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


12 thoughts on “The Way of Kings Read Along Part VI”

  1. About #5, yeah, I’ve found myself pondering a bit as to where this series will be headed in future installments, if/when will a revolution will occur, if/when the issues concerning the Radiants will be confronted, what sort of surprise developments could happen when, lol…

    It took me a while to remember what happened in the Shallan storyline but oh yes, now I do remember 😉

    The chapters on Teft were really interesting, I hope he divulges more on what he knows in later chapters…

    My WoK

    1. I love thinking about this book. Back when I had an office job, this would be one of those books that I can daydream about while sitting in boring meetings.

      I can definitely see Kaladin leading a revolution at some point. Maybe if he and Dalinar and Jasnah and Shallan all got together for a drink, they could come up with a banner right quick. But I know such a thing won’t happen anytime soon in this book.

  2. LOL. I always feel that way–knowing the answers to the questions–for the WoT Read-Along. I’m glad to hear that Kabsal is at least trying to be truthful. I really want to like him but it’s obvious that he’s holding things back, which worries me. For Kaladin, it occurs to me that if this being is the one that recharges the spheres during the storms, and Kaladin is absorbing that energy from the spheres, maybe that’s why the being spared him. Maybe it recognized his abilities on some level. Just a thought. I’m loving Teft and totally loving Syl. I loved that she tried to hold the high storm back, and that later she was battling death spren for him. Love her!

    My WoK Post

    1. Kabsal is an interesting character. Sometimes I wish both he and Shallan would lay all their cards on the table and see what happens. But that would be asking a lot of both of them and completely out of character.

      Oh yes, Syl is mighty awesome. And now that we have seen her battling death spren, is she still just a wind spren? Was she ever just a wind spren? Can spren change?

  3. Ahhhh, it makes me really happy that Kabsal is trying to be truthful with Shallan (as much as he can, anyway). I’m still scared about what’s actually going on though. D:

    I had the same idea about the highstorm-being maybe not being malicious because wouldn’t it have hurt Kaladin more? Maybe it didn’t have the power to, since Kaladin drew from the sphere for strength, or maybe it didn’t have complete control or something. Then again, I just got a really weird vibe from it, like it wasn’t necessarily sparing him, but that it really didn’t care, which would go along with the theory of it being elemental, maybe, and not really interested in a little mortal guy clinging to a roof for dear life.

    I got the feeling Teft knows what he does because of these Envisagers that I guess he was a part of, rather than having just read about it or something (or maybe the Envisagers did get their ideas from tWoK…). I feel like the Envisagers must have this group of people who preached (for lack of a better word) about something important about… the Radiants? I don’t know, but, maybe they were ridiculed or persecuted for it… Hmm. Your comment, “Is what he ‘knows’ just rumor and children’s tales?” reminded me that Jasnah had been looking at a book of fairy tales earlier in this section… I wonder if that’s related to something the Envisagers believed?? Ahh! Too many questions!

    1. Even though I have read this book once before, I don’t have answers bout the being in the high storm – so I had fun guessing. Elemental being seem to make the most sense to me . It shows some interest in the human world, but not enough to care greatly about a man clinging to a roof.

      Teft, the Envisagers, and folk tales. Jasnah would LOVE to pick Teft’s brain.

  4. I was super suspicious of Kabsal’s motives with Shallan, so it sounds like he might be a much nicer guy than I was giving him credit for. As for Kaladin, it may be too simple and early to start a revolution, but I think he could probably start a rebellion within the warcamp. That would probably have a very bloody end, though.

    I liked Jasnah’s morality ‘lesson’. Shallan’s belief in absolute morality might cause her some problems later on (especially since she is offending her own sense of morality with her theft). In the Jasnah situation, both the men murdering people and Jasnah murdering people can be classified as wrong actions. However, Jasnah not killing people who are murderers while she has the power to do so could also be considered wrong. The situation results in all answers being morally wrong, because the state of the world is such that it creates situations with no right responses. In the absence of an absolute ‘right’ response, though, I’d have to go for the greatest good for the greatest number, which would say that Jasnah’s actions were morally defendable (given that we have evidence that these men intended to continue robbing and murdering).

    1. I believe we get to see more of Kabsal in the next section and you can judge him better. Like Shallan, I think he is a decent guy stuck in a role. Look at Shallan – she’s stolen from Jasnah! Is she evil because of that? No. But I can see that if a person didn’t know all her reasons, all the pressure placed upon her, they would judge her harshly for it.

      Love your take on the morality lesson. I agree that if you stand by and watch such wrong taking place (murders, etc.) when you have the power to stop it, then you hold some responsibility in the outcome. I didn’t have an issue with Jasnah ending the lives of the murderers, even if I still had questions about the individuals she killed – who hired them to work that alley, were all repeat offenders or was it someone’s first night out? etc.

  5. Ah! One of my absolute favorite bits so far was how Syl stayed with Kaladin through the Highstorm and stood in from of him to protect him from the worst of it ♥ such a special moment! I’m dying to know all the answers like you do at this point, the more I read the more insufferably curious I become XD I do think Kaladin will eventually lead and change things, but probably further in the series rather than sooner.Love how you mentioned Dalinar too since we haven’t seen him in awhile and I miss him hehe Jasnah’s philosophical exercise was something though – I’m not sure what to make of it to be honest. It made me wonder about her though. I think she more or less did the right thing, but I think she could use her power to greater effect somehow…

    1. Syl is great, defending Kaladin from Death Spren. I wonder how much she can change. Will she always be a Wind Spren?

      I think if Jasnah was preoccupied with her research, she could probably do a lot of community-centered good. But, still, taking a few murderers off the streets seems a decent start.

  6. 1. I find him untrustworthy and a little creepy: I can’t help thinking that he believes that Shallan is an easier target than Jasnah and works very hard to win her cooperation.

    2. I have to assume that Jasnah is destined to be a major character in this series, so I don’t see Shallan leaving just yet.

    3. I am increasingly convinced that Jasnah hasn’t noticed the theft because her fabrial didn’t work anyway and she just used the Stormlight in the spheres. She may be very clever, but I am not sure that she is particularly sneaky.

    4. I seem to be in a minority amongst the group because I automatically assumed that it was a malevolent, god-like being. Everyone else has been much less pessimistic . . . perhaps I should start taking happy pills! 😀

    5. I am pretty sure that starting a revolution would be a good way for Kal to get very dead very quickly. At the moment he is a bit embarrassing because he survived, but if he tries to make Sadeas’ life more difficult he will find himself the focus of some very deadly attention.

    6. I love the way that we were fed Rock as Kal’s savior / best friend and then it turns out that Teft could be much more important. Such good writing!

    I loved the image of Syl trying to deflect the storm around Kal, though she did look a little like Rose in Titanic in my mind’s eye! 😀

    1. Yeah, Jasnah is a clever one. And no, I don’t think she is sneaky either. But let’s consider how many times we have seen her use the fabrial. Once to save the folks in the palace. Another in the alley. Has there been a third? She doesn’t need to use it daily, so perhaps it is not unusual that she hasn’t tried to use the fake yet and found it useless.

      Rock’s a good guy and all, but Teft has some knowledge that will come in handy. I really get attached to all these characters because I spend so much time thinking about them. Rock’s cooking – if he had a real kitchen. Teft’s history – what was he and how does he know what he knows concerning the spheres and Kaladin?

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