Confused

Why Ishar Fears “The Greater Power of the Oaths”

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Posted (edited)

@Argent's “The Magics of Roshar” topic speculates that the Fifth Oath fully merges Knights Radiant and their spren. Further speculation suggests a Fifth Oath Radiant becomes the equivalent of a Herald with Honorblade who can pull Investiture directly from the Spiritual Realm. I generally agree with this speculation.

@Jofwu on that thread asks this question:

On 5/22/2019 at 7:43 AM, Jofwu said:

could this be exactly what Nale was referring to as the "greater power of the oaths" that Honor has to "regulate"? Would this suggest that Honor withheld the ability intentionally from Radiants in the past? Why? Why is that dangerous?

The answer may lie in what Nale tells Szeth:

Quote

Nin continued. “Ishar warned me of the danger. Now that Honor is dead, other Radiants might upset the balance of the Oathpact. Might undermine certain … measures we took, and give an opening to the enemy.”

(OB, Chapter 106, Kindle p. 986, bold added.)

Nale says the Oathpact is “balanced.” I read him to mean there’s only one Herald per divine attribute. Fifth Oath Radiants could upset that balance and weaken the Oathpact. The “measures we took” seems a reference to Taln. Ishar fears Fifth Oath Radiants might somehow disable Taln’s Desolation defense.

While Honor lived, he could decline to accept Radiant Fifth Oaths. The Stormfather, who replaced Honor, has yet to decline any oath. Nale kills incipient Radiants to ensure they never rival Heralds.

Ishar’s threatening letter to Dalinar fits this concern. Ishar doesn’t want a rival Bondsmith wielding the “power of Connection.” Crazy is as crazy does.

Edited by Confused
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Are you saying that the Radiant's might steal divine attribute from the Heralds?

3 minutes ago, Confused said:

Nale says the Oathpact is “balanced.” I read him to mean there’s only one Herald per divine attribute. Fifth Oath Radiants could upset that balance and weaken the Oathpact. The “measures we took” seems a reference to Taln. Ishar fears Fifth Oath Radiants might somehow disable Taln’s Desolation defense.

Their are two divine attributes per Herald as I understand it and how do 5th Oath Radiants upset the balance?

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I really like this idea! I think that this is very supported by the death rattle that goes a little something like this:

"He must regain the fallen title! The tower the crown, and the spear!"

After reading this thread, (and in mind of certain events at the end of OB) I think this means that Kaladin is going to become the new wind runner Herald. 

Also, I don't think they steal divine attributes. Perhaps they could undermine the oathpact by having the option to go to Braize like a herald could have. 

 

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I am genuinely confused by both what measures Nale is referring to, and how Radiants, regardless of how much power they have access to, might upset whatever balance Nale is thinking about. 

Some things we do know:

That last one could throw a bit of a wrench in my "Radiants can Invest directly from Honor" idea, but I'll stick to my guns and say that the idea still holds, only with the caveat that Heralds could Invest... better. At a faster rate, able to hold more. Akin to how both a garden hose and a fire hydrant have access to vast amounts of water, but the former is much more powerful. 

Captain Ico seems to echo Nale's (and, presumably, Ishar's) sentiment about the dangers of Radiants:

Quote

But your bond is dangerous, without Honor. There will not be enough checks upon your power—you risk disaster.”

I think I agree that Honor somehow regulated how much power was available to the Radiants - either by declining the final Oath of any he personally didn't think deserving (a task that appears to fall on the Stormfather now), or by simply limiting the amount of power Radiants could drain from him. I personally like the second option better because it puts the responsibility directly onto Honor, which makes his absence a problem. The Stormfather could, conceivably, decline Oaths, or quickly learn to do so if it starts becoming a problem; he probably can't regulate how much Investiture the new Radiants pull.

I don't like the Divine Attributes idea, however. It feels... not mechanical enough. I've never thought the Divine Attributes to be anything more than a cultural construct, something without a Realmatic meaning that people (and, perhaps, spren) ascribed significance to. Furthermore, I don't see how any Radiant could be... essentially promoted to a Herald, regardless of how much power they have access to. The Oathpact was a formal agreement between Honor and the Heralds, there were actual Realmatic effects to it, as evident by the various connections between the Heralds and the Desolations. For a Radiant to achieve this level, I think you'd need Honor, though it's probably possible for Dalinar and the Stormfather to somehow make changes. After all, if Odium believes that Dalinar has the power to release him, then Dalinar might also have the power to influence other acts of Honor. 

