Could Be Fire

Herald's Appearances and a theory on the Oathpact foundation

8 posts in this topic


Something about the physical appearance of the heralds seems off to me, particularly the ages of Ash and Jezrein. Sanderson was askedabout it and he was very evasive about the timeline of the Oathpact and particularly how it related to the ages of the heralds.

The only hard comments we have about the timeline is that 1) The Heralds appear the age they were when they became heralds,  2) At least some time passed between escape from Ashlyn and the Oathpact (They left when they were "younger than they were when they became Heralds"), and 3) Shalash is the youngest herald was born right around the time of the escape, possibly right after.

The first point is a bit of an issue because Jezrein canonically looks to be in his late 30s. Shalash doesn’t have a canon age description due to the absence of comments on her being a teenager, so probably early twenties at the youngest.

This is a bit of an issue because is Jezerin in Ash's father. The simplest explanations
- Ash is Jezrin’s biological daughter and he was a teen dad, but Jezerin as a father that young doesn't really make sense to me with his character
- Ash is adopted. She’s more ‘western’ looking while Jezrerin is described as more ‘eastern’ looking by Rosharan standards. If so she could be around 10-15 years younger than him which fits the appearances better than the biological limitations. Whatever caused Ashlyn to be destroyed likely created orphans, and adoption is a totally Windrunner thing

However, this discrepancy also led me to a fairly tinfoil theory, but one I think there is mounting evidence for. That the Oathpact was founded over many years, and not all of the heralds were created at the same time. Specifically, they joined up in their numerical order.

In general, the consistent ordering of the heralds has its roots somewhere, and the surge binding diagram, with its extra connections, implies that there is an innate organization to the Rosharan surges. I also think it's likely that the heralds were specifically selected individually as the best candidate to wield a pair of surges, not that the most awesome-est ten people were chosen and then assigned surges. It's not too much of a stretch to perhaps people had to be added to the Oathpact (or the Honorblades had to be created) in some specific order.

This actually works well with the scant evidence we do have about the Herald's early history and synergizes well with some of the numerology and mythology we have about them.

  • Jezerin was the first, which makes sense as the leader.
  • Ishar is technically 10th/last, but since the heralds are portrayed on a circle, Ishar could have initially first (and Jezerin 2nd) which got the perception got shifted over time since Jezerin was seen as the leader. Or Ishar could have been the last officially made a herald (last Honorblade made maybe?) and was using his non-Herald Ashlynite bondsmith powers initially.
  • We see in Nale’s flashback that he is approached by Jezerin who says that “Ishar and I agreed. There is no person we would welcome more eagerly into this pact than you.” To me the grammar implies to 'we' welcoming him into the pact is 'Ishar and Jezerin' which places Nale as the next (2nd) before others were selected. Also the 'welcome into this pact' could be interpreted as the pact already existing, with people added to it over time.
  • Shallash as #6 is much later than Jezerin. This allows time for her to grow into an adult while Jezerin is frozen at the 30s/40s he became a herald in.
  • Taln was supposed to be Herald, and hadn't distinguished himself before being chosen like the others.  As 9th, the last except for Ishar, Odium could have time to catch on and eliminate the initial choice, or do something to threaten the plan and force Ishar to make a snap decision (maybe Taln was just the best candidate in the right place/right time).

Any other ideas or interpretations? I think the adoption explanation is the simplest to clear up the Ash/Jezerin age discrepancy but I do there's something to the numerology.

 

7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:


Something about the physical appearance of the heralds seems off to me, particularly the ages of Ash and Jezrein. Sanderson was askedabout it and he was very evasive about the timeline of the Oathpact and particularly how it related to the ages of the heralds.

The only hard comments we have about the timeline is that 1) The Heralds appear the age they were when they became heralds,  2) At least some time passed between escape from Ashlyn and the Oathpact (They left when they were "younger than they were when they became Heralds"), and 3) Shalash is the youngest herald was born right around the time of the escape, possibly right after.

