Timothy

Spark and Malata

21 posts in this topic

I've been wondering a while how could a radiant such as Malata seemingly be working against the first ideal. We know that when one makes an Oath it must be done by intent, you have to actually mean the ideal and want to live up to it. We also know that the orders were made to control who became a radiant and what kinds of power they were able to access depending on their oaths. While we also know that each individual oath may vary from individual to individual the gist of it should remain the same, if so, how come Malata is enjoying the death and destruction they are causing? She isn't putting life before death at all, which seems like a pretty important part of the first oath. She also doesn't show any of the traits associated with a dustbringer aside from the want to divide things, she isn't loyal to Taravangian and doesn't seem like much of a guard. Every other radian we have seen upholds life before death so some degree, with the possible exception of the skybreakers.

This made me think about how Honor's death might have affected this, maybe him dying and Cultivation detaching herself could have made the oaths and/or bonds easier to twist? Spark seems to hold a pretty big grudge against the radiants from what Malata said, maybe this could have contributed too? Going back to the skybreakers, they haven't been upholding the journey before destination part much either. I guess that one may be easier to twist than life before death, but their means are in direct oposition with what the first ideal should mean. Neither group is being true to strength before weakness either.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this and those examples were meant to show that not all radiants are on the side of our heroes, but I still can't grasp how those individuals can violate such a fundamental part of being a knight radiant and still be one. Jasnah was willing to kill Renarin and he was ready to stop trying and die, which in theory goes against this very ideal too, but it somehow doesn't seem like such a big breach as the others. In the end they both decided against it too and I'm not even sure how oaths and Renarin work.

Spoiler

Tinfoil hat theory time, Kaladin and Present!Dalinar are the only ones who show unflinching care for others and better adapt to the first ideal AND both their spren are from before the recreance. Maybe all spren "born" from then onward are somehow different.

 

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The first ideal does not mean exclusively what Kaladin believes. It is open to interpretation. 

Quote

AndrewHB (paraphrased)

Is Niccolò Machiavelli's political theory--the ends justify the means--incompatible with the Knights Radiant's First Oath?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. Although many of the Orders of Knights Radiant would find Machiavelli's theory, that the ends justify the means, incompatible with additional oaths and/or values of that Order, there are some Orders who could accept a Machiavellian. (Brandon said that the Skybreakers are where a Machiavellian could find a home.)

Footnote: A follow up question was asked in the signing line.
source
Quote

AndrewHB

I wondered if I could follow up to that Machiavelli question. Would Elsecallers be a-- one of those other, uh-- one of those...

Brandon Sanderson

So, yeah. Elsecallers are fairly compatible. Like, Elsecallers feel like the journey is... the journey is the entire species, right? And that the journey is the destination. *inaudible*

Footnote: Referenced question was asked in the General Q&A.
source

All of the Oaths are open to interpretation, and the first oath is so vague to be twisted in ways that could be seemingly very opposite to what Teft teaches Kaladin. 

I wrote a pre-OB thread about this that much of the speculation later in the thread is outdated, but the point still stands. 

The First oath does not mean what people think it does, and Radiant does not equal good. 

 

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The First Oath is really nothing more specific than a declaration of determination. I want to survive as long as I can, I want to be strong as long as I can, I have things I want to accomplish while I'm here. The Punisher could swear the First Oath with a straight face.

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Spark could also be just insane and take the first ideal literally. Life before death, you were alive before i killed you. The ideals are based of the interpretation of the spren and the radiant involved, right? They aren't mentioned to have hard border. Like step over this line and you break the bond, wasn't build in buy H&C. So if two psychopaths find eachother they could start a lot of trouble.

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On 10/24/2018 at 6:17 PM, Timothy said:

how come Malata is enjoying the death and destruction they are causing? She isn't putting life before death at all, which seems like a pretty important part of the first oath.

The "good guys" are also causing a lot of death and destruction (see Kaladin's Oathbringer conundrum).  The Diagram in general is (in their view) putting life (the survival of humanity) before death (the collateral damage of some humans).  

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Not only is/was Malata and Spark working with Taravangian and the Diagram, whose plan all along was to serve Odium while bargaining to save a portion of mankind, Nale (an actual Herald) and all the Skybreakers other than Szeth have decided to fight for Odium, being as he represents the best interests of the Parshendi/Singers, with a prior claim to humanity to being the "original masters" of Roshar.

So the First Ideal doesn't preclude siding with Odium.

There is still something a little off about Malata and Spark, though:

Quote

"Spark is fine with what we're doing... The rest of them are idiots. They assume all the spren are going to be on their side. Never mind what the Radiants did to Spark's friends, never mind that organized devotion to Honor is what killed hundreds of ashspren in the first place. ... Spark is game for whatever it takes to get vengeance."

So Spark is an ashspren who bonded a human whose view of "Life Before Death" includes pursuing vengeance, which is the complete opposite interpretation of how Kaladin and Syl take it to mean.

