Author Topic: <WoK spoiler>Mysterious Death mentioned in Brandon's Stormblessed.com interview  (Read 2732 times)

andygal

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On a side note, could Shallan even wield a Shardblade? I seem to remember them being quite heavy - works well with Shardplate because of that. Can't find reference to weight right now though. Szeth's one is unusually small and he also had Stormlight to boost him. That being said, Shallan seemed to think she could use it, which is why she tried to summon it at one point - that she shouldn't bother trying to use the Soulcaster since she doesn't know how to use it but does start summoning the Shardblade instead, even though she promised herself that she wouldn't use it. So maybe she has used it before.

Actually, Shardblades aren't very heavy (was said a couple of times I believe), I think the main issue is that they are large, so it takes strength to have good control over them, but they aren't actually very heavy. 

And I note that there were swords on the walls of the room, those would seem to be good candidates for spur of the moment murder weapons. And he wouldn't have expected her to do it, so she could have hit him before he had a chance to react.

She said she killed him, when talking to the symbolheads, and they seemed to accept it as a truth,  for whatever that might be worth.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 02:30:32 AM by andygal »

Inkthinker

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Shardblades are exceptionally light.

Tortellini

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I figured the work is in getting the blade turned around mostly. E.g. if you cut into stone ground, you cannot turn the blade (only the ends cut, the flat side of the blade does not seem to do so), so you could either continue the circle all the way or try to pull it out, which would be difficult due to the length. Getting back also would work but nothing else except if you really forcefully twist it maybe...

Stupid observation on the side, if someone is wearing a helmet (or even a hat) you could probably knock them unconscious with a hit of the side of a shardblade. For interrogation  ::)

happyman

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On Shallan killing her father... I certainly have plenty of questions.

Shallan hates conflict / people shouting etc. There's no indication that this is recent. So if her father was beating up one of her brothers in a rage, she would likely flee if possible or probably sit in a corner hugging her knees or something. Was she sufficiently provoked that she overcame that? Possible, but seems a bit convenient - though possibly after taking action once, she became even more fearful of conflict.

Without a good weapon, how could Shallan kill her father? She should be far weaker than him. She has no weapons training or training in combat either. Her father should have both. So for Shallan to have been able to kill her father in a violent rage does seem unlikely.

Did she actually kill him or just feel responsible? Her brothers don't seem to treat her like a killer in the bits we see.

There's also no positive evidence that I remember that her brothers know she has a Shardblade. If she jumped in to save one of her brothers and killed her father and got the Shardeblade there, then they should know. As for not selling the blade maybe they're so ludicrously expensive that they basically can't be sold without huge risks - maybe selling it would be a last ditch option.

On a side note, could Shallan even wield a Shardblade? I seem to remember them being quite heavy - works well with Shardplate because of that. Can't find reference to weight right now though. Szeth's one is unusually small and he also had Stormlight to boost him. That being said, Shallan seemed to think she could use it, which is why she tried to summon it at one point - that she shouldn't bother trying to use the Soulcaster since she doesn't know how to use it but does start summoning the Shardblade instead, even though she promised herself that she wouldn't use it. So maybe she has used it before.

Enough hints to speculate, but far from enough to reach any firm conclusions.

I would suggest that a lot of what you think you know, you don't know.

For instance, as a single counter-example, if she killed her father to protect one of her brothers, but this was because her brother had been beaten senseless and was unconscious at the time, then she could have gotten the Shardblade without anybody knowing.

Also, if her father wasn't expecting her to attack (if that's what she did), she would have a huge element of surprise, especially if she did it from behind.  Training becomes moot in circumstances like that, especially if it was a lucky blow.

I also would not be at all surprised if Shallan's shock at her own murder (if that's what it really was) actually drove much of her hatred of death and murder later.  People are weird that way, and it makes sense to me emotionally.

Thus we don't know what happens, but what speculation we do do should be based only on the bits of evidence that have actually been given, not vast extrapolations that assume things we really cannot know.

These are the things we know for certain and that seem relevant: 
(1) Shallan thinks of the blade as the fruit of her most heinous sin.  Simple grammar and definitions of the terms suggest strongly that "most heinous sin" leads to (in Shallan's mind) "Shallan gets shardblade". 
(2) From what she tells the "truthspren?", she honestly thinks she killed her father, a "deep truth" that deepens her bond with the spren. 
(3) From her discussions of morality (and reactions to the, um, "philosophy lesson"), she thinks that baiting and killing random thugs planning on killing and raping passersby is wrong; from this we can conclude that she abhors murder, both intellectually and emotionally. 
(4) From (2) and (3), Occam's razor strongly suggests that "killing her father" is by far the most likely referent for "most heinous sin," especially since she's never had much chance to do anything else she considers wrong.  Emotionally, I find this conclusion almost unavoidable.
(5) Thus we get "killing her father" leads to (in Shallan's mind) "Shallan gets shardblade".