What I propose instead, is that the danger here is tied directly to the amount of Investiture being actively used on Roshar. I don't have a good model of why a large amount of Investiture could lead to a Desolation, but it is a common link between the Heralds (with their "raw levels of power than no Radiant could obtain") and the modern Radiants without "enough checks" on their power. I do have an idea, however.

Why, once a Desolation ends and the Heralds return to Braize, would the Fused and the voidspren be trapped there? It can't be the Oathpact, not directly at least, because it was an agreement that didn't involve Odium's forces; things would be different if they had all agreed to something, since spren (and, perhaps, the Fused, being so suffused with Investiture) very much embody the "swear by my power" fantasy trope, but this is not the case. The only other option that makes sense to me is that they are being forcefully kept on Braize - by the Heralds. And since I doubt even the Heralds can keep the entirety of Odium's army at bay, and especially since new Desolations required a Herald to "break", I think the way this played out was like this: the Oathpact granted the Heralds access to unfathomable amounts of Investiture, under the condition - the oath - that they will use this power to keep Odium's forces at bay. I imagine this as the Heralds essentially erecting a prison around Braize, one made of all this power they had access to. This is probably where the sharing of the pain comes in too - I imagine they were somehow Connected in this, similarly to how a Surgebinder is Connected with their spren, a merging of the souls. But as soon as even one Herald broke their Oath and - with Intent - allowed Odium's forces through, it was enough for the whole barrier to go down; one side of the deal with Honor was no longer being unheld, and so the other one (the access to Honor's power) would become void too. Only the Oathpact wouldn't actually be broken as much as it would be... interrupted. I'd guess this is simply due to the immense binding power of the Oathpact. So the Heralds would return to Roshar, another Desolation would start, Odium's forces would eventually be defeated. Why would the Heralds need to return to Braize? Under this model, it's simply - they need to be there to raise and maintain the prison again. Rinse & repeat.

Why is a single Herald enough to keep this show running? Under this model, because they would still have access to the incredible amounts of Investiture granted to each one. It would be much harder for a single Herald to keep this up - not only would they not have access to as much power as usual, but they wouldn't have anyone to share the torture with. But then, this is Taln.

So let's go back to Nale's crusade, and Ico's concerns, and the absence of Honor. The way I think this fits is actually surprisingly simple. Without Honor to regulate how much power the Radiants can siphon out of his Investiture pool, they run the risk of tapping into the reserves normally allocated to the Heralds, and therefore weaken the Braize prison. Ishar would've known this (and we can probably agree that this, or something like this, is why "he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men") and so would've sent Nale on his quest to find all nascent Surgebinders and ensure they never reach the Fifth Ideal and thus jeopardize Taln's work - either by killing them, or recruiting them and keeping a careful eye on them. Ico, somehow, understands this too - though whether that is because spren have better understanding of how such things work, or because they (or the honorspren specifically) have better record-keeping, or because Ishar has convinced/intimidated them into playing along, I don't know.

I think I actually like the overall shape of this. The details are a little hazy but I think it explains a lot of things in a reasonable way. Even if I needed another 1500 words or whatever...

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I had always thought that this power was always available through the nahel bond, and that the use of oaths to “gate” the strength of the bond was a later addition. That is, the Orders were founded, in part, to regulate the powers of the bonds and prevent the destruction of Roshar from unchecked surgebinding.

This might explain why in Dalinars visions, pre-orders, there are still references to surgebinders.

It may also explain why Honor was at his death concerned with the bonds: without the checks of oaths they would become far more dangerous.

it could also be that the dawnshards had a role to play in altering the nahel bonds to link them to oaths; as the shards are known to bind everything voidish or mortal. Honors concern with finding them could come from their role as surgebinding safeguards.

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30 minutes ago, Argent said:

I don't like the Divine Attributes idea, however. It feels... not mechanical enough. I've never thought the Divine Attributes to be anything more than a cultural construct, something without a Realmatic meaning that people (and, perhaps, spren) ascribed significance to. Furthermore, I don't see how any Radiant could be... essentially promoted to a Herald, regardless of how much power they have access to

Agreed.  We have no evidence that the attributes actually mean anything mechanically.

