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In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos pays a pretty high price to obtain the Soul Stone. However, it's been shown that he's okay with sending minions to collect Infinity Stones, who later hand them over to him "willingly". It seems that the logical thing to do would be to turn back on Vormir and send a minion to make that sacrifice.

Why would Thanos be willing to make such an important sacrifice?

Two thoughts come to mind - one, that there's a kind of security-check built into the Soul Stone that makes it impossible to hand over the stone. Two, that Thanos trusts no-one else to make this sacrifice and believes that he alone has the willpower to earn the Soul Stone. Both of these feel fairly weak to me, especially the second one - there are always things that people will want more than love, particularly if one's being manipulated by a Mad Titan.

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    (speclation) the most likely option to be me would be that he doesn't want the minion he chooses to then betray him and mind control him with the soul-stone – Ummdustry Aug 1 '18 at 17:55
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    Because the Minions are a completely different univ---oh, wait… – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 1 '18 at 18:06
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    It's worth noting that earlier in the movie, he killed someone else who had already failed to get him one Infinity Stone and lost him another. His trustworthy minions were trying and failing to get two more. The location of the Soul Stone was being actively hidden from him by one of his most-trusted minions. He's not exactly batting a thousand on proper minion support at that point. – Arclite Aug 1 '18 at 18:11
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    I would assume that if you relinquished possession of the Soul Stone, it'd just take itself off back to the misty mountains whence it came – Valorum Aug 1 '18 at 18:52
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    The Soul Stone is not something you get, it's something you earn. – Möoz Aug 1 '18 at 21:29
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Getting the soul stone is highly personal

I mean, there's a reason it's called the soul stone. Further, the sacrifice must be made to get the stone - it says nothing about payment-free transfer. Maybe a minion couldn't even get the stone. In particular, note

Red Skull: A lifetime ago, I too sought the stones. I even held one in my hand. But it cast me out, banished me here, guiding others to a treasure I cannot possess.

Those who do not truly desire the stones for themselves might not be able to get the soul stone.

Red Skull: The price. Soul holds a special place among the Infinity Stones. You might say it is a certain wisdom.

This could be something like the security check you suggest in your question.

A comment on this answer also makes a good point - Thanos seems to be unable to just take this stone by force. He has to make the sacrifice that he does to get it. This makes it pretty clear that the stone has some sort of wisdom, as Skull says.

Rather awful minions

Let's go over some of the minion record up to this point in Infinity War, shall we?

  • The people closest to him - his daughters - have betrayed him. He ends up having to torture one to get the information as to the location out of the other.

  • Minion #1, tasked with getting the stone from Dr. Strange at the very beginning, died. Whoops. (Being a minion for an angry titan has a high turnover rate...)

  • In other movies, Loki failed and Ronan failed to get the stones

  • I could keep going, but hopefully it's clear.

In summary, to quote what might possibly be one of my favorite comments ever:

He's not exactly batting a thousand on proper minion support at that point.

No delay

Thanos' plan is nearing completion, and, to quote Time:

He seems to be making much quicker progress by just tracking down the darn things himself. [...] Now also happens to be an opportune time to attack earth, what with the Avengers team broken up.

Don't want that window to close. Once you really start, you have to move quickly to truly make use of the element of surprise/off-kilter-ness.

Cocky attitude

Think very carefully about what Skull says to Thanos:

Thanos: Where is the Soul Stone?
Red Skull: You should know, it extracts a terrible price.
Thanos: I am prepared.
Red Skull: We all think that at first. We are all wrong.

Thanos thinks he's got it. The sacrifice he ends up having to make pains even him, the guy who's set on killing half the universe - he's not expecting it at all.


All bolding here my own.

  • I like this answer, but you might want to elaborate that the situation makes it clear that there is some higher power -- mystical or otherwise -- controlling access to the Soul Stone. Thanos evidently can't just take it by force, or he would, so it seems like it can only be given to and possessed by someone who makes the sacrifice. That is, if a minion makes the sacrifice, that minion possesses the stone; he or she may not be able to pass that ownership on to someone else. – jeffronicus Aug 2 '18 at 15:30
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    @jeffronicus thanks for the point, edited to update. – heather Aug 2 '18 at 15:37
  • But later the Soul Stone is in the gauntlet and there it changes hands a few times, without sacrifice. It seems after the stone is materialized it can be traded like the other stones – Jacques May 6 at 10:23
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In addition to the reasons given so far, remember that Thanos is a true believer in his cause. He doesn’t see himself as some power-mad supervillain but rather as the hero doing a regrettable but necessary task to prevent greater suffering.

Thanos: Little one, it's a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources, finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting.

Gamora: You don't know that!

Thanos: I'm the only one who knows that. At least, I'm the only one with the will to act on it.

Thanos is also quite explicitly not trying to save the people he cares about. He’s quite adamant that the process must be completely fair

Thanos: Titan was like most planets. Too many mouths, not enough to go around. And when we faced extinction, I offered a solution.

Dr. Stephen Strange: Genocide.

Thanos: At random. Dispassionate, fair to rich and poor alike. They called me a mad man. And what I predicted came to pass.

It would go against everything Thanos is shown to believe in if he was to try to get around the trial by forcing someone else to make the sacrifice. In his mind, he is the one person who can make the tough but necessary decisions and as such has a duty to do so.

  • Thanos is explicitly shown to be a hipocrite. When culling Gamora's homeworld, he handpicked her out of the crowd because he admired her spirit. – Michael Richardson May 20 at 14:51
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There is a far simpler answer to this; he only got the Soul Stone because Gamora took him, she had shown herself to be able to lie effectively to his previous minions and to be able to deal with them easily. So, the only person that he could trust to keep control of her was himself. I also think that she would have insisted he go with her and not anyone else.

Also if he had sent someone else could he have trusted them to give up the thing they love the most and would the Soul Stone have then allowed itself to be given up to him or would it have removed itself to return back to hiding?

If you think through the film Thanos himself took each stone and placed it in the glove, none of them where actually presented to him by any of his minions.

  • “If you think through the film Thanos himself took each stone and placed it in the glove” — not quite. He has the Power Stone in the gauntlet when the movie begins. We don’t know whether he obtained that personally. – Paul D. Waite Aug 2 '18 at 11:33
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    I am pretty sure that there is a quote in the film that states Thanos destroyed Xandar getting the power stone. Need to rewatch the film though for the specifics. – Richard C Aug 7 '18 at 10:25
  • Oh nice nice, yeah worth looking out for. – Paul D. Waite Aug 7 '18 at 11:22
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Because he had no minions who had true love for another. Thanos was the only member of his group that had any love for anything-Gamora. Everyone else was just *evil. He couldn't just marry Promixa Midnight to an Outrider send them to Voramir, then have either one jump off. There would be no real connection, no real sacrifice.

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    How do you know none of them love each other? Promixa Midnight seemed very concerned when Corvus Glaive got stabbed, might not be love but shows there's more of a connection there than you're making out. – TheLethalCarrot May 20 at 14:28

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