Llarimar

[OB] Why is everyone okay with Szeth?

47 posts in this topic

Did anyone else think it was weird how when Szeth pops up during the battle for Thaylen City, everyone is just sort of okay with him being there?

What Lift thinks:

Quote

He straightened and strode through the smoke, leaving an afterimage behind.  Lift had seen this man before.  The Assassin in White.  Murderer.

And apparently savior.  (1119)

What Dalinar thinks:

Quote

Two more people crossed the battlefield.  Lift he had anticipated.  But the assassin?  Szeth scooped the silvery sheath off the ground and slammed his black Shardblade into it, before stepping up to join Dalinar.

Skybreaker, Dalinar thought, counting them off.  (1141)

What Jasnah thinks:

Quote

"Seven Radiants?" Jasnah said, skeptical.  "Uncle, that seems a tall order, even if one of us is, apparently, the storming Assassin in White."  (1142)

This last quote by Jasnah almost seems to be bordering on humorous, as if she's saying, "Hahaha, the Assassin in White, what a joke, I never thought I'd see him on our side!  Sure, he brutally murdered my father, and half the rulers of Roshar, and then was killed himself by Kaladin so he's basically a zombie as far as we know, but we'll take all the help we can get!"

This was just really weird to me, and seemed like a major oversight.  You would think that at least Jasnah would be threatened by Szeth - she seemed to have a really close relationship with Gavilar, why is she so nonchalant about meeting his murderer?  And why are they all okay with Szeth becoming Dalinar's bodyguard and joining the Knights Radiant - do none of them think for a moment that he might be trying to stab Dalinar in the back while no one is looking?  Nobody has questions for him, nobody attacks him, nobody screams because he's apparently come back from the dead.  I feel like the comeback of Szeth is supposed to be really cinematic and cool - he sweeps onto the battlefield, clothed in white, wielding a black sword, redeeming himself... and everyone is so awestruck  that they conveniently forget the fact that he is the most feared, notorious and dangerous criminals in the world, and HE WAS KILLED by Kaladin as far as they know, so why is he even alive?  

I get that they're in a tight place and they're not going to interfere if Szeth is helping their cause, but everyone seems so unfazed by his appearance - they're mildly surprised, and a bit confused, but then they get over it almost immediately and he's just one of the gang as far as they're concerned.  

Did anyone else feel like the return of Szeth was really rushed, and that it was weird how easily everyone just accepted him as a good guy?

Edited by Llarimar
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Wasn't Szeth flying around keeping the Fused away from Dalinar already? 

Either way, I always figured it was because they all trust Dalinar.  And Dalinar, having just united the Cognitive, Physical, and Spiritual Realm, probably has a good idea of who can and can't be trusted.

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Just now, RShara said:

Wasn't Szeth flying around keeping the Fused away from Dalinar already? 

Either way, I always figured it was because they all trust Dalinar.  And Dalinar, having just united the Cognitive, Physical, and Spiritual Realm, probably has a good idea of who can and can't be trusted.

Yeah, that makes sense.  I still feel like his reintroduction was a little rushed, but that was kind of necessary during the fight - there just isn't time in the middle of the battle for them to stop and ponder on the return of Szeth.  What annoyed me was that after the dust settled, no one imprisoned Szeth or questioned him - maybe those things did happen, but it isn't mentioned.  As far as we know, Dalinar just enlists him as personal bodyguard and no one seems to care, which to me was really unrealistic.

I would like to see this resolved in the next Stormlight book - a conversation between Szeth and the other Knights Radiant where he explain why he willingly assassinated dozens of monarchs, and how he came back to life after Kaladin killed him. 

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Yeah I hope so too.  Actually, what I'm hoping for is a SERIOUS Mr. T denoument.  Szeth telling Dalinar and Kaladin about T's Diagram, his being behind the assassinations, the killings he hides in his hospitals.  I seriously want to see that.

Edited by RShara
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There's a couple reasons in my mind. 

First, yes the assassin was a scourge on the world, but it's the storming apocalypse and one the, objectively, most skilled and terrifying fighters known suddenly shows up and defends your side and single handedly dispatches a giant rock monster in an instant? Yeah. Not going to argue with the help. 

Second, Taravangian admits to the control and use of Szeth, and Szeth's role as Truthless. That goes a long way to placing the blame outside Szeth, and Taravangian is only sage at the moment because he leads a large and powerful nation in his own right with Jah Keved. 