Perhaps Malata and Spark are playing some kind of solo long game? She replies to Shallan when she calls her "Taravangian's Surgebinder", "...I am not his. I came to him for convenience, as Spark suggested we might look to Urithiru, now that it has been rediscovered."

Which would imply she was already bonded to Spark before she came to Taravangian, and might be working with the Diagram in order to gain access to the Oathgate from Jah Keved (where she's from, and that is under his control following his machinations) to get to Urithiru. Not to "join up" with Team Radiant under Dalinar's leadership, but for reasons of her/their own.

Especially now that Mr. T's deal with Odium excludes Jah Keved from being saved, only covering Kharbranth itself, I wouldn't be surprised if her (true) motives are either revealed or changed in a later book.

Edited by robardin
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2 hours ago, robardin said:

Which would imply she was already bonded to Spark before she came to Taravangian, and might be working with the Diagram in order to gain access to the Oathgate from Jah Keved (where she's from, and that is under his control following his machinations) to get to Urithiru. Not to "join up" with Team Radiant under Dalinar's leadership, but for reasons of her/their own.

I fully agree she's in it for herself, but she lies to Shallan there. Taravangian talks about her in his narrative. 

Quote

Adrotagia had entered with Malata, the Dustbringer; they were growing in companionship as Adrotagia attempted to secure an emotional bond with this lesser Diagram member who had suddenly been thrust into its upper echelons, an event predicted by the Diagram—which explained that the Dustbringers would be the Radiants most likely to accept their cause, and at that Taravangian felt proud, for actually locating one of their number who could bond a spren had not, by any means, been an assured accomplishment.

She was already a member of the Diagram. 

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I think the main reason I have trouble with the disunity among orders of radiants is the seeming unity of the previous radiants.

We know that there was a lot of contention and disunity behind the scenes, but it seemed they were all basically in agreement on their goal. Save Humanity. In this era we see that of the orders we've seen, only the Skybreakers don't have this goal. But there goal is to serve the group they see as in "the right". I would not be surprised that if when the radiants were originally founded there was a very similar schism and disunity to what we see now. I'm guessing that the order of Bondsmiths has a more unifying factor on all the orders than what we initially suspect.

TL;DR I think the bondsmiths originally united a disunified group of orders to overcome the differing views on the oaths.

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10 hours ago, sonwarrior01 said:

 I'm guessing that the order of Bondsmiths has a more unifying factor on all the orders than what we initially suspect.

I would agree with this. I think that the Bondsmiths had a slight preeminence among the other orders, which could have come from their bonds with higher spren like the Stormfather. Obviously each order would have a say in what should be done, but I could definitely see Bondsmiths being looked to for greater guidance.

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Different orders have different interpretations of ideals. Every person has a different interpretation to their orders ideals( Szeth and Nale are very obvious examples) 

And it is already very obvious that being a Radiant doesn't necessarily mean the person has to be on team honor or team dalinar. So long as subjectively in their opinion they fulfill their ideals they can be helpful to harmful to team honor.

I bet Spark is normal. This just isn't like power ranger where every power ranger is without a doubt a friend. Radiants don't work that way.

Same reason why Jasnah and Shallan can get away with murder. While Kaladin could not (different order means different guidelines .. and different people means different interpretation)

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Has Mr. Sanderson ever been asked if there is anything the radiants as a whole would not be willing to do?

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I don't see there being any intrinsic problems with a Dustbringer being in line with The Diagram. Dustbringers more than any other order (perhaps Skybreakers) seem to be in line with the idea of "cut off the arm to save the body" approach. It would reconcile their destructive paradigm; they harm to preserve.

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I think it's also interesting that the spren this time round are more interested in preserving spren life than human life.

It's been repeatedly said that honorspren didn't want to have anything to do with this wave of radiants and Spark and the light spren definitely don't want to put themselves at undue risk.

I'm guessing that the perception of the former Radiants has been heavily influenced by the Vorin church and thus is human-centric.

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On 10/29/2018 at 0:59 PM, sonwarrior01 said:

I think it's also interesting that the spren this time round are more interested in preserving spren life than human life.

It's been repeatedly said that honorspren didn't want to have anything to do with this wave of radiants and Spark and the light spren definitely don't want to put themselves at undue risk.

I'm guessing that the perception of the former Radiants has been heavily influenced by the Vorin church and thus is human-centric.

The spren’s perception of the former Radiants probably isn’t influenced by the Vorin church. Their perceptions are probably mostly influenced by the actual Recreance and the fact that the old Radiants were willing to kill so many spren, for whatever reason they did so. The Vorin church’s denouncing of the Radiants probably has to do with the just the fact that they abandoned the rest of Roshar.

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1 hour ago, StrikerEZ said:

The spren’s perception of the former Radiants probably isn’t influenced by the Vorin church. Their perceptions are probably mostly influenced by the actual Recreance and the fact that the old Radiants were willing to kill so many spren, for whatever reason they did so.

