is actually nowhere near as harsh/stern as she’s reputed to me, and, more importantly, she’s nowhere near as harsh/stern as she perceives herself to be. She also fails to note that Shallan actually enjoys the work/the challenge. This also implies that she takes what people say about her at face value and doesn’t have the necessary social skills to refute them. 

Shallan tried to judge Jasnah’s mood, but the older woman’s emotions were impossible to read. 

Again, this is a fairly common autistic trait. We struggle to read other people’s body language, but they often struggle to read ours as well. A part of this is probably Jasnah deliberately cultivating this kind of persona, but even so, she’s too unsure of how she comes across to have completely mastered this. 

Jasnah carefully removed its contents, neatly lining up the brushes, pencils, pens, jar of lacquer, ink, and solvent. She placed the stacks of paper, the notebooks, and the finished pictures in a line.

Oh look, it’s one of the world’s biggest Autism Stereotypes (which I’m totally guilty of too): lining all the things up neatly, and making them Orderly. 

At least with Jasnah one knew where one stood.

Jasnah of the straightforward, blunt honesty and ‘what you see is what you get’ strikes again. 

When Jasnah was deeply immersed in one of her projects, she often ignored all else.

And here we see the Autistic Jasnah in her natural habitat: hyperfixating on her special interest. 

The rest is under the cut for length! 

Jasnah had elegant handwriting, of course—Jasnah rarely did anything without taking the time to perfect it. 

Jasnah not doing anything unless it’s done Properly and Right according to her? Also Jasnah being indifferent towards things she hasn’t put any time into perfecting (such as drawing). 

“I always forgive curiosity, Your Majesty,” Jasnah said. “It strikes me as one of the most genuine of emotions.

Again, Jasnah encouraging/reacting positively to genuine/honest emotions because she doesn’t Understand the whole guile/lying/not being honest thing because honestly what is the point? 

“Must someone, some unseen thing, declare what is right for it to be right? I believe that my own morality—which answers only to my heart—is more sure and true than the morality of those who do right only because they fear retribution.”

Honestly, just, this whole thing. For a start it’s a massive transgression of the Vorin social norms/expectations, especially for Jasnah as a prominent public figure as the sister to the king. For another it’s that internal rules thing again. Jasnah’s world operates according to Jasnah’s principles and Jasnah’s understanding of it, no-one else’s. 

But Shallan had caught a handful of occasions, mostly when Jasnah had been distracted, and had apparently forgotten she wasn’t alone.

*Jasnah ignores social expectations so hard she literally forgets other people exist in the world* Also, again, the hyperfixation on special interest.

“And yet, those men are off the street. The people of this city are that much safer. The issue that Taravangian has been so worried about has been solved, and no more theatergoers will fall to those thugs. How many lives did I just save?”

“I know how many you just took,” Shallan said.

Jasnah has a habit of doing this, this very cold, calculated, logical and pragmatic way of seeing the world as well as morality. Shallan considers the lives taken, the emotional aspect of the moral dilemma, the horror of murder. Jasnah just sees it almost as statistics, as four lives taken to save many more. Shallan also focuses on the cold hard facts of ‘I know how many people you just killed’ while Jasnah is engaged in weighing up the probability of how many she just saved. (In theory, the thugs might never have attacked anyone again, so Jasnah might not have saved anyone by her actions, which I think is what Shallan is getting at here. But that’s just…A moot point as far as Jasnah is concerned) 

This is also an example of her black and white thinking. There’s more net good in what she did than there is net bad. That’s where her questioning/reasoning stops because it makes sense to her. Shallan exists in the grey area, but I don’t think Jasnah even sees it in cases like this. 

But it wasn’t the act itself so much as the cold callousness of it that bothered her.

This is an interesting one, and something I’ll talk about more a bit later, probably, but the way Jasnah comes across vs how she actually is. I totally get why Shallan views what she did as cold and callous, and in a way I suppose it was. It was fully planned and fully intentional. But I think for her it’s this kind of…separation between logic and sentiment. I think Jasnah feels very strongly and very deeply, but she doesn’t often display that to other people, and I also think she believes there’s a time and a place for that. Also, black and white thinking again. It comes off as cold to Shallan, but for Jasnah I think it feels more like common sense. 

You only needed to kill one of them.”

“No, I didn’t,” Jasnah said.

