Words of Radiance Read Along Part IV

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is our host this week. Make sure to swing by her place to see links to all the participants.

This week we cover Chapter29 through the end of Chapter 39. Spoilers abound below!

1. Sadeas and Amaram are reunited on the battlefield in chapter 29.  Clearly the two are perfectly well aware of each other’s characters – why do you think Amaram has made an appearance at this point in the story?  Any thoughts on how he will affect the politics.  Clearly Kaladin has good reason to hate him – but everybody else thinks he’s wonderful!

Wow! So the deep and blunt conversation these two had – were they childhood friends? Are they lovers? Secret brothers in some secret society? I have lots of questions about their relationship. Later in this section, Amaram tells Adolin that he is the bridge between Sadeas and Dalinar, that he believes in the unification of the kingdom, but also that unscrupulous things must be done to maintain it. We already know that Amaram can do harsh and unfair things for the ‘greater good’. I can just see Dalinar getting burned again. I want Amaram to break Dalinar’s heart, get that over with, so Kaladin can come in swinging and relieve this idiot of his Shardblade.

Yet, I fear that Adolin will end up in a position where he has to duel Amaram, a man he thinks of as a friend. Could be messy.

2. Tyn – a rather short-lived character to say the least.  Who do you think she was working for and what is their interest in finding the hidden city on the plains?  Looking at the reveal regarding Tyn how did Shallan manage to call a Shardblade to her? I was also curious during this chapter about Shallan’s absent minded drawing – she thought a character she’s sketched looked like Yalb – what did you make of this, fanciful?

I was not expecting the death of Tyn at all. This was such an intense scene. Just after a highstorm, crem still dripping down as they hunker down in Tyn’s room with the spanreader. Each sentence coming through and Shallan putting it together before Tyn as she learned about Tyn’s involvement in orchestrating Jasnah’s death. I remember saying out loud, ‘Fuck, now Shallan has to kill Tyn’. Though I expected Shallan would walk off, think about things, perhaps continue to be Tyn’s friend as she gathered more info, and then kill her. But no, Tyn got the description of Jasnah’s ward and hell broke loose.

When Shallan went to call the Shardblade, she knows she doesn’t need 10 heartbeats to summon the Blade, yet she takes the time and does it that way anyway. I wonder what that tells us? Is Szeth a 10 heartbeat kind of guy or not? Do the 10 heartbeats give the Shadesmar place (I assume that is where the Blade resides when not in this plane) something?

Shallan’s drawings certainly are taking on another aspect. She is drawing people how they could be, including herself. So, her drawing of Yalb – is that just her wishing that he and the rest of the crew didn’t perish? Or is he still alive and this drawing let’s Shallan know that on some level? I hope he made it as I miss his eyebrows.

3.  Kaladin’s dream and in particular the stormfather – what is the implication about humans and the spren, the betrayal, more to the point why the stormfather thinks Kaladin will murder Syl?  Why did he warn Kaladin whilst at the same time calling him a little traitor??

So many great questions on this scene! But I don’t think we will have all the answers for some time to come.

I do think that the Stormfather believes that whatever Kaladin will be forced into doing (by his nature and circumstance) may end up killing Syl and perhaps himself. This may be the same thing Pattern is concerned about with him and Shallan.

I don’t know why the Stormfather called Kaladin a traitor. Such a term denotes a knowing action that leaves allies in the dust, bleeding and dying. I think if you look up ‘traitor’ in this context you will see a picture of Sadeas. :) But in this instance, I think the Stormfather must be referring to ancient deeds that Kaladin has no knowledge of. This might also indicate reincarnation as a possibility for the Heralds and Radiants.

As to why the Stormfather warned Kaladin – well it seems, the being likes underdogs.

4.  Finally Szeth makes an appearance and we find out who is actually on his hit list.  Why?  Why Dalinar and not the King?  The other deaths all seem to be Kings and Highprinces.  What did you make of Szeth’s confrontation with Kaladin – not only the fight but their conversation?

First, why Dalinar? Well, one of two answers spring to mind. It is obvious that Dalinar is really the one calling the shots in the Kholin family as Elhokar is a whiny idiot. So taking him out would definitely cause the Kholin-lead kingdom to fall apart. Or they somehow know that Dalinar is following the same path as his brother and they want him dead for the same reason they killed Gavilar.

I think Kaladin’s abilities shook Szeth’s world believes to their core. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to go off and kick rocks in frustration as he worked this out. Now if only Kaladin had access to someone who knows something of Shin customs, myths, and believes? Hmmm… Oh, yeah, he has Sigzil, the Worldsinger.

I found it very interesting that Syl had some definite opinions on Szeth. He has no spren to guide him and none would work with him. Does this mean that Szeth was despicable long before and therefore couldn’t attract a spren? Or is he lost on this horrendous path because he doesn’t have a spren guiding him?

5.  Eshonai – finally succeeds in getting a message to Dalinar with a meeting set up.  How do you think that’s going to play out now she’s released the captive spren – what do you think actually happened during that sequence??

I was pretty surprised that Eshonai got a messenger to the Kholins so easily. I expected all sorts of logistical problems and and potential misunderstandings. Really, I thought we would have a whole chapter devoted to this. But, hey, it was just an aside in 2-3 sentences.

That captive spren turned into red lightning. Eshonai at the last minute wanted to call off the transformation, but too late, already unleashed the beast! Even later, when she returns to her people, that little sane voice deep inside is screaming for her to stop. It sounds like the red lightning Eshonai is calling for true war, a slaughter. i expect many more Parshendi will attempt to make this transformation. And then, I think we will finally see why the Voidbringers are so very terrible.

6.  Finally Shallan reaches the plains- what was your reaction to her first meeting with Dalinar and her second meeting with Kaladin?   She’s chosen to stay with Brightlord Sebarial – what are your first instincts about Sebarial??

Haha! Shallan’s second meeting with Kaladin was awesome! I loved their verbal sparring and I hope for more. And, yes, I also hope Shallan replaces his boots. I am also looking forward to Shallan standing up for Gaz to Kaladin. I really want to see his face when she does that!

Her meeting with Dalinar could have gone worse. She didn’t get everything she was hoping for, but she’s in a much better state now than when we left the caravan. The engagement stands (positive). Shallan is hired as a lesser scholar (not all she wanted). Dalinar wants his son to marry someone who brings something to the table – if only he knew how much Shallan brings to the table! And it seems that Shallan and Adolin share a mutual attraction at this point.

Her move to use Sebarial as a protector is probably a good one. As Tyn said, Adolin needs to see Shallan as somewhat unattainable, in order to maintain the mystique. Also, Sebarial seems to be quite entertaining! I think I am going to enjoy him quite a bit as a character. I don’t think he will make advances on Shallan and I think he is more intelligent than one might guess by him rude and crude remarks. I am guessing that Shallan will draw him a picture of what he could be, and then he will become it.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Sadeas’s wife is the little political player too. And I think she has dry skin, which is why she enjoys having her back scratched so much!

Pattern rocks! He went and summoned aid for Shallan by mimicking her voice and screaming for help. The little dude is awesome!

The men were certainly surprised to see Shallan holding a Shardblade! I wish I could have seen their faces.

Remember the madman who has a Shardblade? He was traveling with Wit. Well, in his babblings he talks about a the Radiants, and how there is a Leadership Radiant. I think that is Shallan.

Dalinar and Kaladin really need to chat frankly about the visions they have. They could really be an incredible team if only they trusted each other a bit more.

The fight scene between Szeth and Kaladin was great! And while I was listening to this scene, the thunder rolled and boomed outside. It was mighty excellent!

Kaladin is going to train with Zahel! Hooray! Well, at least once Zahel the Grumpy has had enough sleep and Zahel the Swordmaster awakens.

My Fellow Surgebinders:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part III

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and I swapped weeks, so we’ll see him hosting next week.

This week, I am our host, so make sure to leave your link in the comments.

This week we cover Chapter16 through the end of Chapter 28. Spoilers abound below!

1) We have a new character on the scene: Zahel, a swordmaster. What do you think of his interest in Kaladin?

Zahel might very well turn out to be a favorite character. I like how he handles Renarin, giving him simple training at first and praising his efforts. I like how he handles Adolin, telling him he is a dumbass for tossing a non-Shardbearer around the training yard.

And I really like how he sees the potential in Kaladin. Prior to Zahel entering the story, I thought Kaladin would be forced to reveal his powers fighting Szeth or the Parshendi. Now I think it might happen while sparring Zahel, or Zahel will guess. Or Kaladin will get in a pissing contest with Adolin and he will start to glow Stormlight.

