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Tin Foil Hat Theory: Honor had an Affair

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This is entirely a Tinfoil Hat theory.  It could be, I havent found anything specific to make it impossible, but that's because it is mostly based on vague hints and themes and an interpretation of one of Hoid's stories. But it would explain quite a bit using known realmic mechanics and cosmere themes.  

 

I think I know what broke Honor, what changed in those last days that made him doubt himself, doubt the Radiants, abdicate the creation of Spren, prepare the Stormfather as his heir, create the Visions, and apparently weakened him enough for Shattering, etc: 

I think he had an affair.   With Queen Tsa

I think Hoid's story of the Moon Gods is describing the shardic Soap Opera that went down.  The short version of the story is that a very clever mortal queen tricked the celestial entity that is female and color-coded Green to trade places for a day, only to later discover that it was all a scam to have a night and a child with the male celestial being color-coded White.  That translates to Cultivation voluntarily giving up her Shard (which they can do by WOB), temporarily entrusting it to a Mortal so that she (Cultivation) could experience Mortal life again.  This put Honor in a pickle, because the rationale behind how he is keeping his Oaths (like the non-interference deal among the Shards) is based on the Fact that Cultivation and his Wife are the same being, and suddenly that was no longer the case.  Now, whether he made any actual Choice to "mingle" with the Temporary Cultivation, or if their mutual Investment in Roshar caused it automatically,  I cant really say.  But either way, he had made multiple Oaths in the past that were now in conflict: Either his pre-existing marriage trumps the Shardic Deal, or Possessing a Shard takes precedence.  Either he had made a baby with a woman that he was not married to, or he had Co-habitated with another Shard and violated the agreement between the 16 that supersedes his mortal marriage.  This is the sort of internal conflict that can drive ordinary folks crazy, but for Tanavast it brought him firmly in conflict with his own Shardic Intent, and by a means that is done and in the past and impossible to repair (without time travel).

 

Note:  This is based on the assumption that Honor was rationalizing staying with Cultivation via their pre-existing marriage, that it would not be "interference" to settle with your own spouse.  

 

There are a few fun possible implications of this: 

  • Queen Tsa would then be a Sliver
  • Queen Tsa might have then been Unmade.  Having that sort of direct Connection to Honor and Cultivation could explain why Ba-Ado-Mishram is uniquely able to Channel Voidlight, or why Sja-Anat is able to Corrupt Spren that are made of some mix of Honor and Cultivation.  
  • Nohadon could be of this bloodline.  WOB is that Vessels can have Babies, and that it would have effects.  We know that Nohadon was "Someone Special" even among surgebinders and kings, and was not a Herald (but per that vision at least was indeed a Surgebinder). 
  • Kaladin might be of this bloodline. WOB says that the Stormfather calling Kaladin, specifically, a Son of Tanavast is significant.  This would explain why.
  • EDIT: The Dawnshards are the literal Children of Honor and Cultivation, and one is different from the rest because that was is the child of Honor and Tsa.  
  • Queen Tsa...Tsa..T.S.A....  The Stormlight Archive?  Queen Tsa is the hidden secret of The Stormlight Archive?  
Edited by Quantus
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*clap clap clap* that is actually a really fun theory. The difficulty I have with it is after holding the shard as long as he had, Honor would have had a near impossible time of breaking his oath with his assumed "wife" since he wouldn't have just created the oath to the shard but to the person. Beyond that I think you found Brandon out! 

(My personal favorite is the last realization that really glues it all together.)

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I mean... I don't think Tanavast had any reason to "rationalize" the breaking of the agreement. He didn't think he broke anything. 

Quote

Mason Wheeler

One of the Letters in Oathbringer suggests that the Shards had a pact to all go their separate ways. And some of them held to it and some of them didn't?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Mason Wheeler

Out of all of them, how is it possible that one of the ones that didn't is the one whose nature is to obsessively keep your word at all costs?

Brandon Sanderson

He would argue that he kept his word.

Mason Wheeler

Okay, so loophole.

Brandon Sanderson

He wouldn't even call it a loophole.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

And the agreement that the Shards had was not binding. 

Quote
Questioner

All the Shards basically agreed not to settle on the same planet. Six of them - that we know of - immediately, basically broke that.

Brandon Sanderson

So... they did not make an oath to it. There was a suggestion made... and perhaps the people who made the suggestion did not understand that, if you want the Shards to do something, you need an actual Oath. And they did not get one.