“Why? They would have been too frightened to do something like that again.”

You don’t know that. I sincerely wanted those men gone. A careless barmaid walking home the wrong way cannot protect herself, but I can. And I will.”

Again, black and white thinking. (I’m also surprised this moment doesn’t generate more Discourse…Or maybe it does, I’ve just avoided it, either way) This is both a case for Jasnah not being able to predict people’s responses/behaviours, and also black and white thinking/internal rules at play. As far as she’s concerned those men are criminals. She has no assurances that they won’t hurt anyone else again. They’re already criminals, and there’s no chance for redemption or leeway, here. She’s made up her mind. They’re all criminals. They’re all dangerous. They all die. 

Jasnah closed her eyes again, handing the brush toward Shallan. “Fifty strokes tonight, Shallan. It has been a fatiguing day.”

A)- routines the ‘tonight’ and the familiarity of this implies it’s something that happens every night. And the ‘fifty strokes’ is either another routine related thing, or an internal rule thing. Either way. Also this is probably a stim thing, since she’s using it to relax/de-stress.

Jasnah tapped her desktop with a fingernail.

Stimming

Brightness Jasnah does NOT like people entering her room. The maids have been told not to clean in there.” The king had promised that his maids were very carefully chosen, and there had never been issues of theft, but Jasnah still insisted that none enter her bedchamber.

Definitely, definitely, definitely an autistic thing. Issues with people entering Your Spaces or touching Your Things is a big autistic thing. (especially because the assurances about thieving don’t change her mind) Also the emphasis on notas in ‘this is a thing one absolutely does not do unless one wishes to die’. 

“She’d believe me,” Shallan said. “She thinks she’s far more demanding than she is. Or…well, she is demanding. I just don’t mind as much as she thinks I do.”

Again, Jasnah taking what people say of her/how they say they perceive her at face value, and also lack of self-awareness in how people actuallyrespond to her.

Jasnah regarded Shallan, face stiff, impassive. “I have been told that my tutelage is demanding, perhaps harsh. This is one reason why I often refuse to take wards.”

“I apologize for my weakness, Brightness,” Shallan said, looking down.

Jasnah seemed displeased. “I did not mean to suggest fault in you, child. I was attempting the opposite. Unfortunately I’m…unaccustomed to such behavior.”

Two things here: one, I’m like, 99% certain that Jasnah, who has been camped out at the hospital all this time waiting for Shallan to wake up is feeling anything but ‘impassive’ at this moment, in which case this is an example of her body language/facial expressions not matching up properly to her actual internal feelings, which is fairly common. And two: Jasnah’s apology being taken for a rebuttal and her obvious displeasure at it coming across that way when she literally intended the opposite (been there). 

Also her general air of uncertainty/discomfort in this setting, which is one that’s obviously social/emotional. Also the fact that she pins her poor apology on lack of practice/familiarity with these kinds of interactions when, in theory, these kinds of things should come naturally to people. So like, lil bit of hinting/implication of scripting social things her, which I think her initial words reek of as well, as she’s said similar things before. 

“You make it sound as if you were waiting out there.”

Jasnah didn’t reply.

“But your research!”

“Can be done in the hospital waiting chamber.” She hesitated. “It has been somewhat difficult for me to focus these last few days.”

“Jasnah! That’s quite nearly HUMAN of you!”

Again, a few things here, firstly that Jasnah is othered in a way by Shallan (and this isn’t the only time this happens, either) because of her lack of emotional response/social stuff. Secondly the fact that she’s clearly uncomfortable/struggles with this kind of conversation – the hesitation, the lack of responses are very much at odds with her usual composure and the way she has an answer for literally everything. 

Words of Radiance: 

She was all too glad to be leaving the stuffy room, which stank of too many perfumes mingling.

Prologue and we’ve already got Jasnah experiencing sensory issues in a crowded room with lots of perfume. What a way to kick things off. 

“Many people consider that sort of thing enjoyable.”

Many people, unfortunately, are idiots.

Her father smiled. “Is it terribly difficult for you?” he asked softly. “Living with the rest of us, suffering our average wits and simple thoughts? Is it lonely to be so singular in your brilliance, Jasnah?”

A)- Jasnah obviously not enjoying social events/parties (she literally spends all of this one…contemplating the assassination she’s plotting. Like. Mood.) 

