Bread Simulacrumbs

Why did Lezian the Pursuer say "damn"?

26 posts in this topic

In Chapter 116. Mercy, Lezian is speaking to El and says the following (formatting might be different than it appears in print because I have the book on audio):

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“I will kill him and then anyone he ever loved. I will murder mortal after mortal until my vengeance is recognized. My atonement made. I assume you all know this, if you couldn’t wait for me to be reborn. So give me that damn voidlight!”

Why does he use the word “damn”? Where would he have picked that up?

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It's presumably something from how many Returns he's been through. The Fused appear to have some serious influence from other planets (they call aluminum by its Selish name of ralkalest, for example), so it probably dates back somewhere there.

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I think it's definitely a Braize thing.  I've noted many of the characters who spend the Desolations locked away on Braize have noticeably different speech patterns from the "full-time" Rosharans... and they definitely read as more "contemporary"... in other words, more like modern earthling idiomatic English speakers.  Examples include Ash, Kelek, and Ulim.

I have NO idea whether this comes through in the audiobook version.  My wife and I tried a few chapters and we COULD NOT GET PAST Kaladin-as-a-redneck-hick LOL

 

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Gotcha, thanks for the replies! Haven't read as much of the Cosmere as I'd like yet, but that all makes a lot of sense.

12 minutes ago, AquaRegia said:

Examples include Ash, Kelek, and Ulim.

[...]

My wife and I tried a few chapters and we COULD NOT GET PAST Kaladin-as-a-redneck-hick LOL

 

Oh that's right! I totally had the same thoughts about Ulim and Kelek. I figured it made sense for Kelek since he's human, and from a presumably Earth-like planet, but I was thrown off by a Fused talking that way.

Redneck hick? I definitely missed that lol. I did not get that vibe at all. You mean like, a redneck accent? 

Edited by Bread Simulacrumbs
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2 minutes ago, Bread Simulacrumbs said:

Redneck hick? I definitely missed that lol. I did not get that vibe at all. You mean like, a redneck accent? 

OK, I accidentally misrepresented my experience.  We did NOT listen to the Michael Kramer audiobook, we listened to the Graphic Audio dramatization.  I did a quick Google search and found some online comments that made it clear we were not alone:

Quote

 

It was going well for me (the interlude and Szeths part were very good) but when it got to Kaladin I couldn't keep going.

Just my own personal problem was Kaladins voice actor. The American accent drew me too far away from the fantasy element.

 

 

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Ohhh yeah, in that case. That makes a lot of sense haha. I didn't realize there were other versions.

I have not downloaded many an audiobook due to cringey or otherwise awful narrators. I also can't stand versions that use different voice actors for different characters... it's just off-putting and strange.

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45 minutes ago, AquaRegia said:

OK, I accidentally misrepresented my experience.  We did NOT listen to the Michael Kramer audiobook, we listened to the Graphic Audio dramatization.  I did a quick Google search and found some online comments that made it clear we were not alone:

 

Yea, they did kind of get several characters completely wrong in the GA versions. Though, I think it does a lot better with the characters who are supposed to have accents like the Theylans and Azish. The Lopen accent/speaking style is supposedly more accurate to what Brandon had in mind, but I think Michael Kramer's vaguely Australian accent for Lopen fits much better. Kaladin's accent being vaugely Southern/Midwestern US definitely took some getting used to, but I guess he is from a rural part of Alethkar so they probably figured he should have a rural accent, though I don't know if it was Brandon's vision for that one. 

I will say, if you can get past some of those things, the GA renditions can be quite enjoyable. I mostly like them because I dislike how the normal audiobooks have two narrators based on the gender of the person's perspective. I like both narrators, but it bothers me when a character floats between narrators and sounds completely different. 

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1 hour ago, Harrycrapper said:

Yea, they did kind of get several characters completely wrong in the GA versions. Though, I think it does a lot better with the characters who are supposed to have accents like the Theylans and Azish. The Lopen accent/speaking style is supposedly more accurate to what Brandon had in mind, but I think Michael Kramer's vaguely Australian accent for Lopen fits much better. Kaladin's accent being vaugely Southern/Midwestern US definitely took some getting used to, but I guess he is from a rural part of Alethkar so they probably figured he should have a rural accent, though I don't know if it was Brandon's vision for that one. 