Most people agree with this logic, but then argue that she may have gotten the Shardblade from something besides her father on that night.  Possibly true, but extraordinarily unlikely.  My logic with this is:
(1) Her brothers apparently know nothing about what happened, either the murder (if that's what we would really call it; it might not fit our legal and moral definitions) or the shardblade.  This strongly suggests they were all indisposed or absent during what must have been a crazy night (that, no matter what actually happened).  Thus what her brothers think is irrelevant except as negative witnesses.  The most important things we know are things they didn't see, which constrains what happened, but only very slightly.  My key point here is:  Something crazy and deeply unlikely happened.  The brothers seem to know nothing about the oddest parts of it, and don't suspect Shallan of being involved.  Thus it apparently happened in a way that seemed mundane to them.  Thus is probably happened fairly quickly, or at a time when nothing was expected to happen.
(2) We know that Shardblades are perfectly hidden from normal people until they are summoned or their owner dies.  Taking a shardblade is as simple as grabbing it, given the chance.
(3) Thus father dies with Shardblade -> Shallan gets Shardblade by grabbing it out of sheer curiosity/complete shock-> it disappears, she claims it, and she wonders the on Earth she's going to do with herself -> it happened so quickly her brothers never notice -> she promptly runs away the best way she can, making reasonable excuses (perhaps destroying the Soulcaster herself?  It's a good reason to leave, after all),--- sounds like an extremely plausible sequence of events.

There are a lot of details not covered by the above theory, but since whatever happened must have been strange, this is the least strange version I can see.  Most importantly, said details can be shoe-horned in without much effort and without bending the basic outline.  Most efforts to deviate from this simple outline almost instantly run into difficulties or unneeded complications.  For insrance,

Anyway, that's how I see it.
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kari-no-sugata

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Shardblades are exceptionally light.

Ahh! Excellent correction. Thanks.

Certainly opens up more possibilities...

Cheese Ninja

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Most people agree with this logic, but then argue that she may have gotten the Shardblade from something besides her father on that night.  Possibly true, but extraordinarily unlikely.  My logic with this is:
(1) Her brothers apparently know nothing about what happened, either the murder (if that's what we would really call it; it might not fit our legal and moral definitions) or the shardblade.  This strongly suggests they were all indisposed or absent during what must have been a crazy night (that, no matter what actually happened).  Thus what her brothers think is irrelevant except as negative witnesses.  The most important things we know are things they didn't see, which constrains what happened, but only very slightly.  My key point here is:  Something crazy and deeply unlikely happened.  The brothers seem to know nothing about the oddest parts of it, and don't suspect Shallan of being involved.  Thus it apparently happened in a way that seemed mundane to them.  Thus is probably happened fairly quickly, or at a time when nothing was expected to happen.
(2) We know that Shardblades are perfectly hidden from normal people until they are summoned or their owner dies.  Taking a shardblade is as simple as grabbing it, given the chance.
(3) Thus father dies with Shardblade -> Shallan gets Shardblade by grabbing it out of sheer curiosity/complete shock-> it disappears, she claims it, and she wonders the on Earth she's going to do with herself -> it happened so quickly her brothers never notice -> she promptly runs away the best way she can, making reasonable excuses (perhaps destroying the Soulcaster herself?  It's a good reason to leave, after all),--- sounds like an extremely plausible sequence of events.

There are a lot of details not covered by the above theory, but since whatever happened must have been strange, this is the least strange version I can see.  Most importantly, said details can be shoe-horned in without much effort and without bending the basic outline.  Most efforts to deviate from this simple outline almost instantly run into difficulties or unneeded complications.  For insrance,

Anyway, that's how I see it.
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The Soulcaster looked identical to the one she and her brothers had found in the inside pocket of her father’s coat.
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It had been sheared in two places: across one of the chains and through the setting that held one of the stones.
From those two quotes I think it's unreasonable for Shallan to have intentionally destroyed the soulcaster. 

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You need to tell me something true, it replied. The more true, the stronger our bond.
Jasnah is using a fake Soulcaster, Shallan thought. I’m sure that’s a truth.
That’s not enough, the voice whispered. I must know something true about you. Tell me. The stronger the truth, the more hidden it is, the more powerful the bond. Tell me. Tell me. What are you?
“What am I?” Shallan whispered. “Truthfully?” It was a day for confrontation. She felt strangely strong, steady. Time to speak it. “I’m a murderer. I killed my father.”
Ah, the voice whispered. A powerful truth indeed….

