Toaster Retribution

(OB) We need to talk about Eshonai

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So, Eshonai, everyones fave parshendi, and now also a pretty dead parshendi. She died off-screen, and is basically replaced by Venli, who is more or less a confirmed Willshaper by now. Yet, she was built up as an important character, and Brandon has announced her as one of ten flashback characters (the one I am the least excited for).

So why did Brandon do this? Why establish Eshonai as a major player just to immediately kill her off? Will Eshonai maybe return in some form? Was it always intended that she died and stayed dead here? Did he put her in as a ruse to cover Venlis importance? Or did something happen during the development of OB that caused him to change his mind about Eshonai?

Any thoughts?

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24 minutes ago, Toaster Retribution said:

So, Eshonai, everyones fave parshendi, and now also a pretty dead parshendi. She died off-screen, and is basically replaced by Venli, who is more or less a confirmed Willshaper by now. Yet, she was built up as an important character, and Brandon has announced her as one of ten flashback characters (the one I am the least excited for).

So why did Brandon do this? Why establish Eshonai as a major player just to immediately kill her off? Will Eshonai maybe return in some form? Was it always intended that she died and stayed dead here? Did he put her in as a ruse to cover Venlis importance? Or did something happen during the development of OB that caused him to change his mind about Eshonai?

Any thoughts?

I'm not sure she was really established as a major player but a window/viewpoint into the conflicted Listener society. Granted she was a really well written character, but I don't think she ever had the importance people are placing on her.

That being said I could be completely wrong and it was all part of the plan and the next book she will be a viewpoint character from the Rosharan afterlife and we get to see more of what's going on with the Fused through her. I doubt it though.

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Wondered about this as well. From what I can tell the assignment of a book to someone just means that their flashbacks are heavily featured in that book. I guess they don’t actually have to be alive for that to happen. It also may be some kind of afterlife/living on in spren kind of thing though. 

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well, actually I like Venli much more than Eshonai. Eshona started to grow on me ,but then I didn't get to fully be invested with her character. Venli on the other side.. she was one of the characters who's story arc I enjoyed the most in OB, maybe because I didn't have any kind of expectations ( I would even say I was dreading it a bit). But I was pleasantly surprised by her and can't wait to see more.

Is it confirm that she'll be in the second half? Some were suggesting that she may be one of the main character for the next 2 books, but with Eshonai flashbacks, which would make sense and I think it would be interesting to see more of her through her sister's perspective.  

I realized I haven't directly replied to your question about Eshonai. My suggestion is that, while Eshonai was an interesting character, she gave me the impression that she was leaning more on the humans side so for her to switch camps or become a Radiant, wouldn't have been such a great step. Whereas Venli.. She was almost close to becoming a fused, she had the biggest role in the return of her gods, so for her to go through a journey, transitioning from that, I find more intriguiding and potentially exciting. Also, I feel she's not going to side with the humans or the Fused, so that would bring a third party into the mix that could be interesting. (Sorry for this transforming into a Venli gush, I will find a more on topic thread for it, it was just that I was exactly thinking about her the whole day)

Edited by mariapapadia
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I used to think we’d see Eshonai in the Rosharan afterlife, maybe becoming some sort of rogue Fused to return to Roshar, but after hearing that it’s Odium’s power that sustains the Fuseds’ spirits, I doubt it. It seems unlikely that Odium would bother sustaining Eshonai, a listener who resisted stormform and probably smells of Honor’s Investiture. She probably moved Beyond. 

She does, though, still have good flashback potential. In the present, Venli, being a Willshaper and listener Radiant, is a much more interesting character to follow. However, in the past, Eshonai, being an explorer and maybe starting a bond with Timbre, makes a better story than Venli being a scholar. 

And @mariapapadia, the flashback characters for the back 5 are, as of now, set to be Lift, Renarin, Jasnah, Ash, and Taln. No Venli flashbacks, sorry. 

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4 minutes ago, mariapapadia said:

well, actually I like Venli much more than Eshonai.

Agreed. Eshonai was pretty boring in my opinion. The only thing from her POV that I really enjoyed was the OB prologue. Venli is more interesting, though I hope she gets more to do next time. Interactions with Moash/Vyre would be nice.

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5 minutes ago, Ookla the Toasted said:

Agreed. Eshonai was pretty boring in my opinion. The only thing from her POV that I really enjoyed was the OB prologue. Venli is more interesting, though I hope she gets more to do next time. Interactions with Moash/Vyre would be nice.

OHHHH! Here is where my biases will explode, but I hope not with Moash. Though I am sure they will meet again. I just HATE Moash sooooo much. He is well written and I can see why some people would find him interesting, but I just despise him with all my being. The more time it passes, the more I hate him.

Sorry for this, I'll just stop:ph34r:

 

@Ookla the Heraldic ohh! yes, that's what I thought, I just interpreted Toaster's post wrong thinking Venli would get to be one. Offtopic: It's hard to quote people, when everyone has Ookla in their name :lol:

 

Edited by mariapapadia
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@mariapapadia I am not overly fond of Moash either (I wish we gad gotten a Moash-Graves switchout much like we got with Eshonai-Venli). I am interested in where his character goes though, and if Venli is to stay interesting, she needs to interact with interesting people, and Moash is basically the only one nearby.

