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Andy92

[OB] Nale's Story Arc

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Does anyone else think Nale's story arc in Oathbringer kind of undermines what happens in Edgedancer? I personally thought the end of Edgedancer was really powerful in the way that Lift seems to get through to Nale. I knew Nale wasn't "fixed" at that point, but it was a big turning point for his character.

In Oathbringer, Nale decides to side with the Parshendi. There's a lot of gray area in this book in regards to the human/Parshendi battles, but it's pretty clear that the Fused at least aren't up to much good. They're servants of Odium that inhabit the Parshendi, stealing their lives from them. When Nale makes the decision to fight for their cause, it feels...sad to me after the events of Edgedancer. I suppose he's not actively looking to kill budding Radiants anymore which is a plus.  

I wouldn't say I expected Nale to become some champion of the KR or anything, but did anyone else feel surprised about his actions in Oathbringer based on how Edgedancer ended? 

 

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I was a little surprised, but considering the nature of his order and his own twisted view of the world, it made sense to me why he would choose the path he did. His order preaches the law above all else, and he sums up his reasoning quite well in Oathbringer--the Singers were the original inhabitants of the land, therefore it is the Singers whose laws should be enforced. Up until this point, he was obeying the laws of humankind, while going around and destroying budding surgebinders because he feared that the Singers would return. Now that they have...like I said, it makes sense to me.

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IIRC, there is no indication that he is siding with the Fused, he only mentions siding with the Singers in general. I took this to mean he could side with the non-Fused/non-Odium-influenced Parshendi.

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16 minutes ago, JPark317 said:

IIRC, there is no indication that he is siding with the Fused, he only mentions siding with the Singers in general. I took this to mean he could side with the non-Fused/non-Odium-influenced Parshendi.

I could see this as a more justifiable outcome if this is what he ends up doing. I understand what @Alderant is saying with Nale's reasoning (but Nale's reasoning hasn't always ended up in morally sound choices either). I'll be curious to see how has path as an advocate for the Singers is influenced with the Fused being in charge. I mainly hope that his future decisions don't end up being completely negative which is what made me start thinking about the ending of Edgedancer in the first place. 

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I find it difficult to believe Nale didn't know until now the so-called secret. Ash used the word 'adonalsium', the Heralds should know humanity came later to Roshar. The Skybreakers are supposed to already know this since it was learned by all Orders at least once and become one of the reasons for Recreanse. Did no one write it down? Did Nale swing by a couple of centuries after that and remain oblivious? The Nale and SB plot twist was unbelievable, it just doesn't work for me. I get that Nale is crazy and twist what the law is, but I don't buy this was somehow news for him and also made him switch sides. I agree it undermined his arc in ED.

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1 hour ago, Aleksiel said:

I find it difficult to believe Nale didn't know until now the so-called secret. Ash used the word 'adonalsium', the Heralds should know humanity came later to Roshar. The Skybreakers are supposed to already know this since it was learned by all Orders at least once and become one of the reasons for Recreanse. Did no one write it down? Did Nale swing by a couple of centuries after that and remain oblivious? The Nale and SB plot twist was unbelievable, it just doesn't work for me. I get that Nale is crazy and twist what the law is, but I don't buy this was somehow news for him and also made him switch sides. I agree it undermined his arc in ED.

This same thought crossed my mind. I didn't understand how he wasn't aware of the secret that caused the Recreance. Maybe that's the reason the Skybreakers never disbanded...but I find it difficult to believe that an entire order missed out on the Recreance to the degree they didn't know what even caused it. 

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23 minutes ago, Andy92 said:

This same thought crossed my mind. I didn't understand how he wasn't aware of the secret that caused the Recreance. Maybe that's the reason the Skybreakers never disbanded...but I find it difficult to believe that an entire order missed out on the Recreance to the degree they didn't know what even caused it. 

I missed the part where the cause of the Recreance was new information for Nale...when did he indicate that he wasn't aware? Also, personally, I don't care what side he fights on as long as his plots are interesting. He hasn't done anything but serve as Szeths master so eh, what am i missing by him fighting for Odium? We're still going to get more SzethxNale and "aboshi" so I'm good.

Edited by Nymeros
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11 minutes ago, Nymeros said:

I missed the part where the cause of the Recreance was new information for Nale...when did he indicate that he wasn't aware?

Technically it's not specifically mentioned this way if I recall. But if Nale knew the secret all along, why wouldn't he have been fighting for the Singers for the past handful of centuries since the Recreance? The book seems to imply he chooses to side with the Singers after the information is revealed that Roshar was their original home, and the humans were invaders. If he always knew this, why wait so long to help them? 

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@Aleksiel @Andy92 I don't believe for a second that Nale didn't know. In fact I think it's specifically why Nale was willing to go to such lengths to try and prevent a desolation, and ignore all evidence that it had started.

