The Way of Kings Read Along Part V

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

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?

Other Tidbits:

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!

Lunar Rainbows
Lynn’s Book Blog
Tethyan Books
Musings on Fantasia
Over the Effing Rainbow
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
The Caffeinated Life
On Starships and Dragonwings
Book Vulture
Novel Reflection

14 thoughts on “The Way of Kings Read Along Part V”

  1. You picked up on way more in these chapters than I did. This is why I shouldn’t read and speculate without at least a cup of tea in me! 😛

    But these ideas are all interesting, and I agree, more or less. I think I’m a bit softer than you when it comes to Gaz, for example – but you’re right about that as well. If he hasn’t gotten what he dishes out yet, I suspect he will soon enough…

  2. Yeah the Shin were interesting folk, weren’t they? I really liked how they not only valued truth, but seemed to be able to sense lies. It was suggested that if you lied to them, they simply wouldn’t trade with you again, so I think Szeth’s crime must have been bigger than that. A REALLY bad lie, or perhaps the persistence of one?

    I think Jasnah must be researching something to do with the war or the Parshendi (by default of investigating Gavilar’s death). If that’s the case, she and Dalinar really ought to work together. It would be interesting if he met Shallan before he met Kaladin.

    I thought the figures Shallan drew were too dark to be anything good as well though that scene was so intriguing, it might have been my favorite in this section. I still don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for Gaz either, though the whole darkness-where-his-eye-used-to-be thing is interesting. So glad this is an epic turning point! Can’t wait to see where it goes! 😀

    1. i like that the traders, even though they have been trading with the Shin for years, still have a hard time explaining the Shin culture. And everyone that runs into Szeth makes assumptions about him as an individual based on what little they think they know of Shin culture. I think the Shin culture will turn out to be more complicated than we expect.

  3. lol I’m sort of getting ahead now in my reading and agreed about the next section re: Kaladin, it’s a very pivotal moment 😉 (almost forgot about it!)

    I can’t remember if the figures were elaborated further in the book but it does sound like an important point. Rather creepy but also very curious.

    Same here re: Gaz, while we got to know a bit more as to what’s going on in his head, I am still not sympathetic towards his plight.

    lmao about Jasnah and Navani. It might be quite an atmosphere if both women are in the room, they’re both so formidable in their own ways…

    1. I really enjoy how this book is layered with mysteries, cultures, myths, ages, and……what the hell are those dark figure Shallan draws?!? yeah, even if we have one or two mysteries solved, we still have these others to ponder.

  4. 1. I agree that stepping down doesn’t help his goals, but Dalinar also probably won’t be able to unite them the way he’s going now, anyway. I think something needs to change in his strategy, but I hope it is not as simple as Dalinar abdicating and retiring from politics.

    2. I like your answers here! I hadn’t thought that maybe Shinovar was ‘normal’ for this world, and the rest we’ve seen was strange due to some huge past disaster. I like the idea of Szeth lying about something important, too, but I also think it seems like it’s got to have something to do with his Shardblade, too. Why would someone from a culture that looks down on soldiers obtain a Shardblade in the first place?

    3. She’s set Shallan to reading about Gavilar’s death, too, so that seems likely. I was a bit more caught up in her study about the Voidbringers and the Parshendi.

    4. I had forgotten that she’d drawn them before! I also hadn’t considered that they might be directly affecting the king, and that Shallan was just perceptive enough with her ability to pick up on it.

    6. Pivotal moment? I can’t wait :). I agree that he can’t really appeal to Dalinar, especially because he would have no idea right now that Dalinar might be sympathetic.

    1. I would need to look at a map (I have been doing the audiobook), but I think the further we get from the Shattered Plains and the Point of Origin, the more the landscape seems like something akin to average Earth – with soil, even grass, etc.

      I can’t recall if Kaladin and Dalinar even set eyes on one another in this book. I really, really want them to. I want to toss Sadeas back to Alethcar…or into a chasm.

  5. I really didn’t know what to make of those figures that Shallan drew – are they ghosts? are they pure fancy – although the way she drew them without even looking – I don’t think so.
    Also, I’m with you – no sympathy for Gaz – at the moment at least. Whether that will change I don’t know – maybe he’ll turn a new leaf.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Shallan’s mystery figures are fun to contemplate. We know that at least one of her brothers is not the most stable of people. Maybe he is plagued by visions such as these too? But Shallan seems quite stable, and doesn’t go around ripping the legs off small creatures.

  6. Like you, I feel like it would be disastrous if Dalinar ever does step down, so I’m hoping it won’t come to that! And you’re right, as far as intriguing characters go,Szeth pretty much takes the cake – though his recent turn in fortune has me terribly worried, considering what he’s capable of. I am quite eager for Dalinar and the rest of the Alethi to discover that there is indeed more to the Parshendi than they believe! That’s a mystery I need to know more about hehe Oh and I loved your observations about the span reader, spren cataloging AND that awkward moment between Dalinar, Jasnah and her mother XD

    1. The span readers make this book an interesting mix. Are they solely magical? Is there a science element like some sort of radio? And then we have Jasnah always studying, using logic. And the Ardents seem a studious lot too. So, how much is science in this world and how much magic? I love how Sanderson has intwined the two, at least a little.

  7. 1. I think Dalinar will need to step down soon, before he becomes too ‘weak’ to hold his house. As for uniting the other Houses: he has much chance of success with that at the moment as of farting to the moon, so stepping down will make little difference!

    2. I think Shinovar is effectively in the rain shadow of the mountains and so is barely affected by the Highstorms and ‘falls’ of storm light. I like your idea of why the Shin are so obsessed with stone: it makes perfect sense given their abundance of soil.

    I suspect that Szeth either lied or refused to believe a ‘truth’ that is universally accepted by his people. In this way he would be a heretic like Jasnah, but more of an outcast.

    3. She seems to be looking for the reason behind the war and if it is connected to the Desolations. The Parshendi betrayal could be one of the first markers that the next Desolation is approaching.

    4. I can’t decide if the creepy figures are malign or not – it would be just like Mr Sanderson to give us good characters that appear evil. I also can’t decide who they are ‘attached’ to. However, I feel like there is much more to the king than we see here.

    5. Maybe I’m biased, but I can’t imagine Lamaril paying for anyone’s eye to be sown up! 😀

    6. I am not sure that even a trained soldier would be able to accept the existence of disposable cannon fodder in the way that the bridge men are used. However, I do see him blaming himself for all the extra loss of life, even though it is due to Sadeas’ inhumane military tactics.

    1. So now I am picturing Dalinar, in his shardplate, farting to the moon. Could he do it? Maybe, if there were ‘stepping stones’ to push off from. Alas, I don’t think this world has satellites yet. Maybe orbital asteroids?

      ooo! I like your idea that Szeth refused to believe a cultural or religious ‘truth’ and was tossed out for it. Very interesting.

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