Third, In the revised ending, Kal didn't actually kill Szeth, though his survival would be miraculous. Jasnah is over an order that specifically chooses to set aside its emotional reactions and look at thing objectively, so while I'm sure her initial reaction internally is negative, she pushes past that. Then add those to the points made by @RShara

Fourth, despite what we know of the nature of the Skybreakers, and Malata, in their view... He's a Radiant. That still means something.

Edit: and @RShara, T admitted to using Szeth and planning his takeover of Jah Keved, but he didn't tell Dalinar anything about the Diagram. Unless Szeth shares information about the hospitals, Dalinar has no way of knowing. I, unfortunately, don't trust Szeth's mental state enough to assume he's volunteered much information. 

Edited by Ookla, the Incalculable
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I think a large part is that things had clearly not been as they previously imagined them for much of the book.

The big bad turned up and looked a lot like this:

488410656.jpg

The evil voidbringers turned out to be this:

man-in-the-mirror.jpg

Makes you begin to question everything you know, and when another "bad guy" turns up and begins fighting on your side, you just figure it's something else you got wrong.

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6 minutes ago, RShara said:

Yeah I hope so too.  Actually, what I'm hoping for is a SERIOUS Mr. T denoument.  Szeth telling Dalinar and Kaladin about T's Diagram, his being behind the assassinations, the killings he hides in his hospitals.  I seriously want to see that.

That would be awesome - Mr. T tried to do some damage control after Szeth joined Dalinar, by revealing he tried to have Dalinear murdered.  But T didn't tell Dalinar about the Diagram, or the killings in the hospitals - both of which are things that Szeth knows about. 

I don't think T's alliance with Dalinar will collapse, however - I think his supposed alliance will be important moving forward, especially since Odium will try to manipulate Dalinar through him.  I can easily see Szeth telling Dalinar everything, and then Dalinar just sort of dismissing the whole thing or ignoring it after doing a brief, obligatory investigation and deciding that T is still trustworthy. 

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I don't think he'll keep thinking T is trustworthy.  He might *pretend* so in order to keep tabs on him, but I hope he's learned that he can wrong in how he sees people who appear honorable.  Particularly influential lighteyes *coughAMARAMcough*.

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4 minutes ago, Ookla, the Incalculable said:

Edit: and @RShara, T admitted to using Szeth and planning his takeover of Jah Keved, but he didn't tell Dalinar anything about the Diagram. Unless Szeth shares information about the hospitals, Dalinar has no way of knowing. I, unfortunately, don't trust Szeth's mental state enough to assume he's volunteered much information. 

I agree with this, I think it's possible that it will just never occur to Szeth to tell Dalinar about the Diagram and the hospital killings.  I don't think he'll consider betraying Taravangian unless Dalinar specifically asks him about it - Szeth is very self-aware, but sometimes it seems like he isn't very sharp.  Political subterfuge and manipulation just really don't fit his character.  

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2 minutes ago, RShara said:

I don't think he'll keep thinking T is trustworthy.  He might *pretend* so in order to keep tabs on him, but I hope he's learned that he can wrong in how he sees people who appear honorable.  Particularly influential lighteyes *coughAMARAMcough*.

Yeah, he'll definitely be watching T more closely - at the very least, he won't take him for granted anymore or assume he's just an innocent old man.  But even if Dalinar knows that T isn't quite what he seems, he certainly hasn't comprehended the depth of T's manipulation, the existence of the Diagram and his involvement with both Cultivation/Nightwatcher and Odium.  So maybe Dalinar will be more wary of T, but certainly not wary enough, considering that he is basically Odium's puppet now (or perhaps Cultivation's puppet... it's hard to tell with Taravangian).  

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Never look a gift Nightblood in the mouth.

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Think about it... 

You're in a battle which you're struggling with, and you might lose. Out of nowhere appears Saitama...err Szeth...flying in the sky and holding a blade bleeding smoke and destroying your enemies, in all his bald glory.

Would you really stand up and say "Get lost bro, I don't need you"?

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15 minutes ago, Ookla the Obtuse said:

Never look a gift Nightblood in the mouth.

