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Winds Alight

Raboniel

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Can we talk about her?

Because her character was easily one of the most amazing things in the entire book.

I can't say I like her, as in I like Kaladin, or Adolin or any of my favourite characters.

But she was an example of how to make a character you don't necessarily like, or whose opinions you share, but who's still a great character.

I found her unnerving, terrifying, but fascinating and so very complicated. Her relationship with Navani was so well written, and in parts I found it ... predictable where this would lead to (I expected a Rosharan equivalent to the atomic bomb and I guess the potential for that is still there) but the journey to that point, all the small discoveries, the experiments, the talks, Raboniel's hope, her motivation, her grief and her end - that could probably be one of my favourite arcs of the entire book, the series even.

Also her lies and "betrayals" ... it all made sense. Had the positions be reversed Navani would have done the same thing, and she did kill her in the end, after all.

This character and all she stands for is so telling for the grander conflict - that's not merely between good and evil with humans and singers/Fused as good and evil, but much more complicated.

I'm almost sad she died, because that was so good. So good.

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Raboniel felt a lot like a Fused Jasnah (an older, wiser Jasnah). Which I felt was pretty appropriate - Navani has (had?) a serious inferiority complex regarding 'real' scholars, likely not helped by the fact that her own daughter has apparently surpassed her. It's not quite that simple, as their areas of focus are quite different - but it's likely quite painful thinking of yourself as being an amateur dabbler in your field when your daughter is essentially at the top of multiple fields.

I actually like Raboniel quite a lot. She's a tragic character that is nonetheless in control, rather than just being buffeted by fate. Her attitude is, as mentioned earlier, not much different from Jasnah, and you could argue that Raboniel is actually more sympathetic than Jasnah. The way Raboniel looks for a technical/logical solution to help her daughter felt very Jasnah-esque, as did Raboniel's multi-level planning - looking beyond her personal desires (saving her daughter) and looking forward into the practical/political consequences of their discoveries.

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She's dead though. Feels like a waste.

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Raboniel was awesome. She was super valuable to build Navani's character to show how similar they were but still different at the same time. Also she was useful to show that not all the fused are the same or in agreement with each other. The Raboniel, Pursuer, Leshwi dynamic was great. All fused, all different

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I enjoyed her character. She was a great antagonist to Navani (and, to a lesser extent to Kaladin as well). She had honor, in her own wierd way, but was also totally ruthless. I loved how she never got mad either, just intrigued, not even when she was killed. In that way, she reminds me a little of Thrawn from Star Wars. 

I think her death had to happen though. Brandon can't have every symphatetic villain sideswitch (Szeth, Venli and arguably Leshwi).

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Honestly the Raboniel-Navani relation was probably my favorite one in the book. I just love seeing a complex character; people aren’t 100% good or bad, and I thought that Brandon did an excellent job at representing that.

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I pretty much fell in love with Raboniel's character from the moment she walked onto the screen in the Fused council in Kholinar. She just seemed like such a potentially awesome villain-- I didn't suspect she'd become a somewhat sympathetic villain as well! That scene where she killed her daughter-- absolutely beautifully brutal. As far as I'm concerned, Raboniel was the MVP of RoW.

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4 hours ago, Nymeros said:

She's dead though. Feels like a waste.

Quote

“See, that’s the wrong way of looking at it.” Tien held him tighter. “Since we all go to the same place in the end, the moments we spent with each other are the only things that do matter. The times we helped each other.”

Sanderson, Brandon. Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive) . Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

How much of Raboniel lives on in Navani?

I understand the sentiment - Raboniel can no longer grow, as herself - but she Obi-wan'd Navani perfectly. Even as her enemy. And the last narrative job of the mentor is to let their apprentice go do their thing.

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1 hour ago, Seloun said:

How much of Raboniel lives on in Navani?

I understand the sentiment - Raboniel can no longer grow, as herself - but she Obi-wan'd Navani perfectly. Even as her enemy. And the last narrative job of the mentor is to let their apprentice go do their thing.

