Savanorn

Odium, Desolations, Gavilar. A Related Series of Speculations.

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Odium, Desolations, Recreance and Gavilar.
 
 
Why is being a surgebinder so dangerous? Why are they the force that ‘could’ return Desolations to this world? (To quote Nale)
I've wondered this, I've turned it over, and one answer keeps coming back. I call, and it comes, again. I’ll elaborate on this in the body ahead, but I sincerely hope you’ll forgive my love of long speech, I hazard a guess that others have guessed as well.
 
The Nature of Surgebinding,
Stormlight is raw surges, raw energy, it is colourless but through its use the Radiants were able colour it, and make use of surges selective to their bonded spren, like shooting light through a filter, and taking only a selection of the spectrum. It’s an analogy I like, although I’m not sure if it’s of my own device. A Windrunner Invests Stormlight, and he can bond or lash.
Furthermore, if trapped in a gem, a fabrial may harness this stormlight to an effect determined by the gem. In this case, the gem is the filter.
So, you can change the vessel, that is, the filter (different surgebinder, different gem) but what if that isn’t the only thing you could change? What if a Surgebinder could Invest an entirely different kind of Light?
 
Voidlight, Voidbinding, and Gavilar’s Design
We’ve seen a different Light, perhaps even, a different form of Investiture. There are hints that this exists, termed Voidbinding, but I’m doubtful this is of the exact same vein. What I speak of is Odium’s sphere.
The black sphere Gavilar held. Strongly implied to be of Odium. Gavilar believed he could return the Parsheni gods, which we now know to be Voidspren, and this black sphere seems by far the most likely means to that end.
Only… there’s a problem with this; a Parsheni cannot Invest. They can bond a spren, sure, and surely it is possible that Gavilar’s sphere contained a voidspren for the Parsheni to bond, but this explanation seems…mundane, and at the very least it does not match the description of the Stormspren we see in Word’s of Radiance. 
I have another theory, but I’ll backtrack a moment.
 
Why was Gavilar so interested in the Knights Radiant?
 
I've asked myself this of a time, and the answer that returns is simple, “Gavilar wanted a Radiant, because Radiants can surgebind” We've seen Amaram, who was a confidant of Gavilar, greatly desires the return of the Heralds, and I believe Gavilar is referenced as a pious man, and my bet is that Gavilar sought to begin a Desolation so that the Heralds would return.
Now, he may have been manipulated by Odium, as Shallan’s father was. Certainly Navani saying that he had a darker side is some points in that direction, although hardly conclusive. He could have just been a pious man who sought the return of the Heralds through some misguided Faith.
 
But, I digress. As I said, long speech.
 
Now, I think that Gavilar’s design required a Radiant. A Radiant to Invest with the essence of Odium, this then, is what begets a desolation.
 
Further Speculation on Desolations
So then, we’re on the same plateau. I’m sure those of you who read this, insightful gems you are, have already guessed the implications of this.
A Desolation is caused when a surgebinder Invests Odium. A Desolation is caused when a Herald breaks under torture. But breaks to do what? Well…you’ve probably deduced my meaning.
We’ve seen glimpses of what Damnation is like, hooks through flesh, fire melting skim, fat and bone. Searing agony, doubly so for a surgebinder, knowing it could all stop if only they drew a little Odium into them.
We’ve seen how stormlight heals and fortifies the body, I can imagine for the Heralds, surgebinders, being trapped in Damnation without access to Stormlight, but with Odium’s essence all around them. I can’t think of a better way to break them. This also explains why the Heralds bring a Desolation, they can tap Voidlight and return to Roshar, but in doing so they bring Voidspren which can then infect and/or corrupt.
Only, this time, the Heralds stayed. They stayed because they were too broken to go back, and because they knew if they stayed, the Pact would hold, as long as Taln remained. Taln, who is famous for impossible last stands, Taln who, I feel, would be the last to break. I his disregard for his own life implies a lack of fear of Damnation and suggests that he wasn’t broken. Not yet, and…perhaps…not now. If Taln in Words of Radiance is not Taln truly.
 
