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[OB] Nightwatcher is of Odium, foreseeing the future is not of the Voidbringers


The Survivor

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So I've had this theory bouncing around in my head ever since finishing Oathbringer. The theory is:

The Nightwatcher is a spren of both Odium AND Cultivation    OR    foreseeing the future IS NOT of the Voidbringers.

Now, there's already been a LOT of speculation going on about the foreseeing part. We know that all Shards can see the future to some extent or another. I'm speaking here of the spren/investiture/influence of the Shards, NOT the Shards themselves.

Dalinar's visit is what started me thinking about the Nightwatcher and Odium. It describes the Nightwatcher as a "shadow" that "seeped from the darkness", was made out of "dark mist" and "[stalked] him like a predator" (OB Chapter 114). The things she suggests to Dalinar as boons are quite interesting and unlike the intents we've seen from other Cultivationspren or Cultivation herself -- namely renown, wealth, skill, beauty, followers, glory, and possessions. Note that these boons align VERY CLOSELY with the Odium-driven passions we see in the Unmade and the Voidbringers! Also compare the appearance of the Nightwatcher, a combination of black and green (dark green mist), with the description of Cultivation herself -- brown skin and brown dress, no references to darkness of any kind.

The other thing that could point to the Nightwatcher being of Odium is THE DIAGRAM. The purpose of the Diagram (as it is currently understood) is to save the world by anticipating, predicting, and FORESEEING the future. The boon Mr. T received included investiture that gave him FORESIGHT. Here's where the second part of the theory comes in: if the Nightwatcher is truly and purely of Cultivation, then FORESEEING THE FUTURE IS DEFINITELY NOT OF THE VOIDBRINGERS.

And really, it's possible that the Nightwatcher is of Odium AND foreseeing the future isn't of the voidbringers.

Of course, there's the whole confusing thing with Renarin, and (to my knowledge) we don't know if regular Truthwatchers can foresee the future or if it some twisted result of Renarin's spren. They imply that it's due to the corrupted spren, but I'm not about to trust that until it's a little more solidified :P not to mention Kaladin's strange foreseeing stunt in Shadesmar.

So what do y'all think? Legitimate theory, interesting idea, or just me trying to anticipate a totally unpredictable all-powerful Shard of Awesomeness named Brandon Sanderson? :D

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I think that Cultivation hates Odium enough that the Nightwatcher being a spren of both of them is extremely unlikely.  Also, Brandon's said that seeing the future, no matter what way you use, is rather dangerous (WoB isn't up yet, it was at the Dec 16 Sugarhouse signing).

As for T seeing the future, it's not confirmed whether he actually foresaw anything, or if his intelligence was high enough to make extremely accurate predictions a la Psychohistory.

Edited by RShara
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Cultivation seemed pretty okay with the Nightwatcher, so she is probably not of Odium. 

As for the foreshadowing, I think it is mostly Vorin superstition. Honor is probably one of the Shards who suck at it, since keeping oaths isn't anything you need future sight for. Odium is apparently kind of good at it, and that is probably where that idea comes from.

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I got it written up just for you.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/314-salt-lake-city-signing/#e8904

Quote

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Second question:  So voidbinding is...one part of voidbinding is seeing the future. And atium is also seeing the future.  And I notice annotations for Elantris, you said something about seeing the future could go weird... sends assassins.  Is that a running..

Brandon [PENDING REVIEW]

It is a running theme in the Cosmere.  And it's...whatever path you take to do it is dangerous in the Cosmere.  It's kind of a sign of...you are in dangerous territory, and drawing upon a Shard that is...

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Potentially <indistinguishable>?

Brandon [PENDING REVIEW]

Potentially...yes...I mean to say...dangerous territory.

 

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Foreseeing is associated with Odium and Voidbringers, in my opinion, simply because it is not associated with Honor. 

Cultivation obviously skilled with future sight in the way she used Dalinar's boon and curse to foil Odium's plan for a champion. 

The Diagram, as I have said again and again, screams of Cultivation's intent. Strengthen the whole through aggressive pruning and directed growth. 

I see no reason to believe that the Nightwatcher is a mixture of Odium and Cultivation. We've been told directly by Brandon that the Nightwatcher is to Cultivation as the Stormfather is to Honor (minus the Cognitive Shadow bit obviously).

Tanavast and Cultivation were lovers. She despises Odium. She tried to help Honor and failed and at this point I believe that she will do anything to see Rayse dead, humanity be damned if necessary. 

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@RShara, yeah, I think it's obvious that foreseeing the future is dangerous, and it makes sense that the Shards who do so are more dangerous. And while we have WOB that Cultivation doesn't like Odium now, that doesn't necessarily mean it's always been that way. On T's intellectual abilities, I don't think we can classify it as just an intellectual thing. He receives and continues to receive the boon he got directly from the Nightwatcher and the Nightwatcher's power. A spren connection. Kind of like Shallan's drawing skills, Mr. T receives or loses ability/sentience/investiture directly through and from the Nightwatcher's power.

