extremepayne

Shallan's Ideals [Discuss]

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Okay, so I'm going to be attempting to take a look at all of Shallan's Ideals and figuring stuff out.

The first thing to get out of the way is the First Ideal. She must have said this at some point, at least once.[1] It's uncertain if she re-swore it to Pattern or if her oath to Testament is somehow still active. That would be weird, but I'll get to my thoughts on this towards the end. We have to go over more facts first.
Let's look at this WoB, as I feel it'll be very relevant.

Quote

enceladus_47

Does Shallan's "I killed my spren" count as a Truth?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna leave up to theorizing, figuring out the timeline that's going on with Shallan. What we can say is that Shallan is reconstructing, in many cases, oaths she has said before. And it is working slightly differently than someone who is saying new oaths. And indeed, saying she killed her spren is one of those steps. I'll leave it to you to try and parse through that. It's actually pretty complicated. We have a nice big page explaining all of this stuff internally, to make sure that we're keeping it all straight. Because she has violated oaths and reconstructed them, is basically what's happening. And she is regressing, and she's doing a... 1.1 steps forward, 1 step back, sort of thing, kind of frequently.

 
 

Okay, so she's weird, basically. But she's been reconstructing oaths. Interesting. Let's keep that in mind as we list all of Shallan's known Oaths.

  • First Ideal
  • Truth no. 1 to Testament
  • Truth no. 2 to Testament[2]
  • "I'm Terrified"[3]
  • "I'm a murderer. I killed my father."[4]
  • I killed my mother[5]

And then, of course, what we all suspect to be an Ideal of hers:

  • "I killed her, My wonderful beautiful kindly spren."[6]

I will note, that, unlike all the others, this is not confirmed to be an Ideal. Brandon confirmed that it was a step in the process (see above), but that doesn't mean it was a Truth. 

Okay, theory time. Which Ideals were to which spren. The first three were to Testament, obviously. She hadn't bonded Pattern at the time. Then, "I'm terrified" is ratified by a spren that I suspect isn't Pattern,[7] which would make it Testament. The only problem with this is, Shallan needs to swear three Ideals to get Blade[2] and if that's to Testament she hasn't sworn three to Pattern (even counting that strange First) by the time she uses a living Shardblade in the latter half of Words of Radiance. At least, only going by the Ideals on this list. There could well be others. 

Due to Shallan reconstructing oaths, I'm actually coming around on Jofwu's theory that Shallan uses the Testamentblade. After all, she could perhaps have revitalized the bond by then and then broken it again??? Or something like that. Point is, I don't completely rule it out like I used to.

I killed my father is really vague. At least we know its a Truth, but Shallan hasn't seen Pattern yet, so it might be to Testament. On the other hand, she had killed Testament by the time she killed her dad, so this can't be a previous Oath she's reconstructing, it has to be a new one. So undecided.

I killed my mother, luckily, is less vague. Pattern himself is around when she swears it, So I'm going to assume this one is sworn to Pattern. Even though it was the Testamentblade that Shallan killed her mother with.

And then, I killed my spren. Since this is about Testament, and Testament is present, and it was a step twoards fixing her, I'm going to say this is most likely sworn to Testament. If it's an Ideal at all, but I think it is.

Okay, now comes the time when I move on from established fact and simple extrapolations and just totally spitball. Here is my current thinking of Shallan's Ideals:

To Testament:

  1. First Ideal
  2. I'm terrified
  3. Unknown
  4. I killed my spren

To Pattern:

  1. First Ideal
  2. I killed my father
  3. I killed my mother

Some things here: I think its likely that Shallan, considering the Davar family situation, swore "I'm terrified" to Testament as a child and then reconstructed it with Testament later on. This is supported by the fact that Pattern's voice doesn't match the one that accepts this Ideal.

As for the whole deal with her clearly fully living Blade[8] in Words of Radiance, I'm going to hold off until I come up with a better solution. As I see it, potential solutions are:

  • Testament is fully revived and up to Third during this time. Of course, this raises the question of what her Third Ideal was to her and when she fixed it, as well as how she didn't notice the duplicate Pattern during these scenes. And, of course, how she then later killed the spren. since it is deadeyed by the time she meets it in Shadesmar.
  • Or, Pattern is up to the Third Ideal already by these scenes, which is problematic because I can't figure out what the other Truth Shallan has spoken by this time is.
  • Lastly, the Blade used to kill Tyn, which could be a Deadblade, is seperate from the living one used throughout the rest of the book. This means Shallan speaks an Ideal between killing Tyn and getting lost in the chasms. Any guesses?

