Spacefaring Ferring

Jasnah's backstory

22 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

So I've been thinking for a while about this and I came up with this theory:

After Gavilar got killed, Jasnah goes away and does her heretic stuff blah blah. Then, at some point, she gets raped. Her Soulcasting powers would show up at that moment and she'd kill the guy somehow. 

This would explain why Jasnah is so cold to people in general, and also why she didn't hesitate to kill the street thugs in Kharbranth. Also, I remember seeing a quote somewhere where Shallan wonders what was done to her but I can't find it right now. 

Thoughts? 

Edited by Spacefaring Ferring
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Pretty sure that Jasnah was frosty and a heretic before Gavilar's death.  Plus she soulcasts and meets some Inkspren on the night of his death. Not sure if anyone's confirmed that was Ivory she met.

We know that something happened to traumatize her a child and make her distrustful.

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I don't think rape backstories of that kind are something that Brandon would do. And if he did, I would be disappointed.

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Well, didn't she go insane at one point in her childhood?

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I don't think Brandon would shy away from a rape as part of her backstory, there's certainly enough of that in Mistborn. But it doesn't fit with Jasnah, I think. From the hints we've been given, it seems more likely that she suffered from some sort of horribly mismanaged mental illness as a kid. A lot of societies used to treat mental illness by confining the patient in darkness, which we now know is just torture. 

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He is super cautious with stuff like that for reasons that he explains here. I don't say that he wouldn't touch on it as a topic. Just that he'd need a good reason for it (which the Final Empire as a setting was). In Stormlight, it would be very out of place. The same doesn't apply to Dalinar's past crimes, since war/killing/genocide has been a very properly explored theme throughout the first two books, so it added to a theme that was already established in the story. I'm not saying that writing has to work that way to be good, just that Brandon works with these principles and is very conscious about every sensitive topic he addresses.

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There've been too many references in flashbacks already to Jasnah's "illness" as a child. It's been solidly set up as the "thing" that was done to her that Shallan wonders about. No  need to introduce some random rape plot.

We also know from Shallan's backstory, what we know of Nale's activities since Aharietiam, and from some of the Interludes, that some spren have been trying to create bonds with humans throughout, this didn't just suddenly start like the week before we first see Kal and Syl in the slave wagon. When Jasnah sees into Shadesmar in the corridor the night of Gavilar's assassination, doesn't she think "Not again"?

It's possible Ivory was trying to bond with her in childhood, she told adults of the things she was seeing, and was then horribly tortured in some way under some misguided notion that it was going to "cure" her. That has all been set up already, and is more than enough to explain Jasnah's backstory.

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I feel like the "She's strong because she was raped" theme is way to prevalent in TV and books. Women can be strong, capable & independent without being raped. I agree with what Brandon said in the link @Elegy provided.

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6 hours ago, Zelly said:

Pretty sure that Jasnah was frosty and a heretic before Gavilar's death.  Plus she soulcasts and meets some Inkspren on the night of his death. Not sure if anyone's confirmed that was Ivory she met.

We know that something happened to traumatize her a child and make her distrustful.

To further corroborate this, at the night of Gavilar's death, when Jasnah gets up to leave the room, she remarks to herself how she is stared at because of her recently professed heretical status. That Dalinar as a drunk is normal and expected, but Jasnah as a heretic is unheard of. 

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While I do not believe it is beyond the realm of possibility, I would be surprised if Sanderson took that trope to explain her distrust of people. Not to say that it isn't valid, but it doesn't seem to fit with her character. Admittedly, if it ended up being the case it would probably get an eye roll reaction from me haha.

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Here's an off the cuff theory. Jasnah admired an ardent of a devotrary that liked asking questions. That was the individual that got her the book of endless pages originally. Perhaps men like the ones that she killed in the alley, killed the ardent? That way she still gets to say "men like those", still gets to take it personally, but it is at the death of a close and respected colleague rather than rape. 

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2 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

Here's an off the cuff theory. Jasnah admired an ardent of a devotrary that liked asking questions. That was the individual that got her the book of endless pages originally. Perhaps men like the ones that she killed in the alley, killed the ardent? That way she still gets to say "men like those", still gets to take it personally, but it is at the death of a close and respected colleague rather than rape. 

That seems much more likely to my mind, and would fit with her character better.

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5 hours ago, Dalfiatach said:

It's possible Ivory was trying to bond with her in childhood, she told adults of the things she was seeing, and was then horribly tortured in some way under some misguided notion that it was going to "cure" her. That has all been set up already, and is more than enough to explain Jasnah's backstory.

I like this theory about her telling people about Ivory as a child and then being treated for insanity. I think I remember Dalinar worrying about her 'madness' at some point in the past.