B)- Gavilar’s comment is…Strangely sad, I think?? And perhaps a bit too on point. (This is very much just my reading of things but)…I don’t know. I see Jasnah trying to make a little quip/a joke here and it being misinterpreted because of her tone. And then, again, there’s that idea of othering that came up at the end of TWOK. 

But I think the ‘is it lonely to be so singular in your brilliance?’ I think that….A huge part of that ‘brilliance’ comes from a mixture of Jasnah’s autistic traits: her special interest/her focus in them/her dedication to pursuing them…but also that sense of being other. Of not fitting in. The rest of “us” she doesn’t belong, she doesn’t fit.

And I think this idea of their ‘simple thoughts’ as opposed to Jasnah’s brilliant ones is a little like what we see with Renarin in Oathbringer, where Adolin explains that he isn’t trying to be lofty and brilliant, people sometimes just have difficulty following him. And I think this is what’s happening with Jasnah here (and in other places, she frequently talks about the difficulty she has in teaching, and how her methods are too intense and involved) 

And also I think that….The saddest bit about this is that I think she was….Trying to joke here? Trying to fit in with those ordinary people, ‘the rest of us’, and just making a sarcastic joke on the back of her father’s comment about most people enjoying parties and she just sort of ‘well, most people are idiots aren’t they?’ And that’s what prompts this little moment here. So even when she’s trying to fit, and trying to belong, she’s still cast as the outcast, and misunderstood, and othered and it Hurts Me. 

 I, she thought, need to write this experience down.

She would do so, then analyze and consider. Later. 

She literally topples into another world, effectively, and is just like ‘hm, I should make some notes on this and analyse them’. And. Yep. This is how she processes the world. By making sense of it, by treating everything according to Jasnah’s rules: it gets written down. It gets analysed. It gets understood. Bam. 

Jasnah ignored the eyes of the sailors. It wasn’t that she didn’t notice men. Jasnah noticed everything and everyone. She simply didn’t seem to care, one way or another, how men perceived her.

Jasnah ‘I don’t have time for social expectations’ Kholin strikes again. Jasnah also just doesn’t care how anyone perceives her, social norms and expectations can go storm themselves .

Jasnah grimaced at the thought. Shallan was always surprised to see visible emotion from her. Emotion was something relatable, something human—and Shallan’s mental image of Jasnah Kholin was of someone almost divine.

Again, the othering idea, as well as visible emotion being startling, as she’s typically so withdrawn/closed off/difficult to read. Yes friend, u guessed it, this is Peak Autism. Also the specific word in it being ‘relatable’ again marks that difference between Jasnah and…Everyone else. Again she’s different, again she doesn’t quite fit.

Jasnah relaxed visibly. “Yes, well, it did seem a workable solution. I had wondered, however, if you’d be offended.

“Why on the winds would I be offended?”

“Because of the restriction of freedom implicit in a marriage,” Jasnah said. 

Again, Jasnah misreading things/not being able to anticipate how people are going to react to different things. Also her view of marriage as ‘restricting’ says a lot about how she sees it/probably relationships in general. 

Power is an illusion of perception.

Shallan frowned.

“Don’t mistake me,” Jasnah continued. “Some kinds of power are real—power to command armies, power to Soulcast. These come into play far less often than you would think. On an individual basis, in most interactions, this thing we call power—authority—exists only as it is perceived.

“You say I have wealth. This is true, but you have also seen that I do not often use it. You say I have authority as the sister of a king. I do. And yet, the men of this ship would treat me exactly the same way if I were a beggar who had convinced them I was the sister to a king. In that case, my authority is not a real thing. It is mere vapors—an illusion. I can create that illusion for them, as can you.”

This right here is Jasnah explaining passing, without ever using the word ‘passing’. This is how Jasnah sees social interactions. They’re all illusions, they’re all, effectively, lies. They aren’t real to her. How people perceive others isn’t something that she can fit into her box of neat facts and logic. It’s this ever changing, insubstantial thing, ‘mere vapours’. And though she’s talking here about power and authority, the basic principle applies to literally every single social interaction ever. Aka: the secret behind how Jasnah Kholin (somehow) managed to convince ppl she’s allistic. 