By the time we get to Oathbringer, I assume that Shallan is using the Patternblade because she's up to three Ideals with him anyways.

Brandon thinks the answer is clear[9] but I don't.

On the First, here's my (half-formed) idea. Shallan swears it once to Testament, then breaks it by killing Testament. She then revives Testament with "I'm terrified." This revival also reinstates her First Ideal by virtue of swearing a Second, which then allows her to transfer her First to Pattern like someone bonding multiple spren under more typical circumstances probably would be able to. She quickly swears "I killed my father" to Pattern, which then allows her to keep Pattern's bond alive even if she subsequently regresses on Testament's bond.

Lastly, this is my first forum topic so it's not as nice as I'd like. Please forgive any errors.

References

Spoiler

[1] All Radiants have to swear the First.

[2] Radiants need to swear three Ideals to unlock Blade, generally. Lightweavers so far are no exception. Plus, Shallan states that she swore multiple truths to Testament in chapter 93 of Rhythm of War:

Quote

truths spoken easily with the solemnity and wonder of a child.

The plural truththere is important. 

[3] This is explicitly ratified by a spren as being true. This seems similar to the Stormfather or Cultivation accepting Ideals, or the highspren doing so for their Radiants. Way of Kings ch 45:

Quote

"What am I?" she whispered. "I'm terrified."
This is true.

[4] A Cryptic asks Shallan for a truth, she gives one, and she gets power. Chapter 70 of Way of Kings.

Quote

You need to tell me somthing true, it replied. The more true, the stronger our bond.

[...]

"I'm a murderer. I killed my father."

Ah, the voice whispered. A powerful truth indeed. ...

[5] This one is in Words of Radiance chapter 88, and there isn't a succicent way to quote it. However, in Oathbringer chapter 8, Shallan confirms that this was an Ideal:

Quote

The Blade she'd used to kill her mother. A truth she'd spoken as an Ideal of her order of Radiants.

side note to anyone actually reading through all these I hate how Order isn't capitalized here, its inconsistent with how I personally capitalize things.

[6] Rhythm of War chapter 93

Quote

"I killed her," Shallan whispered. "I killed my spren. My wonderful, beautiful, kindly spren. I broke my oaths, and I killed her."

There is no indication anywhere in the book that this is an Ideal, aside from the fact that it looks like it might be one.

[7] The voices are different. can't find a quote for this one and I'm way too lazy too. If someone finds it for me I'll edit it in here.

[8]

The Blade is glowing, unlike Deadblades: (Words of Radiance ch. 72)

Quote

Kaladin stared at the glistening length of metal, which dripped with condensation from its summoning. It glowed softly the color of garnet along several faint lines down its length.

Shallan had a Shardblade.

Quote

Shallan's Blade glowed softly too, from a strange pattern along its length. Kaladin had never seen one do that before

Kaladin doesn't hear screams from it: (Words of Radiance ch. 72)

Quote

He twisted his head toward her, and in so doing, his cheeck brushed the flat of the Blade. No screams. He froze, then cautiously raised a finger and touched the cold metal.

Nothing happened.

Kaladin believes this is because his bond with Syl is broken, although we as readers know their bond is still active in some way. 

It shapeshifts: (Words of Radiance ch. 72)

Quote

[...] the thing was just too blasted long.

Obligingly, it shrank in her hand to the size of a much smaller sword, really a big knife.

And it can open an Oathgate. Too lazy to grab a quote for this, you all know this happened.

None of the differences between dead and living Blades apply. Not one. Except maybe heartbeats but that isn't specifically mentioned as far as I could find so it doesn't count.

[9] Youtube livestream 23

Quote

Rexozord

Did Shallan kill Tyn with Pattern or Testament?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna let the fanbase theorize on it a little longer. I think this one is pretty clear, but I'm gonna let you guys work on those timelines, and eventually we will release our timeline, and we can see how well you did. But this is one of the things I expected people to theorize on once the book came out, and I would like to see how good a job I did. If there are holes across these ten years of writing this series that I did not consider, that you guys find, cause you totally can do that. I am definitely not flawless when it comes to these things.

 

Discord message (by me) which inspired this

Spoiler
Quote

extremepayne
First Ideal: Shallan probably said this at some point
Truths she has said:
At least two to Testament, pre-bond breaking. This enabled her to use the Sprenblade. These Ideals have since been broken.
"I'm terrified." Notably ratified by a voice belonging to not Pattern. Suggests that Testament may have accepted this oath.
"I killed my father." Probably sworn to Pattern.
"I killed my mother." Due to Testament's role in this act, I don't know who she swore this to. Possibly Pattern, because she would need to have sworn two truths just after this Ideal in order to kill Tyn and use it in the chasms (unless we go full-on jof "Testament looks and acts exactly like a living Sprenblade in every single measurable aspect").
"I killed my spren." This is formatted similarly to the previous two Ideals, but has not been confirmed as one (unlike all the others). Again, its uncertain who she swore this to.

