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Theory: Shardplate Account Settings (spoilers)


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So, as I've mentioned in a couple threads, I don't think we've seen any of Dalinar's powers yet. I've decided to write down what I think has been going on.

Executive summary: To use the power-armor comparison, most of the features of Shardplate are password-protected, where the password is being a Radiant. Dalinar is the only Radiant in Shardplate we see outside of his visions, and all his special powers (discounting the visions) are technically powers of his Plate. However, his ability to use them is a sign that he's a Radiant. But Kaladin, Shallan, and Jasnah could do exactly the same things if they had Plate of their own.

[szeth's] Lashings wouldn't work directly on someone in Shardplate
Szeth didn't own a set of Plate himself' date=' and didn't care to. His Lashings interfered with the gemstones that powered Shardplate, and he had to choose one or the other[/quote']

I'm thinking these aren't actually distinct facts. Shardplate is intended to protect the wearer from hostile Stormlight use, and Szeth doesn't know how to/can't set it to recognize his own Lashings as friendly when he wears it.

As the sky spun' date=' something seemed to [i']right[/i], as if the Plate itself knew which way was up.
Something changed inside of Dalinar. Reservations vanished. Other concerns became meaningless. His brother's son was in danger. ... Nothing else mattered
Dalinar held back the claw and matched its strength' date=' a figure in dark, silvery metal that almost seemed to glow[/quote']

These are all from the fight with the Chasmfiend, where Dalinar's most dramatic display comes from. Notably, all of them are from after Elhokar gets unhorsed.

The Plate glowed with an even blue light' date=' and glyphs--some familar, others not--were etched into the metal. They trailed blue vapor.[/quote']

A Radiant from one of the Visions.

So, bringing it all together: The Knights Radiant all had glowing Shardplate. When protecting Elhokar, Dalinar has notably improved speed and strength, his Plate stablizes him (When he fell earlier in the same scene, this didn't happen), and has glowing armor. The Knights Radiant could use Surgebinding while wearing Plate. Szeth is confirmed to not be a Radiant by Brandon, and can't use his powers while in Plate.

Onto the theory. Glowing Shardplate is a sign that the wearer is a Radiant and they've fully activated all the powers of their armor, which includes enhanced speed and strength. Dalinar, not having said the ideals of his order, doesn't usually have glowing Plate because he's not a full Radiant. However, when he acts in accordance with the values of his order by protecting his king or his allies, he can partially activate it and produce the glow and enhancements. This is distinct from the two Surges associated with his order, which we haven't seen yet.

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I like it, its simple and makes sense. When I've had more time to think I'll come to you with any objections that I can come up with.

Before I go, I will ask, wouldnt it be simpler to assume that Dalinar took in stormlight and thats where the enhanced speed and strength came from?

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A couple more relevant quotes:

Based on the following quote, I believe that good balance is intrinsic to all Shardplate, much like the ability to feel through the gauntlets or see through the faceplate.

(from just before Kaladin kills the nameless Shardbearer, protecting Amaram):

The Shardbearer wheeled his destrier in a tight circle, then threw himself from horseback at full speed. He hit the ground with a grinding sound, somehow remaining upright and skidding to a halt.

Also, here's a quote that may help to further illustrate Dalinar's power. In combination with his actions during the chasmfiend hunt, this is strong evidence that there is not a mundane explanation for all of Dalinar's actions (tricks of light, adrenaline, etc).

(about Dalinar, after he killed the squad of archers that would have killed Bridge 4)

[Dalinar] turned, armour seeming to glow as he raised his Blade in a salute of respect toward the bridgemen.

EDIT: edited order for clarity.

Edited by ulyssessword
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A couple more relevant quotes:

(from just before Kaladin kills the nameless Shardbearer, protecting Amaram):

(about Dalinar, after he killed the squar of archers that would have killed Bridge 4)

Based on those two quotes, I believe that good balance is intrinsic to all Shardplate, much like the ability to feel through the gauntlets or see through the faceplate, but there is still something special about Dalinar that we've only seen while he is wearing his Plate.

The first quote is relevant, and I understand, but how does the second relate at all to the issue of balance?

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OK, I can get behind that. Dalinar is definitely doing something different.

I would also add to this list of oddities, that he is seeing visions from the Almighty and hearing a voice in his head drawing him closer to the ideals of the Radiants.

Edited by happyman
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just pointing out that the 'somehow remaining upright' is from the perspective of a non-shardbearer, all the shardbearers we see take a bit more grace a bit more power as normal thats all it would really take to jump from a galloping horse, he doesn't neccesarily have any more than a normal Shardbearer, Dalinar is actually qiute literally falling over when his armour pulls him upright and allows him to land balanced and on his feet when he otherwise wouldn't have. That, and the glow I think are the truly special aspects of what Dalinar is doing with his armour, the rest I would attribute to him drawing in stormlight and becoming stronger and faster due to that, etc basically being a surgebinder, on his way to becoming a radiant.