Tel Aviv Signing (Oct. 18, 2019)

Honestly though... My biggest issues with this are that 1) The story seems to be a fable to explain the origin of the Natan skin color that excludes the possibility of Siah heritage. Because face it, there's racism everywhere in this story. And 2) something that has nothing to do with realmatics or the even the Cosmere really... But a being on the level of a Shard, a nearly omnipotent, mind expanded, crazy powerful, for all intents and purposes God... What is going to be interesting or intriguing or appealing about a mortal? It's always been the biggest issue for me with various mythological beings... What could a being that would most likely see us as pets at best see in it? 

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@Quantus, This is a good theory. I have recently studied the story Wit told, and I think this is close. I don't know if this lead to Tanavast's demise (a good potential theory), but it was certainly a factor with Cultivation, and I believe, the missing people to the East. This affair will definitely affect the outcome of a lot in the future of Roshar. The Moons are a good reflection of the Shards and maybe more. Can't wait to find out what!

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4 hours ago, Yolenlightweaver said:

*clap clap clap* that is actually a really fun theory. The difficulty I have with it is after holding the shard as long as he had, Honor would have had a near impossible time of breaking his oath with his assumed "wife" since he wouldn't have just created the oath to the shard but to the person. Beyond that I think you found Brandon out! 

(My personal favorite is the last realization that really glues it all together.)

That's entirely fair, though depending on how it went down he might not have needed to do anything himself, this might have been his wife backing him into a corner.  One scenario is that he was operating under a Loophole in the agreement with his counterparts to never interfere with another shard by excluding his own wife from that, and as soon as Tsa ascended he found himself in violation of that agreement because his Investiture was massively intermingled with that of a vessel that is not his spouse, breaking the agreement without his him actually being complicit.  But there's a line from the story that makes me doubt he was that involved: Tsa's argument that she'd not violated the bargain was that Honor/Nomon invited her to partake of the celestial experiences even though she'd promised not to.  That makes me suspect he's less than innocent.

2 hours ago, Calderis said:

I mean... I don't think Tanavast had any reason to "rationalize" the breaking of the agreement. He didn't think he broke anything. 

He didnt think he had broken anything, but we know other's of that group disagree with his interpretation.  Id argue that is the definition of a rationalization in this sort of context. Admittedly it's hard to argue either way though, I think it will come down to some Spirit vs Letter distinction, without knowing the Wording or the Motivations at the time. 

Consider one possible but entirely made-up example scenario:  The motivation behind the agreement was to keep the Shards Invested on separate worlds to prevent it from ever reintegrating back into some Adonalsium equivalent.  Tanavast believed it was impossible in his and Cultivation's case: because they are already intimately Connected by Love and Marriage, their Investitures intermingled as soon as they Ascended.  Thus in Tanavast's mind, the agreement as to not to intermingle Investitures any more than it was already.  Thus in his mind, the intermingling between Himself and his Wife was a preexisting condition and was never part of the deal.  But the moment Cultivation's Investiture changes hands, that would suddenly no longer hold true.  In this interpretation the "child" is more likely either a spren, or something more "crafted" the Temp-Cultivation rather than conceived by the two of them. 

Quote

And the agreement that the Shards had was not binding. 

Nice!  This one I did not know about.  That's a strong counter-argument right there.  On the one hand I could see arguing that Honor might hold himself to a higher standard than some of the rest.  On the Other hand he's the most likely to get stuck at the specific distinction between an Understanding and an Oath, though he would have been quite new to the power at the time.  Perhaps he was a bit of a noble oaf and took the other's statements at Face value, and either because of the Honor Intent or in spite of it (since he was still inexperienced) he made the incorrect Assumption that the other's apparent agreement with the idea was as good as an actual Oath.  

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Honestly though... My biggest issues with this are that 1) The story seems to be a fable to explain the origin of the Natan skin color that excludes the possibility of Siah heritage. Because face it, there's racism everywhere in this story. And 2) something that has nothing to do with realmatics or the even the Cosmere really... But a being on the level of a Shard, a nearly omnipotent, mind expanded, crazy powerful, for all intents and purposes God... What is going to be interesting or intriguing or appealing about a mortal? It's always been the biggest issue for me with various mythological beings... What could a being that would most likely see us as pets at best see in it? 

On #1:  that is true, and if it had been told by anyone other than Hoid I would say it's a Blue Curtains scenario.  But Hoid has a history of telling stories that thematically predict major twists.  The Islanders in the Wandersail story discovered they'd been doing all kinds of horrible things int eh name of an emperor that was long dead, mirroring the Rosharans that were still fighting and dying in the name of a dead god. The girl under the wall found out that she was one of the monsters, just like the humans discovered they were the real Voidbringers.  The Hoid's story of Fleet to Kaladin foreshadowed his eventual loss of boots to Shallan (not really, I just dont have a good interpretation for that one).  Another possibility is that it's both, and rather than any of my UnMade/Nohodon theories for the fate of the Shardically Bastard bloodline it is the literal source of the Blue skinned Natans.  

