FeatherWriter

theory
Theory: Roshar's Afterlife and the Tranquiline Halls

38 posts in this topic

On a scale of coolness, dead characters as viewpoints in SA would be awesome. I worry slightly that it would cheapen character deaths

especially following WoR

but if it was adequately explained etc. It would be great.

Sorry I don't have much intellectual to add. I really like this theory.

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I'm not very convinced that the afterlife will feature prominently in SA, but I do have this interesting quote to add which makes me think some people have been forcibly prevented from "moving on":

 

“Yelignar, called Blightwind, was one that could speak like a man, though often his voice was accompanied by the wails of those he consumed.” —The Unmade were obviously fabrications of folklore. Curiously, most were not considered individuals, but instead personifications of kinds of destruction. This quote is from Traxil, line 33, considered a primary source, though I doubt its authenticity.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings . Tor Books.

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(Rubs eyebrows)

 

Oh dear... Here comes another Great Reread for me.

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Regarding Sel:

 

Elantris Spoilers:

There's a fairly strong movement on the forums here (one thread of many) arguing that Shardpools are actually ways to get into Shadesmar. So the Elantrian who got Shardpooled was likely just going to the Cognitive realm. Now whether that means that his next stop was the afterlife, or that if you don't do it right Shardpools are one way trips to the Cognitive/afterlife, that's a different story.

 

Regarding Cognitive Shadows:

 

Shadows of Silence/Mistborn Spoilers:

Source:

Q:  If Kelsier's Cognitive Shadow or a Seon went to the forests of calamity, would they be shades?

A:  Yes, that is the same thing. The people on that planet; their Investiture; the lack of shard means that their cognitive shadows react differently. The ghost of Leras is the same thing too.

Edited by Kurkistan
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2.Brandon Is A Troll

So, we’ve all heard Brandon say again and again that a viewpoint character does not have to be alive for their flashback book. Well, what if they were still the main character, but… we didn’t stop hearing about them simply because they had died? Imagine one of our main characters dying and then waking up in the afterlife, only to discover this whole other side of the story. What if we had a point of view character who was already dead and could show us the cosmere afterlife from their point of view?

 

We know that there’s a break between the first five books and the second five books. What if our current protagonists die and continue the fight from the other side, while the second set of books take a new set of characters in the real world. The Stormlight Archive is our first real look at the cognitive realm in the form of Shadesmar, so perhaps some of our characters will exist there, among all those cities of spren that Jasnah was talking about as cognitive shadows.

 

It gives a whole new meaning to that answer that a character doesn’t have to be “alive” for their flashback book.

 

 

I very much like this idea.

 

Say one of the main characters dies and hangs around as a cognitive shadow in Shadesmar.  We've seen that Jasnah has spent time in Shadesmar among the spren, so it's possible that she (or another Elsecaller or Lightweaver) could collaborate with the one that has passed on.  This opens up a lot of possibilities.  Plus, it would allow us to hang on to characters we've grown attached to instead of having them just killed off (I'm looking at you, George R.R. Martin).

 

Gotta love posts that are essentially just spoiler tags!

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This would be... interesting. It's certainly intriguing that Roshar is the only world we know of where death is just the beginning of another life of struggle essentially. You don't go to heaven, you go a place to fight for heaven. This... anomaly in the classical model of things is probably the best support (along with Brandon being a troll) for this... hypothesis.

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Well… 

I thought that the afterlife was governed by other powers outside of Adonalsium's Shards. I don't have time to look up the WoB on this, but I think that he explained the fact that Sazed couldn't connect with Tindwyl because she was no longer in any of the three Realms. 

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Well… 

I thought that the afterlife was governed by other powers outside of Adonalsium's Shards. I don't have time to look up the WoB on this, but I think that he explained the fact that Sazed couldn't connect with Tindwyl because she was no longer in any of the three Realms. 

 

I know which thread you are thinking of - but you might be remembering my own reply (because that's exactly what I hypothesized) rather than a WoB. The WoB in question could be interpreted in one of two ways, if I remember it correctly - either as you (and I) suggest, or as "Sazed doesn't know enough about the Spiritual Realm yet, so he can't go make sweet swee love to Tyndwyl."

