Corax

Tien's Truths

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This isn't a real theory. Rather, sort of a musing that I'd like to hear other thoughts on.

[This is in reference to the WoB stating that Tien was on the way to becoming a Lightweaver.]

We know that Cryptics are fascinated by lies, perhaps initially drawn to their prospective Radiants by them. Shallan has powerful personal truths to give Pattern. Hoid offers extremely juicy secrets. Elhokar, living in the shadow of two warlords and with a dangerous, corrupted spouse and volatile kingdom, well, it makes sense that he has deep lies and profound truths to admit.

So what about Tien? Sweet, kind, joyful Tien. I imagine he was more aware of his family's situation than they maybe gave him credit for. But what sort of lie was he living that would have been strong enough to put him on the (admittedly aborted) path to being a Lightweaver?

Just interested in hearing other thoughts and theories, crackpot or otherwise. :)

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Pattern seems to have gone to Shallan when she was a child, before her life got crazy messed up. I don't think Cryptics need the present day levels of hidden truths Shallan currently has to offer. 

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Shallan would still have needed to speak personally profound truths as the ideals of her order. The first time around for her they were certainly different, but given how messed up her family was already, it's not too surprising that she had some.

Another consideration is potentially tied to Fortune. For example, how Syl describes to Kaladin in OB how she knew of him before she met him. 

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The thing about lightweavers probably wasn't that they necessarily had to dig up repressed memories of traumatic experiences like Shallan. Rather I think that for a lightweaver to progress they have to come to a greater understanding of themselves.

Quote

 Malchin was stymied, for though he was inferior to none in the arts of war, he was not suitable for the Lightweavers; he wished for his oaths to be elementary and straightforward, and yet their spren were liberal, as to our comprehension, in definitions pertaining to this matter; the process included speaking truths as an approach to a threshold of self-awareness that Malchin could never attain.

Shallan doesn't just have to say the truth she has to accept it, work through it and admit to herself that that is a part of who she is. 

Lopen (and maybe even Sadeas' men at the end of OB) show us that the soul does not necessarily need to be cracked, but open, to be able to bond to a Spren. I think children as a rule are more open to this kind of bond. I don't think that Tien or Shallan had cracked souls.

Add to this that while children grow up they automatically learn to understand themselves better, coming to realize truths about themselves easily and naturally, while an adult may be more set in their ways and ideas about themselves and the world. It may be that it's just convenient for Cryptic to bond children. 

In short, I don't think either young Shallan or Tien had anything as dramatic as Shallan repressed traumatic experiences, but were just growing up and learning a lot about themselves. 

What sets these children apart from others to make cryptics chose them, I can only guess. Maybe it's an affinity for creating things, maybe it has to do with the role of lightweavers among the Radiants to give "spiritual sustenance". Tien and Shallan were both talented artists and both helped encourage and motivate their siblings. 

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Look, I wasn't asserting that there HAS to be a Tortured Past to get a cryptic. Only that there is probably a lot about the kid that we don't know.

Edited by Corax
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On 01/09/2018 at 6:44 AM, Ciridae said:

Lopen (and maybe even Sadeas' men at the end of OB) show us that the soul does not necessarily need to be cracked, but open, to be able to bond to a Spren. I think children as a rule are more open to this kind of bond. I don't think that Tien or Shallan had cracked souls.

We know from Mistborn the stress of being born can be sufficient to crack someones spirit web (IIRC Vin's sister snapped while being born.) so it doesn't need the rather florid excesses most of our major characters have.

Lopen after all at some point lost an arm and spent a significant amount of time in denial about it. So we can't rule him out of being cracked.

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On 8/29/2018 at 4:49 PM, Corax said:

This isn't a real theory. Rather, sort of a musing that I'd like to hear other thoughts on.

[This is in reference to the WoB stating that Tien was on the way to becoming a Lightweaver.]

We know that Cryptics are fascinated by lies, perhaps initially drawn to their prospective Radiants by them. Shallan has powerful personal truths to give Pattern. Hoid offers extremely juicy secrets. Elhokar, living in the shadow of two warlords and with a dangerous, corrupted spouse and volatile kingdom, well, it makes sense that he has deep lies and profound truths to admit.

So what about Tien? Sweet, kind, joyful Tien. I imagine he was more aware of his family's situation than they maybe gave him credit for. But what sort of lie was he living that would have been strong enough to put him on the (admittedly aborted) path to being a Lightweaver?