The orders of knights were a construct, just as all society is a construct, used by men to define and explain. Not every man who wields a spear is a soldier, and not every woman who makes bread is a baker. And yet weapons, or baking, become the hallmarks of certain professions.”

Actual footage of Jasnah Kholin going to war against social constructs and their flimsiness. 

It was a picture of Jasnah, drawn by Shallan herself. Shallan had given it to the woman after being accepted as her ward. She’d assumed Jasnah had thrown it away—the woman had little fondness for visual arts, which she considered a frivolity.

Instead, she’d kept it here with her most precious things. 

This is one of my favourite Underrated Jasnah Moments tbh because it says so much about her with such a simple gesture. We’ve established from the past book and a half that Jasnah is pretty bad when it comes to social interactions, and she’s even worse when it comes to displaying her emotions. But she’s not emotionless. She, personally, doesn’t see the value in visual arts, and hasn’t dedicated any time to it herself. Yet she keeps the gift that Shallan gives her. She understands how important this is to Shallan, and she quite literally treasures the art that Shallan gives her, and keeps it with her precious research/notes (and, like, Symbolism with her keeping her sentimental gifts and logic fuelled research in the same place/with the same level of importance/value, except one is hidden, and one is displayed) 

And, like, Shall literally assumes Jasnah had just thrown away the picture?? And instead she’s got it kept safe with her most treasured possessions? Like??? The TL;DR version of this point is that Jasnah is horrendous at displaying her emotions/showing people how she feels about them/what they mean to her, but she feels things, goddammit. And now so am I. 

What of this Sadeas? she thought, flipping to a page in the notebook. It listed him as conniving and dangerous, but noted that both he and his wife were sharp of wit. A man of intelligence might listen to Shallan’s arguments and understand them.

Aladar was listed as another highprince that Jasnah respected. Powerful, known for his brilliant political maneuvers. He was also fond of games of chance. Perhaps he would risk an expedition to find Urithiru, if Shallan highlighted the potential riches to be found.

Hatham was listed as a man of delicate politics and careful planning. Another potential ally. Jasnah didn’t think much of Thanadal, Bethab, or Sebarial. The first she called oily, the second a dullard, and the third outrageously rude.

She studied them and their motivations for some time. 

Right. Now. Correct my autistic chull if I’m wrong, here, but I’m like 89% certain that ‘taking notes on the basic personalities/literally studying the people around you and making notes on the way they behave so you can actually understand them’ is not a typical allistic thing to do. 

Shallan turned back toward him. That pride in his voice didn’t at all match what Jasnah had written of the man.

Jasnah can literally predict the oncoming apocalypse by the power of research, can she pin down some basic Facts about the people she’s observing around her? Nope. I wonder why.

“She wouldn’t let me be a mother to her, Dalinar,” Navani said, staring into the distance. “Do you know that? It was almost like . . . like once Jasnah climbed into adolescence, she no longer needed a mother. I would try to get close to her, and there was this coldness, like even being near me reminded her that she had once been a child. What happened to my little girl, so full of questions?”

Two things: one, this is probably (agonisingly) relating to whatever trauma Jasnah experienced as a child and I’ve got Painful Emotions about it. Secondly, Jasnah being very mature for her age/shucking Navani’s influence because it wasn’t what she thought she needed/wanted is, like, not exactly the most tactful/self-aware/socially conscious thing in the entire universe. 

“You’re still human,” Shallan said, reaching across, putting her hand on Navani’s knee. “We can’t all be emotionless chunks of rock like Jasnah.”

Navani smiled. “She sometimes had the empathy of a corpse, didn’t she?

Oh look, it’s canon low!empathy Jasnah: from the words of her own mother no less. 

(Also, small note here, as a low!empathy autistic myself: I really love the way Jasnah is written because it complements my own understanding of empathy which is…Fairly complicated. Jasnah isn’t just like none and done here. It’s not that she just doesn’t feel empathy so she doesn’t care? She isn’t characterised as this brutal, unfeeling, robotic ice queen. There are a lot of nuances and complexities here as to how she relates to those around her and I love it

She obviously loves her family very deeply, and is driven to protect and help them (in a very practical, logical way I might add. Which is typically how I relate to care/love as well. You want a shoulder to cry on? I’m going to sit there awkwardly, pat you on the head, and hope you stop soon. There’s a practical solution to your current problem? Heaven and earth will be moved to achieve it.) She keeps Shallan’s drawing, even treasures it. And I think that she obviously….Feels her lack of feeling (if that makes sense) 

