Thu
Apr 11 2013 11:00am

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 1 and 2

The Way of Kings Reread Chapters 1 and 2This week brings us to Chapters 1 and 2, which set up the predicament for who I’d certainly call the star of The Way of Kings. Sanderson has said that each book will be from many different character perspectives yet that there will be a special focus on one character per book that will consist of flashbacks of their life. In the case of The Way of Kings, we can all agree that Kaladin is that focus, especially since Kaladin is the main point of view in nearly 40 chapters. Spoilers abound below. Yada yada. Read at your own risk. And watch the comments. They’re a hotbed of spoilers.

Chapter 1: Stormblessed

Time: Approximately 4,505 years after the departure of the Heralds and about 5 years after the death of King Gavilar.

Setting: A battlefield somewhere along the borders of Alethkar.

Point of View: Cenn

What Happens

Cenn, a very young warrior just out of training, is thrown into his first real battle, a land dispute between two brightlords of Alethkar of which he is on brightlord Amaram’s side. Cenn finds himself mysteriously transferred to Kaladin Stormblessed’s spear squad right before the battle after being bought from another squad. Cenn quickly discovers that Kaladin is no ordinary soldier; his group has the fewest casualties, and it all seems to be because of Kaladin. Kaladin hopes to distinguish his squad so that they can be transferred to the Shattered Plains to fight in the war against the Parshendi. Cenn is shepherded through the battle by Dallet, a long-time member of the squad. Near the end of the battle Kaladin rescues Cenn and then spots an enemy battalionlord, who he takes down easily. Abruptly, the chapter ends as a Shardbearer is seen charging towards them on horseback.

Quote of the Chapter

“For a moment, Cenn thought he could see something surrounding the squadleader. A warping of the air, like the wind itself become visible.”

This is the first view of what Kaladin is capable of, and how he is on the path to becoming part of the Knights Radiant. And reading this again it is clear from the beginning Sanderson has set him on the path of a Windrunner, which isn’t something I picked up on at all in my first read-through.

Commentary

That was certainly a quick one. Yet, this is the chapter that introduces us to the character who is the heart of The Way of Kings, and possibly the heart of the series that is to come. Namely, Kaladin, aka Kaladin Stormblessed, though he eschews that moniker, especially after this chapter.

Despite there being a couple nice tidbits, this section is on the forgettable side, and feels a little awkward. We get fleeting mentions and views of Kaladin, but not much else. This could all be because I’ve always felt this chapter is a bit of a misdirection by Sanderson.

Focusing on Cenn is the biggest reasons I find this chapter forgettable since it is from a POV we won’t see again and don’t really get to know anything about, other than that he reminds Kaladin of someone from his past. Cenn is just cannon fodder, and the worst part is he knows it.

Cenn is supposed to give us our virgin look at Kaladin. Someone who could be easily awed by what he witnesses, which is exactly what happens. The battle is meaningless to almost everyone involved, even the warriors dying for it. Also, right when it seems like we’re going to get a good fight between Kaladin and a Shardbearer, it cuts away. But this battle leads directly to Kaladin being cast down as a slave, and left me aching to know exactly what went down. So there is the misdirection of who to focus on and how Kaladin became a slave, which actually doesn’t get cleared up for quite a few chapters. This is just the first sign of Sanderson trying to play with the narrative through changing perspectives. That’s a game he plays quite well, overall.

If there had not been a Prelude and a Prologue I don’t think this chapter would have been nearly as strong a start to the story. It wouldn’t have started on such a grand scale as the Prelude did, nor is this battle anywhere near as riveting as Szeth unleashing his skills in the Prologue. It does show the harsh realities of war very readily, and establishes how virtuous—or should I say honorable—Kaladin is from the outset. He buys weak-looking soldiers just to save them. He stands in front of his own troops during onslaughts and is willing to take on six men by himself. Overall, I wonder if the story would have been better served and more powerful by meeting Kaladin in chapter 2, when he is already beaten down, and treated this chapter as a flashback immediately afterwards.

Kaladin’s hatred of those with lighteyes is already apparent. Yet, at this point in his life, he still believes there are some honorable lighteyes, but regrettably they are all at the Shattered Plains with the other worthy warriors. This isn’t a belief he holds on to for very long, but it is one that will shake him with its loss.

This all starts a bigger discussion on the radical class division in The Way of Kings, something that is likely to keep popping up. The lighteyes are at the top because, supposedly, the Heralds chose them as leaders and “marked them for rule.” Darkeyes are below them, with the Parshmen even further below, treated more as cattle.

Kaladin wants to earn his honor, while Shardbearers are largely lighteyes who have inherited their place in the upper echelons of society. But have the Alethi lost their way? They claim to be the chosen of the Heralds and destined to rule. But should one’s eye color determine who should lead? Or should leaders be those who show themselves to be virtuous or heroic through actual deeds of valor?

In many ways, Kaladin is the ultimate deconstruction of the hero archetype, but he isn’t the lost prince. He comes from humble beginnings with lofty, but seemingly realistic goals, if everyone else would just play fair. Kaladin learns all too quickly that life isn’t fair, especially on this inhospitable world. Sanderson isn’t a grey area writer. He comes down heavy on Good versus Evil. Kaladin illustrates the hallmarks of a good hero, but we don’t yet understand who the evil side truly is. Kaladin is a man of extremes. When he believes in something he’ll do anything to make it reality.

In terms of world-building, I’ve always found that one of the facets we don’t get to explore enough for my tastes in The Way of Kings is the indigenous life, such as the rockbud first mentioned in this chapter, which draws its vines back into its shell. The creatures, including the vegetation, have grown armor to protect themselves from the hostile environment and the massive storms. It seems like everything in Roshar has a tough outer layer except for the humans. They are the part that doesn’t seem to be made to live in this world. Roshar is a world where humans are more like the aliens who have invaded. Or could it be that the environment has been twisted so much by the massive storms for so many thousands of years that everything except humans have adapted? The parshendi certainly seem built for the world.

Spren remain plentiful in this chapter; we encounter orange painspren and purple gooish fearspren. And so starts my major problem with most spren. They are everywhere. Hardly anyone is curious about them. They’re just there. Like a bug you can’t swat away.

So, now we’ve met purposeful Kaladin. Let’s move on to depressed Kaladin, who is arguably a much more interesting character.

 

Chapter 2: Honor is Dead

Time: About 5 years after the death of King Gavilar. 8 months after the last chapter.

Setting: A slave caravan

Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens

Kaladin, now a branded slave, is traveling in a slave caravan destined for the Shattered Plains. He has been a slave for 8 months and has tried to escape many times, each time being recaptured. His constant escape attempts have lead him to be branded on the forehead with the shash glyph, in addition to the other marks normal slaves receive. The shash mark means he is dangerous. When the other slaves tell stories of how they became slaves, Kaladin states simply “I killed a lighteyes.” One of the slaves also approaches him about trying to escape, which Kaladin rebuffs.

Kaladin notices a strange windspren that seems to be following him. No one else can see or hear the windspren, and he questions whether he is finally going mad. Surprisingly, this spren takes the shape of a woman and speaks to Kaladin. The spren asks questions, many questions, and seems to be aware of Kaladin’s responses.

Near the end, one of the slaves is sick and it appears Kaladin knows how to treat him. Nevertheless, the slave driver kills the slave, to prevent him from getting the rest of the slaves sick. Kaladin has secretly collected poisonous leaves, but he loses most of them in a fit of anger after witnessing the death of his fellow slave.

Quote of the Chapter

“Ten orders. We were loved, once. Why have you forsaken us, Almighty! Shard of my soul, where have you gone?”

Yes, this is the epigraph to the chapter, but it is too juicy not to go into. This is the first firm confirmation that there are ten orders to the Knights Radiant to go along with the ten Heralds. The number ten actually rears its head a second time in this chapter. Kaladin tried to escape on ten separate occasions. And now he has given up hope. It makes me think there might have been ten Desolations before and the Heralds left after tenth, but that is entirely a guess. I’d also guess that Sanderson will never tell us exactly how many Desolations have happened before.