Shin Stone Shamanism and Recreance
This, then, would explain the reason why the Shin view the Stormlight as profane. A lot of Stone Shamanism, or at least in Szeth’s experience and being Truthless, seems to relate to the return of Desolations.
Surely, then, anyone who could Invest Stormlight is putting the world in peril of a Desolation.
It would make sense then, that this fear of surgebinders take root, assuming the superstition to be based in some fact.
If, perchance, the Radiants knew this to be true, or found it out, it would explain Recreance as well. It takes one surgebinder to bring another Desolation, to sweep the slate clean. It might well make sense. As long as the Radiants remain, the possibility of massive failure awaits, a second Desolation.
Without a surgebinder, the possibility is almost nothing. Moreover, the death of the spren makes them exceedingly unlikely to trust humans again, lowering the likelihood of future bonds even more so, and it also makes sense why the last Radiant Dalinar speaks to is so morose about the inevitability of the Last Desolation.
Moreover, we know there is some war when the Radiants desert their oaths.
Perhaps they feared the ramifications of a losing side will to go to extreme, Odium-investing, measures.
As I said, it only takes one.
 
As a final aside, I think it is Odium's cunning that is the reason we haven't seen an Everstorm before. 
He had to break or corrupt the Heralds, he had to let the rot set in with people (or selectively reveal information to catalyse this) and at the end he unleashes his most devastating device. Exactly when people have no Herald, no Knights Radiant, barely a sense of unity and Parshmen in every city. 
That said, I'm not sure if the Everstorm is the Final Desolation, or merely an aspect of it. 
I could certainly imagine that this could well be Opium trying to sweep the field and pull out all the stops.
 

The Acknowledgements of Alternates:

 

(A Few)

 

It then should come as no surprise that there are alternate hypothesis that some may dare to say are more credible.

 

Certainly, Nale could merely mean what we saw in Words of Radiance. The Parsheni were, in part, pushed to become Stormform based on the appearance of Kaladin at the Battle of the Tower. The return of Surgebinders begat the return of Voidbringers.

 

It is also possible that the Black Sphere is not the cause of a Desolation, but rather the essence of Odium that allows him to choose a champion, or something else to this extent. Midnight essence, even.

I should note that the nature of damnation is also highly speculative, as is the possibility of a surgebinder Investing voidlight. Or even voidlight behaving as stormlight does. Perhaps they have radically different types of Investiture, or mayhap voidlight cannot be Invested.

 

I do not know if Recreance ties in well with my theory or not, this is just where it has taken me, yet it feels meaningful, it feels right. I also think that it could be due to Bondsmiths getting some special insight into the death of Honour, or Odium in general just influencing some important people at the right time.

 

Odium clearly does not need to be physically present to influence people, I surmise an Investment by Odium would be a lot like a Parsheni bonding a Stormspren, but it might not even be necessary. 

 

Thank you. 

 
 
 

 

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Good post!  Take an upvote.

 

I would like to tack on a couple of things.

 

First, it was heavily implied that Venli and some of the Parshendi scholars had used stormform before Eshonai, which means that Desolation was going to happen no matter what.  Kaladin just sped it up slightly because he gave Venli some bargaining power.

 

On the topic of the black sphere, there's speculation going around that it contains an unmade.  My personal guess is Yelig-nar, known as Blightwind.  There's a good chance that Blightwind was talking to Szeth through the screams, which is why I think this.  We know that the unmade can be bonded and that they are of Odium, so your idea of investing a radiant with Odium is possible.

 

Also, I think that Brandon said that the Heralds cause the Desolation.  It's certainly possible that Gavilar hoped that killing a bunch of people with his new pet unmade would cause the heralds to return, but I'm not too sure about that.

 

Overall, this is some good, healthy speculation.

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Wow...Great first post!

 

Hello! 

 

And thanks.  

 

Good post!  Take an upvote.

 

 

 

Hi, and thank you.

 

I was a fair bit of work to put my thoughts down and make them flow.  

 

I would like to tack on a couple of things.

 

First, it was heavily implied that Venli and some of the Parshendi scholars had used stormform before Eshonai, which means that Desolation was going to happen no matter what.  Kaladin just sped it up slightly because he gave Venli some bargaining power.

 

 

You know, I think that may have slipped my mind, thank you. 

 

It further then, seems unlikely that Brandon would have included the Black Sphere if it merely contained a 'regular' voidspren. 

 

 

On the topic of the black sphere, there's speculation going around that it contains an unmade.  My personal guess is Yelig-nar, known as Blightwind.  There's a good chance that Blightwind was talking to Szeth through the screams, which is why I think this.  We know that the unmade can be bonded and that they are of Odium, so your idea of investing a radiant with Odium is possible.

 

That actually makes a lot of sense, only, how could an Unmade be bonded?

 

Unless...that's what Taravangian was talking about not 'yet' having the power to take one of them on? He needs to find the right kind of sphere to bond them?

