Jofwu

Shallan's Past and Weird Spren Stuff

49 posts in this topic

11 hours ago, Jofwu said:

The voice Shallan spoke with in that scene wasn't Pattern. Or at least it dosn't seem to be. Kind of an odd line no? It makes sense though. Testament was following her. She's "dead", but they still have a bond. Shallan can still summon her deadeye as a Shardblade. She can still make use of their bond to Soulcast. And that's what happens in her rooms in Kharbranth. I think the truth that she seems to speak in that scene ("I'm terrified") was either an advancement in her bond with Testament, or maybe it was a slight reparation of it. Not clear how "repairing" a bond like that works.

 

I always assumed that voice was like the ones that the other radiants hear re: "these words are accepted" either via Cultivation or the remnants of Honor (i.e., SF, and then Dalinar himself actually in part 5). 

11 hours ago, Jofwu said:

Where's Shallan at the end of RoW? Both of her bonds are now at level 4, with "I killed Testament" being her 3rd truth with Pattern. Shallan has not just one but TWO more truths to go, perhaps. One for each spren.

 

Yes, I agree with this--and overall I really like this consolidation of what we know/don't know. Also finally makes that "Shallan a step above Kal" comment make more sense!! She has two bonds. But I think she still has to to figure out how to repair her prior bond, though, possibly by remembering the words she once spoke? Maybe some parallelism with Syl/Kal and the "I don't remember the words" when they were drifting apart?

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11 hours ago, Jofwu said:

In any case, at the end of Words of Radiance Shallan speaks her 2nd truth to Pattern putting them at "level 3". 

 

I am confused what truths Shallan has spoken now. What truths did she speak to get Patternblade? 

And does this mean the Blade Kaladin used in the chasms was Testament? Did he not hear Testament screaming because of the oddity of the situation or because of what was going on with him? Or was it Pattern afterall?

So many questions I have now because of this revelation.  

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40 minutes ago, ProfessorMLyon said:

I am confused what truths Shallan has spoken now. What truths did she speak to get Patternblade? 

And does this mean the Blade Kaladin used in the chasms was Testament? Did he not hear Testament screaming because of the oddity of the situation or because of what was going on with him? Or was it Pattern afterall?

So many questions I have now because of this revelation.  

And I do think we're still meant to have questions. This is all very much my theory. I could be wrong about a lot of this. I've seen several different interpretations.

Testament:
First Ideal (presumably voiced at some point as a child)
Truth #1 = ???
Truth #2 = ??? (killed her mother sometime after speaking this)
(she denied Testament here, damaging their bond in some way and causing Testament to become a deadeye)
Truth #3 = "I"m terrified" in TWoK

Pattern:
First Ideal (not sure if she re-voiced this at some point or if the first time still counts???)
Truth #1 = "I killed my father" at the end of TWoK
Truth #2 = "I killed my mother" at the end of WoR
Truth #3 = "I killed my first spren" at the end of RoW

And part of this whole theory is that Testament is not like other deadeyes we've seen, because Shallan is still around and their bond is still present even if it's damaged in some way. The implications are that (1) Testament isn't confined to being a sword only and (2) she doesn't scream at everyone who touches her, either in general or specifically in the cases where Shallan hands her over as she does with Kaladin. Probably other differences as well.

Again, just my theory. Don't want to pass this on as an interpretation you should adopt. :)

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25 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

Pattern:

 

First Ideal (not sure if she re-voiced this at some point or if the first time still counts???)
Truth #1 = "I killed my father" at the end of TWoK
Truth #2 = "I killed my mother" at the end of WoR
Truth #3 = "I killed my first spren" at the end of RoW

Truth #4: "I killed everyone! Roshar has been an illusion this whole time!"

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8 minutes ago, Necessary Eagle said:

Truth #4: "I killed everyone! Roshar has been an illusion this whole time!"

"I Ascended as Odium! And... My Passion is worldbuilding!"

 

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13 hours ago, robardin said:

"I Ascended as Odium! And... My Passion is worldbuilding!"

I laughed super hard at this

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@Jofwu:

Shallan specifically used Patternblade to operate the Oathgate for the first time during the clash of two storms, didn't she? And that was _before_ she swore the Truth about her mother. IMHO, all of her shardblade summonings in WoR were of Pattern. I don't think that she could have begun to repair her bond to Testament while denying her deadeye's very existence.

