Jofwu

[OB] Renarin's influence on the Diagram

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Last night I reread the scene where Taravangian speaks with Odium...

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OB chapter 122

He stepped to the side, and a golden pedestal appeared with a book on top of it. The Diagram. Odium began leafing through it, and the golden landscape changed, shifting to a bedroom with fine wooden furniture. Taravangian recognized it from the scribbled writing on every surface—from floor to ceiling, to the headboard of the bed.

“Taravangian!” Odium said. “This is remarkable.” The walls and furniture faded, leaving behind the words, which hung in the air and started glowing with a golden light.

[...]

“Allow me to show you how far I see.”

Golden words exploded outward from the ones Taravangian had written in the Diagram. Millions upon millions of golden letters burned into the air, extending into infinity. Each took one small element that Taravangian had written, and expanded upon it in volumes and volumes’ worth of information.

Taravangian gasped as, for a moment, he saw into eternity.

[...]

He slipped off his golden seat as Odium studied another portion of the Diagram. There. Behind where the bed had stood. A section of words that had faded from golden to black. What was that? As he drew near, Taravangian saw that the words were blacked out into eternity starting from this point on his wall. As if something had happened here. A ripple in what Odium could see . . .

At its root, a name. Renarin Kholin.

So basically they are looking at the Diagram as it originally appeared, written all over the original room it was created in. Odium then overlays his vast knowledge on top of it. And we see that in one corner it's all gone black, presumably because of Renarin.

I thought it was interesting that Taravangian mentions that this black section begins "behind where the bed had stood". So I flipped open to the Diagram epigraphs in WoR and found two that seem to be in that same area of the room, near the bed.

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WoR chapter 80     

"You must become king. Of Everything."     

Tenets of Instruction, Back of the Footboard: Paragraph 1

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WoR chapter 87

"Chaos in Alethkar is, of course, inevitable. Watch carefully, and do not let power in the kingdom solidify. The Blackthorn could become an ally or our greatest foe, depending on whether he takes the path of the warlord or not. If he seems likely to sue for peace, assassinate him expeditiously. The risk of competition is too great."

Writings upon the Bedstand Lamp: Paragraph 4 (Adrotagia’s 3rd translation from the original hieroglyphics)

I think it's interesting that both of these are directly related to Taravangian's plans to become king of the world. They are also, so far as we know, the biggest failing of the Diagram so far. Their interpretations and predictions concerning Dalinar (and the politics for Taravangian to take over) have been repeatedly wrong. Is it just a coincidence that these pieces of the Diagram are written near the bed, which is where Renarin's impact on Odium's foresight is rooted?

A bit of a tangent here, but...

Why is the blackness rooted in Renarin? We can speculate all over, but the obvious (general) answer is that it's related to the corruption of Glys. That's the most unique thing about him. And the most tangible thing we know of that's a result of this is his ability to see the future. I think Renarin's ability to see the future is causing him to have an atium-like affect on the grand scale of events on Roshar. When somebody uses atium, they can see the future of the world around them. It's different for Renarin of course... He clearly sees a bit further ahead than one does with normal atium usage. And his sight is centered around key moments rather than a simple foresight into how the objects/people around him move. But it's effectively the same thing. When TWO people burn atium, they see a (seemingly) infinite number of possibilities sprouting from the other person. This is because you're getting a positive feedback loop that makes each person's actions nearly impossible to predict.

So I think this is what's happening with Renarin's blackness on "Odium's Diagram". Renarin's just one guy of course. Compared to Odium's future sight, he presents a relatively small margin of error. But it's enough to have an impact in one corner. Imagine you're a general burning atium while watching a battle unfold, as one of the soldiers on the battlefield also burns atium. That person's actions would be a mess that makes no sense of course, but he doesn't influence the ENTIRE battlefield. You can see most of it clearly. Just not that corner over there.

All of that to say...

Odium seems to have augmented Taravangian's Diagram in this scene, and it's very curious to me that the blackness of Renarin is in the same corner as these snippets relating to Taravangian's plans concerning Dalinar and the coalition. Snippets which have repeatedly proven hard to work with, at best.

