neshua_kadal

Gavilar evil or good?

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Just imagine Gavilar with Odium...

Or Odium and Cultivation...

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Re-reading WoK now and was trying to stay attentive to the portrayal of Gavilar. It could be, of course, Brandon's intent to keep the 'secrets' hidden but reading through that (still best) book reminded me of many manifestly positive quotes and observations regarding the Codes and other seemingly positive changes observed closer to his death. The contrast with the picture we gradually started to see in RoW or even before is remarkably large.

I'm not defending Gavilar in the slightest but I want to understand what is going on here, why were we (the reader) mislead so badly in the first book? And more specifically, if Gavilar was after some ultra-informed Cosmere 'game', why was he reading the WoK book, talked about following the Codes, what did it have to do with his plans or even his attitude. I am sensing a clash here, a contradiction, can anyone explain or offer any ideas? Not to mention the most important words a man can say part (do we truly understand that one?).

I will even make this into a stronger point. The first Chapter starts with the Gavilar scene. To me this is still potentially the most enigmatic part of the story where we are only guessing at what his intents were, the pre-history, the motivation, the information he had, in cahoots with Heralds, it is astonishing. There have to be big reveals later on for sure.

Edited by Torero
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On 11/27/2020 at 6:45 AM, Debarra said:

My understanding of that night so far is that he actually had about like three/four meettings with different factions or groups without necessarily telling those factions about the other meetings. This seems to come through in the order he held them in and his action;

He also spoke to Taravangian that night (WoR I-14), but that may have been the same as the meeting from Eshonai's prologue, I'm not sure.

Quote

It had worked. Just as the Diagram instructed, Taravangian was king of Jah Keved. He had taken the first major step toward unifying the world, as Gavilar had insisted would need to happen if they were to survive.

That was, at least, what the visions had proclaimed. Visions Gavilar had confided in him six years ago, the night of the Alethi king’s death. Gavilar had seen visions of the Almighty, who was also now dead, and of a coming storm.

Unite them.

(If this was the same meeting that Eshonai walked in on, then Amaram knows all this too. Did we see any indication of this? I can't recall.)

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33 minutes ago, LewsTherinTelescope said:

He also spoke to Taravangian that night (WoR I-14), but that may have been the same as the meeting from Eshonai's prologue, I'm not sure.

(If this was the same meeting that Eshonai walked in on, then Amaram knows all this too. Did we see any indication of this? I can't recall.)

Gavilar had a lot of meetings that day. At least three. I think he met with the people with the fabrial box before he met with the Heralds and that was a separate meeting from the one with Amaram. He met with the Heralds right before the meeting Eshonai walked in on. He mentions going to another meeting with his associates to Nale and Kalak in the RoW prologue, but he had already experimented with "the box" that sends things to and from Braize. 

I don't think Amaram knew much of Gavilar's true plans because he didn't even know the Heralds were on Roshar until Odium told him. Amaram thought the plan was to return the voidbringers in order to return the Heralds to restore Vorinism. Gavilar knew the Heralds were on Roshar, met with some of them and was planning on killing the Fused using anti-voidlight and who knows what else he was planning.  

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"it was happening. It was  really happening. The Sons of Honor had, at long last, achieved their goal." WoR Ch. 88 Amaram after the Everstorm brought the "voidbringers"

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"Odium showed me what the heralds have become. We spent years trying to get them to return. But they were here all along. They abandoned us, spearman."  Amaram to Kaladin in OB Ch. 120

 

 

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On 11/23/2020 at 1:46 AM, neshua_kadal said:

So, does anyone else thinks that Gavilar wasn't actually looking towards bringing something like Everstorm, but just looking to free all singers from their bondage? As we know Restares is Kelek who, from the epigraphs, knew about the effect of Ba-ado-Mishram's imprisonment on Roshar and perhaps guessed that Radiants gave up their powers for this reason (probably) as they felt guilty for causing such drastic change to Roshar and its native population. So he decided to restore the singers and the only way to do that was to bring back Taln from Braize, thereby freeing fused and suing for peace. He had anti-voidlight already prepared and ready to destroy fused as a backup incase they don't work with him. It's such a marvel that we still can't figure out what Gavilar wanted. While he was an asshole towards his family, may be here he wanted to do something good. What do you people think?