Concerning her re-swearing the First Ideal, she was working on the materials about the Desolations and the Radiants, during her time at Kharbranth. It might have inadvertently happened then, somehow? Not sure about it. Maybe it wasn't broken in the first place, as Shallan continued fighting against the darkness consuming her family after coming out of her catatonia.

I do wonder what is so special about Shallan that Pattern told her in OB that if he died, she'd be sent (yet) another Cryptic. Or was he indirectly trying to jolt her out of her obliviousness?

What confuses me most is that Shallan briefly remembered using a Ghostblood communication device as a child - and that her parents had been quarelling "about her future" _before_ she attracted Testament. "She is one of them!" may not apply to Shallan's Radiance at all! But then, what could it possibly mean instead?

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I like it! I think we need to know a little more about Shallan's past before I make a decision on anything, but I'll definitely keep your theory in mind! 

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On 11/19/2020 at 1:25 PM, Jofwu said:

Pattern:

First Ideal (not sure if she re-voiced this at some point or if the first time still counts???)
Truth #1 = "I killed my father" at the end of TWoK
Truth #2 = "I killed my mother" at the end of WoR
Truth #3 = "I killed my first spren" at the end of RoW

You're forgetting one for Pattern.  And it's easy to forget, because it was in the middle of Kaladin's fight with Szeth.

Quote

Only one answer.

Shallan grabbed the hilt of his sword and whipped it out--ignoring the scream in her mind that came from touching it--then tossed it aside.  Adolin's sword vanished to mist.

A deep truth

"There is something wrong with your Blade, and with all Blades."   She hesitated for just a second.  "All but mine.  Pattern!"

The Blade in the chasm was almost definitely Testament, but the one that activated the Oathgate was 10000% Pattern.  And it explains why she needed to speak a Truth if she already had a Patternblade--because she didn't, not until that moment.

Edit since I forgot to read the whole thread!  @Isilel pointed out this missing Truth before me, although we have different conclusions regarding it.

Edited by kaellok
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Hmm, I wonder if the imprisonment of Ba-Ado-Mishram made it so Radiant spren, when "killed," end up in this limbo state where their Radiant essentially drags their near-corpse behind, gaining a small measure of the power they used to have. Whereas prior to the Recreance, if a Radiant broke their Oaths, only the bond would break - the spren would be hurt, similarly to how they get hurt when the Radiant dies, but would be able to recuperate. 

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Admittedly I was sure, I had picked up that Shallan was supposed to have reached level 4 at the end of Oathbringer, but can't find any quote for this.

Darn, I was so convinced that Shallan had reached level 5 with her progression ...

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11 hours ago, kaellok said:

The Blade in the chasm was almost definitely Testament, but the one that activated the Oathgate was 10000% Pattern. 

Why? It was glowing, it was drastically changing shape and size for Shallan's convenience, and she even thought to herself that she couldn't use Pattern to move around illusions like she did on previous occasions due to... something, which turned out to be that he was the shardblade  she lent to Kaladin. And that was at the time when she believed that Pattern was separate from "the fruit of her sin". She didn't want to aknowledge that Pattern could be a shardblade. If Testament's blade was already so much more "alive", then shouldn't she have been more like RoW Mayalaran in the Cognitive realm? 

I also don't think it likely that Shallan was further than on her second Truth/Third Ideal as a child. IMHO, it wouldn't make sense, given the fact that higher Ideals tend to be much more difficult and painful and require deep soul-searching. A child shouldn't be capable of doing this, they are still too malleable and changing too much.

Edited by Isilel
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So, 3 things:

1: Why didn’t Testament appear as a Deadeye the first time they entered Shadesmar?(In Oathbringer).

2: How can Shallan have the Deadeye blade? Wouldn’t she have to bond it after she broke the bond? It is not likely that child Shallan would bond the Blade that she used to kill her mother. And you have to carry the sword around for a weak to bond it, so someone would notice... 

3: Using the Seon as a child. How? Why? Who was she talking to?