2) We learned a bit more about Shallan’s past. What do you think her brother Heralan was doing all those years ago, coming and going as he did, and where did his Shardblade come from?

There is so much we don’t know about Shallan and her family. Perhaps Heralan was the one who started working with the secret order (brotherhood? I forget what they are are called) and that is where he got the Shardblade. And then perhaps he had to go run errands for them. Maybe later on, his efforts with this brotherhood go the family the fabrial. Anyway, that is my best guess.

3) What do you think of Shallan’s recent actions with the caravans? How about her growing friendship with Tyn? And her first interaction with Kaladin?

Shallan is turning into a badass character and I like it! I love how she convinced the deserters to be heroes once again, how she took Tvlak’s slaves in ‘payment’ for his life. She is really learning how to be assertive and to use confidence to mask her fears. Oh, and to use her powers to glamor herself up so others are awed by her.

Her friendship with tyn is built on some major assumptions (by Tyn) and a few lies, or at least hidden truths (by Shallan). So I am not sure it will last long. Tyn seems to be able to roll with the punches, but once she realizes that Shallan is exactly who she said she is, I am not sure Tyn will stick around for long.

Haha! The meeting between Shallan and Kaladin was one of my favorites for this week. Boots!

4) Kaladin took Syl’s advice and confided in Dalinar concerning Amaram. What do you think Dalinar will do with this information?

Yikes! I so want to believe Dalinar will do the right thing. But if he has to way the right thing for Kaladin versus the right thing for the kingdom, I am pretty sure the kingdom will come out on top. I am a little surprised that Kaladin decided to confide in Dalinar so soon after his chat with Syl. I expected more hand-wringing over it. After all, Kaladin has HUGE trust issues.

I am not sure how Dalinar can investigate this matter without tipping off Amaram that he is looking into it. So, either way, he has to confront Amaram – either up front or after the investigation begins. Could get ugly, and at a time when Dalinar needs all the support he can get. Yeah, Kaladin’s concerns may be pushed to back burner.

5) There has been yet another attempt on the King’s life. Do you think this is another faked attempt (as Ehlokar did with the saddle girth in Book 1)? If not, who do you think is the most likely culprit?

My first inclination was to to think that Elhokar faked this assassination attempt in order to test his current group of body guards. I haven’t completely dismissed this suspicion. In fact, I think I need Dalinar to kick the king around a bit before I do let go of this suspicion.

But then I thought that it would be a little obvious, right? Wouldn’t that be one of the first things Dalinar would consider? And yet, it didn’t come up. Hmm…..

It appears to be someone who had access to the balcony after the highstorm and who also had a Shardblade. Unless Moash has been hiding a Shardblade in his trousers, I doubt it is him. Perhaps one of the king’s guards who train with the king’s Shardblades?

6) Gaz has returned to the story, after having mysteriously dropped out in Book 1. What do you think he isn’t telling Shallan? How do you think the men of Bridge 4 will react upon seeing him again?

Wow! I had wondered where Gaz had gotten off to, but I didn’t expect this. Desertion takes some balls and I was pretty sure Gaz’s had been removed long ago.

Shallan questioned Gaz about his debts and suspected gambling at the root. Gaz said he rather be turned over to the authorities and kind of walked off. It seems that whatever the cause of his debts, he doesn’t want to tell Shallan about it. Could Gaz be protecting someone? Or is that a little too noble for him. Maybe it is an old family debt and he is embarrassed by it, or a brother’s gambling debts, etc. At any rate, I really look forward to learning more about Gaz.

I am not sure how Bridge 4 will react. Before Gaz disappeared, he and Kaladin kind of had a truce going. So maybe Gaz can earn their respect. It seems most of the men know what it is like to make the bad decision, to feel ashamed, and they have come out the other side, becoming worthy men. So hopefully, they can see that potential in Gaz.

7) Eshonai and Adolin had a brief chat on the Shattered Plains. What will come of it? How will the Parshendi ever get a messenger to Dalinar?

Yet another unexpected turn, at least for me. Right now, only Adolin knows of Eshonai’s request. If he passes it on to Dalinar, I expect that Dalinar will leap on it. But will Adolin pass it on? People already have doubts about Dalinar. If Dalinar starts accepting Parshendi messengers into his camp, what will the other Highprinces do? I can see Adolin having heartburn over this one and keeping it close to his chest while he mulls it over.

I can see the Parshendi using their Dull Form spies to get a meeting time and location (probably somewhere on the Shattered Plains) to Dalinar. Of course, Adolin would counsel that it could be a trap.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Gaz was a source of amusement this week with Shallan’s quip about his breath, and then later Gaz’s quip about tongues!

I didn’t realize how attached I was to Bluth until he exited the story. :(

Those pesky numbers showed up again after the latest Highstorm. I am starting to suspect the red lightning spren we hear about in small bits.

Gaz was the first to take Shallan up on her offer and run off to help the caravaners. Gaz! Of all people!

My Fellow Horneaters:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part II

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE.

This week, Lisa is our host, so make sure to swing by her place (Over The Effing Rainbow) to see her answers and links to everyone’s posts.

This week we cover Chapter 9 through the end of Chapter 15. Spoilers abound below!

1) We learn a bit more about Syl and her connection to Kaladin, and that there are more spren out there, “trying…to reclaim what was lost”. Yet Syl was forbidden to come, and chose to do it anyway. What do you make of this new information?

It sounds like Syl risked an awful lot in coming – not only in the disapproval of whoever/whatever forbade her to come, but also in possibly loosing herself for good and being trapped as a simple Wind Spren for eternity. One of the things that I found particularly interesting was that Syl mentioned that she was one a Wind Spren and Kaladin contradicts her, saying that she is Honor Spren. I think that Kal (and most humans) believe that Spren are one kind and one kind only – they can’t switch from one kind to another. But based on what Syl said, I now wonder.

2) Chapter 10 is brief, but creepy! It looks like Shallan was responsible for her mother’s death, among others, when she was young. What are your thoughts on this scene?

On the surface, Shallan seems like such a simple, even happy, person. She does take everything in stride, perhaps is a bit gullible. Then we get a scene like this. Shallan is really into repressing heavy shit, ain’t she?

I know this is just my impression on the matter, but I think perhaps Shallan’s father had been pushing or training Shallan from a young age to manifest and use her Shardblade. I have to wonder how much of this scene was Shallan doing something wrong, versus her trainer forcing too much on her too soon. I expect we will get more of this story sooner or later and that it will not be simple. We already know that Shallan’s father was a control freak, one of her brothers died in some accident (am I remembering that right?), and at least one of her brothers is a sadist.

3) Highlord Amaram is back, and still has Kaladin’s Shardblade. He also seems to be close friends with Dalinar. Do you think Kaladin will tell Dalinar what really happened between him and Amaram? If so, what do you think might happen?

Well, this is awkward! I expect all sorts of angst for Kaladin and plenty of entertainment for me. If Dalinar puts Amaram in close proximity to Kaladin for some reason, or even orders Kaladin to temporarily take orders from Amaram, I think the shit may very well hit the fan (as opposed to being cooked up for High Lord Sadeas by Rock). I don’t think Kaladin trusts Dalinar enough to tell him the full truth of the matter just yet. However, Amaram may confess it in a moment of surprise or fear (like if Kaladin is holding a blade to his neck).

In Book 1, Amaram seemed sorrowful at the ‘need’ to kill all of Kaladin’s men and brand him as a slave, while taking the Shardblade for his own. He spoke of some greater need. I think Kaladin needs to hear what that greater need is. So if there is some type of confrontation, I expect Amaram will have to explain this. Beyond that, I am not sure. I wouldn’t be sad if Kaladin killed Amaram, but once Kaladin hears the reason, he may not take his life.

4) We get an Interlude, and more, with one of the Parshendi – the Shardbearer who fought Dalinar, a woman named Eshonai. We finally get a real look at the Parshendi and learn a bit about what they’re doing on the Shattered Plains. What are your thoughts on this?

Wow! I loved learning about the Parshendi. Of course, it creates a kind of sweet anxiety too for me as the reader. Now I know things about the Parshendi that would be very helpful to Dalinar (who wants to try to understand them a bit) but of course, i can’t tell him.

