Jump to content

Lift's Past (Theory)


Recommended Posts

So, I was rereading Edgedancer when I spotted several references to Lift's mother I missed the first time. I don't know if there's already another thread on this, but I couldn't find one. Anyway, here we go.

I think the loss of her mother and the subsequent things she went through as a result might be how Lift was "broken", allowing her to have the potential to form a Nahel bond.

There's this WoB that says that there was loss involved in her visit to the Nightwatcher.

From Chapter 5:


I will remember those who have been forgotten. She’d sworn that oath as she’d saved Gawx’s life. The right Words, important Words. But what did they mean? What about her mother? Nobody remembered her.

From Chapter 15:


Storms, she hated waiting. She’d built her life around not having to wait for anyone or anything. She did what she wanted, when she wanted. That was the best, right? Everyone should be able to do what they wanted.

Of course if they did that, who would grow food? If the world was full of people like Lift, wouldn’t they just leave halfway through planting to go catch lurgs? Nobody would protect the streets, or sit around in meetings. Nobody would learn to write things down, or make kingdoms run. Everyone would scurry about eating each other’s food, until it was all gone and the whole heap of them fell over and died.
You knew that, a part of her said, standing up inside, hands on hips with a defiant attitude. You knew the truth of the world even when you went and asked not to get older.
 Being young was an excuse. A plausible justification.


When you were always busy, you didn’t have to think about stuff. Like how most people didn’t run off and leave when the whim struck them. Like how your mother had been so warm, and kindly, so ready to take care of everyone. It was incredible that anyone on Roshar should be as good to people as she’d been.
 She shouldn’t have had to die. Least, she should have had someone half as wonderful as she was to take care of her as she wasted away.
 Someone other than Lift, who was selfish, stupid.
 And lonely.

From Chapter 17, where Lift is in a group of urchins:


After her mother died, she’d been here. She’d been here dozens of times since, in cities all across the land. Places for forgotten children.

From Chapters 10 and 17, where Wyndle asks why she acts the way she does, and Lift later responds:


“Maybe,” Lift said, “I just didn’t want people expecting so much from me. If you get to know people too long, they’ll start depending on you.”


“Everything is changing,” she said softly. “That’s okay. Stuff changes. It’s just that, I’m not supposed to. I asked not to. She’s supposed to give you what you ask.”
“The Nightwatcher?” Wyndle asked.
 Lift nodded, feeling small, cold. 


Their [the urchins'] uncertainty thrummed through Lift. She’d been here. After her mother died, she’d been here. She’d been here dozens of times since, in cities all across the land. Places for forgotten children.


“Earlier today,” she said. “You told me you didn’t believe I’d come here for any of the reasons I’d said. You asked me what I wanted.”
 “I remember.”
 “I want control,” she said, opening her eyes. “Not like a king or anything. I just want to be able to control it, a little. My life. I don’t want to get shoved around, by people or by fate or whatever. I just … I want it to be me who chooses.”

And finally, the interlude in Words of Radiance:


“You don’t even care, do you?”
 “No,” he [Nale] said. “I don’t.”
 “You should,” she said, exhausted. “You should … should try it, I mean. I wanted to be like you, once. Didn’t work out. Wasn’t … even like being alive…”

I think that originally, Lift lived with her mother, who she describes as a kindly, loving person, and that Lift was happy during those early years. Then, her mother got sick, and Lift, for some reason, didn't take care of her properly (or at least she perceived it that way). Eventually, Lift's mother died, and she became a street urchin. At first, she struggled with surviving, but eventually got better at it. During this time, Lift started trying to distance herself from other people in an effort not to get attached, so that she wasn't responsible for their welfare and therefore couldn't be hurt if she let them down. Sometime during this period, she couldn't take doing the whole "being cold and uncaring and emotionless" thing full-scale anymore and visited the Nightwatcher, asking to have her aging stopped. I guess this was an excuse for her to continue to run around flippantly without caring too deeply for anybody (since theoretically, she could say that since she's eventually going to see them die or something, there's no point in developing a relationship).

I think her progression as a Radiant is supposed to help her learn to care again, kind of like how Kaladin's is about giving protecting another try.

If I missed anything, please let me know. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Chaos locked this topic
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...