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On 19/11/2020 at 6:52 PM, Necessary Eagle said:

Truth #4: "I killed everyone! Roshar has been an illusion this whole time!"

lmao

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On 11/20/2020 at 10:17 AM, Isilel said:

Shallan specifically used Patternblade to operate the Oathgate for the first time during the clash of two storms, didn't she? And that was _before_ she swore the Truth about her mother.

She names Pattern there, but that's pretty easy to sweep away with her being such an extremely unreliable narrator.

On 11/20/2020 at 6:51 PM, kaellok said:

You're forgetting one for Pattern.

Didn't forget it, just skeptical that it's a "truth". It's much different from all the others that we've seen. No drop into Shadesmar, no Lightweaving... The italics just seem to be her thoughts rather than a spren asking for a truth. I'm just skeptical that's what that is. Could be though.

5 hours ago, Ingunn_d said:

1: Why didn’t Testament appear as a Deadeye the first time they entered Shadesmar?(In Oathbringer).

She followed Shallan around on foot while Shallan was taking Oathgates and being flown around. She just wasn't caught up to wherever Shallan was exactly.

5 hours ago, Ingunn_d said:

2: How can Shallan have the Deadeye blade?

I would say part of this whole theory is that her relationship with Testament can't be compared to other deadeyes. Their bond is still there in some way and it makes her behave differently.

5 hours ago, Ingunn_d said:

3: Using the Seon as a child. How? Why? Who was she talking to?

I'm betting it's related to some of the dark family secrets that drove her to being a Radiant in the first place. Father working with Ghostbloods that far back, perhaps.

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Thank you for writing this up! I've been wanting to go back through Shallan's chapters and try to put the timeline together.

I agree with @Jofwu that "I'm terrified" belongs to Testament. See the section from WoK Chapter 45 where she says it:

Quote

Before she could consciously think of what she was doing, she was struggling with her sleeve, trying to get the Soulcaster out. It was the only thing she had resembling a weapon. No, that was stupid. She didn’t know how to use it. She was helpless. Except … Storms! she thought, frantic. I can’t use that. I promised myself. She began the process anyway. Ten heartbeats, to bring forth the fruit of her sin, the proceeds of her most horrific act. She was interrupted midway through by a voice, uncanny yet distinct: What are you? She clutched her hand to her chest, losing her balance on the soft bed, falling to her knees on the rumpled blanket. She put one hand to the side, steadying herself on the nightstand, fingers brushing the large glass goblet that sat there. “What am I?” she whispered. “I’m terrified.” This is true.

The way I read this now is that she has not tried to summon Testament since childhood, but when she tries again Testament demands another truth. But instead of the blade summoning, she gets dumped into Shadesmar. Testament's voice gets described as a "cold whisper". It feels very different from the "I killed my father" Truth, where it reads very much as Pattern's first truth (the Cryptic explains how the whole business works, rather than Testament's terseness above).

I think I'll contribute by including the WoR Shardblade summonings here:

Quote

Shallan growled, thrusting her hands forward. Mist twisted and writhed in her hands as a brilliantly silver Blade formed there, spearing Tyn through the chest. The woman barely had time to gasp in surprise as her eyes burned in her skull.

Shallan kills Tyn with a "brilliantly silver Blade" in chapter 34, because the Ghostbloods revealed to Tyn that Shallan was Jasnah's ward and should have died. A bit earlier, she notes to herself that it doesn't have to be ten heartbeats for her to summon the blade. There isn't much description otherwise.

Quote

Kaladin stared at the glistening length of metal, which dripped with condensation from its summoning. It glowed softly the color of garnet along several faint lines down its length.

Quote

Standing on one and clinging to the highest one, she summoned the Blade again and tried to cut a step even higher, but the thing was just so blasted long. Obligingly, it shrank in her hand to the size of a much shorter sword, really a big knife.

Next she summons the Blade in the chasms with Kaladin in chapter 72, when they are stuck in a crack hiding from the chasmfiend. Now, the Blade glows, and is "the color of garnet", which is a deep violet. Kaladin notes that he doesn't hear the screech of a dead Blade. The Blade also can change shape when Shallan wants. Along with the fact that she can't send the illusions on Pattern (because Brandon didn't want to reveal that Blades are spren until Kaladin swears the third ideal in chapter 84), I agree with @Isilel that this is Pattern, not Testament. N.B. the description is from Kaladin, which should be reliable.