Its not even that; I just think we need more interesting antagonists. We only had 3 noteworthy Fused and now 2 are dead and 1 has betrayed Odium. Now we're going to be starting from scratch again with El

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1 minute ago, Nymeros said:

Its not even that; I just think we need more interesting antagonists. We only had 3 noteworthy Fused and now 2 are dead and 1 has betrayed Odium. Now we're going to be starting from scratch again with El

By the end of her arc, I don't think Raboniel would have been an antagonist in any practical terms. She initially believes that Stormlight and Voidlight are opposites, and any mixture will result in elimination (symbolic of how humanity and the singers can't coexist). Navani shows her this is not true - creation of Warlight is a metaphor for the similar 'mixing' between the humans and singers during their defense of the Radiants. It really wouldn't have made sense for her to continue as an enemy - she would likely be even more predisposed than Leshwi to look for another way.

From a metaplot perspective, Raboniel probably literally knew too much. The way she offhand infodumps on Navani was pretty awesome, but at the same time makes things too easy. Same reason why the Heralds are surprisingly useless for Jasnah. In a way - Raboniel was too awesome to live.

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Raboniel and her daughter were the most emotionally impactful part of RoW for me. Those scenes actually made me pause. Everything else I just rushed through.

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She's amazing

 

MVP of this book along with Navani and the Subling 

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5 hours ago, Seloun said:

By the end of her arc, I don't think Raboniel would have been an antagonist in any practical terms. She initially believes that Stormlight and Voidlight are opposites, and any mixture will result in elimination (symbolic of how humanity and the singers can't coexist). Navani shows her this is not true - creation of Warlight is a metaphor for the similar 'mixing' between the humans and singers during their defense of the Radiants. It really wouldn't have made sense for her to continue as an enemy - she would likely be even more predisposed than Leshwi to look for another way.

From a metaplot perspective, Raboniel probably literally knew too much. The way she offhand infodumps on Navani was pretty awesome, but at the same time makes things too easy. Same reason why the Heralds are surprisingly useless for Jasnah. In a way - Raboniel was too awesome to live.

Nah Raboniel was intent on winning the war not negotiating peace.

She didn't "know too much." She wouldnt have even been at Urithiru anymore so who would she be infodumping to?

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I feel like Raboniel was Sanderson's best antagonist, not because of her strength or intelligence, but because of how heart-wrenchingly human she was. She wasn't pure evil, nor was she pure good. She was a scientist and a leader, one of the most powerful and influential of the Fused. Yet she was also a mother, and she understood the pain of loss. When she realizes that it was Elhokar's Shardblade that was being used to demonstrate the Sibling's barrier to Navani, there’s a palpable feeling of regret, because she knows what it’s like to lose a child and be reminded of it. After she mercy-kills her daughter, Raboniel is said to have cradled the body in her arms, weeping. 

 She was ruthless and without mercy when it came to fighting her enemies, but she also saw the value of collaboration. Unlike the rest of Odium’s forces, Raboniel is driven by a desire to find answers and peace, rather than victory and hatred. She comes to believe that, even though she would have preferred Odium to win the war, she'd be happy as long as the war ended. It helps us to understand why it was that she released her disease even though it would hurt the singers: she didn't care about winning, she just wanted to end the war. It is telling that she reacted to the anti-Voidlight explosion not with rage, but with joy. She saw a way to give her daughter peace, a release from the insanity borne from constant rebirth, a release that Raboniel had been unable to give. 

And finally, at her own death and saving of Navani, we see courage. The courage to put down one's own goals so that another may succeed. The courage to sacrifice, and the courage to show mercy to the one that betrayed her. Raboniel, in her final moments, chose to be kind instead of cruel. And that, I believe, is what makes her such a compelling antagonist.

 

Edited by SirWolfe
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20 hours ago, Nymeros said:

Nah Raboniel was intent on winning the war not negotiating peace.

She didn't "know too much." She wouldnt have even been at Urithiru anymore so who would she be infodumping to?

If she hadn't died, Raboniel likely would have followed Leshwi's arc (i.e. joining the Listeners). Raboniel's primary focus isn't in winning the war (though that's her preference) but in ending it. She specifically mentions (or agrees) that she'd rather have the humans win if it meant the war would end than continue on with the war:

Quote

“Live … as long as I … and you can appreciate … anything … that still surprises you.… Go, Navani. Run … The war must … end.”