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On 4/19/2019 at 10:08 AM, SwordNimiForPresident said:

I feel like the "She's strong because she was raped" theme is way to prevalent in TV and books. Women can be strong, capable & independent without being raped. I agree with what Brandon said in the link @Elegy provided.

There's also this quote about Vivenna from the chapter 37 Warbreaker annotations:

Spoiler

[T]hese chapters are the transition chapters for Vivenna’s character. The representation of her going as low as she can go, so that later she can begin to rebuild. The dress was a problem—it was way too distinctive, and it could sell for enough that she wouldn’t have to live on the streets. She could buy something cheap and modest, then put herself up in an inn. So, naturally, it had to get stolen.

I didn’t want to strip her all the way, though. We’ve been through enough of that with Siri, and I really didn’t want to go there in this situation. Vivenna can be brought down to the lows she needs to reach without having to be raped by a random man in an alley. (Personally, I think that rape is overused in a lot of fiction.)

Given the various WoB's, I'd be extremely surprised if Sanderson used rape to give Jasnah a tragic backstory.

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Nice. Might be true

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18 minutes ago, Ryder said:

Given the various WoB's, I'd be extremely surprised if Sanderson used rape to give Jasnah a tragic backstory.

I would be surprised too. It doesn't seem like something he would do.

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On 4/19/2019 at 9:08 AM, SwordNimiForPresident said:

I feel like the "She's strong because she was raped" theme is way to prevalent in TV and books. Women can be strong, capable & independent without being raped. I agree with what Brandon said in the link @Elegy provided.

Gotta admit I don't watch much TV, so I can't speak to its prevalence there, but I can't think of very many books that have included rape as a major topic, or a minor topic, or really at all.  The few times I have seen it done, I haven't been very impressed with how it was handled.

Strangely enough, my poor experiences with rape in fiction are a major part of why I actually wouldn't mind seeing rape as a part of Jasnah's backstory.  It would fit, character-wise, with what we already know, so it's not like it'd be something just shoehorned in for a cheap thrill.  So far in the Stormlight Archive Brandon's already done a great job with atheism, a pretty good job with depression, and a reasonably okay job with autism, and I rather suspect that he could do a reasonably good job with rape.  Like I said, I really can't think of many (any?) fiction works that have handled the topic in a proper fashion, but I actually think that SA could.  I wouldn't blame Brandon for not risking it if he didn't think it could be done well, and I'd rather not see it done at all than be done poorly, but strangely enough I would like to see it done if it could be done well.  Literature in general could use a sincere treatment of the topic.

On 4/19/2019 at 9:46 AM, Pathfinder said:

Here's an off the cuff theory. Jasnah admired an ardent of a devotrary that liked asking questions. That was the individual that got her the book of endless pages originally. Perhaps men like the ones that she killed in the alley, killed the ardent? That way she still gets to say "men like those", still gets to take it personally, but it is at the death of a close and respected colleague rather than rape. 

Then again I like this idea a fair bit, too.  What happened to the ardent who gave Jasnah the book?  Part of me thinks it could be the soldier-turned-ardent from Dalinar's army, but this could also be a fine possibility.  The only part I don't like about the idea at present is that it would be yet another tragic backstory where people got killed, and after Kaladin (Tien, his squad), Shallan (her father, her mother), and Dalinar (Evi, all the Rifters), I'm pretty much tired of tragic backstory deaths.  If Eshonai's and Szeth's backstories don't involve tragic deaths, though, then maybe I'll be ready for another one by the time Jasnah's rolls around.  But right now it seems too much.

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On 19/04/2019 at 11:02 AM, Elegy said:

I don't think rape backstories of that kind are something that Brandon would do. And if he did, I would be disappointed.

 

17 hours ago, Invocation said:

I would be surprised too. It doesn't seem like something he would do.

I'm not saying that he should do this for Jasnah but Brandon has used rape as a backstory before. Dockson's wife in Mistborn was raped as were the Skaa as part of their story. However, this would not be the same as having Jasnah be strong because of the scenario. Just wanted to show that Brandon might not shy away from that sort of thing.

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41 minutes ago, Wander89 said:

I'm not saying that he should do this for Jasnah but Brandon has used rape as a backstory before. Dockson's wife in Mistborn was raped as were the Skaa as part of their story. However, this would not be the same as having Jasnah be strong because of the scenario. Just wanted to show that Brandon might not shy away from that sort of thing.

No, I remember the thing with Dox's wife, and I know that Sanderson would absolutely use something like that as a character backstory thing, just in this particular scenario it doesn't seem like what he would do. Solely making a character strong because she was sexually assaulted seems like pennies when compared to the amount of things Sanderson likes to do to important characters like that.