 

Also, I think that Brandon said that the Heralds cause the Desolation.  It's certainly possible that Gavilar hoped that killing a bunch of people with his new pet unmade would cause the heralds to return, but I'm not too sure about that.

Well, I'm assuming Gavilar's plan is much like Venli/Eshonai's plan. 

Invest/bind something as a gateway for Odium to pour corruption into the world, this begets a Desolation, as a Desolation is nigh the Heralds return. 

From what I gather, a Desolation is like a building storm. Under regular circumstances, at least, the Heralds return and have at least a little bit of time (time enough to have the natives of Roshar learn to lead, mine bronze, be in general trained) to prepare.

This works under my theory, as it would take some time for Odium to corrupt enough to be a threat to the world at large. It's also why the rapid rate of the Everstorm is so frightening. Especially for a world without  a Knight Radiant (let alone plural)

 

Overall, this is some good, healthy speculation.

 

 

Thanks again.

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Couple of points -

 

First, the most likely explanation as to why Gavilar was interested in the Knights Radiant is because, well, Tanavast told him he should be. We know that Gavilar had visions, and that they're very likely to be similar if not identical visions Dalinar received. In those visions, Tanavast effectively says that without the KR, the world is doomed (the world may be doomed anyway, but the KR are necessary to have a chance). I'm not sure it's necessary to assume that Gavilar had an interest in Surgebinding (or even the Heralds, necessarily) beyond what Tanavast likely told him.

 

Also, it's not at all clear that Gavilar would have approved of what Amaram or the Sons of Honor have been doing. What the passage says, specifically, is:

 

 

 

It was happening. It was really happening . The Sons of Honor had, at long last, achieved their goal. Gavilar would be proud.

 

And that's it. All it says is that Amaram thinks Gavilar would have been proud of them achieving their goal (based on the visions, this goal is likely 'unify them'). It says nothing about whether or not he would have approved of the means they took to achieve that goal; Amaram as we well know is not above using shady methods to accomplish what he thinks are worthwhile objectives.

 

Amaram's vision of the goal:

 

 

He turned back to his paper . I do not exult in this success , he wrote. Lives will be lost. It has ever been our burden as the Sons of Honor. To return the Heralds, to return the dominance of the Church, we had to put the world into a crisis.

 

Remember that Dalinar has similar misgivings about his visions in TWoK:

 

 

What if Dalinar’s visions really were just phantasms? He’d often longed for the glory days of Alethkar’s past. Were the visions his mind’s answer to that, a subconscious way of letting himself be a hero, of giving himself justification for doggedly seeking his goals?

 

A disturbing thought. Looked at another way, those phantom commands to “unify” sounded a great deal like what the Hierocracy had said when it had tried to conquer the world five centuries before.

 

It's quite easy to see how someone, after hearing what Gavilar said about his visions, might interpret them in exactly the same manner - that the Church needs to become dominant once more. Amaram's interpretation in the letter, plus Dalinar's thoughts, suggests to me that Amaram is not accurately interpreting what Gavilar was trying to do.

 

Second, the idea of Heralds bringing back Voidspren with them due to investing Odium-light (or Odium-dark?) is an interesting one, but doesn't explain why the Desolation will continue (or restart) if the Heralds don't leave Roshar. It also doesn't explain why one Herald going back would be sufficient to stop the Desolation if e.g. Heralds had to return because they were voidspren portals or something.

 

Finally, it's unclear that Odium is really being clever in any real sense (besides the fact that since he's effectively immortal, he has far more information at his disposal than anyone else possibly could). Tanavast implies that Odium is frustrated by the fact that he's been losing constantly and that it should be possible to prey on that frustration for a chance to defeat him:

 

 

The Almighty turned to him. “I was surprised when these orders arrived. I did not teach my Heralds this. It was the spren— wishing to imitate what I had given men— who made it possible. You will need to refound them. This is your task . Unite them . Create a fortress that can weather the storm. Vex Odium, convince him that he can lose, and appoint a champion. He will take that chance instead of risking defeat again, as he has suffered so often. This is the best advice I can give you.”

 

While Tanavast might be underestimating Odium, this suggests that Odium's original plan(s) wasn't really as long-term as hypothesized in the OP. It seems unlikely that the current result is what Odium really wants, rather than effectively a long-term grinding (and losing) until he wins.