Quote

“There is something wrong with your Blade, and with all Blades.” She hesitated for just a second. “All but mine. Pattern!” He formed in her hands, the Blade she’d used to kill. The hidden soul. Shallan rammed it into the slot, and the weapon vibrated in her hands and glowed. Something deep within the plateau unlocked.

Quoted above already, but this is from when she works the Oathgate in chapter . There is basically no description of the blade here, but it basically has to be Pattern because it works the Oathgate, and she says his name. It seems like a bigger stretch to say that Testament is special to the extent of being able to work the Oathgate than to just say that it's Pattern at this point. Note that she does say that she's killed with Pattern, which under this accounting is not actually true (Tyn and her mother were both Testament), so she's still not 100% unreliable.

Why is Shallan unreliable, and switch from Testament to Pattern? I think the only thing that changes greatly between Tyn and the chasms is Shallan developing/revealing Veil as a persona. In RoW, Shallan says that Veil protects her from her past. This coincides with her increasing suppression of Testament and conflation of what she did as a child with what is happening to her now, with Pattern. So as Veil develops, she is able to switch to using Pattern as a Blade, because she has convinced herself it's not Testament.

My main caveat with this reading is that it means she summoned Pattern at only one truth/level 2. I think this is acceptable, because it also makes the childhood story a bit easier to manage, since only one truth would be needed for Shallan to kill her mother with Testament. The main reason we think that we need to be level 3 for the blade is because of the Windrunners, and we know there are differences between orders since the Skybreakers don't even get a spren until the third ideal.

TLDR: I think Tyn was killed with Testament, but the chasmfiend and the Oathgate are Pattern. This is because Shallan develops Veil in the meantime.

P.S. I am not sure that "blades are wrong" is a truth, and in fact it's not clear from the end of RoW that "I killed my spren" is a truth either. That puts her still at Level 3

Edited by Zedseayou
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19 hours ago, Ingunn_d said:

1: Why didn’t Testament appear as a Deadeye the first time they entered Shadesmar?(In Oathbringer).

It’s possible that Testament was being restrained, similar to the deadeye reacher we see on the boat. Without being summoned as a blade, Testament could be physically restrained in Shadesmar. E.G. the shopkeeper notices Testament is acting oddly for a period of time, and locks Testament in a room.

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9 minutes ago, Govir said:

It’s possible that Testament was being restrained, similar to the deadeye reacher we see on the boat. Without being summoned as a blade, Testament could be physically restrained in Shadesmar. E.G. the shopkeeper notices Testament is acting oddly for a period of time, and locks Testament in a room.

We know the shopkeeper was keeping Testament with him, though I don't think she'd need to be restrained. From the honorspren we know that the deadeyes only leave the fortress when they are summoned, but return to where they were in Shadesmar once dismissed. It's possible many of the deadeye wander Shadesmar according to wear their bearer is in the Physical Realm, but it seems like they can be in different "locations" in the two realms.

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On 11/21/2020 at 2:08 PM, Ingunn_d said:

3: Using the Seon as a child. How? Why? Who was she talking to?

There's still a lot being hidden to us, and I know Testament was a big reveal in a sense to her past, but I'd like to think that it's misdirection.

I just kind of get stuck on Zahel and Kaladin's conversation. Zahel very openly talking about different types of invest entities. It's an interesting conversation, but to Kaladin, does it really matter? It just felt like a conversation for the reader, but why now?

Then there's a secret so deep that it broke Shallan.

Then I think about the story in Oathbringer, The Girl Who Looked Up, that's meant to help Shallan, and it's supposed to be about the reveal of humans being the monsters, But it's also specifically saying Shallan is a monster.

So what if, Shallan died at a young age, and the question is what took her place? Because Zahel says if you're lucky, it'll be your own shadow that's nailed back to your body, so what if it wasn't?

And her mother realizes this which is why she tries to kill her. Her father realizes this and basically just has nothing to do with her (she talks of others in pain, but never her).

It's a completely out there theory, that has zero basis, and is just pure wild fantasy, but wouldn't it be interesting? And I just think whoever did this to her, would be the one with the Seon that she remembers.