31 minutes ago, Argent said:

Heralds essentially erecting a prison around Braize, one made of all this power they had access to.

I think along similar lines but slightly different.  I don't see the Heralds as errecting a prison I think they are more like an anchor.  They trap the fused by pulling them against Braize using Honor's power.

34 minutes ago, Argent said:

So let's go back to Nale's crusade, and Ico's concerns, and the absence of Honor. The way I think this fits is actually surprisingly simple. Without Honor to regulate how much power the Radiants can siphon out of his Investiture pool, they run the risk of tapping into the reserves normally allocated to the Heralds, and therefore weaken the Braize prison. Ishar would've known this (and we can probably agree that this, or something like this, is why "he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men") and so would've sent Nale on his quest to find all nascent Surgebinders and ensure they never reach the Fifth Ideal and thus jeopardize Taln's work - either by killing them, or recruiting them and keeping a careful eye on them. Ico, somehow, understands this too - though whether that is because spren have better understanding of how such things work, or because they (or the honorspren specifically) have better record-keeping, or because Ishar has convinced/intimidated them into playing along, I don't know.

It might be worse then that.  If they tap too much they could pull out the investiture that Honor used to trap Odium himself.  I think next to that all other problems are moot.

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7 minutes ago, Karger said:

It might be worse then that.  If they tap too much they could pull out the investiture that Honor used to trap Odium himself.  I think next to that all other problems are moot.

I actually considered that too, but it felt like too much. Shards are colossal reservoirs of power, and one argument against my idea is that even something like this Braize prison I propose would be far too much for a bunch of unchecked Radiants to put a dent in. I can kind of accept it because if the prison is created and maintained by just the ten Heralds, then maybe something like a hundred Radiants could wield a comparable amount of power and therefore mess things up; it's hard to come up with reasonable numbers, but I can at least imagine this happening. Upscaling this what surely must be way more Investiture keeping Odium trapped, and I find it even more difficult to believe that any number of Radiants could touch that. I mean, you could probably come up with a number, but I feel like it would be silly.

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Posted (edited)

My take is that without Honor, Odium could essentially subvert the spren and take over the magic system. The Oathpact is essentially one type of investiture keeping another in check. If the former supplants the latter then the system crumbles.

Edited by ScavellTane
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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, Argent said:

I actually considered that too, but it felt like too much. Shards are colossal reservoirs of power, and one argument against my idea is that even something like this Braize prison I propose would be far too much for a bunch of unchecked Radiants to put a dent in. I can kind of accept it because if the prison is created and maintained by just the ten Heralds, then maybe something like a hundred Radiants could wield a comparable amount of power and therefore mess things up; it's hard to come up with reasonable numbers, but I can at least imagine this happening. Upscaling this what surely must be way more Investiture keeping Odium trapped, and I find it even more difficult to believe that any number of Radiants could touch that. I mean, you could probably come up with a number, but I feel like it would be silly.

Doesn't Odium strain constantly at the bonds?  Each Radiant could be the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. 

Mistborn Spoilers

Spoiler

After all.  The atium reserve was not that much power but Ruin spent a ton of effort looking for it.  Similarly Preservation died because he gave up a tiny bit of his power to create humans.

 

Edited by Karger
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16 hours ago, Argent said:

Without Honor to regulate how much power the Radiants can siphon out of his Investiture pool, they run the risk of tapping into the reserves normally allocated to the Heralds, and therefore weaken the Braize prison. Ishar would've known this (and we can probably agree that this, or something like this, is why "he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men") and so would've sent Nale on his quest to find all nascent Surgebinders and ensure they never reach the Fifth Ideal and thus jeopardize Taln's work - either by killing them, or recruiting them and keeping a careful eye on them.

This is what I've been thinking as well. All very well said.