I found the whole thing about the different Forms very interesting. In fact, it made me think a little of the Spren and what Syl said about once being a Wind Spren. Eshonai’s observations on humans and that they are always in Mate Form, and how it may cloud their thinking, was funny. It seems they lost some knowledge a long time ago and are rediscovering some forms (like Nimble Form). Perhaps after the last Desolation, all known Parshendi were enslaved and became what is known as Parshmen. And perhaps some Parshmen broke away from humans several generations back and the Parshendi were birthed anew as they rediscovered a few forms.

The Storm Form sounds dangerous. Perhaps we will finally see why Jasnah thought the Parshmen were once called Voidbringers? Could be very exciting, and deadly. This could be the thing that brings Kaladin’s secrets out in the open.

It appears that they don’t have a Scholar Form or Artist Form, and yet, really, really want these forms. I am not sure why. And it seems they need to attract the right kind of Spren because one of them can transform into that desired Form. It’s all very interesting.

5) We also learn that Eshonai wants to speak with Dalinar and sue for peace. Do you think that’s likely to happen?

I think Dalinar’s vision voice (Unite them!) wants the humans and the Parshendi united to face some greater foe. Of course, Dalinar hasn’t come around to my way of thinking yet. And it looks like Eshonai just wants peace or a truce anyway, just to let her people live. She’s not looking for an alliance. What we need is a bigger, uglier, vastly more dangerous foe in order to get these two peoples talking to each other and allying. Will that happen this book? I am guessing no. Will there be a chance or two for some words to be exchanged? I hope so. I want to see Dalinar and perhaps Shallan or Kaladin wondering about the Parshendi.

6) Adolin’s first duel doesn’t exactly go as anyone expected… What did you make of how it was won? Do you think it will force people to take Adolin, and by extension Dalinar, more seriously?

I’m not too sure what came over Adolin, but I was glad to see him treat this bout like a one-on-one war. After all, they are in a war. If that fight had happened on the field, it would have been quick and brutal (just as Adolin performed it). I think Adolin might have grown up another notch. Perhaps he can show the other nobles that fighting is not a game, but is a brutal action taken for some higher purpose? Or perhaps I am asking too much of the talented peacock…….

It will take a while for folks to take the Kholins seriously. Until recently, Dalinar and Jasnah were the serious ones – and Jasnah was off on her research and Dalinar has these visions that allow people to write him off. Adolin is best known for his ability to strut like a peacock, Renarin is seen as a physical weakling, Navani is something of a flirt, and Elhokar is nitwit. With Adolin finally showing a serious side, we shall see.

Oh! And he gave Renarin the won Shardblade! That was nice, though I am not sure what Renarin will do with it.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Shallan manages to rescue herself (with the help of the sea beastie) and some of Jasnah’s belongings. Of course, she’s stuck with slave traders for now. I wonder where this precarious adventure will take her…..

Rysin was quite daring in her trading efforts. Unfortunately, it might have cost her the ability to walk. And was that the tattooed guy, hanging upside down, who was studying all sorts of Spren (what was the inebriation spren he categorized?) in Book 1?

Haha! Sigzil does have a bit of humor – making Rock hang from the stuck rocks just for fun. And that sparring scene between Kaladin and the guys was great, especially when Rock attacked him with a tree!

Shallan lost nearly all her drawings, except for the one of Jasnah that was safely stored in Jasnah’s trunk. I still wonder if there is something more to Shallan’s drawings. Could she possibly capture a piece of a person and imbue the paper with that? Is there any hope that even a small piece of Jasnah is left on this plane of existence to help guide Shallan?

My Fellow Storm Forms:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

Words of Radiance Read Along Part I

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! I am so excited to be diving into this book, and such a great group of folks to be sharing the experience with. Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE.

This week, Liesel is our host, so make sure to swing by her place (Musings on Fantasia) to see her answers and links to everyone’s posts.

This week we cover the Prologue through the end of Chapter 8. Spoilers abound below!

1. We basically get the same prologue from the first book except from Jasnah’s POV. She tells Gangnah that her father’s assassin walked on the wall, and it’s ignored. We also see the Parshendi leaders immediately take credit for the assassin. What did you make of it all? Insights? Impressions? How will this affect the story going forward?

I think it would be easy to dismiss a report of the assassin walking on walls, as Jasnah just lost her father, and so many others during the fight. Plus, it’s been how many thousands of years since anyone has seen a Surgebinder and what they can do. Well, anyone who doesn’t know about Szeth. Well, perhaps the Shin and the Parshendi both have Surgebinders on a regular frequency, but we don’t know that. That’s totally my suspicion.

And the Parshendi taking credit for the assassination right up front like that. Wow! All last book I was thinking that they were framed or used somehow. But with this new info, that may not be the case at all. I wish we knew more of their culture!

If the Parshendi wanted Gavilar dead, and Dalinar is becoming more and more like him, with similar goals, that means I need to be concerned for Dalinar. Perhaps the Parshendi will try to off him.

2. Adolin and Shallan are unofficially engaged. How do you see this relationship panning out?

Snort!!!! OK, got that out of my system. I think someone for the read along of Book 1 wondered what it would be like to have Shallan and Adolin in the same room. I can’t wait to see Shallan unleash her sharp, and amusing, tongue on the poor man. And Adolin could teach Shallan about Shardblades. I expect initial amusement and maybe exasperation followed by some touching mishap that brings them together.

And Shallan was so very practical about it too! She was relieved to be engaged to such a powerful family, and the cousin of Jasnah. I have no clue how Shallan will get to Navani and/or Adolin now, but she’s a resourceful young lady. Good thing Navani was all for the engagement, with Jasnah gone.

3. Kaladin wants to keep his Radiant powers a secret for as long as possible. How successful do you think he’ll be? How long will he remain hidden? Do you think he’ll succeed in training the thousand?

I think Kaladin’s ability to keep his secrets depends on how soon his powers are needed. Since his men are willing to keep his secret, he can train in secret. After all, no one is going around looking for people with Radiant powers….well, no one other than Jasnah. Well, there might be some evil doers doing the same. Oh, and the Parshendi know he has Radiant powers. And once Szeth makes it to the scene to follow through on his assassination (that we learned about near the end of Book 1), he’ll surely recognize Kaladin’s powers. Shit, this list is getting longer and longer.

OK. So let’s say no one recognizes his powers and tells the Lighteyes, because really, the people in power are the ones he really has to watch out for. Then he can keep his secrets for quite some time.

But I expect some thing will happen that forces Kal to use his powers, potentially in some showy way. Like Szeth showing up.

4. Jasnah thinks Shallan’s spren is a Cryptic, as opposed to an Honorspren which is what Syl is. What do you think is the significance of this? What does it mean for Shallan? For Kaladin?

Based on just these two spren, it seems the spren are well suited to their companions. And they appear to have a learning stage. I remember from Book 1 that Syl started off very much like a simple Windspren and over time became more and more communicative and eventually morphed into that full fledged Honorspren. Shallan’s Cryptic (Pattern) appears to be going through the same learning curve. I can only imagine what Pattern will become. Very exciting!

5. How will Kaladin accomplish all of the tasks Dalinar has laid on him? Do you think Dalinar’s plan with the duels will work to stave off civil war and help unite the high princes?

Kaladin is going to have to delegate more work. And I think he is going to have to eventually bring more men into his inner circle. He’s already delegated Teft to doing the basic training for the 1000. Rock and Sigzil have the task of supplying and cooking and training cooks for Kal’s little army. Still, he needs more trustworthy men to accomplish it all. I expect he will be hardest on himself and wear himself out and the others will chastise him for it by stealing all his clothes one day, so that he is forced to stay in bed and rest.

Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing Adolin duel. I know, it’s the little barbarian in me. Still, it is what the culture understands and Adolin can earn much honor for his house in these duels while capturing Shards and teaching the other high lords lessons. Will it help unite the high princes? I am not sure. It could unite them against Dalinar and his family. After all, if Dalinar & family hold the bulk of the Shards within 6 weeks, then the other lords may be quite disgruntled and even feel threatened.

And that voice in Dalinar’s visions that keeps telling him to unite them may not be talking about the High Princes. It may be encouraging him to unite the humans with the Parshendi. Until some greater foe rears its ugly head, that is unlikely to even occur to Dalinar.

6. After the incident with the ship, do you think Jasnah is truly dead? Predictions?

Such a tough question. I actually had to listen to this section twice. Jasnah’s death broke my heart. I have to say that I am pretty sure she is dead, at least her body. Perhaps there is some slight chance that her spirit will be able to chat with Shallan in Shadesmar. I really got attached to Jasnah in Book 1 because she made me think (remember that incident in the alley with the cutpurses?).

I wonder what happened to her spren, Ivory. Will Shallan find Ivory again?