 

 

Edited by extremepayne
forgot detail
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Shallan killed Testament after her mother died, which means she was already at that time at her third Truth with her. In Way of Kings it's possible "I'm terrified" is spoken to her, but she is still a deadeye by Rhythm of War so she is not "revived" like you say. Here's my thought on the timeline:

1. Child Shallan bonds Testament; progresses to Third Truth

2. Shallan kills her mother with Testament; breaks her bond.

3. Cryptics continue to investigate her, allowing her to continue to draw Stormlight (as we see in WoR when Wit approaches her). It's possible by this time she is still at the First Oath in a general sense.

4. Shallan kills her father; leaves to steal Jasnah's Soulcaster.

5. "I am terrified" doesn't count as a Truth

6. "I killed my father." Second Truth to Pattern, in which case she swears sometime later. I think the second is likely, otherwise she would be at her Fifth Truth after RoW. She is still unable to use Pattern as a living Shardblade, but is still bonded to Testament's corpse.

7. Shallan kills Tyn with Testament.

8. Pattern used as a Blade during the chasm sequence, so by then she has sworn a Third Truth, perhaps in the Chasms once she remembers some things.

9. "I killed my mother" is either a Forth Truth for Pattern or a Resworn Second for Testament. This would imply she's able to summon Shardplate, but doesn't know it.

10. "I killed my spren" is either Fifth Truth for Pattern, or Third for Testament. If the latter, I would wonder why she's not revived yet, but Brandon has left room for there to be more requirements.

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3 hours ago, Khyrindor said:

5. "I am terrified" doesn't count as a Truth

It totally does, tho. Check out my citation for this being an Ideal of hers:

On 2/12/2021 at 11:31 AM, extremepayne said:

[3] This is explicitly ratified by a spren as being true. This seems similar to the Stormfather or Cultivation accepting Ideals, or the highspren doing so for their Radiants. Way of Kings ch 45:

Quote

"What am I?" she whispered. "I'm terrified."
This is true.

Beyond that, this immediately precedes her use of Soulcasting. I don't see a way that this could not be an Ideal.

3 hours ago, Khyrindor said:

8. Pattern used as a Blade during the chasm sequence, so by then she has sworn a Third Truth, perhaps in the Chasms once she remembers some things.

This is something I'm warming up to, I just can't for the life of me figure out what other Truth she swore to Pattern between killing Tyn and meeting the Chasmfiend.

3 hours ago, Khyrindor said:

but she is still a deadeye by Rhythm of War so she is not "revived" like you say.

As for this, lets look at the wob I posted again.

On 2/12/2021 at 11:31 AM, extremepayne said:

1.1 steps forward, 1 step back, sort of thing, kind of frequently.

So its possible for Testament to be psudeo-revived at one point and back to deadeye at another.

3 hours ago, Khyrindor said:

10. "I killed my spren" is either Fifth Truth for Pattern, or Third for Testament. If the latter, I would wonder why she's not revived yet, but Brandon has left room for there to be more requirements.

I don't think it makes sense, for where in her journey Shallan is, for her to be Fifth Oath with either spren. So I think this is sworn to Testament, if it even counts as an Ideal. Remember, all of the other Ideals I cited places where it is very explicit that her words count as an Ideal, but her killing her spren has no such statement.

3 hours ago, Khyrindor said:

Shallan killed Testament after her mother died, which means she was already at that time at her third Truth with her.

Nope. Third Ideal, second Truth. The first oath is not a Truth. You mix this up multiple times, however, so I'm going to assume you meant Ideal, in which case your statement is true.

Otherwise, I mostly agree. Especially with Shallan maybe not breaking the First and keeping it alive for a proto-bond to Pattern or something allowing her to use her powers in between actual bonds to spren, that sounds pretty plausible.

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15 hours ago, extremepayne said:

Otherwise, I mostly agree. Especially with Shallan maybe not breaking the First and keeping it alive for a proto-bond to Pattern or something allowing her to use her powers in between actual bonds to spren, that sounds pretty plausible.

Haven't we already seen Kaladin drawing in and using Light before he swore the First Ideal? I think it is more likely that, with her sort-of there bond with Testament and all the Cryptics gathered around her, that she was still able to draw in and use Light to a small degree, but not enough for any true Lightweaving or anything.

