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

4 thoughts on “The Way of Kings Read Along Part VIII”

  1. Wow. After reading your comments, I kind of want to go back and read the entire section again. I really think people using a higher power to justify immoral behavior is one of the over-arching themes for this book, and Sanderson has brought it across beautifully. That story was downright haunting. I kind of hope Kaladin comes face to face with Amaram at some point so he can get justice for what Amaram did to him. I really liked the idea of the spren being defined by those who observe them. That’s Sanderson bringing in some real Quantum Physics. Very nice. 😀 And I wish we had some way to learn more about Shen as well. He’s got to be there for some important reason. I just can’t tell what it is yet.
    My WoK Post

  2. My answers are here:

    I was a little distracted in writing the post this week, because you’ve mentioned a lot of things I meant to talk about!

    On Kaladin’s enslavement: I figured that was just a case of the law suddenly becoming unimportant, because it inconvenienced a lighteyes.

    On the old magic: My theory was that his forgetting his wife was the boon. I could imagine him seeking out the magic and asking it to take away his grief. Then, maybe Renarin’s illness was his curse?

    The recording spren section was cute! Fantasy-quantum-physics! It kind of fits in, because there was the fantasy-gravity of the lashings earlier on.

    I am quite happy to see Dalinar and Sadeas working together, but it looks like you might be implying that this is a short-lived thing :).

  3. Ditto the above – I think I forgot to put so much in my post that I can’t believe it. Plus, so many good points here that it makes me feel nervous about things that I was starting to feel a little more happy or relaxed about. I was pleased that Sadeas wasn’t trying to get one up on Dalinar – now I wonder if something bad will come of their joining up. The Parshendi seem to be almost playing with them. They’re like robots the way they fight. And, I still struggle to see what’s in it for them. I just keep coming up with misdirection somehow and now Sadeas and Dalinar have joined I wonder if they’ll cause something ‘big’ to occur.
    If the spren are defined by those who notice them then Syl and Kaladin are definitely taking so much from each other. I never quite expected that. I thought Syl was helping Kaladin – for example during the storm, but I never realised she was somehow helping him to bind magic to himself.
    I have a sense of impending doom – like Sanderson is just lulling us in with his ‘look how everything’s starting to work out nicely routine’ which is usually swiftly followed by everything going tits up!
    Lynn 😀

  4. The conversation between Wit/Hoid and Kaladin at the fire with the music was INTENSE! I adored it to be honest, I wish it could have gone on and on! You’re right, I think the memory of it will stir within Kaladin for quite some time. It’s already begun to change things in the way he thinks about his attitude towards saving others!! I adored seeing this new side of Wit/Hoid though, he was so enigmatic. I’m pleased that he specifically singled out both Kaladin and Dalinar – it’s clear he respects them and wants to help!

    My heart still breaks for Szeth but I’m also getting more than a little worried at how far he must take his Truthless oath. He seemed to be almost tuning out his humanity at the end of that brutal kill scene so I fear he’s becoming one of the biggest threats in the book. Like you though, I think Kaladin will soon be able to do much of what Szeth does…so maybe those two will face off!!

    Dalinar & Sadeas’ partnership seems promising enough but I think it’ll be tested soon enough…and I wonder where Sadeas will line up in the grand scheme of things, to be honest. I guess I’ll have to keep reading and see 😉

    Here’s my link this week:

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