With Jasnah’s death, and Shallan lost at sea (at least until she reaches shore, because I assume we can’t lose two main characters to early in Book 2), I don’t think anyone will notice until the ship is reported missing at their next scheduled port. Eventually word will reach Navani & family. Perhaps they will contact Shallan’s family.

I did sniffle a little at the thought of all their books being lost to sea.

7. What are your first thoughts/impressions of Pattern? How do you see his and Shallan’s relationship developing?

Haha! It was fun to watch Shallan and Jasnah watch Pattern explore his new world and Shallan finding him a bit imbecilic. I mean, Shallan, and even Jasnah, must seem like children (or imbeciles) when they go to Shadesmar, knowing so little.

If Shallan continues to spend time with Pattern and nurture his inquisitive nature, I expect he will continue to grow as Syl did with Kaladin. Also, I think Pattern will teach Shallan about Shadesmar.

Does anyone else want a crawling, talking cryptic tattoo? I know I do!

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Jasnah was meeting with a lady assassin shortly before Szeth struck. She ordered that Elhokar’s wife be watched. I really, really want to learn why, and what the assassin learned. Since Jasnah is now out of the picture, what will happen to her little spy networks?

Shallan and her immense sea creature. I have to say, that is totally me. More than once, I have asked my man to pull off the road 9or done so myself if I am solo) so I could play with some critter. Snakes are a big one around here. Once it was tarantulas migrating to water and mating. Buffulo in a national park….what else, Oh! A moose! My one and only moose! Once we came upon a full grown mountain lion at night on the way home. Did not leave the car for that as that would have been immensely stupid. That cat was in no hurry to get off the road and stared us and the car down.

That was pretty touching about the Bridge 4 tatts and the badges.

Haha! Kaladin thinks Elhokar is a whiny little snit too!

Only 62 days to get things right. I wonder if this book will cover those full 62 days, or if those days will be stretched over multiple books. I can’t see Szeth waiting 62 days to make his attempt on Dalinar. I wonder who wrote the glyphs?

Dalinar’s latest vision was so full of clues and I have no idea where they all go! Spren with red eyes, being hunted? Used as spies? giant rock like beast rising from the riverbed – is it a spren?

I love that Kaladin keeps calling Dalinar ‘sir’ and that he takes the time to explain why to Dalinar. And Dalinar accepts it! It’s great to have these two teamed up.

Is anyone else listening to the audiobook? Why did they change the accent for Yalb and those of his race? They now all sound French, and they definitely did not in Book 1.

My Fellow Cryptics:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

 Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

Words of Radiance Read Along: The Schedule

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Everyone, the read along for Book 2 of The Stormlight Archives has arrived! Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and I plotted and then planned. We are very, very glad to be joined by several other bloggers as hosts and of course, anyone is welcome to join in . If you would like to receive the weekly discussion questions a few days before post date, just leave me a comment to that effect.

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerAs you can see on the schedule, we are still finalizing a few weeks, still awaiting word from a few more bloggers to see if they would like to host. If not, we have several folks who are willing to host more than one week. So no worries. And I will update this post as we finalize the schedule.

The first posts will go up April 2nd, so consider start reading soon, perhaps now.

Week 1 – April 2 – Prologue – Chapter 8 110 Pages Musings on Fantasia
Week 2 – April 9 Chapters 9-15, 105 Pages Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 3 – April 16 Chapters 16-28, 112 Pages Stainless Steel Droppings
Week 4 – April 23 Chapters 29-39, 111 Pages Dab of Darkness
Week 5 – April 30 Chapters 40-48, 107 Pages Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers
Week 6 – May 7 Chapters 49-57, 110 Pages Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 7 – May 14 Chapters 58-65, 102 Pages Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 8 – May 21 Chapters 66-74, 104 Pages  Books Without Any Pictures
Week 9 – May 28 Chapters 75-81, 103 Pages Musings on Fantasia
Week 10 – June 4 Chapters 82-END, 94 Pages Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Book 1, The Way of Kings, was incredible. I am very much looking forward to spending 10 weeks on Book 2 with such a great group of bloggers. Hopefully, my internet service will be daily, if not hourly, for this affair. Haha! Even as I typed up this itty-bitty post, the internet went down twice. Cross your fingers for me (unless you live in a country where that is some sort of rude hand gesture).

The Way of Kings Read Along Part X

Stout as a bookstand.

Stout as a bookstand.

This week, On Starships and Dragonwings is our host, so make sure to swing by her place. Let me take a moment to thank everyone who participated. You’ve all been great and the turn out of co-hosts was far more than Anya and I were expecting when we put our heads together to plan this. Also, a super big thank you to Anya for working with Tor Publishing to pull together an epic giveaway, which added extra fun to this adventure.

There is a tentative plan to do a read along of Book 2, Words of Radiance (which just came out yesterday) but will post more details once I know them.

And just an FYI – my internet has been up and down the past week, which is frustrating when you have drafted up a big post and then can’t save it for 2-4 hours…..and then it becomes lost in the aether. Same with leaving lengthy replies to read alongs on other peoples’ blogs. I haven’t forgotten folks, and look forward visiting everyone and seeing what your thoughts are on this book. Thanks for your patience!

Without further adieu, The End!

Chapters 66-END are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Syl’s true nature as an honorspren has been revealed! She once again asks the interesting question: are spren attracted to their element or do they create that element? What do you think? Do you think there are more honorspren or is Syl unique?

I think the spren are attracted to the element and once they start dancing with it, sort to speak, then they enhance that element. Also, I think if a spren is taken notice of by a human, defined by a human in any way, this becomes a part of the spren, even if only temporarily.

And I believe we heard of other honorspren earlier in the book….I can’t recall if it was Jasnah’s research or Dalinar’s narrative where he is thinking of the book, The Way of Kings.

2. The Parshendi had a whole host of reactions to Kaladin’s power, mostly including fear and awe, though they also seemed to recognize him or his power. Why do you think that is? How do you think the Parshendi hiring Szeth plays into it?

The end of this book left me with lots and lots of questions – of the good variety. Definitely looking forward to Book 2. But the Parshendi reactions to Kaladin are some of the biggest questions for me. They seem to recognize what he is and have some idea of his abilities. They fear him, they hold him in awe, they are practical and take the gemstones out of their beards.

And yet I still have this question – did they hire Szeth or do they simply know what a Surgebinder is because they have them among their own kind? Even Szeth’s narrative never definitely gave who hired him, and definitely not why.  So, still tons of questions around that one.

3. Dalinar makes some pretty intense decisions towards the end of this book, including trading his Shardblade to free the bridgemen and completely changing how he wants to deal with the highprinces. Do you think these were good decisions?

There are two scenes with Dalinar that make him stand out for me in the book – 1) Where he trades his Shardblade for the bridgemen; 2) Where he gifts Kaladin a cloak in his colors, basically making Kaladin just one step removed from Family. Incredible! May Navani be worthy of this man.

Oh, and I thoroughly enjoyed the part where Dalinar kicks the King around his royal rooms after he finds out that Elhokar cut his own girth strap. That was very, very satisfying.

So, now Dalinar has Navani’s backing (and he openly accepts and acknowledges their relationship), he has straightened out the bullshit with the King (assassins everywhere!), and he has a new, certain to be incredibly loyal bridgecrew army. Oh yeah, Dalinar is going to kick some major ass in Book 2 if he doesn’t get himself killed…..like by Szeth.

4. A lot of mysteries surrounding Jasnah are finally revealed! Do you think that she is right and that most Soulcasters do work? Why do you think Shallan and Jasnah both happen to have this soulcasting power? What is Shadesmar really?

Wow, another set of questions that I hope we get answers to in Book 2. I think that Soulcasters may allow people with lesser abilities to tap into the ability. Or perhaps whoever creates the soulcaster can imbue it with some minor abilities. While Jasnah and Shallan obviously have great abilities in Soulcasting – and I don’t know why, but would guess perhaps they are a pair of lost Knights Radiants?

Now for Shadesmar – perhaps this is the place spren come from, like the Symbolheads. I also read some of the links provided by others on Hoid (Wit in this book) and there was a little snippet about Shadesmar (TINY SPOILER ALERT) being the realm that Hoid uses to travel between the various Sanderson worlds (END TINY SPOILER). I expect we will get more info on this Shadesmar in Book 2, especially in how it relates to this world.

5. Szeth is once again on a mission, but this time we really don’t want him to succeed! What do you think is going to happen with him and Dalinar in the next book? Do you think Szeth and Kaladin will recognize each other’s power?

