HoidsRock

Amaram, Inconsistent and Believable

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I agree, I think Amaram legitimately believed that he was "Alethkar's only hope and salvation." It's interesting that Amaram is so easy to be turned by Odium, and it makes me wonder how much of it is his narcissism - which seems quite obvious - and how much of it is just the average lack of faith that the majority of the Vorin church has. It seems like there are a few strong Vorin believers - such as Kadash - but it seems like the majority does as Evi says.

Quote

...no one actually cares about religion here. Oh they make sure to point out how superior their beliefs are to mine. But who actually ever worries about the Heralds, other than to swear by their names. You bring ardents to battle merely to Soulcast rocks into grain. That way, you don't have to stop killing each other long enough to find something to eat.

Evi

Either way, I strongly agree that Amaram is totally a narcissist. It's interesting to follow just him throughout Stormlight and to see the changes that he goes through. It makes me sympathize with him.

Then I remember he bonded an Unmade and I feel better.

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He's a tragic character.  I feel bad for what happened to him, yet also feel he belonged in a forever jail cell or grave for what he did to Kaladin's old squad.  Which is hard in this series though where both Dalinar and Szeth have gotten second chances after some mass-murder.

He entered the military service with such fine superior role models as Sadeas (worst human being on the planet who has him fight pointless border scuffles against other Highlords), Dalinar (only feels alive when murdering), and Gavilar (wants to start a catastrophic world war so his people feel more inspired and the angels come back).

I got the impression he wasn't a purely awful sadist though.  In the brief chapter when Shallan infiltrated his house, he seemed rather kind and fair with his servants.  He also did feel some regret over his past actions, and spared Kaladin's life when simple practicality would have demanded he close that loose end.

He seemed like an okay-ish person that fell in with a really bad crowd, and seemed to believe that the ends (returning the Heralds) justified his actions, however dark.  The fact that both his King and Highlord were shifty Machiavellian types didn't help matters either.

When it was revealed his cause and actions were all for naught, he cracked under the psychological guilt and gave into despair.

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1 hour ago, Subvisual Haze said:

He's a tragic character.  I feel bad for what happened to him, yet also feel he belonged in a forever jail cell or grave for what he did to Kaladin's old squad.  Which is hard in this series though where both Dalinar and Szeth have gotten second chances after some mass-murder.

He entered the military service with such fine superior role models as Sadeas (worst human being on the planet who has him fight pointless border scuffles against other Highlords), Dalinar (only feels alive when murdering), and Gavilar (wants to start a catastrophic world war so his people feel more inspired and the angels come back).

I got the impression he wasn't a purely awful sadist though.  In the brief chapter when Shallan infiltrated his house, he seemed rather kind and fair with his servants.  He also did feel some regret over his past actions, and spared Kaladin's life when simple practicality would have demanded he close that loose end.

He seemed like an okay-ish person that fell in with a really bad crowd, and seemed to believe that the ends (returning the Heralds) justified his actions, however dark.  The fact that both his King and Highlord were shifty Machiavellian types didn't help matters either.

When it was revealed his cause and actions were all for naught, he cracked under the psychological guilt and gave into despair.

Except by Jasnah's own commentary, and confirmed by Amaram, his own mother made sure he got training from a wide array of military leaders. Jasnah just used that knowledge to throw in a barb. So his examples were not limited to Sadeas, Dalinar, and Gavilar. He worked with them when he became an officer, but that does not mean they were his examples. 

Sadeas and Jasnah confirm the honorable and giving lord is a facade. So his actions in the house are to maintain that facade. "Amaram, the honorable highlord who cares for his people" is a lie.

Dalinar and Szeth weren't given second chances. They had to work for it. Amaram had plenty of opportunities to change, and he chose not to. That is why I feel Amaram is different from Dalinar and Szeth. They chose to change. Amaram did not. He just chose a different source to pile all his guilt onto. 

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6 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

Dalinar and Szeth weren't given second chances. They had to work for it. Amaram had plenty of opportunities to change, and he chose not to. That is why I feel Amaram is different from Dalinar and Szeth. They chose to change. Amaram did not. He just chose a different source to pile all his guilt onto. 

That's such a bizarrely deterministic sense of morality.  Dalinar literally had a God delete the horrible things he did from his memory so he could develop to be a better person and Szeth was literally razed from the dead by a demi-God Herald and given extensive details on the affairs of world and what was and wasn't true.  I don't consider a change of faith and ethics after a literal divine intervention to be a particularly good example of moral "choice" to weigh others against.

