The Way of Kings Read Along Part III

Stout as a bookstand.

Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Lynn’s Book Blog is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

Chapters 14-19 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1.    After the Chasmfiend attack, there were a number of altercations.  Two of these that particularly drew my interest were: the little scene where Wit ridiculed Sadeas – which seems to be a dangerous thing to do given that this could result in a dual or assassination – any ideas about why Wit seems to enjoy provoking Sadeas so much? and: during the discussion with the King, Dalinar and Adolin – it seemed that the King became fleetingly suspicious – and later in the story the same look of suspicion crossed his features again during conversation with Dalinar.  What do you think is going on in the King’s head in relation to Dalinar?

The Wit likes to challenge those who needs challenging. I think Sadeas is at the top of that list. I also have this theory about Wit. If you have read other Sanderson works, then you know that they all occur within the same universe, or Cosmere. There is also a character, Hoid, that shows up in these different works – here’s a non-spoilery link to a little info on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Sanderson#The_Cosmere

So, I think the Wit is Hoid and therefore, the potential danger of pushing Sadeas to any other idiot to the point of a dual isn’t as serious.

The King is going to be suspicious of anyone who repeatedly tells him he is overly suspicious and paranoid. And Dalinar and Adolin, while dutifully looking into any and all possible assassination attempts, haven’t found anything solid.

Which leads me to wonder if anyone is making half-ass attempts just to screw with the King’s mind, and therefore make him doubtful or suspicious of those closest to him. This could lead to Dalinar and his sons falling out of the King’s favor, making room for someone else to rise in favor.

2.    We seemed to get a little more insight about why the bridgemen are not given shields of protection – what did you think of the reasoning behind this and what do you make of Sadeas – is he trustworthy or not?

Ass!

OK, there is my quick, easy assessment. Sadeas could have the men stage shields and armor at various point among the shattered plains. The bridgemen could then carry the bridges most of the way without armor and shields and then quickly don them before the final few runs. There are ways around this, if speed is of the essence.

Hence, Sadeas is an ass for not caring enough about his men. And yes, the bridgemen are still his men even if half of them are slaves. By not valuing a sizeable chunk of his forces, he will undermine himself sooner or later. Why should those men care about him, the success of campaigns, and hence, the success of  the King, if none of those lords and rulers care even about their most basic needs?

I thin Sadeas can be trusted to do good to those he sees as equals or above himself. So, basically the King and maybe a few of the High Princes, maybe the King’s mother (is she still alive?) and his wife (does he have one?). So, top royalty. I think Dalinar did a great job of explaining to Adolin why he and Sadeas have this love-hate relationship going on.

3.    Elhokar has suspicions about attempts on his life – is he paranoid or not and, if not, who do you suspect might be responsible?

Tough question. Well, I already speculated a little above in question 1 that perhaps someone is making half-assed attempts just to discredit Dalinar and sons to make room for someone else to rise in favor and have more access to the King.

Now, is someone trying to kill him for real? Of course! He is the top most royalty of a newly formed nation. Is there a single ruler ever on any world who hasn’t had to face assassination attempts? Nope. Every ruler needs a Pope-mobile.

As to who? Well, I want to say, whoever is to gain. But I don’t think we know enough yet about all the players. Dalinar and his sons, who would be the first to benefit, are stolidly loyal to Elhokar. Sadeas is an ass, and the narrative keeps pointing us to him, but that seems too obvious for Sanderson. I think we need more info before we can really point a finger at any one faction or person.

4.    Kaladin is a very intriguing character, what did you make of the latest bridge scene where he put himself at the front of the bridge and then his actions following that?  Did you think it revealed anything more about him?

The dude has a pair of brass balls! Not just for taking point on the bridge, but for also going back out into the fracas to haul the wounded back to a safe rock outcropping. I wish he could use those balls as shields, but he seems to have some sort of luck or personal shield. Arrows hit all around him, but not him. At this point in the story, that could be one hell of a fluke. But if it happens on the next run, and the next….well, then it is something more.

I also have to point out that there may be something about Kaladin and fully charged spheres running down quicker. Is he like a battery sucker, stealing the charge from infused spheres merely through proximity? Or is Gaz passing off run down spheres to him as part of his pay, hoping Kaladin will leave them out in a storm for charging and perhaps Gaz will get a chance to steal them?

In any case, Kaladin is special – just for taking point and then pulling his wounded men to safety.

5.    During Elhokar and Dalinar’s later discussion, the king said that Dalinar was becoming more like Gavilar near to his end ‘When he began to act … erratically”  It seems like Dalinar is becoming more like his brother.  Do you think this is significant??

Yes, I think it is important. First, Dalinar sees the current ‘war efforts’ as little more than rich men’s games. And he’s right. He wants more, something glorious and honorable and that truly makes a difference for the kingdom. He studies books that speak of times where there was something truly worth fighting, and fighting for. We saw a mini battle with a fully awake chasm fiend, and that was heart-pounding! But most of the time, these High Princes are breaking open a chrysalis of a slumbering chasm fiend and then merely butchering it. That’s not a battle, or even a hunt.

