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Greatshells and Cultivation


JackAqua

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I recently started asking myself why Cultivation doesn't help out. I mean, if she and Honor had worked together, two Shards against one, shouldn't they have been able to defeat Odium? Why did she let Honor die? 

I thought maybe it was because of her Intent. Like how Rock refuses to fight because it is beneath him, or how Shin revere those who add. But in Cultivation's case it isn't a cultural influence, she's forced to act a certain way. She can't harm, she can only add.

And then I thought of the Tai-na and realized that maybe she does help out, in her own way. What if the Greatshells are not only of Cultivation, but that they work for Cultivation? They collect minerals, and with the help of their bonded Spren pressurize them into crystals capable of holding Investiture (which would fit since "Force Spren" are supposedly of Cultivation). The Greatshells cultivate Gemhearts. 

Because how else would Surgebinders get Stormlight? Honor provides the troops, Cultivation the supplies. 

The Surgebinders and the Greatshells could have worked together during the first Desolations. The Kadrix supposedly ride Greathshells, and everyone uses Chulls. Maybe Surgebinders had access to the Gemhearts without needing to kill the beasts (if the beasts let them), and they just collected the Gemhearts of those who died in battle. 

But over the years the Greatshells evolved into feral beasts like Chasmfiends and "devolved" into Chulls. Now people have to kill them for their Gemhearts. 

Maybe Cultivation doesn't like Honor's sons anymore ...  

 

 

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I like this theory. It considers some very good points. I bet that greatshells probably are designed to give people gemstones.

Also, as you reference Shin culture, it is interesting to note that those in the west tend to mirror cultivation's intent more. It mentions several times in WoK that cultivation dwells more in the west and honor dwells more in the east.

As for Cultivation maybe not working with Honor anymore, which you leave off at... I have a theory founded on exactly that thought. With some elaboration.

There is one point I might need to disagree on here though. I'm not so sure that fighting is completely outside of Cultivation's abilities. All spren lie somewhere on the spectrum of Honor and Cultivation (except for voidspren which are 100% Odium), and some spren that are mostly cultivation can form a nahel bond and result in radiants (for example, edgedancers, but I bet there are others). So Cultivation is, to some extent, involved with creating radiants (otherwise only spren made of mostly honor could bond I would guess). Also, things like the nightwatcher imply that Cultivation isn't so benign as to be unable to hurt someone (nor does it reflect an intent of giving because the net result is balance, not gain)... Also, I'm pretty sure Sanderson once said Cultivation's intent is somewhat compatible with Ruin's intent. Point is, while I'm sure Cultivation is trying to fight Odium and all, I'm pretty sure she is capable of harming people if she wants to.

So, if Cultivation can hurt people, how did Odium stand a chance against two shards? I personally believe he played them against each other a little bit. They might not have ever openly fought each other, but they weren't unified enough to keep Odium from simply killing one of them. It doesn't help that Odium seems to have a knack for turning a shard's intent against itself, using things like the thrill to abuse people's sense of honor in fighting.

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12 hours ago, Drake Marshall said:

So, if Cultivation can hurt people, how did Odium stand a chance against two shards? I personally believe he played them against each other a little bit.

That's an easy one -- Honor and Preservation have invested in Roshar significantly more than Odium has (which is very little -- he's avoiding that as much as he can as per WoB [I'm not even sure if e.g. the Unmade count as investing in Roshar -- they could be world independant]). Investing in a world means less Investiture the shard can draw on, makes it significantly harder to leave that world, etc. If Odium was able to play Honor and Cultivation against each other then he probably could have taken them both out. More likely Cultivation is the one keeping Odium trapped on Braize.

I also have a hard time believe that the harvesting of gemhearts on the shattered plains to the point of extinction (the direction they were headed in as per Shallan) would be something Cultivation would favor. 

On the other hand, the lesser crustaceans with gemhearts might qualify.

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Well, in the very least, it is safe to assume that gemhearts were something that either honor or cultivation designed some life on Roshar to have, partially because these life forms can't live without the gemheart, but partially because these gemhearts can grant humans access to a lot more gemstones than what we might find on Earth. A little bit like how Scadrial probably has a lot of metal on it to mine. Those are natural resources that are important to their respective planets.

Edited by Drake Marshall
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Using gemhearts to form a symbiosis with spren on Roshar far predates Honor or Cultivation, or humans for that matter, arriving on Roshar.

 

I agree that gratshells might assist with the desolations, but the gemhearts were not originally given to them by the shards present on Roshar now. If anyone it was Adonalsium.

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2 hours ago, Argel said:

I also have a hard time believe that the harvesting of gemhearts on the shattered plains to the point of extinction (the direction they were headed in as per Shallan) would be something Cultivation would favor.

I didn't say Cultivation favors this. I said the Greatshells stored Stormlight for the Radiants and worked together with them during the Desolations. When one died, their Gemheart was harvested to be used. But because so much changed during the Desolations, the Greatshells grew feral/docile and the people on Roshar started hunting them, etc. 

 

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Sorry, was skimming through and missed that. Something doesn't feel quite right about that though. Shallan thinks they come to the shattered plains to pupate. If there was a KR order that was heavy on the aquatic side that could interact with them while in water as well --- that would be more convincing to me.

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