The first point is a bit of an issue because Jezrein canonically looks to be in his late 30s. Shalash doesn’t have a canon age description due to the absence of comments on her being a teenager, so probably early twenties at the youngest.

This is a bit of an issue because is Jezerin in Ash's father. The simplest explanations
- Ash is Jezrin’s biological daughter and he was a teen dad, but Jezerin as a father that young doesn't really make sense to me with his character
- Ash is adopted. She’s more ‘western’ looking while Jezrerin is described as more ‘eastern’ looking by Rosharan standards. If so she could be around 10-15 years younger than him which fits the appearances better than the biological limitations. Whatever caused Ashlyn to be destroyed likely created orphans, and adoption is a totally Windrunner thing

However, this discrepancy also led me to a fairly tinfoil theory, but one I think there is mounting evidence for. That the Oathpact was founded over many years, and not all of the heralds were created at the same time. Specifically, they joined up in their numerical order.

In general, the consistent ordering of the heralds has its roots somewhere, and the surge binding diagram, with its extra connections, implies that there is an innate organization to the Rosharan surges. I also think it's likely that the heralds were specifically selected individually as the best candidate to wield a pair of surges, not that the most awesome-est ten people were chosen and then assigned surges. It's not too much of a stretch to perhaps people had to be added to the Oathpact (or the Honorblades had to be created) in some specific order.

This actually works well with the scant evidence we do have about the Herald's early history and synergizes well with some of the numerology and mythology we have about them.

  • Jezerin was the first, which makes sense as the leader.
  • Ishar is technically 10th/last, but since the heralds are portrayed on a circle, Ishar could have initially first (and Jezerin 2nd) which got the perception got shifted over time since Jezerin was seen as the leader. Or Ishar could have been the last officially made a herald (last Honorblade made maybe?) and was using his non-Herald Ashlynite bondsmith powers initially.
  • We see in Nale’s flashback that he is approached by Jezerin who says that “Ishar and I agreed. There is no person we would welcome more eagerly into this pact than you.” To me the grammar implies to 'we' welcoming him into the pact is 'Ishar and Jezerin' which places Nale as the next (2nd) before others were selected. Also the 'welcome into this pact' could be interpreted as the pact already existing, with people added to it over time.
  • Shallash as #6 is much later than Jezerin. This allows time for her to grow into an adult while Jezerin is frozen at the 30s/40s he became a herald in.
  • Taln was supposed to be Herald, and hadn't distinguished himself before being chosen like the others.  As 9th, the last except for Ishar, Odium could have time to catch on and eliminate the initial choice, or do something to threaten the plan and force Ishar to make a snap decision (maybe Taln was just the best candidate in the right place/right time).

Any other ideas or interpretations? I think the adoption explanation is the simplest to clear up the Ash/Jezerin age discrepancy but I do there's something to the numerology.

 

This theory makes a lot of sense. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hadn't thought of ash being adopted, honestly that makes a lot of sense

For the heralds appearance, there might be a simpler explanation

Warbreaker 

Spoiler

The returned come back in the form that society or they think fits a God. Hence why they look handsome.

Maybe Jezrien changed his appearance to fit a warrior? 

 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, KaladinWorldsinger said:

I hadn't thought of ash being adopted, honestly that makes a lot of sense

For the heralds appearance, there might be a simpler explanation

Warbreaker 

  Reveal hidden contents

The returned come back in the form that society or they think fits a God. Hence why they look handsome.

Maybe Jezrien changed his appearance to fit a warrior? 

 

That's a good point! There's some evidence supporting an idea like that as well.

Heralds seem to physically match their divine attributes/roles suspiciously well. Navani and Adolin separately describe Kalak as looking distinctly like a steward/palace administrator which fits well with a possible role for the Willshaper herald and is an oddly specific comment on someone’s appearance (unless maybe it's foreshadowing that Kalak was hiding out as a Kholin palace steward years ago lol). There's Shallash’s stunning beauty as the herald of beauty, the emphasis on Jezerin’s regal bearing as the Herald of Kings, Taln’s perfect warrior build. There could even be something to Nale even looking Azish, which in Roshar is stereotyped as being rules obsessed.

