SteelShaper

Trell Theory

7 posts in this topic

So a lot of theories have been proposed about the nature of Trell, and Brandon has been very coy with the few answers he has given.  Most people I've seen seem to think that Trell is an avatar of Autonomy, or there's the lesser number that think it is something to do with Odium.  I have even seen it suggested that Trell might be an avatar of Autonomy that has been corrupted by Odium.  I believe that all of these theories have merit.  However, they also don't entirely make sense to me.  Therefore, I offer a new interpretation:  Trell is related to the investiture of multiple shards, including Odium and Autonomy.  Specifically, Trell is a being of Willfully Corrupted Investiture, influenced by the power and intent of at least 2 shards.  How is this possible?  Allow me to explain.  

First, why does Trell want to mess with Scadrial?  There are good arguments here for both Odium and Autonomy.  Odium is aware of Harmony, wants to be the most powerful shard in the Cosmere, is troubled by the implications of two shards merging, and HATES that there is something so much more powerful than himself.  Autonomy believes that the shards are better off separate, so she might feel an impulse to get involved, but all her behavior to date, including the opinion she states in the letter to Hoid, seems to indicate that staying separate means that she won't get involved in any way with another shard unless a shard threatens her.

However, Autonomy creates lots of avatars.  By the nature of being autonomous, these avatars would all have free will.  This is where the theory really takes shape.  We know that the events of Stormlight take place between Mistborn Era 1 & 2.  Brandon has been asked before if Odium will survive the events of Stormlight 5, and he answered that the Shard of Odium would survive, but RAFO'd whether Rayse would still be the one holding the shard when the dust settled.  Let's assume, for a moment, that something is going to happen to Rayse.  I believe that when Rayse is killed, part of his shard will splinter, and a portion of his essence will go flying off into the Cosmere.  Let's say that one of Autonomy's avatars is particularly rebellious, and would be more willing to get involved - the letter even states that Hoid's plea might have been better received if it had come to the right one of them, indicating that at least one avatar would be willing to get involved in the Cosmere.  However, because the power of Autonomy is shared [presumably evenly] between the different avatars, that avatar doesn't have enough power on its own to risk challenging Harmony.  That avatar might see Odium's Splintering as an opportunity. 

The avatar then willfully embraces part of Odium's power to increase its own might, in an act of ultimate Autonomy: the freedom to choose to become something different.  The resulting combo will be something that is neither Odium nor Autonomy, but something that is both.  The 2 powers will corrupt one another.  Now, because they have different Intents, there is going to be some conflict.  I figure that the avatar's personality is going to get damaged, and in mending that damage to their cognitive aspect they will tap into the religion of Trellism.  Autonomy: a god with many eyes.  Odium: a god that is jealous and resentful of all others with power.  Trell and Nalt will become one and the same [-ish, in a way, in a weird shard-v-shard battle of interpretation], and they (the joined power of Odium and the avatar of Autonomy) will adopt a new Identity as Trell, a being with two component parts that both have a reason to dislike Harmony.

We could take this argument even further if we wanted to: Trell still wouldn't have enough raw power to take on Harmony, and it probably doesn't want a direct confrontation unless it can help it.  Therefore, it's going to spend some time preparing.  That will mean manipulating agents on the ground on Scadrial, preparing the way through Miles, Bleeder, and the Set.  It might also seek more power, in which case it might seek out and try to subsume some splinters of other shards with powers and intents that would be compatible with its purpose, like Dominion [because it needs to conquer and rule over other shards] and Ambition [because it feels an intense drive to achieve its aims].  But I won't go there just yet.  I'm just pointing it out as a possibility.

Okay, it's time to provide a little evidence other than reasoning for my wild theory [WoBs cited at the end, spoilered for length].  First, Trell is not native to Yolen.  We don't know if all the original Vessels were from Yolen, but this certainly allows for the possibility of a Shards-intermingling-in-the-void-type origin.  Second, Trell has been many different things throughout its history.  Yes, that could just mean that it has performed different roles in different places, but it could also mean that Trell has different components that have originated at different times.