Again, pure conjecture, but that's part of the fun. A cognitive shadow with not just one, but two spren bonds too, which Sanderson said is theoretically possible.

edit: I'll also add that it's a secret so deep that killing her parents is far more tame by comparison. Whatever she's hiding has to be insane.

Edited by orc
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The thing with Testament, is that yes, it is a Deadeye, and the bond was, at whatever level, high enough for Testament to turn into a Shardblade. 

So, I recently reread Dalinar's vision of the Recreance, and anyway, all the Deadeyes from then have physical corpses (Dead Shardblades) in the physical realm. 

And Testament does not have that physical corpses. Or at least, not exactly. After all, Shallan didn't break the bond, have a Shardblade fall in front of her, attach a gem to it, and bind it to herself. 

So the bond was not broken as fully as the Recreance bonds were.

 

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21 hours ago, Zedseayou said:

Why is Shallan unreliable, and switch from Testament to Pattern? I think the only thing that changes greatly between Tyn and the chasms is Shallan developing/revealing Veil as a persona. In RoW, Shallan says that Veil protects her from her past. This coincides with her increasing suppression of Testament and conflation of what she did as a child with what is happening to her now, with Pattern. So as Veil develops, she is able to switch to using Pattern as a Blade, because she has convinced herself it's not Testament.

That's a good thought. Good idea.

I will say that my primary insistence on her using Testament throughout WoR is based on trying to restrict Blades to level 3 Radiants. I'm also giving weight to the WoB that "Shallan is a step further than Kaladin". The WoB is paraphrased and Brandon could have changed his mind... But we pointed at that WoB for so long that I'm hesitant to just throw it out completely without more explicit evidence to the contrary.

I'd also like to emphasize that my whole train of thought here includes the ideas that Testament very well might (1) be able to glow like a living Blade, (2) change shapes, (3) not scream at Kaladin, (4) operate Oathgates, and so on. So I don't count any of those as evidence that the later Blades are Pattern. My whole idea here is that normal deadeye Blades can't do these things because they rely on the bond with their Radiant to do them. Testament still has her bond with Shallan, to some degree, while every other deadeye we've seen lost their bond completely when their former Radiant died thousands of years ago. The evidence for this is small, but significant enough that it carries a lot of weight in my opinion. Normal deadeye Blades can only be bonded after attaching a gem and bonding it over the course of a few days. I'm extremely skeptical Shallan ever did this. And it doesn't scream at her. There's enough weirdness with these two issues that it makes me question everything we know about how Testament "should" behave.

Granted, there's a way to mash all of it up even still. We could have her be level 4 with Testament (a step further than Kaladin at the end of WoR) AND have Lightweavers summon blades at level 2. The different color descriptions is interesting and compelling, even if I'm not 100% convinced.

9 hours ago, Hayama said:

We know the shopkeeper was keeping Testament with him, though I don't think she'd need to be restrained. From the honorspren we know that the deadeyes only leave the fortress when they are summoned, but return to where they were in Shadesmar once dismissed. It's possible many of the deadeye wander Shadesmar according to wear their bearer is in the Physical Realm, but it seems like they can be in different "locations" in the two realms.

I'm not sure the shopkeeper had her at that time actually. He found her "last year" and "far to the east". She was "insisting on coming" to the vicinity of Urithiru. I'm inclined to believe he found her sometime after the Battle of Thaylen Field while Shallan was spending most of her time in Urithiru? In any case, it's notable that she was trying to move to be near Shallan.

1 hour ago, yulerule said:

And Testament does not have that physical corpses. Or at least, not exactly. After all, Shallan didn't break the bond, have a Shardblade fall in front of her, attach a gem to it, and bind it to herself. 

So the bond was not broken as fully as the Recreance bonds were.

Another good observation. I wonder what could be different...

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2 hours ago, yulerule said:

The thing with Testament, is that yes, it is a Deadeye, and the bond was, at whatever level, high enough for Testament to turn into a Shardblade. 

So, I recently reread Dalinar's vision of the Recreance, and anyway, all the Deadeyes from then have physical corpses (Dead Shardblades) in the physical realm. 