See: the hospital scene with Shallan where she attempts to apologise. She’s…Uncomfortable with the emotional aspect of things, and she’s completely wrong about Shallan’s intentions, and actually her actions as well. There’s a block there with the empathy…But that’s obviously something that doesn’t exactly…Sit right with her? She’s quite self-depreciating in that scene, actually, and it’s clear (to me, anyway) that there’s the sense of her being aware that there’s something…Missing. Something that…Doesn’t quite line up. Something that makes her different and stops her relating to people perhaps in the way that she wants to. 

Anyway: don’t equate lack of empathy with lack of love: a novel by Brandon Sanderson. God bless. Intentional or not, this is one of the most relatable low!empathy characters I’ve ever read and I’m here for it. 

“Chana knows, I wondered sometimes how I raised that child without strangling her. By age six, she was pointing out my logical fallacies as I tried to get her to go to bed on time.

Shallan grinned. “I always just assumed she was born in her thirties.”

“Oh, she was. It just took thirty-some years for her body to catch up.” Navani smiled. “I won’t take this from you, but neither should I allow you to attempt a project so important on your own. I would be part. Figuring out the puzzles that captivated her . . . it will be like having her again. My little Jasnah, insufferable and wonderful.”

Again, a few things here: this concept of autistic children being far more mature/behaving like ‘little adults’ is actually pretty common. Also the puzzle-solving thing is just. Relatable. 

Oathbringer

“Brightness?” Shallan said. “But … Shardblades aren’t fabrials. They’re spren, transformed by the bond.”

“As are fabrials, after a manner of speaking,” Jasnah said. “You do know how they’re made, don’t you?”

“Only vaguely,” Shallan said. This was how their reunion went? A lecture? Fitting.

Jasnah is believed dead for months on end, reunites with Shallan after who knows how long: immediately starts infodumping to her. Shallan:…….’Figured.’ 

People were always surprised to see emotion from Jasnah, but Dalinar considered that unfair. She did smile—she merely reserved the expression for when it was most genuine.

Jasnah back at it with the only bothering with emotions when they’re genuine. (Also Dalinar getting all indignant about people not understanding Jasnah/mischaracterising her is my favourite) 

“They will try,” Jasnah said, “to define you by something you are not. Don’t let them. I can be a scholar, a woman, a historian, a Radiant. People will still try to classify me by the thing that makes me an outsider. They want, ironically, the thing I don’t do or believe to be the prime marker of my identity. I have always rejected that, and will continue to do so.”

Obviously she’s talking about her heresy here, but with a tiny smidge of tweaking it works well for her being autistic, too. She will always be a little bit different, always not fit, always be defined by being an outsider. 

“In the face of such an atrocity, I would consider the sacrifice of one or more Heralds to be a small price.”

“Storms!” Kaladin said, standing up straight. “Have you no sympathy?”

“I have plenty, bridgeman. Fortunately, I temper it with logic. Perhaps you should consider acquiring some at a future date.”

Again on the feelings tempered by logic, thing. (Also Kaladin/Jasnah is interesting because they’re basically….polar opposites, and I enjoy the dynamic. But that’s for another day.)

“If you wish, Captain,” Jasnah snapped, “I can get you some mink kits to cuddle while the adults plan. None of us want to talk about this, but that does not make it any less inevitable.”

“I’d love that,” Kaladin responded. “In turn, I’ll get you some eels to cuddle. You’ll feel right at home.

Jasnah, curiously, smiled. 

Jasnah: approves of frank, honest comments. Even if they’re mildly insulting. As long as they’re genuine. 

They didn’t talk tactics too specifically; that was a masculine art, and Dalinar would want his highprinces and generals to discuss the battlefields. Still, Shallan didn’t fail to notice the tactical terms Jasnah used now and then.

In things like this, Shallan had difficulty understanding the woman. In some ways, Jasnah seemed fiercely masculine. She studied whatever she pleased, and she talked tactics as easily as she talked poetry. She could be aggressive, even cold—Shallan had seen her straight-up execute thieves who had tried to rob her. Beyond that … well, it probably was best not to speculate on things with no meaning, but people did talk. Jasnah had turned down every suitor for her hand, including some very attractive and influential men. People wondered. Was she perhaps simply not interested?