Commentary

Honor rears its head again, starting with the chapter title “Honor is Dead.” The chapter pulls no punches about what has happened to Kaladin.

That was a rough chapter. Not rough to read in terms of the quality of the writing, but in the sense that it was depressing. This is the first emotionally impactful chapter showing Kaladin’s anguish, which is so palpable. He is tired and broken inside, even more than on the outside. This is a tone you have to get used to, as it lasts at least the first third of the novel. Though it makes you appreciate all he’ll go on to achieve in The Way of Kings and in future installments. There isn’t a harder-working man than Kaladin in all of Roshar. Nor a more natural leader; he even surpasses Dalinar in many ways. But we see him early on at a point in his life where he has literally failed at everything he hoped to achieve.

To balance Kaladin out, we get to meet Syl, who is nameless at the moment though she is remembering bits of what she might have been. From the outset Syl has a playful and curious personality. Yet she has some motherly aspects as well. Syl originally gave me a very “Fairy Godmother” vibe, since we really aren’t let into what the precise nature of spren are. Even so, Syl is clearly no ordinary spren. She has an awareness about her that is child-like, but she grows so much along with Kaladin. Also, how many of you missed this foreshadowing line during your first read:

He’d hoped that this one had gotten bored and left, but as Kaladin tried to toss his wooden bowl aside, he found that it stuck to his fingers.

That’s a Lashing, I tell you. A Lashing! Or at the very least the same effect as on, showing that Syl can channel this power/ability to some degree, even early on. This passage is prefaced by Kaladin mentioning that windspren are known to play tricks on people, so when you first read this line you think it might be a natural act of the spren, but in reality we never see any other spren do anything remotely like this. Though Kaladin also mentions some spren can talk, but that they don’t appear to be aware.

Some interesting thoughts do come up later with Jasnah about spren, but until then they appear to be simple spirits, since they cannot interact with the world very much. It is never mentioned what would happen if you tried to brush a spren away. If you got cut, would you really want all those painspren or rotspren surrounding it? Later it is brought up that you can make rotspren clear away from a wound by using water, but still nothing is ever mentioned about actually trying to touch them. Were I a child in this world I could see my days filled with running around trying to “catch” spren like I did fireflies.

Can I just say I love the “storm you” swear? It is just too funny, especially considering swearing isn’t really part of Sanderson’s books.

Kaladin has given up on himself, but he hasn’t given up on trying to save others. He could have easily not intervened at all with the sick slave, but his conscience, his honor, wouldn’t let him abstain from helping anyone if it is within his means. His lessons from his father keep coming up, but it pains him to use them. For two reasons: because it reminds him too much of what he and his family lost, and his failure to save his friends. He is at the razor’s edge, ready to finally fall. This is all the more evident during his interaction with his fellow slave, who asks him to take him with him when he escapes. Kaladin seems resigned to his fate.

Even though Kaladin seems to wants to use the blackbane leaves on the slave trader, I always saw this as Kaladin contemplating his own death; Wanting to commit suicide to end his torment because of his continual failures. Showing just how desperate he has become. If Syl were not there he might have taken it to that level. She provides a distraction for him and a puzzle to solve. And, in some small way, hope. Life seems to mean so little to so many people that inhabit this world it is almost laughable. Kaladin, on the other hand, has supreme belief in trying to save all the lives he can. For now he has to rediscover a purpose, a purpose that will take some time for him to find again.

Kaladin briefly talks about why he is a slave, mentioning that he killed a lighteyes, but going further by saying that he’s really there because of a lighteyes he didn’t kill. Kaladin feels the betrayal so deeply. But was giving up the chance at shardplate and shardblade the very thing responsible for drawing Syl to him? Was that the make-or-break moment that made his honor irresistible to an honorspren. Or was she already about.

After trying to escape from slavery many times Kaladin was branded with the shash glyph. An interesting thing about shash is that it is also mentioned in the Ars Arcanum in the back of the book as one of the ten essences, specifically number six. It is described as having to do with blood and lends the users the abilities of creativity and honesty. In further referencing the Ars Arcanum, Kaladin reminds me most of Jes, which is essence number one, and is related to wind. This essence lends the attributes of protecting and leadership that directly nails who Kaladin is. Yet I wonder at the further significance of Kaladin being giving the shash glyph. He is certainly forced to be creative, innovating more the longer he is a bridgeman, but that could just be his leadership qualities. A good leader is not only an inspiration to those he commands, but also a good tactician.

Next session we meet Shallan.


Michael Pye (aka The Mad Hatter) runs The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review where he shares his views on genre books. He can also be found nattering on Twitter or in search of the perfect piece of bacon. He is currently working on an anthology project and is hoping to find a good publishing home for it soon.

123 comments
Sean Dowell
1. qbe_64
If Vorinism is to be believed, they fought in 90 and 9 desolations, and finally won or the hundreth. (since we all know they didn't actually win, it's very likely that the 90 and 9 part is also not reliable.)

*edit to add
Yeah Kaladin! Yeah Syl!
As far as spren go, I'd imagine that you would learn quickly at a young age how capable you are of interacting with them. After multiple failed attempts you would likely just give up and accept them as they are. They seem to effectively be macroscopic bacteria, but also intangible.
There's an article on this very site about how helpful they would be towards advancing medical care in this world.

To be honest, the more deeply you think about spren the more frustating they become, especially this early in the story. I'm content to accept them for the time being and let more information be provided.

Since there seems to be a spren for everything, you'd think there would be truth and deceit spren, which would make all the games of the Alethi high princes very irrelevant. Perhaps Axies will find them later on in the story.

The one thing that occurs with spren that I'm unwilling to just overlook and accept is Syl's "Julia Roberts Tinkerbell in Hook" moment, where she just becomes human sized. If you can trap spren by measuring their size (described in later chapters) and someone happened to have a yard stick and a chalkboard with them, she would just end up staying that way? Could she still fly? bind things?

See what happens when you start questioning spren to closely? Now I'm frustrated.
Seerow
2. Seerow
One thing I've always been curious about, who is the lighteyes that Kaladin didn't kill that would have saved him from the slave brand? I mean, I doubt he's referring to Amaram there, as killing him wouldn't have changed a thing.
Carl Engle-Laird
3. CarlEngle-Laird
I think that he might be referring to Amaram. If not, then I really don't know, because I can't think of anyone else who he could have conceivably killed that would have saved him.
Seerow
4. QueenofDreams
We know that Syl was around before Kaladin turned down the plate and blade. Later in the book she makes a comment about watching him when he was in the army and how he would save the young, weak recruits. I also believe that 'warping in the air' in chapter one, is Cenn seeing Syl dancing round Kaladin's spear, as the bridgemen see it later when he does the kata in the chasms. I'm also curious what the 'shard of my soul' refers to.
Seerow
5. Ninety
There are truthspren later on, you know. Remember the symbolheads that plague Shallan?
Seerow
6. vcr89
Seerow, could it be Roshone he is referring to? There was a moment when Lirin and Kal could have killed him.
Niraj Merchant
8. NirajMerchant
I think that an honorspresn probably arises simultaneouslt with a person being honorable, just like any other spren. However my personal theory is that syl became sentient when kaladin began to dedicate himself to a code of honor that aligned with one of the orders of the knights radiant. Hence she responds to the nature of his honor
Kimani Rogers
9. KiManiak
Thanks Michael,

In my various rereads of sections of TWoK, I often skip the early chapters; they didn’t stand out as my favorites (although I love the overall book, of course). I couldn’t remember exactly why until going through Michael’s summary.

After finishing the book, you can get the opinion that chapter 1 is like another prelude, this time of Kaladin. I had actually forgotten who Cenn even was in this book, and definitely couldn’t have told you that he had a POV. And yes, chapter 2 is rather depressing.

(Also, I’m not a big fan of Kaladin’s “suffering” arc throughout the early-to-mid part of TWoK; I prefer to read about him once his fortune is on more of a positive track/upswing. So yeah, not a big fan of reading the early Kaladin chapters.)