The ages are also just weird in general. Navani can't figure out if Kalak is 20s or 40s, and prologue Jezerin is described as 30s with black hair but he is later described as having hair streaked with grey and generally looking older as a beggar, even though he should still be the 'age he was when he became a herald'. So their appearance can change over time (but that might be more broken oathpact nonsense)...

It would also explain the heights. No one mentions the heralds being notably short, (Taln and Nale are even called tall by Alethi characters), even though native-born Ashlynite should be way shorter than modern-day Rosharans.

Though I don't think their appearances are completely off of their original? Stuff like Nale's birthmark, Kalak's thinning hair, and the apparently maintained ethnicities makes me think it's relatively subtle changes if it is happening, definitely the heights possibly some small additional changes (Ash being more beautiful, Taln being super strong, Jezerin looking in his prime, etc.)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you might be on to something here as far as the oathpack being formed over time. That makes a lot of sense. What are your thoughts on how / why they decide they neede to add more people to it?

I also think their appearance could be changed a bit because of peoples perception. This might be also influencing their actions / beliefs / thoughts in some way as well. Perhaps adding to their insanity. Maybe this is why Shalash is so obsessed with destroying works depicting her. Maybe she is trying to get people's perception of her to fade a bit. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This theory makes sense, but my question is, does it matter? 

what implications would this sequential oathpack have? does it change anything?
 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, KnightsOfHonor said:

I think you might be on to something here as far as the oathpack being formed over time. That makes a lot of sense. What are your thoughts on how / why they decide they neede to add more people to it?

Thanks! My guess is that it was always meant to be ten people in the end, because of 20 surges, it just took time to get there.

My theory also requires that they had to be picked in a specific order, but like I said there seems to be some innate organization to the surges so that's not too out there. In particular, I would guess maybe the honor blades had to be created in a specific order, and then it took time to find the perfect candidate for each of them. The Heralds also seemed to be specifically chosen to make the perfect team protect/maintain/rebuild a society, so that was probably also a part of the selection process that made it harder to find ideal candidates. So Oathpact was built up over time like links in a chain.

2 minutes ago, Danex said:

This theory makes sense, but my question is, does it matter? 

what implications would this sequential oathpack have? does it change anything?

I mean, I theorize mostly just to try to put together puzzle pieces to see if I can predict where the narrative is going for fun?

It's hard to gauge the implications because so much info on the Heralds and the Oathpact is deliberately vague. From a world-building perspective, since fixing the Oathpact is an upcoming major plot point, exactly how it works is likely to be relevant.

The largest consequences would be the early interpersonal lives of the Heralds and the overall events of the First Desolation which we know basically nothing about at this point. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing here that doesn't make sense to me is that if the Oathpact was made sequentially, they wouldn't have needed to figure out that it could "probably" be shifted to one person.

15 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

The ages are also just weird in general. Navani can't figure out if Kalak is 20s or 40s, and prologue Jezerin is described as 30s with black hair but he is later described as having hair streaked with grey and generally looking older as a beggar, even though he should still be the 'age he was when he became a herald'.

Just like people with unplaceable ethnicity is a typical indicator of worldhoppers, I believe that unplaceable age is a typical indicator of Cognitive Shadows.

We get a few descriptions of how someone looks twenty, or maybe thirty, or forty, but their eyes look older. Or how someone has smooth skin and suddenly seem to have the wrinkles of someone's who is seventy.

15 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

Heralds seem to physically match their divine attributes/roles suspiciously well.

Indeed.

This is probably due to a combination of their nature as Cognitive Shadows and being major religious/cultural/historical figures.

We know that Cognitive Shadows are affected by people's perceptions of them, like spren, and that the Heralds' madness is (at least partly) a product of the perception of them clashing with their minds.