There's nothing to indicate that her brothers don't know that she was the one who killed their father.  Just because the truthspren accepted it as "A powerful truth" doesn't necessarily mean it was known only to her.  Nan Balat in particular was involved in the events on the night of her father's death, but his 4 pages of the book don't tell us a whole lot.  They might even know she has the shardblade, and thought it would be safest if it was left with her. (If it's unsellable, it shouldn't really matter who's carrying it.)
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If only Helaran had survived. Their eldest brother—then known as Nan Helaran, as he’d been the first son—had stood up to their father repeatedly. Well, he was dead now, and so was their father. They’d left behind a family of cripples.
Now I'm thinking maybe Helaran wasn't a jerk like their father was.  Maybe he made a deal with his father and the Ghostbloods to fight/assassinate their enemies on the frontlines, in order to help out his family.  That would make his death a bit tragic.

Oh, and I didn't realize until now, but Nan indicates the next in line after the current head of House, at least in Vedenar.  Tet = 2nd. Asha = 3rd.  Would the head be referred to with "Jes"?

andygal

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There's nothing to indicate that her brothers don't know that she was the one who killed their father.  Just because the truthspren accepted it as "A powerful truth" doesn't necessarily mean it was known only to her.  Nan Balat in particular was involved in the events on the night of her father's death, but his 4 pages of the book don't tell us a whole lot.  They might even know she has the shardblade, and thought it would be safest if it was left with her. (If it's unsellable, it shouldn't really matter who's carrying it.)

If they knew she'd killed him, Nan Balat wouldn't have thought of her of being delicate and such in his POV. Also, I suspect if they knew about the Blade, Balat would have convinced her to  give it to him.

Although, I do wonder how *they* think he died, it's never mentioned. Maybe they assume one of his enemies sent an assassin to kill him.

Tortellini

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Maybe this was asked before, but I haven't seen it: Couldn't she sell the shardblade somehow? Sure, it would be suspicious as hell, but Sadeas for one would have payed enough to save Shallan's house more than once, and no questions asked.

happyman

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Maybe this was asked before, but I haven't seen it: Couldn't she sell the shardblade somehow? Sure, it would be suspicious as hell, but Sadeas for one would have payed enough to save Shallan's house more than once, and no questions asked.

Actually, this is evidence her brothers know nothing about the blade.  Shallan's relationship to the blade is obviously complex, and it makes sense for her to ignore it, despite it's value, because of the emotional baggage.  If her brothers knew, I doubt they would have decided to hide it.

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The Soulcaster looked identical to the one she and her brothers had found in the inside pocket of her father’s coat.
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It had been sheared in two places: across one of the chains and through the setting that held one of the stones.
From those two quotes I think it's unreasonable for Shallan to have intentionally destroyed the soulcaster. 

I don't see evidence either way from those quotes.  But it's hardly important to my theory whether it was accidental or deliberate, because I believe the rest of the evidence stands on its own.


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You need to tell me something true, it replied. The more true, the stronger our bond.
Jasnah is using a fake Soulcaster, Shallan thought. I’m sure that’s a truth.
That’s not enough, the voice whispered. I must know something true about you. Tell me. The stronger the truth, the more hidden it is, the more powerful the bond. Tell me. Tell me. What are you?
“What am I?” Shallan whispered. “Truthfully?” It was a day for confrontation. She felt strangely strong, steady. Time to speak it. “I’m a murderer. I killed my father.”
Ah, the voice whispered. A powerful truth indeed….

There's nothing to indicate that her brothers don't know that she was the one who killed their father.  Just because the truthspren accepted it as "A powerful truth" doesn't necessarily mean it was known only to her.  Nan Balat in particular was involved in the events on the night of her father's death, but his 4 pages of the book don't tell us a whole lot.  They might even know she has the shardblade, and thought it would be safest if it was left with her. (If it's unsellable, it shouldn't really matter who's carrying it.)

Actually, I'm glad you included that quote, because the part that is most relevant is the Truthspren's statement
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The stronger the truth, the more hidden it is, the more powerful the bond.
(emphasis added)

There is very little evidence is this regard, but evidence we do have suggests that her brothers know nothing of the blade, or what happened with her father.  Given this quote, especially the parts in bold, the fact that the spren considers the truth a powerful truth strongly suggests that she has never told anybody and that nobody knows.  Or at least, that she thinks nobody knows.  Given her brother's POV, as well as their reaction to her plan, I seriously doubt they know anything important about what happened that night, or at least what's important to Shallan.