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I was actually pretty surprised by her death. I was pretty indifferent about her as a character although I thought she was necessary so we saw the Parshendi POV. There has to be some reasoning behind it and I think it goes beyond allowing Venli to be in the spotlight but no idea what. I am trying to figure out what we will gain from her flashbacks but I am confident Brandon has a good plan for this. I know that having flashback chapters does not mean the book will be mostly focused on the same character and their growth but that is what we have seen so far so having a hard time envisioning how this will work. Hey it will make it different though right? Eshonai was my least anticipated flashback character as well so maybe this set of unusual circumstances will change my mind. 

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2 hours ago, Ookla the Toasted said:

So why did Brandon do this? Why establish Eshonai as a major player just to immediately kill her off? Will Eshonai maybe return in some form? Was it always intended that she died and stayed dead here? Did he put her in as a ruse to cover Venlis importance? Or did something happen during the development of OB that caused him to change his mind about Eshonai?

I am incredibly conflicted about my feelings towards the Parshendi in general.  I wish I could get into them... but I just can't.  (And I judge myself for this, because I know it's because they aren't enough "like me", and I hate that I need a character to be "like me" in order to enjoy them.)  Self-judging rant over... I'm pretty sure that Eshonai dying and Venli becoming the main Parshendi was always planned.  In order to have one of our "protagonists" deep inside Odium's camp, we needed someone who was fully aligned with him at the start.  Eshonai could never have filled this role.  (This is the mirror of the ever-hated Moash (@mariapapadia :D) who is our antagonist who was aligned with our heroes at the start.)  We couldn't start with Venli as our "Parshendi introduction" character because then we would know she was aligned with Odium which would have colored the whole introduction experience even further.  I'm assuming Eshonai has a much bigger role to play (given the flashbacks - I hope it's not just learning about Parshendi culture, as the best flashback sequence IMO was Dalinar where it really enhanced the present-day story), and I'm hopeful I'll get over my Parshendi problem as we dive deeper into Eshonai and Venli's characters!  Agreed that Venli has grabbed me more than Eshonai ever did, and it also helps that Venli has directly overlapped with our main characters more than Eshonai did.  (I know Eshonai met with Adolin, but that was just a small moment in her WoR story.)

BTW @Ookla the Toasted, I really enjoy these single character analysis threads.  If you're taking suggestions and so inclined, I would love a thread on Moash.  I see him as pretty one-note at the moment, and I'd love to have people point out things I missed which would flesh him out a bit more!

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@Dreamstorm I'm happy that you enjoy these threads :-) I'll create a Moash thread later in the week (I don't want to create too many threads at once) because I agree: he is very interesting to discuss. If I forget it, remind me (or make on yourself, thats awesome too).

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2 hours ago, Ookla the Toasted said:

She died off-screen

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Eshonai basically tossed into the chasm by Adolin at the end of WoR? I know the Parshendi say she must've drowned during a highstorm, but I still feel like her "death" was when she fell in the chasm, even if she was still technically alive until the highstorm. I don't think she really qualifies as an off-screen death.

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1 hour ago, Wolly-The-Wuller said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Eshonai basically tossed into the chasm by Adolin at the end of WoR? I know the Parshendi say she must've drowned during a highstorm, but I still feel like her "death" was when she fell in the chasm, even if she was still technically alive until the highstorm. I don't think she really qualifies as an off-screen death.

This makes Adolins Major Character Killcount stand at two. He was dangerous at the end of WoR.

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Did anyone get the sense that Timbre might be Eshonai? Venli finds Eshonai's corpse, a strange glowing spren underneath her, Venli gets dragged out into the Everstorm to be possessed by the spirit of a dead Parshendi, Eshonai is a dead Parshendi, after she gets the new spren, she notices that it is very similar to the one she found by Eshonai, and the way that Timbre knows the rhythms so well. None of it is very definitive, but it makes sense to me.

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I doubt Timbre is Eshonai because I'm pretty sure Eshonai had a glowing comet spren following her in WoR. Also Timbre talks about humans killing a lot of her kind which is why Timbre choose a singer instead of a human.

Edited by Hemalurgist
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On 29 november 2017 at 7:22 AM, Hemalurgist said:

Also Timbre talks about humans killing a lot of his kind 

I think Timbre was a she, actually.

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I think it was brilliant of Sanderson to kill of Eshonai. He did tell us that he wasn't at all against killing off flashback characters, so we can somewhat stop assuming Renarin, Lift, Taln, Shallash, Jasnah are going to survive the first Arc. I think we all kind of assumed she survived the fall into the chasm despite all logic re-the storm and how far a fall that is. Sanderson got a lot of flack from people for having his characters seem invincible, with Szeth and Jasnah both being alive after seemingly dying. Along with Elhokar's death, it showed that he's certainly not afraid to kill characters off permanently regardless of how much writing time he's put into their character (personally I thought this worry by readers was kind of overblown, especially if you've read some of his other series). 