Spoiler
Quote

Questioner

The Heralds seem to be insane in the ways of their Divine Attributes, at least somewhat. Is this because they're Heralds? As Cognitive Shadows, they're subject to people's perception, like how spren are?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a very astute question, and yes, that is influencing them quite a bit. I'm doing something here with the Heralds. Like, I want the Heralds "madnesses," as we call them, to be magical diseases. And the contrast of something like Kaladin's depression, which I'm trying to treat very real-world. I'm trying to treat them as these things that couldn't exist in our world. They're fantastical mental diseases, like we have fantastic physical diseases in Elantris. So I did make them thematic, and I would say part of the reason for that is people's perception of them and their mental state reacting against that. And that should be a theme among all of the Heralds.

San Diego [email protected] 2020 (July 23, 2020)

 

Spoilered for technically including microscopic Elantris spoilers.

So it wouldn't be that weird if those same perceptions, especially given that the Heralds have bodies created for them, influence how the Heralds appear.

Jezrien is a regal man, looking neither too young for the image of a powerful ruler, nor like a man in decline, the very image of a king.

Nale is an imposing man, stern and implacable. A judge presiding over everything.

Ash is described like this:

Quote

She wasn't Emuli–she didn't even seem Makabaki, though she had dark skin and long, beautiful black hair. She had eyes like a Shin, but she was tall and lean, like an Alethi. Av thought she was a mixed breed.

-WoK, interlude I-7

So Ash looks quite interesting. She is described as beautiful elsewhere, definitely later in the same interlude, which makes sense. She's also described as a woman, not a girl. Her being lean could point to her having a fit physique. Along with her height, she would probably be described as stunning and easily draw people's attention. In the present day, her apparent mixed features would probably also serve to make her stand out even more. So, given how many words I've expended on her, turns out that this is harder to pin down, though presumably she would be generally thought attractive/beautiful to the people of Roshar.

Another interesting thing to note is that Ash appears lighteyed, having violet eyes so pale they're almost white, unlike Jezrien and Taln, who both have dark eyes.

(This also contained an interesting thing that I've not noticed before, the Alethi would probably look wiry to us, being taller but not broader.)

Taln is built like a not just a barn, but an entire farming estate. Not too much to note about him, he's a larger than life (heh) warrior.

Kalak is described as looking an administrator and writes that people would come to him with their problems, that he was decisive, capable and authoritative. So he's probably seen as an administrator or planner. I don't want to read too much into the Divine Attributes on the Essence chart, but the ones that would equate to Kalak are Resolute and Builder, which would seem to line up with a city planner, administrator and arbitrator. Taln's mantra also mentions that Kalak will teach the casting of bronze, though I'm not sure why exactly he's assigned that, unless it's simply that he can organise it effectively.

Ishar looks like an old, bearded man, which is a very typical conception of wisdom.

And I believe we don't have a ton of description of the others, soo...

On 2021-11-16 at 10:02 PM, Could Be Fire said:

She’s more ‘western’ looking while Jezrerin is described as more ‘eastern’ looking by Rosharan standards.

So, this is interesting.

I already quoted a description of Ash, and she doesn't really look "western" beyond her skin tone and hair, and the hair isn't really indicative, Alethi black and all.

Jezrien is described as:

Quote

Tall and confident, the man was in his thirties, and he wore white and blue. He had an Alethi feel to him, except . . . not quite. His skin was a shade darker, and something was faintly off about his features.

-Oathbringer, chapter 42

So Jezrien being a touch darker than someone who reads as Alethi, together with his features being off somehow, it's not hard to believe that Jezrien is Ash's biological father.

On 2021-11-16 at 10:02 PM, Could Be Fire said:

That the Oathpact was founded over many years

I can see that, though more so that the Heralds were assembled over a longer time, not that they were made Heralds at different times.

Of course, something weird is up, Ash thinks about how Taln is the only one among them to have never worn a crown, so either she was a queen of a separate kingdom or Jezrien abdicated in her favour.