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27 minutes ago, Subvisual Haze said:

That's such a bizarrely deterministic sense of morality.  Dalinar literally had a God delete the horrible things he did from his memory so he could develop to be a better person and Szeth was literally razed from the dead by a demi-God Herald and given extensive details on the affairs of world and what was and wasn't true.  I don't consider a change of faith and ethics after a literal divine intervention to be a particularly good example of moral "choice" to weigh others against.

Dalinar recognized what happened at the Rift was wrong. When he went to the nightwatcher he asked for forgiveness. Cultivation erased his memory to give Dalinar a chance to choose who he would become. She said she could be just as easily making a weapon for the enemy. Dalinar could have taken the erased memory, and continued on killing like nothing changed, but he didn't. He chose to be a better man. He chose to ask for forgiveness. He chose to take control of his impulses. He chose to take responsibility and do better. 

Szeth followed the tenets of his people. When Kaladin proved them wrong, Szeth chose to take responsibility for his actions. When he was raised from the dead, he no longer took things on blind orders. He began to question. He reasoned for himself. He could have chose to follow Nale. But instead he chose to take responsibility for his actions, and seek to do better. 

Amaram had a choice when Kaladin gave up the plate and blade. Instead he chose to kill Kaladin's men to cover it up. Amaram had a choice when he found out what the Sons of Honor was trying to do (bringing about Desolations that would result in countless loss of life). He chose to continue to help them and actively took actions to help bring it about. When Kaladin popped up and accused Amaram of what he did, he had a chance to take responsibility. He chose not to. He chose to lie further and try to get Kaladin removed. Amaram then chose to further be duplicitous and try to rob Dalinar of the shardblade. When Dalinar caught Amaram red handed, again Amaram had a choice. He could have taken responsibility, but again he did not. In fact tried to draw his shardblade on Dalinar, and fled when Dalinar was quicker on the draw. The desolation has come. Dalinar and others are revealed to be radiants to stop the coming voidbringers. Amaram knows many will die. Does he take responsibility then and try to change? Nope again. He talks to Restares saying how they succeeded and he continues. Now we get to the question as to when he switched sides. There is a theory I like that says when Amaram got caught out in the storm before arriving at Urithiru was when Odium contacted him. So now we get to the final big chance to change. It is revealed to him that the heralds lied. Everything he did and justified by saying it was for the greater good, was wrong. Does he take responsibility like Szeth and realize everything he did was on him? Nope. Does he take responsibility like Dalinar and try to change? Nope. He sides with Odium who tells him it isn't his fault, and sells out humanity. 

That does not sound like a bizarre deterministic sense of morality to me. That also does not sound like a tragic figure to me. But that is my own reading of the character. 

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2 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

So his examples were not limited to Sadeas, Dalinar, and Gavilar. He worked with them when headeas and Jasnah confirm the honorable and giving lord is a facade. So his actions in the house are to maintain that facade. "Amaram, the honorable highlord who cares for his people" is a lie.

Dalinar and Szeth weren't given second chances. They had to work for it. Amaram had plenty of opportunities to change, and he chose not to. That is why I feel Amaram is different from Dalinar and Szeth. They chose to change. Amaram did not. He just chose a different source to pile all his guilt onto. 

I completely agree with this, and with @HoidsRock. Amaram was simply not the kind of man he said he was, and we were given plenty of ways in the text to understand this.

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I find the chain of logic that Amaram followed completely believable. As I've said before I just wish it had been shown more. 

He was a narcissist, and a zealot. A zealots faith is strong but brittle, so when he was shown through the publishing of the the visions that the Heralds had lied... His faith broke hard. 

Combine that with his self importance and need to prove himself... And his reasons for even maintaining appearances were gone. 

Just a broken man, with a need to raise himself above others. 

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Kierkegaard once noted that life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.  We see people's ends and judge their life backwards through that bias.  Life however is an endless series of choices that you have to make with incomplete information using a flawed personality uniquely shaped by your genetics, family upbringing, societal values, individual circumstances and many other factors etc.

In the past Amaram was at least trying to do "the right thing", following his King's lead to resurrect their lost holy leaders.  This is ethical from a consequentialist perspective (bringing back holy figures), he's essentially a dumber Taravangian in that regard.   Dalinar spent a good portion of his life murdering people because he enjoyed it.  What if they both died shortly after the Rift, how would we judge them then?  Dalinar lived long enough and had circumstances conspire to give the opportunity for him to turn it all around.  If he had died shortly after the Battle of the Rift humanity would have rightly regarded him as a monster.