Next, as to whether Trell is its own shard or something that was created by a shard: Brandon has RAFO'd the question of whether Odium is Trell, but has confirmed that there is "some connection." Further, Brandon does not say that Trell is a shard- he deliberately calls that an assumption, and then RAFO'd further.  This could mean that Trell is not one shard, but pieces of multiple shards. But separately he does confirm that Trell is related to a Shard.  That could mean that it is the product of a shard, or it could mean that Trell is literally related to a shard - as in, Trell is made of bits and pieces, psuedo-genetically, of a shard.

Next, the god-metal, Trellium.  Brandon RAFO'd whether it was always rusty, but I believe the answer is yes.  Why? Because it fits.  It is the Physical manifestation of corrupted investiture, from being composed of bits of different shards.  We know that red is associated with corrupted investiture, and two more WoBs reinforce the idea that this is corrupted.  First, Brandon has confirmed that red, and corruption, is definitely associated with the thing [Trell] that is moving toward Scadrial.  Second, but before I get to the next WoB, it can't be pure Raysium because we see Raysium in OB, in Vyre's dagger.  It is a reddish-golden-white color, while Bleeder's spike is silvery-white with splotches of rust.  The fact that it [Trellium] is two colors, and one of those colors is red rust, indicates that it is a product of something corrupted.  Therefore, it would involve the power of multiple shards.  Lastly, Brandon has RAFO'd, but also said this person was on the right track, when they asked if the metal of Bleeder's spike was related related to something seen in the Emperor's Soul-- i.e., some form of power related to Sel.  Perhaps the sceptre, which theoretically allows for the conversion of one form of investiture to another-- this is another possibility for how an avatar of Autonomy could assimilate the investiture of a splinter from another shard.

Sorry for the big wall of text, but what do you guys think? Could this theory hold water?

Spoiler
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Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*With a smirk* Trell is not native to Yolen.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing (Oct. 8, 2015)
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Windrunner Savant

Can you give me any information about Trell?

Brandon Sanderson

*written in book*

Trell has been many things over the eons...

Dark Talent release party (Sept. 6, 2016)
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Questioner

Is there any connection between Odium and Trell?

Brandon Sanderson

Is there any connection between Odium and Trell. This is-- Yes there is some connection. That is a question about-- If you understood it then great, if you didn't then don't worry.

Calamity Seattle signing (Feb. 17, 2016)
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Questioner

Does Trell hold a Shard that we have seen in other books?

Brandon Sanderson

You're assuming Trell holds a Shard. And I'm not answering that one, but you can have a RAFO. Nice try.

Arcanum Unbounded release party (Nov. 22, 2016)
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mikkomikk

Is Trell (Era 2) and/or Austre related to a Shard? Like are they one, or working for one, or an avatar of one?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Trell is related to a Shard.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA (Oct. 15, 2018)
Quote

PallonianFire

Regarding the Trellium that Paalm was using. Before it was used for Hemalurgy, was that spike a uniform silvery color, or was it also rusty at the time?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

Skyward Denver signing (Nov. 15, 2018)
Quote

Questioner

I noticed during Oathbringer, is there a symbolism between the color red? Because I noticed that red is mentioned many times. Is it tied directly to the Thrill?

Brandon Sanderson

When I am using red specifically for spren and eye color, I'm doing it intentionally. It means something. I'm not gonna tell you what it means yet.

Questioner

Azure's cloth was red, and Adolin picked up a red glass sphere.

Brandon Sanderson

Some of that is going to be coincidence. But the color of the thing that is going to Scadrial is not coincidence.

Skyward Seattle signing (Nov. 10, 2018)
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bondzy1220

Am I correct in assuming that the origin of the mystery spike in Bleeder is mentioned in "Emperor's Soul"?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a RAFO (a Read and Find out) but your theory has merit.