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Great post, Savanorn.  A couple points where I think you've mis-remembered the text:

 

1.  We don't know that Gavilar thinks he can return the Parshendi gods; we know that Eshonai thinks what Gavilar plans to do will return them.  A subtle difference, and one that doesn't really change your theory any at all, but still important to note for other discussions, and possibly this one too (although I don't really see how.)

 

2.  The Shin don't view Stormlight itself as profane; Szeth says the way the Alethi are using the Stormlight is profane.  Also walking on cut stone.  From one of Rysn's Interludes, we learn that shaping metal is also taboo.  This, again, does not really hurt your theory much, even though you were using it as supporting evidence.  So, if I were you, I'd just get rid of it, and replace it with #3 below!

 

3.  Your theory would help to explain exactly what's happening in the Epigraphs from the in-world WoR in our WoR!

 

 

In short, if any presume Kazilah to be innocent, you must look at the facts and deny them in their entirety; to say that the Radiants were destitute of integrity for this execution of one their own, one who had obviously fraternized with the unwholesome elements, indicates the most slothful of reasoning; for the enemy's baleful influence demanded vigilance on all occasions, of war and of peace.

From in-book Words of Radiance, chapter 32, page 17

From real-world Words of Radiance, Chapter 51, page 590, hardcover

 

 

So, Kazilah, a KR, seems to have been consorting with 'the enemy' and other 'unwholesome elements.'  We can speculate on who this is, but as KR were from all nations and consisted entirely of humans, I think it's safe to assume that it was with nonhumans.  This could be Parshendi or Voidbringers, or possibly some spren, or what I find likely: playing around with Midnight Essence, which can be created (WoK, chapter title Starfall, Dalinar's vision).  That's likely very strongly linked to Odium.

 

 

That they responded immediately and with great consternation is undeniable, as these were primary among those who would forswear and abandon their oaths.  The term Recreance was not then applied, but has since become a popular title by which this event is named.

From in-book Words of Radiance, Chapter 38, page 6

From real-world Words of Radiance, Chapter 40, page 458, hardcover

 

Now, as the Windrunners were thus engaged, arose the event which has hitherto been referenced: namely, that discovery of some wicked thing of eminence, though whether it be some rogueries among the Radiants' adherents or of some external origin, Avena would not suggest.

From in-book Words of Radiance, Chapter 38, page 6

From real-world Words of Radiance, Chapter 38, page 437, hardcover. 

 

This act of great villainy went beyond the impudence which had hitherto been ascribed to the orders; as the fighting was particularly intense at this time, many attributed this act to a sense of inherent betrayal; and after they withdrew, about two thousand made assault upon them, destroying much of the membership; but this was only nine of the ten, as one said they would not abandon their arms and flee, but instead entertained great subterfuge at the expense of the other nine.

From in-book Words of Radiance, chapter 38, page 20

From real-world Words of Radiance, Chapter 41, page 464, hardcover

 

 

And here we gain a little bit of insight to the Recreance.  Granted, a lot can happen in six chapters, but unless Sanderson is toying with us we are being pointed in the direction that whatever was happening in Chapter 32 is a significant cause for the Recreance.  This could also be the 'secret' that Mr T has in store to eliminate the KR should they pose a threat/problem to him.  This theory also elegantly avoids or explains some issues that I've had with various Nale-theories before (specifically Confused's wonderfully fascinating theories about Odium's prison and the Surges); his use of the word 'could,' along with going after most-but-not-all Surgebinders (ie, Szeth is safe, but it's ok to not go after him if Nale knows that Szeth would never violate his own personal honor in such a way.)

 

The only remaining problem that I can see is how this can tie in with the Recreance, because I still just cannot imagine virtually all of the KR murdering their spren at roughly the same time just to avoid the potential for causing a Desolation in the future.

Edited by kaellok
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Also, it's not at all clear that Gavilar would have approved of what Amaram or the Sons of Honor have been doing. What the passage says, specifically, is:

 

 

And that's it. All it says is that Amaram thinks Gavilar would have been proud of them achieving their goal (based on the visions, this goal is likely 'unify them'). It says nothing about whether or not he would have approved of the means they took to achieve that goal; Amaram as we well know is not above using shady methods to accomplish what he thinks are worthwhile objectives.

 

I disagree, and think the evidence lines up with Gavilar having been a Son of Honor.