On #2, I have several thoughts, tell me if any of them ring true for you.  The easiest answer is basic nostalgia.  Just like the Midnight Mother trying to remember what she used to be (unproven I know, but the in-world impression), perhaps she was forgetting what it felt like to be human and wanted to feel it again.  Another is the part of the story that kept talking about Tsa's cities and towers and things.  If you were a human born to the relative dark ages and were now looking down on a Golden Age of culture and technology that is wildly different from what you remembered, you might feel like you missed out and want to try the new flavor. 

But the one that I land on, the theme that I see shining though more and more cosmere-wide, is the simple fact that these arent  all-knowing, infallible, ineffable Gods. No matter how much power you give them at their core they are still just People, and are still as fallible as People have always been.   I see this theme in making mistakes (by his own estimation) Sazed post-Ascension. This theme is all over Warbreaker, and I see it more and more in Stormlight, where one god is dead, another is the enemy they have to outsmart, and there are ten insane people running around that even the Stormfather calls "divinities".  I think this is going to prove an important distinction, as the difference between a mortal holding a Shard and the Investiture of a Shard gaining sentience on it's own.  The Stormfather is already being used to explore this, since he used to be the WOB example of the latter, but is learning more about the former now that he's gaining insight from Tanavast's ghost.  And if they have any hope of defeating Odium, I think it will hinge on finding a way to exploit and defeat Rayse.  Because at the end of the day the Shards arent (narratively) supposed to be Forces of Nature, they are Characters. I fully expect we'll get some chance to get to know them on something like a personal before we get the full Dragonsteel prequel.  

For what it's worth, this is also why in this theory I personally lean toward the scenario where Tanavast himself made a Choice or had a moment of weakness or whatever, and is himself responsible, as opposed to being caught in some legalese shenanigan.  But either way, I think it will be their humanity that is and was the key.  It also (to me at least) makes a more interesting story.  Either it was Tanavast cheating that caused the problems with his internal guilt and/or with Cultivation's anger, or her ill-conceived "vacation" ultimately broke his mind and got him killed, leaving her with no small amount of guilt herself.  It might also explain the very careful wording in this WOB:

 

Quote

 

WeiryWriter

What are Cultivation's feelings with regards to the Stormfather?

Brandon Sanderson

Cultivation's feelings... Cultivation is, *long pause* I just have to decide how I can say things that are not spoilers. Cultivation-- The Stormfather reminds her of certain things about someone else she knew, and she feels the same way about the Stormfather in some ways as this person that she knew.

JordanCon 2014 (April 11, 2014)

 

 

 

Oh, new idea for the Implications list:  What If the Dawnshards are the literal living Children of Honor and Cultivation, and one is different from the rest because that one was is the child of Honor and Tsa-as-Cultivation, not the original.  

Edited by Quantus
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4 hours ago, Calderis said:

The story seems to be a fable to explain the origin of the Natan skin color that excludes the possibility of Siah heritage. Because face it, there's racism everywhere in this story.

I would be VERY surprised if the blue skin was not a result of breading with siah amians.  Perhaps queen Tsa herself was one.  This would explain the blue skin portion.

4 hours ago, Calderis said:

something that has nothing to do with realmatics or the even the Cosmere really... But a being on the level of a Shard, a nearly omnipotent, mind expanded, crazy powerful, for all intents and purposes God... What is going to be interesting or intriguing or appealing about a mortal? It's always been the biggest issue for me with various mythological beings... What could a being that would most likely see us as pets at best see in it? 

To Cultivation a being who never changes I could see endless fascination involved in being mortal as her entire intent is about change.  Also in the older myths god being liked humans for our verity and risky nature(it is risky being mortal).  Many of them payed attention to puny mortals the same way you pay attention to those little people on the TV screens who act out predictable soap operas.

5 hours ago, Quantus said:

This is entirely a Tinfoil Hat theory.  It could be, I havent found anything specific to make it impossible, but that's because it is mostly based on vague hints and themes and an interpretation of one of Hoid's stories. But it would explain quite a bit using known realmic mechanics and cosmere themes.  

Could you add this to my hall of theories(much better title then the real one)

5 hours ago, Quantus said:

This is entirely a Tinfoil Hat theory.  It could be, I havent found anything specific to make it impossible, but that's because it is mostly based on vague hints and themes and an interpretation of one of Hoid's stories. But it would explain quite a bit using known realmic mechanics and cosmere themes.  