What I hope is that Kaladin and/or Dalinar will be able to subdue Szeth and talk with him and eventually get him to walk over to their side. They may have to locate Szeth’s Oathstone to do this. And since the current Oathstone holder is in Karbranth, Shallan and/or Jasnah may very well put their hands on it. Without Szeth there to protect the King of Karbranth, how would the king keep Jasnah or Shallan from rummaging through his stuff until they found the stone?

What I fear is that Szeth will succeed in killing Dalinar and will be forever hunted by Kaladin for this deed.

6. We finally have a better idea where the Parshmen and Parshendi came from! What do you think the real history is there? How did people possibly enslave the Voidbringers and why are the Parshendi now changing?

Ah, yes! I have been wanting to discuss this the entire book. First, are we sure that Jasnah is right? Are the Parshendi the Voidbringers? All the descriptions we have seem to make the Voidbringers into big whirling dark shadowy beings of death – chaotic and perhaps malevolent. The Parshmen haven’t struck me as particularly Voidbringer-ish. The Parshendi definitely have warrior skills, but are they chaotic? No, they seem pretty organized. Are they malevolent? I am not sure. As we understand so little of their culture, it is hard to say.

But like all people, the Parshendi could have various cultures, religions, city-states just like the humans. I wonder if the Parshendi see the human Surgebinders as their form of Voidbringers? Are the Parshmen the equivalent of the peace-loving Shin? So much to learn about them!

And if Jasnah is even close to right, then a good chunk of humanity has chosen to surround themselves with descendents or distant relatives of the ancient Voidbringers. This could be very, very bad for society as Jasnah and crew know it.

As to why the Parshendi are now changing, I am not sure. Perhaps they didn’t hire Szeth – perhaps it was a ruse by humans as Gavilar’s family assumed, by the Parshendi reaction, that is was them. Perhaps the Parshendi recognized Szeth and his abilities and to them he is a Voidbringer. So they have reacted with in a way that makes sense to them.

7. The last chapter with the Almighty was pretty crazy. What do you think about this vision? What do you think this means for Dalinar’s future and the world’s (universe’s??) future? What is Odium really?

First, I would really like Syl to tell Kaladin whatever she knows about Odium. And I think it was Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers that put forth the idea that this world has Honor and Odium paired. Is Syl THE Honor? Or is she just in service to Honor? We’ve seen how Syl with small words and actions has kept Kaladin going, has helped him make really difficult choices. Could Odium being doing similar things in the opposite direction with key people – like the King of Karbranth? Like with Sadeas? Or are people so selfish and cruel on their own that Odium just has to sit back and wait?

I think Dalinar has already started to make the hard and right choices. He gave up his Shardblade (Syl was very pleased by this, saying it makes him a better man, which now makes me suspicious of all Shardblades), he is openly courting Navani (which was very hard to do as he felt it might be perceived as inappropriate), he kicked King Elhokar around for his stupidity (my personal favorite of his decisions), and he has given bridgemen places of honor in his personal guard. I think the final vision will reinforce all these decisions and push Dalinar to get to the bottom things – like all those ‘whys’ surrounding the Parshendi.

Other Tidbits:

A full-sized Syl! We knew that spren could get big, but I didn’t know a little spren could become a big spren. And she needed Kaladin to say the words! Such a long sequence of intense scenes.

Navani! I am so glad she turned out to be on Dalinar’s side and it was amazing her putting together that ‘Justice’ symbol (rune thingy?) on the ground and burning it to send it heavenward. Nicely done. Intense.

So this large, capable Parshendi fighter spoke to Dalinar – saying something like ‘It is you!’. I forget exactly, but what do you think the Parshendi meant? Do you think they wanted Dalinar alive? Or did they see he was related to Gavilar and want him dead?

The King of Karbranth and his sick ward! I don’t mind him taking the verbal samples from people who are beyond medical help, nor even him and his folks assisting the hopeless cases into an easy death….but they are going beyond that!!!! So, I wouldn’t mind seeing the king end up giving his last verbal sample.

My Fellow Honorspren:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part IX

Stout as a bookstand.

Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Musings on Fantasia 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.

And don’t forget that awesome giveaway that is still going on – both The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance are part of the giveaway.

Chapters 58-65 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Adolin has a change of heart, not only about his father, but about how he views the war. How do you think this will affect the story going forward?

Well, if Dalinar should fall or be incapacitated, or decide to leave, or be captured, etc., then I think Adolin is much more ready to take the reins and lead people towards a real, honorable goal. Not just gemheart hunting. I think he sees the worth now of treating this like a war instead of some tournament game. And along with that comes the understanding of being sober, being uniformed, being armed, etc.

2. Elhokar reveals that he sees figures with symbol heads, which sound suspiciously like the ones Shallan keeps drawing. What do you make of this?

I wouldn’t think that Elhokar and Shallan have a lot in common. Shallan is artistic, brainy, curious about the world around her, a scholar. Elhokar is still a young man enjoying the game of ruling and racking up gem hearts. So I would suspect this means that the Symbolheads are attracted to people who can affect the course of mankind. Yeah, it’s a big guess.

Shallan can soulcast, and we are pretty sure she has a Shardblade. And now she is attached to Jasnah in a way. All of these things together could mean that Shallan will become a mover and shaker of events.

Elhokar……while not the brightest pea in the pod, he is the King. He can drastically affect events with a nod of approval or a tantrum of disapproval.

Maybe the Symbolheads are simply recording history? Following the movers and shakers about real time to write about events in the Human Realm?

3. What do you make of Dalinar’s most recent vision? Was the king he talked to really Nohadon, author of The Way of Kings? If so, what do you think the timeline is? What happened before and after what Dalinar saw? Were the strange, rock-like corpses really Voidbringers?

I think it was Nohadon. In each prior vision, Dalinar was meant to help out, assist, or watch something tremendously important that would change his thoughts on the past event. Like Dalinar helped safe that small family from the Voidbringers. In another vision, he witnessed ‘the day the Radiants forsook humanity’ which was them giving up their Shards. He didn’t understand why they did it, but it wasn’t the denouncement as recorded in the ‘history’ books.

So, in this vision, I think Dalinar’s role was to encourage Nohadon to write his book, planting the seed for later in Nohadon’s life. Nohadon, after the cities are rebuilt, after the farms are back in business, once peace reigns again and he is bored old man, he will sit down and write The Way of Kings.

I am not sure about the Voidbringers and the rock-like corpses. As this is a reread for me, I kind of know the answer to the Voidbringer question. So, I won’t spoil anything here.

4. Dalinar and Navani finally share a passionate kiss, and then start conducting a covert romance. What are your impressions of the relationship? Has your opinion of Navani changed at all?

I am so glad these two finally got some of their feelings out in the open. Well, I really hope that Navani is being honest. I am still a little leery of her, but that might be because of her cold-then-hot behavior of the past (explained by her not knowing if Dalinar was interested in her, or hated her gut). If she is being truthful, then she may well turn out to be an awesome character.

As for their relationship, I expect Dalinar to take the longest to get use to it, especially in public. Haha! And I expect Navani to occasionally enjoy making him blush in public, on purpose!

5. Kaladin’s decoy plan works almost miraculously well. How do you see this affecting the story going forward, and in what way? Address the issue both for Kaladin and his men, and for the war at large.

So if Kaladin isn’t executed for his independent thinking, then I expect that Sadeas (or his underlings) will require Kaladin to do the bone-arrow dance each time his bridge crew is called out.

As for the war at large, this is a trickier question. We know that both the Parshmen and Parshendi become enraged when one of their dead is touched. So I expect that seeing a human dressed in Parshendi bones will become a sign to the Parshendi of what depths of depravity the humans are willing to go to. I wouldn’t be surprised if this stirs them into being more aggressive or resuming raids on the war camps or bringing more warriors, especially archers, to the plateau assaults.

6. So Moash wants to kill someone out of vengeance. Any guesses who or why?

A lighteyes? But that covers a lot of people. I think it is someone who, directly or indirectly, got someone killed he cared about. Perhaps one of the highprinces? Or maybe the dufus king himself? That would be quite an endeavor if Moash plotted and tried to take out Elhokar. Haha! And then Elhokar would be vindicated that ‘someone’ was really trying to assassinate him.

7. Why do you think Sadeas abandoned Dalinar as he did? Was this done intentionally? Was it planned in advance? What are your thoughts?

