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Basis of Darkness = Nalan theory?


masaru

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I feel like I'm missing the original conversation that led people to thinking Darkness is Nalan. I've done a search and most of the posts start out with "If Darkness is who we think he is aka Nalan…" or something similar. What are the prevailing theories on this that have convinced so many?

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From the Jasnah Prolgue:

Words echoed in the hallway coming from up ahead. “I’m worried about Ash.”

“You’re worried about everything.”

Jasnah hesitated in the hallway.

“She’s getting worse,” the voice continued. “We weren’t supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse.”

“Shut up.”

“I don’t like this. What we’ve done is wrong. That creature carries my lord’s own Blade. We shouldn’t have let him keep it. He—”

The two passed from the intersections of hallways ahead of Jasnah. They were ambassadors from the west, [including] the Azish man with the white birthmark on his cheek. Or was it a scar? The shorter of the two men, he could’ve been an Alethi, cut off when he noticed Jasnah. He let out a squeak, then hurried on his way. The Azish man, the one dressed in black and silver, stopped and looked her up and down. He frowned.

“Is the feast over already?” Jasnah asked down the hallway. Her brother had invited these two to the celebration along with every other ranking foreign dignitary in Kholinar.

“Yes,” the man said.

 

An explaination.

 

'I'm worried about Ash' is believed to be referring to Shallash. The speaker then began comparing her condition to himself and his companion.

 

'That creature carries my lords own blade' This is believed to be in reference to the blade that Szeth carries which many believe to be Jezriens Honorblade.

 

Lift Interlude:

He had arrived.

The tall Azish man with the white mark on his cheek, like a crescent. Black uniform with a double row of silver buttons down the coat’s front, a stiff silver collar poking up from a shirt underneath. His thick gloves had collars of their own that extended halfway back around his forearms.

Dead eyes. This was Darkness himself.

Oh no.

“What is the meaning of this!” demanded one of the viziers, a woman in one of their large coats with the too-big sleeves. Her cap was of a different pattern, and it clashed quite spectacularly with the coat.

“I am here,” Darkness said, “for a thief.”

The vizier sputtered for a moment. “Do you realize where you are? How dare you interrupt–”

“I have,” Darkness said, “the proper forms.” He spoke completely without emotion. No annoyance at being challenged, no arrogance or pomposity. Nothing at all. One of his minions entered behind him, a man in a black and silver uniform, less ornamented. He proffered a neat stack of papers to his master.

 

The Darkness appears to be very concerned with ensuring all the legal niceties are in order. He tries very hard to ensure that what he does is considered justice in his own eyes.

 

The description of Darkness matches that of the man whom Jasnah encountered in the hall.

 

There may be more, I'll leave that to others to flesh out, this is the basis of the theory.

Edited by Gloom
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Well the original reason I thought Darkness was Nalan was a gut "I think this guy is a Herald."  I figured if he was a herald he would be one of the ones in the chapter header.  Since the two Heralds in the chapter header are Vedeledev, who is female, and Nalan, he had to be Nalan.  And then other people found the stuff gloom quoted and it became a commonly accepted theory.

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There isn't really a formal theory, the idea pretty accepted though because of how well it It fits. The idea basically revolves around how much Darkness knows, (about Surgebinding, Desolations, etc) and how he seems to act in a perfect perversion of his divine attributes. (ie. the confidence of one how doesn't care in the slightest about anything; the justice of always following the exact letter of the law and never its spirit.) With the recent near confimation that Shallash is Baxil's MIstress, and how she seems to have become the near opposite of her divine attributes, the Darkness/Nalan connection just makes sense.

 

Yeesh, I type slow. I was ninja'd. Twice. :)

Edited by AonarFaileas
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My take on the matter. Not the first time it was posted, as I took some ideas from other forum threads, but it's the closest thing to a formal theory I know of. If the perversion of the divine attributes ends up being a recurring theme among the Heralds, you have me to thank - or blame - for it :P

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the justice of always following the exact letter of the law and never its spirit

 

Not Sure if this is exactly true since his judgements always end in death...

 

I think it is more a case of needing some / any legal justification, but the scentence for any transgression is death to the surgebinder.

 

It seems like this is the only way he can not refer to himself as a murderer.

 

Although, to be fair, we only have two data points Ym (who killed someone) and Lift, who broke into the palace of the ruler of a nation. Both of these may warrant death under the law.

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Thank you everyone, this really helps me see it. It's not that I doubted the idea very much, but I couldn't figure out what the evidence was by reading various posts. While I was very convinced he was a Herald, I didn't see how it led to Nalan. The chapter header evidence is probably the best evidence, with the justice focus backing it up.

 

Aside, not convinced Szeth has Jezrien's blade. The description of that blade in the prelude doesn't indicate it's particularly short, which I believe Szeth's is. So that talk between him and the other Herald might be about something else. It's difficult to understand if the other Herald is referring to Darkness as "my lord" or if he is referring to a third person. Perhaps it's something BS will rewrite to be more clear (I hope he does, honestly).