Then Dalinar has these visions (see the next question), but they seem to be about times when there was true evil to fight, not gem hearts to win.

Which then leads me to speculate about the Parshendi. Did they have Gavilar assassinated because he was close to figuring out one of their secrets? Why do the Parshendi fight for the gemhearts? If Dalinar gets close to figuring out whatever Gavilar did, will the Parshendi be interested in having him assassinated?

6.    We finally witness one of Dalinar’s visions.  Do you think there is any significance about the visions always taking place during a storm and what were your feelings about this particular vision?

Well, there seems to be an obvious link. First, it is repeatable – happens every Highstorm, and it doesn’t seem to happen any other time. So, is the storm allowing him to relive past lives? Live random lives? Is it significant who he saves, or doesn’t, in each vision? Or is it the memories of the mysterious voice who always chats with him? So many questions.

For this particular vision, he retained his own warrior skills and was able to use them in a body of a man who was not trained to be a fighter. So this makes me think he is not reliving his own past lives. Next, I loved that there was a female Shardbearer, which feeds back into my comment about Shallan last week. Next, the Shardbearers had no issues chatting with Heb and his little family; they didn’t look down on the ‘common folk’.

And what the hell were those things! Man, I won’t be walking around in the dark for a week unless I am armed with a fire poker!

Other Tidbits:

Did anyone else enjoy how the Wit treated Renarin? ‘Nothing Ridiculous’! Ha!

I love Dalinar’s forthright behavior, especially when talking with his sons. He use to be a party animal, and was flat out drunk when his brother was killed. I think that really bothers him. But instead of becoming a full-time drunk, or taking a walk into an Honor Chasm, he uses that guilt to be a better man.

I love the little flashbacks we get about young Kal’s life. His first crush. His first stick fight. His brother Tien. All great stuff that fills in some gaps about the Kaladin of Bridgecrew 4.

Nearly all of the chasm fiends are slaughtered while in their chrysalises, making it easy to butcher out the gemhearts. Does anyone else wonder what the chasm fiends would metamorphose into if left alone in their chrysalises?

I think the culture of Alethcar has gotten a little silly from where it once was. For instance, we know that Szeth reads and writes. Perhaps he picked up these skills in secret, but since he didn’t have any hesitancy about leaving Gavilar’s last words in writing, I don’t think so. I think he comes from a place and time where it was common for men to read and write. Next, Dalinar’s latest vision shows a female Shardbearer. She probably doesn’t have to worry about covering her Safe Hand. The current culture of Alethcar seems more fragile and full of frippery than the past, at least based on the glimpses we’ve been given. Anyone else feel this way?

My Fellow Chasmfiends!

Lynn’s Book Blog

Tethyan Books

Lunar Rainbows

Musings on Fantasia

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

The Caffeinated Life

On Starships and Dragonwings

Doing Dewey Decimal

Book Vulture

Novel Reflection

9 thoughts on “The Way of Kings Read Along Part III

  1. tethyanbooks says:

    My answers are here: http://tethyanbooks.blogspot.ch/2014/01/read-along-way-of-kings-by-brandon_15.html

    It’s good to see I was not the only one a little irritated by modern-day Alethkar.

    2. I agree Sadeas was an ass for allowing his men to be killed like that, and saw it as a reflection on all the elite of Alethkar. Even the king kept going on about what a great idea Sadeas’ bridges were, and how everyone should do the same. I got the impression that Dalinar was the only one who saw anything wrong with the idea.

    4. I notoced that about the spheres too. I hope we learn why that happened soon, but my bet is on Kaladin having done something!

    I agree about Alethkar culture. I think a lot of this section was showing us how badly they have strayed from their original purpose.

  2. Liesel Hill says:

    Yes, I agree that the past seemed much for grounded than the present Alethkar. Interesting, that Wit might be Hoid. That’d be cool. Thanks for the link. I really love the idea of characters in different works invading one another’s universes. I do something similar with one of my characters, but of course it’s not nearly as intricate or far along as Sanderson’s work. I’d never thought about what the chasmfiends might turn into if left alone. Interesting idea. Hopefully Sanderson will let us know eventually. :D

    My WoK Post

  3. Miss Mimz says:

    I like how you worded that bit about Wit and his reason for challenging Sadeas and I think you’re right too! And yes, he is a huge ass for having so little regard for members of his crew. He does seem loyal to the King as you said, so I have my doubts about him being involved in any kind of attempt on the Kings life…though he could be trying to make the King paranoid…but it’s too early to tell who might be involved in that half-assed assassination attempt.