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@Argent i proposed a similar thing before OB but within a rambling theory about Honor being invested in Braize and having to essentially go back there when the heralds go to roshar. Rubbish in retrospect but the point your making i agree with relating to weakening the prison instead 

To quote my lesser self

Quote
  •  Each Oath brings the spren more into the Physical Realm, and seems to give the surgebinder greater access to kinetic investiture. I think this is basically because the person and spren intertwine their spiritwebs more and more, which gives the surgebinder greater innate investiture, stronger Connection to Honor/Cultivation/Both. If Nale is right (and assuming I’m not missing steps in between – a big assumption) this indicates that either the increased Connection to the Shards, or the increased use of kinetic investiture (or both), creates a pathway, a means for the Voidbringers to jump. ...why from Braize?

...

So (deep breath), what is the common link between the Heralds (who are parties to the Oathpact with Honor, who are a type of Cognitive Shadow, who have a piece of Honor’s soul in the form of Honorblades) returning to Roshar, and Nahel-bonded surgebinders gaining greater and greater access to the investiture of Honor/Cultivation/both? I believe it’s a flow of investiture from Braize to Roshar to fuel the Heralds’ existence in the Physical Realm (much like a Nalthis Returned needs to consume investiture to keep their body stapled to their Cognitive Shadow), or more likely to fuel the surgebinding performed by surgebinders with the ‘greater power of the Oaths’ unregulated by Honor. I think Honor used to restrict the system to fewer Oaths than is possible, but later Oaths open up incredible access to investiture (and this is also the reason Ishar forced the original surgebinders to have organization thrust upon them and become orders of Radiant). Basically I see the later Oaths as spren enabling Radiants to become like Heralds, mimicking the system by which Honor made the Oathpact

For a laugh

 

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I might've agreed with some of the ideas in this thread pre-Oathbringer but now that we have a better idea of Ishar's state of mind I'm pretty certain that while the later Oaths may contain some greater powers, Ishar simply lied to Nale about either what those powers were or the ramifications those powers could have. Nale has a blind trust in Ishar and believes him to be sane, meaning that Ishar is already deceiving him about at least one (pretty damnation important) thing. Seems much more likely to me that the Radiants posed no such danger and Ishar was simply manipulating Nale to prevent any kind of Radiant power structure from forming.

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21 minutes ago, Blightsong said:

I might've agreed with some of the ideas in this thread pre-Oathbringer but now that we have a better idea of Ishar's state of mind I'm pretty certain that while the later Oaths may contain some greater powers, Ishar simply lied to Nale about either what those powers were or the ramifications those powers could have. Nale has a blind trust in Ishar and believes him to be sane, meaning that Ishar is already deceiving him about at least one (pretty damnation important) thing. Seems much more likely to me that the Radiants posed no such danger and Ishar was simply manipulating Nale to prevent any kind of Radiant power structure from forming.

It's certainly a possibility, but I find Ico's words to be a strong evidence that there is some danger. I find it far more likely that Ishar exaggerated the likelihood of disaster, leading Nale onto a path of extreme prejudice. 

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What strongly comes to mind for me, is the damage that was done to Ashyn by unregulated Surges and Surgebinders. 

The oaths regulate the surges a lot, but still, Honor isn't there to prevent major catastrophe. It feels like they have far more potential power than they understand how to use safely, and this could be an Ashyn-like situation. 

I still wonder how they could have messed Ashyn up so much, to where its surface, is mostly lava that has not cooled. It should have done some cooling by now, unless there was a magical reason for it. Just how do you mess things up that badly? 

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12 hours ago, ZenBossanova said:

What strongly comes to mind for me, is the damage that was done to Ashyn by unregulated Surges and Surgebinders.

This is perhaps the main thing that makes me skeptical of the idea @Argent presented.

If it's true that the Ashynites essentially destroyed their own world with Surges (presumably via Odium) then it seems very likely to me that the concern we're dealing with on Roshar is directly related.

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On 2019-06-03 at 2:46 AM, Confused said:

While Honor lived, he could decline to accept Radiant Fifth Oaths. The Stormfather, who replaced Honor, has yet to decline any oath. Nale kills incipient Radiants to ensure they never rival Heralds.

I don't see how Honor, or Honor's representative, is involved in the oaths, beyond Dalinar bonding said representative.

If I have the timeline right the Recreance and Honor's death are almost simultaneous, and in any case the Recreance probably came first. 

By your logic there would then not have been any Radiants of the Fifth Ideal before the Recreance. If this is true, the only known data point is Nale, and Ico (I think, been a while since I read that bit) asserts that the bond between Kal and Syl could be forcibly broken, so long as the Fifth had not been sworn, and unless the spren tried to force Nale to break his bond how would they know?

