Solomonster

Gavilar was trying to become the new Honor

50 posts in this topic

8 minutes ago, Knight Oblivion said:

Yeah, reading Gavilar's abuse of Navani shook me to the core and brought back feelings I thought I'd dealt with. Incredibly uncomfortable how similar it was to my experience, especially her thoughts. The main difference was that he apparently never beat her unlike my ex-fiancé.

I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you  and I am very sorry that people in your life tried to play off or excuse your ex's behavior. You didn't and do not deserve that. I'm glad that you were able to get out of that relationship. If you ever want to talk or game pm me, there's no limit to the amount of friends you can have.

9 minutes ago, Knight Oblivion said:

It's more than a bit unsettling, especially seeing the apologists here

This, I hope everyone reads this and takes it to heart. The comments I've seen in this thread speak volumes to me as they parallel behavior in our society -- We struggle to recognize abuse for what it is, and even when we do we try to downplay or excuse it. That needs to change, and it starts with how we portray and talk about abuse in media. This thread is important, and I hope people reconsider their views on the Gavilar Navani dynamic.

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I think there needs to a pretty drastic delineation in people's understanding between other users supporting real life abusers in real situations hurting real victims and those same users arguing a fictional character who's teleporting little fairies back and forth from hell might be a person that we can discuss the rationales and motivations that formed them without serious ethical concerns. There's been plenty of people in the fandom who have (mock or otherwise) argued for the Lord Ruler, and yet I doubt any of those people are really down with genocidal dictatorships or stabbing others with pointy nails. If Gavilar has ever actually done something positive in his life, recognizing whatever that is will not revictimize Navani, because she's not real. The most that could really be said, I suppose, is that it somehow vaguely contributes to a greater culture of abuse, in which case my reply is that I didn't find much credence for the Video Games Cause Violence! moral panic either.

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I think the issue here is that people reading this section aren't recognizing Gavilar's abuse as abuse. I made a detailed thread on my analysis here (I don't know how to tag another post, so it's just a hyperlink), and I'm sure I missed stuff. That to me is the issue, we can discuss his rationale and reasoning absolutely, but we first need to recognize the abuse.

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On 8/3/2020 at 4:57 PM, Asrael said:

Murder is worse than abuse right?

I am not sure comparing types of evil is ever productive.

On 8/3/2020 at 4:57 PM, Asrael said:

Can't we sympathize with the Fused who are doing what they're doing out of anger?

Sympathy is never wasted.  It does not imply agreement.

On 8/3/2020 at 4:57 PM, Asrael said:

The point of these books is to prompt us to have these discussions. These are treatises on philosophy, ethics, and morality. If we determine that Gavilar is an evil monster no questions asked, I think we are rejecting the intent of the author, and rejecting the nuance of the questions.

Gavilar does not have to be evil to act evilly.  If the only people who acted wrongly were scaly monsters the world would be much simpler.  However abuse is never justified and is always wrong.  As an abuser Gavilar was both wrong and evil.  The fact that he did other good things during his life does not change that.

On 8/3/2020 at 5:09 PM, Child of Hodor said:

He was cruel to Navani, I think those resentments are real, but he was lashing out to distract her because she saw him with the Heralds and saw the voidlight gems. He may be keeping his immediate family out of his secret dealing to "protect" them, however misguided that may be. 

Given who is currently dealing with the whole "save the world" project I would say that his actions were clearly wrong.  The fact that he did not realize this is not exactly helping his case.

1 hour ago, MyrmidonOfAchilles said:

I think there needs to a pretty drastic delineation in people's understanding between other users supporting real life abusers in real situations hurting real victims and those same users arguing a fictional character who's teleporting little fairies back and forth from hell might be a person that we can discuss the rationales and motivations that formed them without serious ethical concerns.

As a Lightweaver I disagree.  The feelings that Gavilar engenders in a reader are just as real as anything else and should be recognized as such.

Edited by Karger
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33 minutes ago, GudThymes said:

I think the issue here is that people reading this section aren't recognizing Gavilar's abuse as abuse. I made a detailed thread on my analysis here (I don't know how to tag another post, so it's just a hyperlink), and I'm sure I missed stuff. That to me is the issue, we can discuss his rationale and reasoning absolutely, but we first need to recognize the abuse.

Not sure I entirely agree with that assessment. I think some people are pushing back against the idea of a completely evil Gavilar for a variety of reasons, but I don't really see people try to justify or side with Gavilar's treatment of Navani in the chapter. I think pretty much everyone can agree that he's being meaninglessly cruel to hurt her, that he's gaslighting and sabotaging her self-esteem by ragging on her dreams of being an Artifabrian, and that he has some pretty sexist attitudes in how he views his wife as a golddigging whore/parasitic leech. The things he did to Navani have no good reason, even if he wanted to distract her from learning something or push her away "for her own safety," there are far better, far easier even, ways to do so without harming his wife emotionally like that.