I did enjoy the writing, though. I especially liked the introduction of Syl. Her interaction with Kaladin is actually what piqued my interest in these early chapters. I was still trying to get a grasp on Kaladin and if this was the type of character I could pull for. The relationship between Syl and Kaladin is definitely one of the more intriguing ones in this book. She does offer Kaladin hope, of the possibility of more.

Michael, good catch on the continuation of the various mentions of the number 10 this early. I also am intrigued by your theory of there being 10 desolations before the Heralds quit. I could also be open to a similar theory that the upcoming desolation-type event this series will lead up to may be the tenth one itself.

Finally, part of me wonders if the Shash glyph may play more of a role in Kaladin’s development then we were initially led to think. When it comes to Sanderson and his magic systems, things that look like minor details and/or coincidences could end up playing a larger role a few books down the line (Vin’s earring, anyone?)
Sudo Nym
10. Shakerag
For those of you familiar with Pokemon, especially the anime, you might be amused to hear that I see Meloetta every time I try to picture Syl in the story. I can't unassociate the image now.
Halvor Hanssen
11. Halhan
I think the blackbane leaves represents just how bewildered Kaladin is at this stage. He seems to be contemplating killing Tvlakv, the slave trader, while it is strongly hinted at (as Pye mentions) that he thinks of ending his own life as well. That these to hugely different solutions (not good ones though) to a problem seems to be almost the same for Kaladin speeks volumes. Life, to Kaladin, is almost not worth living anymore. That the character starts out this way, makes how Sanderson writes Kaladins transition in the latter part of the book so belivable a true strong point of the book.

As for Cenn. Do any of you see the name as a tribute to Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time or is it just me? I believe Cenn Buie was one of the Two Rivers characters. Although I remember him to be a very minor character, so mabye it's just unintentional on Sanderson's part.
William Carter
12. wcarter
Honor is dead. No way that isn't meant to be foreshadowing to later revelations.

On the Lighteyes's chosen role and the constant 'meaningless' battles: that seems to me like a cultural attribute Odium infected the Alethi population with, perhaps to undermine whatever characteristics they may have been chosen for (assuming that isn't a load of crap made up by the powers that be).
Spoilers for Mistborn: One interesting thing to note is there really was a genetic difference between the Skaa and the noble class (at least prior to the 1000 years of illicit interbreeding) according to Sazed when he assumed to the power of Harmony.
When the Lord Ruler/Rashek temporarily took Ruin's power at the Well o f Ascension and tried to use it to fix things, he made people biologically different both to survive the ash storms and to set up a caste system. The main characters went the first two books and a good chunk of the third thinking the inhierent differences were just propaganda since they could outsmart nobles so easily.
End spoiler
It will be interesting to see if that continues in Stormlight Archive and there really is a difference between the lighteyes and darkeyes.

@qbe_64

It's funny you should mention Julia Robert's Tinker Bell, because I was just thinking Syl reminds me a lot of her when I reread chapter two yesterday.
Flint Timmins
13. Giovanotto
Michael,

I totally agree that this first chapter is pretty forgettable (actually, most of Kaladin's flashbacks are fuzzy for me) but I like the order the way it is. Going from Warrior Kaladin to Slave Kaladin is such a powerful change which left me eager to know what happened.

It's fun to see just how much Lashing Kal does throughout the book. On my first re-read I kept thinking "It's everywhere! How didn't catch this before?" Of course, that's part of the fun of reading.
Seerow
14. Helanna
One of the things I actually liked about this book was that nobody made a big deal out of spren or any of the other made-up creatures. Because why should they? They're utterly commonplace in Roshar. We had to pick up details as the book went along and as characters just casually mentioned things. It made things feel more natural.

Of course, I think we're going to be learning a lot more about spren in the upcoming books. Possibly at the same time as the characters, since it's clear some people are still doing research on them.
Seerow
15. Seerow
@6 I actually really like that answer. Barring this being addressed again in cannon, I'm going to go with that. Killing Roshone would have stopped the whole sad series of events from transpiring. (Of course on the other hand, depending on Kaladin's eventual role, Roshone's actions could indirectly lead to something as major as the saving of the world.)
Seerow
16. mutantalbinocrocodile
Disagree with you about Cenn. One of the innovative things that BS is doing here is raising the very real possibility that all the "cosmic war" that is a universal trope of epic fantasy might be utterly repressive/unnecessary/fake. I'm not convinced that the eventual resolution is absolutely going to be a battle scene at all. What better way to start a subversive story about fake cosmic warfare than to start with the cannon fodder?
M K
17. Sarene
So we are tackling two chapters at a time now? Will it continue like that or will it be random? Hm. I stopped reading the book when I realized I had read halfway through Chapter 2 which I thought was "too far", and went back to look through the first chapter for things I might have missed. Apparently I could have finished reading the second chapter too and concentrated on that as well, but now I have prepared mostly for Chapter 1 only!

Not that it matters a great deal, but I'm very new to Sanderson's world--I've read all of his published works but I had no idea of the whole cosmere thing while reading, so I have a LOT to learn and to be honest, it's all a little overwhelming, haha. If possible, I would like to read at the exact same pace as this reread progresses, to get the most out of the blog posts and the comments. :)

***

I too have always thought that Kaladin is referring to Amaram when he mentions the lighteyes that he didn't kill. I don't remember exactly how the whole Amaram thing went down though.

On an almost related note, why does the Coppermind wiki say " then stole the Shardblade Kaladin won for him and slaughtered Kaladin's squad, selling Kaladin into slavery" on the Roshone page, and "Amaram, greedy, killed the survivors of Kaladin's squad and took the Shardplate and Shardblade. He told Kaladin that he would brand him as slave and sell him, claiming Kaladin was a deserter" (shortened a bit) on the Amaram page?

Was it not Amaram that did that, so has someone incorrectly edited the Roshone page? Didn't Roshone just recruit Kaladin and Tien...?

If he did just recruit Kaladin and Tien, I think it's a little far fetched to think that Kaladin would be thinking about him, but I guess it's not impossible. I have a really hard time remembering the details of this book though. I'm really happy to reread this book along with more knowledgeable people before the next one comes out. :p


I agree with 13. Giovanotto that going from Warrior Kaladin to Slave Kaladin was a powerful and intriguing change. Personally I think it was better that way; first you get to know this heroic, honourable man with duties and goals, and eight months later he is reduced to a depressed mess and a slave to boot. It certainly makes you wonder what could have happened to change him so much.


@10. Shakerag: I keep thinking of her as something like Tinkerbell (the cartoon version). Also, IIRC she's described to be blue and white but for some reason she's a yellow / natural light coloured in my mind, haha.
Mahesh Banavar
18. maheshkb
Glyphs on the forehead: Perhaps they have some Elantris-esque effect on Kaladin? Especially since the Shash glyph is significant in other ways.
Seerow
19. FlashWrogan
@17: the Roshone article is dead wrong, someone got Amaram and him mixed up. I'll make sure it gets fixed.

I'm 95% certain that Kaladin is talking about Amaram when he reffers to the lighteyes he didn't kill. Roshone isn't directly related to him becoming a slave, though I suppose he did set him down the path. He could have refrained from attacking the shardbearer. That would have led to Amaram's death. By Kaladin's way of thinking he probly would have thought of that as killing him. He also could have taken the shards and killed Amaram at that point and no one would have been able to say a word. He didn't have any reason to do it at that point, but a bitter Kaladin as a slave wouldn't bother with that logic. Nor would he have bothered with the logic of what little good killing him at the time of his branding would have done.

I love Syl's story arc more than any others in some ways, though this may be the sidekick effect. Kaladin's is just kind of depressing in some stretches, and I get annoyed with some of Shallan's and Dalinar's choices. I love the visual concept of her character and keep wishing someone would do a fan art of Syl defending Kaladin against the Deathspren.

On the Lighteyes being the appointed leaders, I've been really curious about what is the root behind them being leaders. Hoid mentions that eye color is actually a good reason for them leading in the epilogue. I'm thinking it is likely linked to ancestors being Knights Radiant, but there is probly more to it.

