Jasha

Theory on Cultivation's Long Game

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Apologies if this is an old idea - it's new to me!

I just read a theory on Reddit discussing how Taravangian was set up to be Dalinar's foil, and how well that fits with him taking up Odium and Dalinar seemingly being on a path towards reclaiming Honor (or something like that, at least). We know that Cultivation had a hand in both Taravangian's Ascension and Dalinar's journey, by interacting with them both directly when they visited the Nightwatcher. We also know of one other person who interacted with Cultivation directly - Lift. My theory is that Cultivation, in addition to preparing Taravangian to take up Odium (confirmed) and Dalinar to take up Honor (suspected), is also preparing Lift to be her own successor.

Evidence in favour of this, in addition to the above pattern, that I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Lift's character so far is based very strongly on the idea of not changing, which is more or less the antithesis of Cultivation's Intent. As we've seen, she is changing despite her best efforts and pleas to Cultivation. This seems to set the stage very nicely for an interesting character arc.
  • She has bonded a Cultivationspren.
  • She can metabolise food directly into Lifelight - Cultivation's light.

There might be more, or I could be completely wrong. But I found it interesting to think about nevertheless, and I hope you do too!

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7 minutes ago, Jasha said:

 My theory is that Cultivation, in addition to preparing Taravangian to take up Odium (confirmed) and Dalinar to take up Honor (suspected), is also preparing Lift to be her own successor.

Then she should have attacked Odium at the moment he got transferred. And if she wanted to retire, why replace a damaged, stupid vessel with a brilliant one for her successor to deal with and fail from?

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Cultivation has set things up so that she'll always come out ahead. Before she tampered with the three mortals, she was on no one's side, which was strictly disadvantageous if Odium won. In addition, it meant that she would gain nothing from Honor winning. After her meddling, Odium owes her everything, Honor's Champion owes her everything, and even if all goes wrong, she has a backup plan in the form of Lift. If Dalinar wins, he will be forced to consider her in the future, if Odium wins, he might not destroy her immediately because of the changed Vessel, and if none of them win, she has her own chosen warrior to help her. I do not think a Vessel would willingly scheme to be replaced, as that is quite literally death. However, perhaps Cultivation is simply planning for that future, since Odium has a history of Splintering Shards. 

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I think this is a very valid theory. She mentioned that Taravangian was picked because he was a perfect match, which Rayse was not. We know from other Cosmere books that if the Vessel and Shard are not a good fit, bad things happen to both. It's not merely about tempering the Shard - it's also about being compatible enough. Dalinar is a stoic character which might prevent a slide into madness, such as occurred to Tanavast. He also has a pacifist duality to his previous warlike nature. He recognizes the evil of conflict - and may thus be less inclined to perpetuate an eternity of bloodshed and suffering to uphold Honor, seeking more peaceful solutions. 

Cultivation seems very shy and almost isolationistic. To me that seems somewhat counter to the growth aspect of the Shard. Roshar is an incredibly static place considering it is home to a Shard with the intent of Cultivation. She seems to be the Bonsai-tree style of Cultivation, maintaining a pristine garden, but with little evolution, which should be an aspect of Cultivation.

Lift could represent a wilder, more chaotic form of Cultivation. Lift hates boredom and would not accept cultivating the same garden over and over. So she would be a good candidate as a successor. At the same time she hates changing, as you mention, so she has a compatible nature with Cultivation still.

As for other shards - Cultivation may want to regrow them. Rayse wanted to break the other gods. Taravangian speaks of saving the Cosmere. He is certainly not benevolent, but he may be willing to act as the instrument that brings about a new generation of more suitable Vessels. Rayse wanted worship and adoration - he was a megalomaniac Odium, also seeming to thrive on the hatred of others far more than their adoration. Taravangian had a messiah-complex when he was mortal - so I suspect he will seek respect and adoration over hatred. He will gladly bear the hatred of the Cosmere to save it - in fact he probably prefers this to his previous role of acting in secret.

I suspect Cultivation might have an end goal of reforming Adonalsium - that would be the ultimate Regrowth. Shattered into shards but then eventually brought back together, as a better version of what it was. Perhaps through a series of Harmony-like combinations.

Speaking of 'better' Vessels: It's a shame Kelsier is dead, because he would've made the perfect Autonomy Vessel. His ability to recognize and nurture the best in others, would temper Autonomy, while his headstrong refusal to bend to even the laws of the Cosmere would fit well with Autonomy.

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21 hours ago, Jasha said:
  • Lift's character so far is based very strongly on the idea of not changing, which is more or less the antithesis of Cultivation's Intent. As we've seen, she is changing despite her best efforts and pleas to Cultivation. This seems to set the stage very nicely for an interesting character arc.