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11 hours ago, galendo said:

Strangely enough, my poor experiences with rape in fiction are a major part of why I actually wouldn't mind seeing rape as a part of Jasnah's backstory.  It would fit, character-wise, with what we already know, so it's not like it'd be something just shoehorned in for a cheap thrill.  So far in the Stormlight Archive Brandon's already done a great job with atheism, a pretty good job with depression, and a reasonably okay job with autism, and I rather suspect that he could do a reasonably good job with rape.  Like I said, I really can't think of many (any?) fiction works that have handled the topic in a proper fashion, but I actually think that SA could.  I wouldn't blame Brandon for not risking it if he didn't think it could be done well, and I'd rather not see it done at all than be done poorly, but strangely enough I would like to see it done if it could be done well.  Literature in general could use a sincere treatment of the topic.

Then again I like this idea a fair bit, too.  What happened to the ardent who gave Jasnah the book?  Part of me thinks it could be the soldier-turned-ardent from Dalinar's army, but this could also be a fine possibility.  The only part I don't like about the idea at present is that it would be yet another tragic backstory where people got killed, and after Kaladin (Tien, his squad), Shallan (her father, her mother), and Dalinar (Evi, all the Rifters), I'm pretty much tired of tragic backstory deaths.  If Eshonai's and Szeth's backstories don't involve tragic deaths, though, then maybe I'll be ready for another one by the time Jasnah's rolls around.  But right now it seems too much.

Can you elaborate on why you feel Jasnah as a character would fit with being raped? Are you referring to the comment "men like those" or something else?

Have we ever learned what devotary Kadash is from? Based on his responses to Adolin (trying to shut down questions), I do not feel that is the case. Considering we will not get Jasnah's back story till possibly the last book of the entire series, you might be recouped from what you feel is over saturation in tragic backstories lol. 

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13 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

Can you elaborate on why you feel Jasnah as a character would fit with being raped? Are you referring to the comment "men like those" or something else?

Well, there's a few things.  Nothing like hard evidence, of course, and nothing that couldn't be explained in several other ways.  But consider that:

1) She's an unmarried princess in a family and a culture that would strongly approve of marriage alliances.  She must have a sincere and abiding objection to marriage to remain unwed for so long.  (We know she's not just refusing to spite her family; she's been shown to care for her family a lot.)  Despite that, she doesn't seem to have any inherent objection to the institution of marriage -- she helped arrange Shallan's and Adolin's marriage after all -- but she nevertheless sees it as a rather undesirable thing.

2) She has not evinced any interest in men romantically.  Of course she could be homosexual or asexual or just not have received enough screen time, though I rather think we'd have seen hints by now if she had taken a lover any time in the past decade or so.  Such aloofness is not completely indicative of an unpleasant sexual experience, but the latter would certainly explain the former.

3) She went completely overboard with those men in the alleyway.  Something there struck an emotional nerve.  It probably wasn't the theft -- she didn't completely fly off the handle when Shallan stole her Soulcaster -- and given how blase she is about murder, it probably wasn't the thought of murder, either.  Shallan's not Jasnah, but the three things that Shallan's worried about in that scene are robbery, rape, and murder.  Rule out the first and the last and the second one seems a reasonable cause.

Again, nothing in the above is hard evidence, but all of the above would fit with a traumatic sexual background.

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Have we ever learned what devotary Kadash is from? Based on his responses to Adolin (trying to shut down questions), I do not feel that is the case. Considering we will not get Jasnah's back story till possibly the last book of the entire series, you might be recouped from what you feel is over saturation in tragic backstories lol. 

As for Kadash, I'm not sure.  I don't think his Devotary has been mentioned, but I tend to overlook details like that on minor characters.  As far as being able to handle more dead bodies in backstories, I'll probably be recovered by the back five, at least if Eshonai and Szeth don't have any tragically dead friends or family in their flashbacks, which I'm tentatively hopeful about.  Hints suggest that Lift is going to have a dead mother, though; and of course Renarin has a dead mother, and Ash and Taln almost certainly have a great many dead bodies between them (about four thousand years' worth).  So although I do rather like your idea, I'm just a little cautious about any more flashback scenes that revolve around dead friends and family.

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8 hours ago, galendo said:

Well, there's a few things.  Nothing like hard evidence, of course, and nothing that couldn't be explained in several other ways.  But consider that:

1) She's an unmarried princess in a family and a culture that would strongly approve of marriage alliances.  She must have a sincere and abiding objection to marriage to remain unwed for so long.  (We know she's not just refusing to spite her family; she's been shown to care for her family a lot.)  Despite that, she doesn't seem to have any inherent objection to the institution of marriage -- she helped arrange Shallan's and Adolin's marriage after all -- but she nevertheless sees it as a rather undesirable thing.