I hadn't thought of the shash brand being significant magically later, its a good thought to keep in mind.
Seerow
20. QueenofDreams
I personally always picture Syl as a misty, transparent white. She always looks fairy like to me though, and whenever I think of her I have to remind myself not to picture her with wings. Interesting thought that it could be Roshone that Kaladin is referring to. I always assumed it was Amaram, but Roshone would make sense as well
Seerow
21. QueenofDreams
@19 Well I'm curious about the eye colour thing as well, but it is stated at some points that sometime in the ancient past, the darkeyes were leaders. So the questions there are 1 Why use eye colour in the first place and 2 when and why did the order get reversed, and lighteyes put in charge. Also remember in one of Dalinar's visions he is startled to see an officer with dark eyes. I guess we'll find out though as there's that reference at the end with Hoid and the thought that the reason behind using eye colour is a good one.
Seerow
22. Abba Zaba
@17. Sarene: The Roshone page must have been inaccurately edited. Roshone is the new city lord that arrives following Wistiow's death that takes exception to Kaladin's father Lirin stealing the large number of spheres from the former city lord's estate. This causes the town to turn against their family and makes them destitute. Following a hunting accident involving the city lord and his son, Kaladin and Lirin are operating on Roshone and as he is unconscious, Lirin muses on how easily he could sever one of his arteries and end all their troubles. Since his son is present, however, he saves him. Roshone blames Lirin for the loss of his son and exacts his revenge by forcing Tien into military service which causes Kaladin to join as well to protect his brother.
Seerow
23. Seerow
@Lighteyes Leading, I think it has something to do with the Knights Radiant having glowing eyes. I could be misremembering about that, but I also seem to remember Szeth having glowing eyes when he uses his shardblade. It could be once upon a time light eyes actually were a really big deal, and over time that's just been adapted to be blue/green eyes rather than literally glowy eyes.

@Amaram or Roshone, the reason I don't think he was thinking about Amaram is because if he had killed Amaram, he still likely would have been put into slavery or killed outright, only with the charge of killing his lord rather than the bogus charge of desertion. Amaram made it pretty clear he planned on taking the blade/plate either way in my opinion. I guess Kaladin could have claimed the shards and killed Amaram immediately after... but at that point why would he want to kill Amaram? Amaram's betrayal wouldn't have been apparent to Kaladin until it was too late to kill him. I just don't see any scenario that could have played out with Kaladin remaining free after winning the shards unless he changed his mind on whether he wanted to keep them... which never seems to have crossed his mind.
Seerow
24. Abba Zaba
@19 FlashWrogan

I am ascribed to the theory of Roshone being the lighteyes he should have killed because had he done so on the operating table, his brother Tien would still be alive. The inability of Kaladin to save his brother's life seems to be the root issue of his, at times, overwhelming depression.
Sean Dowell
25. qbe_64
@9 Kimaniak

Vin's MFing earring. Holy crap did I have to be hit over the head with that tidbit to recognize it's relevance.
As far as the shash glyph goes, it's the opposite glyph of Jes, which I believe represents the windrunners. They're connected with a direct line on the glyph chart with no others glyphs between. I don't have an interpretation of what that means, just providing information.
Seerow
26. Vauric
@4. QueenofDreams: I agree, I've always thought that the wind around Kaladin was Syl dancing around him, kind of how she does later on when they're practicing down in the chasms.

About the bowl sticking to Kaladin's hand being a lashing, I can't see it being Kaladin doing it by accident, seeing as he has no access to stormlight. However, the idea that it's Syl, and not a universal spren ability is intriguing.
Seerow
27. Seerow
@26 I'm pretty sure it being Syl is stated explicitly towards the end of the book, after her nature as an Honor Spren is revealed. Something along the lines of her being an honor spren, and thus makes things stick together (just like an oath binds two things together). This same ability is how she does pranks like making people trip and such throughout the book.
Ross Newberry
28. rossnewberry
Halhan @11, I seem to remember asking Brandon about Cenn, as to whether the name was a WoT reference, and he got a brief vacant look, then sort of facepalmed, saying that the character had a different name in the drafts, and that some people were confusing him with someone else, so they changed his name to something different late in the game and didn't think about where they'd seen the name before.
Veronica Ross
29. vcr89
@ Roshone and Amaram

I ascribe to it being Roshone, but for Kaladin, sitting back and letting the shardbearer kill Amaram would be the equivelant of killing him himself (given his strict honor), so that would make sense too.
Seerow
30. danr62
"Sanderson isn’t a grey area writer. He comes down heavy on Good versus Evil."

And this is why I'm a Sanderson fan. I like my heroes to be heroic, not anti-heroic or whatever.

Also, I'm pretty sure Syl was hanging around Kaladin before he refused the shardblade.

First, there's the fact that Cenn saw the warping.

Second, there is his reputation that got him named "stormblessed", which I assume comes from his powers starting to manifest without anyone realizing.

Third, I think Kaladin has some memories later of windspren hanging around him. I think later when we get to Kaladin's flashback of chapter 1 from his POV he remembers seeing a windspren during the battle.
Seerow
31. FlashWrogan
@23 Abba Zabba:
I definitely see your point, and it's a valid theory. I just don't agree with it :D. I feel like though Tien is the root of the psychological issues Kaladin has, that is not what is freshest in his mind. At this point, Tien has been dead for something around 2-3 years. The death of his entire squad, half of whom died because he made the wrong choice, and the last few because of the betrayal by Amaram, is what is fresh in his mind.

In addition, I don't think he bears nearly as much resentment towards Roshone as he does Amaram. With Roshone there was animosity, tension, life made difficult, but it was for a reason. Kaladin's family had stolen those spheres, the rest of what happened escalated from there. Roshone sending Tien to war was bitter and cruel, but it wasn't a betrayal. Amaram on the other hand failed to fulfill his promise concerning Tien. Then he goes and kills the very people that sacrificed their squadmates lives to save him, all so he could get a shardblade and plate.

In short, Roshone was just an enemy, but Amaram was a noble leader that broke all of his promises and betrayed Kaladin.
Deana Whitney
32. Braid_Tug
Sly is not normal, so normal spreen rules do not apply.
Really like the article (comment?) about spreen being related to the “states of change.”

@2, it’s Amaram. If he had killed Amaram, the guards would have killed Kaldin, thus his pain over a few minutes after all his soldiers were killed.
@ 6, that’s one take… whole different story there.

Re: Chapters –
Michael, glad to see you found these two chapters hard too!
Not sure about your suggestion of starting with chapter 2. That would be a very depressing start. But yes, totally agree the Cenn is a throw away. I was starting to wonder, who’s the focus of this story?

Re: Eye color –
Does anyone else seem to think there are more colors of “light eyes” than in our world? They just seem to mention all these colors that are super rare in our world. And I bet it would be a bad thing to have hazel eyes that go brown in their world.

Re: “Storm You!” Soldiers got to say something… And since the storms really are a major factor in this world, why not? And “Frak” was already taken
Seerow
33. Patrick R
@9
You make a great point about the Shash glyph may play more of a role in Kaladin’s development then we were initially led to think. I am reminded of how in one of Dalinar's "hallucinations" he notices the Knights Radiant wearing armor with Glyphs carved into armor itself. Perhaps some of the power is derived from these carvings? Also reminds me of Aons from Elantris...
Veronica Ross
34. vcr89
@ 32
Could there be any connection between eye colour and the type of Radian one becomes?
Eric Wyatt
35. SunDriedRainbow
I doubt it was on purpose, but I was 100% incapable of seeing a character named Cenn and not A) imagining him as a crotchety old thatcher and b) becoming immediately pissed off because I really, truly hate Cenn Buie.
Peter Ahlstrom
36. PeterAhlstrom
Cenn was originally named Senn. Someone thought it was just slightly too similar to Szeth, so the spelling got changed.
Robert Dickinson
38. ChocolateRob
I've heard somewhere (probably TV tropes) that Syl was first attracted to Kaladin due to his honorable nature but it was when he refused to take the plate that caused them to actually bond. So she began to follow him around while he was in the army but they both only began (slowly) changing once he was made a slave.
Their bonding would probably have been a lot faster if he hadn't been suddenly betrayed so badly, shattering who he was.

