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Subvisual Haze

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Subvisual Haze last won the day on September 9 2020

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  1. "I will lead them" or some variant. Kaladin's character arc is to become King. The people want to follow him and if given the opportunity would happily swear allegiance to him. Windrunners have a natural leadership aura from spiritual adhesion. Their patron Jezrien was the King of the Heralds and his two divine attributes were listed as: Leading and Protecting. Windrunner oaths have mostly focused on protecting so far but I suspect they'll end with an oath to take on the burden of leadership.
  2. I would guess because the acid could physically damage the little spikes that grant them sentience. Or dissolve the connecting tissue around the spike so that the spike is no longer "connected" to the body.
  3. I think he's playing up the extent to which he is truly helpless to encourage humanity to look after themselves. He expressed to Wax in an earlier book that he's been over-coddling humanity and as a result they haven't developed quite as fast technologically as they should have. That, plus some of Autonomy's powers investing on his planet has possibly made him slightly more Autonomy-like. I think he's playing a more sneaky Cultivation-like game. Instead of allowing humanity to assume Harmony or his agents will solve the really big problems (both the kandra and Marsh present themselves as practically useless to our heroes this time around), he subtly maneuvers his agents into place and allows them to preform well or choose to heroically sacrifice themselves. Now that we know Harmony clearly can and does lie (to Kel about lerasium, and then again promising that he never tells a lie), I think the really big question this book was who was he lying to about how well the situation was under control? Was he lying to Kel by implying he had things under control? Or was he lying to Wax/Wayne to maneuver them into position to do what needed to be done (knowing that a sacrifice would be required)? e: If you want to get really conspiratorial (not sure if I believe these but maybe) all of Harmony's actions could be viewed a harsher "ends justify the means" light. Maybe he was the hidden hands that moved Blood Tam. Maybe Lessie was justified in being outraged at Harmony's manipulation of Wax. Maybe he similarly "encouraged" Melaan to dump Wayne and go on a distant mission, knowing that the cut emotional ties would make Wayne more willing to sacrifice himself.
  4. The Iri aren't native to Scadrial itself either though. It could be a divergence from a separate original origin.
  5. Kind of a let down honestly. It felt more like another episode in a running serial than a sweeping epic conclusion (maybe past Sanderson avalanches have spoiled me). A lot of questions that were previously teased were just kind of left hanging. Bloody Tam and the unseen hands that move us were the original setup for this whole series, but that whole question just gets brushed aside by a Harmony handwritten note at the end? The men of gold and red were just Autonomy's soldiers with gold skin and red eyes planning to conduct a standard invasion? It feels a bit on the nose. What made Miles and Paalm go crazy and become Autonomy's servants? The Survivor's return has been teased for so long and the conclusion of Bands of Mourning ("Survive!") had me so hyped up for the crazy shenanigans and bizarre schemes Kelsier must have been working on, yet here he's just a guy. He makes a cameo for a couple pages, contributes almost nothing to the plot or future theories, and then is gone. Who made the Bands of Mourning? Why were they in an Indiana Jones temple? What has Kel been up to post saving the South from freezing outside of organizing a bunch of intergalactic nerds who roleplay being secret agents? Marsh is tired and almost dying, the kandra barely exist, Harmony just pipes in to remind us how useless he is. Spook??? It all has a weirdly "Tune in next week!" vibe, when I feel a proper conclusion should be clearing the deck and firmly resolving a lot of these promised mysteries (sure there are always more secrets, but I expected more answers than this!). Obviously there are some very good things in this book. Wayne is great, and Wax is essentially a supporting role to him in this book, which is a fun switcheroo. Harmony's condition and his blatant lying to Kelsier's face about Lerasium makes him a much more interesting/nefarious character moving forward (What else was he lying about? Was he lying to Kel about having things under control, or was he lying to Wax/Wayne about being powerless and was secretly manipulating them into being exactly where they needed to be to save the world as willing sacrifices?). Steris is wonderful and deserved more screen time. Marasi though seems to exist to carry a B Plot and justify cramming a lot of broader cosmere references that don't really contribute much to the plot. I find Autonomy herself quite interesting in theory, with her Nietzschean "will to power" philosophy and respect for those who survive in impossible circumstances. She's a perfect foil to Harmony's over-protection of humanity, and you can sense that Sazed is becoming much more open to her "stop spoiling the children" view of Godhood. The broader cosmere stuff felt kind of underwhelming to me though. This might be a specific taste critique, but I felt a lot of the broader cosmere references/cameos existed purely for the reader to go "I know what that is!" rather than organically advance the existing (ideally self-contained) story. It's just my opinion, but I think Brandon needs to stop trying to straddle the fence on this. Either make the stories self contained with an occasional wink at the more enlightened audience, or expect the reader to have done their homework and have basic cosmere understanding. Nightblood in SA was a perfect example of how to do this well in my opinion. An unaware reader won't understand all the background about Nightblood, but doesn't need to. It's a powerful magic sword, it serves an important function in the plot, the reader can choose to read Warbreaker if they want more background info, but they don't need to because the necessary basics are clearly given to them within the existing story. In tLM though, you have a lot of elements that seemingly exist purely for that recognition dopamine hit. Shai in particular feels egregious because she previously starred in a perfectly self-contained piece of fiction (still my personal favorite of everything Brandon has written) and now is being used for cameo noticing. Overall, this particular book felt like the weakest to me in the Wax&Wayne series. Which is surprising, because generally I've found conclusions are what Brandon does best, but this particular series conclusion felt like a miss. I really really hope he gets the magic back for SA5.
  6. Good catch, this theory makes good sense. They wouldn't necessarily need to glow if they were running on a non Stormlight fuel source (probably using that concentrated Dor to power their magics like the other Ghostbloods). We've also seen Skybreakers going offworld before in that short story set on the aviar planet.
  7. I think the most straightforward answer to this is that Kel is lying to his own people about his actual capabilities.
  8. Ha, I think Harmony is really foreshadowing a certain Survivor outclassing Telsin for the job of Autonomy's avatar.
  9. Very precise wording from Melaan there. I think the clear reading between the line intent here is that other kandra have gone off world short term and/or unofficially. Lessie/Paalm seems like the obvious guess there, that's probably where she got spiked by Trell.
  10. There could also be more than one role that Stormfather is choosing for. Showing the visions is something Honor required. Trying to reforge the Oathpact and make new Heralds isn't really specifically mentioned in any of Honor's visions. Personally I think whoever was behind the plot to make a new Herald (whether Stormfather proper, Tanavast's cognitive shadow, or Ishar) chose Kaladin as the new candidate for that role. It is unusual that Stormfather was dream-talking with Kaladin all the way back in tWoK and has shown a lot of attention to him ever since. The first time they spoke the Stormfather even opened by telling Kaladin that the Oathpact was broken. I almost wonder if the Stormfather was manipulating Kaladin in WoR, playing up the extent that Syl was truly "dead" to speed up his personal growth. Regardless of who set the wheels spinning, fate does seem to have conspired for Kaladin to be in close proximity of Ishar who has expressed brief lucid interest in resetting the Oathpact.
  11. A specific turn of phrase in SP4 caught my eye. Could just be a coincidence, but I think this very specific turn of phrase could be a clue. I've often thought that Nohadon in visions sometimes seems very similar to Hoid. He wrote a whole book of parable type stories that Hoid loves so much. His mannerisms in the Oathbringer dream/vision were also lighthearted in a Hoid-like way. The whole Nohadon dream/vision in Oathbringer felt just like the typical therapeutic pep-talk we've seen Hoid give to Kaladin or Shallan before. Was Nohadon an apprentice to Hoid?
  12. The human shaped outline, thoughts into the mind, having a chat with the person at their moment of death. There's a lot here to remind us of Ruin. It makes me wonder if Gavilar might have metal piercing his body somewhere. So my very longshot guess is that Gavilar is spiked and being influenced by Autonomy. The visions are coming from the Stormfather proper, but since he hasn't even formed a bond or said any oaths the Stormfather is largely ignoring Gavilar and doesn't care if a 3rd party is meddling with Gavilar. Perhaps one of the Terris people incognito in the palace was linked to Autonomy. One theory I really liked was that Tanavast (or someone else) left behind an unintegrated cognitive shadow with the Stormfather that acts and schemes semi-independently of Stormfather proper. With Gavilar this shadow was much more overtly manipulative to achieve their goals (something to do with reforming the Oathpact). Realizing their mistakes, they took a much more distant and nudging approach with Dalinar. Whispering clues for the oaths ("Unite them", "A hypocrite is someone...", "Which step is the most important?") and presenting themselves in visions as a wise old encouraging Nohadon. This does call into question why the Stormfather picked Dalinar as a successor despite the entity stating they didn't plan to work further with Gavilar's family. Perhaps the Stormfather proper is the one who picks the vision recipients and the shadow makes due with what is available? Or perhaps the shadow was being sneaky knowing that an Unmade could be listening in at the moment of death.
  13. The deadeye spren do seem to have limited autonomy and self-control over where they move. Some seem to choose to follow their wielder around, while others chill at Lasting Integrity, or stand wherever another spren wishes them to. I imagine it was by intent that Testament has kept out of sight from Shallan, either Testament's own intent or the actions of the Cryptics as a whole. The hope was probably "wait for Shallan to be ready to accept this", but then they had to move up their plans when Shallan instead seemed to be regressing.
  14. I think the big thing with Cultivation is that she makes plans within plans. Rodium is the direct contrast, he wants one specific outcome and then pursues the goal with single minded focus. Cultivation though is always planning for possibilities and contingencies. Taravangian killing Rayse and becoming Odium was certainly one of her plans, but I'm sure she had many backups ready to implement if critical junctures swung in unexpected ways. In particular I think fallen-Dalinar might have been an aborted alternate plan for killing Rayse. In an alternate timeline where Dalinar did fall to Odium and become his champion, that doesn't preclude him from being a pawn in Cultivation's schemes. She even alludes to as much when she blesses him
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