Theory:  Renarin Kholin's ability to see the future has caused events concerning Dalinar and the coalition to diverge from what Taravangian originally predicted.

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The scratching on the walls made all the difference it seems. It pushed Dalinar to head towards the center, which lead to the discovery of Urithiru, the death of Eshonai and Kaladin mending his bond.

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Renarin's faith and love for his family goes against Odium mandate, making it harder for Odium to see his future aswell.

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I don't think it is Renarins foresight that blocked Mr Ts plans regarding Dalinar. I feel that there just isn't proof enough to draw that conclusion. I also have a hard time connecting foresight to Mr Ts failing plans, unless Renarin actively acted on his foresight to block Taravangian, which he hasn't apart from the writings on the wall. And I doubt those writings has anything to do with Taravangian. 

I really like the atium idea though.

Edited by Toaster Retribution
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Just now, Toaster Retribution said:

I don't think it is Renarins foresight that blocked Mr Ts plans regarding Dalinar. I feel that there just isn't proof enough to draw that conclusion. I also have a hard time connecting foresight to Mr Ts failing plans, unless Renarin actively acted on his foresight to block Taravangian, which he hasn't apart from the writings on the wall. And I doubt those writings has anything to do with Taravangian. 

I certainly wouldn't say there's proof. This is just a theory.

The point is that Taravangian was effectively predicting the future. The future in the cosmere is never CERTAIN, I think, but there's generally a high probability that events will unfold a certain way. Atium doesn't show you what will absolutely, definitely happen, but what is most likely to happen. I'm proposing that, by seeing the future, Renarin made certain decisions and took certain actions that he otherwise would not have made. This threw the course of events off in ways that Taravangian did not predict in the Diagram.

There is some debate as to whether the Diagram made use of future sight or not. I'm not picking either side of that argument here. I don't think it matters. Renarin bonded with Glys well after the Diagram was created, so he wouldn't have been a factor at the time it was created. Either way, he tried to predict the future, and while he was accurate in many many ways, he was wrong about Dalinar. I think this is because Renarin's future sight opened up possibilities that were previously unlikely.

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1 minute ago, Jofwu said:

I certainly wouldn't say there's proof. This is just a theory.

The point is that Taravangian was effectively predicting the future. The future in the cosmere is never CERTAIN, I think, but there's generally a high probability that events will unfold a certain way. Atium doesn't show you what will absolutely, definitely happen, but what is most likely to happen. I'm proposing that, by seeing the future, Renarin made certain decisions and took certain actions that he otherwise would not have made. This threw the course of events off in ways that Taravangian did not predict in the Diagram.

There is some debate as to whether the Diagram made use of future sight or not. I'm not picking either side of that argument here. I don't think it matters. Renarin bonded with Glys well after the Diagram was created, so he wouldn't have been a factor at the time it was created. Either way, he tried to predict the future, and while he was accurate in many many ways, he was wrong about Dalinar. I think this is because Renarin's future sight opened up possibilities that were previously unlikely.

Ah, I see now. I agree that Renarins actions couldn't be predicted by Mr T and that that might have lead to his failed plans.  Good post, I feel like we are on the same page now. 

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Taravangian's efforts regarding Dalinar have only aided him in Unifying people, so I don't think that's a coincidence.

Renarin I think has two possibilities. One is that because he was supposed to die, so the fact that he lived is a huge deviation from what Odium saw/the Diagram predicted, corrupting everything from that point on.
Or because he can see the future, he functions a little like what you said about two people burning atium negate each other.

Also, Taravangian is still a plant by Cultivation.

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9 minutes ago, RShara said:

Also, Taravangian is still a plant by Cultivation.

So, what you're saying is Taravagnian will openly swear fealty and his people to Dalinar. Attempt to manuever himself to find a work around but die of old age in the climax. Thereby negating the deal between Odium, removing his influences, and unifying a very large portion of Roshar under a single rule.

