HSuperLee

What's up with all the Jasnah love?

54 posts in this topic

On 12/6/2020 at 9:04 AM, Greywatch said:

I don't think there's a single thing as real uniqueness in stories; or if they do, the uniqueness is not the draw. I'm drawn to characters because there is something familiar in them. Jasnah has a lot of things about her that are familiar to me. It resonates with me to see a woman have to be strong in public. It resonates with me to see a woman using Jasnah's arguments and way of thinking, because she thinks a lot of the way I do. She feels a lot of the way I do. I appreciate the desire to reverse-engineer seeing what feels good about Jasnah, but I genuinely feel like I've never had someone quite like Jasnah before in that in it's not really the character archetype that's unique, but it's how she's presented. I see myself in her in a way that other characters of the same archetype can't attain.

Interestingly enough it's the fact that I see so much of myself reflected in Jasnah that I'm not as interested in her as other characters. In this way I relate to @HSuperLee saying her character feels sort of 'obvious', but that is mostly because she doesn't challenge my worldview in the same way other characters that I feel less ethically/intellectually aligned with do. I have enormous respect for her, and I LOVE her reforms to Alethi culture, but I don't find her that compelling to read at this stage. I think we are still in the stages of getting to know her though and once Brandon allows us too see more from her POV she will become truly fascinating. My favourite moments from her so far have been the moments when we see the cracks beginning to show in her, and also the moments of her extreme pragmatism that for me come across with a sense of unease. I'm interested in truly seeing her come face to face with the ramifications of her highly utilitarian ethics. We saw a little bit of that with Renarin, but I also want to see situations where she makes the 'wrong' choice and has to deal with the costs of it. I think a situation like that would truly challenge her and either force her to change herself or stand by herself. Either option is hugely compelling to me, and really comes down to what sort of message Brandon wants to convey about her worldview.

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On 5.12.2020 at 5:55 AM, HSuperLee said:

Alright, I figure this is probably the post that will make me hated on this forum and shunned for life, but this has been an issue for me for a while so I'd like to see if it can be resolved. I don't get why a vast majority of the commentary and opinions I see on Jasnah are so positive. I honestly can't remember a time I've seen someone not like Jasnah. But to be honest, that's how I feel about her, especially after her few chapters in Rhythm of War. This last book pushed me from generally disliking her to being actively annoyed during her chapters. So, I guess I'd like to know why everyone seems to be such big fans of her. I don't want to dislike her, especially since she'll apparently be the focus of one of the books in the back half of the series, and I'd prefer not to be super annoyed with a lot of that book. I considered using this thread to explain in detail why I don't like her, but I'm worried that has too much of a possibility of me turning this thread into a rant, which I'd like to avoid. In general, I just find her unrealistically perfect and pretty much a Mary Sue as well as generally lacking in uniqueness and any really interesting qualities. So what is it y'all find interesting about her? What is it I am missing that really pulls her character into to the heights everyone else sees? I genuinely want to know.

I really get where you are coming from. I feel similarly about Dalinar.

But I really like Jasnah. In WoK she was my favorite character.
I think she is not perfekt at all, and a very flawed character. And I think her flaws are exactly what make you dislike her.

She is obsessed with beeing in control and prepared. So much that she can't even connect well with her own mother.
In this book we see her overcompensating a lot because she is used to being the most capable person in the room. Now that she has to go into unknown terretory she wants to be on top right away.

I think the way you feel about Jasnah is the way a lot of people in book feel about her. Shallans thoughts about her express that well.

Just like Tintwhyl she is a Charakter I love to read about even though I would propably not get along with someone like her in real life. She is rational, introspektive but in a frustratingly disconnected way.

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You are not alone. I am not very fond of Jasnah, which I have written about quite a lot on here, on various occasions. I always feel that she has the air of someone who thinks she knows better than others. I am aware that that isn't how most people read her, but I can't help not too. Furthermore, I feel like she is too good at too much, which makes her less interesting. No matter the problem, Jasnah can probably solve it. She can do politics, magic, combat, science, history, governing, philosophy, scheming, and so on and so forth. 

But from a pure writing-standpoint, she is great. She is an extremely well-defined and portrayed character. Her atheism, her logic, her personality in general, are all very well done by Brandon. So I subjectively dislike her, but objectively recognize that she is a great character: she is just not written for me. 