I read him as a power-hungry emotional abuser who severely damaged his wife and kids, and possibly even his brother, then precipitated the apocalypse for what appears to be a desire for personal power and/or a lasting legacy.  He definitely had contact with numerous worldhoppers, and treated Dalinar like an attack dog who he used and abused for his own ends.  He emotionally abused his wife to an almost cartoonish degree, ruined his son (Ehlokar is very clearly a kind and decent person beneath the chip on his shoulder and paranoia and emotional issues) by providing a bad example and teaching him the wrong lessons (note that Dalinar, who is probably the least justice-focused Kholin protagonist (in that he's not willing to break things to fix them as much as Jasnah is or as "storm the rules, this is evil and I gotta stop it" as Adolin is), thought that Gavilar's judgement of Roshone was much too merciful), abused his daughter and tried to force her into marriage with a self-centered sociopath who I'm about 80% sure tried to rape her, then probably committed Jasnah in retaliation (not 100% sure since we know little of Jasnah's backstory, but her reaction to Amaram reeks of instinctive terror covered by personal insults, and I wouldn't put anything past Gavilar at this point), used Dalinar like a Rottweiler on a chain to the point that Dalinar is still clearly screwed up by it and gaslighting himself DECADES later...

Basically, what I'm saying is that Gavilar was clearly a vile person with good PR.  The difference between him and Amaram seems to primarily have been age and ambition.  

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1 hour ago, Child of Hodor said:

I don't think Amaram knew much of Gavilar's true plans because he didn't even know the Heralds were on Roshar until Odium told him. Amaram thought the plan was to return the voidbringers in order to return the Heralds to restore Vorinism. Gavilar knew the Heralds were on Roshar, met with some of them and was planning on killing the Fused using anti-voidlight and who knows what else he was planning.  

I believe he did know something of his visions at least. He's one of the only ones who didn't doubt Dalinar when it was revealed what was in his visions and he kept trying to unite Sadeas and Dalinar instead of siding with one over the other. He very much wanted a unified Alethkar instead of the civil war they were headed towards. But yea, I doubt he knew much more of Gavilar's plans besides bringing back the Voidbringers. 

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On 11/23/2020 at 0:46 PM, neshua_kadal said:

So, does anyone else thinks that Gavilar wasn't actually looking towards bringing something like Everstorm, but just looking to free all singers from their bondage? As we know Restares is Kelek who, from the epigraphs, knew about the effect of Ba-ado-Mishram's imprisonment on Roshar and perhaps guessed that Radiants gave up their powers for this reason (probably) as they felt guilty for causing such drastic change to Roshar and its native population. So he decided to restore the singers and the only way to do that was to bring back Taln from Braize, thereby freeing fused and suing for peace. He had anti-voidlight already prepared and ready to destroy fused as a backup incase they don't work with him. It's such a marvel that we still can't figure out what Gavilar wanted. While he was an asshole towards his family, may be here he wanted to do something good. What do you people think?

Eshonai was warned by Dalinar not to trust Gavilar. Navani characterized him negatively as well, putting 2 and 2 together and seeing something pretty twisted. In addition to the people who knew him best being circumspect of his motivations, his own words are pretty damning. They demonstrate a hubris that is pretty poisonous. 
 

Unless he was secretly trying to save the world and intentionally driving loved ones away to protect them, my money is on him being a bad actor who probably triggered something that set the current events into motion. 

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6 hours ago, GroundPetrel said:

I read him as a power-hungry emotional abuser who severely damaged his wife and kids, and possibly even his brother, then precipitated the apocalypse for what appears to be a desire for personal power and/or a lasting legacy.  He definitely had contact with numerous worldhoppers, and treated Dalinar like an attack dog who he used and abused for his own ends.  He emotionally abused his wife to an almost cartoonish degree, ruined his son (Ehlokar is very clearly a kind and decent person beneath the chip on his shoulder and paranoia and emotional issues) by providing a bad example and teaching him the wrong lessons (note that Dalinar, who is probably the least justice-focused Kholin protagonist (in that he's not willing to break things to fix them as much as Jasnah is or as "storm the rules, this is evil and I gotta stop it" as Adolin is), thought that Gavilar's judgement of Roshone was much too merciful), abused his daughter and tried to force her into marriage with a self-centered sociopath who I'm about 80% sure tried to rape her, then probably committed Jasnah in retaliation (not 100% sure since we know little of Jasnah's backstory, but her reaction to Amaram reeks of instinctive terror covered by personal insults, and I wouldn't put anything past Gavilar at this point), used Dalinar like a Rottweiler on a chain to the point that Dalinar is still clearly screwed up by it and gaslighting himself DECADES later...