I'm not arguing that Amaram wasn't a complete monster, just that fate takes strange turns.  At what point in history can we completely write off Amaram as utterly irredeemable?  Hard to say, especially since we lack POV scenes for him.

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37 minutes ago, Subvisual Haze said:

Kierkegaard once noted that life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.  We see people's ends and judge their life backwards through that bias.  Life however is an endless series of choices that you have to make with incomplete information using a flawed personality uniquely shaped by your genetics, family upbringing, societal values, individual circumstances and many other factors etc.

In the past Amaram was at least trying to do "the right thing", following his King's lead to resurrect their lost holy leaders.  This is ethical from a consequentialist perspective (bringing back holy figures), he's essentially a dumber Taravangian in that regard.   Dalinar spent a good portion of his life murdering people because he enjoyed it.  What if they both died shortly after the Rift, how would we judge them then?  Dalinar lived long enough and had circumstances conspire to give the opportunity for him to turn it all around.  If he had died shortly after the Battle of the Rift humanity would have rightly regarded him as a monster.

I'm not arguing that Amaram wasn't a complete monster, just that fate takes strange turns.  At what point in history can we completely write off Amaram as utterly irredeemable?  Hard to say, especially since we lack POV scenes for him.

That would be valid if it wasn't for the fact that (to me) Amaram knew he was helping bring about the desolations to bring back "their holy figures". He knew the desolations would result in the deaths of untold numbers. So (again to me) that is not Amaram "trying to do the right thing". That is Amaram wanting his beliefs to be enforced on the world, and is willing for countless innocent lives to be extinguished to accomplish it. Much like he did to Kaladin's men. You want your religion to be dominant and save souls? Sure! Then talk to them. Convince them. Do not consign them to death without their knowledge or say under the premise of "saving their souls". No one (to me) is truly irredeemable. However if when we meet them at a certain point they make choices not to seek redemption, then they are the problem. If we met Dalinar when he was young, he has a problem because he continually chooses to kill. If we then see Dalinar when he is with Evi, and his choices to spare the child, and begin trying to make his wife happy, then we see he is trying. Amaram at every step chose to deny responsibility, and as explained in this thread, opted for narcissism. As he is now dead, he has run out of further chances to choose to take responsibility. So it is not about looking at the result and judging the individual "redeemable". At every juncture Amaram denied responsibility. That to me is the fact of the matter regardless at what point you look at him in his journey.

edit: also if we were to line Amaram, Dalinar and Szeth side by side, they each had their big "moment" before death. Just in Dalinar and Szeth's case they chose to take responsibility, while Amaram did not.

Dalinar's big moment was after the Rift. He chose to take responsibility and sought forgiveness

Szeth's big moment was when he was confronted by Kaladin in the skies over the shattered plains. He chose to take responsibility and offered himself up to Kaladin's blade

Amaram's big moment was when he was confronted by the evidence that the heralds betrayed humanity, ran away and lied. He chose not to take responsibility and fled to Odium. 

 

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35 minutes ago, Subvisual Haze said:

In the past Amaram was at least trying to do "the right thing", following his King's lead to resurrect their lost holy leaders.  This is ethical from a consequentialist perspective (bringing back holy figures), he's essentially a dumber Taravangian in that regard.   Dalinar spent a good portion of his life murdering people because he enjoyed it.  What if they both died shortly after the Rift, how would we judge them then?  Dalinar lived long enough and had circumstances conspire to give the opportunity for him to turn it all around.  If he had died shortly after the Battle of the Rift humanity would have rightly regarded him as a monster.

Sure Amaram could have been a good person.  The reason he is not is that he chose not to be one.  Yes if someone like Kaladin had been his commander I think that he could have amounted to a great man but that is just a could have.  Amaram's main problems and the causes of his villainy are (I think) twofold.  Firstly his narcissism.  Time and time again he refuses to believe that anyone else can be as good as him or that he is in any way inadequate.  The second is his uncontrolled passion.  The belief that he must do everything he can to achieve what is right.  If a parental figure had done what every commander does on the first day and beet him down to the point where Amaram had lost then his impulses could have been channeled productively.  Instead of an uncontrolled zealot looking to prove himself the best hero ever he could have been an OK commander and a genuinely decent human being.  This did not happen because the only people that did surround him seem to be encouraging him to indulge his impulses.  Gavilar encouraging a mach between him and Jasnah, Sadeas pushing him to battle, the sons of Honor using him as a primary leader?  Come on!  Its like they are trying to maintain his delusions of grandeur!  Will no one take him to task about his failings ever?