...

“Stormfather,” she whispered. “That’s what it was all about.” Raboniel wanted to end the war, one way or another. The notebook Navani held was a copy, and Navani realized that the original notebook would be in Kholinar, delivered to the leaders of the singer military—likely along with the vacuum chamber and the metal plates.

Navani walked over to Raboniel. “You wanted a way to end it,” she said. “You don’t care who wins.”

“I care,” Raboniel whispered. “I want … the singers to win. But your side … winning … is better than … than…”

“Than the war continuing forever,” Navani said.

Sanderson, Brandon. Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive) . Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

The reason why she's focused on winning if possible is because of a false dichotomy - her assumption was that humans and singers could not coexist. This is the what the assumption that Stormlight and Voidlight being opposites and annihilating each other is supposed to represent. But Navani, and the actions of Leshwi, Venli and Rlain prove her incorrect in both accounts. The main reason why Raboniel wasn't interested in a negotiated peace was because she thought it was impossible, not because she wanted to win the war.

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1 hour ago, Seloun said:

If she hadn't died, Raboniel likely would have followed Leshwi's arc (i.e. joining the Listeners). Raboniel's primary focus isn't in winning the war (though that's her preference) but in ending it. She specifically mentions (or agrees) that she'd rather have the humans win if it meant the war would end than continue on with the war:

The reason why she's focused on winning if possible is because of a false dichotomy - her assumption was that humans and singers could not coexist. This is the what the assumption that Stormlight and Voidlight being opposites and annihilating each other is supposed to represent. But Navani, and the actions of Leshwi, Venli and Rlain prove her incorrect in both accounts. The main reason why Raboniel wasn't interested in a negotiated peace was because she thought it was impossible, not because she wanted to win the war.

Raboniel has existed for thousands of years and indicates she has considered other paths and has determined that there must be a victor, she rejects Navani's offer of negotiating peace, and with her dying words she says that she wants the singers to win.....but you're saying she would have betrayed the singers?

Raboniel says that she will perpetuate brutalities in order to ensure a better for future for her people, calls Leshwi is softhearted, and returned from Braize intent on ending the war.....but you're saying that she would have joined Leshwi in chilling on the sidelines?

 

...come on now. Your argument doesn't even make sense. When Raboniel learns that stormlight and voidlight are not opposites and can mix.....she continues doing exactly as she already had in her efforts to grant the singers victory. 

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But in the end she fights against Moash to save Navani. If she truly was purely on the side of singers, she would have let her die instead. I don’t think she would have ever joined Leshwi or anything, but she saw something in Navani and their work together that made her realize it was better for the knowledge of this new weapon to be in the hands of both singers and men, perhaps in hopes for a future where both could coexist.

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I don't think co-existence is why she helped Navani to survive. She wants the war to end and can't be sure that it will if she only gives the information to her side. If both sides have these massive advances, then one will probably use them to their fullest and defeat the other side completely, so even if her side botches it then still a chance it ends. I'm not sure she'd be upset if a truce happens, but I don't think even in the end she believed it could happen. Had she survived, I still think she would have stuck with the Fused and come up with more terrifying ways to use anti-stormlight.

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On 11/24/2020 at 4:49 AM, Nymeros said:

Its not even that; I just think we need more interesting antagonists. We only had 3 noteworthy Fused and now 2 are dead and 1 has betrayed Odium. Now we're going to be starting from scratch again with El

This.

It's starting to feel like having a rotating cast of villains, new one per episode! Older ones get killed off (Sadeas, Amaram; Raboniel, Lezian) or don't appear again (Hariel, Hnanan, other OB Fused). It's especially egregious with the Fused, we've basically only had one recurring character with Leshwi. Though it's only been two books, hopefully we'll see the OB Fused again in the next book and it won't just be El taking centre stage (and then getting killed off)

 

P.S. Yeah, Raboniel's pretty awesome

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As of now, Raboniel is my favorite Sanderson antagonist. She's just an amazingly well-done character! Though it might be possible that Taravangian - if book 5 sees all the right opportunities - might surpass her eventually ... but not yet.

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