Honor obviously acted in some regulatory capacity, but I don't think that the Ideals went via him for approval. I could however believe that Honor could act as a check on the spren, possibly as part of Ishar's "precepts and laws," possibly in some other capacity.

 

¤_¤

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Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, ZenBossanova said:

What strongly comes to mind for me, is the damage that was done to Ashyn by unregulated Surges and Surgebinders. 

The oaths regulate the surges a lot, but still, Honor isn't there to prevent major catastrophe. It feels like they have far more potential power than they understand how to use safely, and this could be an Ashyn-like situation. 

I still wonder how they could have messed Ashyn up so much, to where its surface, is mostly lava that has not cooled. It should have done some cooling by now, unless there was a magical reason for it. Just how do you mess things up that badly? 

Something important to note is that while "surges" were said to be the cause of Ashyn's destruction that is a very broad term used to describe pretty much any magic on Roshar. The power that destroyed Ashyn was likely not the same as what Ishar warned Nale of and wasn't even of a power related to Honor, read the below WoB:

Quote

 

Blightsong

In Oathbringer it is revealed that the humans who originally came to Roshar were the first ones to be named Voidbringers and that they carried magical powers. The Stormfather also implies that modern Surgebinding didn't exist before the Heralds. Were the original powers that the humans possessed Voidbinding?

Brandon Sanderson

So, we're getting into lots of interesting definitional problems here. And also the ways that different entities perceive the definitions of different terms. I will answer this question specifically as we do the flashbacks from Ash and Taln's viewpoints. So you've got a long ways to wait. But understand that definitions are not always-- the way that people define things cannot always be trusted. That said, humans were not using powers from Honor originally

 

 

15 hours ago, Argent said:

It's certainly a possibility, but I find Ico's words to be a strong evidence that there is some danger. I find it far more likely that Ishar exaggerated the likelihood of disaster, leading Nale onto a path of extreme prejudice. 

Good point, I've thought about it and you're probably right, I skimmed over that part of your last post and had forgot that quote. Perhaps Surgebinding has the same risks as the system previously used to destroy Ashyn. I find it too large a coincidence that both these systems seem to have extreme and disastrous power.

Edited by Blightsong
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Posted (edited)

Upset the Balance of the Oathpact

Argent’s last cited WoB probably disproves my OP’s theory, but I don’t buy the alternatives. If Ishar was concerned Radiants would siphon Honor’s power, he would have said so. But his concern was the balance of the Oathpact. A Shard’s Investiture is unimaginably vast. Radiant access to that Investiture wouldn’t even be noticeable. I doubt even Herald access is more than a Nano-drop of the whole. Argent recognizes this problem with his theory.

I don’t think diverting Honor’s Investiture to Radiants helps Odium free himself. Ishar’s concern is the Oathpact. Argent correctly points out the Oathpact doesn’t bind Odium. It binds the Fused and voidspren, blocking their Cognitive path into Roshar’s subastral.

IMO, freeing the Fused and voidspren from Braize is the first step in Odium’s plan. The Fused and Singers defeating humans is the second. I speculate Odium destroying Roshar is the third and final step. I think Odium’s prison ties to Roshar, not Braize; or at least Roshar is his path out of Braize. Otherwise, there’s no need for Desolations.

Odium’s Prison – “Unite Them

HOW Odium’s imprisoned remains the mystery. I keep thinking there’s something in this epigraph:

Quote

"They also, when they had settled their rulings in the nature of each bond's placement, called the name of it the Nahel bond, with regard to its effect upon the souls of those caught in its grip; in this description, each was related to the bonds that drive Roshar itself, ten Surges, named in turn and two for each order; in this light, it can be seen that each order would by necessity share one Surge with each of its neighbors."

(WoR, Chapter 8, bold added.)

Surges are Rosharans’ perception of the cosmere’s fundamental forces. Calling Surges the “bonds that drive Roshar” to me implies these forces hold Roshar together. Honor is the Shard that makes magic through bonds. Without Honor to regulate the balance of these forces, maybe “things fall apart [and] the center cannot hold”?