  • Gavilar was "very devout", according to Szeth in TWoK. Religious devotion is a prime trait of the Sons of Honor.
  • Eshonai says that Gavilar "bragged" about bringing back the Parshendi gods. He obviously knew what they were - he had a sphere of Odium's Investiture (probably) on him! Bringing back the Unmade is nothing short of doing something terrible (aka stupid) for what is (in the minds of idiots like Amaram) a good result.
  • Amaram says Gavilar would be proud, and he was very clearly working under Gavilar as of TWoK. Gavilar sent him off with orders that night, and later told Szeth that they were "too late" - Amaram was probably undertaking Gavilar's last orders and waking up the Unmade or something like that.
  • Gavilar knew about Restares and Thaidakar; unlike Dalinar, he was clearly involved with a secret society of some sort if he knew those names. Given that we the Ghostbloods are not allies of the Sons of Honor (they sent Shallan to spy on Amaram, after all), and Gavilar's first suspicion was that his assassin was sent by Thaidakar (the leader? of the Ghostbloods), it's quite likely he was a Son of Honor.

The only evidence against this is that Amaram is now working for "Restares", and Gavilar thought Restares might have assassinated him. Of course, Gavilar was stretching for names at that point and accused Sadeas at the same time, so I don't think this is very strong evidence.

 

Gavilar might not have been a Son of Honor, but it's our most likely explanation for all the facts I feel.

Edited by Moogle
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Gavilar might not have been a Son of Honor, but it's our most likely explanation for all the facts I feel.

 

While Gavilar may have been a Son of Honor, that's a distinct point from whether or not he would have approved of the actions/direction the organization (and Amaram) have taken since his death. The original argument was addressing the chain of reasoning that went

 

Amaram worked with Gavilar -> Amaram wants to start a Desolation to return the Heralds -> Gavilar wants to start a Desolation to return the Heralds

 

My argument is that the latter connection is fairly tenuous and isn't very consistent with what we know of the visions that Gavilar probably experienced. In other words, while Gavilar may have been a Son of Honor (or whatever organization), I don't think it's a given that Gavilar was starting a Desolation because he wanted the return of the Heralds despite what Amaram has been doing recently.

 

This is relevant since one of the lines of reasoning offered by the OP for the original theory is that

 

Gavilar is interested in KR + Gavilar wants to start a Desolation => KR are involved in causing Desolations

 

But if that only holds if we actually know that Gavilar wanted to start a Desolation and if there's no alternative reasoning for Gavilar being interesting the KR. So the point is that it's unclear Gavilar wanted to start a Desolation and there's a much more natural reason why he would be interest in KR (because, again, Tanavast told him so).

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But if that only holds if we actually know that Gavilar wanted to start a Desolation and if there's no alternative reasoning for Gavilar being interesting the KR. So the point is that it's unclear Gavilar wanted to start a Desolation and there's a much more natural reason why he would be interest in KR (because, again, Tanavast told him so).

 

Except that entirely ignores the fact that Gavilar told the Parshendi he was bringing back their gods and that it was "too late" for Thaidakar to stop him (when the Ghostbloods seemingly oppose the Sons of Honor and the latter are bringing an apocalypse).

 

So, Gavilar was likely involved with waking up the Unmade, and is essentially responsible for the Thrill in Alethkar with a good probability. If not the Thrill (which may be relatively old), it's quite possible he woke up another Unmade that was responsible for corrupting Venli.

 

Of particular note is his black sphere. That is not something a KR would like having around, I imagine. Most reasonable people would see it glowing black, associate it with the Voidbringers (not a bad assumption), and then smash it or fling it into the sea. Gavilar, though, wanted it on him, rather than at the bottom of the sea. Being caught red-handed with that sphere reflects poorly on him.

 

What he did is probably responsible for a ridiculous number of deaths. These are not the actions of a Knight Radiant, but do fit the pattern of how Amaram has been acting (ie. incredibly stupid and quite possibly with brain damage).

Edited by Moogle
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There is a potential discrepancy involved here.  Gavilar apparently told the Parshendi that he was going to bring back their gods, but if the Unmade are the Parshendi gods and Nergaoul (sp) is an Unmade, then at least one of the Parshendi gods was already back.  At least Mr. T told Szeth that the death rattles started a year before Gavilar's death.

Except that entirely ignores the fact that Gavilar told the Parshendi he was bringing back their gods and that it was "too late" for Thaidakar to stop him (when the Ghostbloods seemingly oppose the Sons of Honor and the latter are bringing an apocalypse).

 

So, Gavilar was likely involved with waking up the Unmade, and is essentially responsible for the Thrill in Alethkar with a good probability. If not the Thrill (which may relatively old), it's quite possible he woke up another Unmade that was responsible for corrupting Venli.

...