I agree. I guess what I'm trying to suss out is why I as a reader have such a strong bias toward the spren and knights radiant being anti-Odium. It seems like a betrayal for their to be radiants who don't wholeheartedly support Dalinar and crew because that's the way it was in the past.

Was the seemingly unified front against Odium and the void-bringers a result of viewing the direct result of a desolation and seeing that it was horrible or is it is the result of the official history ignoring dissident radiants?

I think it's also weird that representations of the fundamental forces of nature can change their minds. I realize that a whole bunch of spren were killed and everything alive fears death, but wouldn't they also fear oppression? I feel Timbre choosing Venli is evidence that some spren believe Odium should still be opposed. I'm just curious as to why others don't.

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1 hour ago, sonwarrior01 said:

I agree. I guess what I'm trying to suss out is why I as a reader have such a strong bias toward the spren and knights radiant being anti-Odium. It seems like a betrayal for their to be radiants who don't wholeheartedly support Dalinar and crew because that's the way it was in the past.

Because it's supposed to feel like a betrayal. You've been lead to believe it in the stories. From Dalinar's visions of the Radiants, to Teft's biased explanation of the first oath, everything has pointed to the Radiants being "the good guys."

There are hints if you look for them that it's not the case, but they're easy to miss. You have Nohadon talking about surgebinders as a problem. There's the epigraph about Ishar forcing organization upon the Radiants with threat of killing any who didn't comply... And it's that very organization that Malata says spark sees as the problem that caused the Recreance. 

Edited by Calderis
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6 hours ago, Calderis said:

There are hints if you look for them that it's not the case, but they're easy to miss. You have Nohadon talking about surgebinders as a problem. There's the epigraph about Ishar forcing organization upon the Radiants with threat of killing any who didn't comply... And it's that very organization that Malata says spark sees as the problem that caused the Recreance. 

That is very intriguing. Where was the Nohadon comment and the epigraph? I 100% believe you (and it's what I expected to find) but I want to see what else I can gain from the context. Thanks for pointing this out!

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12 minutes ago, sonwarrior01 said:

That is very intriguing. Where was the Nohadon comment and the epigraph? I 100% believe you (and it's what I expected to find) but I want to see what else I can gain from the context. Thanks for pointing this out!

In the Nohadon vision, he speaks about a surge binder who should have known better and a war or battle or something that preceded the desolation and weakened things, and how "not all are as discerning as honorspren" 

Then this is the epigraoh in question about Ishar. WoR ch. 42

Quote

"But as for Ishi’Elin, his was the part most important at their inception; he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men, and caused organization to be thrust upon them; as having too great power, he let it be known that he would destroy each and every one, unless they agreed to be bound by precepts and laws."

 

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There is certainly a lot of things that are hidden from us right now about the history.

I'm not surprised by this turn of events at all, Brandon does like to shake things up with the unexpected.

I think there is a hidden implication to the story of  "The Girl Who Looked Up" the whole story seems to describe the early days of humans on Roshar.

Let me explain. So we know the Dawnsingers at the word of the Gods (Cultivation and Honor?) took in the humans that fled the destruction of their home world like a combination of Odium and Voidbinding (Which I don't know if we have a theory on yet, but I get the sense that it's likely about binding surges (Spren) in perfect crystals so they can be used again and again and with no bonds to temper the power and Odium around they destroyed the world.) 

So Humans destroyed their world and the Dawnsingers take them in. But they're not taken in with open arms, they know the humans are dangerous (monsters) and so they put them in a place that's encircled by a mountain range (a wall) and they're told they must not leave and never step foot on stone (hence the Shin aversion to anyone standing on stone). 

At some point some humans decide why should we not explore the world? They cross the mountains (climb the wall) and find the world filled with wonder. So they broke whatever promise had been made. Likely war started up. So the cycle of war began, and Odium became involved and on and on it goes. It does seem like the story is about trying to break that cycle and coexist and through coexistence progress.

I hope we get more pieces of the story later like we did with Mistborn.

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On 10/29/2018 at 1:59 PM, sonwarrior01 said:

I think it's also interesting that the spren this time round are more interested in preserving spren life than human life.

I bet this is the key.  Like others in this thread, I was also pretty bothered by Malata's willingness to go along with Taravangian's plans.  If you take "Life before Death" to mean preventing another organization of Radiants from mass-murdering the spren again, then her actions aren't that strange.

The Nohadon quotes have always bugged me because the Ideals are supposed to be based on his book, but the Surgebinders arrive before he writes it.  What we could be seeing is the proto-Knights, where the spren were granting Surges but before Ishar was able to reign them all in properly.

I do wonder, however, about Spark's longer-term plans.  While the Diagram may honestly believe that they are going to pull a fast one on Odium somehow, there's always the chance that it goes wrong.  The scenario I imagine is that the Diagram cripples Dalinar somehow, allowing Odium to destroy the planet and everything associated with it.  Then, lots more spren die, which is clearly in conflict with Spark's goals.

 

 

 

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