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While Jasnah is an amazingly competent and intelligent character, I felt that a certain part of her calculating morality is problematized, like the scene with Hoid and her and that Highprince. Jasnah is badass; she does plan and act melticuously; she is certainly a good ruler; but she is also ruthless. So I, too, think she is ok / interesting enough as a character but I am not head over heels for her. I also see Greywatches' point though: Jasnah is struggling with keeping up. She is so sharp, so melticulous, so cunning and competent, ecause she feels she has to to have a chance at keeping up with what is happening, which makes her ore human, and more relatatable. About Jasnah's morals and planning, I am constantly waiting to see whether she will keep being a constant competent side character who does her job and her best to save the world, or whether she will trip over her own intelligence at some point. I understand your position, OP; I can't relate to the Jasnah worship I see sometimes either.

 

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On 12/4/2020 at 11:30 PM, Greywatch said:

If you don't like Jasnah, you don't like Jasnah. On principle, I hate the term "Mary Sue" and I think it's illegitimate, but this thread isn't really the place.

I agree that Jasnah is by no means a Mary Sue, and I don't think you know what the definition means (Not you Greywatch, though I do question why you hate the term. I'd very much like to have a conversation with you about that). First, let's list down her strengths and see if they are justified.

1. Jasnah is a scholar with a particular fascination with History, meaning she is very well studied and has even been proclaimed as one of the best, which would fit as she would have access to the best education she would want and very much explains her high intelligence.

2. Her competence as a politician and military leader are explained with the fact that she is a princess, who we see takes plenty of measures to ensure her families safety, and in this book, it's explained that she is very well red o tactics, and considering how discerning and calculating she can be, it isn't much a surprise she has the capability of thinking on more tactical terms, and we clearly see that she is by no means the best, Daliner and the Mink being clearly superior with their years upon years of experience, and then there's the fact she is the princess of the Alethi, who are a very warmongering people who take even children to battle.

3. Her skills as a Radiant, which... she has had her spren the longest of all of them except for maybe Shallan. It is not a surprise she reached her fourth ideal by now, considering Kal just reached his. She has had more time to practice those abilities than any of the current Radients, so it makes sense she is ahead of them. This is probably the easiest to explain.

So, she has no strengths or skills that are not unreasonable considering her background, so good qualities fed to her is not an argument for the Mary Sue title. Now, let's see her flaws.

1. She is not a fighter. Yes, she uses her Soulcasting in battle with massive amounts of skill, as she has had the practice to do so. But despite this, we have seen her lose. On the ship, she nearly died and needed to go to Shadsmar to survive. In this book, she is bested by a Fused. Yes, she overcomes this with her Soulcasting, but it's evident that without that, she is not a very competent fighter, which is remarked in her duel with Ru-i forget his name. She is no adolin and can't rely on her sword prowess and stands out with her ability to soul cast in fights.

2. She had trouble expressing emotion. She is often cold to people, and many see her as ruthless and bloodthirsty. We have seen her softer side, but even there she has trouble expressing herself, clearly shown by the awkward hug in this book, and the fact she and Hoid have some tension with the fact she doesn't care to get physical. While she doesn't actually have the emotional range of a brick, that is how she shows herself to people around her and has trouble letting her guard down with even her family.

3. She has some emotional trauma/baggage she needs to deal with. There have been hints that something happened to her when she was younger, something really traumatic that might have made her like this, and we see signs of that like in the duel. The characters don't like what she didn't, the narrative doesn't like what she did, and it's an example of the cold ruthless nature mentioned before, where she could have done what she wanted in a better way but deiced to go this route for reasons we still don't fully comprehend. 

4. She fails a lot. She didn't find out what the parshendi were until it was too late, she wasn't the one to find Urithiu because she almost died, there are smaller moments of her admitting to her flaws, like when she apologized to Shallan for earlier disregarding her art abilities, seeing the error of her assumptions. And then there's the fact that Jasnah doesn't have much time in these books. In the first book, she was a mentor figure and we saw her through Shallans eyes, which are somewhat biased and put Jasnah on a pedestal, She was basically gone from the second book only to return at the end and be told that everything she had been working on had either ruined or solved by someone else, and the third book is probably the strongest we've seen her to this point, and in RoW we see her overcompensate in an attempt to prove herself and the aforementioned struggle with expressing emotion to anyone. 