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8 minutes ago, Naurock said:

So, what you're saying is Taravagnian will openly swear fealty and his people to Dalinar. Attempt to manuever himself to find a work around but die of old age in the climax. Thereby negating the deal between Odium, removing his influences, and unifying a very large portion of Roshar under a single rule.

Mmmm no, not quite ;)

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10 minutes ago, Naurock said:

So, what you're saying is Taravagnian will openly swear fealty and his people to Dalinar. Attempt to manuever himself to find a work around but die of old age in the climax. Thereby negating the deal between Odium, removing his influences, and unifying a very large portion of Roshar under a single rule.

Nah, the Diagram is an elaborate feignt. It's goal is not as presented. 

The words Taravangian was given to speak to Odium in that meeting show that the Diagram anticipated the circumstances, and I believe also knew that Odium would be aware of its words so it could not reveal its true aims.

It is steering everyone, Taravangian included, towards the boon he asked. To save the world. 

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Yeah, that.

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The theory I have been working under is that Taravangian, Renarin and Venli are all the work of Cultivation, and she is working so that her biggest surprises are all in Odium's blindspots. We know shards have things that they are blind to, so this shouldn't be something we can dismiss lightly. 

Just because you can see into infinity, doesn't mean you can see everything. It is hubris to think otherwise. 

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I don't know about Renarin and Venli, but Taravangian, Dalinar, and Lift, totally.

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I was thinking of people in Odium's blindspots, specifically. 

Certainly, Dalinar and others have received her cultivating as well. 

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3 hours ago, RShara said:

Also, Taravangian is still a plant by Cultivation.

This is so good on so many levels.

This would make a great 17th shard t-shirt, total economy of language to create a cryptic statement that is a summation of a complex yet highly probable speculative theory.

My only possible revision to this gem, to make it even more misleadingly cryptic, is this: "Mr. T is still a plant by Cultivation"

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Oh oh oh.

A T-Shirt that says "The T is a Plant"

I would laugh so hard.

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7 minutes ago, RShara said:

Oh oh oh.

A T-Shirt that says "The T is a Plant"

I would laugh so hard.

And on the back it could say "There's a diagram that shows what I mean"

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I'm imagining a background silhouette behind the words on the front which is meant to be Taravangian, but just to trip people up a bit, in the foreground under the words is a steaming cup of tea with tea leaves next to it.

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Ok, totally unofficial, but certifiably awesome nonetheless (spoilered to not hijack the thread):

Spoiler

ShardShirts_T_Is_a_Plant_Front.png.0ef446b1ba86a7d72187976f2c2c6b3b.png

ShardShirts_T_Is_a_Plant_Back.png.94858cb1ad6d0c07ad44e54f1b422326.png

As per your request @ZenBossanova, here is the alternate T-shirt (I like it better this way too, but Rshara came up with the original gem)

Spoiler

ShardShirts_T_Is_a_Plant_Front_Alternate.png.d4aebe18ed1c1d32763171997eb27545.png

ShardShirts_T_Is_a_Plant_Back.png.94858cb1ad6d0c07ad44e54f1b422326.png

Edited by hoiditthroughthegrapevine
Added alternate "Mr T" version of the shirt
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That's awesome!  Definitely put a tea-bearing plant (or would pot be inappropriate for the lols?) in the background.

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I wrote a post on this very topic, I think it is such an interesting question!  My big theories as to Renarin's role are:

-He seemed almost incapable of hate, and is so different from Odium that Odium finds him impossible to predict.

-He see's the future as Odium does due to Glys corruption, acts in response (i.e. Writing the count-down that prompted Dalinar to get to Urithiru, nodding when Jasnah is ready to kill him) and those responses change the future that Odium sees.  The fact he is supposed to be dead and isn't is obviously a big part of that. 

 

I am not convinced that Cultivations planning is as meticulous as has been suggested.  She just doesn't seem particularly calculating in the one scene where we met her.  When she gives Dalinar his boon and curse, her response is almost a "this might work or it might not."  I think the secret to any plan she has is not the diagram itself but Mr T's compassion.  He thinks his intelligence is what will save the world, but it is his compassionate, supposedly dumb days that I think will be the key.

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