Just interested in hearing other thoughts and theories, crackpot or otherwise. :)

He actually hated rocks :) 

He was trained to be a surgeon and a soldier, but had zero aptitude for or interest in either. Those aren't convincing lies, because anyone who was around him for five minutes could tell. But he was still living these lies every day. 

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I wouldn't be surprised if Tien's 'lie' was as simple as "I'll never be like my brother."  In other words, I think Tien and Elhokar had a little bit in common.

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I agree that there’s more to Tien that we don’t know. Perhaps he’s hiding the fact that he’s not so happy as he seems and this “lie” is enough to attract a cryptic. Like he’s always trying to be the cheerful one to try to make Kaladin and those around him happy - similar to Shallan trying to cheer everyone up as a child. The fact that this might be a struggle for him to do so and that he’s hiding his true feelings sometimes is a pretty hard lie to live... Plus Kaladin’s the one who gets the attention of his family as the kind of family prodigy, the smart one, the successful one... Maybe Tien is jealous/resentful of this sometimes and he feels so ashamed and guilty for feeling this way about his own brother who he looks up to so much, and so he constantly has to hide those emotions both from his family and himself.

I think it also makes sense that the constant cheerfulness we see from Tien comes from Kaladin’s perspective, who thinks the exact same thing of Shallan. In the chasm scene he thinks Shallan is just always so happy, that she must have had the perfect life, and could never understand his pain. He’s not good at seeing the pain that others hide and maybe this includes Tien’s.

Edited by Kahlani
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Tien seems like a mix of Elhokar and Shallan. Incompetent like Elhokar but hiding behind a mask of Optimism like Shallan. I think those that hide their real feeling from themselves attract Cryptics (people lying to themselves).

Edited by Solarserpent
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I feel like Tien wouldn’t need to be hiding deep dark secrets or even unhappy secrets or lies. I almost wonder if his optimism and joy is a “lie” or at least is at odds with his family’s situation as he grew up. Him thinking “my family is perfect” or “we have each other and that is enough” would be a contradiction to the fact that his family struggled and didn’t always have enough. And his “truths” wouldn’t need to be as dark as Shallan’s. They just have to be profound and about self discovery. One of his truth’s could be “I love my family deeply despite them giving more for Kaladin than me.” Or “I value beauty over function.” 

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4 minutes ago, Solarserpent said:

Tien seems like a mix of Elhokar and Shallan. Incompetent like Elhokar but hiding behind a mask of Optimism like Shallan. I think those that hide their real feeling from themselves attract Cryptics (people lying to themselves).

That's a good way of putting it. 

Tien being a proto-radiant irks me just a bit. It's not a reveal that really tells us more about him and we really don't need to know anything more about him. Maybe in time Kaladin will realize Tien wasn't as happy as he seemed and that will mean something to Kaladin, but he already learned that about Shallan who he associates with Tien on some level. 

Gavilar proto-bonding the Stormfather and getting the visions goes a long way to explaining his character motivations. Tien is just Tien he's not cosmically important. He's important to Kaladin and he got killed and that's it. 

I'm biased because Tien never worked for me as a character. He just seemed like a symbol of innocence more than a person. /Anti-Tien Rant :) 

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18 hours ago, Solarserpent said:

Tien seems like a mix of Elhokar and Shallan. Incompetent like Elhokar but hiding behind a mask of Optimism like Shallan. I think those that hide their real feeling from themselves attract Cryptics (people lying to themselves).

Ohhhhh!  I think I got it: Tien wasn't lying to himself, he was lying about himself to try and cheer Kaladin up.  Like a good proto-Lightweaver he was playing a part for the world around him.  I always thought Tien was a rather flat and stereotypical character custom-designed as a plot device to maximize the PROTECT motivation in Kaladin.  It would be pretty clever on Brandon's part if the reason Tien's character seemed so artificial was because he himself was playing a role (helpless and innocent younger sibling).

Specifically, I think he may have been exaggerating certain aspects of his personality to try and cheer up Kaladin when Kal was sliding into depression.  On the surface Tien is always cheerful, innocent, and seemingly helpless.  Inside his head I doubt he was happy all the time (who is?), and I also kind of doubt he was as simple and innocent as he seemed to let on (Kaladin and both his parents are intelligent, analytical, quick witted etc.).  It was like a symbiotic relationship between Kaladin+Tien: Tien acts cheerful and innocent to give Kaladin a sense of purpose when he's sliding into depression (Protect Tien!), Tien has a sense of purpose in cheering up his brother.

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My thought is one would be: I am NOT my father's son.

The only  thing I have in favor of this is that Kaladins hair is completely black and tiens is a mix of black and brown.  Not real proof I know but fun to think about haha

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