In addition, the spren, anticipating the Desolation, have already started returning and Szeth also apparently reported some similar phenomenon (which earned him the Truthless sentence).

 

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Except that entirely ignores the fact that Gavilar told the Parshendi he was bringing back their gods and that it was "too late" for Thaidakar to stop him (when the Ghostbloods seemingly oppose the Sons of Honor and the latter are bringing an apocalypse).

 

For the purposes of the OP theory, it's a moot point since the evidence being used for the theory is speculation that Gavilar had thought a KR surgebinder could trigger a Desolation. It's not directly relevant whether or not Gavilar was trying to cause a Desolation (though if he wasn't, that would also invalidate the evidence).

That said, there are lots of ways to interpret the existing evidence. Two immediate ones are that Gavilar did not know of an association between Odium/Desolation and the Parshendi gods (given the visions, if he had been aware that the Parshendi gods were associated with the enemy of Tanavast, it would be pretty puzzling why he would be trying to bring them back) or that Gavilar did not directly mention the Parshendi gods, but instead his plan would have the consequence of causing their return (in which case he may have been completely unaware of the Parshendi gods in the first place). He may have been explaining that he was bringing the Heralds back (heck, maybe the stone is/was Taln's prison).

 

It's also not clear why he thinks it's 'too late' for Thaidakar to stop his plan, or why that necessarily is evidence that Gavilar is trying to cause an apocalypse (he certainly says it's too late for some reason, but it's jump to suggest that implies Gavilar is trying to cause a Desolation). One straightforward alternative is that Gavilar is saying it's too late to stop him from telling the Parshendi about what they'd found, or showing them the artifact, without presupposing what he thought to consequences would be.

 

We also don't know that the black stone is 'evil' or really anything much about it at all (it's a pretty far stretch to say that because it glows black that it must be evil). It doesn't appear to be 'used up' since Gavilar is still concerned (while dying) about keeping it out of the wrong hands (if its only value had been that it had held an Unmade, it's unclear why he would be concerned about continuing to protect it). Gavilar's last statement about it is not about holding onto it, but not letting certain individuals get at it.

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Wow, guys. I step out for a few days and I get some responses, good to see, good to see! 

I don't have a whole bunch of time, so do forgive the brevity of these responses. 

 

 

Seloun, 

 

Hi, and thanks for the input. I disagree with you on a few points, but we can compare them later. I have two questions as a kick-off. 

 

1. What is your take on Gavilar?

 

2. What is your take on the Everstorm. Night of Sorrows, True Desolation? 

 

Kaellok,

 

1. Good catch, I'd certainly taken it as the first measure. 

 

2. Jezrien's Beard! You're right. In fact, that changes the meaning of it almost entirely. Oh well, scratch the Shinovar angle then.

 

3. Hmmm, so I'm curious, do you think Midnight Essence is the Essence of Odium, or something else?

 

Moogle,

 

Thanks for contributing!

 

Hoser, 

 

Could the case be that some of the Unmade (or voidspren even) are Parshendi gods, but not all of them as a whole? 

 

Like if a culture worshiped five of the Heralds, and the other five came back, some of the Heralds would have returned, but not the gods? 

 

 

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I'm not really sure what I think Midnight Essence is.  And I'm still at cursed work without the books.  We know that there are the Ten Essences, which are the easiest to Soulcast.  Maybe ME is related to that, somehow?  That would explain how a person can create it, and be held responsible.  A weak idea, since we don't see or hear of even rumors to suggest that Soulcasting can create living/autonomous analogues anywhere else, though.  Actually, storm it, did Dalinar's Radiant friend say "create" or "release"?  Regardless, I do remember that 1: it was a person that was believed to be responsible, and 2: ME may appear during a Desolation, but are not themselves Voidbringers.  They did not seem particularly intelligent, but were instead cunning.  I think that I would equate them to an Awakened object, but different; and while they are almost definitely of Odium, I do not think that they are of Odium, if you know what I mean.  Definitely not on the level of a Splinter or spren, etc.

 

Moogle's arguments seem very definitive that Gavilar knew he would be bringing about the return of the Parshendi gods.  I only remember Eshonai saying that he would, but not specifically that he necessarily knew about this.  So, I could be wrong or have missed something there.  I'll have to search through the books later, unless someone provides a quote before then.