On 2/13/2021 at 2:31 AM, extremepayne said:

To Testament:

  1. First Ideal
  2. I'm terrified
  3. Unknown
  4. I killed my spren

To Pattern:

  1. First Ideal
  2. I killed my father
  3. I killed my mother

For the most part I agree with this, though I'd place "I killed my spren" as 4th to Pattern, if it is even actually a Truth. It could also be the precursor realization that leads her to speak what is properly her third Truth to either of them, instead of an actual Truth on its own. Her actual Truth could be "I regret killing Testament" or something, where her remembering and coming to terms with the fact she did kill Testament is a step in the process, for example. This would explain why Brandon didn't specifically say if it was or wasn't a Truth, but him calling the whole situation 'pretty complicated' makes me think this might be a little too simple of an answer...

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Is there any reason to believe that shallan can't speak a truth to both spren? 

I can't recall what happened when Syl was fading away after Kaladin broke his oaths. Did he swear another ideal or just recommit to his already sworn ideals to bring Syl back? If he didn't swear another ideal then Shallan would just need to accept her responsibilities as a Radiant to revive Testament.

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26 minutes ago, KSub said:

I can't recall what happened when Syl was fading away after Kaladin broke his oaths. Did he swear another ideal or just recommit to his already sworn ideals to bring Syl back?

He swore another Ideal to let her return fully to him, so the Stormfather couldn’t keep her away.

WoR ch. 84:

Quote

YOUR WILL MATTERS NOT! Syl shouted. YOU CANNOT HOLD ME BACK IF HE SPEAKS THE WORDS! THE WORDS, KALADIN! SAY THEM!

Protecting other people (Shallan) hadn’t let him hear Syl or feel Stormlight. But it seems like merely acting on the new Ideal – protecting Elhokar even though he didn’t like the king and knew there was no way to win if he fought for Elhokar – let Syl return fully to consciousness. Since he heard her voice and the Stormfather claimed a daughter disobeyed before Kaladin spoke the 3rd Ideal.

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I like the idea that Shallan's 2nd ideal with Testament was "I'm terrified", then she swears it again in Kharbranth.

I think Shallan's 3rd ideal to Testament (if the 3rd ideal grants Lightweavers a shardblade), was probably something like "I hate my mother" or "I wish my mother wasn't here" or something, spoken in the heat of the moment and suddenly summoning a blade in self defense, killing Mrs Davar. Then immediately afterwards, Shallan breaks her bond with Testament out of horror.

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On 12/02/2021 at 7:31 PM, extremepayne said:

To Testament:

  1. First Ideal
  2. I'm terrified
  3. Unknown
  4. I killed my spren

To Pattern:

  1. First Ideal
  2. I killed my father
  3. I killed my mother

Two issues with that:

  1. Whether or not the sword she uses to Kill Tyn is Pattern or not Pattern say summoning him cannot be instantaneous because he's too far, which means he could have drawn him as a sword at that time and therefore was 2nd truth with him at that time
  2. Shallan is 3rd truth at the end of WoR
Quote

tganchero (paraphrased)

How many oaths can a Radiant swear?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There is an upper-limit/threshold to the number of oaths a Radiant may make. By the end of WoR, Shallan was a step higher than Kaladin.

Words of Radiance Lexington signing (March 18, 2014)
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Just now, Frustration said:

fourth

Kal was at three.

3rd truth=4th oath

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51 minutes ago, Frustration said:

Why people feel the need to differentiate baffles me, it's still an oath, so it should be fourth.

But that's my opinion

Probably because "I killed ___" isn't an oath

I recommend we use ideals. No more confusion. 

I still wonder if Shallan could speak one ideal for both spren. No one else seemed to bite on that idea though.

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The First Ideal is both an Ideal and an oath. Ideals 2-5 for Lightweavers are oaths, Truths, and Ideals. The thing people are being pedantic about is that the First Ideal isn't a Truth. I too recommend using Ideal or oath to avoid confusion.

2 hours ago, mathiau said:

Shallan is 3rd truth at the end of WoR

The amount of WoBs about Shallan where Brandon is straight-up lying makes me doubt the veracity of this one. Also note that it was called into question even before RoW's release, as Brandon is not very good at keeping track of Ideal level. 

2 hours ago, mathiau said:

Whether or not the sword she uses to Kill Tyn is Pattern or not Pattern say summoning him cannot be instantaneous because he's too far, which means he could have drawn him as a sword at that time and therefore was 2nd truth with him at that time

Pattern also lies to Shallan. I dunno, again, the whole Blade situation is weird, and I haven't quite figured it out.