Edit: Thank you for the analysis and your perspective by the way, I'll be sure to check it out.

12 minutes ago, Karger said:

As a Lightweaver I disagree.  The feelings that Gavilar engenders in a reader are just as real as anything else and should be recognized as such.

As a Truthwatcher I feel compelled to remind you what the official quiz said about fact and fiction.

Quote

Lightweavers speak truths about themselves—things they must admit to themselves in order to progress as people. It is theorized that because Lightweavers live on the line between reality and fiction, it is important for them to be able to separate the real from the lie, and only with the proper ability to do so can they move forward.

 

Edited by MyrmidonOfAchilles
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10 minutes ago, MyrmidonOfAchilles said:

Lightweavers speak truths about themselves—things they must admit to themselves in order to progress as people. It is theorized that because Lightweavers live on the line between reality and fiction, it is important for them to be able to separate the real from the lie, and only with the proper ability to do so can they move forward.

The feelings I have about Gavilar are real.  He is abuser and as such is crem.

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13 minutes ago, MyrmidonOfAchilles said:

I think some people are pushing back against the idea of a completely evil Gavilar for a variety of reasons, but I don't really see people try to justify or side with Gavilar's treatment of Navani in the chapter.

I'm sorry, but I haven't been saying he's evil. Just an abuser. I would be happy to hear your and anyone's thoughts on my analysis. As I said there I'm not an expert. But I don't like some things people are saying in defense of Gavilar. I agree with @Karger on how the books can cause very visceral feelings for some people. The way Gavilar treats Navani may remind someone of the trauma that they experienced. We can discuss his actions and motivations, but he abused his wife and we need to acknowledge that.

 

Brandon Sanderson wrote the interactions for a reason, to spark debate and thought. And it's my opinion that we as a society should recognize that the way he treated Navani is unacceptable and then make sure we can eliminate that from our world.

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I agree he definitely wanted to be a shard. He already saw himself as worthy of Godhood. I wondered if he got tainted by an Unmade, but it seemed like he was plenty bad on his own.

He seemed to keep a lot from the other SoH. I wonder if he had the means to attempt Shardhood, like in Secret History.

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11 hours ago, GudThymes said:

I think the issue here is that people reading this section aren't recognizing Gavilar's abuse as abuse. I made a detailed thread on my analysis here (I don't know how to tag another post, so it's just a hyperlink), and I'm sure I missed stuff. That to me is the issue, we can discuss his rationale and reasoning absolutely, but we first need to recognize the abuse.

I don't think anyone here is defending, dismissing or not recognizing the actions of abuse.  Its more of a question of why and how.  Why is Gavilar being abusive?  and How did Gavilar get to this point?  From what we can see here he's a conqueror who became power drunk and discovered a path to becoming a god (possibly?), he was a complete megalomaniac at the time of his death.  But up to this point we saw Gavilar as the softer side to Dalinar's Black Thorn days, the reasonable one who restrained him and moved them away from war and killing and onto creating a kingdom with a stable society.  Now we get this, its kind of a shock to the system so naturally we have questions, we wanna know why and how he got to this point and what signs did we potentially miss that pointed to this type of person.

I think he may have been on good path or at least one of redemption for the war monger he had been, but then discovered something that sent him back to the edge and then over it.  I think that something was a path to godhood but I also wonder if he was further being manipulated by odium or one of the unmade, hell it could have been more than just manipulation some of his mental capacity may have even been compromised (we have seen what effect the unmade can have on a person, take Aesudan for example).   

It's human nature to ask questions and want to understand the deeper meaning of things, exploring these nuances does not mean we are dismissing the act of abuse, the very act of trying to figure out the why and how is acknowledgment of its existence in the first place. 

Edited by menacekop
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So I've just taken a dive and read this entire thread.  Maybe this'll provide a little more understanding:
 

I have a bit of experience in this area, having dealt with stuff like this as a teenager.  I'm not going to go into it, I don't really feel the need, but what Galivar did to Navani in that prologue *did* make my senses goes "oh no oh no oh no oh nooooo".  For me, this is an obvious sign of gaslighting/verbal/emotional abuse going on.  Especially how Navani went on to express how he never did these things in front of anyone else.  He was good in front of everyone but her.  Ouch. 