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Aside, not convinced Szeth has Jezrien's blade. The description of that blade in the prelude doesn't indicate it's particularly short, which I believe Szeth's is. So that talk between him and the other Herald might be about something else. It's difficult to understand if the other Herald is referring to Darkness as "my lord" or if he is referring to a third person. Perhaps it's something BS will rewrite to be more clear (I hope he does, honestly).

 

The companion to Darkness in the Prologue refers to them in the plural when talking about the condition Ash is in. If they are both Heralds, then they both have the same lord.

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Something just occurred to me. The way Darkness' companion phrased "this creature carries my lord's blade," it could be interpreted in a way that suggests that Darkness is his Lord and whoever or whatever they are taking about carries blade. Think about it. It becomes obvious if you use "m'lord" instead of "my lord."

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Something just occurred to me. The way Darkness' companion phrased "this creature carries my lord's blade," it could be interpreted in a way that suggests that Darkness is his Lord and whoever or whatever they are taking about carries blade. Think about it. It becomes obvious if you use "m'lord" instead of "my lord."

 

Yeah that's what I was trying to say with hoping that BS clarifies it in a rewrite/edit. He could be referring to the person he's talking to, not someone else. If he was talking about a mutual lord, he would say "that creature carries our lord's own blade."

 

Which could honestly mean the second man isn't a Herald at all, but rather an underling of Nalan/Darkness.

 

Also, I'm not sure I'd much stock in the idea that Jezrien is the "leader" or "lord" of all the Heralds. His words might carry a little more weight, but didn't he basically say "I was chosen to stay behind and tell you" to Kalak? Doesn't really sound like he gave orders or ruled the Heralds. Kalak even says "even though he hadn't worn a crown in centuries, his royal manner lingered." Sounds a bit more like he was a king in the past AND a Herald, not King of the Heralds. Kind of another topic, obviously, but something to consider. 

Edited by masaru
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Something just occurred to me. The way Darkness' companion phrased "this creature carries my lord's blade," it could be interpreted in a way that suggests that Darkness is his Lord and whoever or whatever they are taking about carries blade. Think about it. It becomes obvious if you use "m'lord" instead of "my lord."

I have a crazy theory that Szeth is being forced to carry an honorblade, so that he will suffer like the herald in the prologue of WoK. The idea behind it was that he was being forced to be an assassin so that his suffering would be a just punishment for all of the killings he committed.  To me it seemed like a perversion of justice, to decide that someone must be punished and then force him to commit the crimes that justify the punishment.  The biggest issue with my (crazy) theory is that Darkness already seems to be a herald who has a twisted view on justice running around punishing people, and I would expect there to be only one herald running around doing the "perverted justice" crazyness.  

 

If he is referring to Szeth carrying Darkness's blade, that would leave me with only one herald doing crazy backwards forms of justice.  (Of course my theory still resides mostly in crazyland.)

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Except Kalak's memories suggest that the Heralds' suffering is very akin to physical torture - he remembers fires and chains, piercing and burning his body. He also refers to the place where this all happens as "that place" (or something to that effect), suggesting that there exists a special place where they all suffer between Desolations; not that they carry the torment with them.

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Well the original reason I thought Darkness was Nalan was a gut "I think this guy is a Herald."  I figured if he was a herald he would be one of the ones in the chapter header.  Since the two Heralds in the chapter header are Vedeledev, who is female, and Nalan, he had to be Nalan.  And then other people found the stuff gloom quoted and it became a commonly accepted theory.

 

Could you remind me how we know which picture corresponds to which herald? It's interesting that Nalan in the chapter header doesn't appear to have the silver scar/birthmark that serves to identify Darkness.

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Could you remind me how we know which picture corresponds to which herald? It's interesting that Nalan in the chapter header doesn't appear to have the silver scar/birthmark that serves to identify Darkness.

 

http://coppermind.net/wiki/Ten_Essences <-That should help with the Herald pictures. The Herald pages on the coppermind all have their corresponding images.

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I think the question was more along the lines of "how did you ever figure out which chapter header image goes with which Herald?" I'd answer, but I no longer remember - it was kind of fun though.

 

About the missing scar or mark... I thought about it a few weeks back. I really wanted to find it and pretty much confirm the theory. No dice, unfortunately. My consolation is that the chapter header images are meant to be in-world representations of the Heralds, something you might see in a chapel, for example. And after all those years, anything but the most prominent features would've been forgotten or distorted. 

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I think the question was more along the lines of "how did you ever figure out which chapter header image goes with which Herald?" I'd answer, but I no longer remember - it was kind of fun though.

 

Ah, okay.  If I remember correctly it was from the Surgebinding Chart, the Heralds are placed in the border in the same order as their respective orders.  Jezrien/Windrunners in the upper-right and clockwise from there.