Ok, so this will be the last shameless plug for what I think might be the single greatest thing ever written, it's the Song of Szeth and Nightblood, called "Szeth's New Knife" from the thread Stormlight the Musical sung to the tune of Mack the Knife from the 3 Penny Opera:

In regards to this thread, I think that all that is required to make all of team good guys accept Szeth and Nightblood is:

  1. Their observation of what Szeth and Nightblood did during the battle of Thaylen Fields
  2. The Ideal that Szeth swore to have DALINAR as his moral basis of the LAW.
  3. That he killed everyone that he did, though he abhors killing, all because of a Shin law that has been SUPERCEDED by the LAW OF DALINAR FREAKING KHOLIN!

Yes, sword Nimi, we must go scratch the backside of Dalinar Kholin because that is what is right and proper.

 

I for one am incredibly glad that, unlike Jezrien's blade, both Szeth and Nightblood showed up on the side of the Good guys.

Edited by hoiditthroughthegrapevine
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Have I mentioned how much I adore Dalinar? Lots of people go all melty over Adolin or Kaladin.  I prefer Dalinar.  He's storming awesome!

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3 minutes ago, RShara said:

Have I mentioned how much I adore Dalinar? Lots of people go all melty over Adolin or Kaladin.  I prefer Dalinar.  He's storming awesome!

You can't have Gibraltar without the rock of Gibraltar. I think that you are a WOT fan, and you know what the absolute best thing about Dalinar Kholin is? He is freaking Perrin aybara without the damnation lock smith puzzle references. You KNOW he will do the right thing given time, he is the Moral center of Urithiru and he has the best come back for any potential political attack, the strategic grunt.

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...I actually did not like Perrin Aybara.  His personality grated on me every time he had a PoV, and his choice in women was abysmal.  If I had any kind of romantic interest in anyone in WoT it would most likely be Lan.  All the other characters make me want to slap them too often to feel any inclinations.

If I had to read another reference to him liking to take his time before coming to a decision, or how people thought he was slow, or that Rand/Mat were better with women, I might have crawled into the book just to box his ears.

Also, GRAIN BREAK! (Argh)

Edited by RShara
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Probably the people accepted Szeth a bit too fast but.

Lift already know him and he already clarified no harm Will be done to her.

He arrived with Lift to Dalinar. Dalinar probably already know (from Kal and researches) what a Truthless is. Much more, he could feel his Nahel Bond and (but this is wrong) assume all' the Radiants as trustworthy.

This, in the middle of a critical situation made Szeth a welcoming ally.

Kal already know how Szeth is and how far he went for his file as Truthless.

Jasnah's attitude is probably similar to Kal's One.

This of course, in the middle of the Battle.

In the battle's aftermath, Szeth already proved himself as valuable in the city's salvation.

At least three nations have reason to want him as ally and consider him trustworthy. I assume there will be' people aganist him but It's the standard outcome in a Wide and fragment Alliance

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10 minutes ago, RShara said:

If I had to read another reference to him liking to take his time before coming to a decision, or how people thought he was slow, or that Rand/Mat were better with women, I might have crawled into the book just to box his ears.

Hahahaha, that's the whole point. His POV in all of WoT was a gigantic time sink. H    e            w        a       s            s      u     p     p     o      s   e      d               t      o                     s           l           o          w                        t          h             i            n                g                    s    down,

My god, by end of Knife of dreams I wanted to destroy all Locksmith puzzles just on the principle of the thing.  I don't know if you ever listened to the WoT audiobooks, but Michael Kramer's Perrin is seriously 1/4 speed. Rand chapters fast, Mat chapters—even faster, Perrin Chapters—time to go make some popcorn. He's      d            u           l               l                 and anticlimatic.

Lan is a lot like Dalinar, only less talkative. Both of them are amazing characters, Dalinar is on of my SLA favorites and Lan is one of my WoT favorites, they seem to be bound together by an overarching sense of duty. They are capable, responsible men, who happen to be able to break the puny insignificant world that they live in two (without much effort, which is pretty awesome really)

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You're giving me WoT PTSD here.  Stop it.  *shudders uncontrollably*

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1 hour ago, hoiditthroughthegrapevine said:

Hahahaha, that's the whole point. His POV in all of WoT was a gigantic time sink. H    e            w        a       s            s      u     p     p     o      s   e      d               t      o                     s           l           o          w                        t          h             i            n                g                    s    down,

My god, by end of Knife of dreams I wanted to destroy all Locksmith puzzles just on the principle of the thing.  I don't know if you ever listened to the WoT audiobooks, but Michael Kramer's Perrin is seriously 1/4 speed. Rand chapters fast, Mat chapters—even faster, Perrin Chapters—time to go make some popcorn. He's      d            u           l               l                 and anticlimatic.