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Re: Gavilar:

 

Basically I interpret Gavilar as Dalinar, except a bit smarter and a lot less lucky. He ends up confiding in the wrong individuals, and he's the one that ends up with giant bull's eyes and essentially takes the bullet to kick off the rest of the story. Dalinar survives mainly because he stumbles across Kaladin (and it's not really so much that he stumbles across Kaladin as Kaladin stumbles across him). There appears to be a pretty short window between becoming 'honorable' based on interpreting the visions and someone (probably many interested parties) hunting them down. The Heralds at Gavilar's assassination are unlikely to be a coincidence, and it's only when Dalinar starts to live the ideals from the visions and the Way of Kings that he's fully targetted (by Taravangian first, though again he's probably not the only with an agenda regarding the Desolation and the KR).

 

Dalinar ends up being extremely fortunate in that he has several allies he can rely on, many of them Surgebinders or otherwise above reproach, while Gavilar's closest allies appear to be Sadeas, Amaram and Taravangian. Essentially Gavilar is Dalinar if you replace Adolin, Kaladin and Shallan with the former.

 

Re: Everstorm and True Desolation:

 

The main key about the Everstorm is that it can empower Parshendi (and possibly other Rosharian life) to Roshar-bond spren without the intervention of the Stormfather and the Highstorm. I believe the Stormfather has some restriction on who he can empower the bond with (and restrictions on who he can't, e.g. Eshonai's scene), and under certain circumstances I think the Stormfather could deny the Parshendi the ability to bond with the Odiumspren. I believe this is one of the aspects of the Oathpact - while the Heralds are all on Roshar, the Stormfather has to allow the Odiumspren bond with the Parshendi (and this is how the Heralds returning causes the Desolation, normally).

 

This is the 'True Desolation' because the Everstorm can empower the Odiumspren bond with the Parshendi (and probably other native life) without the Stormfather; this in turn means that it doesn't matter if the Heralds leave Roshar, since the Everstorm will still empower Voidbringers, causing the Desolation to never end.

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Kaellok, 

 

Aha, I see what you're saying. So ME is related to Odium but not part of him...Truth to tell, I don't have the books at the ready right now either, so we'll leave that hanging.

That's actually an interesting parallel, what with Vasher and Nightblood hanging around. So...Midnight Essence, so far in my mind, it is some sort of evil awakening intent., 

 

Well, that was the impression I'd had...I'll have to review it. Darkness, I see why people do rereads. 

 

 

Seloun, 

 

 

1. I see. Well I have no problem with that. I that's how I think we're supposed to interpret Gavilar, but I think there's more. 

I freely admit that's mainly baseless, or rather, circumstantial as it relies on things like Amaram and Taravangian being not particularly savory, and my own interpretations as to what Eshonai says about him. AS well as Navani's comment. So, basically, what's already been noted. 

More specifically, I think Gavilar was likely the focus of a sort of struggle for his soul....but I digress. I would not be surprised if he wasn't only receiving the visions from Tanavast. 

 

This has a flow on, Seloun, if you'll indulge me. 

 

What do you think about the effects of Honour's visions, in comparison to the influence of Odium? 

 

We've seen Dalinar noticeably shift from one sort of person to another, in many ways he became a totally different person, in a way that I'd say was similar to Lin Davar. Both, I think, are obviously under the influence of a Shard. 

 

That's about right, right?

 

 

2. So, under your explanation, the Herald's return from Braize when they break under torture, and that lets Odiumspren bond...and a Desolation is ended when one or more Herald either dies or returns? That is, once that happens the Odiumspren stop being reinforced and can be cleaned up?

 

...thus why the Heralds at the start of tWoK thought that their deserting the Oathpact might bind Odium permanently? 

 

Three questions then,

 

Firstly. Isn't it Word of Brandon that the Oathpact is between the Heralds and the Almighty? No other parties? How would this tie in with the Stormfather being obliged to let Odiumspren bond...especially since I think his exact nature as the Stormfather we know is a post-Tanavast event, isn't it?

Unless he is assuming Tanavast's role in an already-existing pact between him and Odium?  

 

Secondly, what rationale would Odium have under your theory for not using the Everstorm earlier?  

 

Thirdly, why would Nale think surgebinding could bring about a Desolation then? 

 

Finally, not to sound overly critical! I really like your idea, it is elegant. 

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1. There are certainly possibility of weirdness going on with the visions. At the very least, the visions cannot be literal reproductions of history since they adapt to Dalinar's choices. The fact that they are mutable at all implies the possibility of tampering. Furthermore, Dalinar receives a 'vision' at the end of WoR which apparently did not come from the Stormfather; all of this does allow for the possibility of Gavilar's visions being altered by e.g. Odium or at least different from what we see from Dalinar.