I doubt the shash brand has much relevance to who he is or what he can do as he is hardly the only slave considered dangerous, there will probably be a lot of very dangerous people on Roshar with the same brand.
I imagine it is quite possible that Kaladin will get rid of his slave brand at some point with some 'quick if painful work with a knife' then simply heal himself with stormlight.
Seerow
39. Iarvin
The in world explanation for the lighteyes being in charge seems to be that when you claim a shardblade your eye color permanently changes and you 'become a lighteyes'. Presumably that of your future descendants also changes. This ties in both with Hoid's comment, and with Brandon's own spiritual DNA explanations for Cosmere related magical ability inheritance.

However, there is no strong evidence for this as it isn't demonstrated in the book. Kaladin specifically refuses the chance to demonstrate it, and nothing of the sort is mentioned in Dalinar's vision of seeing the darkeyed soldiers pick up shardblades.

The largest counter argument I'm aware of is that Szeth's eyes change every time he uses his shardblade, but Szeth may just be different. So it remains at best a plausible theory. I may be missing other counter arguments.
William Carter
40. wcarter
@32 Braid_ Tug

It's more than just eye color that's weird. Hair can apparently be naturally two-tone with distinct patches of black and blonde or red, etc. Even the skin of the parshmen and parshendi is "marbled" two-tone.

As for the eyes, IIRC there are "light eyes" with brown eyes (though I would imagine it would be a very light tan tending towards yellow). and some peopel with green eyes are considered "dark eyes."

So it probably has more to do with the specific shade of the color rather than the color itself. Green = Congratulations, your a noble! Green = Sorry, looks like a life of peasantry for you.
Seerow
41. Confutus
The spear with what looks like a cape tied to it, surrounded by other spears, is Kaladin's symbol.

The herald Icons for chapter 1 are Tanat-Tanat. Tanat probably refers to Talenel. The divine attribute associated with it is dependable/resourceful. There is some of that evident, but not particularly strongly to my mimd. However, this icon appears often those chapters where Kaladin is acting as a warrior, and it was observed in the Prelude that Talenel has a tendency to choose seemingly hopeless fights and win them, and Kaladin is doing this.

For chapter 2, the icons are Vev- Vev. Vev is associated with a herald, so far not named, whose divines attribute arre loving/healing. This icon usually appears in chapters where Kaladin is using his physician's training.
Seerow
42. Iarvin
The Shash brand theory is an interesting one! Given the fact that radiants used the glyphs on their armor, it reminds me of The Warded Man. I can't see Kaladin taking to running around covered in tattoos though, but perhaps one of his bridgemen would be willing to. . . Probably Lopen, as he has his reasons to want to glow.

Speaking of Lopen what would happen if a one armed person wore shard plate? I wonder if it would lose an arm to conform, or if it would even function as a prosthetic in any way.
Karen Fox
43. thepupxpert
Amaram vs. Roshone - I'm in the Amaram camp, the Roshone incident was his father thinking all his troubles would be over if he let Roshone die, that wasn't Kaladin's ax to grind so to speak, he was only assisting his father at that time unless I am misremembering!
Kimani Rogers
44. KiManiak
Re: Importance of eye-color – I think a few folks (I think seerow@23 was first) are on the right path. After we see in one of Dalinar’s flashbacks (the one with the 2 Knights Radiants including –gasp!- a female KR) that the Knights displayed glowing eyes, I theorized that the light/dark eye-color hierarchy/caste system was based upon that. The Knights Radiant were respected, probably even idolized. Centuries of such idolization could lead to attributing greater social (societal?) value, respect and ultimately, deference for those with lighter eyes.

(Actually, I would hypothesize that something similar probably occurs with the value attributed to spheres. After all, stormlight appears to power Knights Radiant shardplates, so the Knights Radiant would likely find them incredibly desirable and valuable. A barter system based upon spheres (and bright spheres being more valuable than dun spheres) would logically arise. From a more current perspective, spheres now power fabrials as well).

Also, are we sure that Hoid is saying that there is a rational reason for the light eyes being in charge? Or just that, in the past, it made sense for those with light/glowing eyes to be seen as leaders (again, the link due to being a KR or shardbearer, not due to genetic differences)? I don’t have the book with me; I’ll have to double check when I get home.

@18, @25, @33 – re: Shash glyph – I won’t take credit for the idea; Michael’s last paragraph re: the connections of the Shash glyph got me thinking that way and reminded me that Sanderson does tend to sprinkle in innocent details that turn out to be major clues a few books down the line. I’m betting that the various BWS and Stormlight fan sites have probably had this as a strong theory for years now, even :-) But it is a good theory, I would argue.

Qbe@25 – you weren’t the only one who had to get hit over the head with the cluebat in order to grasp the significance of her earring.

PatrickR@33 – Great recall about the glyphs among the KR armor. I think the glyphs do play a role, in conjunction with stormlight and other attributes. Also, remember that we never see any spren around the KR; maybe the glyphs are their proxies, or calling cards, or emblems, or who knows what that links KR order to (honor)spren to magical ability.

Now, does Shallan or Jasnah have any markings at/near their person that we know about?

Peter@36 – Thanks for the clarification about Cenn. I also thought about Cenn Buie, but I could see how folks would find Senn/Szeth confusing as well.

Chocolate@38 – Could be. But what if it’s a combination of the glyphs along with the individual’s character and actions? What if shash (or glyphs) enhance potential connections? So that a glyph on a robber/thief means/does little, but a glyph on someone that honorspren already is drawn to strengthens the bond/ability/whatever?

No way to know definitively one way or the other at this early stage of the series; we’re just spit balling ideas for now…
Seerow
45. QueenofDreams
@39 the eye colour change is unique to Szeth. It specifically says so in his prologue, that it's a unique effect of his particular shardblade. (This also raises some serious questions about the nature of his blade and where it came from) I'm inclined to think that when it says you 'become a lighteyes' in becoming a sharbearer, that it's purely in the sense of a change in social status, not literally a change in eye colour.
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
While legend isn’t always true, it’s worth noting that legend talks about 99, or sometimes 100, Desolations. From the Prelude, it certainly doesn’t sound to me like they’ve only done this ten times. A hundred times would fit better.

Re: Syl – I thought it was interesting to note that she first appears as a windspren, when Kaladin is on the path to becoming a Windrunner. (On the other hand, if Shallan is to become a Lightweaver, the parallel spren would have been lightspren, and hers are truthspren instead. But that’s only speculation at this stage, so we’ll see what works out. Just an odd note.)

@ many – “It’s the one I didn’t kill that’s the problem” isn’t referring to someone he thought about killing, or tried to kill, or even could have killed; it’s the one he trusted, and who betrayed his trust. So yes, it’s Amaram who is "the problem." Roshone was a dirtbag, and young Kaladin hated him – but Amaram is the one who killed Kaladin’s remaining men (men from his own army!!), stole his rightfully-won shardgear, and made Kaladin a slave so that no one would believe him if he told the truth about where Amaram got the Blade and Plate. Roshone’s a spiteful, petty git of a lighteyes, and therefore a disappointment to the young Kaladin, but Amaram had a reputation of being a man of honor, and Kaladin had been pleased to serve such a man. That betrayal destroyed his belief that lighteyes - any lighteyes - were honorable men. Hence the chapter title: Honor is dead. “Honor died eight months ago.”

Helanna @14 – I’m with you here!! Spren are simply a part of life on Roshar; they’re everywhere, all the time. Why should anyone make a big deal out of them, other than the occasional scholar? It’s like flies, or ants, or sand – you only really notice them if they’re someplace you don’t want them; the rest of the time you don’t really notice them. Yeah, I can see small children trying to catch them or something, but most kids would leave the game behind by the time they were two or three.

Sarene @17 – IIRC, Michael said that the Prelude and Prologue would be handled separately, and after that we’d do two chapters a week. Also, I note that the Coppermind wiki has been corrected. Good catch.