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I actually quote that WoB above in the theory that you're thinking of. The way that I'm seeing it, Brandon hasn't said one way or another whether the Beyond is completely inaccessable to shards. It seems like it could just be really difficult or simply requires more knowledge than Sazed has. However, despite this, there is ample evidence that shards can interfere with souls before they go to the Beyond, which is what I'm positing is happening on Roshar. 

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I like this line of thinking.  Fits well with what little we know of the Heralds, who are not only the key figures in Vorinism but also shown to be capable of repeated deaths that seem completely real and yet don't stick long term.  How better to explain this than the the Heralds really do die, move on to somewhere afterlife-y, yet are able to return from the afterlife to the physical realm on Roshar?

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IIRC, the Rosharan afterlife actually only has two planes. There's Damnation and the Tranquiline Halls. The Halls are where the war is being fought, because the point is to drive the Voidbringers out of them.

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It might be a semantic difference. Are the Halls some literal (spiritual) halls, or are they the name of the realm currently "governed" by the Voidbringers?

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I think Shaggai is probably correct. I was simply making an analogue where the Tranquiline Halls were the Beyond that Brandon talked about and there was something standing in the way that had to be overcome before Rosharan souls could reach it. I think Shaggai's explanation is more in line with the text however.

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I really like this theory a lot. It makes a tremendous amount of sense.

I look forward to some of Brandon's unpublished works coming forth so that they can also be examined for evidence of the Cosmere's afterlife.

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Honestly, my ideas on this subject are that while Rosharians aren't truly fighting to reclaim paradise, the story of their fall from the tranquilline halls is based loosely on what happened to them.

 

We know that in Scadrial, the world didn't start with humans on it. Ruin and Preservation had to work together to make them. From the epilogues of "Hero of Ages" (and interviews)we know that they got the idea for them from what they had seen before- The inhabitants of the original cosmere planet: Yolen.

 

While it's hard to say how, and under what circumstances, humans were sent to Roshar, several people have introduced the theory that the Parshendi were its original inhabitants.

 

We also know, as stated above, that religions in the cosmere are usually based on truth, but are warped by the cultures that believe in them. The Vorin areas of Roshar are heavily invested in war. Humanity believes that history consisted of

 

-Being driven out of the tranquilline halls

-The cycles of the desolations

-The final defeat of the "voidbringers" and several thousand years of peace

-The Recreance

-The Hierocracy 

 

 

So, to wrap this up, my theory is that the tranquilline halls are Yolen. Some humans left Yolen (or were driven out) and came to Roshar. Humans contended with the Parshendi (who apparently sided with Odium against the spren who betrayed them) until the Heralds broke the oathpact, then comes the modern era (after the recreance and hierocracy and all that).

 

Over time, the earliest events have become shrouded in myth, and if the heralds are depicted so incorrectly in Vorin mythology, you can bet that no one remembers as far back as Yolen. The "war to reclaim the tranquilline halls" is, essentially, a way to rationalize the Vorin kindoms' obsession with war with the legends of the "paradise" from whence humanity came.

 

The end of "Warbreaker" and "Hero of Ages" seem to present the afterlife as a peaceful place, where Vin, Elend, and Lightsong can finally have some peace. Roshar is the only world we know of that describes it as being a place of conflict in any way whatsoever.

 

And even then, I think they would like it that way.

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An interesting possibility would be if the Shards couldn't really touch the afterlife themselves because it is something greater, requiring a complete Adonalsium to function properly. If that were the case the Shattering of Adonalsium itself could be a correlation to the broken afterlife you posit here.

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Deathspren have red eyes--they're beings of Odium, possibly related to one of the Unmade.

 

I wonder what business they might have with souls on the brink of passing. ;)

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Not precisely in this context, but I found Szeth's concerns about the afterlife interesting, when factoring in that he had an Honorblade and that the Honorblades apparently represent something about being associated with the Oathpact. What Szeth describes regarding the fate that's supposed to await him is rather close to what Taln appears to have gone through in Braize, and we know from the beginning of WoK that being killed as part of the Oathpact appears to send to back to Braize in some form.