    Kaladin is EPIC. Period. Man that dude is like those mythological heroes of old, brave and selfless. Not to mention a healer! He seems to have so enhanced abilities in battle, reminiscent of the display Dalinar gave with the chasmfiend! And I hadn’t clued in to Kaladin’s apparent draining of the spheres until Lynn pointed it out in her post but that’s an exciting thought O.O

    I also wonder if the storms might not be some sort of ‘magical’ fuel…they charge spheres and bring visions to Dalinar…Speaking of which, that vision was AMAZING! I loved how it showed pretty much the arrival of the lost Radiants into the world. I also loved that there was a female in the mix and that they were willing to help anyone. But yeah, those creatures were horrible *shudders*

  4. lynnsbooks says:

    Hey Susan
    Brilliant answers. I found these chapters so intriguing and I had loads of questions! I could have gone on for some time. Thanks for the link to Hoid – I haven’t read about that character before so it’s really interesting – I also hadn’t realised that about Sanderson and him linking his worlds together.
    It’s very puzzling with the King – I can’t make up my mind if he’s paranoid. I’m on a merry go round! One minute I suspect Sadeas, then I think somebody is just playing with the Kings mind. I do trust Dalinar and he also trusts Sadeas so perhaps I should be less suspicious of him – I just don’t like him.
    2. – Yes what an ass – in fact, and I shouldn’t say this but I keep reading his name as Sadass instead of Sadeas – my bad there!
    3. You’re right of course – you can’t be in certain positions in life and not expect assassination attempts, and I don’t suppose having your father killed in such a fashion does anything to calm the overall paranoia.
    4. Kaladin is great. I like that he has *ahem* brass balls! He wants to make a difference and he tries so hard. It’s great that he’s a healer of course but it seems is true way is as a warrior and I really do think he’s using magic somehow and draining the spheres himself. He definitely seemed to drain his last sphere during the last fights – I’m desperately trying to remember how the other two got drained but can’t – maybe it was after he pulled his training exercise???
    5. They got a little bit complacent with the hunt didn’t they. I genuinely have no idea about these Chasmfiends and gems at the moment – it’s a mystery.
    I loved the episode where Dalinar went back and fought with those creatures – and what the hell were they? I’m with you, red hot pokers are definitely the ‘must have accessory’.
    I like Renarin. He immediately understood what the Wit was talking about and he seems quiet and studious. I’m waiting to see what else Sanderson does with that character.
    Lynn :D
    My link:
    http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/way-of-kings-by-brandon-sanderson-readalong-week-3/

  5. DoingDewey says:

    I think your theory about someone trying to unhinge the king with halfhearted attempts on his life is a good one! I also thought that Sadeas might have planned it, with the intent of ending leading the investigation all along. He is such an ass! But I suspect you’re right that he’s at least loyal to the king.

  6. suecccp says:

    1. I like your idea of someone trying to plant suspicion between the king and his uncle – I hope we get some concrete proof of whether or not there are attempts on his life, otherwise I am going to get very frustrated.

    2. Yep – I just can’t help thinking that there are alternatives to the way that the bridge men are treated.

    3. Sorry, but I doubt that even the new popemobile could withstand a chasm fiend attack! :D

    4. Gaz seemed genuinely confused that the sphere had lost its charge, so I don’t think he has a cunning plan about stealing from Kal. It seems much more likely that Kal is using the storm light somehow, but is unaware of it. We saw Szeth drawing storm light from lighting spheres in the assassination chapter, so it would make sense if Kal was using the power in a similar way.

    5. I agree that learning of the Parshendi’s motivation for the assassination will make many things much clearer. I can’t help wondering if they are traditionally on the opposite side to the humans in the Desolation and that Gavilar had uncovered that or was about to.

    Good question about the gem hearts – perhaps they simply want to keep them out of the Highprinces’ hands because they are so useful. However, they might have a similar use for them if they have soul casters of their own.

    6. I got the impression that the ‘voice’ was using this past life to let Dalinar see and experience an important episode from the past. I loved the idea that the Knights Radiant were there to protect everyone, something that the nobles seem to have truly forgotten.

    I got the impression that Tien was a little ‘off’ somehow – high functioning autistic perhaps, with his obsessive collecting of pebbles. It is so sad seeming him and knowing that he dies very young.

    I assumed that the chasm fiend they fought was a full adult . . . now I am really, really scared to think that it was only a juvenile!!

    Yep, the society has degenerated quite a lot. I think Szeth may be able to write because he is a Shin, and they might have different cultural norms. I was struck by the stupidity of men not being able to read the military reports and so having to drag a female around with them to do it . . . very efficient!

  7. Thanks for the link on the Cosmere! They sound interesting, I look forward to what Sanderson will write on them :)

    I love your answers/points re: Dalinar and about the Alethcar society. The more I think about it the more it really feels as though their society is on the cusp of a decline/dissolution/great change. I can’t wait to read further and see how much this is the case…

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