General Reddit 2016 (Jan. 14, 2016)

 

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I am currently undecided on the nature of Trell, and this theory makes sense. However, I suppose an Avatar could take some of Odium’s Investiture, but it seems that the holder of a Shard or a some of a Shard’s power have their Intent changed. That seems to me like possibly changing or losing their autonomy over their Intent. 

Edited by Innovation
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I like this idea, although those specific events I don't know about. But a being going around gathering various Shardic powers makes a lot of sense from those WoBs

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I'm not sure that Odium would have divested himself of too much power while still engaged on Roshar.  I don't actually know if they can divest themselves of a portion of power that they are 'aligned' to.

I think there's a WOB that Trell is related to a shard that we have seen in text, so it can pretty only much be Autonomy or Odium I believe.

Do you have a source for the dagger in OB being Raysium?  I've never seen that confirmed.

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24 minutes ago, Kuram said:

I'm not sure that Odium would have divested himself of too much power while still engaged on Roshar.  I don't actually know if they can divest themselves of a portion of power that they are 'aligned' to.

The Fused and the Unmade are permeated with Odium’s essence. He grants them reincarnation and powers. 

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Two things:

First, the Moon Scepter that you are referring to from Sel was last seen in Hoid's possession and it's function is related to translating the various magic systems on Sel. I can't remember the exact explanation, but I just remember that it's supposedly like a Rosetta Stone for Selish magic systems. It doesn't seem like the type of thing Hoid would just use and dispose of. 

Second, the rust spots on the spikes don't necessarily mean that Trell is made up of multiple shards. Trellium is likely a God Metal from another Shard and using it for Hemalurgy is mixing the two Shards together. Using the pure physical form of one Shard's investiture to fuel the magic system of another. The difference between Hemalurgy as we've seen it and the Trellium spikes is that we've never seen Hemalurgy used with another Shard's God Metal. 

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On 7/22/2020 at 7:07 PM, Harrycrapper said:

Two things:

First, the Moon Scepter that you are referring to from Sel was last seen in Hoid's possession and it's function is related to translating the various magic systems on Sel. I can't remember the exact explanation, but I just remember that it's supposedly like a Rosetta Stone for Selish magic systems. It doesn't seem like the type of thing Hoid would just use and dispose of. 

Oh, good point, thanks for that.  Haven't read Emperor's Soul since it first came out, I completely forgot Hoid stole it.

On 7/22/2020 at 7:07 PM, Harrycrapper said:

Second, the rust spots on the spikes don't necessarily mean that Trell is made up of multiple shards. Trellium is likely a God Metal from another Shard and using it for Hemalurgy is mixing the two Shards together. Using the pure physical form of one Shard's investiture to fuel the magic system of another. The difference between Hemalurgy as we've seen it and the Trellium spikes is that we've never seen Hemalurgy used with another Shard's God Metal. 

Fair point, and entirely possible, I admit.  There is still a lot we don't know about the interactions of God Metals. 

On 7/22/2020 at 5:31 PM, Kuram said:

Do you have a source for the dagger in OB being Raysium?  I've never seen that confirmed.

It's not confirmed, but it is a pretty popular theory.  Yellow and white seem to be Odium's associated colors, based on the clothing he wears in the visions, Dalinar's initial impression of him in the spiritual realm, and the gold and white Parshman form he adopts for the battle at Thaylenah.

On 7/22/2020 at 2:21 PM, Innovation said:

I am currently undecided on the nature of Trell, and this theory makes sense. However, I suppose an Avatar could take some of Odium’s Investiture, but it seems that the holder of a Shard or a some of a Shard’s power have their Intent changed. That seems to me like possibly changing or losing their autonomy over their Intent. 

True, and this is one of the reasons that Odium Splinters the shards he defeats rather than taking their power for himself.  However, if any vessel could resist being overly changed by the intent of another, I think it would be Autonomy's vessel.  The shard of Autonomy would likely be the most resistant to having its Intent altered, so the effect might not be that big.

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