And Testament does not have that physical corpses. Or at least, not exactly. After all, Shallan didn't break the bond, have a Shardblade fall in front of her, attach a gem to it, and bind it to herself. 

So the bond was not broken as fully as the Recreance bonds were.

 

The bond may have been broken but there was still some connection there, it did not need to be re-bonded like a shard bearers.
I assume also that she did not break the bond while Testament was in Blade form. 
 

Quote

"She still had questions. Things about her past didn't completely align yet, though her memory was no longer full of holes. There was much they didn't understand. For example, she was certain that, during the years between killing Testament and finding Pattern, her powers had still functioned in some small ways.

Some of this, Kelek said, had to do with the nature of deadeyes. ~Shallan, Ch. 115, RoW

 

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I think that I am coming around to the Testament-all-through-WoR point, @Jofwu. At the end of WoR Pattern specifically pushes Shallan to the second truth because "the people need a Radiant". That does feel like he knows they need to do it and get to level 3 so he can be a Blade.

4 hours ago, Jofwu said:

My whole idea here is that normal deadeye Blades can't do these things because they rely on the bond with their Radiant to do them. Testament still has her bond with Shallan, to some degree, while every other deadeye we've seen lost their bond completely when their former Radiant died thousands of years ago.

6 hours ago, yulerule said:

So the bond was not broken as fully as the Recreance bonds were.

I think I lean more toward @yulerule here in that it's not just that Shallan is still alive, unlike the Recreance knights, but broke her bond in a different way. There is nothing like the vision of the Recreance with the blades falling from the air, and folks have mentioned the highly unlikely idea that Shallan added a gem and her use of powers pre-Pattern. So whatever the knights did seems to have been more final than what Shallan did. What could be different about her oathbreaking? The scene is described as:

Quote

Within it, a hidden place where a girl cried. The girl wept, then screamed, then said the terrible words. “I don’t want you! I hate you! I’m done! You never existed. You are nothing. And I am finished!” Shallan didn’t turn away. She wouldn’t. She felt the ripping sensation again. The terrible pain, and the awful horror. She hadn’t known what she was doing, not truly. But she had done it.

So perhaps Intent is involved? That seems awfully fuzzy. There also seems like there must have been some kind of transfer of "power" as well, as with Adolin and Maya.

I'll add here that Pattern has been playing along with this for a long time. It's fascinating to go back and read WoR and OB scenes and notice that he probably doesn't actually know much of what happened with Shallan and her mother until she tells him. He kinda goes "Mmmm" a lot in key places and Shallan just fills in the gaps. Then he starts to just agree with her when she says that she hates him because she used him to kill her mother. And of course, the entire Wit-consulting business. Most likely he actually knows very little of what happened in Jah Keved at all...

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6 hours ago, Zedseayou said:

I think that I am coming around to the Testament-all-through-WoR point, @Jofwu. At the end of WoR Pattern specifically pushes Shallan to the second truth because "the people need a Radiant". That does feel like he knows they need to do it and get to level 3 so he can be a Blade.

I think I lean more toward @yulerule here in that it's not just that Shallan is still alive, unlike the Recreance knights, but broke her bond in a different way. There is nothing like the vision of the Recreance with the blades falling from the air, and folks have mentioned the highly unlikely idea that Shallan added a gem and her use of powers pre-Pattern. So whatever the knights did seems to have been more final than what Shallan did. What could be different about her oathbreaking? The scene is described as:

So perhaps Intent is involved? That seems awfully fuzzy. There also seems like there must have been some kind of transfer of "power" as well, as with Adolin and Maya.

I'll add here that Pattern has been playing along with this for a long time. It's fascinating to go back and read WoR and OB scenes and notice that he probably doesn't actually know much of what happened with Shallan and her mother until she tells him. He kinda goes "Mmmm" a lot in key places and Shallan just fills in the gaps. Then he starts to just agree with her when she says that she hates him because she used him to kill her mother. And of course, the entire Wit-consulting business. Most likely he actually knows very little of what happened in Jah Keved at all...

One big difference is that in the Recreance, both the Radiants and their spren decided to break the bond. With Shallan and Testament, it was just Shallan. I think it's safe to assume that Testament didn't want to break the bond, so that could be the difference.

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