I want to keep track of the best theories on the forms to see how good we are at being right and because it is nice to have them all in once place. 

Edited by Karger
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Just now, Karger said:

To Cultivation a being who never changes I could see endless fascination involved in being mortal as her entire intent is about change.  Also in the older myths god being liked humans for our verity and risky nature(it is risky being mortal).  Many of them payed attention to puny mortals the same way you pay attention to those little people on the TV screens who act out predictable soap operas.

Maybe that's my issue. That's very very rarely interesting. 

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4 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Maybe that's my issue. That's very very rarely interesting. 

Raises eyebrows.  Think Game of Thrones.  This is how I picture it.  To a god or shard the world is like the Game of Thrones TV show only better because you can(at risk to yourself) intervene and make the plot better.  That is another think a god or shard finds in the world.  A place to take actual risks.

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13 minutes ago, Karger said:

Raises eyebrows.  Think Game of Thrones.  This is how I picture it.  To a god or shard the world is like the Game of Thrones TV show only better because you can(at risk to yourself) intervene and make the plot better.  That is another think a god or shard finds in the world.  A place to take actual risks.

I quit GoT after the first season :lol:

Seriously. Even the Cosmere is more interesting because if the desire to dig into the stuff behind it. The stories are great, but the obsession comes from the secrets. 

I don't see how a being capable of pulling mortal strings at the level of a God/Shard/etc. Could find a mortal intriguing or attractive at that level. They're toys to be discarded at worst, and pets at best, and you literally have the power to make more entertaining play things. 

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1 hour ago, Calderis said:

I quit GoT after the first season :lol:

I see there is no hope for you(I never watched).

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Im still going with my theory i posted here years ago.

Honor sacrifices himself so he and Cultivation finds out how to shatter a Shard.

Tanavast when Honor shatters flees into the Stormfather and hides... knowing if Odium attacks he leaves himself open to Cultivation.

Cultivation and Honors plans proceed, Cultivation plans away prior to and after Tanavasts death to kill Rayse or shatter Odium...

then Cultivation pulls Tanavast from the Stormfather... then creates a physical body for him like a Returned....

Then Cultivation reforms Honor into one single Shard... 

And Tanavast takes up Honor.  

Cultivation's and Honor's long plan.

Honor lives...

....

ok pizza time, night

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2 hours ago, Thanatos said:

Im still going with my theory i posted here years ago.

Honor sacrifices himself so he and Cultivation finds out how to shatter a Shard.

Tanavast when Honor shatters flees into the Stormfather and hides... knowing if Odium attacks he leaves himself open to Cultivation.

Cultivation and Honors plans proceed, Cultivation plans away prior to and after Tanavasts death to kill Rayse or shatter Odium...

then Cultivation pulls Tanavast from the Stormfather... then creates a physical body for him like a Returned....

Then Cultivation reforms Honor into one single Shard... 

And Tanavast takes up Honor.  

Cultivation's and Honor's long plan.

Honor lives...

....

ok pizza time, night

Quote
Oathbringer release party (Nov. 13, 2017)
#2 Share Copy
 
Play/Pause
 

Questioner

Is Honor still alive?

Brandon Sanderson

Honor? Honor's dead.

Questioner

What about Tanavast?

Brandon Sanderson

So, um, you can assume that there is no funny business going on there.

 

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14 hours ago, Calderis said:

I don't see how a being capable of pulling mortal strings at the level of a God/Shard/etc. Could find a mortal intriguing or attractive at that level. They're toys to be discarded at worst, and pets at best, and you literally have the power to make more entertaining play things. 

One analogy is that they can get bored always playing with the Cheat Codes on?  When reality itself jumps to accomplish your whims the moment they manifest, it's hard to get a real sense of accomplishment. 

The other thing is that, pressures of Intent aside, it doesnt seem like Ascension actually Changes them all that much.  Expands the crap out of them sure, and inevitably changes their perspectives on a bunch of things, but their core personalities, their priorities and attachments, etc. dont seem to go away (Im basing a lot of this on my observations of Era2 Sazed, fwiw).  If they cared about People (or Cultures, or Art, or Science) before, I think they would still feel those same things, unless and until the Intent wore them away (as with Ati).  Realmically, I think this might even be mechanically necessary.  When a person Ascends, their entire spiritweb is flooded and expanded (so much that it permanently stretches), so that should include all their Connections to people and things (ie those Connections subject to Feruchemy or Hemalurgy).  So if as a mortal they were, say, very patriotic (strong Homeland Connection), or Married (strong Personal Connection) that Connection would theoretically be magnified, not reduced or overshadowed.  

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