BUT in others defense, these cues are only obvious to those of us who've experience them or have been affected by them through others.  I don't think we should expect others to immediately jump to our conclusions just because they don't read into things the same way.  We can't blame others for not having the same thoughts/reactions.  If Galivar is truly being written this way, the truth will out and this debate will be over. 

So I think we should all wait until this book is out, and then we can condemn/rationalize as we see fit.  That's just my two cents though! 

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3 hours ago, menacekop said:

Its more of a question of why and how.  Why is Gavilar being abusive?  and How did Gavilar get to this point?  From what we can see here he's a conqueror who became power drunk and discovered a path to becoming a god (possibly?), he was a complete megalomaniac at the time of his death.

These two have no correlation in reality. Sure, sometimes Abusers are also terrible people outside of the abusive relationship, more frequently they're not. Abusers are the super friendly husband who comes at night and has too much to drink so he beats his family. They're the awesome bakesale mom who comes home and is emotionally abusive to her husband. They're that super fun friend who goes home to his boyfriend and controls everything in their life. They're the girl who is so jealous of every other girl in her man's life that he doesn't have any other female friends because of her.

Abuse isn't that clean. It's not as simple as the big bad drug dealing gang banger that comes home and hits his girl. That's not reality, and that's the problem. 

3 hours ago, menacekop said:

I think he may have been on good path or at least one of redemption for the war monger he had been, but then discovered something that sent him back to the edge and then over it.  I think that something was a path to godhood but I also wonder if he was further being manipulated by odium or one of the unmade, hell it could have been more than just manipulation some of his mental capacity may have even been compromised (we have seen what effect the unmade can have on a person, take Aesudan for example).   

Now, if we want to look for a magical explanation of his abuse sure, but I HIGHLY doubt there is one at this time. Let's look at some other examples of issues in this book for a baseline. Shallan has a dissociative identity disorder (WoB's say it's non-magical), Kaladin suffers from Major Depressive Disorder (somewhat magical, but majority is real depression), Tien was likely autistic (I haven't seen definitive proof from Brandon either way, please correct me if I'm wrong). Sure Gavilar could have had a magical reason for why he was abusive, but don't go looking for one in the shadows, if one shows itself then we can reassess.  

2 hours ago, Mistbornwithakitty said:

BUT in others defense, these cues are only obvious to those of us who've experience them or have been affected by them through others.  I don't think we should expect others to immediately jump to our conclusions just because they don't read into things the same way.  We can't blame others for not having the same thoughts/reactions.  If Galivar is truly being written this way, the truth will out and this debate will be over

You're right, thank you. There are definitely some people who wouldn't recognize this as abuse. I would encourage them to learn more about abuse and the signs of it. But if they don't have the knowledge on the subject they should trust others who have done the research, or know from experience. 

Edited by GudThymes
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2 hours ago, GudThymes said:

These two have no correlation in reality. Sure, sometimes Abusers are also terrible people outside of the abusive relationship, more frequently they're not. Abusers are the super friendly husband who comes at night and has too much to drink so he beats his family. They're the awesome bakesale mom who comes home and is emotionally abusive to her husband. They're that super fun friend who goes home to his boyfriend and controls everything in their life. They're the girl who is so jealous of every other girl in her man's life that he doesn't have any other female friends because of her.

Abuse isn't that clean. It's not as simple as the big bad drug dealing gang banger that comes home and hits his girl. That's not reality, and that's the problem. 

Now, if we want to look for a magical explanation of his abuse sure, but I HIGHLY doubt there is one at this time. Let's look at some other examples of issues in this book for a baseline. Shallan has a dissociative identity disorder (WoB's say it's non-magical), Kaladin suffers from Major Depressive Disorder (somewhat magical, but majority is real depression), Tien was likely autistic (I haven't seen definitive proof from Brandon either way, please correct me if I'm wrong). Sure Gavilar could have had a magical reason for why he was abusive, but don't go looking for one in the shadows, if one shows itself then we can reassess.  

You're right, thank you. There are definitely some people who wouldn't recognize this as abuse. I would encourage them to learn more about abuse and the signs of it. But if they don't have the knowledge on the subject they should trust others who have done the research, or know from experience. 

Can I just say how cool it is to get an epic fantasy series of this scale so full of such interesting dynamic and REAL characters?  To such a degree that it sparks conversations like this.  

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5 minutes ago, menacekop said:

Can I just say how cool it is to get an epic fantasy series of this scale so full of such interesting dynamic and REAL characters?  To such a degree that it sparks conversations like this.  

Absolutely, I'm also really grateful for the mods and admins who created and run this site. I've never been a part of a fandom before, and I'm grateful for this opportunity they provide us. 