QueenofDreams @21 – Actually, it doesn’t say the darkeyes were the leaders in the past. In a conversation between Elhokar and Dalinar (Chapter 18), Elhokar derides “The Way of Kings” for saying that it “claims that lighteyes should be slaves of the darkeyes.” Dalinar corrects him, saying it has been misinterpreted, and it actually teaches that a leader should serve those he leads. Which… is a pretty important concept in this series, I think.

@many – Let me insert here that it seems that there is some link between the Shardgear and eye color; Szeth notes at one point that his eyes change from dark green to pale sapphire when he summons his Blade. There is also, of course, the rumor that when a darkeyes wins a Blade, his eyes change color when it binds to him. We don’t know if that’s true, but there certainly seems to be some connection between the Shard-bearing Knights Radiant and light eyes; I suspect a hereditary/genetic affinity has developed. It’s a thought, anyway. Maybe I’ll research/ponder the subject and report back if I find any real evidence. (I see others have commented on this as well.)

Confutus @41 – Hah! Exactly the same correlations I was noticing: Tanat shows up in the chapter icon when there’s a battle scene, generally, and Vev when someone is doing/thinking about healing. There’s a lot of Vev in the flashback chapters.
Alice Arneson
47. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @44 - Good thoughts on the eye color question. I'll have to do some reading up, and then go wash dishes. :)
Seerow
48. QueenofDreams
@44 wrt spheres, in one of Shallan's chapters it says that the spheres get their value from their usefulness in soulcasting. The more useful the gem, the more valuable it is (diamond being least valuable and emerald the most) I would think that that's not a modern development as the soulcasters are ancient devices and no one in modern times knows how they're made. WRT the glowy eyes I just assumed that it about the stormlight glow. On a sidenote, does anyone have any theories about why the KR can wear sharplate without it interfering with their powers?
Seerow
49. JPKIV
@48 I always assumed that it had something to do with the glyphs on their shardplate. I suppose that if I am right, this would tend to support the idea that Kaladin's shash glyph may be significant eventually.
Seerow
50. Justinian
I must disagree that swearing is not a part of Sanderson Novels. Swearing (mostly blasphemy) is a major world-building tool for Mr Sanderson. Every world has its own taboo words MILD SPOILERS FOR SANDERSON NOVELS? - By the Lord Ruler, Idos Domi, Rust and Ruin, mother of light - 'Storm you' is probably also conected to the 'Stormfather'. Blaspheming is a sub-set of one of Mr Sanderson's favourite topics: Religion.

SPOILERS FOR MISTBORN (FINAL EMPIRE and ALLOY OF LAW) AND WARBREAKER BELOW
re: A Black and White View: While I do agree that Mr Sanderson is a far less morally grey writer than say, Mr Abercrombie, his hero's are not complete White Hats: Shallan has that dark Secret, Vasher has a murder-sword and Kelsier would happily commit genocide. One of the things I really enjoyed about Alloy of Law was that Miles was basically Kelsier.
Seerow
51. QueenofDreams
@46 there's a bit (before that conversation Dalinar had) where it says something about darkeyes being leader. Sorry this is vague, I just remember it and don't have my copy in front of me right now to find it. i distinctly remember that. Also you have to bear in mind (in terms of that conversation) the ambiguity in language when it comes to leadership in this book. To the characters leader = lighteyes. They use the two terms synonomously. So although they use the word lighteyes in conversation it's quite probable that the book does not use that term, but simply refers to kings or lords etc. Think of the times that Rock and Sigzil are talking about leaders in other nations, and struggle because of the Alethi association of lighteyes with leaders.
M K
52. Sarene
@19. FlashWrogan & @22. Abba Zaba: Thanks for clearing that up! It did sound like the Roshone page was just a shortened version of the Amaram page, so I figured someone probably got them mixed up. :)


As for the speculation about whether or not Kaladin could have remained free had he killed Amaram, I kind of thought of the line “it’s the one I didn’t kill that’s the problem” as something like "if I were a different man and had taken the shards and killed Amaram, I would have remained free"; nothing less, nothing more, just stating a fact regardless of whether he agrees with the moral (or lack thereof) of it or not.

I don't think it means he regrets not killing Amaram and losing his freedom because of it, so I don't think it's relevant that without taking the shards he wouldn't have been able to kill Amaram anyway, or anything like that.

He is simply stating that if he had (taken the shards and) killed another man he wouldn't be a slave, but he's not saying anything about whether he would change that if he got the chance. Kaladin as we know him wouldn't (and didn't, obviously) take the shards and kill Amaram, but it's still a fact that had he done it, he would be a free man.

I'm probably not even making any sense at this point so it's time to sleep (yes, I'm in Europe) and get back to reading these comments in the morning!
Seerow
53. Rybal
A couple of thoughts (no particular order)-

1. BS has stated that there are three different types of shardblade. People over on 17thshard have theorized that they are the honorblades, standard shardblades, and whatever Szeth has. I agree with this thought and further think that Szeth's blade is what is giving him his powers. I'm posting on this thread rather than the previous one because I think the fact that the temporary nature of his eye color change and the fact that it is the same color associated with Windrunning as compared to the (probable) permanent change associated with a normal shardblade. I'd expect that normal acquisition of a shardblade would simply provide a lighter shade of your current eyecolor, rather than change it to something different. There is nothing in the text that suggests that the belief that one becomes a lighteyes upon gaining a shardblade is anything other than truth. Besides, if obtaining a shardblade only gave you the authority of a lighteyes without any direct change, how could you prove that you had that position without constantly pulling out your shardblade?

2. Maybe the Shash glyph will be something like the heron-mark on a sword in WoT? After all, in one of the books that BS wrote, I believe that someone told Gawyn that they needed to get him a heron marked blade so as to give warning to someone before they attacked him unwittingly. Pure speculation on that point.

3. I tended to think of Syl as a translucent green for some reason. I also think that she was the one that stuck the bowl to his fingers, not a lashing. Kaladin seems to think at one point in the book that that was one of the things that led him to believe that she was a windspren - because they frequently played tricks like that. Furthermore, she does another similar binding later in the book to "punish" the first captain when he was a bridgeman (sorry, don't have my text on me, but she seemed to think of it as a joke). Also, when describing herself as an Honorspren, she specifically says that she "Binds things".

4. I think that Szeth's lashings not working on Plate is a result of the origin of his powers (which I believe is the blade he has) rather than windrunning in particular. This would explain why the Radients seemed to be able to use it without concern.

5. I thought that Hoid was basically saying that eye color was as good a reason for someone to be in charge as any other. As for the comment that lighteyes may have served darkeyes, there are a couple of possibilities with this - the first has already been mentioned - that a leader should serve his people. The second is that darkeyes were originally in leadership positions and used shardbearers to fight their battles until such a point as they grew tired of taking orders, took over, and flipped the script. Just a theory, though.
Seerow
54. Iarvin
@53 Hoid thinks to himself about the lighteyes being above the others.
And, of course, there was always a reason people did what they did. Well, there was usually a reason. In this case it just happened to be a good one.
That's pretty explicitly saying that there is a good reason the light eyes are considered higher.
Jeffrey Johnson
55. johnsonator
The suffering of Kaladin is what brings in so much of my emotion. The dishonor and betrayal that placed him in those miserable cirumstances makes his rise to the top that more incredible. I loved his character development and I have no problem with either of these 2 chapters. I actually liked the small perspective from Cenn as it shows more to how the prior Kalladin was and how his trust in the light eyes will be restored with Dalinar. To see the progression of those two incredible characters together brings thrill to my brain in future books.
Sean Dowell
56. qbe_64
With regards to Szeth and his choice not to wear shardplate, a couple things:

1. as an assassin, not the most inconspicuous outfit

2. as for affecting his lashings, while he says plate directly interferes with his lashing, it's also his style that would suffer in plate. E.g. if you lash a quarter of your weight while wearing a plate, do you also have to lash the plate separately for the same effect? When you change your direction of gravity would the plate's automatically change or would it still pull down until you changed it as well? I suppose his clothing follows his lashes (other his shirt would fall over his head when lashed to the ceiling) so the plate might as well.

Additionally, while agility/dexterity are likely enhanced by the plate, I think it's still quite cumbersome. Szeth's catlike style would likely suffer.

So while it could be that plate just straight-up interfers/blocks his lashings or it could be interpreted that shardplate is not beneficial to his style of fighting, and therefore interferes with his preferred style.
B. E.
57. ekcell
I've always thought of the spren sort of like dreams are for us. Image if you came from a place where no one had dreams (or slept), then you came to earth and someone said

"Every night we all go unconscious and hallucinate. The visions we see range from vague thoughts to vivid and lengthy scenes. They can be terrifying or peaceful. They can be meaningful or disturbing. Most people just brush them aside and forget them, and few people look into them too deeply."

Interacting with a spren is like discussing a dream, more interesting to some than others. And, just like dreams, the fact that they exist is weird, and their meanining and purpose is unclear.

Now imagine if you had a dream where a figure appeared to you, called you by name, seemed to remember the things you'd discussed from dream to dream, and persisited from dream to dream, then started developing a personality. You remember this person when awake, and start finding meaning in your waking life about the things this person says. It would not take long for you to think you were crazy, but you couldn't just ignore it.

Also, from Cenn:

"He leaned back, staring up at the sky. He could hear faint thunder. That was odd. The sky was cloudless."

Maybe he was about to have a death bed vision.
Ryan Reich
58. ryanreich
"Approximately 4505 years after the departure of the Heralds and 5 years after the death of King Gavilar."

There's a joke: a tourist family visits a natural history museum to see the dinosaurs. One of the kids gets excited and asks how old they are, and a museum employee nearby answers "Sixty-five million eighteen years and 43 days". The parents ask how the employee could know with such precision. The reply: "My first day here I asked the same question and they told me it was sixty-five million years. And today, I've worked here for 18 years and 43 days."

So, I'd just go with 4500 years after the departure of the Heralds :)
Carl Engle-Laird
59. CarlEngle-Laird
So, on eye color, in Dalinar's dream of the Knights Radiant, all of them seemed to have glowing, light-colored eyes. Szeth's eyes change color when he uses his shardblade (Caveat, his is somehow different from other shardblades). There's a persistent legend about becoming a lighteyes when you win a shardblade and shardplate.

I think that altogether this points very strongly to eye color being conferred by shards. In the Mistborn books Sanderson also has a granted/acquired ability that is genetically inherited, allomantic power.

As for whether Shardplate actually interferes with Lashings, I think it does, and I think it has much to do with the gems in the armor. For it to function as it does it probably needs to be Stormlight-impermeable. The Knights Radiant had shardplate that wasn't limited this way, and it also glowed as if it were infused with Stormlight, so it was Stormlight-permeable.

Last thing: the "shash" glyph appears in Warbreaker as well! It's a standard letter in their glyphic alphabet. Maybe there's a pan-cosmeric linguistic predecessor?
Heather Miller
60. imthemamahere
After lurking on the Wheel of Time re-read for years, I've decided to jump in with both feet here...

On the impact of seeing Kaladin through Cenn's eyes... for me, I didn't mind being put behind his eyes, short-lived though he was, because I felt that seeing Kaladin's "before" at the start of chapter 1 was valuable. For one thing, the contrast between Kaladin Stormblessed, honorable warrior and savior of youth, and Kaladin, betrayed slave wouldn't have been as powerful if we'd seen Kaladin in the slave wagon first. First impressions and all...

I think it has the effect of making his storyline that much more gut-wrenching. The downward swing of his character arc doesn't break my heart quite the way some other fantasy characters have (*cough*Rand al'Thor*cough*), but I definitely feel a jolt of pain as Kaladin hits bottom... then drops lower.

I agree with those who believe Amaram was the lighteyes Kaladin meant. While the actual scene of his betrayal by Amaram is quite a ways away, it was Amaram's actions following the battle in chapter 1 (slaughtering his remaining men + sending Kaladin into slavery to get his grubby hands on the Shardblade+Plate Kaladin had won by saving his life) that directly brought Kaladin to this incredibly low point. Could be Kaladin wishes he'd been able to kill Amaram in that post-battle moment, could be he regrets a... less literal interpretation of killing - not racing to Amaram's rescue against the Shardbearer, turning away and letting Amaram die. Either way, Amaram's the not-killed lighteyes who has the most to do with Kaladin's enslaved, embittered state in Chapter 2.

Like Michael, I'm actually pretty intrigued by the natural biology Sanderson created on Roshar - the hard-shelled flora and fauna we get a glimpse of in the books are fascinating. What a reminder that we're far-removed from our reality...

Do we have any "proof" in-story that a darkeyes who manages to capture Shardblade/Plate does indeed end up with lighter eyes? I seem to remember at a later point, Shallan thinks about being required to learn the names of the very few who managed to do it, so it's exceptionally rare. I'm curious about whether this the eye-color change is fact or legend...
@57 -
"He leaned back, staring up at the sky. He could hear faint thunder. That was odd. The sky was cloudless." Maybe he was about to have a death bed vision.
I don't have the book (or rather, my Kindle) right in front of me right now to check, but I don't recall Cenn having a death bed vision. I want to say that the "thunder" he heard was actually hoofbeats - wasn't the nameless Shardbearer riding a horse?

Looking forward to following this re-read... and participating!
Seerow
61. Confutus
qbe_64 @ 56:
1. as an assassin, not the most inconspicuous outfit
Szeth is an assassin only by order, not by choice, and he was ordered to wear conspicuous white clothing by the Parshendi. The reason that they gave was that the target of an assassination is entitled to see his attacker coming. This is, it is hardly necessary to say, non-typical practice for assassinations.
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
Almost off the point thought - of course, flora and fauna would need to evolve into forms with shells in order to live through the storms that wreak havoc in all areas excepting Shinovar. That explains a lot.

Re the rest of the discussion: agree that needed the hero chapter before the fall; agree that it's Amaran as the lighteyes in question; I also have the Tinkerbell like thought re Syl's appearance (perhaps she's just a flashlight point on the wall, like Peter Pan in play form); yes, I was shocked that Vin's earring had plot importance; I'm not seeing that the slave tattoo should have power for Kal but it is an interesting spitball, nonetheless; and there is definitely something fishy going on re light eyes versus dark eyes.
Seerow
63. QueenofDreams
@60 Cenn does have a deathbed vision, it's shown in one of the later flashback scenes. i don't know whether this quote is related or just refers to the sounds of battle/horses becoming indistinct with him losing focus due to blood loss.
Seerow
64. QueenofDreams
oh and about the eye colour thing, I'm not saying for sure that eye colour doesn't change on becoming a shardbearer, it just ocurred to me that it might not necessarily be a literal change because to the Alethi to be a leader/noble IS to be a lighteyes, so I just read it as gaining social status however I accept that I could well be wrong in that. I am convinced though that the darkeyes used to be the upper class of society, not just because of my vaguely remembered reference, but more because of Dalinar's vision in Feverstone Keep where the darkeyed officer is referred to as 'my lord'. I think there's a lot more to learn there, but I guess none of us will know for sure until Mr Sanderson gets more of these books out!
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
Re: “the lighteyes I didn’t kill” – let’s back up a step. Kaladin never had a reason to consider killing Amaram until after it was far too late to do so. That has nothing to do with the fact that he is indeed “the problem.” When Kaladin took down the Shardbearer, Amaram was down and injured, his honor guard had deserted him, and Kaladin’s four remaining men saw the whole thing. Had he picked up the Shards, no one would have stopped him and he’d have been a Shardbearer. It’s not a question of whether Kaladin could have remained free by killing Amaram; that wasn’t in any way necessary. He would have remained a free man and a Shardbearer.