Actually it seems Jasnah does have an issue with the institution of marriage. Since the quote from my thread Jasnah More than Meets the Eye" spans several pages, the scene I am referencing starts on page 38 of Words of Radiance. I will skip a bit around to the portions I feel are pertinent to Jasnah. It goes :

"I have started the process," Jasnah said, speaking with uncharacteristic anxiety "Though at times he lacks foresight, Adolin has a good heart - as good as that of his father, who may be the best man I have ever known. he is considered Alethkar's most eligible son, and my mother has long wanted him wed."

"Betrothed," Shallan repeated

"Yes. is that distressing?"

"Its wonderful!" Shallan exclaimed, grabbing Jasnah's arm more tightly. "So easy. If I'm married to someone so powerful...Storms! Nobody would dare touch us in Jah Keved. it would solve many of our problems. Brightness Jasnah, you're a genius!"

Jasnah relaxed visibly "yes, well, it did seem a workable solution. I had wondered, however, if you'd be offended."

"Why on the winds would I be offended?"

"Because of the restriction of freedom implicit in a marriage" Jasnah said "And if not that, because the offer was made without consulting you.

(fast forward a line or two)

"Stormfather! You're worried I'd be offended? Brightness, I spent my entire life locked in my father's manor - I grew up assuming he'd pick my husband"

"But you're free of your father now"

(fast forward a few lines as Shallan explains her relationship history)

"It doesn't bother you at all? Jasnah said "The idea of being beholden to another, particular a man?"

"It's not like I'm being sold into slavery" Shallan said with a laugh

"No. I suppose not" Jasnah shook herself, her poise returning

 

So from that quote it says to me that Jasnah views marriage as a prison that limits personal freedom, especially regarding men (since we know that homosexual marriage is acceptable in Vorin lands). The reason she is fine with it for Adolin and Shallan is because like her stance with religion, just because something does not suit her, does not mean she will stop others if it suits them. But she did assume from the get go that Shallan would have the same misgivings as herself, which implies she sees marriage on whole in that light. 

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2) She has not evinced any interest in men romantically.  Of course she could be homosexual or asexual or just not have received enough screen time, though I rather think we'd have seen hints by now if she had taken a lover any time in the past decade or so.  Such aloofness is not completely indicative of an unpleasant sexual experience, but the latter would certainly explain the former.

So we actually have a fresh WoB on this! Fresh off the presses! Jasnah prefers to keep her sexuality to herself, so us not seeing anything indicative is natural for her. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]
Does/is Jasnah gay?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]
Jasnah prefers to keep her sexuality a subject of non-discussion. That is how Jasnah would answer. She would rather not discuss her sexuality.

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3) She went completely overboard with those men in the alleyway.  Something there struck an emotional nerve.  It probably wasn't the theft -- she didn't completely fly off the handle when Shallan stole her Soulcaster -- and given how blase she is about murder, it probably wasn't the thought of murder, either.  Shallan's not Jasnah, but the three things that Shallan's worried about in that scene are robbery, rape, and murder.  Rule out the first and the last and the second one seems a reasonable cause.

Again, nothing in the above is hard evidence, but all of the above would fit with a traumatic sexual background.

Well also keep in mind she wasn't taking care of those men only for herself. She did it out of respect for Taravangian who seemed to be powerless to change the situation, as well as she felt she was genuinely trying to do good. If you would like I can pull up those exact quotes as well. I think there is an implication that she has issues with what she views as "evil men", but also has men in her life that she holds in high esteem and respect. Not saying that a woman raped will hate all men intrinsically. Just saying Jasnah's aversion towards men seems to be point more towards criminals, and those seeking to limit her personal freedom. Those two reasons being linked doesn't scream rape to me.

I did just want to clarify one thing about my responses. I totally get and respect that your points are just your readings of the information we have so far. I also totally respect and appreciate that you acknowledge and are open to alternative opinions. My response to you was not to say your thoughts are wrong. Just to continue the discussion and add additional information. Hopefully my post is taken in the intent it is meant.  

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As for Kadash, I'm not sure.  I don't think his Devotary has been mentioned, but I tend to overlook details like that on minor characters.  As far as being able to handle more dead bodies in backstories, I'll probably be recovered by the back five, at least if Eshonai and Szeth don't have any tragically dead friends or family in their flashbacks, which I'm tentatively hopeful about.  Hints suggest that Lift is going to have a dead mother, though; and of course Renarin has a dead mother, and Ash and Taln almost certainly have a great many dead bodies between them (about four thousand years' worth).  So although I do rather like your idea, I'm just a little cautious about any more flashback scenes that revolve around dead friends and family.

Lol, guess we will have to RAFO. 

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