I feel (without much evidence) that uniting the Surges somehow creates a mutually-supporting superstructure that binds Odium to Roshar. It would take the full binding power of all Roshar’s fundamental forces to pin Odium there. I suspect binding the Surges together will fall on Dalinar, given this foreshadowing:

Quote

Dalinar stood before the glowing map that Shallan and he—somehow combining their powers—could create.

(OB, Chapter 27, Kindle p. 274.)

There’s two bits of vague evidence for uniting the Surges. One is this WoK, Chapter 9 Epigraph:

Quote

"Ten people, with Shardblades alight, standing before a wall of black and white and red."

Collected: Jesachev, 1173, 12 seconds pre-death. Subject: one of our own ardents, overheard during his last moments.

Not much, I know. The second bit is Honor’s Double Eye. All the lines meet in the middle where there’s no reason to meet. When you put all the ideals together, representing all the Roshar-perceived fundamental forces, MAYBE you can imprison Odium.

Ico’s Fear

For convenience, here’s the quote again:

Quote

But your bond is dangerous, without Honor. There will not be enough checks upon your power—you risk disaster.”

Of all the explanations for Ico’s fear, I now side with @ScavellTane's: No Radiant spren is 100% Honor despite what each thinks. Glys highlights the risk Odium will subvert Radiant spren and “take over the magic system.” I also agree with @ZenBossanova that the risked disaster is another Ashyn.

Divine Attributes

I think there’s some misunderstanding about Divine Attributes. Posters comment here and elsewhere that Attributes are cultural, not mechanical, or are too closely tied to the Vorin perspective of Heralds. I feel these comments overlook Roshar’s unique magical environment. The Attributes ARE cultural. When asked about the lines crisscrossing the Double Eye, Brandon said,

Quote

These connections will be explained eventually, but remember it's not the orders being connected, but instead their elemental representations. This diagram is very metaphysical, and some of the elements of it are cultural.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A (Aug. 13, 2014).

But on Roshar, culture MAKES the Divine Attributes mechanical. Of all known planets, only on Roshar does Cognitive Realm perception become Physical Realm reality. Syl confirms Radiant spren personify the Divine Attributes:

Quote

“I’m less a force of nature and more one of the raw powers of creation transformed by collective human imagination into a personification of one of their ideals.”

(OB, Chapter 31,  Kindle, p. 316.)

Radiant spren are an essential Surgebinding mechanic. Through the Nahel bond, a cultural ideal grants a right-minded mortal the power of a god.

@Calderis, you say my “Fifth Oath” ideas about the Divine Attributes are too “formulaic”:

On 6/4/2019 at 0:53 AM, Calderis said:

For every Surgebinder to attract a spren for the same reason and reach for the exact same end goal would mean that you would be putting every member of an order on a path to experience the same journey. 

I think you undervalue your own point that oath expression varies by spren and Radiant. Same-order Radiants won’t have the same journey regardless of common Attributes. To protect, Teft has to overcome his addiction. Kaladin has to overcome his “god complex” that he must (and can) protect everyone. Each Windrunner candidate has their own brokenness to contend with. Same for all Radiants.

That doesn’t mean their Attributes differ. Attributes are ideals that IMO mark the journey’s start and end points for each order, not the journey itself. All honorspren seek a Windrunner candidate for whom protecting others is paramount. If their candidate never learns leadership (as subjectively determined by the spren and candidate), that candidate will never achieve the Fifth Oath.

Edited by Confused
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I do know that on Earth, the fundamental forces are balanced so perfectly, some people use it as an argument for God. (Just what would our non-Cosmere Shard be?) 

If we did begin messing with the forces that hold us together, (our 'bonds'), we could seriously mess things up. Ashyn is not impossible! For instance, messing with gravity or the weak nuclear force (which governs nuclear decay of elements in the earth's core) could affect plate tectonics, which is STILL important for life to exist. Messing with either Nuclear force could affect reactions in the Sun. Real bummer if we turned it off! 

And anything, and I do mean ANYTHING done, any kind of changes to the Electro-magnetic force, would screw with chemistry and literally doom all life, if not the structural integrity of the planet itself. 

Bonds are no joke. Ico and others were right to be worried. 

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I wonder if the issue of balance is perhaps tied to Braize being 9-centric when Greater Roshar is 10-centric.

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