All of this should have resulted in a person who was decidedly unfeminine. Yet Jasnah wore the finest makeup, and wore it well, with shadowed eyes and bright red lips. She kept her safehand covered, and preferred intricate and fetching styles of braids from her hairdresser. Her writings and her mind made her the very model of Vorin femininity.

Jasnah just not caring about social/cultural gender norms. Jasnah does what Jasnah wants. But also, gender roles, and tbh the entire concept of gender, is a social construct, it’s something a lot of autistic folks struggle with. (Also non-binary/agender!Jasnah just, as a fun little aside) 

 “Surely,” she said softly, “if Jasnah had known that I’d just confronted a deep insecurity of mine, she’d have shown some empathy. Right?”

“Jasnah?” Pattern asked. “I do not think you are paying attention, Shallan. She is not very empathetic.

A)- Jasnah probably didn’t notice and B)- low!empathy Jasnah again. 

Jasnah rubbed her temples. “Storms. This is why I never take wards.

“Because they give you so much trouble.”

Because I’m bad at it. I have scientific evidence of that fact, and you are but the latest experiment.” Jasnah shooed her away, rubbing her temples.

‘I have scientific evidence of the fact I’m not good at mentoring/teaching/with people in general’ actual quote from Jasnah herself. Also, just, the language here? The mentoring/taking of wards is an intimate social relationship in Vorin culture, but the way Jasnah speaks of it she uses words like ‘scientific evidence’ and ‘experiment’ which says a lot about how she views relationships in general tbh. 

Also, I think her self-consciousness is something that’s interesting to note. This isn’t the first time she questions her teaching abilities/methods, in fact it’s one of her biggest and most obvious insecurities, it’s something that she’s very aware of. She knows she’s bad at this, and it bothers her. 

“Ivory, you think all humans are unstable.”

“Not you,” he said, lifting his chin. “You are like a spren. You think by facts. You change not on simple whims. You are as you are.

She gave him a flat stare.

“Mostly,” he added. “Mostly. But it is, Jasnah. Compared to other humans, you are practically a stone!

[…]

“Jasnah?” Ivory asked. “Am I … in error?”

I am not so much a stone as you think, Ivory. Sometimes I wish I were.”

And again with Jasnah being factual-based when it comes to her decisions ,and emotions based when it comes to her motivations. Jasnah Kholin feels things so deeply I will physically fight you over this matter. Also, given what we’ve seen, it definitely seems as though Ivory/Inkspren/Jasnah’s ideals are concerned with logic/reason/rightness, and that being a defining aspect of her/her order is interesting in the context of her being autistic. 

Renarin still lurked at the far side of the room, mumbling to himself. Or perhaps to his spren? She absently read his lips.

Since, as far as we know, Jasnah isn’t deaf/hoh, the lip reading is something she acquired for other purposes. Probably as part of her paranoia/wish to protect her family, but it’d also probably help with auditory processing disorder. Which is basically where your ears hear words fine, but your brain scrambles them up and fails to make sense of them. Also a lot of autistic folks (self included) tend to watch people’s mouths instead of their eyes (bc eye contact Sucks) and I’m not saying I can lip-read, but if I could it’d definitely make life easier. 

But when, before this, had she last heard him laugh?

“Maybe,” Navani said, “we should encourage him to take a break and go out with the bridgemen for the evening.

I’d rather keep him here,” Jasnah said, flipping through her pages. “His powers need additional study.”

Navani would talk to Renarin anyway and encourage him to go out more with the men. There was no arguing with Jasnah, any more than there was arguing with a boulder. You just stepped to the side and went around.

Jasnah being completely and utterly oblivious to the hidden agenda/undercurrent to Navani’s thoughts which is ‘Renarin is comfortable with the men/is enjoying himself with them, maybe we should encourage that?’ and just responds to her mother’s words and nothing else. The boulder analogy makes me laugh (but also recalls what Ivory said about her being ‘stone’ which is, again, a kind of othering, a setting apart of the ‘normal’ humans, based on how she emotes/deals with things/processes fact. 

I’m sorry, Mother. I’ve been dealing with a lot of lesser ardents today. My didactic side might have inflated.”

“You have a didactic side? Dear, you hate teaching.”