As this is a reread, I remember this part. So let me just say that my emotions were all a-twist the first time I read this section. It seemed that the visions had been guiding Dalinar, had held true. Sadeas had his chance to gut Dalinar’s credibility with the king and he didn’t. They teamed up and Dalinar saved his ass. Sadeas was even giving The Way of Kings a listen. The two might never be really good friends, but they seemed to have common goals.

And then Sadeas leaves midfight. Is he injured and his men are falling back on established protocol? Does Sadeas see some bigger, badder threat that Dalinar hasn’t seen yet? So many questions!

Other Tidbits:

Adolin’s friends, Toral, Danlan, and Jakamav, all seem a bit vapid. But, until recently, Adolin himself was a bit vapid too.

Adolin seems to be quite the duelist. Resi was a poor loser. I wonder if it is just him (Resi) or if most of the lighteyes who enter these little war tourneys have the same petulant reaction when they lose a duel?

Any speculation on what has happened with Gaz? Kaladin asked Brightness Hashal about him, is he well? And she curtly answered, No. Hmm….well, that doesn’t sound good. But why keep Gaz’s whereabouts a secret? The lighteyes seem to love making examples of people.

Syl had my favorite quote this section: ‘Don’t be so risky. If you die, I go stupid again, you know.’

Followed closely by: ‘Chasmfiend,’ Kaladin said. ‘Really?’ She (Syl) sounded excited. ‘We could chase after it!’

It was pretty freaking awesome when Kaladin trusted Syl by cutting the rope and dropping back down into the chasm. Very impressive!

Navani and her painrial. Now that would be immensely useful on a farm!

Navani figured out that Dalinar was speaking a line from a Dawnchant, in a language all but dead and forgotten. This proves that Dalinar isn’t crazy, but it just seems to raise more questions.

At one point, the Parshendi archers are getting ready to send a volley of 50 arrows at Kaladin, after he’s done his little bone dance and used up him Stormlight. And Dalinar crashes into the back of the Parshendi and saves Kaladin and his men. But the thing that stands out for Kaladin is that Dalinar salutes the bridgemen. Could this be the first, tiniest turning point for Kaladin and lighteyes?

My Fellow Artifabrians:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part VIII

Stout as a bookstand.

Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Caffeinated Life 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 51-57 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What do you think of Dalinar’s latest vision concerning the Radiants? Can you make sense of them? Do you think Jasnah will prove or disprove Dalinar’s visions? And what did you think of Dalinar and Navani’s almost moment? ;)

Dalinar’s latest vision seems to be a moment that went down in history-faded-to-myth, the day the Radiants turned their backs on humanity. I wonder why so many Radiants (all of them?) marched to that fortress and gave up their Shards without a word. If the leaders understood then, they didn’t record it for posterity. And then men started fighting over the Shards! Messed up!

I think Jasnah will do her best for her uncle. I think Jasnah and Dalinar has a good report, but more so, I think Jasnah likes a challenge. And this is indeed a challenge.

Dalinar has it bad for Navani. But at this point, I am not sure if Navani has the same sort of feeling for Dalinar, or is this is just sport to her. Hard to say as we don’t get to ride around in Navani’s head.

2) Dalinar proposes a military alliance with Sadeas. Given what we’ve read of their relationship and of Sadeas’ character, did Dalinar make the right move? How long do you think this alliance will last? Has Dalinar finally gotten Sadeas on his side by using Sadeas’ interests (gemhearts, the Shardblade, etc.) as incentive or does Dalinar have something else up his sleeve?

I know the answer to this question and I will have to walk a fine line so I don’t give anything away.

When I first read this book back in 2010, I was very pleased that Dalinar finally got someone, and not just anyone, but the Highprince of Info, to team up with him. Surely this is a good thing? A turning point in the war? If Sadeas and Dalinar can work together, then the other Highprinces would soon join forces and do likewise, right?

And during my first read, I expected their alliance to last until one of two things happened: 1) Dalinar prohibited Sadeas from using and abusing bridgemen and/or 2) Dalinar discovered something about the Parshendi that prohibited him from slaughtering them.

No, I don’t think Dalinar has anything further up his sleeve because he is such a straightforward guy. I don’t think he is really capable of deception.

3) This is the first time we’ve read in detail what it’s like to be a Shardbearer fighting with Shardblades in battle through Dalinar. What did you think of it?

The Thrill sounds intoxicating! The Highprinces have been treating this war like a game: Who can win the most gemhearts in a season? Who can get to the plateau the fastest? But now we see that the game isn’t the only reason they play. No, the game gives them the excuse to put on the Shardplate and to ride the Thrill. In some ways, this is very human, but in others it is rather disturbing (such as the slaughtering of all those weaker than you).

4) We get a big reveal about what’s happening with Kaladin this week regarding the Stormlight as well as a revelation regarding Syl’s nature. What did you think of it? Given what we know now, what else do you think he is capable of?

I was a little surprised that Teft threw an unexpected punch at Kaladin, with Lopen there. Maybe there just isn’t much privacy in the life of a bridgeman. Maybe Teft felt Lopen would be a good accomplice to keeping Kaladin charged?

And Syl seemed a bit foggy, as if she is having trouble remembering something she knew a long time ago. She binds things, and the changes in Kaladin are caused by the two of them together. And she brings up a good point – do Flame Spren cause fire? Or are they attracted to it? And then Kaladin goes into his ‘I’m cursed!’ mode and Syl feels understandably hurt by this. Since Syl is a part of the change, is she the curse, or part of it? I don’t think so. I would feel quite sad if Kaladin and Syl stopped doing whatever it is they are doing, mostly because Syl would fade back into a near-mindless Spren.

As for what Kaladin is capable of, well we just saw him bind a pack to barrel. So, I think, with time, he will be able to do many if not all of the things that Szeth can do. We’ve also seen him ride the Highstorms in some manner. I expect he’ll have a few more tricks for us.

5) Kaladin initially blames his curse as the reason why people around him keep dying. Is there some truth to his claims, that this binding ability has some correlation with the casualty count around him, or is Kaladin simply grieving over recent losses? If the former, do you think this might have any connection to what the Radiants are and whatever happened to them?

I think Kaladin is grieving losses, and not just the recent ones. But perhaps even as far back as Laral’s father and the loss of that life – the possible path of marrying Laral and becoming a surgeon. Of course Tien, I think he will always grieve over. Then all the men he tried to protect. He goes on and on about all those he tries to protect end up dead. But I think Kaladin forgets that many of those, especially the military men, tried to protect him too. Did their efforts save him from torment? From a slave brand? From being placed on a bridge crew?

6) Wit/Hoid is turning out to be more than just the life of the party and a thorn on the sides of the other highprinces. As we’ve seen, he’s not very playful with Dalinar and is quite sober, even ominous, with Kaladin. What did you think of his conversations with Dalinar and with Kaladin? What do you think he’s up to? How does he factor in with everything else that’s going on at the moment (or what’s to come)?

I think Hoid has a bigger picture than the Highprinces and the bridge crews. So I think he is trying to help these two, as he can see they are pivotal to whatever is to come. I love his intensity!

Hoid asks Dalinar if her has ever heard of Adonalsium. Dalinar hasn’t, but I have the power of El Internet, so here is a link to info on Adonalsium. Beware that it is a little spoilery (big, giant over arching world building kind of stuff).

The conversation he had with Kaladin, with the flute and the fire, was deep. I expect Kaladin will be thinking about that for some time to come. I liked the story Hoid told of the people who blamed all their killings on their ruler….who had been dead for years. Hoid uses this story to point out how people, for various reasons, use some higher power (whether Earthly or spiritual) to blame their damaging actions on. Avoiding responsibility. I see Szeth caught in this trap. While he despises himself for the killing, he keeps doing it because this higher power (his master via the Oath Stone, a deep part of his culture) tells him he has to. Perhaps Hoid needs to pay Szeth a visit and give the same talk?

And Kaladin fears his power (or curse as he sees it). But he also uses that believe that he is cursed, that he can’t do anything about it, that he is doomed to bring bad luck upon those around him, as a crutch. I think he needs to let go of that before he can reach his full potential.

And Sigzil was Hoid’s apprentice???? How do you think Sigzil will react when Kaladin passes on Hoid’s message? Why did Sigzil try to kill him?

Other Tidbits:

We finally learned all the truth of how Kaladin ended up with a slave brand. I want to give Amaram a good kick to his tender bits. But I also want to ask him why he felt what he did was necessary. It seemed that there was something more than greed motivating him.