Lan is a lot like Dalinar, only less talkative. Both of them are amazing characters, Dalinar is on of my SLA favorites and Lan is one of my WoT favorites, they seem to be bound together by an overarching sense of duty. They are capable, responsible men, who happen to be able to break the puny insignificant world that they live in two (without much effort, which is pretty awesome really)

I could have done with zero Perrin. Probably the most useless character in all of fantasy. Him and his wife were worse than the Egwene/Nynaeve chapters.

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I feel like this is an issue with pacing and book size. The working out Seth's situation scenes would have slowed things down, when they needed to move fast and there simply wasn't enough space to address situation properly in Oathbringer. So, things must have happened, they just weren't covered by the book. I expect his situation would be expanded in the next one, including political implications of the person, who murdered kings through Roshar now serving Dalinar, who is suspected to have desires of world conquest. Or whether Taravangians role in it be revealed (likely not - Dalinar would hide the fact to preserve coalition, since he may think Taravangaian is still on side of humanity, despite terrible methods).

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17 minutes ago, Kessler said:

I feel like this is an issue with pacing and book size. The working out Seth's situation scenes would have slowed things down, when they needed to move fast and there simply wasn't enough space to address situation properly in Oathbringer. So, things must have happened, they just weren't covered by the book. I expect his situation would be expanded in the next one, including political implications of the person, who murdered kings through Roshar now serving Dalinar, who is suspected to have desires of world conquest. Or whether Taravangians role in it be revealed (likely not - Dalinar would hide the fact to preserve coalition, since he may think Taravangaian is still on side of humanity, despite terrible methods).

There could have been something in the epilogue. But we had bigger emotional beats to hit. Weddings and Mr T revelations and children/bridgemen being alive. 

Still, I'd like to see something about it. 

(By the way, did anybody catch that Szeth's spren has been around since before Szeth became truthless?) 

He's honestly one of my least favorite  characters. His decisions have ultimately all been about avoiding personal responsibility. I'm sure he'll have a big telegraphed moment where he starts to take that responsibility(when he becomes "The Lawwwww" and transforms into Judge Dredd) but until then... I dislike him. So I'd like to see the characters treat him like they should. Nightblood makes that difficult though. He's too deadly to contain, although we have yet to see how Nightblood does, striking a heavily invested being or Shardplate. 

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I don't think his reintroduction was rushed.  End of the world battle and everything.  His acceptance after the fact though seems to be rushed.  Not so sure I would just accept my Radiant leader being protected by the guy who murdered his brother.  

Also, Perrin Aybara was my favorite WoT character.  So there.  :P

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@Animar - Szeth has had a highspren all along?  I totally missed that.  It makes sense for how he became truthless, maybe.  So many implications!

I totally agree that communications need to occur.  I doubt that they will mostly happen on-screen due to pacing concerns.  

Another factor that led to his acceptance was Dalinar expecting the presence of one of each of the orders.  I'm not sure why he expected it, but it made Szeth fit the pattern.  It also suggests to me some coherence of the Shard.

Szeth knowing about the hospital murders and why they are committed could be interesting, as pointed out above.

So many juicy ways to work these loose plot threads!

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When you look deeper Brandon's books have a fairly disturbing perception of morality and justice.  They're incredibly focused on the here and now ("always the next step"), and emphasize forgiveness and redemption arcs to an almost absurd degree.  There doesn't appear to be any moral threshold that can't be later excused as long as the redeemed character feels bad about their prior actions and tries better from that point onward.

Dalinar is a mass-murderer who genocided an entire city, Szeth has the blood of countless victims on his hands, Wayne murdered that shopkeeper, Sadeas' death was seen as a tragic loss by Dalinar, Amaram was extended the olive branch yet again by Dalinar in the Thaylen City battle.  I believe forgiveness is incredibly important, but the concepts of penance or restitution or seemingly any consequence for past evils seem completely ignored.

Perhaps this is laying the seeds to a future moral clash between Kaladin and his brethren.  If Szeth reveals what has been occurring in Taravangian's hospitals, and someone discovers that Mr.T was behind the murder of Eth for the Honorblade does Dalinar still try to forgive Mr.T and recruit him back to the light?  That seems to fit the pattern so far.

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