“Which explains my mood, I should think. I—”

A lot of autistic folk find it difficult to teach people, largely because, if they explain something in a certain way, away in which they understand, they have trouble rephrasing it/altering it to make other people understand it as well. Can definitely, definitely see Jasnah struggling with this. 

Jasnah preferred to work alone, which was odd, considering how good she was at getting people to do what she wanted. 

This shocks me to my very core so it does. 

Next to her, Jasnah stood with arms wrapped around herself, eyes red. Navani reached toward her, but Jasnah pulled away from the others and stalked off toward the palace proper.

Oh look, it’s touch!averse Jasnah. (she’s really not very touchy feely at all) Also Jasnah not knowing how to deal with her emotions/grief and withdrawing from people around her. Also I’m calling the arms wrapped around herself as a pressure stim. Fight me.

Jasnah met his eyes, chewing her lip as she’d always done as a child.

Jasnah having anxious!stims (that she probably forced herself to unlearn) 

“Forget I asked,” Dalinar said, sharing a look with Navani and Jasnah. Navani smiled fondly at what was probably a huge social misstep, but he suspected Jasnah agreed with him.She’d probably have seized the banks and used them to fund the war.

Jasnah ‘storm your social niceties, I have a war to win’ Kholin. 

Suddenly they were young again. He was a trembling child, weeping on her shoulder for a father who didn’t seem to be able to feel love. Little Renarin, always so solemn. Always misunderstood, laughed at and condemned by people who said similar things about Jasnah behind her back.

Mm, who else was ‘solemn’ as a child? Maybe ‘correcting logical fallacies at age six’ ‘no longer needed a mother when she reached adolescence’ Jasnah. And, like, ‘people mock Renarin for his autistic traits…Jasnah is also mocked for having these exact same traits.’ It’s basically canon, people. 

Jasnah fell to her knees, then pulled Renarin into an embrace. He broke down crying, like he had as a boy, burying his head in her shoulder.

Also, the fact that Renarin instinctively went to Jasnah for comfort, not Navani, who eagerly mothers literally everyone around her, or anyone else, he went to Jasnah ‘empathy of a corpse, made of literal stone’ Kholin for comfort and support tells me something. It tells me that these two had an understanding. That Jasnah understood Renarin, and that Renarin understood Jasnah, and that there perhaps a reason for that that has to do with their shared brain weirdness. 

This is also the first time, as I recall, that Jasnah responds with physical affection. (And this doesn’t undermine what I said about her being touch!averse, she is, but a)- she initiates this contact and b)- it’s with someone she’s clearly comfortable with this level of contact) 

Jasnah glanced over her shoulder at the gathering army. “And perhaps … this is one time when a lecture isn’t advisable. With all my complaints about not wanting wards, you’d think I would be able to resist instructing people at inopportune times. Keep moving.”

I have said it before and I will say it again, Jasnah infodumping to an exhausted Shallan in the middle of a storming battlefield is the most autistic thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life.

These had always been right. Until today—until they had proclaimed that Jasnah Kholin’s love would fail.

And, to summarise it all neatly, Jasnah Kholin, empathy of a corpse, heart of a boulder, whose love in the end never failed her. *wipes tear* my beautiful autistic queen is good and full of love and feeling but just being really bad at showing it to people. We do not deserve her. 

TL;DR: Jasnah is autistic af. It’s basically canon. Fight me.

Edited by animalia
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Ok this thread has convinced me that the relationship between Jasnah and Shallan is more complex, but she's still incredibly arrogant. When she talks to Kaladin she is speaking to a knight radiant, and not only that but bonded to an honor spren, the most discerning. And this isn't a darkeye either, Kaladin has been a lighteyes for the entire time she's known him, and has had just as dangerous and hard a life as she has. Her plan clearly wouldn't work, as the reason the whole problem exists is because the Heralds couldn't hold up to torture then so obviously killing them now would do nothing except maybe by less than a years worth of time and alienate the only people on the planet capable of giving first hand information. But when Kaladin says I think this is cruel (which by the way he can't not say without risking the death of Syl), she insults him, treats him like a child, and idiot, and decries how illogical he is. It's so petty and arrogant it's practically out of character, but she did do that. I don't know why people insist on defending her just because she has some cool moments when her character borders on actively malicious. 

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