If Nale believed that with Honor gone the law of the land reverted to the Singers... Then he believed that as of Honor's death, the land belonged to the Parsh. A people mentally incapable of governing themselves, negating their dominion. 

I think he fought as hard as he did because he knew that if a desolation came, that the Parshmen could be restored and that he'd have to make this choice. 

That said, he swore to the Singers and not Odium. We have Rlain's sudden disappearance, the listeners who fled Narak, and Venli now reaching out to teach the newly remade Parsh about the listeners... So it may not be as bad as Nale or you both fear. 

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7 minutes ago, Calderis said:

That said, he swore to the Singers and not Odium.

Thank you. Glad to have someone else who sees the difference, since I've forgotten the wording of that WoB.


Edit: It's because you people say "Nale" rather than "Nalan."

Quote

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So this is a little complicated... Until they came back, by Nale's interpretation, then the law of the land was human. When they returned, the law of the land <became> Dawnsinger. And at that point, it was his job to <switch to them>. It is his logic, but you don't have to agree with that logic. Because Nale's logic is maybe not the best.

Edited by The One Who Connects
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11 minutes ago, Calderis said:

If Nale believed that with Honor gone the law of the land reverted to the Singers... Then he believed that as of Honor's death, the land belonged to the Parsh. A people mentally incapable of governing themselves, negating their dominion. 

I think he fought as hard as he did because he knew that if a desolation came, that the Parshmen could be restored and that he'd have to make this choice. 

I can see your reasoning here. The Parshendi would have been fully capable of governing themselves, but the parshmen definitely wouldn't have been.

I still pictured his story to continue differently than it did after reading Edgedancer though. Not saying his story doesn't make any sense at all, just that it felt like a little bit of a disconnect at least to me

Edit: 

@The One Who Connects

Quote

It is his logic, but you don't have to agree with that logic. Because Nale's logic is maybe not the best.

I think this is what I was really looking for lol. 

Edited by Andy92
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12 hours ago, JPark317 said:

IIRC, there is no indication that he is siding with the Fused, he only mentions siding with the Singers in general. I took this to mean he could side with the non-Fused/non-Odium-influenced Parshendi.

But Parshendi/listeners have been around the whole time! If Nale felt that after Honor's death the land reverted to _them_, he'd have joined them centuries ago. Instead, he manipulated them into killing Gavilar and then left them to their fate at the hands of enraged Alethi. So, yea, unfortunately there is every reason to think that the "singers" whose law he now feels compelled to follow are the Fused. Therefore, his nascent-Radiant killing days are likely not over - because one way for the Fused to use him and those Skybreakers who'd follow him is to continue with the extermination of their most dangerous foes before they can come into their power. All it would take would be the Fused making a law that humans are forbidden, on pain of death, to surgebind, and presto.

I do hope, that not all Skybreakers but Szeth are going to follow Nale, though, because his logic just doesn't make a lot of sense for a sane person. For one thing, it ignores the fact that Odium can't rule by the right of conquest since he hasn't yet won. For another, it ignores Cultivation's prior and still valid claim. And for the third - shouldn't Honor's testament as presented in Stormfather's visions  also be a consideration?

The Skybreaker issue is one of the things that make me wonder how a 1-year-skip after OB is supposed to work, as Dalinar really should try to reach them immediately and work to convince them. He can use visions again, after all, and Szeth should have told him their location. Nale thought that they would need time to reconcile their oaths with the new reality, but I very much fear that after a year they may be a lost cause and/or will lack the information needed to make a different choice without breaking their oaths. Not to mention that the squires left behind in Purelake are in need of rescue as well.

Edited by Isilel
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9 minutes ago, Isilel said:

Instead, he manipulated them into killing Gavilar and then left them to their fate at the hands of enraged Alethi.

How did Nale manipulate the Listeners into killing Gavilar?

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56 minutes ago, kenod said:

How did Nale manipulate the Listeners into killing Gavilar?

In WoR prologue, Nale's companion, who is almost certainly Kalak says this:

Words echoed in the hallway, coming from up ahead. "I'm worried about Ash."

"You're worried about everything."

Jasnah hesitated in the hallway.

"She's getting worse," the voice continued. "We weren't supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse."

"Shut up."

"I don't like this. What we've done was wrong. That creature carries my lord's own Blade. We shouldn't have let him keep it. He--"

Which suggests that both Heralds had something to do with Gavilar's murder and particularly Szeth's role in it. Nale also somehow knew that the feast was over - due to Szeth starting on his killing spree, despite being in the bowels of the palace, far from the feast hall. Liss the assassin and Szeth's former owner also somehow knew that something was going to happen, whith her sly hints of "on a night like this" and entirely too fortuitious selling of Szeth , etc.

In OB prologue we have learned that the listeners were guided into buying Szeth by "a voice speaking to the rythms" and the same voice helped them _press_ Szeth for answers until he admitted to having a Honorblade. Then, when Eshonai reported the awful truth of Gavilar's intentions to the elders, they took having Szeth at their disposal as the sign of what needed to be done to forestall the king. It is easy to see that the poor listeners have been manipulated into assassination by somebody who knew about and disapproved of Gavilar's goals, but couldn't take direct action against him - which fits Nale, who needed proper paperwork to kill his targets, which would have been impossible in this case. Ghostblood information that Shallan received in OB also claimed that Nale was opposed to Gavilar and wished his death.

Now, after OB came out many people jumped to the conclusion that Ulim the Envoy spren was  the "voice", but Venli specifically notes in her PoV that Ulim speaks like a human*. And now we know that Nale has a spren of his own that could have easily been the "voice" instead. The  Herald of Justice had motive, means and opportunity and Kalak's dialog confirms that they have done something "wrong" relating to Szeth. It is pretty clear, IMHO that Nale (and Kalak?) was the one who set the assassination up by indirect means.

* P.S. Also, Venli went along with the Elder Klade on slave-buying expedition where they ended up with Szeth due to the mysterious voice's "guidance", and she also interacted with Ulim a lot later, but she never suggests in her PoV that they were the same. In fact, she was _against_ Gavilar's murder, as she was all for him succeeding.

Edited by Isilel
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1 minute ago, Isilel said:

In WoR prologue, Nale's companion, who is almost certainly Kalak says this:

Words echoed in the hallway, coming from up ahead. "I'm worried about Ash."

"You're worried about everything."

Jasnah hesitated in the hallway.

"She's getting worse," the voice continued. "We weren't supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse."

"Shut up."

"I don't like this. What we've done was wrong. That creature carries my lord's own Blade. We shouldn't have let him keep it. He--"

Which suggests that both Heralds had something to do with Gavilar's murder and particularly Szeth's role in it. Nale also somehow knew that the feast was over - due to Szeth starting on his killing spree, despite being in the bowels of the palace, far from the feast hall. Liss the assassin and Szeth's former owner also somehow knew that something was going to happen, whith her sly hints of "on a night like this" and entirely too fortuitious selling of Szeth , etc.

In OB prologue we have learned that the listeners were guided into buying Szeth by "a voice speaking to the rythms" and the same voice helped them _press_ Szeth for answers until he admitted to having a Honorblade. Then, when Eshonai reported the awful truth of Gavilar's intentions to the elders, they took having Szeth at their disposal as the sign of what needed to be done to forestall the king. It is easy to see that the poor listeners have been manipulated into assassination by somebody who knew about and disapproved of Gavilar's goals, but couldn't take direct action against him - which fits Nale, who needed proper paperwork to kill his targets, which would have been impossible in this case. Ghostblood information that Shallan received in OB also claimed that Nale was opposed to Gavilar and wished his death.

Now, after OB came out many people jumped to the conclusion that Ulim the Envoy spren was  the "voice", but Venli specifically notes in her PoV that Ulim speaks like a human. And now we know that Nale has a spren of his own that could have easily been the "voice" instead. The  Herald of Justice had motive, means and opportunity and Kalak's dialog confirms that they have done something "wrong" relating to Szeth. It is pretty clear, IMHO that Nale (and Kalak?) was the one who set the assassination up by indirect means.

 

Ah, alright, thanks.

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@Isilel I don't think that Nale and Kalak had anything to do with the listeners and Gavilar. 

Kalak is rambling and disjointed at that point. Talking about the insanity of Ash and the others. 

I think they were able to sense somehow that Szeth had the Honorblade and thought they should have taken it back. It was "we shouldn't have let him keep it." not "we shouldn't have given it to him." 

The Heralds insanity, the Honorblades... In context of what he's saying I believe "what we've done" is the Oathpact, and Nale's "shut up" is a tired "not this crem again." 

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28 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I don't think that Nale and Kalak had anything to do with the listeners and Gavilar.

Nale was desperately trying to prevent a Desolation by killing people who, in his opinion, had a small chance to inadverently cause one, - Gavilar purposefully wanted to _start_ a Desolation , which, according to the Ghostbloods, was known to the Skybreakers. Isn't it quite a convenient "coincidence" that Nale was there when Gavilar was about to take an important step towards his goal, but was assassinated instead? That he had a perfect instrument for spying on the king in the  form of his bonded spren? That he had the knowledge of the past to anticipate the listeners horror when they learned the true reasons for that very favorable alliance with the Alethi? Not to mention, the whole unlikely chain of events that led to the listeners coming into possession of Szeth and knowledge of his secret* _just_ before they learned about the king's intentions? And how they took it as a sign to act?

We already have an example of how Skybreakers operate when they have to take out somebody when they can't get appropriate warrants for their execution with what happened to Shallan. A Skybreaker acolyte convinced her own mother to murder her, keeping his own hands technically clean. That's exactly what Nale did re: Gavilar, only he manipulated the events in a more circumspect way. But then, he must have a lot of practice, as not all of his targets would have had a criminal past.  

*WoR conversation between the 2 Heralds in my previous post proves that he knew all about it too.

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I'll agree to disagree. The Eshonai Prologue tells us how the listeners found Szeth and learned of his abilities, and it involved things that, to our knowledge at least, is not within the Heralds powers. 

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8 minutes ago, Calderis said:

The Eshonai Prologue tells us how the listeners found Szeth and learned of his abilities, and it involved things that, to our knowledge at least, is not within the Heralds powers. 

You are naturally free to disagree, but would you mind first satisfying my curiosity - what things are these, that would be outside the scope of  powers of a Herald who is also a Radiant and has a spren at his beck and call? As far as we have seen the Heralds can innately speak all Rosharan languages perfectly, which likely also extends to "speaking to the rythms".

Not to mention that Nale's ability to be precisely were and when he needed to be to revive Szeth already hints at Hoid-like non-Heraldic powers or, perhaps, Odium's future-sight. As well as his alleged ability (in Ghostbloods communication to Shallan) to track down people in the very early stages of attracting a Nahel spren and bonding them to the highspren instead.

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That's an interesting theory about Nale being involved with Gavilar's death. I see the logic in it but I also see Kalak's ramblings meaning they should not have left their honorblades with the Shin. The end result though does align with Nale's goals at the time so maybe not directly involved but not against the action either. 

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As with anything related to the Heralds, I think it's important to always keep in mind they're completely insane. As that WoB indicates, they may (and almost always do) have absolutely terrible logic, so it doesn't really need to make sense to us. In Edgedancer, Nale absolutely refuses to accept the reality of the radiants' return until he's presented with overwhelming evidence, so him ignoring that the Parshendi are still around doesn't seem that much of a stretch. You could even argue that they're a breakaway faction from the Singers, hence Listeners, and can't become the law of the land as a result.

What I do think will be interesting is in future books as the Singers start to form their own factions. Clearly Venli as a future Willshaper and possessor of awesome envoy powers will lead a faction of Singers that join the radiants and humans. What does Nale do then if, as I believe, he's really loyal to the Singers and not the Fused? Could be some big-time internal struggles ahead for him, that I'm excited to see.

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1 hour ago, Isilel said:

Not to mention that Nale's ability to be precisely were and when he needed to be to revive Szeth already hints at Hoid-like non-Heraldic powers or, perhaps, Odium's future-sight. As well as his alleged ability (in Ghostbloods communication to Shallan) to track down people in the very early stages of attracting a Nahel spren and bonding them to the highspren instead.

His finding of Szeth isn't that altogether impressive. He could've just been following them with lashings, following Szeth as well, waiting for the perfect opportunity. 

As for tracking people, that is a bit funny. It has appeared to be that he has some sort of ability to detect stormlight in people, as he could tell the moment when Lift became awesome again. The tracking though, may be perhaps explained through the use of spren spies, highspren, and others affiliated with them, following other spren. Alternatively, maybe he has a fabrial with something of that function. 

I'd have to reread the prologue to see Eshonai's exact wording, but from what you described, I don't think he would be able to speak to the rhythms. Nor would he condone the assassination of Gavilar, as that would be illegal by Alethi law. 

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If Nale is going to keep on having an antagonistic role, I hope he gets to be a well-developed villain like Taravangian or Sadeas, and not get ditched in the same way as Amaram was. He is far too cool a character to be consumed by Yelig-nar or something like that. 

 

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13 hours ago, Toaster Retribution said:

If Nale is going to keep on having an antagonistic role, I hope he gets to be a well-developed villain like Taravangian or Sadeas, and not get ditched in the same way as Amaram was. He is far too cool a character to be consumed by Yelig-nar or something like that. 

 

I think the book is setting up for Ishar to be a main antagonist. Nale could potentially be one in a slightly different way, but I have a bad feeling about Ishar in general. 

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14 hours ago, Toaster Retribution said:

If Nale is going to keep on having an antagonistic role, I hope he gets to be a well-developed villain like Taravangian or Sadeas, and not get ditched in the same way as Amaram was.

I would argue that he is already a far more interesting, consistent and multi-faceted character than Amaram ever was. And, if nothing else, he'll provide us with at least one truly great duel in which he'll demonstrate some real shardblade dual-wielding and surge mastery. I still have a faint hope that something will deflect him from his current Odium-oriented trajectory, but it is pretty unlikely. I can't help but wonder - if Szeth had died for good at the end of WoR as originally intended, would Nale have been our "present-day" PoV for Szeth-flashback book? Sigh. 

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