@Toaster Retribution 

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Cultivation seemed pretty okay with the Nightwatcher, so she is probably not of Odium.

This was my thought initially too... but we don't really know much about how spren deal with other spren with different intents. There's nothing that says a Shard can't be in the presence of or tolerate a spren with a slightly different intent. It was the boons (intents) the Nightwatcher suggested that really got me wondering, since they seem very un-Cultivation-like.

@Calderis

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We've been told directly by Brandon that the Nightwatcher is to Cultivation as the Stormfather is to Honor (minus the Cognitive Shadow bit obviously).

Yeah, but a spren child or splinter could be of two Shards and still be described as the splinter/child of each, right? I mean, if Sazed as Harmony can hold two Shards with entirely different intents, it would make sense that spren could be of two or more shards. And sorry for the bother... but could I get you to find that WOB for me? I'm really pretty newbie to the shard :P

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18 minutes ago, The Survivor said:

@RShara, yeah, I think it's obvious that foreseeing the future is dangerous, and it makes sense that the Shards who do so are more dangerous. And while we have WOB that Cultivation doesn't like Odium now, that doesn't necessarily mean it's always been that way. On T's intellectual abilities, I don't think we can classify it as just an intellectual thing. He receives and continues to receive the boon he got directly from the Nightwatcher and the Nightwatcher's power. A spren connection. Kind of like Shallan's drawing skills, Mr. T receives or loses ability/sentience/investiture directly through and from the Nightwatcher's power.

@Toaster Retribution 

This was my thought initially too... but we don't really know much about how spren deal with other spren with different intents. There's nothing that says a Shard can't be in the presence of or tolerate a spren with a slightly different intent. It was the boons (intents) the Nightwatcher suggested that really got me wondering, since they seem very un-Cultivation-like.

@Calderis

Yeah, but a spren child or splinter could be of two Shards and still be described as the splinter/child of each, right? I mean, if Sazed as Harmony can hold two Shards with entirely different intents, it would make sense that spren could be of two or more shards. And sorry for the bother... but could I get you to find that WOB for me? I'm really pretty newbie to the shard :P

The thing is, Cultivation loved Tanavast, and Odium killed him.  So her being okay with a spren that's part Odium, to the point of considering it her child, and letting it call her Mother seems unlikely.

Here is that WoB. https://wob.coppermind.net/events/64-firefight-phoenix-signing/#e898

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Questioner (paraphrased)

What is the relationship between Nightwatcher and Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I expected a hard RAFO, but he said Nightwatcher compared to Cultivation is similar to Stormfather compared to Honor.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/62-firefight-seattle-public-library-signing/#e3077

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Questioner

Is Cultivation the same thing as the Nightwatcher?

Brandon Sanderson

They are related but they are not exactly the same. It's more like the similarity between the Stormfather and Honor.

 

Edited by RShara
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10 minutes ago, The Survivor said:

bother... but could I get you to find that WOB for me?

No problem. There's a couple. 

Quote

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/64/#e898

Questioner (paraphrased)

What is the relationship between Nightwatcher and Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I expected a hard RAFO, but he said Nightwatcher compared to Cultivation is similar to Stormfather compared to Honor.

Quote

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/62/#e3077

Questioner

Is Cultivation the same thing as the Nightwatcher?

Brandon Sanderson

They are related but they are not exactly the same. It's more like the similarity between the Stormfather and Honor.

And the  there's this one. 

Quote

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/219/#e7929

EHyde

As Lift's spren refers to the Nightwatcher as Mother, right...

Brandon Sanderson

He definitely calls somebody a mother. The implication in the text is that it's the Nightwatcher.

EHyde

Certainly, so I'm just going to run with that right now. So the question that I'm asking is, is surgebinding in general a melding of Honor and Odium, a la feruchemy being in some sense not directly derivative of Ruin and Preservation?

Brandon Sanderson

It is...Honor and Cultivation is what you mean?

EHyde

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

There are spren of all three Shards, and those spren can work within the bounds of the magic that has already been set up on Roshar.

EHyde

What Shard are Cryptics associated with?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

And a follow up from Reddit. 

Quote

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/131/#e3971

PG_Wednesday

[WoB compilation about spren]

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. With a casual glance, I see at least one here that I might have been fixated on a question that wasn't actually being asked. I do this occasionally, particularly at signings, where we're going so fast and I think someone is asking something that they're not.

In regards to there being spren bonds before the Last Desolation--there obviously were. (We see Knights Radiant in Dalinar flashbacks that are before the Last Desolation.) I think I was trying to talk my way around a different question, without giving RAFO answers, that I'm not going to get into now.