Perhaps the Shin are attempting to fix the Oathpact, or are just working off of a corrupted understanding of how the Oathpact actually works. Either way, going to a non-metaphorical Hell after dying is a fundamental part of the very first section of the series, so it's probably reasonable to say the afterlife has to factor in pretty significantly.

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I kind of have a mini-thought on this subject that has been nagging at me. What if the Tranquiline Halls are actually in the Shadesmar? It's been stated that people can physically travel to the Shadesmar, and we've seen it happen. This whole battle could be fought in the cognitive realm, with the peoples' cognitive self doing the afterlife fighting in the form of the cognitive shadow, but within the appropriate realm of being. This would mean that most likely, The Heralds were actually near the cognitive representation of Braize, fighting Odium's legions to stop them from entering Shadesmar and travelling to Roshar. When they were "killed and sent to Damnation," it could very well just mean that they were "booted out" of Shadesmar and back into the physical realm, meaning Braize (ie. Damnation). When Odium's minions get past them, the Heralds would give chase and arrive on Roshar to battle the Physical Realm's Desolation on Roshar. It might be a stretch, but it seems to make sense..

 

To clear up my thoughts of the Tranquiline Halls, it was stated that Odium came into Greater Roshar later than Honor/Cultivation. I'm guessing that Roshar's Humans were native to Braise, and had to relocate to Roshar upon his arrival. The cognitive realm has shown it doesn't exactly LIKE to change, especially if it is still thought of as a certain way. Since I'm guessing most of Odium's buddies don't do too much in the way of independent thought, this would mean that the Cognitive representation of Braize would actually be the ideal that the Humans imagine. So I figure that, much like Endowment "stops death" by Returning, a shardic power is making a speed bump in Shadesmar for Rosharans to pass through before passing on.

 

And at this point I'm tired and babbling, so I'm going to stop myself before I stop making sense. Just my thoughts on the matter.

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Sorry that I am late to this party, but I want to do somewhat agree with you.  And I think that there is a little proof in the books. I think the proof is in the swearing. In other Cosmere books, the characters swear by the magic/shard or the afterlife of that planet. (Please forgive my misspelling I listen on audible). Ex. Warbreaker - Colors, or The Iridescent Colors, Misborn Scadrial - Lord Ruler, Harmony's Bands, Rust and Ruin, Shadows for Silence Threnody (no Shard) the God Beyond is mentioned in the same manner, Elantris Sel - Merciful Domi those are what I can remember off the top of my head. BUT on Roshar, they swear by Storms and the Storm Father or the Tranquiline Halls, Damnation, Kalek, Blood of my ancestors etc.  So my proof (I think) is in Dalinar's vision (the one that he sees when running from the unexpected high storm after leaving Elokhar's camp) where he sees the Midnight Essesnce.  The woman, Tafa curses/swears by "Sweet wisdom of Patar" and "Three Gods".  These are not currently used on Roshar.  And i think there is an Epigraph of a death rattle where there is mention of there being Three and now there are Two.  I have not gone back over all of the visions to see if there are others that may indicate a change in the state of Religion on Roshar.  Perhaps this is not really proof but I think there is something to the idea that there is something wrong with the afterlife.  On Scadrial in the "new world" they use Rust and Ruin, and Harmony's Bands, which would indicate that when there is a change in the Shards/Religion of a planet, the swearing changes too.

 

I wanted to share but was not sure how to other than posting on this older thread.

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So, this little theory is in need of an update. How about that Bands of Mourning and Secret History, y'all? Whew. As we are in the Stormlight boards, this discussion needs spoiler tags. Be warned, this folder contains spoilers for both Secret History and Bands of Mourning.

Spoiler

My current theory consensus: FULL STEAM AHEAD. As far as I'm concerned, the revelations in Bands of Mourning and Secret History only further fuel my ideas that Roshar will be afterlife-focused and that Odium is interfering with souls somehow.

Thanks to Wax and Harmony's conversation, we have explicit confirmation that Shards can interact with souls in between life and the Beyond, during which time they are specifically in the Cognitive Realm. Harmony says that he walks with everyone who dies, considering it his "most sacred duty" which means that it would be fully possible for Odium to then interfere with everyone who dies, with little chance of someone slipping through the cracks.

