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Themes: the voiceless, the powerless and how we treat them


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So this has been a theme of sorts throughout all of Stormlight, and to a degree the whole Cosmere, but reached a slightly different real-life-applicable context that I think Brandon is trying to frame an unspoken question around.


Many Radiant Oaths look at the powerless, be it protecting the weak for the Windrunners, giving a voice to the helpless like the Edgedancers or freeing the subjugated like the Willshapers. Beyond that we've had slavery, indentured servitude, feudalism, class and caste systems and many other forms of subjugation explored in every book. We've had characters find their voice. In this book, letting people have autonomy, making choices you disagree with, is a key lesson. Kal had to learn to do it. Adolin and the Honorspren did with Maya and the Recreance. 


But in this book, we explored other forms of voicelessness, not "social" though really it's still social, and a look at when it right to live, save, kill or die.

1) Mental health, across the Fused, Kal, his patients, more than ever. The very mentally unwell, whether depressed or schizophrenic or catatonic, in the Alethi society get locked away in the dark because nobody knows how to treat them. 

2) Raboniel's daughter, whom she works so hard to euthanise.

3) Moash deciding to mercy kill people, like Bridge 4, to "save them from pain" 

4) Heralds more insane than ever, and the question as to whether continuing to live an eternal life is the right thing for a person to endure.

5) Deadeye Spren, who are treated as though utterly dead despite their signs of life, surely an allegory to neurologically and cognitively injured patients? 


And we see multiple approaches: do you nurture or segregate?


And when can you kill out of Mercy? Moash seems obviously wrong, and the view of the Spren about Deadeyes being as good as dead seems wrong but is Raboniel's killing of her daughter good, bad or something debatable?

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1 hour ago, IndigoAjah said:

wrong but is Raboniel's killing of her daughter good, bad or something debatable?

On this I think I am going to state a pretty firm yes.  Raboniel presumably knew her daughter extremely well.  She is also next of kin and clearly does love her.  I am going to say that she is working to carry out her daughter's wishes and I agree with people making personal choices to end their own lives.

Edited by Karger
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I thought this book did a good job at highlighting these very human situations. Raboniel euthanised her daughter because she knew there was no way to undo the damage of constantly being reborn does to the daughter. She did mention she tried to prevent it using different scientific tests. But unlike Moash who kills with "mercy" is unemotional and doesn't understand how the person feels at that moment. 
Similarly to the honour spren who treat the deadeyes like the ardents treat the mentally ill, they lock them up and don't give them a voice or try to understand what they are going through. Following tradition on how it has been said to work but refusing to try something new. 
I don't know if that all makes sense but I think you teased out some parallels in the book that make it unique. 

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