Basically, what I'm saying is that Gavilar was clearly a vile person with good PR.  The difference between him and Amaram seems to primarily have been age and ambition.  

All of that is true, and some of the things you guessed at are my guesses too, but I mentioned that he was evil to his family and my discussion isn't about Gavilar being a bad father/husband/brother, but why did he have anti-voidlight and maybe his goals weren't as simplistic as bringing fused back so heralds will come back and Vorinism will rule again. That's what I wanted to speculate here. We can create another post to vent about how bad Gavilar was with his family. :P

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4 hours ago, neshua_kadal said:

All of that is true, and some of the things you guessed at are my guesses too, but I mentioned that he was evil to his family and my discussion isn't about Gavilar being a bad father/husband/brother, but why did he have anti-voidlight and maybe his goals weren't as simplistic as bringing fused back so heralds will come back and Vorinism will rule again. That's what I wanted to speculate here. We can create another post to vent about how bad Gavilar was with his family. :P

Gavilar had anti-voidlight (or anti-stormlight) near concurrently with the real life final killing of one of the Heralds- Jezrian. This took place before Navani’s discovery. I suspect that Gavilar may be linked to that knife and the stone that powered in some way.

“Hnanan sent Leshwi to bring him to her rooms. She met him on the balcony, hovering over the edge looking at the city. She gave Moash a yellow-white knifeand sent him to murder Jezrien in the Beggars' Porch.”

“The man trembled for a moment more, then jerked once, going motionless. When Moash pulled the yellow-white knife free, it trailed dark smoke and left a blackened wound. The large sapphire at the pommel took on a subdued glow.” 

 

Edited by I Just Shard Myself!
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He's a very competent villain who thankfully got shanked in the very first episode.

He was manipulative, narcissistic and a total egomaniac from what we've seen. How he treated Navani didn't get me nearly as hard as how he treated his own brother and his own children. His own flesh and blood. Relationships can be hard, and the Alethi society in general is pretty horrid, but to treat your own children as nothing but extensions of your legacy, that is truly heartless.

He didn't care much for his own family. His brother was a tool, just like everybody else and his children were of no consideration besides how they reflected on him. He locked away Jasnah when she had some kind of mental illness probably so she couldn't embarrass him. Jasnah and Elhokar's distant, PR-approved view of their father shows how much of a relationship they had, which can be summed up as: relationship, what relationship?

 

His discovery of anti-Voidlight and possible goal of killing Odium does not mean his intentions were pure. There is a chance that he spewed what he did to Navani to dissuade her but his actions still don't paint a pretty picture. He was a negligent father, negligent husband, negligent brother, negligent king.

It's possible he saw an existential threat in Odium and had a Gilgamesh-like moment of realizing he couldn't conquer his own mortality, and that fuelled his ambitions with creating the Sons of Honor... that still paints him as manipulative and self-centred.

Edited by Honorless
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Yeah, at least Dalinar's terrible father-ness is limited to alternately neglecting and smothering one son when he feels like a jerk about the neglect, and stifling the other in his shortsighted attempts to make that one a better person than he sees himself as.  His motivations are still good ("I want to protect Renarin", "I want Adolin to be a better man than I, the man I believe he can be", these are pretty good parenting motivations).  Even his treatment of Ehlokar is objectively better than Gavilar's.  "I want this kid to be a good man and a good king, and I will do everything in my power to keep him alive and teach him how to be that way even if he's an annoying paranoid wreck".  The only times he even suggests turning on Ehlokar are when he just got back from nearly dying at the Tower, where he delivers a beatdown that can't physically hurt  Ehlokar to deliver an object lesson in Dalinar's loyalty to Ehlokar (in fact, Dalinar is careful to avoid really injuring Ehlokar there), and after the duel in Words of Radiance, where Ehlokar is threatening a guy who Dalinar owes thousands of lives because that guy embarrassed Ehlokar in public.  And the latter is the only case where he was clearly serious about turning on Ehlokar.  

Dalinar loved his wife, and while he ignored her opinions a lot in the midst of his PTSD and the influence of a literal spirit of mindless violence, he didn't tear her down or hit her.  When she died as a result of his actions it broke Dalinar, and that was an arranged match where their relationship comes off more as friends with a having-kids job.  

Meanwhile Gavilar was such a crap parent that he left one kid clearly traumatized and avoiding her family, and the other so paranoid, twisted, and maladjusted by the experience that he couldn't run a storming bath, let alone a country.  And he emotionally abused his wife, deliberately, so badly that she has self esteem issues years later.  