I will say, if you can get past some of those things, the GA renditions can be quite enjoyable. I mostly like them because I dislike how the normal audiobooks have two narrators based on the gender of the person's perspective. I like both narrators, but it bothers me when a character floats between narrators and sounds completely different. 

Considering all the Alethi should sound Arabic/Israeli... probably not, no. It’s not THAT hard to find Semitic language speakers, is it?

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Getting back to the original question, I will make two additional observations:

1)  El and Lezian are certainly speaking their own language in that scene, not Alethi or any other human tongue.  So what we are reading is (as it ALWAYS is in the Cosmere) a translation of another language into English, with Brandon acting as "translator".  It may not pay to read TOO much into a single curse-word choice.

2)  That said, we can assume that the most ancient beings on Roshar - i.e., the Heralds, the Fused, and sentient spren from way back like Sja-Anat, Ba-Ado-Mishram, and Ulim - have known each other for a long time and have a lot of shared history: on Roshar, on Braize, and possibly even on Ashyn in some cases.  It would not be surprising to find similarities in the ways they speak which reflect both their age and their common "culture".

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37 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Considering all the Alethi should sound Arabic/Israeli... probably not, no. It’s not THAT hard to find Semitic language speakers, is it?

That may be a bridge too far in terms of portraying the authors vision. Graphic Audio isn't very big and seems to cater mostly to people from the United States. It makes good business sense to make the people of the nation that is represented the most have an American accent. I'm not saying it would be any worse, but I have a feeling an Arabic/Israeli accent would be received worse than the rural American accent. Anyways, we're definitely off the original topic, so we should probably take this to another thread or something if you want to discuss further. 

Something I forgot to mention on the original topic; the Fused were living in a place that humanity calls "Damnation" so "damn" was definitely in their vocabulary at some point in some capacity. I believe the word "damn" derives from "condemn." People(on Earth) were likely originally saying something like "condemn him to Hell" and it got bastardized to "damn him to Hell." Except on Roshar, Hell is Damnation and "damn him to Damnation" sounds kind of ridiculous. So, I'm guessing it fell out of use and people mostly say something like "to Damnation with you" or "Storm you to Damnation."  That's my best guess to explain that. 

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It's not that weird, they have "damnation" in Braize, which is where the word "damn" comes from. Granted, it's not a use that's very common in the contemporary Roshar that we see now, so it could be due to the generational gap.

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Why wouldn't he know the word "damn"? I mean, for Braize to be called "Damnation", the Rosharans would need to understand the idea of being "damned".

Edited by Honorless
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15 hours ago, AquaRegia said:

2)  That said, we can assume that the most ancient beings on Roshar - i.e., the Heralds, the Fused, and sentient spren from way back like Sja-Anat, Ba-Ado-Mishram, and Ulim - have known each other for a long time and have a lot of shared history: on Roshar, on Braize, and possibly even on Ashyn in some cases.  It would not be surprising to find similarities in the ways they speak which reflect both their age and their common "culture".

This is the most logical and likely explanation, IMO.

12 hours ago, LuckyJim said:

It's not that weird, they have "damnation" in Braize, which is where the word "damn" comes from. Granted, it's not a use that's very common in the contemporary Roshar that we see now, so it could be due to the generational gap.

7 hours ago, Honorless said:

Why wouldn't he know the word "damn"? I mean, for Braize to be called "Damnation", the Rosharans would need to understand the idea of being "damned".

It's not really that he knows the word so much as how and when he used it. "Damnation" and "damned", sure. But using "damn" as a curse in that scene as opposed to a word specific to Roshar or to the Singers themselves seemed strange, out of place and noteworthy to me at the time. (Ninja edit: After all, the Rosharans used "Damnation" and perhaps "damned" but have you ever heard them say "damn" rather than "storming"?)

I don't know if other characters have used the "modern earthling idiomatic English" (as @AquaRegia put it) of curse words, but I couldn't specifically recall any, and for that word to appear in that way stood out to me. Especially at the very end of the fourth book, after how many thousands of pages of not being used? Almost like Brandon was using it to draw attention to something.

And, if that is the case, and Brandon is drawing attention, I was pondering what the reason would be. Maybe it's just to show that the Fused are from an ancient time when that word may have been used that way (i.e. before the Desolations), or perhaps to hint at their off-world origins.

Just my thoughts. *shrug*

Edited by Bread Simulacrumbs
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1 hour ago, Bread Simulacrumbs said:

... Almost like Brandon was using it to draw attention to something.

And, if that is the case, and Brandon is drawing attention, I was pondering what the reason would be. Maybe it's just to show that the Fused are from an ancient time when that word may have been used that way (i.e. before the Desolations), or perhaps to hint at their off-world origins.

I agree that his use of specific kinds of language, and specific words, IS noteworthy.  We don't know exactly why, but Brandon seems to have reasons for every choice he makes, even relatively minor things like this.  I expect we will, at some point, see some important reasons for these minor things.  Another topic with similar musings:

 

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Oooo, that's right up my alley!

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maybe the pursuer didn't say storm because the heralds and fused and voidspren, don't want to "give to much power" to the stormfather, or like don't want to make them seem powerful by swearing by them, like how kelsier tells vin not to use the lord rulers name as a swear, because that "gives him power".

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On 2/11/2021 at 0:55 PM, Shob the Voidbringer said:

maybe the pursuer didn't say storm because the heralds and fused and voidspren, don't want to "give to much power" to the stormfather, or like don't want to make them seem powerful by swearing by them, like how kelsier tells vin not to use the lord rulers name as a swear, because that "gives him power".

Imagine if that was an actual magic system. :P

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3 hours ago, Halyo_Alex said:

Imagine if that was an actual magic system. :P

I'd read it. I can imagine cult leaders having enough juice for one major thing and then they have to relax and build it back up after a while. Politicians, kings, and that one guy in the village that no one can ever stop talking about all being super powerful relative to everyone else.

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Just now, Invocation said:

I'd read it. I can imagine cult leaders having enough juice for one major thing and then they have to relax and build it back up after a while. Politicians, kings, and that one guy in the village that no one can ever stop talking about all being super powerful relative to everyone else.

Sounds like cosmere fanfic potential to me :D

Not that I'd do the concept justice, so someone else ought to try if they want to.

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Just now, Halyo_Alex said:

Sounds like cosmere fanfic potential to me :D

Not that I'd do the concept justice, so someone else ought to try if they want to.

It may not be cosmere fanfic, but I may steal the idea for a short story.

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Just now, Invocation said:

It may not be cosmere fanfic, but I may steal the idea for a short story.

That would be pretty dope. Lemme know if/when you make it happen. :)

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Just now, Halyo_Alex said:

That would be pretty dope. Lemme know if/when you make it happen. :)

Count on it.

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Just now, Invocation said:

Count on it.

Awesome. ;)

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On 2/10/2021 at 10:51 PM, AquaRegia said:

OK, I accidentally misrepresented my experience.  We did NOT listen to the Michael Kramer audiobook, we listened to the Graphic Audio dramatization.  I did a quick Google search and found some online comments that made it clear we were not alone:

 

I dont know about Kaladin's accent being a hick's accent, but then again Im not American, I only know the "stereotypical" accent. You might want to give it another try theres a couple of epic scenes on YT from it, I really enjoyed it I think you might. :D

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On 2/10/2021 at 2:51 PM, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Considering all the Alethi should sound Arabic/Israeli... probably not, no. It’s not THAT hard to find Semitic language speakers, is it?

 

On 2/10/2021 at 3:53 PM, Harrycrapper said:

That may be a bridge too far in terms of portraying the authors vision. Graphic Audio isn't very big and seems to cater mostly to people from the United States. It makes good business sense to make the people of the nation that is represented the most have an American accent. I'm not saying it would be any worse, but I have a feeling an Arabic/Israeli accent would be received worse than the rural American accent. Anyways, we're definitely off the original topic, so we should probably take this to another thread or something if you want to discuss further. 

You guys are dipping your toes into a topic which is pretty prominent in the historical community. It's generally accepted that's it makes sense to localize accents to the target audience, but you inevitably lose a great deal of historical context. Let's say for example that you're making a tv show about classical Rome for an American audience. If you give everyone an Italian accent, Americans probably aren't going to be able to tell if someone is noble or not based on their speech. If they use upper/lower class accents that Americans are familiar with (British being the go-to), then it helps people get more immersed in the story. Of course in reality, most Roman nobility would have spoken Greek amongst themselves, which would have been completely unintelligible to their mostly Latin-speaking servants. Is there any way to convey that without having them speak different languages on screen and subtitle everything?

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