This week, Tethyan Books 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 28-32 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!
1.Dalinar made a very dramatic decision at the beginning of this section. Do you think it was the right one? What do you think will happen to him, Adolin and (and the not-united Alethi) if he follows through?
Unless Dalinar becomes a trusted and highly placed mentor to the king, no I don’t think he can unite the Alethi by stepping back and letting Adolin lead the family. And I think Adolin is a little too focused on the gemhearts and still too easily insulted for his to make a solid leader at this time.
If Dalinar were to step away, I would expect Adolin to do a lot more plateau assaults, win some gemhearts, have fame & glory (at least temporarily). Over the long run, I would then expect the Alethi to continue to focus on the gemhearts ingnoring their kingdom’s needs back home, and also not really seeing whatever the Parshendi may be up to. Also, I would expect Alethkar to have other enemies, and those enemies may see an opportunity to take over the home land while the lords are off playing their games in the Shattered Plains.
But Dalinar is going to come to his senses and not step down, right?
2.We’ve gotten to see a little more of Shinovar with Rysn the apprentice merchant. In terms of plants and animals, it seems to be pretty much like our world. How do you think it happened that there’s such an ‘ordinary’ place, or what do you think might have happened to turn the rest of the world so unusual? Given this and the chapter on Szeth, do you have any more ideas on what the meaning of his “Truthless” title might be?
It seems that the further one gets from the Shattered Plains, the more plants, the more soil, etc. The center of the Shattered Plains (or beyond it?) seems to be the point of origin for whatever calamity struck the world. So I think Shinovar is an example of one of the least most affected areas. It also explains some of Szeth’s cultural norms, especially concerning the sacred nature of stone. If bare stone is somewhat rare in Shinovar, then it might very well be revered in some way.
And, hence, Szeth, being stuck in a part of this world where there is little to no soil, starts to question all sorts of things. He considers it sacrilegious to walk on stone, to build with it. Yet he has to admit that it would be impossible for people to not walk on stone and very, very difficult to not build with it as shelter is definitely needed and what else is there to build with? And I think this leads him to just barely start to question his Oathstone. Things are looking very interesting for Szeth indeed.
Rysn and the merchant had a nice little conversation about the need to always be truthful with the Shin, telling them exactly what they have for trade, even undervaluing it. Perhaps this indicates that the Shin prize honesty above many other traits. Perhaps Szeth lied about something important and he was labeled with ‘Truthless’ for it. Shall be interesting to find out.
3. Shallan and Jasnah’s story has returned! Based on Jasnah’s words to Dalinar, and the clues Shallan is picking up, what do you think Jasnah’s project is about? What do you think she hopes to accomplish?
I think Jasnah is researching the validity of the book The Way of Kings. If that book proves to be based on facts, then perhaps Gavilar’s last words will make sense. And perhaps Dalinar’s visions will make sense too (though I am not certain he has shared his visions with Jasnah).
I think Dalinar has started to think of the Parshendi as more than mindless beasts. And Jasnah chronicled Gavilar’s earliest interactions with them. If they hammered out a treaty, were feasting together, then the Parshendi are more than monsters. I think Jasnah wants to unravel that mystery too. Why the Parshendi assassinated Gavilar, or were framed for it?
4. Concerning Shallan, it’s starting to seem that her drawing ability is a supernatural gift. Do you have any theories on the bizarre figures Shallan accidentally drew behind the king?
I think we have seen Shallan draw something similar once before, when she first came to the Palleneum seeking Jasnah out. I think she was in one of the alcoves, thinking a lot and drawing and she draw some ‘fanciful’ figures that weren’t really there. Here, we see she becomes lost in a conversation, in thought as she draws and Shallan ends up with a ‘ruined’ picture.
Shallan wouldn’t have this ability if it wasn’t important. Nor are the figures mere fancies. Brandon Sanderson wouldn’t do such a thing to us poor readers. So, it is a gift, probably an important one, and the figures will play into the story at some point. We’ve heard a lot about the Radiants and the Voidbringers. These figures seem malevolent to me. Also Jasnah said that something had been weighing on the king, worrying him, distracting him. Could these figures have such an influence over the king?
If that’s true, then who else may be affected by such figures? What about King Elhokar? He seems to be too paranoid of his uncle. Could such beings be influencing his interactions with his strongest supporter?
5. Back to the bridge crews, now that we’ve seen a bit more into Gaz’s perspective, does he seem any more sympathetic? Why do you think he owes Lamaril money?
No, I am not sympathetic towards Gaz. He is out for himself. If he showed the bridgecrews any decency, he wouldn’t have to fear ending up in one so much. They way he has treated them, he wouldn’t even get to go on a run before meeting his demise. I am sure a certain percentage of crew never wake. Or have ‘assistance’ leaping into the Honor Chasm.
I am not sure why he owes Lamaril money. Gambling debt? Did Gaz inadvertently piss on the man’s shoes and he has to pay for a new, fancy pair? Maybe he has a weakness for women and borrowed from the lord? Perhaps Lamaril paid for his wounded eye to be sewed up after whatever battle he lost it in; and now Gaz has to pay off that medical debt. All sorts of possibilities.
6. Kaladin has won over his bridge crew, and enacted a brilliant plan to protect them—which utterly ruined the military strategy. Do you think his plan was a good one, or should he have seen the chaos coming? What do you think will happen to him next? Also, what do you think he’ll do if he figures out the real reason why bridgemen aren’t allowed shields?
I think if Kaladin had been given the time to think it through, he would have seen how his maneuver would have wreaked chaos on the field. But he thought of it that morning, or the night before, and the crew only had the chance to practice the side carry a few times that day before going on a run.
I know what happens next. It is a pivotal point in the book. So I won’t give it away. Personally, I found it spectacular.
I am not sure what Kaladin will do once he understands that bridgemen are there to distract the Parshendi, to be easy targets. Hence, no shields. What can Kaladin do? Can he and the men build a shield on the front and sides of the bridge that quickly removes or folds under? Other than Dalinar, is there anyone he could appeal to? And how would he appeal to Dalinar?
The span readers are a very interesting bit of technology (magic?). Also, the men must have code with their family and friends because they must always need a woman to do the writing and reading. What is the trusted woman lies about what is written? Or writes something else? It’s like trusting a translator.
So many spren! And so many ways to catalog them! What was his name again? The man who can basically temporarily tattoo himself and is composing a book on spren? He finally found intoxication spren – cute little brown bubbles!
I found it amusing that Dalinar forgot to indicate that Jasnah’s mom was in the room and Jasnah made a near-rude remark about her. It would be interesting to see some interactions between Jasnah and Navani. Do they get a long? Do they detest one another? Are they rather indifferent?
My Fellow Skyeels!
Lynn’s Book Blog
Musings on Fantasia
Over the Effing Rainbow
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
The Caffeinated Life
On Starships and Dragonwings