2 hours ago, yulyulk said:

I like the idea that Shallan's 2nd ideal with Testament was "I'm terrified", then she swears it again in Kharbranth.

I think Shallan's 3rd ideal to Testament (if the 3rd ideal grants Lightweavers a shardblade), was probably something like "I hate my mother" or "I wish my mother wasn't here" or something, spoken in the heat of the moment and suddenly summoning a blade in self defense, killing Mrs Davar. Then immediately afterwards, Shallan breaks her bond with Testament out of horror.

Thanks! I love that idea for Shallan's Third to Testament! This is my new headcanon :)

5 hours ago, KSub said:

Is there any reason to believe that shallan can't speak a truth to both spren? 

Hmmm... now that's an interesting idea. I don't know how it figures into this all, but I'll keep it in mind.

6 hours ago, Realmatic Shadow said:

Haven't we already seen Kaladin drawing in and using Light before he swore the First Ideal?

Yup, that's what I mean by proto-bond, since he was proto-bonded to Syl at the time.

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1 minute ago, KSub said:

Probably because "I killed ___" isn't an oath

I recommend we use ideals. No more confusion. 

I still wonder if Shallan could speak one ideal for both spren. No one else seemed to bite on that idea though.

I think she will speak three for Testament then one for both Pattern and Testament

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Why would we confuse things by calling what Lightweavers speak “oaths” when they’re explicitly said not to be oaths in-text?

WoR ch. 87:

Quote

“Is it true?” Shallan asked, tilting her head all the way back, looking up the side of the enormous tower toward the blue sky high above. “Am I one of them?”

“Mmm . . .” Pattern said from her skirt. “Almost you are. Still a few Words to say.”

“What kind of words? An oath?”

Lightweavers make no oaths beyond the first,” Pattern said. “You must speak truths.”

We don’t have to assume a separation of terms because the meaning of making an oath is entirely different from speaking a truth, we’re told by Pattern that the two are distinctly not the same thing.

So instead of using terms that are specific to certain orders and that describe different actions, wouldn’t it make more sense to speak only of “Ideal” levels if we want a term that’s universal to Radiants?

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3 minutes ago, extremepayne said:

Ideal is the least confusing word, but that doesn't mean the others are incorrect.

I didn’t say the others were incorrect, I asked why we would bother using confusing terms that go against what the text said when terms are available that aren’t contraindicated in-world.

…And then for some reason you quoted the wiki to prove the text wrong?

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2 minutes ago, extremepayne said:

That's the order quiz: official, canon material from Dragonsteel.

Yes, thank you. Which has no bearing on whether the book is likely to be edited to change what Pattern said or whether referring to truths under the umbrella of oaths in this thread is causing a roadbump because it’s not the most general term.

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12 minutes ago, extremepayne said:

Great, more rep given for some stupid pedantry than my actual, long, well thought out and researched theory into one of the greatest questions after RoW.

And incorrect pedantry nonetheless.

First. Complaining about people getting more rep than you is rude.

Second. Do you upvote every theory you see? No, only the one you, at least partially, believe in.

Quote

So Lightwears' Oaths are unique because they're not oaths, interesting.

14 minutes ago, extremepayne said:

For all we know, that line from Pattern will be changed a bit in the leatherbound edition of Words of Radiance.

It won't. Because when exactitude gets in the way of understanding, you must scarp exactitude.

Quote

Like, if you're gonna be a pedant, at least be correct. C'mon.

We were not being pedant we were being descriptivists.

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2 minutes ago, mathiau said:

We were not being pedant we were being descriptivists.

Spoilered for irrelevance

Spoiler

 

Great, pedantry about pedantry. My favorite.

Whatever, I've hidden all my posts about how Lightweaver oaths are oaths because like, the text literally says they are. Because who cares? Not me. I just want to figure out Shallan's Ideals. (If you all hid all the tangential posts about terminology that would be great! then i could come here and see substantive posts only.)

I apologize for my immature behavior. This is my first time using forums and I don't quite understand the etiquette. I will do better in the future.

Anyway, on "I killed my spren", I think maybe that's an Ideal to Pattern, and then she will swear something else to Testament, something along the lines of

10 hours ago, Realmatic Shadow said:

Her actual Truth could be "I regret killing Testament"

Of course, that raises the problem of potentially bringing Pattern up to Fifth Ideal (if it was him used in the chasms and therefore he had three sworn to him already then).

But that is an idea I like. Not sure if I like it more than my original one, but its definitely an idea.

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