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On 8/3/2020 at 2:57 AM, Jenet said:

I find that my reference to Jafar was quite fitting. For Jafar thought that becoming an all powerful magical entity would give him the ultimate, almighty power. But it also gave him the bond to serve whomever rubbed his lamp. Just like we saw with Harmony, the shards have intents that give the vessel little room for their own ambitions. What I was referring to is that I am not sure if Gavilar was aware of that.

Harmony's kind of a special case.  He holds two Shards, and they're of opposing Intents to boot, which leaves him very little room to do stuff.  Most Shards only have the one they have to deal with.

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12 hours ago, Mason Wheeler said:

Harmony's kind of a special case.  He holds two Shards, and they're of opposing Intents to boot, which leaves him very little room to do stuff.  Most Shards only have the one they have to deal with.

Yes, I agree, but my point was the all the shards have strong intents that will change the vessel with time. There was a comment in one of the "letters" that said (paraphrased from memory) "look what the shard Ruin did to its vessel, he was a kind man originally, and just imagine what Odium does to Rayse, who was mean at the beginning".

So, if Gavilar had gotten so far at to collect the splinters of Honor (if that indeed was his intent), he would have been forced to become more honorable.

I also must express how happy I am with how this discussion is turning out. I work with and know many people, both men and women who have been in abusive relationships, with and without violence. And my gut feeling when reading the chapter was bad. This is clearly abuse, and well written as well. I love how this book and this discussion helps highlight the real life problems that abuse victims suffer, also the problems of not being believed.

The abusers seem so nice to everybody else. And psychological abuse is so devastating too, but many people think is it not so serious.

Anyway, we must be allowed to discuss it, and people must be allowed to speak their mind about it. If not, we will never be able to explain in full how terrible a problem this is in society. And to people who experience retraumatization when reading this thread, I hope the process and the understanding from others that grows from it will help overcoming the trauma. Avoiding it will not help regrowth.

 

On 8/3/2020 at 3:16 PM, Greywatch said:

I'm a little surprised at the reactions calling Gavilar a jerk or a bully. What he's doing qualifies as abuse. This isn't me being hyperbolic - this is the behaviour to look out for. To have it reduced to "he was mean to his wife" don't even come close to what his behaviour actually is, no matter what reasons he has for it. Every defense of "there may have been a reason" implies that there could possibly be a reason that it's defensible - it's abuse apologia.

I am not a native English speaker. I did not know that there is such a difference between the word bully and the word abuser. I am very far from excusing abuse, I have two sons who have been abused by their wives, and work with many students who have been abused violently, and I know how terrible this can turn out. 

edit: Sorry for the double posting, I saw this post and found it important to reply, but did not know how to include the quote in my previous post.

Edited by Jenet
adding comments on abuse
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Quote

I am not a native English speaker. I did not know that there is such a difference between the word bully and the word abuser. I am very far from excusing abuse, I have two sons who have been abused by their wives, and work with many students who have been abused violently, and I know how terrible this can turn out. 

Yeah, that makes total sense.

For future editing purposes, there is a quote button you can use - in order from left to right, it's "bold", "italics", "underline", "link", "quote"! You can paste whatever text you want into the box. The only downside is that it doesn't automatically notify the person you're quoting, so you could @ them if you wanted to.

 

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I believe he was trying to become Honor.  In fact my feelings of relief that he's dead after realizing how horrible Gavilar was and how ambitious his goals were have lead me to a horrible prediction.  What if he's still around and revealed in RoW?  Some kind of Cognitive shadow that picks up a huge investiture dump at some point in the next book.  It would also help give some context as to why remaining Sons of Honor aren't clowns (because so far they seem like it).   Honestly I hope I'm not right in this.  But it would really turn up the  book five  fervor for that Gavilar prolouge chapter if it does happen eh?

 

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On 8/6/2020 at 0:23 AM, Jenet said:

So, if Gavilar had gotten so far at to collect the splinters of Honor (if that indeed was his intent), he would have been forced to become more honorable.

Thing is, the concept of "honor" seems to be extremely narrowly focused here: it appears to cover honoring your word (keeping your promises/oaths) and apparently nothing else.  (Just look at the Stormfather saying there's no such thing as a bad oath!)  It seems like he would have been forced to become more Lawful, (in the D&D sense,) but not more honorable as most readers would understand the term.

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On 3-8-2020 at 10:35 PM, GudThymes said:

I think it's a stretch to interpret Gavilar's statement to be about becoming Honor given all of this. I find it much more likely that his statement was in reference to gaining access immortality of some kind. Oh, right he knows Herald's personally and is aware that they want to get out of the thing that made them immortal. I think the simpler answer may be the right one here. But I hope the books show us a definite answer to this.