Jasnah is by no means perfect, though we haven't dived deep yet into the flaws as she has been pushed aside for other characters and well probably be getting more development in her book, but they are there, they are visible, and they do affect the story as if she won every struggle she had, there Parshendi wouldn't have opened the Everstorm and there would be no story. Traits of a Mary Sue consists of two things (They are by no means the only two, but they're the big ones), One is that they are flawless and do not struggle, the plot provides them with skills unearned and victories for every struggle. All of Jasah's skills can be clearly explained through her background, status, goals, interests, and determination, they are by no means impossible or even unlikely, and we have seen her struggles in what little we have seen of her, as well as her shortcomings in certain areas where it makes sense she would not have much experience with. And the second trait is the lacking of any weaknesses, which focus on more personal issues and as of yet have not surfaced beyond a certain point, which makes sense for a character who is very reserved. We have seen glimpses of what we may see in the future, and that is all we need for now until we get to her focus book, where we will finally get answers and explanations to a lot of this.

So, @HSuperLee, while whether or not you like the character is completely your choice and I do understand why you seem to not like her, as what you find enjoyable in a character is very dependent on the person personality, how they enjoy content, and they view the world (And more), and is incredibly subjective, as is clear from the 'like' aspect, you are dead wrong in her being a Mary Sue, as there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. As for your other claims, I believe you said she is not unique and bland because she's a Mary Sue, because Mary Sues are often bland and unoriginal, so I may have countered those already, but if not and your consider those separate claims then... I got nothing for you. Those are a bit too broad for me to counter, and honestly, I don't care if she isn't very unique. You can have non-unigue characters that are still very well written, which honestly what I mostly care about, and blandness is, again, a bit too subjective for me to argue against, as people can say any character is bland to them, and it honestly depends on the characters they have seen and are used to. So, yeah, if that's what you think, okay.

Anyways, I hope that shed some light on that issue and gave you some insight into the character so you may look at her with a new perspective.

Once again, if dislike the character, that is fine, I'm not going to 'shun' you. I honestly do understand why people may not like Jasnah (Though I do disagree a bit with your reasoning for why you dislike her). I'm not the kind of person to be mad at you not liking or liking a certain character, it's only with claims that can be argued against I make passionate responses. Hope you have a less depressing winter than I.

 

 

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Sorry I haven't responded for a few days, they've been rather busy/exhausting for me. But I've read all your messages and tried to genuinely consider what y'all have said. First off, I just want to thank y'all for actually taking the time to notice my thread and help try to illuminate me on Jasnah. But that said, I do have to regretfully inform y'all that while I went into this genuinely hoping to come out liking Jasnah, I think this thread has done the opposite. Seeing why you all like Jasnah has really helped me come to understand why I don't, and unfortunately that means its focused my dislike of her. But I most certainly can now define it better.

While i can't address every comment that was made, I did see the whole uniqueness thing popped up a few times, and I will admit, I don't believe anything is really unique, so if you pressed me on it, I guess I'd give in to that. But I suppose a better way to say it now that I've had time to really search for the best description is just that I find Jasnah extremely cliche. And I guess what your comments really made me realize that's been bothering me about Jasnah is that she feels like a modern woman set in a time period that is anything but modern. What a lot of y'all liked about her seemed to be tied into how much she meets modern standards and possessed modern sensibilities, and I get that, but that's the exact thing that turned me off of Jasnah in the first place. I guess I could say she kills my immersion. As I said, she doesn't feel like a "real" character to me, but a fictitious one, and definitely part of that is just how poorly she matches her setting in my mind. And I guess I'm just disappointed at this moment because it seems like everything that can be so positive with Jasnah is done better in Navani, who has genuinely become one of my favorite characters. 

I guess in the end this thread stays open, and I'll keep trying to read every message sent in it, but I'm not sure what to do now. I genuinely was hoping that by seeing your passion I might pick up on some of it, but now I just feel deflated. I don't think I have anything left to contribute to this thread. So if y'all have specific questions for me to try and get me to see things or think in a different way about Jasnah, I'm open, but at this point I'm so afraid of starting an argument, because debate will always be a weakness of mine, and I don't want to do that on this thread where so many people have been so polite despite my atypical opinions.

In the end, this was an enlightening experience, I don't regret it, and I hope the fact I'm still where I started doesn't make you regret it. If nothing else, for me its nice to know I'm not the only person who's not super hype about Jasnah. Feels nice to not be completely alone. 