Ooo! The Old Magic! Baxil mentions it during one of the Interludes (and what the hell were they doing breaking precious objects and then fleeing?). Anyway, Baxil is considering asking his boon of the Nightwatcher. What would you ask? What do you think your curse would be? And Dalinar received a boon and a curse. I believe his curse to be losing the memories of his wife. What do you think his boon was? I wonder if it was something to do with his younger, sickly son, Renarin.

What do you think Geranid’s and Ashir’s recent discovery of measuring and recording Spren means? Seems the Spren to some extent are defined by those who take note of them, or interact with them. Hmmm… I wonder what this means for Kaladin’s and Syl’s relationship?

Szeth slaughtered a lot of people at the Jah Keved King’s feast. I know that Szeth feels trapped in this existence, feels he must carry out these orders. And yet…..Well, Kaladin or Jasnah or Dalinar may just have to put him down.

Moash seems to have taken a more active role in the crew, keeping Kaladin from getting trampled when he went for Dunny.

So Sadeas found Dalinar to not be at the root of the King’s cut saddle strap. Do you trust Sadeas now? When I first read this book, I definitely perked up at this and had hopes that Sadeas, Dalinar, & Elhokar would make a kind of triumvirate that united all.

Shen was seriously disturbed by the Bridgemen scavenging the Parshendi dead. He struggled but didn’t injure anyone. I wish he would talk a bit, or that Kaladin would take the time to try to get more than a word out of him.

My Fellow Wits:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part VII

Stout as a bookstand.

Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers 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 43-50 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. What did you think of the replacement for the delightful Lamaril, or rather, what did you make of his wife, who seems to do all his work? She assumes that chasm duty is the worst punishment that she can throw at the bridge crew, so were you surprised that Kaladin saw an opportunity in it so quickly?

Well, Lamaril, even though we saw very little of him, seemed quite a dishonorable fellow. I wasn’t too sad to see him lose his head. But, alas, now we have this she-devil of a light eyed woman who is pretty hard-nosed. I don’t think this is a good change for any of the bridge crews. Her husband, Brightlord Matal, seems to be a non-entity, merely a tool for Brightness Hashal to use.

And Kaladin barely kept his temper in check. He knew he could take the guard, maybe several of them. But the outcome would still be a nasty beating for him and possibly for his men. So, instead he took a hit to the head. Yet one more opportunity for brain damage. Haha! Perhaps that is causing his visions? Just kidding.

Chasm duty seems the perfect opportunity to plot and train. Even gather some supplies, if only they had a way to keep them. Once they come up out of the chasm, they are thoroughly strip searched. Orifice searched, if I understand correctly. Ugh….No wonder it is the least desirable duty.

2. Please use this opportunity to list all the imaginative ways that you would like Roshone to suffer for forcing poor little Tien into the army.

Roshone is suffering partly through his own personality and partly through the loss of his son. He hated being assigned to Hearth Stone, seeing it as a backwards ass place not worthy of his care. Basically, he was a pretty unhappy and angry man before losing his son.

But even through that pain, he punishes the surgeon who saved him. Maybe that is part of the reason he is punishing Lirin and his family – because Roshone would rather have died than live to bury his son.

But, yeah, the dude should not be in charge of anything, unless it is a pigsty and his only ‘underling’ is his pitchfork. Even Lord Amaram seemed a bit disgusted with being drawn into Roshone’s little ‘feud’.

3. Finally, somebody is asking questions about the inconstancy of the Parshendi artifacts and how Gavilar changed in the months leading up to his death. What do you make of the accounts that Shallan is reading? Also, what do you think about Shen, the Parshman added to the bridge crew?

We know from a few things now, like the chasm duty scavenging, that the Parshendi have beautifully crafted weapons. Seems pretty sophisticated for ‘barbarian savages’, yes? From Gavilar’s encounters with the Parshendi, we know they have their own language and also religion. So I wonder where are the scholars today that did all this translation for Gavilar & crew while they were hunting with the Parshendi? Are they no longer used? Did they die? What do they think of the current war?

And the Parshendi are confused by the Parshmen. This makes me think that if they are related, they have been separated for some time. Like divergent evolution. And the Parshendi singing? Being in sync even when they are not within earshot? telepathy? Or perhaps they communicate on a lower frequency that more humans can’t hear – like elephants. Yep. I just compared the Parshendi to elephants. But you didn’t see that coming, haha!

I am glad that Kaladin refuses to treat Shen as so much of the army treats the bridgecrews. I am glad he sees that if he behaves the bully towards Shen, then he is really no better than Gaz, or Lamaril or Hashal, etc.

4. Shallan has some seriously bizarre visions or hallucinations. Do you have any new ideas about the nature of the symbol-headed figures: are they good or evil? What about the alternative world and the beads: could that really have been the soul or essence of the goblet that she spoke to before it changed into blood?

I remember a little about this from the first time I read the book. While I we get a little more info in this book (and I won’t spoil anything), we are left with some questions at the end.

The Symbolheads seemed intensely curious about Shallan and her ability to to see them. I wonder how much of our world they can perceive? Can they see her drawings? She said that as they came towards her in a crowd, they went around the people. So that implies that they can see much of our world, and for whatever reason, don’t want to bump into, or go through, people.

And WTF? Talking beads? A see of them? And some bigger entity? Somehow that world is connected to ours and Shallan was able to enter it and influence a small piece of her regular world (the goblet). Is this what Soulcasters do all the time? Or is Shallan doing something different that gives the same results?

5. Does Kaladin’s dream / vision seem similar to those that Dalinar has been having? He is called the ‘Child of Tanavast, Child of Honor’ and there is mention of an entity called Odium, who appears to be rather bad. Do you have any speculation about these two beings, how they fit into the world that we have seen so far and why the name Odium makes Syl hiss and fly off?

Kaladin, alight within the storm, can see a symmetry to the Shattered Plains. What does that mean? We’ve heard Kabsal talk about certain cities being symmetrical. Was there once a city on the place now known as the Shattered Plains which was symmetrical? Could that city have been Urithiru? I am totally stretching my imagination at this point and not really answering the questions.

Yes, I think Kaladin’s storm vision is very similar to Dalinar’s visions. I can’t wait for these two to meet, during a highstorm!

I expect that Odium is an odious being causing disgust, abhorrence, and hatred throughout the land. Asshole! And he is the most dangerous of the 16. So there are 16 assholes? I wonder what the others are called – calumny, vilification, obloquy, vituperation?

It is interesting that Syl knows that name in some way. It appeared instinctual, her flying off. I noticed that she didn’t explain herself to Kaladin and I don’t think she would forget so quickly. So it is something she doesn’t want to chat about.

Oh! And during Kaladin’s storm flight, he saw a bald man in white standing over 2 bodies. I think he saw Szeth!And what’s more, it appears that Szeth sensed Kaladin some how. Freaky! If I can’t wait for Dalinar and Kaladin to meet, then I definitely am having trouble waiting for Szeth and Kaladin to meet.

6. We have learnt some more about the events following Cenn’s chapter way back at the beginning of the book. Were you surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer almost singlehandedly? This still does not explain why he is a slave, but does it bring us closer to guessing?

The first time I read this book, I had guessed that Kaldin had taken his men towards the Shardbearer with the intent to try to take him out. So when we finally get back to that section of his life, I had this little burning hope that he would take out the Shardbearer, but that wouldn’t explain how he ended up a slave. So, I thought perhaps his men made the attempt, failed, and were taken captive and made slaves.

What really happened seems to much worse. Kaladin lost so many of his men and he is heart broken over it. Was I surprised he took out a Shardbearer singlehandedly? Yes. I expected that he needed help, or a horse to have fallen on the Shardbearer, pinning him, or him to be distracted or  something.

7. I think I made it quite clear last week that I did not trust Kabsal, so I (Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers) am now feeling rather smug. However, I did not guess at the poison in the bread: did it surprise you as well? Can you see any way that Shallan can reconcile with Jasnah now that the theft has been revealed?

I just can’t be smug about knowing that Kabsal had ill intent. I think his character was more than that. We see hints of something deeper going on with him. He talked about the ardents being property, being owned. Who forced him into poisoning the bread? And Kabsal offered to leave with her. I think this was a true offer. Whatever he was directed to do, he was willing to give that up. Perhaps leaving with Shallan would have been fleeing his ardent responsibilities. He once said that he had suggested to his superiors that he steal the Soul Caster and they had prohibited it. Perhaps they did so because they later directed him to poison Jasnah.

And, yes, the first time I read this book, I was surprised that the bread was dusted with poison and that the jam held the antidote. I wonder why the strawberry jam in this case was gross? Did the antidote mix badly with the jam?