I think you are right, GudThymes. He wants to become immortal. And who says he needs to become Honor to do that? Becoming a Herald might be a means to do so as well. Sure, they have this 'tortured for milennia' thing which does not sound very appealing... but the original Heralds managed to avoid breaking for centuries at first and were capable of thoroughly defeating the Fused. In their present condition well... clearly they're no longer fit for the task.  Imagine how Gavinar is... he knows another Desolation is coming and he's in contact with Kalak ('I want out') and Nale ("I want to prevent another Desolation at all costs'. The original Heralds were all extraordinary people, much as he views himself. So why not take up their mantle*, become immortal, lead all of humanity in another Desolation to victory, and become their God?

And even if somehow this isn't the final Desolation and the Heralds have to go back to Braize afterwards ... well... he knows not all Heralds need to go to Braize in order to stave off the Fused. So he can stay on Roshar and use the time bought by his fellow Heralds* that time to lead and prepare Roshar for the next Desolation.

(* Obviously he'd want some other extraordinary persons to take up the mantle of Herals as well.)

 

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I'm new here, and I haven't read all the replies in this thread, nor have I read the preview chapters, but it seems to me that a lot of people are making assumptions about what is empirically true, rather than what seems to be true. Some of the dozen or so replies I've read seem to be claiming that Gavilar is a bully, 100%. But without a narrative set from Gavilar's perspective, none of us save the author himself can possibly know for sure. I freely admit that I don't have enough information to make assumptions about the characters or content in this thread, but we shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking everything we read is the empirical truth. There's a reason Brandon wrote the Stormlight Archive from a third-person limited perspective, and it's likely the same reason George RR Martin wrote the Song of Ice and Fire books from that perspective: to illustrate that no character in the books knows everything.

I think it's important to remember that no matter how much information you think you have, no one can truly know what goes on in a person's thoughts besides the person themselves. It's a careful distinction, but a distinction nonetheless.

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On the other hand, you really don't know a person's thoughts to judge whether or not they're a bully - just their actions.

Gavilar was most certainly being a bullying abusive jerk to Navani, whose POV we have in the prologue.

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On 8/3/2020 at 4:31 PM, Greywatch said:

The point of it being abusive is that there is no "why" good enough. Nothing will exonerate his character.

How do you feel about Dalinar? 

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2 hours ago, Parallax said:

How do you feel about Dalinar? 

How do you feel about false equivalences?

In the context of this thread, nothing that matters to my opinion of Gavilar.

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52 minutes ago, Greywatch said:

How do you feel about false equivalences?

In the context of this thread, nothing that matters to my opinion of Gavilar.

I should have elaborated more in my post. I am not trying to defend Gavilar or "put his actions in context" or anything of that kind. What caught my eye was: "Nothing will exonerate his character." 

I bring up Dalinar because he committed war crimes and got away with it. In fact given the description of Rathalas as having its own unique culture what Dalinar did actually fits the UN definition of genocide. As wrong as Gavilar's behavior is, it is much less serious than genocide and yet Dalinar is the hero and the leader of good guys ...

PS: I created a topic about this issue more than a year ago and people were not happy, in fact they got so unhappy that the topic had to be locked for some time. I don't want to restart that dynamic here but I am continuously amazed that people discard the most problematic action by a protagonist in the cosmere books without thinking about it twice. 

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9 hours ago, Parallax said:

I should have elaborated more in my post. I am not trying to defend Gavilar or "put his actions in context" or anything of that kind. What caught my eye was: "Nothing will exonerate his character." 

I bring up Dalinar because he committed war crimes and got away with it. In fact given the description of Rathalas as having its own unique culture what Dalinar did actually fits the UN definition of genocide. As wrong as Gavilar's behavior is, it is much less serious than genocide and yet Dalinar is the hero and the leader of good guys ...

PS: I created a topic about this issue more than a year ago and people were not happy, in fact they got so unhappy that the topic had to be locked for some time. I don't want to restart that dynamic here but I am continuously amazed that people discard the most problematic action by a protagonist in the cosmere books without thinking about it twice. 

Yes, I get to do this, though. It's my experience with the story and the fact that you feel Dalinar is in the same category as Gavilar has nothing to do with me. If I decide Gavilar's character is irredeemable, challenging me by bringing up someone that you think is also irredeemable as a "gotcha!" isn't compelling. My feelings about Dalinar are about Dalinar and my feelings about Gavilar are about Gavilar, and I'm not sure why in a topic about Gavilar, you want to bring up whether or not Dalinar is redeemable.

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