Imagine, after you give up the ghost, it's not the kind, calm, once-Terrisman there to greet you and give you sage advice, but rather the embodiment of pure hatred himself. Or one of the Unmade, right there on the other side. Suddenly the afterlife seems far less fun, huh?

My question now is, if there is some kind of interference, is it active or passive? Are Odium or the Unmade intentionally grabbing people and doing something to them as they pass, or is it just that something is "off" in the process and the souls can't continue to the Beyond? Either seems plausible to me, though the way Vorins talk about battles to reclaim the Halls makes me think that there are active forces opposing their ascension to the Beyond, rather than them just getting stuck in between somehow.

(Honestly, if I had to guess, I'd say that Threnody is probably the place to look for more passive "off-ness" to the afterlife. I'd wager a guess that Threnody has something subtly wrong with it that either causes far more cognitive shadows than other places and/or gives those shadows more agency and imprint on the Physical Realm.)

Bands of Mourning and Secret History also show, quite soundly, that Brandon is willing and able to give "dead" characters point of view. I mentioned before that these non-Stormlight books seem to be intentionally showing us what the afterlife process looks like when it's functioning correctly. Therefore, I think we're going to see a Stormlight character die, but continue their POV. When they reach the other side, something will be wrong, and we as the fandom will be able to say "Wait, that isn't how it happened to Wax or Kelsier when they died! Oh snap!" And it'll be great.

I'll update the actual theory post up there soon, but for now I wanted to get down some information about how I feel this theory looks going forward with this new information. I'm sanguine about all this, guys.

Also, because I can't help but brag:

On 5/28/2014 at 10:05 PM, FeatherWriter said:

Imagine one of our main characters dying and then waking up in the afterlife, only to discover this whole other side of the story. What if we had a point of view character who was already dead and could show us the cosmere afterlife from their point of view?

Hehehehehehehe. Called it. And almost 2 years early, too. It wasn't in Stormlight (yet) but I totally nailed that this is a kind of story that Brandon would tell.

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32 minutes ago, FeatherWriter said:

 

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Therefore, I think we're going to see a Stormlight character die, but continue their POV. When they reach the other side, something will be wrong, and we as the fandom will be able to say "Wait, that isn't how it happened to Wax or Kelsier when they died! Oh snap!" And it'll be great.

 

100% agree. Brandon's been all cagey with deaths, saying that main characters can die before their flashback book, and I think this is one big reason why. I actually suspect we'll see a lot of deaths - maybe even most/all of the Back 5 Viewpoints.

I'm currently doing a detailed read-through to research and gather quotes, but I think that the Radiant Oaths and the spren bond are enough to keep someone from moving Beyond, and that the KR abandoned their oaths so that they can move Beyond in the first place. Some of the Death Rattle chapter headers might have come from KR Cognitive Shadows. Jasnah might have actually died in WoR, and her Cognitive Shadow founds a way to Soulcast a body. Crazy stuff like that, and a lot of it is still in flux, but the foundation is similar to your theory - death is not the end of the story.

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I'm thinking the idea of a war in the cognitive realm is plausible. But then, we know that the Vorins are wrong about where the Heralds went, maybe the whole war in heaven is just a way to rationalize the disappearance of the Heralds?

 

Or perhaps, the war is a hopeful misinterpretation, and in reality people are just trapped in the cognitive?

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Since somebody else hasn't mentioned it yet, I'm adding one more piece of evidence in favor of this theory, from Bands of Mourning.

Spoiler

When Suit is killed at the end of Bands of Mourning, the creature he is talking to says this:

"No longer.  Recent advances have made civilization here too dangerous.  Allowing it to continue risks further advances we cannot control, and so we have decided to remove life on this sphere instead.  Thank you for your service; it has been accepted.  You will be allowed to serve in another Realm."

How many people here think that this means that Suit went to the nice, happy Beyond, and how many people think that "Trell" instantly scooped up his cognitive and spiritual aspects and got him to work, stopping him from going to the normal afterlife?  I'm guessing the second.

Looks like we have even more precedent for potential afterlife shenanigans, associated with something that may or may not be Odium, but is almost certainly a Shard.

 

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