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After many rereads of the books I just came to realize the importance of a conversation that Adolin has with Maya in Words of Radiance. In it he is confiding to her before a duel and at this point "Adolin will be an Edgedancer" is pretty much fact but I think this was the literal beginning of his journey to become a Radiant.

He says these words to her "I want you to know...  I believe in father, I believe he is right, that the things he sees are real. The world needs a united Alethkar, fights like this are my way to make it happen."

This is what woke her from her slumber I think, Mayalaran was part of the Desolations and Alethela was the Radiants home. Her proximity to Dalinar and Adolin's "honoring the fallen" to her, herself had made it possible I think but this was the moment she became more than a Deader imho. Just thought I would put this here for anyone who hadn't caught it.

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WOW! I suspected something along these lines, but the connections you have made are amazing!!!

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Right after this in the duel he loses the Thrill and feels disgusted with himself for threatening to kill a downed opponent. This is similar to when Dalinar felt disgusted with the Parshendi deaths whenever he was considering his visions. I think this was Maya's first attempt to make a Connection with Adolin, to let him know this was bad.

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I think it's a good theory, but I continue to hold out hope that Adolin will develop no Radiant powers. I really want to have a major character in the story who shows that you can be an amazing person and really make a difference in this world (Roshar) even without magical powers. I think it's an important message.

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8 minutes ago, datalaughing said:

I think it's a good theory, but I continue to hold out hope that Adolin will develop no Radiant powers. I really want to have a major character in the story who shows that you can be an amazing person and really make a difference in this world (Roshar) even without magical powers. I think it's an important message.

I'm actually hoping for Rysn to fulfill that role.

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I think Adolin will “revive” Maya, but won’t develop full powers? Like a half radiant.

But his status as an Edgedancers would be perfect. He could either vow to remember those that aren’t Radiants (a role that he may end up filling himself) OR he could vow to remember the other dead eyes like Maya. 

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29 minutes ago, Hentient said:

I think Adolin will “revive” Maya, but won’t develop full powers? Like a half radiant.

So I've thought that the spren are the ones to have the Radiants, not the Knights (like that Kal gets Stormlight before he even says the first Ideal)

So maybe...

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4 hours ago, datalaughing said:

I think it's a good theory, but I continue to hold out hope that Adolin will develop no Radiant powers. I really want to have a major character in the story who shows that you can be an amazing person and really make a difference in this world (Roshar) even without magical powers. I think it's an important message.

I think that's actually kind of hard in this world because the act of being an amazing person seeking to make change seems to draw Spren, enabling greater change. The Recreance changed this. Otherwise I'd agree. It's great to have non-magical folks. But when Magic comes from effecting change and doing good it's harder to root for that. 

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Hard to be important but not a Radiant? Yes, but not impossible. I find it unlikely Sanderson will have all of the main characters be Radiants. He'll find a way i'm sure. Personally I hope Navani fills that role, though im not sure she will. 

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9 hours ago, Notchbeard said:

at this point "Adolin will be an Edgedancer" is pretty much fact

BROTHER!

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4 hours ago, Hentient said:

I think Adolin will “revive” Maya, but won’t develop full powers? Like a half radiant.

I've actually been kind of hoping that Adolin will become the model for a new relationship between spren and human. Because the current relationship is obviously not great, especially for the spren. They connect to a human, and then if that human forsakes their oath, they die. We're even told that when that human dies, it's extremely traumatic for the spren. If Adolin could be the trailblazer for a new way of working with the spren, without the nahel bond, it could be very interesting.

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