Gavilar Kholin was a power-hungry conqueror with an Amaram-like eye for good PR.  I bet you that if Adolin, the guy with the keenest eye for people in the whole series, is ever asked about him, he'll say that Gavilar was an abusive bastard with good PR.  

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Posted earlier about the way Gavilar was portrayed in the WoK vs RoW.

Consider this:

"Dalinar felt as if he could almost see it. The secret. The thing that had made Gavilar so excited in the months before his death. If Dalinar could just stretch a little farther, he'd make it out. See the pattern in the lives of men. And finally know."

Is this misleading, is it a change of plans from Book 1 to 4, is it obfuscation of the first kind? I do not know but the above sounds extremely positive so you cannot help but feel that Gavilar is some kind of absolute hero, not a douche as he ends up later, the contrast is too big to be accidental, plus this promises some grand reveal later on. And what is this amazing secret?

Edited by Torero
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17 hours ago, I Just Shard Myself! said:

Gavilar had anti-voidlight (or anti-stormlight) near concurrently with the real life final killing of one of the Heralds- Jezrian. This took place before Navani’s discovery. I suspect that Gavilar may be linked to that knife and the stone that powered in some way.

“Hnanan sent Leshwi to bring him to her rooms. She met him on the balcony, hovering over the edge looking at the city. She gave Moash a yellow-white knifeand sent him to murder Jezrien in the Beggars' Porch.”

“The man trembled for a moment more, then jerked once, going motionless. When Moash pulled the yellow-white knife free, it trailed dark smoke and left a blackened wound. The large sapphire at the pommel took on a subdued glow.” 

 

As you're in RoW full spoilers section, I will assume you've read the whole book. We now know from Kalak's epigraphs that the Fused didn't intend to kill Jezrien but just to trap him. He died because Honor, the deity who made his connection to Roshar was dead and shattered, and upon losing the connection he held from his body too, Jezrien's soul (or spren or clone spren) faded away. This wouldn't have happened if say he was bound to cultivation or to Roshar itself. He wasn't killed like Moash killed Teft's spren or how Navani killed Raboniel. The dagger was also explained and it had nothing to do with Gavilar. The Fused realized its design this return only because they didn't know that sentient spren could be captured like this until Ba-Ado-Mishram was captured by the Radiants in False desolation, which happened after the last return.

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Before I discovered the clarification about which oaths were the real ones, I thought the third Bondsmith Oath we discovered in Oathbringer was about admitting what he had done, and I felt that he could fulfil the 'pious and guiding' principles by creating and ruling a Vorin theocracy through ludicrous amounts of bloodshed, and as long as he admitted what he'd done to do so he'd be golden as far as the Ideals were concerned. In another thread I compared it to Thanos feeling totally justified in killing half the universe, and not shying away from the fact he had done it.

Still on Oathbringer information, Dalinar sums up the Kholin Conquest as 'you have stuff, I want it, therefore I'm going to stab you until you give it to me'. I see no reason to believe this isn't an accurate assumption.

Immediately after finishing ROW, I thought Gavilar wanted to Ascend to Odium, or at very least gain the power of a Shard (whether he knew it was powered by the divine force of hatred is tbd). Basically, I don't see much reason to try to justify Gavilar's actions in ROW as being under the influence of an Unmade when everything we've seen suggests he is just naturally power hungry (especially considering the Parshendi treaty has an 'if you look at us funny we can conquer you' clause).

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Gavilar reminds me of Amaram, actually. He projects an honorable, powerful, etc image while being a slimy little cremling in private. See Navani's prologue:

Quote

"Jasnah will marry Amaram, as I have instructed her. She will put aside this fancy of becoming famous by denying the church. Her arrogance stains the reputation of this entire family."

[Navani:] "You realize that girl still loves you, Gavilar. They all do. Elhokar, Dalinar, the boys...they worship you. Are you sure you want to reveal to them what you truly are? [...]

[Gavilar:] "Greatness will define me, Navani. No mediocre effort by someone like Dalinar or my son could undermine that—and I personally doubt Elhokar could rise to even mediocre."

Gavilar thinks poorly of his family who admires and loves him, which in turn speaks quite poorly of his character, I think. Does that make him evil evil? Ehh. Dalinar was an alcoholic war criminal, Venli manipulated and betrayed her people. Both of them are now trying to do better/make up for their past mistakes. And both of them, I should note, were under some level of Odium's influence, but neither has used that fact to dodge culpability (Dalinar famously so in the "you cannot have my pain" scene, Venli more quietly in her conversations with Timbre). Even if Gavilar was corrupted by an Unmade or something, that makes his treatment of Navani pretty sh*tty.

 

On 1/19/2021 at 3:20 PM, Torero said:

Re-reading WoK now and was trying to stay attentive to the portrayal of Gavilar. It could be, of course, Brandon's intent to keep the 'secrets' hidden but reading through that (still best) book reminded me of many manifestly positive quotes and observations regarding the Codes and other seemingly positive changes observed closer to his death. The contrast with the picture we gradually started to see in RoW or even before is remarkably large.

I'm not defending Gavilar in the slightest but I want to understand what is going on here, why were we (the reader) mislead so badly in the first book? And more specifically, if Gavilar was after some ultra-informed Cosmere 'game', why was he reading the WoK book, talked about following the Codes, what did it have to do with his plans or even his attitude. I am sensing a clash here, a contradiction, can anyone explain or offer any ideas? Not to mention the most important words a man can say part (do we truly understand that one?).

I will even make this into a stronger point. The first Chapter starts with the Gavilar scene. To me this is still potentially the most enigmatic part of the story where we are only guessing at what his intents were, the pre-history, the motivation, the information he had, in cahoots with Heralds, it is astonishing. There have to be big reveals later on for sure.

On 1/20/2021 at 3:09 PM, Torero said:

Posted earlier about the way Gavilar was portrayed in the WoK vs RoW.

Consider this:

"Dalinar felt as if he could almost see it. The secret. The thing that had made Gavilar so excited in the months before his death. If Dalinar could just stretch a little farther, he'd make it out. See the pattern in the lives of men. And finally know."

Is this misleading, is it a change of plans from Book 1 to 4, is it obfuscation of the first kind? I do not know but the above sounds extremely positive so you cannot help but feel that Gavilar is some kind of absolute hero, not a douche as he ends up later, the contrast is too big to be accidental, plus this promises some grand reveal later on. And what is this amazing secret?

I think this is partially because it's easier to idolize people when they're gone. We hear of Gavilar mostly from Dalinar's POV in TWoK. Dalinar ruminates on his personal failings throughout that book, and so he perceives Gavilar as someone better/more capable than he is. It seems (as of now...) that Gavilar was excited by transporting...things...from Braize, which is not the glorious and honorable secret that Dalinar fantasizes about.

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I think Gavilar was not a good person. It seems that he was being groomed by both Odium and Honor, as we see happen to Dalinar after his brothers death. So it seems he had potential for both good and evil. He had the anti investiture and had been speaking with at least a couple of the Heralds. He also had plans for conquest and power.

In the end Odium had him killed, so i think in spite of pressing his will on Gavilar, Odium felt Gavilar was a threat.

The expression goes the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but that's only true for so long. I think if everything had played out as it did except with Gavilar in Dalinars place at the battle of Thalen field, he would have turned against humanity.

If the question is was he good or evil at his death? I would say he was a flawed human with a whole lot of power, which  seldom has a positive effect, being pulled hard by two gods. He was neither, he was both.

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He was a conqueror and an abusive prick. Whether or not he was trying to work for the greater good, he was still an absolute cremstain of a human being

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6 hours ago, yulyulk said:

I think this is partially because it's easier to idolize people when they're gone. We hear of Gavilar mostly from Dalinar's POV in TWoK. Dalinar ruminates on his personal failings throughout that book, and so he perceives Gavilar as someone better/more capable than he is. It seems (as of now...) that Gavilar was excited by transporting...things...from Braize, which is not the glorious and honorable secret that Dalinar fantasizes about.

Also he seems to have gaslit and manipulated Dalinar bigtime over the course of their youth.  And admitting that Gavilar was a bastard who deserved what he got is something that I bet Dalinar would not want to do because it would risk letting himself abdicate some responsibility.  

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He is quite an arrogant  A-hole in my opinion. Oh, excuse me... WAS an arrogant A-hole.(cuz' he's dead and all...instant karma :lol:). 

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On 1/22/2021 at 1:10 PM, Stormtide_Leviathan said:

He was a conqueror and an abusive prick. Whether or not he was trying to work for the greater good, he was still an absolute cremstain of a human being

He was a selfish, cruel man much of the time.  There were glimmers of him not being terrible, but too few of them unfortunately.  I think John C. Reilly sums it up. 

guardians.jpg.dc7f01723b3394019cb3d9fd369e5da5.jpg

 

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