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Yeah, that's definitely unrelatable, even though I understand. Radicals who push society forward have always existed and at some point, modern ideas exist because someone had them and had the power to voice them and do something about it. This is just something subjective, it seems, as I always thought of Jasnah as a great example of a progressive thinker in a fantasy feudal society. Roshar has a great mix of technological and sociological progress that doesn't (and shouldn't!) match our history 1:1, so I really appreciate the ways that Jasnah thinks are supported by the world of Roshar, not undercut by it. Navani doesn't strike me as a progressive thinker in any way beyond the scientific; Jasnah thinks along sociological lines and always has. Somebody in the world has to!

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1 hour ago, HSuperLee said:

Sorry I haven't responded for a few days, they've been rather busy/exhausting for me. But I've read all your messages and tried to genuinely consider what y'all have said. First off, I just want to thank y'all for actually taking the time to notice my thread and help try to illuminate me on Jasnah. But that said, I do have to regretfully inform y'all that while I went into this genuinely hoping to come out liking Jasnah, I think this thread has done the opposite. Seeing why you all like Jasnah has really helped me come to understand why I don't, and unfortunately that means its focused my dislike of her. But I most certainly can now define it better.

While i can't address every comment that was made, I did see the whole uniqueness thing popped up a few times, and I will admit, I don't believe anything is really unique, so if you pressed me on it, I guess I'd give in to that. But I suppose a better way to say it now that I've had time to really search for the best description is just that I find Jasnah extremely cliche. And I guess what your comments really made me realize that's been bothering me about Jasnah is that she feels like a modern woman set in a time period that is anything but modern. What a lot of y'all liked about her seemed to be tied into how much she meets modern standards and possessed modern sensibilities, and I get that, but that's the exact thing that turned me off of Jasnah in the first place. I guess I could say she kills my immersion. As I said, she doesn't feel like a "real" character to me, but a fictitious one, and definitely part of that is just how poorly she matches her setting in my mind. And I guess I'm just disappointed at this moment because it seems like everything that can be so positive with Jasnah is done better in Navani, who has genuinely become one of my favorite characters. 

I guess in the end this thread stays open, and I'll keep trying to read every message sent in it, but I'm not sure what to do now. I genuinely was hoping that by seeing your passion I might pick up on some of it, but now I just feel deflated. I don't think I have anything left to contribute to this thread. So if y'all have specific questions for me to try and get me to see things or think in a different way about Jasnah, I'm open, but at this point I'm so afraid of starting an argument, because debate will always be a weakness of mine, and I don't want to do that on this thread where so many people have been so polite despite my atypical opinions.

In the end, this was an enlightening experience, I don't regret it, and I hope the fact I'm still where I started doesn't make you regret it. If nothing else, for me its nice to know I'm not the only person who's not super hype about Jasnah. Feels nice to not be completely alone. 

Hmm. I can see why she feels inserted into this world. I, myself, didn't really care about her meeting modern sensibilities, it's not why I think she's well written, so I can definitely see your point. Will say that her already having uncommon views like atheism can help explain why she is so against the tide. If you're receiving all this heat for this reason, why not keep going? She's got no respect to lose at that point, so I can see her developing very differing views from what society normally considers proper in her setting. So I see it going both ways.

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On 12/5/2020 at 0:30 AM, Greywatch said:

I felt a treatise instantly jump to mind, but it's one of those ones where the thousand-word pictures are there and in line, but the actual words to describe it all are difficult to find.I'm gonna chalk it up to "I'm tired" but here's my attempt.

I find it's rare to have a character like this in fantasy; where an intelligent, powerful woman isn't punished by the story for being competent. Jasnah feels amazing as a female reader, where I don't have to worry Brandon is going to decide she needs to be brought "low" for no reason, just because she "deserves" it or whatever. 

She is an extremely guarded person, because she is surrounded at all times by people who think she should be brought low - because she's a woman, an atheist, whatever - and she is constantly putting on her strongest face, because to let everyone know she's touchable is an opening to destroy her. A lot of people want to destroy her.

She's seen as cold, and that's an effect of her persona, she doesn't emote or present her emotions - but she does have them. There is a disconnect between what she feels and what other people see in her that is so frustrating, when you're in her shoes. Better to let people think you're an emotionless witch, it serves her appearance of strength, and in the meantime she... quietly wonders whether she's making a mistake. But she lets her walls down occasionally - with Shallan on the boat in WoR, with Renarin at the end of OB...