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It is unfortunate that we don't get more insight into Amaram and why he switched sides, though it never seemed realistic that he and Kaladin would Reconcile - and with Kaladin being an important Lieutenant to Dalinar, there probably would never have been much a place for Amaram. It is almost as if he had to be on the other side if he wanted to be someone important, which I agree that he very much does.

I think the clearest example of Amaram's character comes from his interaction with Jasnah. They are peers and presumably know one another fairly well, and he has pursued a relationship with her for years with her father's blessing... and she clearly detests him. The character who knows Amaram best hates him more than anyone except Kaladin! We see what Amaram is really like when, rejected by Jasnah, his first impulse is to reach for a weapon.

I can't help but imagine that Kaladin and Jasnah would be on much better terms if Kaladin had witnessed that exchange.

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20 hours ago, HoidsRock said:

I

  • In OB ch 53, we get a scene with Jasnah and Amaram from her POV.  He goes from wooing her, to mentioning his mother, to reaching for his shardblade.  

r/niceguys :ph34r:

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So basically what we're all saying is that Amaram is the type of guy where it isn't enough for him to be a hero, he must be seen to be the greatest hero ever. He cannot be mearly instrumental in the success of a mission, he must be the entire reason for mission success. It's how he built his reputation, it's how he speaks when being honest. I mean, this dude actually takes credit for Kaladin and his eventual status upgrades. 

I always thought Amaram was stupid for betraying Kaladin. Kal was young, talented and naive. He took on a Shardbearer for Amaram when nearly anyone else on the planet would have run as fast as they've ever ran in the other direction. Amaram would have had no trouble recruiting him to his cause. But in light of the OP's analysis of Amaram's character it makes a sick sort of sense.  He knows he could have never in a million years pulled off what Kaladin did. He could get close with Shards though. And lookie here! Shards for the taking, without all that pesky business of actually besting a Shardbearer in combat. Get rid of a few bums who, let's face it, weren't worthy of Shards anyway and voila! He can be the hero he's always imagined himself to be. 

And as for the switch to Team Odium, the god promised him something he could not refuse. Greatness. He'd burned all his bridges with the most powerful people in the land. His reputation was in tatters. He could have rebuilt his reputation and become a fairer dealer but he'd never be fully trusted again. And he'd never be Radiant. Besides, he never once truly thought he'd done anything wrong. He may have been forced into some regrettable situations but he wasn't wrong to act as he did. He resented the fact that others tainted his glorious legacy so when Odium lays his sales pitch Amaram figured better King of Hell than Heaven's street sweeper.

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2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Odium lays his sales pitch Amaram figured better King of Hell than Heaven's street sweeper.

Sooooo accurate.  I will point out that a large number of people were responsible for making him this way.  I still think a good few punches early in his career might have made him less of a ********.  Am I wrong to think you can beet decency into people?

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Beating is an imprecise tool at best. You can beat the decency out of people as well as into. I'm all about and for beating Amaram, just on general principles. I just don't know what would result from it.

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2 hours ago, Karger said:

Sooooo accurate.  I will point out that a large number of people were responsible for making him this way.  I still think a good few punches early in his career might have made him less of a ********.  Am I wrong to think you can beet decency into people?

Eh. You can beat fear into people, and that can make them conform... But that's not right action because it's right. That's right action for fear of repercussions. 

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So I'm about halfway through a reread of Oathbringer, but I've got to say that so far I see little to no evidence to suggest that Amaram has any intention or motive to switch sides.  Things are looking nothing but up for Amaram.  He's been named Brightlord Sadeas and given control of arguably the most powerful and influential princedom in Alethkar after Dalinar's crushing defeat at the Tower.  Heck, if anything bad happens to Elhokar, who has just gone off on an idiotic rescue mission to Alethkar and hasn't been heard from since, Amaram is probably the best positioned to become the next king.  Elhokar is missing, his son is missing, and so is Adolin.  The only person reasonably standing between Amaram and the throne at this point is Dalinar, who is having some serious issues with the church, has a severely weakened princedom, and is making some rather unpopular decisions.

Right now, it looks like all Amaram needs to do to become king of Alethkar is to wait.  If he's feeling especially bold, maybe try sticking a knife in Dalinar's ribs during the next Weeping.  At present, I can't think of a single good reason for him to throw that all away in joining Odium.

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55 minutes ago, galendo said:

So I'm about halfway through a reread of Oathbringer, but I've got to say that so far I see little to no evidence to suggest that Amaram has any intention or motive to switch sides.  Things are looking nothing but up for Amaram.  He's been named Brightlord Sadeas and given control of arguably the most powerful and influential princedom in Alethkar after Dalinar's crushing defeat at the Tower.  Heck, if anything bad happens to Elhokar, who has just gone off on an idiotic rescue mission to Alethkar and hasn't been heard from since, Amaram is probably the best positioned to become the next king.  Elhokar is missing, his son is missing, and so is Adolin.  The only person reasonably standing between Amaram and the throne at this point is Dalinar, who is having some serious issues with the church, has a severely weakened princedom, and is making some rather unpopular decisions.

Right now, it looks like all Amaram needs to do to become king of Alethkar is to wait.  If he's feeling especially bold, maybe try sticking a knife in Dalinar's ribs during the next Weeping.  At present, I can't think of a single good reason for him to throw that all away in joining Odium.

I agree with many here in this thread regarding Amaram's character analysis. His actions are totally plausible considering is personality. And that's exactly the problem. We need this character analysis to fill the whole Galendo's post shows. I don't think that Amaram's position is as good as Galendo describes it, but still Amaram's turn came quite out of nowhere in my firs read of OB. On a reread I can recognize signs, but only after thinking more about Amaram's personality.

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9 hours ago, galendo said:

So I'm about halfway through a reread of Oathbringer, but I've got to say that so far I see little to no evidence to suggest that Amaram has any intention or motive to switch sides.  Things are looking nothing but up for Amaram.  He's been named Brightlord Sadeas and given control of arguably the most powerful and influential princedom in Alethkar after Dalinar's crushing defeat at the Tower.  Heck, if anything bad happens to Elhokar, who has just gone off on an idiotic rescue mission to Alethkar and hasn't been heard from since, Amaram is probably the best positioned to become the next king.  Elhokar is missing, his son is missing, and so is Adolin.  The only person reasonably standing between Amaram and the throne at this point is Dalinar, who is having some serious issues with the church, has a severely weakened princedom, and is making some rather unpopular decisions.

Right now, it looks like all Amaram needs to do to become king of Alethkar is to wait.  If he's feeling especially bold, maybe try sticking a knife in Dalinar's ribs during the next Weeping.  At present, I can't think of a single good reason for him to throw that all away in joining Odium.

I mentioned in a prior post that there is a theory out there that Odium offered the "deal" to Amaram during the time he was "lost" in the Everstorm traveling to Urithiru. If that theory is correct, then Odium would potentially have reached out to Amaram after Amaram spoke to Taln (as a gibbering mess), Dalinar revealing him for what he is, and on the run. In that situation I could see Amaram taking the deal. Then everything after is him trying to manipulate the main cast, and get into position to undermine the Kholins for his new "boss" Odium. 

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12 hours ago, galendo said:

So I'm about halfway through a reread of Oathbringer, but I've got to say that so far I see little to no evidence to suggest that Amaram has any intention or motive to switch sides.  Things are looking nothing but up for Amaram.  He's been named Brightlord Sadeas and given control of arguably the most powerful and influential princedom in Alethkar after Dalinar's crushing defeat at the Tower.  Heck, if anything bad happens to Elhokar, who has just gone off on an idiotic rescue mission to Alethkar and hasn't been heard from since, Amaram is probably the best positioned to become the next king.  Elhokar is missing, his son is missing, and so is Adolin.  The only person reasonably standing between Amaram and the throne at this point is Dalinar, who is having some serious issues with the church, has a severely weakened princedom, and is making some rather unpopular decisions.

Right now, it looks like all Amaram needs to do to become king of Alethkar is to wait.  If he's feeling especially bold, maybe try sticking a knife in Dalinar's ribs during the next Weeping.  At present, I can't think of a single good reason for him to throw that all away in joining Odium.

I think that one of Amaram's main character traits, along with the previously mentioned narcissim, is jealousy. Amaram stole Kaladin's Shardblade rather than asking for it because he was jealous of him. Amaram recognized in Kaladin the hero that he himself had always wanted to be. He set himself up as Commander of the Knights Radiant despite not having powers, because he wanted to be better than those that did. He seems to think that he has a right to power just because he's Amaram. Taking that into consideration, you can see why he would have made this decision.

Yes, he has power, but he might not have seen it that way. He clearly models his reputation of the "honest general" off of Dalinar's, and seems to view the man as a sort of role model. But now Amaram's secret is out, and he's lost Dalinar's respect. He is also now in charge of the most disorderly, dishonest warcamp,  which is actively at odds with Dalinar. He joined the Sons of Honor and tried to be a Knight Radiant himself, but not only did he fail, he failed where all his greatest adversaries succeeded (Kaladin, Jasnah, Dalinar, etc.). Now the Everstorm is wreaking destruction on the world, with massive armies springing up to oppose the humans, unearthly power at their command. I can see Amaram viewing himself as on the wrong side of this conflict. Odium offered him the power he couldn't get as a Radiant. He offered him greatness. To me, it's not a surprise that he accepted.

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16 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

I mentioned in a prior post that there is a theory out there that Odium offered the "deal" to Amaram during the time he was "lost" in the Everstorm traveling to Urithiru. If that theory is correct, then Odium would potentially have reached out to Amaram after Amaram spoke to Taln (as a gibbering mess), Dalinar revealing him for what he is, and on the run. In that situation I could see Amaram taking the deal. Then everything after is him trying to manipulate the main cast, and get into position to undermine the Kholins for his new "boss" Odium. 

This isn't a bad idea.  If Amaram's bargain with Odium predated his ascention to Highprince, at a time when Amaram's opportunities looked less favorable, then it might have made sense for him to defect.  The only real issues are, first, that Amaram still seems quite pleased with himself at the end of WoR even though he already knows that Taln is completely broken.  So finding out that the Heralds are mad can't really be a major influence of his decision even if he decides to take Odium's word for it, which is questionable in itself.  The other issue is that if Amaram did switch sides earlier, then Odium is giving up a highly placed agent for no real purpose at the battle of Thaylen City.  Odium doesn't even want Amaram as his champion.  There's not much reason for Odium to break Amaram's cover.

Either way, though, I think that Amaram definitely should have had a viewpoint during OB.  It would have added a lot.

13 hours ago, Rushu42 said:

I think that one of Amaram's main character traits, along with the previously mentioned narcissim, is jealousy. Amaram stole Kaladin's Shardblade rather than asking for it because he was jealous of him. Amaram recognized in Kaladin the hero that he himself had always wanted to be. He set himself up as Commander of the Knights Radiant despite not having powers, because he wanted to be better than those that did. He seems to think that he has a right to power just because he's Amaram. Taking that into consideration, you can see why he would have made this decision.

Yes, he has power, but he might not have seen it that way. He clearly models his reputation of the "honest general" off of Dalinar's, and seems to view the man as a sort of role model. But now Amaram's secret is out, and he's lost Dalinar's respect. He is also now in charge of the most disorderly, dishonest warcamp,  which is actively at odds with Dalinar. He joined the Sons of Honor and tried to be a Knight Radiant himself, but not only did he fail, he failed where all his greatest adversaries succeeded (Kaladin, Jasnah, Dalinar, etc.). Now the Everstorm is wreaking destruction on the world, with massive armies springing up to oppose the humans, unearthly power at their command. I can see Amaram viewing himself as on the wrong side of this conflict. Odium offered him the power he couldn't get as a Radiant. He offered him greatness. To me, it's not a surprise that he accepted.

There's a lot in this post I take some issue with.  First, an opinion: I've never seen Amaram as the jealous type.  I've certainly never seen anything that would suggest that he's jealous of Kaladin of all people.  He's greedy, yes.  Insecure, arguably.  Narcissistic, most definitely (or at least, he cultivates his immaculate image relentlessly; but then again, so does Jasnah).

Second, It's also worth noting that Amaram didn't set himself up as commander of the KR despite not having powers.  Dalinar set him up as commander of the KR at a time when nobody had powers, as far as they knew.  It's not even entirely clear that Amaram believed at that time that the old Radiants truly had magic powers, though given his membership in the Sons of Honor he probably did.  Certainly neither had any knowledge of the true methods or requirements for becoming Radiant.

Third, Amaram does not model his "honest general" persona after Dalinar.  Amaram was doing the upstanding general thing way before Dalinar, probably when Dalinar was still a drunken wreck of a man after the Rift and before Cultivation.  It's even altogether possible that Amaram actually was trying to be an upstanding brightlord.  He fails first with Kaladin and then with Dalinar when his greed gets the better of him, but other than that he's been pretty much the ideal Alethi lighteyes.  I think that's part of why his sudden betrayal comes so far out of left field.  His previous failings were both due to greed, but his turncoat moment involves him willingly giving up all the wealth/position/power/respect that he's amassed, none of which is negligible.

I dunno, it all seems pretty out of character.  I might change my mind when I reach the battle of Thaylen City, but so far Amaram's always been cautious.  The public declaration of treachery goes against everything he's built over the past decade or so, and what does he get out of it?  Basically nothing.  I might have been able to see it had Amaram been shown to be hungry for Radiant powers and somehow convinced that Odium was his only reasonable path to get there, but neither of those things seem particularly plausible.

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I agree that it would have been favorable to have some sort of Amaram POV. Maybe in an interlude or something. But there's hints in story that his public image isn't real. In WoK where he makes and forgets his promise to Kaladin regarding Tien. In WoR when Sadeas tells him straight out that he knows where all his bodies are buried. Or when he supposedly tries to heal the rift between Dalinar and Sadeas by telling Dalinar that his public image and flexible moral character makes him a perfect bridge. Or in OB when he believes Dalinar killed Sadeas and attempts to praise him for the master stroke. I would have liked to have seen it explicitly in the text but we had more than enough clues if reading between the lines.

As for his heel turn coming out of nowhere, well after WOR his reputation, his pristine public image, was blown to shreads, unfairly so in his opinion. At the same time his faith was shattered upon spending time with the Ancient of Stone. So the 2 things that served as a bedrock for his worldview both broke at the same time. The important thing is that he thought he was blameless. Honor failed him by letting him suffer even as he dedicated his life to healing all the world's ills. Odium comes in and confirms his blamelessness. To me it seemed inevitable that Amaram would turn, I was only surprised at the timing.

Lastly, if someone craves respect and legitimacy, they can be awfully blind to whatever advantage they posess if they feel they're getting less than their due as they see it. Amaram was in a position to reassemble his tattered reputation, he got a massive promotion, he could duel-wield Shardblades. But he lost Dalinar's respect and couldn't forge a path to legitimacy through a match with Jasnah so none of it mattered. A rational person in Amaram's position during OB would be pleased as punch at their prospects even with a trial looming. Amaram wasn't.

Edited by Bigmikey357
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9 hours ago, galendo said:

Third, Amaram does not model his "honest general" persona after Dalinar.  Amaram was doing the upstanding general thing way before Dalinar, probably when Dalinar was still a drunken wreck of a man after the Rift and before Cultivation.  It's even altogether possible that Amaram actually was trying to be an upstanding brightlord.

I don’t agree with this part of what you are saying. Dalinar’s good reputation among the Alethi was well established long before the Shattered Plains. He had well trained, well behaved soldiers who were well respected. They had been trained not to loot, rape, pillage, etc. If anything, Dalinar’s reputation was weakened at the Shattered Plains. And Amaram was a shady figure before the Shattered Plains as well. He was already well mixed up in the Son’s of Honor before Gavilar’s assassination. And he was already an “ends justify the means person.”

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1 hour ago, Philomath said:

I don’t agree with this part of what you are saying. Dalinar’s good reputation among the Alethi was well established long before the Shattered Plains. He had well trained, well behaved soldiers who were well respected. They had been trained not to loot, rape, pillage, etc. If anything, Dalinar’s reputation was weakened at the Shattered Plains. And Amaram was a shady figure before the Shattered Plains as well. He was already well mixed up in the Son’s of Honor before Gavilar’s assassination. And he was already an “ends justify the means person.”

That depends on what you call a good reputation. Dalinar's abilities as a general were certainly well known and respected by everyone, and Amaram freely admits to modelling his career after Dalinar in that respect.

In terms of personal appeal however, Dalinar didn't have a good reputation at all outside his own troops. In fact, most everyone seemed to view him as a sort of wild animal in more polite settings. Amaram, however, assiduously worked to propogate the idea of him being a honourable brightlord to everyone, and in all types of settings.

If anything, Amaram was copying Gavilar when it comes to how he branded himself.

Edited by Mage of Lirigon
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