Also, Eshonai kinda fulfilled her part. It's definitely a sad ending for her, but I like it. Brings a certain amount of "not every person gets to fulfill their wishes before they die" realism to the story. Venli is going to be fascinating as a now bonded Radiant, but we'll also get to see early Parshendi culture and probably conflicts with Venli from Eshonai's POV in the next book. So that should be really cool. 

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I am hoping that the thousand listeners who refused stormform show back up. This would go well with an Eshonai flashback since her second in command Thude as well as her mother, and two of the Five are with them. A flashback could give us some characterization for these as well as the relationship between Eshonai and Venli.

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On 28-11-2017 at 5:37 PM, StormingTexan said:

I was actually pretty surprised by her death. I was pretty indifferent about her as a character although I thought she was necessary so we saw the Parshendi POV. There has to be some reasoning behind it and I think it goes beyond allowing Venli to be in the spotlight but no idea what. I am trying to figure out what we will gain from her flashbacks but I am confident Brandon has a good plan for this. I know that having flashback chapters does not mean the book will be mostly focused on the same character and their growth but that is what we have seen so far so having a hard time envisioning how this will work. Hey it will make it different though right? Eshonai was my least anticipated flashback character as well so maybe this set of unusual circumstances will change my mind. 

I attended a signing yesterday and Brandon confirmed the next book’s flashback character would be Eshonai. In fact, he specifically referred to having earlier stated about writing a book whose flashback character was already dead...

How it is going to work... I believe the end of Venli’s story provides a major clue. She is going to tell the former Parshmen about the Listeners. But her own life story is far from inspirational. But who was a major role model for the Listeners? Someone who enjoyed a life of exploration but who nevertheless accepted the burden of leadership and respected the History of the elders. Eshonai’s life story imho would be a fitting way to introduce Parshman to the Listeners and inspirere them ( and Venli herself) to break away from Odium before it is too late (like it was for her).

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- Eshonai as she was was a bore and a retread of Dalinar and Kaladin struggles with the weight of leadership. Venli is so much more interesting! Her corpse being discovered was more conpelling than every WoR Eshonai chapter combined...

- Past Eshonai is awesome and highly readable as evidenced by the prologue.

- Sanderson wants you to read for characters he has announced as future viewpoint book holders (Taln will die in Book 4 btw).

- This shakes up the narrative structure for the flashback sequences in an interesting way... Kaladins flashbacks taught you about Kaladin, Shallans about Shallan, and Dalinars about Dalinar but Eshonai will teach you about Venli and pre was Listener culture.

 

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On ‎11‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 10:16 AM, mariapapadia said:

OHHHH! Here is where my biases will explode, but I hope not with Moash. Though I am sure they will meet again. I just HATE Moash sooooo much. He is well written and I can see why some people would find him interesting, but I just despise him with all my being. The more time it passes, the more I hate him.

Sorry for this, I'll just stop:ph34r:

 

@Ookla the Heraldic ohh! yes, that's what I thought, I just interpreted Toaster's post wrong thinking Venli would get to be one. Offtopic: It's hard to quote people, when everyone has Ookla in their name :lol:

 

I am right there with you.  When the time comes for him to get offed, I hope it's Kaladin, and right before he sends Moash on his way I hope he says something like, "Elhokar was a better man than you".  Because he so totally was.  Man it sucks that Elhokar died just when I was starting to really like him.

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I suspect Eshonai was always intended to die, and become a martyr for the Parshendi that have resisted so far.

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On 04/12/2017 at 11:11 AM, Ytsken said:

I attended a signing yesterday and Brandon confirmed the next book’s flashback character would be Eshonai. In fact, he specifically referred to having earlier stated about writing a book whose flashback character was already dead...

How it is going to work... I believe the end of Venli’s story provides a major clue. She is going to tell the former Parshmen about the Listeners. But her own life story is far from inspirational. But who was a major role model for the Listeners? Someone who enjoyed a life of exploration but who nevertheless accepted the burden of leadership and respected the History of the elders. Eshonai’s life story imho would be a fitting way to introduce Parshman to the Listeners and inspirere them ( and Venli herself) to break away from Odium before it is too late (like it was for her).

So... how would this tie-in with advancing the story?

Are we gonna have Venli talking about what Eshonai did instead of flashbacks? While she's advancing the current timeline?

 

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2 minutes ago, marianmi said:

So... how would this tie-in with advancing the story?

Are we gonna have Venli talking about what Eshonai did instead of flashbacks? While she's advancing the current timeline?

 

No, I think the flashbacks will be done in the same style they always have.

I imagine Eshonai's flashbacks will be used to highlight or contrast things in Venli's current narrative.

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9 hours ago, CrazyRioter said:

No, I think the flashbacks will be done in the same style they always have.

I imagine Eshonai's flashbacks will be used to highlight or contrast things in Venli's current narrative.

That's my thought as well. 

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