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just pointing out that the 'somehow remaining upright' is from the perspective of a non-shardbearer, all the shardbearers we see take a bit more grace a bit more power as normal thats all it would really take to jump from a galloping horse, he doesn't neccesarily have any more than a normal Shardbearer, Dalinar is actually qiute literally falling over when his armour pulls him upright and allows him to land balanced and on his feet when he otherwise wouldn't have. That, and the glow I think are the truly special aspects of what Dalinar is doing with his armour, the rest I would attribute to him drawing in stormlight and becoming stronger and faster due to that, etc basically being a surgebinder, on his way to becoming a radiant.

This is a good point. What's special about Dalinar's perspective is that he doesn't expect it to happen. Shardbearers have more control, and if the one we saw meant to pull the stunt he did, well, that's not that surprising. We know, however, that Dalinar didn't know what he was doing when he (or his Shardplate) pulled himself upright.

So, somewhat ambiguous, but definitely a point that shouldn't be neglected.

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This is a good point. What's special about Dalinar's perspective is that he doesn't expect it to happen. Shardbearers have more control, and if the one we saw meant to pull the stunt he did, well, that's not that surprising. We know, however, that Dalinar didn't know what he was doing when he (or his Shardplate) pulled himself upright.

So, somewhat ambiguous, but definitely a point that shouldn't be neglected.

That is completely different from how I interpreted that scene. The Plate did not magically exert a force that turned Dalinar upright, as can be seen in a wider context:

No! he thought, getting a gauntleted hand beneath himself and heaving, using the momentum of his slide to throw himself upright. As the sky spun, something seemed to right, as if the Plate itself knew which way was up. He landed-still moving, feet grinding on stone.
Dalinar had plenty of time to react to his slide and correct for it, and in fact he did. The most that the Shardplate did was help his sense of balance, which I believe it does for everyone.
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I think its more than that, he comments that it 'seemed to right' it was worth commenting on, it was abnormal. Also having some experience at throwing myself up from the ground, you know if you've gotten right, it sounds to me like he got it a little wrong and his armour corrected it, which is the same set of assumptions I think everyone else has made.

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That is completely different from how I interpreted that scene. The Plate did not magically exert a force that turned Dalinar upright, as can be seen in a wider context:

Dalinar had plenty of time to react to his slide and correct for it, and in fact he did. The most that the Shardplate did was help his sense of balance, which I believe it does for everyone.

If he did it on purpose, I would have expected him to say as much in his viewpoint. The term for doing it on purpose (or even instinctively) is "Regaining your balance," or similar usage. In the quote, it gives the distinct impression of something that happened without Dalinar meaning it to. In fact, the exact wording suggests he did not do it at all---his Shardplate did. And Dalinar apparently didn't know that Shardplate could do that; otherwise he would have said that his Shardplate managed to right itself, just like usual.

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I think its more than that, he comments that it 'seemed to right' it was worth commenting on, it was abnormal. Also having some experience at throwing myself up from the ground, you know if you've gotten right, it sounds to me like he got it a little wrong and his armour corrected it, which is the same set of assumptions I think everyone else has made.

I took it as Brandon telling the reader that something magical was happening, as opposed to Dalinar remarking on something unforeseen. I took it to be equivalent to the following quotes, remarkable to the reader, but below the character's notice.

[Adolin] was wearing his Shardplate, and so he had to be careful when grabbing [his canteen], lest he crush it.
The gauntlets covered [Dalinar's] hands, but the ancient armor somehow transferred sensation to his fingers. It was as if he were wearing thin leather gloves.
Elhokar landed with an audible crack [after jumping down 40 feet], throwing up chips of stone and a large puff of Stormlight. He managed to stay upright.

None of these quotes show things that would be remarkable to the characters or significant to the action, but they are told to the reader to give insight into the working of Shardplate.

Edited by ulyssessword
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Then why the emphasis on right?

That makes it siginificant, from this viewpoint inside Dalinars head something worth noticing has happened that he hasnt bothered with because he was busy doing the impossible. All your examples show people doing things that arent remarkable to them, the emphasis on right, the amazement of everyone watching implies that something special is happening.

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Then why the emphasis on right?

That makes it siginificant, from this viewpoint inside Dalinars head something worth noticing has happened that he hasnt bothered with because he was busy doing the impossible. All your examples show people doing things that arent remarkable to them, the emphasis on right, the amazement of everyone watching implies that something special is happening.

We do not see anyone react to Dalinar regaining his feet. Their amazement comes after, when he quickly and gracefully jumps under the claw and catches it (which appears to be something that only Dalinar could do).

As I said before, I think the emphasis on (and even the mention of) something seeming to right was the narrator telling the reader that there was something worth noticing happening. I still do not think that it was Dalinar remarking on something exceptional.

Edited by ulyssessword
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