 

Interestingly enough, that wasn't her actual wish, as Wyndle pointed out in her Interlude, her _actual_ wish was:

"I said when everything else is going wrong, I want to be the same. I want to stay me. Not become someone else."

If Cultivation's boon  endures through an Ascension to a Shard and Lift becomes a Vessel, this could be huge. As it would prevent the Shard from changing and subsuming her personality, ever! And BTW, there is a WoB that a Vessel can lay down their Shard without dying, so maybe that's what Cultivation is planning for. Perhaps she feels that she has become too much of a slave to her Shard's Intent to be effective and is cultivating a superior replacement that would not have this problem.

Edited by Isilel
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17 hours ago, Golstar said:

I think this is a very valid theory. She mentioned that Taravangian was picked because he was a perfect match, which Rayse was not. We know from other Cosmere books that if the Vessel and Shard are not a good fit, bad things happen to both. It's not merely about tempering the Shard - it's also about being compatible enough. Dalinar is a stoic character which might prevent a slide into madness, such as occurred to Tanavast. He also has a pacifist duality to his previous warlike nature. He recognizes the evil of conflict - and may thus be less inclined to perpetuate an eternity of bloodshed and suffering to uphold Honor, seeking more peaceful solutions. 

Cultivation seems very shy and almost isolationistic. To me that seems somewhat counter to the growth aspect of the Shard. Roshar is an incredibly static place considering it is home to a Shard with the intent of Cultivation. She seems to be the Bonsai-tree style of Cultivation, maintaining a pristine garden, but with little evolution, which should be an aspect of Cultivation.

Lift could represent a wilder, more chaotic form of Cultivation. Lift hates boredom and would not accept cultivating the same garden over and over. So she would be a good candidate as a successor. At the same time she hates changing, as you mention, so she has a compatible nature with Cultivation still.

As for other shards - Cultivation may want to regrow them. Rayse wanted to break the other gods. Taravangian speaks of saving the Cosmere. He is certainly not benevolent, but he may be willing to act as the instrument that brings about a new generation of more suitable Vessels. Rayse wanted worship and adoration - he was a megalomaniac Odium, also seeming to thrive on the hatred of others far more than their adoration. Taravangian had a messiah-complex when he was mortal - so I suspect he will seek respect and adoration over hatred. He will gladly bear the hatred of the Cosmere to save it - in fact he probably prefers this to his previous role of acting in secret.

I suspect Cultivation might have an end goal of reforming Adonalsium - that would be the ultimate Regrowth. Shattered into shards but then eventually brought back together, as a better version of what it was. Perhaps through a series of Harmony-like combinations.

Speaking of 'better' Vessels: It's a shame Kelsier is dead, because he would've made the perfect Autonomy Vessel. His ability to recognize and nurture the best in others, would temper Autonomy, while his headstrong refusal to bend to even the laws of the Cosmere would fit well with Autonomy.

Yes, Kell is dead... and was Preservation (briefly) and is running the Ghostbloods and... There’s actually no good reason why he CAN’T pick up Autonomy. He’d be limited in power, but he could pick it up.

I’m not so certain he’d WANT to though.

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46 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Yes, Kell is dead... and was Preservation (briefly) and is running the Ghostbloods and... There’s actually no good reason why he CAN’T pick up Autonomy. He’d be limited in power, but he could pick it up.

I’m not so certain he’d WANT to though.

More than Autonomy he would be perfect for Ambition, and i remember a WoB where Brandon said that Kel holding Ambition would be terrifyng.

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I think kel might make a good fit for Valor too. 

He never have up. He went up against TLR facing impossible odds and died valiently too .

Ofc we don't know anything about Valor yet so ....yeah 

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37 minutes ago, Dreamspren said:

I think kel might make a good fit for Valor too. 

He never have up. He went up against TLR facing impossible odds and died valiently too .

Ofc we don't know anything about Valor yet so ....yeah 

Valor wouldn’t allow him to use his cunning properly though. Autonomy and Ambition suit him well. 

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41 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Valor wouldn’t allow him to use his cunning properly though. Autonomy and Ambition suit him well. 

Idk Honor wouldn't allow him to be cunning but I think Valor would

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I honestly think Cultivation made a mistake. Shards "can't see the hearts of men", and Cultivation thought Terivangian had a better heart than he did. Hell, I thought he had a better heart, but he flipped immediately when he got power....

And honestly, I don't like it. I really REALLY don't think Terivangian was ever once odius EVER, and I am generally annoyed that he became hateful so fast...

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On 21-11-2020 at 4:21 PM, Isilel said:

If Cultivation's boon  endures through an Ascension to a Shard and Lift becomes a Vessel, this could be huge. As it would prevent the Shard from changing and subsuming her personality, ever! And BTW, there is a WoB that a Vessel can lay down their Shard without dying, so maybe that's what Cultivation is planning for. Perhaps she feels that she has become too much of a slave to her Shard's Intent to be effective and is cultivating a superior replacement that would not have this problem.

I just want to say: I absolutely love what you guys have written here. Before, I was absolutely horrified at the thought of Lift as Cultivation (and she's my favourite character), but this made me realize that she would remain Lift. And Lift... she cares, she listens and she understands. Combining that with the power of Cultivation would actually make a pretty good match. Completely different from Cultivation as she is now, but if there is a greater Cosmere-wide plan.. that'd actually make sense.

On 21-11-2020 at 3:47 PM, Golstar said:

I suspect Cultivation might have an end goal of reforming Adonalsium - that would be the ultimate Regrowth. Shattered into shards but then eventually brought back together, as a better version of what it was. Perhaps through a series of Harmony-like combinations.

Now I'm wondering if Cultivation will contact the Ghostbloods in order to make that happen.

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9 hours ago, Ytsken said:

I just want to say: I absolutely love what you guys have written here. Before, I was absolutely horrified at the thought of Lift as Cultivation (and she's my favourite character), but this made me realize that she would remain Lift. And Lift... she cares, she listens and she understands. Combining that with the power of Cultivation would actually make a pretty good match. Completely different from Cultivation as she is now, but if there is a greater Cosmere-wide plan.. that'd actually make sense.

Now I'm wondering if Cultivation will contact the Ghostbloods in order to make that happen.

I suspect that’s literally the opposite of what the GBs want. I also wonder if they don’t consider Cultivation the graver threat.

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I'm starting to think she just wants Honor back, and that plan involves killing Radiants and their Spren to reform the splintered Honor (I think surgebinding may have been the vessel for the decline of Honor). Shardblades and plate are god metal - Honor's body. It needs to be "collected" for him to reform. The Recreance was an attempt to save Honor by breaking the oath (and thus releasing the bound investiture), but it backfired because acting in opposition to the shard's intent comes with terrible consequences.

The Honorspren hiding in 'Lasting Integrity' may be an allusion to them being afraid that they'll be killed to bring back Honor. "Honor lives in the hearts of men". The Highspren have taken the path of preventing Radiants from appearing to avoid this process. The Sons of Honor are attempting to bring about this process. The Ghostbloods are super-interested in creating bodies for Cognitive Shadows (which I think Cultivation wants to do with Tanavast somehow) - hence their meddling.

Odium may turn out an ally because he'll be working to 'save' the Knights Radiant around (he needs them for War as well), and not let them be murdered by Cultivation.

Dalinar loses to Odium (freeing him - Cultivation's plan). He is bound to serve him - but Odium figures out Cultivation's plan and sends Dalinar to help out the Knights Radiant against Cultivation's forces (Heralds / Szeth /  Ghost Bloods?). Cultivation ends up splintered, but someone manages to chain Odium again - and book 6 can pick up with humans facing an really angry Odium who is pissed off he was betrayed despite 'helping' the Radiants. Yeah ok, that's reaching a bit far.

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On 11/22/2020 at 2:53 PM, teknopathetic said:

I honestly think Cultivation made a mistake. Shards "can't see the hearts of men", and Cultivation thought Terivangian had a better heart than he did. Hell, I thought he had a better heart, but he flipped immediately when he got power....

And honestly, I don't like it. I really REALLY don't think Terivangian was ever once odius EVER, and I am generally annoyed that he became hateful so fast...

This raises an interesting point, though, which is that she does know he was amoral to a certain extent, because she deliberately granted him a power which would vacillate him between extremely intelligent but absolutely amoral and deeply compassionate but deeply stupid. I'm very intrigued as to the extent to which Cultivation is actually in the driver's seat here. There's a very plausible case to be made that she's simply underestimated Taravangian, but as the person who finally took down Rayse-as-Odium via some intricate planning, there's a plausible case to be made that she is both far more capable and perhaps far less benign than initially assumed. I'm looking forward to finding out which is true!

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19 minutes ago, TheTuninator said:

This raises an interesting point, though, which is that she does know he was amoral to a certain extent, because she deliberately granted him a power which would vacillate him between extremely intelligent but absolutely amoral and deeply compassionate but deeply stupid. I'm very intrigued as to the extent to which Cultivation is actually in the driver's seat here. There's a very plausible case to be made that she's simply underestimated Taravangian, but as the person who finally took down Rayse-as-Odium via some intricate planning, there's a plausible case to be made that she is both far more capable and perhaps far less benign than initially assumed. I'm looking forward to finding out which is true!

There is a not too uncommon theory floating around that Cultivation helped kill Honour so she could use him for Mulch; now though I wonder if she killed him because she wanted herself and Odium to start a war elsewhere....

Edited by teknopathetic
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