Then again, the entire timeline of the Ashynite exodus, human conquest of Roshar and creation of the Oathpact is... really, really screwy. The Heralds (possibly excepting Ash) were born on Ashyn, lived through the exodus and conquest, and were still alive to become Heralds once the singers went over to Odium.

The fact that Honor (and probably Cultivation) back the humans here is also... odd. I suppose the Herald flashback might shed some light on all of this, but everything here is still... off somehow.

On 2021-11-16 at 10:02 PM, Could Be Fire said:

We see in Nale’s flashback that he is approached by Jezerin who says that “Ishar and I agreed. There is no person we would welcome more eagerly into this pact than you.” To me the grammar implies to 'we' welcoming him into the pact is 'Ishar and Jezerin' which places Nale as the next (2nd) before others were selected. Also the 'welcome into this pact' could be interpreted as the pact already existing, with people added to it over time.

I read this as simply assembling the group that would become the Heralds, not that the Oathpact exists as anything but an idea at this point.

On 2021-11-16 at 10:02 PM, Could Be Fire said:

The first point is a bit of an issue because Jezrein canonically looks to be in his late 30s. Shalash doesn’t have a canon age description due to the absence of comments on her being a teenager, so probably early twenties at the youngest.

So a few things to note here, Jezrien is described from the perspective of Rosharans, the Rosharan year is 1.1 Earth years, so someone in their late thirties would be roughly 39-43 to us, rather than 36-39. So if Ash looks 23 (roughly 25 Earth years, roughly where the brain is mature), she can be a woman and still have Jezrien be 18 Earth years older that her.

Also, if Jezrien was a king, it wouldn't be that strange if he had a child/children early in life. Kings have been quite eager to secure an heir historically IRL.

Oh, and if Ash is physically younger, you get an even greater possible span for Jezrien's age when she was born.

On 2021-11-16 at 10:02 PM, Could Be Fire said:

Whatever caused Ashlyn to be destroyed likely created orphans, and adoption is a totally Windrunner thing

While I could see that as a Windrunner thing (though maybe less so than arranging for someone else to adopt, as Windrunners are at risk, what with the fighting), Jezrien was possibly not quite as Windrunner-y as the order of Radiants, even if they were patterned on his example.

Quote

He was before Windrunners. He was Jezrien, a man whose powers bore no name. They were simply him. The Windrunners were named only after Ishar founded the orders.

-Oathbringer, chapter 64

And we know that Heralds aren't held to the same oaths as Radiants.

18 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

My guess is that it was always meant to be ten people in the end, because of 20 surges, it just took time to get there.

Err, there are only ten Surges?

18 hours ago, Could Be Fire said:

but like I said there seems to be some innate organization to the surges so that's not too out there.

I mean:

Quote

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Do the Honorblades reflect the natural pairing of Surges, or did Honor decide which Surge pair to put in each Blade?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The pairs are natural to Roshar in the same way as the metals on Scadrial.

When Worlds Collide 2014 (Aug. 9, 2014)

I also don't see why the Honorblades would have to be created sequentially, nor why they wouldn't simply have been created simultaneously.

The Oathpact is also obviously not wholly tied to the Honorblades, as abandoning the Blades didn't free the Heralds from the Oathpact.

We also know that the Heralds have occasionally swapped Blades around:

Quote

mooglefrooglian

Did the Heralds ever temporarily swap Honorblades and learn to use more than their regular two Surges?

Brandon Sanderson

It has happened. (But it was not common.)

/r/books AMA 2015 (July 16, 2015)

So they are clearly not tied to a specific person in the sequence.

I also don't think that a progressive buildup makes a lot of sense when the vengeful souls of the dead are waging war against you. And all of them had to have been Heralds the first time the Fused were sealed, as we know that the first times the Heralds lasted for hundreds of years, which would not have allowed people to join later.

 

¤_¤

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.