Another sketchy one on this list is regarding whether the spren call the nightwatcher Mother or if they're calling cultivation Mother. I don't think the text of the books actually implies either way, despite what I said. (Unless I'm forgetting something.) For those in the know, with the Nightwatcher being an analogue of the Stormfather, that implication is there--but I don't want to confirm it either way. You'll get more on the Nightwatcher and Cultivation, and their relationship, in the books.

 

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I think we might be reading too much into the WoB that Tanavast and Cultivation were a couple.  That doesn't preclude the possibility that they could have had major disagreements, or fought, or that Cultivation could have worked with Odium at some point!   What we see in Vorin culture is very Honor-forward, with Cultivation reduced almost to myth, which doesn't seem like a very equal relationship between the two of them.  I think there's a lot of complexity in that history which we still have to learn about.

Pet theory:  Odium works by stirring up conflict between others.  eg. getting humans and Parshendi to fight each other.   When he arrived on Roshar, he did the same thing at Shardic level, hammering some kind of wedge into the middle of the Tanavast/Cultivation relationship.  I believe it's possible that this went so far as for Cultivation to have been involved in splintering Honor.

Honor told Dalinar in a vision that Cultivation is better at future sight than he is.  I don't think we know yet whether Odium is good at it or not though?  (or maybe I missed that).  Perhaps the prohibition in Vorinism is not specifically because future sight is of Odium, but because Vorinism is Honor's religion, and future sight = either Odium or Cultivation but definitely not Honor?

Edited by shawnhargreaves
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11 hours ago, shawnhargreaves said:

That doesn't preclude the possibility that they could have had major disagreements, or fought, or that Cultivation could have worked with Odium at some point!

@shawnhargreaves exactly what I was thinking. And I like the Cultivation involvement theory, have an upvote :P

@ScavellTane

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If Cultivation co-opted the Nightwatcher, she would be red in color instead of black-green.

Well... the colors we've seen from Odium are very diverse, including red and gold. If I recall correctly, the scene with Odium revealing his power (I think to Venli) shows every color in the rainbow. And think about the colors of the other spren we know that belong to a specific Shard -- you have Wyndle's green/crystal color as a Cultivationspren, and Syl's light blue color as an Honorspren, but those similarities don't seem to pass to the Cryptic's or Elsecaller's spren. We've definitely got a lot more to learn about spren, their relation to specific Shards, and how that translates into their color and behavior. And think of Voidlight as we see it in the Fused -- the dark mist. It's surprisingly similar to the dark mist of the Nightwatcher, a mist we don't see in any other Cultivationspren or Cultivation herself.

Edit: it's also a lot like the mist/color of the Midnight Mother and other Unmade

@RShara, @Calderis

Thanks for the WOB.

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The thing is, Cultivation loved Tanavast, and Odium killed him.  So her being okay with a spren that's part Odium, to the point of considering it her child, and letting it call her Mother seems unlikely.

Mmm, yeah, I can see what you're saying. But again, there's a lot of history we don't know and a lot about spren and spren intents that we don't know. The phrasing Brandon uses to answer the WOB questions doesn't say the Nightwatcher is exactly the same thing to Cultivation as the Stormfather is to Honor, just that they're similar. And technically, a spren child's relation with a single parent Shard is similar/comparable/identical to a spren child's relation that has two parent Shards.

Edited by The Survivor
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20 hours ago, shawnhargreaves said:

Pet theory:  Odium works by stirring up conflict between others.  eg. getting humans and Parshendi to fight each other.   When he arrived on Roshar, he did the same thing at Shardic level, hammering some kind of wedge into the middle of the Tanavast/Cultivation relationship.  I believe it's possible that this went so far as for Cultivation to have been involved in splintering Honor.

Can we please just get this theory out of here? It's been disproven by WoB two years ago and it still pops up every week.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/97-idaho-falls-signing/#e2729

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Seonid

If Cultivation and Honor were romantically involved, why did Cultivation not help Honor against Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

She did.

 

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21 hours ago, shawnhargreaves said:

I think we might be reading too much into the WoB that Tanavast and Cultivation were a couple.  That doesn't preclude the possibility that they could have had major disagreements, or fought, or that Cultivation could have worked with Odium at some point!   What we see in Vorin culture is very Honor-forward, with Cultivation reduced almost to myth, which doesn't seem like a very equal relationship between the two of them.  I think there's a lot of complexity in that history which we still have to learn about.

Why does that show inequality in the relationship? That's only referring to Vorin culture. If I remember correctly western Rosharan nations worship Cultivation.

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2 hours ago, Agent34 said:

Why does that show inequality in the relationship? That's only referring to Vorin culture. If I remember correctly western Rosharan nations worship Cultivation.

Yes West Roshar workships mainly Cultivation while the East workships Honor.

Of course this is still meaningless because the Vorin Culture is more recent than Honor's Death so We don't know nothing of the Old beliefs.

 

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