I know the answer to the reconciliation question, so I won’t spoil anything. I will say that Jasnah’s reaction to the theft was milder than I expected.

Other Tidbits:

Syl talks about helping kill men before. She can barely remember it, and it is a faint memory. Hmmm…..Syl’s a badass in more than one way.

Lost Radiants’ motto: Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. What do you think? Like it enough to have it tattooed to a public part of your body?

Kaladin and his wretch: Apathy. He calls it a false refuge. I like that he has this inner conflict. He recognizes this wretch, struggles with him, doesn’t like him. But can he win against that part of himself?

Rock, the Horn Eater, sees fighting as beneath him. Interesting. The Shin also see their warriors as a lower caste.

Hesina speaks of a time when men supposedly learned to read. Kaladin is a little scandalized by his mother’s talk. Haha!

The prayers sewn onto sleeves seemed an interesting idea. Laral had a bride’s prayer. And I think this means she’s engaged to Roshone, since his son is now dead. Ugh!! I wonder if Laral was thinking along those lines when she was crying and screaming while Lirin tried to save Rillir.

Ooo! Discussion of the mythical Urithiru! It was the center of the Silver Kingdoms, and had 10 thrones, one for each king. I think it was Book Vulture from last week that pointed out how often 10 shows up in this story.

Kabsal & Shallan have a discussion about the Almighty and how all good has its opposite – hence the Voidbringers. So for every great good the Almighty did, it brought forth the opposite in bad – birthing the Voidbringers. More philosophy. But it makes me wonder in my life for every good I do, does it slight someone else? Pfft….maybe I don’t care that much.

Everyone assumed Shallan was distraught and attempted suicide. I know she didn’t have much time to think, but wasn’t that the perfect opportunity for Shallan to tell Jasnah everything? To show her all the drawings? Oh! I wish she would!

Sigzil’s story about the Babatharnam’s way to rule – the oldest rules, so supposedly, everyone would have a chance to rule sooner or later. But the ruling family makes sure to kill off anyone who gets old enough to possibly be competition. Messed up! The elderly bickering and slitting each other’s throats.

Kaladin briefly met Adolin. Adolin saves a prostitute from a beating by one of Sadeas’s men. After the minor conflict, he flips a sphere to Kaladin to have him run a message. But Kaladin doesn’t run the message. Tsk, tsk. Even Syl chided him for taking the sphere but not running the message. Right? Or wrong?

My Fellow Symbolheads:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part VI

Stout as a bookstand.

Stout as a bookstand.

This week, There Were Books Involved 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 33-42 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Both Kabsal and Jasnah have spoken to Shallan about stealing the Soulcaster, and both have done so in a pretty lighthearted manner, considering how serious it would actually be to steal it. Do you think Kabsal was telling the truth when he brushed off Shallan’s questions about his plan to steal the Soulcaster? Is he still interested in stealing it? Does he have other, deeper motives??

I definitely remember what happens with Kabsal from my first reading. I think Kabsal tries to be truthful with Shallan, like she tries to be truthful to him. But they both have things they can’t speak about. I think Kabsal can’t truly steal the Soulcaster. If he did, and it was guessed he did, him and his votary would feel the entire might of Jasnah bearing down on them – which means the entire might of Alethcar.

Perhaps converting Jasnah to a votary, any votary, would be enough. Perhaps he is just there to gather intel to feed back to his votary. Perhaps it is something more sinister. While we do get a good solid answer on this question later in the book, we never learn Kabsal’s motivations. So I like to guess on those (but not in this section of the reading as that would be spoilery).

2. By the end of the section, Shallan has found out that she’ll be able to return home in one week, but she’s torn between wanting to continue her studies, and being able to take the stolen Soulcaster home. So far it looks like her theft hasn’t been detected, but do you think she’ll be found out before that time? Do you think she should leave, or might decide on her own to stay? Could something else happen to make her stay?

Well, again, I remember what happens with Shallan on this point. But I do remember wondering all sorts of things with my first read. This book is so excellent, and one of the ways I know that is because I spent lots of time thinking about the characters during boring work meetings. Let’s say she makes it back home with the Soulcaster. Will she learn how to use it? If she learns how to use it, will her brothers use her? And what about those men who came to visit her brother and are demanding the Soulcaster back? Will they take it? If they do, Shallan will not longer be of significant use to her brothers. Which means they would probably marry her off for political gain.

On the other hand, if she stays with Jasnah, she would either need to confess her theft or switch it back. Staying would probably create some consternation for her remaining family. Again, marriage to a strong, wealthy political ally (maybe partially due to Jasnah’s influence) might solve the problem. Or clever Shallan might come up with some other way to finance her family, at least temporarily.

Or perhaps something completely unexpected will decide the matter. ;)

3. How much do you think Jasnah actually knows about the theft of her Soulcaster? Is it even remotely possible that Jasnah is still in the dark about it? If she knows, did she in fact dupe Shallan with a fake, as Shallan theorizes? Or did Jasnah let her steal it? Why??

I’m starting to sound like a broken record. I totally know the answer.

Jasnah is very smart, but also highly focused on her studies. Other than their academic conversations, has Jasnah shown any interest in Shallan’s personal life or history since taking her on as a ward? No. So, has she noticed that her Soulcaster has been swapped? Hmm….Well, if she knows, why would she let Shallan hang on to it? Is it a test? If it’s a fake, is it to see if Shallan will confess her theft? If it’s the real one, is it a test to see if Shallan is clever enough to figure out how to use it?

4. During the Highstorm, Kaladin experiences a lull during which the wind and rain stop, he feels no more pain, and he sees an enormous “face of blackness, yet faintly traced in the dark”. The face is described as, “Inhuman. Smiling.” Was Kaladin just hallucinating? If not, do you think this being had something to do with recharging the sphere? With Kaladin somehow feeling better before the storm kicked up again? Or could this being be malevolent? Thoughts/theories??

Well, I don’t think Kaladin was hallucinating, but I also don’t recommend that he step out into a high storm to try to see the being again. I think the highstorm recharged the sphere. I don’t know if the entire highstorm is part of this being, or because of this being, or if this being gets swept up into the storm like Kaladin was, like Dalinar gets caught up in them. I do have the impression that this being is bigger, perhaps even more elemental, than us mere mortals (including Kaladin and Dalinar). Still, lots of questions about it.

And is it malevolent? Well, if it was malicious, I would think it would have ripped Kaladin off the roof to be smashed and torn to bits in the storm. But it didn’t. It wasn’t particularly gentle either, but this could be due to it’s elemental nature (if I am right about that).

5. Before Kaladin is forced to endure the Highstorm, he tells his men to come out after the storm is over; he says he’ll open his eyes and look back at them, and they’ll know that he survived. Kaladin obviously survives, and everyone in Bridge Four is really glad about that. But we haven’t yet seen a reaction from anyone other than Kal’s men. Do you think Kaladin’s survival could have a wider impact than just giving his own group of bridgemen hope?

I am not sure Sadeas will acknowledge Kaladin’s continued existence. And if he doesn’t acknowledge it, then it would probably be unwise for anyone else to do so. Still, there are the other bridgecrews that can probably give Kaladin a nod and not get whipped for it. Maybe some of the common soldiers. He could inadvertently start a revolution!

Or not. I think it would be too simple to start a revolution this early in the what is to be a lengthy series.

6. We learn quite a bit about Teft in this section… kind of. But pretty much everything we learn just leads to more questions. What do you think about these “Envisagers” Teft mentions? How much do you think Teft knows about Kaladin’s ability to use Stormlight? It seemed like Teft became wary of Kaladin after he recovered – why? Do you think he’ll tell Kaladin about what he knows?

Teft’s an interesting character. There is so much we have to guess about his past based on his few remarks we catch. He has mentioned that Kaladin shouldn’t depend on him, he’ll just let him down. Sounds Like Teft was charged with some important task, or secret, or item and somehow couldn’t keep to that charge. And now we hear just a little bit about the Envisagers and Stormlight and we see how the spheres seem to give up their Stormlight to Kaladin. There is definitely plenty for Teft to explain, but will he? And how much does he know? Is what he ‘knows’ just rumor and children’s tales? Or does he know something from some ancient text, like The Way of Kings?

Yep, Teft is definitely a great one to contemplate.

Other Tidbits:

What did you think of Jasnah’s philosophical lesson in the alley? Tough lesson. Did you agree with Shallan’s conclusion?

Syl got to stay with Kaladin in the highstorm. I just love her loyalty.

My Fellow Rockbuds:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey