coolsnow7

Prediction: Odium’s champion will be Gavinor

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That thread title makes this sound more confident than I actually am, so sorry for the clickbait. My prediction is based on the following:

1) the fact that we’re dealing with T and not Rayse anymore. Rayse would try to win the “conventional” way, because winning the sneaky underhanded way wouldn’t “prove a point” as Wit said. But T is not so limited; he would see that the best way to beat Dalinar isn’t to find a better fighter than Dalinar, but to use Dalinar against himself. And what better way to do that than to force Dalinar to either lose, or kill the person in the world he feels the most responsible for? And a child no less. This much I am confident about: T is not going to use a conventional champion; he’s going to try to turn Dalinar against himself. 
 

2) the deathrattles

Quote
 
I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.

And 

Quote

So the night will reign, for the choice of honor is life...

We still don’t know what these refer to, in contrast with a whole bunch of other deathrattles. I think that the first one has to refer to some pivotal/climactic moment of this arc given the way it’s written. And the second one hints what I strongly suspect for narrative reasons: TOdium wins, Dalinar loses, and we set the stage of books 6-10 investigating the nature of oaths and how to safely free Dalinar from the consequences here. 

What ties them together in my opinion is this choice: to kill the “suckling child” or to choose life. “The night will reign” in my reading refers to reigning across the Cosmere, rather than on Roshar specifically.

3) well I kind of specified this already: narratively it just makes sense. We know that books 6-10 focus on the Heralds, and in my reading Dalinar becomes a Cognitive Shadow just like them. The Heralds want to get out of their oathbound existence, as would Dalinar. And it just fits well for us to have a temporary resolution at the end of books 1-5 without a full resolution that would make books 6-10 disconnected. 
 

Reasons for skepticism:

a) I mean, I hope I’m wrong. It would be extremely depressing for Dalinar to be consigned to this fate, even for just 10 years. And to wait something on the order of that long in real life until Brandon even begins showing us how he’ll be rescued in books 6-10 is gonna be brutal.

B) trying to use the deathrattles to support a prediction is extremely dicey, especially when there’s a whole book 5 worth of material that we still don’t know about.

c) How would Gavinor be a “willing” champion? Dalinar in RoW ch. 112:

Quote

“We each send a willing champion, allowed to meet at the top of Urithiru, otherwise unharmed by either side’s forces.

To answer this specific point, Gavinor seems like a pretty traumatized kid. It’s plausible to me that if offered the “gift of silence”, like Moash got, that he would take it.

Is this a stretch? Very much so. But that’s better than the prediction that, say, Adolin would be willing to be TOdium’s champion, which is just ridiculous.

Anyway I’m putting this out there both to be able to claim credit on the off chance that I’m right, and to pressure-test the prediction, so fire away! 

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They talked about this theory quite a lot on shardcast. 
 

Whatever that death rattle is about it definitely doesn’t bode well.

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I have been thinking about this idea more and more recently. I think there is definitely merit to but I am always hesitant about it. For me a big hang up was how little Gav would agree to be the champion. I don’t buy that he would just do it for the “gift of silence” or because he agreed with  Odiums ideals. HOWEVER if Odium (now Taravangian) were to offer Moash up to Gavinor somehow I could see the young boy jumping to that agreement to avenge his fathers death.
 

All that being said, I could see Brandon going several other ways with this too, and this theory still has a few other hang ups for me. Overall, it’s a very plausible direction. 

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I see a couple of problems with this line of reasoning. 

First, Gavinor is too old to be described as a suckling babe

Second, if the death rattles are from some form of foresight they should be affected by the same blindness around Renarin that Rayse had, so anything that relies on Todium rather than Rodium isn't going to be likely

I also suspect there are more than a few red herrings among the rattles we've seen. There are a couple that could easily be normal last words, like the one that was someone seeing cryptics around their death bed. Some others could be futures that were likely but have been averted

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I’ve been thinking this was more and more likely as I’ve read the books but then I thought of a potentially huge issue with doing this with Gavinor or Oroden. 
 

cant they just forfeit? 

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I have 2 problems with this:

  1. Everything so far has implied that the champion has to be willing.
  2. Odium's champion needs to be dangerous and capable of actually beating Dalinar
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For Odium to win, Gavinor would have to 1) be able to accept this, and I don't know that he can or would, given his age; and 2) be able to kill Dalinar, which even if Dalinar fell down and let him, I don't know that he could.

It strikes me that the whole Intent thing applies not only to shards choosing their champions, but to champions choosing to say yes.  Can a kid his age really do that?  I don't know.  This whole line of thought is probably one of the more disturbing ones frequenting the Shard currently, to me anyway.  I have a lot more thoughts on this particular issue, but they are mostly covered by Jofwu in the post above mine.

I currently think a far more likely outcome is that Dalinar wins the challenge against whomever, but Toadivangian's ideas about how to get around the agreement result in him finding a way out of the thousand years of peace; or that the Fused gains in the 10 days leading up to the challenge lead Dalinar to make a different deal. Another possibility that I have no evidence for aside from Ishar's brief moment of lucidity is that if Ishar or Dalinar are able to reset the Oathpact, it will somehow capture the void-specific or respawn effects of the Everstorm and rob it of its ability to put Fused back on Roshar for the duration of someone/several someones' stay on Braize.

What I think would be far more interesting is that the outcome of this somehow results in the Fused being at peace, Odium free to escape into the Cosmere because he's 'totally working with Cultivation now and is not at all evil, no' which results in him returning to Roshar a few years down the road to take a different and much firmer shot at getting rid of Cultivation.

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As far as champions, this is my theory that I just posted in the Rhythm of War reactions thread:

  • My theory is that Taravangian get's Nale to be his champion.  We see how good Ishar was as a fighter, and the Stormfather calls him average for a herald.  I would imagine that Nale would be one of the top herald fighters. Given that Nale is crazy and on Odiums side, seems like he would be by far the best fighter for his team.  No other non Herald would be able to beat him.

 

  • Which leads to my other probably wrong theory:  Taln as Dalinar's champion.  Who was the best fighter?  Taln.  Who can't go the whole 10 book series as being crazy? Taln.  If this is a battle for the hearts of men, who has the biggest heart?  Taln.  Who is trying to restore his mind by going after Ishar? Dalinar.  Hopefully this happens soon (within 10 days!).  This would make me the most excited in book 5.  Big reason why this might not happen?  Dalinar has said he would be his own champion already and book 5 will be Dalinar intensive.  I can only hope this means it will focus on him and his powers as he prepares Taln to be his champion!
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2 hours ago, Jofwu said:

And Dalinar making such a decision is a terrible direction for his character, I think. Taravangian follows EXTREME Utilitarian logic, right? But Utilitarianism isn't a terrible ethical framework in and of itself. It's Taravangian's extremism and the specific decisions that he's willing to make which are controversial and troubling. Dalinar follows a more deontological ethical framework. (the idea that certain actions are inherently right and wrong--ends don't justify the means) "Journey before destination" is a wonderful philosophy, but taking deontological ethics to an EXTREME is really no less problematic than what Taravangian is doing.

As biologists put it, "the does makes the poison."

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On 12/8/2020 at 10:09 AM, Nuatoma said:

My theory is that Taravangian get's Nale to be his champion.  We see how good Ishar was as a fighter, and the Stormfather calls him average for a herald.  I would imagine that Nale would be one of the top herald fighters. Given that Nale is crazy and on Odiums side, seems like he would be by far the best fighter for his team.  No other non Herald would be able to beat him.

I don't think Nale will side with Odium, especially now. Nale's argument has been that the land belongs to the Singers, and that since the Singers are with Odium, he'll side with Odium. However, as of RoW, we know there's a "third party," so to speak. If/when Nale finds out about them, then he has no reason to side with Odium anymore. He can side with Singers who want their independence and freedom, and not go against Team Dalinar. 

 

Anyways, I'm on the Gavinor is Odium's Champion for a few reasons. First is that it reminds me of a some really cool character twists in movies and shows. I sadly can't think of too many, but two come to mind. 

MASSIVE, MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING AND ELEMENTARY

The key points are that the hero thinks the villain is one person, when it turns out to be someone completely different, who they can't take out without collateral damage to either their family or their soul. That is what Gavinor is to Dalinar. 

In terms of the Death Rattle, I too used to believe that the "suckling babe" was too old to be Gavinor. But Death Rattles aren't always literal, are they? They capture the spirit of the event, not the actual event itself. 

 

First, let's try to figure out how and why it could work:

The first thing of note is that Book 5 was originally going to be Dalinar's book, and Book 3 was going to be Szeth's book. In a way, this makes sense. We couple the birth of Szeth as we knew him with the rebirth of Szeth now, and it would allow him to be more present in the story without actually being physically present. (I think he only starts to appear in Part 4 of Oathbringer.)

Something happened that made Sanderson switch the two however, and after reading OB I think we're all grateful that he did. But what would have happened had Brandon kept the flashbacks as they were in the original plan? What moments would have been thematically and narratively resonant?

I think one would have been Dalinar first taking Oathbringer. You see, when Dalinar first went to the Rift and fought the lord of Rathalas, he refused to kill the lord's son Tanalan because Tanalan was just a child at that point. Unfortunately, that child grew up to be a hateful, vengeful man.

What if that was supposed to be the narratively resonant moment in Book 5? A foreshadowing of what is to come?

At one of the main points in Oathbringer, Dalinar is faced with a choice to kill a child, and chooses not to. We believe he killed this child for a decent amount of time, and are relieved to find out he didn't. But what if that feeling was supposed to pair with the dread we'd later feel when Dalinar didn't kill a child that we knew he should probably kill? What if Dalinar was once again faced with the same choice as before, but this time we wanted him to make the terrible decision?

The pairing that with the idea of seeing this man make the a choice that at one time leads to personal ruin and political glory, and then make that same exact choice later on for personal glory and political (and global) ruin? That's something I can see Sanderson doing.

 

So if this moment is thematically resonant for Dalinar, how can we shape Gavinor to fit that? Why would Gavinor join TOdium?

This one's an easy answer - revenge. Gavinor wants to train in order to kill Vyre. He explicitly states this, and both Dalinar and Navani note how weird this is. TOdium could easily promise Gavinor three things in order to help convince the child. 

1. I will let you have kill the man who killed your father. (Gavinor wants revenge, and it's a pretty Alethi thing to do. I can easily see TOdium giving up Vyre (especially in his weakened state) in order to have a willing Champion that his enemies won't kill.)

2. I will give you your kingdom back. (Gavinor is/is being raised to be a loyal Alethi and a king. I'm sure having an actual kingdom is high on his list. And yes, Alethkar will go back to Dalinar if he wins, but TOdium doesn't need to tell Gavinor that.)

3. You won't have to hurt anyone. (Technically true, as TOdium probably expects Dalinar to either give up rather than hurt Gav, or kill himself in some sort of misguided sacrifice.) 

 

How I imagine this would play out: 

Dalinar spends the next ten days learning about his powers as a Bondsmith, going over the type of person Odium might use in order to win the Contest. A Spren? Possibly? But Dalinar now knows it's possible to bring Spren into the Physical Realm and kill them that way. (Oh, and Anti-Voidlight). A Fused? Possibly, but would Odium leave such an important challenge to a lackey? No...it must be someone else...

On the tenth day, Dalinar rises and heads to the appointed spot. He looks and sees no enemies, only his soldiers...and soon Gavilar walks out, slightly confused about what is going on, but trying to put on a brave face. Dalinar wants to usher the boy back in, and then horror and understanding sinks in. And now, Dalinar, trapped to a battle to the death with a boy he sees so much of Gavilar, Elhokar, Adolin and Renarin in. He failed them all at some point or another, and now he has agreed to fight and kill Gavinor. That would almost certainly break the man. 

Now imagine the above paired with Dalinar's flashbacks. Him trying to fight Gavinor after seeing how he treated his own sons when they were young. Him trying to fight Gavinor after seeing what the accidental murder of Evi did to him. Him trying to fight Gavinor as he hears the screams of those he murdered before, coming back to him. 

 

So, how does Dalinar escape this? He's a Bondsmith, right? And we saw what Ishar could do, almost stealing Dalinar's bond to the Stormfather and his bond to Odium. Why not have Dalinar replicate that? Dalinar switches the bond between Odium and Gavinor to himself, and his bond as Honor's Champion to someone else (most likely Taln or Kaladin, if the latter is nearby), and has the latter kill him. And at that moment of death, Dalinar swears an Ideal and Ascends not (unlike Mr. T), becoming Honor and defeating Odium. 

 

Problems I've seen with this theory: 

"It ruins Dalinar's arc" - I personally don't see it this way. Dalinar's arc has always been about improving oneself. I don't see Dalinar not letting a child take fall into revenge undoes that. 

"Dalinar sacrificing himself is stupid" - While I do think that sometimes martyrdom can be vanity at time, I also think there's a time and a place for it. This would be one such time. 

"Dalinar fought so hard to NOT be Odium's Champion. Him ending up there ruins everything he did." - This is a difficult one for me to counter, as I have problems explaining myself well. I think that Nohadon's quote applies here more than anything else. 

Quote

If the journey itself is indeed the most important piece, rather than the destination itself, then I traveled not to avoid duty—but to seek it.

It becomes the responsibility of every man, upon realizing he lacks the truth, to seek it out.

Yes, I began my journey alone, and I ended it alone.

But that does not mean that I walked alone.

Dalinar ending his journey as Odium's Champion doesn't mean that it ruins any of the work he did as being Honor's Bondsmith, especially if his actions under Odium help Honor. His journey is more important than his destination. And yes, the destination is important (and the ending of stories often time shapes how we feel about the journey), but if Dalinar's journey ends in him being honorable and maybe even becoming Honor itself, then I think it's fine. 

Besides, things like intent matter. For example (and this may be a TERRIBLE example): murder is bad. Let's just cover that. Killing someone in a robbery is ABSOLUTELY, 100% WRONG. However, killing someone who came into your house with the intent to harm you as a form of self-defense is far less bad. They both may end with you in jail, but in one you defended your family from a danger. 

That's sort of how I could see this going with Dalinar. Yes, he may die either way, but in one circumstance, he defended his family and saved the world. 

 

Anyways, what would all of this mean for Roshar going forward? I have some ideas, but nothing set in stone.

What I think I'd like to see the most of would be TOdium fighting his intent. After he loses, TOdium realizes that due to the change of his Champion, he actually has some wiggle room. And in that moment, he decides to strike a fatal blow to Roshar, weakening his prison and the world as a whole. However, a moment later, Mr. T realizes how dangerous this power is and decides he needs to would himself even further. To do so, he attacks the one place the power that he now holds promised not to attack - Kharbranth. In doing so, the Shard of Odium is weakened enough to be taken out by either Honor, Cultivation, or Nightblood. (Or some unholy combination of the three.) However, TOdium's actions have destabilized the planet, and now they must find a way to get everyone living in both the physical realm and the cognitive realm out of the system. Or something. 

 

"That makes the Champion's Battle so anti-climactic" - I mean, everyone in-universe acknowledges that it won't just be about fighting the enemy. There's going to be more to the contest than that. Besides, this way is far more thematically resonant with Dalinar's history (as a person and with the two Shards).  

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On 12/8/2020 at 9:35 AM, Jofwu said:
  1. And Dalinar making such a decision is a terrible direction for his character, I think. Taravangian follows EXTREME Utilitarian logic, right? But Utilitarianism isn't a terrible ethical framework in and of itself. It's Taravangian's extremism and the specific decisions that he's willing to make which are controversial and troubling. Dalinar follows a more deontological ethical framework. (the idea that certain actions are inherently right and wrong--ends don't justify the means) "Journey before destination" is a wonderful philosophy, but taking deontological ethics to an EXTREME is really no less problematic than what Taravangian is doing. Dalinar is our protagonist. (The one Brandon named his own son after.) I really don't want to see the culmination of Dalinar's character arc be about him deciding that his arbitrarily selected moral framework matters more than the survival of many people that he loves. Of course, I can't see Brandon doing this because he's NOT this extreme. Dalinar doesn't like killing, but he's the leader in the Coalition's war effort. He absolutely recognizes that it's needed sometimes. I just can't believe that ANYBODY would freeze Dalinar up so much that he needs to make such an exception...

I don’t have time to respond in depth, but this part is too important to pass up: you are 100% right that the “Taravangian’s a utilitarian” thing is beyond ridiculous. The problem with what Taravangian did isn’t that his actions were immoral - it’s that he was simply wrong. In order to be a good utilitarian, first and foremost you need to have correct beliefs about reality that your ethical commitments then inform. To go a step further, if you’re going to do truly atrocious stuff in the service of some much higher goal, you’d better be absolutely certain that that atrocious stuff is necessary. Well, Taravangian was certain - and he was wrong. That’s the problem - not “utilitarianism taken too far”! 