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It certainly seems possible for it to be Nalan, but there are discordant details:

  1. He is described as Azish, whereas Shallash doesn't fit the racial types on Roshar.  If as some believe, the Heralds predate Honor bringing his people to Roshar, the types very well might not match.  Of course, Nalan could coincidentally fit the Azish racial profile.
  2. Szeth is quite certain that the sword comes from the Shamans, and the Shamans will retrieve it.  In addition to the other discrepancies with the idea that Szeth's sword is an Honorblade, it belonging to some of the constables doesn't fit unless the constables are working with the Shamans.  But the Shamans deny the existence of Voidbringers and the constables claim to be averting a desolation, so I doubt the Shamans and the constables are working together. 
  3. All that we know of the plan for the Heralds was that they were to separate and leave the swords.  While plans can change over the millenia, it seems odd to completely reverse course. 
  4. If the injustice of Darkness's actions is evidence of his being a Herald because the attributes are reversed, then why is he confident?  Shouldn't the confidence be reversed also?  He should be unjust and uncertain.  
  5. The Heralds are the only effective immortals that we know, but it is clear that we know very little really.  If one Shardic investment can make the Heralds immortal, then another could make Darkness immortal. 
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1. He is described as Azish usually - one of the chapters we see him in describes him as being Makabaki, which is a much broader racial description. Makabakam, one of the Silver Kingdoms, existed during the Heraldic Epochs, and if Nalan was from there, then it would make sense for people to mistake him for a denizen of one of the modern kingdoms Makabakam split into - Azir, for example.

 

4. When I first came up with the theory that the Heralds have become corrupted versions of their original selves, I was careful not to describe their new "divine attributes" as being opposites. I claimed their new signature attributes are darker, twisted, perverted versions of their original ones - not polar opposites. So Nalan, for example, has turned from a judge to an executioner; his confidence is replaced by cold indifference.

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The "carries my lord's own blade" is easy to explain...

When the heralds become heralds, Jezrien was king. He (volunteered) for herald, his daughter presumably did the same, maybe some of his men, and maybe some that were not his men.

 

Thus, the phrase above is easy to explain if Jezrien was not Darkness's king (before the heralds were made), but he was the king of the other guy. The deference remained across millennia, so that guy still refers to Jezrien as "my lord". Darkness has no reason to do this - maybe he was a king himself of another land/people.

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1. He is described as Azish usually - one of the chapters we see him in describes him as being Makabaki, which is a much broader racial description. Makabakam, one of the Silver Kingdoms, existed during the Heraldic Epochs, and if Nalan was from there, then it would make sense for people to mistake him for a denizen of one of the modern kingdoms Makabakam split into - Azir, for example.

I guess it partly depends on what you believe about the history of the Rosharans.  I think Jezrien was a king on the Tranquilline halls before he became a Herald and the Heralds were chosen and fought there before arriving on Roshar.  So Nalan could not be from Makabaki.  Even if the Heralds were from prehistoric Roshar, the desolations would have accelerated evolutionary trends.  While the origins of the Makabaki story seems somewhat unlikely, I suspect that they were mostly wiped out in a desolation.  I think the Silver Kingdoms were post-Nohadon and long after the Heralds were chosen. As I said, darkness resembling the Makabaki could be coincidence.  If Darkness didn't fit the racial types like Shallash, it would be stronger evidence that he was a Herald IMO. 

 

4. When I first came up with the theory that the Heralds have become corrupted versions of their original selves, I was careful not to describe their new "divine attributes" as being opposites. I claimed their new signature attributes are darker, twisted, perverted versions of their original ones - not polar opposites. So Nalan, for example, has turned from a judge to an executioner; his confidence is replaced by cold indifference.

Excellent explanation.  Upvote for you.

 

An interesting thing to look for with Darkness is what abilities he demonstrates.  If he can bind surges like the knights of Nalan's corresponding order (skybreakers) he should be able to fly, change things' gravitational vector and blow things up.  The only evidence I see so far is that he does seem to travel quite widely, but of course any ability can be replicated by a fabrial also.  While I can see that he wouldn't want to fly around the palace, apparently she has gotten away from him before.  It should be quite difficult to escape someone who can fly. 

 

Edit: surgebinding abilities

Edited by hoser
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  • 3 weeks later...

I guess it partly depends on what you believe about the history of the Rosharans.  I think Jezrien was a king on the Tranquilline halls before he became a Herald and the Heralds were chosen and fought there before arriving on Roshar.  So Nalan could not be from Makabaki. (1) Even if the Heralds were from prehistoric Roshar, the desolations would have accelerated evolutionary trends.  While the origins of the Makabaki story seems somewhat unlikely, I suspect that they were mostly wiped out in a desolation.  I think the Silver Kingdoms were post-Nohadon and long after the Heralds were chosen. (2) As I said, darkness resembling the Makabaki could be coincidence.  If Darkness didn't fit the racial types like Shallash, it would be stronger evidence that he was a Herald IMO. 

 

 

Upvote, I just wanted to say the same. Though I'm not convinced that the Heralds predated the arrival of mankind on Roshar, they surely existed prior to the Silver Kingdoms. Therefore: + for (1). Unfortunately I can only give one upvote, otherwise I'd give you a second for (2). :)

 

Darkness resembling the Makabaki results from when this description is done: "now". And "now" nobody yet knows of the real origins of mankind.

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