She's always planning, conniving, scheming - and while a lot of the people around her think she's invincible because of her skill in this, the reader knows she's afraid she's just barely ahead of the curve. This is textual, in fact, in the beginning of WoR, when she lets down her walls with Shallan. We know for a fact Jasnah is treading water, discovering secrets almost too late to be of real use - coming back to Urithiru when all of her expertise is no longer needed, the Heralds' open return making her years of hard work basically irrelevant. Jasnah is a woman desperate to use her abilities in a way that matters, and she's barely breaking even. All of her intelligence and ability honed to an edge, and she still doesn't get to swoop in and save the day deus ex machina style like she would be able to in another, weaker story.

 

If you don't like Jasnah, you don't like Jasnah. On principle, I hate the term "Mary Sue" and I think it's illegitimate, but this thread isn't really the place. She's competent, but competence in a female character is not enough to make her a cardboard cut-out. Part of her character is based on the fact that she's very secondary, even tertiary, right now - she just isn't going to get the role where we experience her pathos with her until later. In the meantime, what Jasnah really is a woman who intentionally obscures who she really is in public and sometimes even with her family. She requires a second look to see beyond the persona.

So what you’re saying is that she’s a young Polgara the Sorceress? Now I know why I liked her! They even have that same way of ordering object to change!

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She would get on so well with Jasnah...


And Kelsier reminds me of Silk. Huh.

‘Zakath definitely did a better job of emotionless than Moash though.

Now, if Brandon could just give us a Leldorin...

Edited by Kingsdaughter613
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7 minutes ago, Toaster Retribution said:

@Kingsdaughter613 That is so true! Jasnah and Polgara do feel quite similar in a lot of aspects. I dont know about Zakath and Moash though...

Zakath and Moash are not alike at all, except on very broad lines. But Zakath’s emotionless emptiness was better done, IMO. Moash kind of feels pitiful and desperate to me. Zakath was just... hollow. And it was so sad and so compelling.

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13 hours ago, HSuperLee said:

Sorry I haven't responded for a few days, they've been rather busy/exhausting for me. But I've read all your messages and tried to genuinely consider what y'all have said. First off, I just want to thank y'all for actually taking the time to notice my thread and help try to illuminate me on Jasnah. But that said, I do have to regretfully inform y'all that while I went into this genuinely hoping to come out liking Jasnah, I think this thread has done the opposite. Seeing why you all like Jasnah has really helped me come to understand why I don't, and unfortunately that means its focused my dislike of her. But I most certainly can now define it better.

While i can't address every comment that was made, I did see the whole uniqueness thing popped up a few times, and I will admit, I don't believe anything is really unique, so if you pressed me on it, I guess I'd give in to that. But I suppose a better way to say it now that I've had time to really search for the best description is just that I find Jasnah extremely cliche. And I guess what your comments really made me realize that's been bothering me about Jasnah is that she feels like a modern woman set in a time period that is anything but modern. What a lot of y'all liked about her seemed to be tied into how much she meets modern standards and possessed modern sensibilities, and I get that, but that's the exact thing that turned me off of Jasnah in the first place. I guess I could say she kills my immersion. As I said, she doesn't feel like a "real" character to me, but a fictitious one, and definitely part of that is just how poorly she matches her setting in my mind. And I guess I'm just disappointed at this moment because it seems like everything that can be so positive with Jasnah is done better in Navani, who has genuinely become one of my favorite characters. 

I guess in the end this thread stays open, and I'll keep trying to read every message sent in it, but I'm not sure what to do now. I genuinely was hoping that by seeing your passion I might pick up on some of it, but now I just feel deflated. I don't think I have anything left to contribute to this thread. So if y'all have specific questions for me to try and get me to see things or think in a different way about Jasnah, I'm open, but at this point I'm so afraid of starting an argument, because debate will always be a weakness of mine, and I don't want to do that on this thread where so many people have been so polite despite my atypical opinions.

In the end, this was an enlightening experience, I don't regret it, and I hope the fact I'm still where I started doesn't make you regret it. If nothing else, for me its nice to know I'm not the only person who's not super hype about Jasnah. Feels nice to not be completely alone. 

For what its worth, my intention was never to convince you to like or love Jasnah. The impression I got was that you just wanted to understand other people's perspective on her. So it sounds to me, that although you disagree, you understand a bit more regarding how fans see her. So personally I would see this thread as a success.

Regarding Jasnah going forward for you. I hope you can find a way to even as you dislike the character, to still enjoy the narrative. As per Brandon, Jasnah is going to be (in his words) possibly THE main character of the back five, so it is looking like she will not be isolated to her own book. I hope that will not ruin your enjoyment of the series. 

At the end of the day, even if you cannot get past your dislike of Jasnah, and that makes the back five of the stormlight your most disliked part, then at least please appreciate the front five where from what it sounds like your big favorites are Dalinar and Kaladin. 

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I think she's an okay character but I don't find her really interesting. She just seems like the kind of character who is specifically built to be a sort of worship figure. Competence, intelligence, power, attractiveness and other positive attributes all rolled into one person. Some people say they like her because of her flaws but whatever her flaws are don't really seem to stand out in the same way those of the other characters do....such as Kaladin, whose flaws made his life miserable since the start of the series. 

She also doesn't seem to get much criticism. Dalinar, Adolin, Kaladin, Shallan..etc all get flak for their screwups and bad actions. I think I've seen less than half a dozen posts that have anything negative to say about Jasnah Kholin.

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Perhaps I’m oversimplifying but I believe the Jasnah love comes from the fact that she embodies what the current media and world tells us what a “strong” woman is. She is loud, overbearing and a warrior who tramples all before her path (be it in arms or verbal strikes)

Perhaps it is my religious background here but I have different ideas of strength for both men and women. I personally think Navani is a much stronger women but that’s just my opinion.

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11 hours ago, Gyirin said:

She also doesn't seem to get much criticism. Dalinar, Adolin, Kaladin, Shallan..etc all get flak for their screwups and bad actions. I think I've seen less than half a dozen posts that have anything negative to say about Jasnah Kholin.

Sorry for going on a tangent, but when does Kaladin get flak? I've only ever seen him be universally adored.

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41 minutes ago, Ookla the Intimidating said:

Sorry for going on a tangent, but when does Kaladin get flak? I've only ever seen him be universally adored.

Sometimes for being loosely involved with the attempt to assassinate the king, ruining the Kholins' plan to get at Sadeas by asking for a boon, and on rare occasions for not being able to overcome his mental struggles. 

Doesn't mean he's not mostly loved but he gets his share of criticism from what I've seen. 

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Jasnah is well written for a portrayal of an unusual person who understands people and the world on a systemic level and lives by that understanding.

That said, she also reminds of Taravangian on his smart days, except she's like that all the time. I was just rereading Oathbringer, and realized I had totally forgotten how she suggested to kill ALL the parshmen, as well as all the Heralds, in order to prevent worse things coming. So she lives in the attitude "ends justify the means" all the time.

It's an interesting scene and I hope BS will expand on this with time. It shows how genius can be tunnel-visioned sometimes. If nothing else, as a historian she should know that such things might patch a problem temporarily, but leave seeds of future problems. (Even if we put morality aside.)

Personally, I prefer character with more humanity, meaning less suppression of emotions.

Edited by GameOfGroans
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9 hours ago, GameOfGroans said:

Jasnah is well written for a portrayal of an unusual person who understands people and the world on a systemic level and lives by that understanding.

That said, she also reminds of Taravangian on his smart days, except she's like that all the time. I was just rereading Oathbringer, and realized I had totally forgotten how she suggested to kill ALL the parshmen, as well as all the Heralds, in order to prevent worse things coming. So she lives in the attitude "ends justify the means" all the time.

It's an interesting scene and I hope BS will expand on this with time. It shows how genius can be tunnel-visioned sometimes. If nothing else, as a historian she should know that such things might patch a problem temporarily, but leave seeds of future problems. (Even if we put morality aside.)

Personally, I prefer character with more humanity, meaning less suppression of emotions.

She’s Polgara, minus the twin sister to teach her compassion, the millenia of raising children just to lose them, and Beldurnik. Man, I’d love those two to meet.

Hmm... maybe they could put an end to the Kelsier, Silk, Xanatos ‘let’s rob the the multiverse because we’re bored’ team up.

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Jasnah has been my favorite, female character in the series since the beginning. Just that obtuse morality that allows her to straight murder three guys just to prove a point to Shallan drew me in.

 

It was crazy, unexpected, and, to me, showed someone that's got issues. Wanting to see more of that and seeing the badassery that followed just gave her the top spot for me.

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I'll make the observation that the reason I like Jasnah is unrelated to her being female; it has to do with her being a rational person. She's an excellent counterexample to the straw atheist caricature, and a positive example of smart, logical morality. Contrast with e.g. 'smart' (and that really does deserve to be in quotes) Taravangian, who is the very essence 'unfeeling rational robot' trope. 

It's surprisingly difficult to find examples of intelligent people succeeding and acting morally because of their intelligence, rather than despite it, especially in fantasy. That's why I like her/empathize with her, because I think morality should derived rationally rather than axiomatic, and her position is not shown to be immediately ridiculous. It also touches on conflict with religion for that reason, and overall it's a much more nuanced approach to it than I've seen pretty much anywhere else (often, it's one side or the other rather than examining the conflict itself). 

The reason I like her is that if I were in a similar situation, I would like to think I could deal with it in a similar fashion. It's heartening to see an intellectual dissident not reach an ignoble end, but instead prove valuable specifically for their intelligence. 

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I realize this thread has pretty well run its course, but just wanted to add for the OP's sake that I feel similarly that I like Jasnah significantly less after RoW.  For the first three books,  she wasn't a particularly favorite character for me but I like her for a lot of the reasons people have described so far in this thread.  Though I'm not female, I can also relate to her as someone who is a very logical person who can be easily misunderstood by others.  I know it's something that's even tougher for women to deal with since they are expected to be more emotive than men, but I can still relate.  Something that I think Jasnah and I share is that we naturally project confidence outwardly even if we don't actually feel it internally and people can sometimes mistake this for arrogance.

In WoK through OB she was portrayed as an intelligent, hyper competent person who thought about things in a nuanced way and recognized that even though she was one of the very best scholars in the world she could still be wrong.  She would not show that outwardly to most people, but to her close friends and family she was always open that even her best work might still be wrong because there was no way to know for sure and the things she was trying understand were extremely important with high risk if she wrong.  In the end, she was pretty much always right, but it felt like she "earned" being always right because you knew the work and emotional struggle she put into reaching her decisions.

In RoW, she lost that quality, imo.  She became 100% certain she was right and always knew what was best.  Even her closest friends and advisors, who she might have expressed doubts with in the past, no longer got to see any doubt or uncertainty.  In my opinion, this significantly detracts from her competence.  A person who doesn't consider the possibility they may be wrong is less competent that a person who does.  I think some of this may be the impact of her relationship with WIt, who she probably now confides in almost exclusively rather than Dalinar, Navani, Shallan, or others.  Maybe if we saw her conversations with Wit, we'd see her truly contemplating the best course of action and eventually becoming convinced this was the best path despite the fact that it's not a perfect strategy.  But we can only judge her based on what we see "on screen."  What we see on the page is that she is now convinced she is always 100% right and we no longer see her weigh the pros and cons of her actions.  The Jasnah of the first three books is someone I would like and respect were I to meet her in real life.  The Jasnah of RoW just seems unpleasant.  I admit, part of it is probably because I disagree with her radical style of politics (i.e. that she wants to make rapid and dramatic changes by royal decree) and that I don't feel the way it's been portrayed in the books is realistic.  But that's a topic that's been hashed out ad nauseum in other threads.

So, to sum up, OP you're not alone.  I think RoW made Jasnah significantly less sympathetic.  But I also think that she could easily recover in my eyes if we get more context to her decisions.  

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10 hours ago, agrabes said:

In RoW, she lost that quality, imo.  She became 100% certain she was right and always knew what was best.  Even her closest friends and advisors, who she might have expressed doubts with in the past, no longer got to see any doubt or uncertainty.  In my opinion, this significantly detracts from her competence.  A person who doesn't consider the possibility they may be wrong is less competent that a person who does.  I think some of this may be the impact of her relationship with WIt, who she probably now confides in almost exclusively rather than Dalinar, Navani, Shallan, or others.  Maybe if we saw her conversations with Wit, we'd see her truly contemplating the best course of action and eventually becoming convinced this was the best path despite the fact that it's not a perfect strategy.  But we can only judge her based on what we see "on screen."  What we see on the page is that she is now convinced she is always 100% right and we no longer see her weigh the pros and cons of her actions.  The Jasnah of the first three books is someone I would like and respect were I to meet her in real life.  The Jasnah of RoW just seems unpleasant.  I admit, part of it is probably because I disagree with her radical style of politics (i.e. that she wants to make rapid and dramatic changes by royal decree) and that I don't feel the way it's been portrayed in the books is realistic.  But that's a topic that's been hashed out ad nauseum in other threads.

I would have to argue against Jasnah not expressing any uncertainty in RoW. I'm guessing that lot of this is influenced by her first major scene (where she 'kills' Ruthar), but I think it's not really representative of her throughout the book. I also don't think that it's accurate that she confides solely in Wit (though he does appear to be her main confidant at this point) - we see a couple of scenes where she does or is implied to have discussed matters with especially Dalinar (e.g. Ch. 17, 'A Proposal'); Dalinar's possession and building off of the contract for the duel of champions written by Wit/Jasnah seems to suggest he's familiar with (and presumably agrees with) the contents.

Also, her internal perspectives certainly express uncertainty or realization of error; the most significant or notable is the section immediately following her battle experience:

Quote

“I’ve read about it, you know,” she eventually said. “The feeling you get out there. The focus that you need to adopt to cope with it, to keep moving. Simply doing your job. I don’t have their training, Wit. I kept getting distracted, or frightened, or confused.”

He tapped her hand. The closed left gauntlet, where she held the Edgedancer’s topaz. She stared at it, then drew in the Light. That made her feel better, but not all of her fatigue was physical.

“I’m not the unstoppable force I imagined myself to be,” she said. “They know how to deal with Shardbearers; I couldn’t bring down a Fused in a fair fight.”

...

“But take care, Jasnah. Talented or not, you cannot conjure for yourself a lifetime of experienced butchery through force of will. There is no shame in using the powers you have developed. It is not unfair—or rather, it is no more unfair when the most skilled swordsman on the battlefield falls to a stray arrow. Use what you have.”

He was right. She sighed, then took a piece of fruit—gripping it delicately between two gauntleted fingers—and took a bite. The cool sweetness shocked her. It belonged to another world. It washed away the taste of ash, renewing her mouth and awakening her hunger. She’d grown that numb after just two hours of fighting? Her uncle had, on campaign, fought for hours on end—day after day.

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

The other thing to note is that when Jasnah is expressing certainty during debates, it's likely a rhetorical device:

Quote

“Yes, Brightness,” Shallan said, bowing her head. “Did you really believe the things you said? About the Almighty?”

Jasnah was quiet for a moment. “I do. Though perhaps I overstated my conviction.”

“The Assuredness Movement of rhetorical theory?”

“Yes,” Jasnah said. “I suppose that it was. I must be careful not to put my back toward you as I read today.”

Shallan smiled.

“A true scholar must not close her mind on any topic,” Jasnah said, “no matter how certain she may feel. Just because I have not yet found a convincing reason to join one of the devotaries does not mean I never will. Though each time I have a discussion like the one today, my convictions grow firmer.”

Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (p. 469). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

It's common in debate to present a particular position as firmly as possible (regardless of how much one personally agrees with the premise) to give the argument a fair shake. Being half-hearted about it may mean that the position was sound, but the debater was not, which makes it difficult to have confidence about the merits of the argument itself (as opposed to the person doing the arguing).

I actually thought Oathbringer was worse for how it presented Jasnah (e.g. kill all the parshmen/Heralds argument with Kaladin).

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Thank you for grabbing quotes, @Seloun, I also thought RoW was Jasnah at her most explicitly uncertain.

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Fine. I'll be the one to say it. In addition to all the other amazing points which I agree with.

We be simping. 

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On 12/9/2020 at 7:05 PM, HSuperLee said:

 And I guess I'm just disappointed at this moment because it seems like everything that can be so positive with Jasnah is done better in Navani, who has genuinely become one of my favorite characters.

I'd say this should definitely give you reason for hope that you'll enjoy Jasnah's book when it comes out!

To me, part of what this says is that the charaters Brandon takes the wordcount to flesh out are often more likeable. You see Navani's insecurities and her growth, both her strengths and her weaknesses, shown clearly in her PoV chapters and via her interactions with everyone else. RoW was a major Navani Jasnah, on the other hand, is a secondary character through and through. In TWoK she was mainly there as a mentor/opponent to Shallan, in WoR she was gone the whole time, in Oathbringer I only remember her basically in the Battle of Thaylen Field having one soft moment with Renarin, and in RoW she's put in the weird position where she actually knows so much more than all of us because of her interactions with Wit, so even though we get her PoVs they're deliberately limited in insightfulness and we don't see her planning.

Reminds me of Lift. Like I think almost everyone else, I hated Lift during her interlude. Then she got an actual novella and hey, she wasn't that bad, and was even likeable!

I would guess there's a decent chance the same would happen with Jasnah or many other secondary characters - having a good look below the surface with some focus is likely to be generally positive.

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