 

However, there's no direct evidence of any change and all of the evidence we do see regarding Gavilar's visions suggest they are similar if not identical. All of the things people remember Gavilar saying about the visions are directly traceable to visions Dalinar has had:

 

 

It had worked. Just as the Diagram instructed, Taravangian was king of Jah Keved. He had taken the first major step toward unifying the world, as Gavilar had insisted would need to happen if they were to survive.

 

That was, at least, what the visions had proclaimed. Visions Gavilar had confided in him six years ago, the night of the Alethi king’s death . Gavilar had seen visions of the Almighty, who was also now dead, and of a coming storm.

 

Unite them.

 

This still opens up the possibility that the visions may be the same, but the source of the visions might not actually be Tanavast, or that the visions Dalinar has been seeing has been altered, too. The point is that there isn't really any evidence to that currently, while there is pretty good circumstantial evidence suggesting that Dalinar's visions are the same as Gavilar's, and they come from Tanavast through the Stormfather.

 

2. I don't think the Heralds actually thought abandoning the Oathpact would stop the Desolation. Instead, not returning means that they might be able to act to do something to stop the cycle of Desolations; in particular Jezrien mentions that it's important that someone remains bounds by the Oathpact:

 

 

“Ishar believes that so long as there is one of us still bound to the Oathpact, it may be enough. There is a chance we might end the cycle of Desolations.”

 

Furthermore, they don't talk about binding Odium - they talk about ending the Desolations, which is not necessarily the same thing (e.g. if Odium was free to leave Roshar, that would end the Desolations, too).

 

Second, re: Stormfather vs. Heralds vs. Tanavast relationship

 

Maintaining the highstorms appears to have been Tanavast's task which the Stormfather essentially inherited:

 

 

“I am the one left behind,” the voice said. It wasn’t exactly as he’d heard it in the visions; this voice had a depth to it. A density. “I am the sliver of Him that remains . I saw His corpse, saw Him die when Odium murdered Him. And I . . . I fled. To continue as I always have. The piece of God left in this world, the winds that men must feel.”

 

 

I WAS REQUIRED TO SEND THOSE VISIONS ONCE THE TIME ARRIVED. THE ALMIGHTY DEMANDED IT OF ME. I COULD NO MORE DISOBEY THAN I COULD REFUSE TO BLOW THE WINDS.

 

Either the Stormfather was bringing the highstorm at Tanavast's command, or Tanavast was doing so himself, originally. In both cases the ultimate responsibility comes from Tanavast.

 

The most likely reason Odium hasn't used the Everstorm earlier is because he was stopped from doing so:

 

 

 

THE EVERSTORM. IT IS A NEW THING, BUT OLD OF DESIGN. IT ROUNDS THE WORLD NOW , AND CARRIES WITH IT HIS SPREN. ANY OF THE OLD PEOPLE IT TOUCHES WILL TAKE ON THEIR NEW FORMS.

 

It's 'old of design', which suggests that it's either been tried before or known about from before. It takes the Parshendi a long time to bring up the storm and it would have been relatively easy to stop them (as they're helpless while doing the summoning) with anything resembling a full set of KR or a couple of Heralds (remember that the Voidbringers would not be allowed to bind to Odiumspren until the Heralds are all back). There's also probably limitations as to how much binding the Odiumspren can do at a time - given an alert KR/Herald force, it would probably usually be necessary to commit more forces to defense rather than investing everything into bringing the storm (consider that if the Alethi had been a day earlier, they would have stopped the Everstorm; it was a huge gamble on Odium's side).

 

Alternatively, it's because Odium's focus has shifted; see below.

 

Third - If we assume that this particular Desolation is Odium's attempt to get free of the Rosharian system (since Tanavast is dead at this point and Cultivation is apparently inactivated somehow), there's an alternative route to stop the Desolation: let Odium go. This would not have been an option while Tanavast was alive. If Surgebinding is what's responsible for keeping Odium in place, then the Heralds might reason that stopping surgebinding will eventually allow Odium to leave, if they understand that Odium is not really interested in Roshar but in the Shards.

Once Tanavast is dead, it might be understandable for the Heralds to decide that there's no real point in trying to defeat Odium to protect Roshar (perhaps some of the Heralds acted to cause that to occur...since that might be the best way to 'protect' Roshar). Then their best shot is to do what they can to let Odium leave; perhaps the act of Surgebinding also strengthens whatever measures are in place to keep Odium in the system.

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