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8 hours ago, coolsnow7 said:

Well, Taravangian was certain - and he was wrong. That’s the problem - not “utilitarianism taken too far”! 

I don't think I agree, or else don't quite follow your point. What makes you think his actions weren't necessary? Why do you think that he was wrong?

Utilitarians can't predict the future. If I've got one person with enough food for 10 and nine people who are starving, the Utilitarian thing to do is distribute the food. If the person with food refuses to give it away and the other nine are starving to death, the Utilitarian thing to do is kill them and take their food so that it can be distributed. Now let's so I do this, but it turns out the food wasn't cooked well, and everybody gets sick and dies. That doesn't mean I'm a bad Utilitarian because I couldn't see the future to know my decision had a flaw in it. It just means I made a mistake.

If there was a way to save the world without Taravangian doing the things he did, I don't think he loses Utilitarian cred just because he didn't foresee those possibilities. Or because he didn't think those possibilities were worth the risk they come with.

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A possible problem with the theory... does the champion get to choose whether or not he is the chmapion? Can they be forced?

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13 minutes ago, Aspiring Writer said:

A possible problem with the theory... does the champion get to choose whether or not he is the chmapion? Can they be forced?

I don't have a direct quote on hand but it must be a willing champion. So they can likely be tricked or coerced in some way. Like with some theories in the thread above. But the champion definitely needs to knowingly decide to be either side's champion

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Just now, GudThymes said:

I don't have a direct quote on hand but it must be a willing champion. So they can likely be tricked or coerced in some way. Like with some theories in the thread above. But the champion definitely needs to knowingly decide to be either side's champion

Can a champion back down in the middle of a fight? 

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3 minutes ago, Aspiring Writer said:

Can a champion back down in the middle of a fight? 

I don't think there was any reference to that in the draft we saw Wit and Jasnah create. However, I would assume that would be like forfeiting and would be considered as losing the contest by all parties. Are you thinking that if Gavinor is big tOdium's champion then Dalinar would just back down?

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Just now, GudThymes said:

I don't think there was any reference to that in the draft we saw Wit and Jasnah create. However, I would assume that would be like forfeiting and would be considered as losing the contest by all parties. Are you thinking that if Gavinor is big tOdium's champion then Dalinar would just back down?

Actually, I thought gavinor would back down. I doubt anything will actually make the boy try and kill his grandfather. He'd probably break down crying if he even managed to stab him once.

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1 minute ago, Aspiring Writer said:

He'd probably break down crying if he even managed to stab him once.

Am I being the obtuse one or are we all taking this too literally?

I haven't seen much theorizing about this contest as anything other than a duel. It was explicitly called a "contest of champions" in world, right?

Could that be how big tOdium wiggles out? Uses a different kind of contest against Dalinar? I don't know where I'm going with it per se but theoretically it could be like 'first to kill Cultivation'? Or something way out of left field?

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1 minute ago, GudThymes said:

Am I being the obtuse one or are we all taking this too literally?

I haven't seen much theorizing about this contest as anything other than a duel. It was explicitly called a "contest of champions" in world, right?

Could that be how big tOdium wiggles out? Uses a different kind of contest against Dalinar? I don't know where I'm going with it per se but theoretically it could be like 'first to kill Cultivation'? Or something way out of left field?

Um, no, they mentioned something like fight to the death. 

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Can't Dalinar just take the connection to Odium's champion has during the contest and kill himself?  This is something I can see him doing if it is Gavinor.

Edited by OdiYum
typo
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22 hours ago, OdiYum said:

Can't Dalinar just take the connection to Odium's champion has during the contest and kill himself?  This is something I can see him doing if it is Gavinor.

Now that's a crazy idea that I like. :D

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23 hours ago, OdiYum said:

Can't Dalinar just take the connection to Odium's champion has during the contest and kill himself?  This is something I can see him doing if it is Gavinor.

Hold Up!

That, is ...

That would work, but he'd have to switch being his champion with his opponent, but he could do it.

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11 minutes ago, Ookla The Frustrated said:

Hold Up!

That, is ...

That would work, but he'd have to switch being his champion with his opponent, but he could do it.

Yep, I think so!

 

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