Logically airtight evidence?   Of course not.  You just have to find counter-evidence just as good when what evidence we do have all flows in the other direction.  That's how logic in the messy place known as the real world (and most kinds of fiction) works.
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douglas

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I'm not sure, but I think Shallan thinks about the possibility of selling her Shardblade in one of her viewpoint scenes.  As I recall, her reasoning says that Shardblades are so rare and valuable that exactly who has each one is generally public knowledge among those who care about such things, and explaining how she has one that's not accounted for would be rather difficult.  In addition to that, there's the difficulty of arranging a sale at all, and that letting anyone know that you're trying to sell a Shardblade is equivalent to telling them that you're desperate and weak - exactly what Shallan and her brothers want to hide - and some people might take that as indication that they could just take the Blade by force because you can't stop them.

Cheese Ninja

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Logically airtight evidence?   Of course not.  You just have to find counter-evidence just as good when what evidence we do have all flows in the other direction.  That's how logic in the messy place known as the real world (and most kinds of fiction) works.

The truthspren might accept 'a truth only known to her and her brothers' to be as good as 'a truth known only to her' for the simple purpose of entering Shadesmar.  You say there isn't any evidence that they know that she killed their father, but if you look at the scenes, they're not blaming anyone else for the death either.  They might be avoiding thinking about her role in the death nearly as much as she avoids it.  Just because Balat thinks of as Shallan as "Shy, quiet, delicate" doesn't mean he doesn't know.  After all, she "took charge" (her own words) and came up with the plan to rob Jasnah and he still thinks of her that way. 

The soulcaster quotes are to point out that she and brothers didn't even know about the soulcaster until they looked in his coat and found it broken.  And that it was "they" and not just "she" that found it, her brothers were there as well when it was discovered.

I'm not sure, but I think Shallan thinks about the possibility of selling her Shardblade in one of her viewpoint scenes.  As I recall, her reasoning says that Shardblades are so rare and valuable that exactly who has each one is generally public knowledge among those who care about such things, and explaining how she has one that's not accounted for would be rather difficult.  In addition to that, there's the difficulty of arranging a sale at all, and that letting anyone know that you're trying to sell a Shardblade is equivalent to telling them that you're desperate and weak - exactly what Shallan and her brothers want to hide - and some people might take that as indication that they could just take the Blade by force because you can't stop them.
I don't think we ever see her considering selling it.  I think the things you said are the reasons we've come up with that she might not be able to sell it, which I agree with, and are true whether her brothers know about the shardblade or not. 

happyman

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Logically airtight evidence?   Of course not.  You just have to find counter-evidence just as good when what evidence we do have all flows in the other direction.  That's how logic in the messy place known as the real world (and most kinds of fiction) works.

The truthspren might accept 'a truth only known to her and her brothers' to be as good as 'a truth known only to her' for the simple purpose of entering Shadesmar.  You say there isn't any evidence that they know that she killed their father, but if you look at the scenes, they're not blaming anyone else for the death either.  They might be avoiding thinking about her role in the death nearly as much as she avoids it.  Just because Balat thinks of as Shallan as "Shy, quiet, delicate" doesn't mean he doesn't know.  After all, she "took charge" (her own words) and came up with the plan to rob Jasnah and he still thinks of her that way. 

The soulcaster quotes are to point out that she and brothers didn't even know about the soulcaster until they looked in his coat and found it broken.  And that it was "they" and not just "she" that found it, her brothers were there as well when it was discovered.

I'm not sure, but I think Shallan thinks about the possibility of selling her Shardblade in one of her viewpoint scenes.  As I recall, her reasoning says that Shardblades are so rare and valuable that exactly who has each one is generally public knowledge among those who care about such things, and explaining how she has one that's not accounted for would be rather difficult.  In addition to that, there's the difficulty of arranging a sale at all, and that letting anyone know that you're trying to sell a Shardblade is equivalent to telling them that you're desperate and weak - exactly what Shallan and her brothers want to hide - and some people might take that as indication that they could just take the Blade by force because you can't stop them.
I don't think we ever see her considering selling it.  I think the things you said are the reasons we've come up with that she might not be able to sell it, which I agree with, and are true whether her brothers know about the shardblade or not. 

Again, your points are not absolutely irrefutable, but extremely unlikely.  If the most powerful truths are the most hidden ones, then I'd consider it extremely likely that nobody else knows.  I see nothing compelling to contradict that, so take it as by far the most likely scenario, pending more evidence.
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