However, rather than pick it up Kaladin decided to give it to his men instead, and he walked away without seeing it done. Had he insisted, immediately and on the spot, that Coreb pick up the Shards, it probably would have worked. At the very least, there would have been a fight to take the Shards away from Coreb, to whom they would have bonded. Kaladin simply assumed that this honorable lord would honor his wishes, and he walked away. The honor guard only showed up as Kaladin was leaving. After some hours, and on the advice of Restares (whoever he is), Amaram decided that the best overall outcome was for a trained swordsman to have the Shards, and that since Kaladin would probably change his mind in a day or two, he didn’t dare risk having men in the camp who knew the truth. His solution, about which he at least showed some twinges of guilt, was to kill the remaining four men of the squad and make Kaladin a slave.

Up until that moment, Kaladin had neither reason nor desire to kill Amaram. From that moment on, though, Amaram was the ultimate in betrayal for him. A man who claimed to be honorable, and yet could casually kill four men and enslave a fifth to hide the fact that he hadn’t earned his prize himself… that was the death of honor.

Roshone has nothing to do with it, nor does the fact that Kaladin never tried to kill Amaram. That’s not what this is about. Amaram was “the lighteyes I didn’t kill;” it’s a simple statement of fact. Kaladin didn’t kill him. It’s also quite obvious that he is the reason Kaladin is a slave now.

ryanreich @58 - ::fistpump:: Yes! :)
Seerow
66. vSimCo
On the matter of lighteyes, and there leadership I beleive in the past Roshar (during the radiants) leadership positions did not depend on eye colour (see Dalinar visions) (dark eyes didn't rule light eyes and light eyes did not rule dark eyes) but overtime the light eyes that came from holding a shardblade was probably taken as a sign from the almighty that these people kick ass so yeah...

On Amaram's betryal; I think Amaram mostly got rid of Kaladin because who would belive that kaladin gave the blade willingly away? (Note: Amaram did offer it twice to Kaladin, one right after the battle, and one before the betrayal , though the first time was probably the only time Kaladin had a real choice... this does not excuse the actions, I just don't think Amaram would have tried stealing it if Kaladin accepted the blade in the first place.

Also I wonder what Syl means here
""Is it a treasure? Have you cut off a piece of the night's cloak and tucked it away? Is it the heart of a beetle, so tiny yet powerful?""

Why those things?

On the first chapter
For the most part it was a prolouge for Kaladain
- introduce us to Kaladin Stormblessed
- Serve as a couterpoint for Kaladin (getting depressed version)
Alice Arneson
67. Wetlandernw
Re: Cenn - the "thunder" was pretty clearly the sound of the approaching Shardbearer, who trampled him a couple of seconds later. He lived just about long enough after that to gasp out his death-words (He watches! The black piper in the night. He holds us in his palm…playing a tune that no man can hear!), but the "thunder" was only related in that it was the trampling that killed him. Prior to that, all he had was a not-too-serious flesh wound in his leg.
Seerow
68. tkThompson
RE: Physiological/biological differences between the two like the skaa/noble difference in Mistborn Trilogy, I don't think that's the case, because there were times in the past where the dark-eyes were the higher social status group, it was in one of Dalinar's visions, though it could be that the people in the era of the vision didn't care about eye-colour. It's mentioned in the book that the eyes would turn light, but we don't know if it's true or just a myth. If it's true, it could be a matter of expectations, like in Warbreaker, the Returned and those of the royal family can change their appearance at will (with practice), and the Returned look like what they expect themselves to look like (based on stereotypes, cultural expectations etc), and it could be a smilar effect here with the Plate and Blade changing eye colour (if it's even true). But the Shards are different here though, so I doubt it'll be quite the same, but it might be a similar mechanism. Or it could be a matter of cause and effect, maybe the Blades and Plates always changed the eye colour, maybe in relation to the ten essences or gemstones, and in the past (like in Dalinar's vision) they didn't use eye colour, and anyone with any eye colour can rise or fall to any rank, but after the Fall of the Radiants, those with Plates and Blades slowly became associated with power and high social status, and eventually all light-eyes became associated with nobility and that's why they have the class structure based on eye colour.

Warning: Serious spoilers for future chapters including the end of the book.
RE: humans are more like aliens who have invaded the world, maybe, mabe not, there are chickens and horses on Roshar, native to Shinovar, where the highstorms are no more powerful than normal rain, and there's normal grass there too, grass that doesn't move. I think humans might have evolved there and moved east, that move might have been the beginning of the conflict with the Parshendi aka Voidbringers, who probably evolved farther east.
Seerow
69. vSimCO
@68 I think that the humans are not native to Roshar is probably right.
Its even in there mythos, getting kicked out of the Tranquiline Halls by the voidbringers.
Seerow
70. Iarvin
@64 QueenOfDreams

Dalinar's vision doesn't provide real evidence that as a whole darkeyes are the upper class in earlier times. All there's evidence for is that having dark eyes did not exclude people from the upper class at that place in that time. This could quite possibly mean that eye color has nothing to do with who is upper class and who is not.
Seerow
71. AndrewB
I agree with Rybal @53 -- Wit was being sarcastic. A social status depending upon the colors of one's eyes is as arbitrary as other methods. In many ways, I think that Wit is Brandon's voice: a sort of breaching of the fourth wall.

In many ways, a social class based on one's eye color is as stupid as a social class based on one's skin color. Unfortunately, skin color was the basis for class superiority for far too long.

I agree with those who above who liked that the first Kaladin chapter showed him in a high note, whereas the next chapter showed him at the nadir of his life. IMO, it would not have been as effective of we first met Kaladin in his slave status - then he has a flashback to the time in the army.

BTW, I am not a fan of having the same character appear in all of Brandon's different series. I would have preferred if each of his worlds were different and not connected to each other. For some reason, I think it cheapens each series. I understand that I may be in the minority.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
B. E.
72. ekcell
@71

I was did not fully like the idea of the cosmere relation to all the books either. I also thought it sounded gimmacky, but I have since come to find a great deal of interest in reading about how things are related.

My wife is listening to the Mistborn series for the second time, the parts I hear just remind me of just how good Brandon Sanderson is at building a world cohesive with itself. He is truly crafting stories and plots with morals and meaning, not just sequences of events.

In this light, I fully anticipate that the last book of the Stormlight Archive will be a full on unleashing of mind blowage. Further, I think that all Cosmere books are starting to paint a vast tapestry that can only be understood and appreciated through extensive reading and rereadings (like this one) of his books.

Just my thoughts on the subject as I feel like I know where you are coming from.
M K
73. Sarene
I wholeheartedly agree with @65. Wetlander about Amaram vs. Roshone. I'm convinced it was Amaram Kaladin was talking about, it makes a lot more sense than Roshone. The more I think about it the more far fetched I think it is that he would have been thinking about Roshone. It's a valid theory but the Amaram theory has a much more solid logic behind it.


@66. vSimCo: I was also intrigued by that Syl line! I paid zero attention to it the first time around but now I'm really curious about night's cloaks and beetle hearts, haha.


@71. AndrewB: I find it fascinating that Brandon has the same characters appearing in different books. It's all connected, we've only seen glimpses of the big picture so far. However, I don't think it's very obvious that the same characters are appearing in different books of his and therefore I don't quite understand why it would be a negative thing. :)

The first time I read all of his published works I had no idea that his worlds are connected and some of the characters are the same as in other books. They work really well on their own and you don't actually HAVE to know anything about his other books or the whole cosmere thing to enjoy any one book or series.

It's really interesting for those who like it, but it can be completely ignored by those who don't! It also makes re-reads a LOT more interesting because you can hunt for clues about connections to other characters and worlds of his, but the clues aren't so obvious that they would bother the casual reader who only wants to read books once and toss them away :)
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
FWIW, I don't think Brandon has been overt in his ties between worlds in the cosmere, in the books. For the more casual reader, there's no reason to really notice that there are a few things that show up a couple of places. Hoid, for example, often goes by other names, and very rarely has much more than a cameo appearance, though there is always that. A more careful (but solo) reader and rereader might make the Hoid connection, or note the references to Shards, and draw the conclusion that Brandon is somehow tying things together. Generally, though, it takes a bit of interaction with the online fandom and/or Brandon personally to realize how deeply they are tied together. Now that you're here, and people are pointing out all the connections, you can't go back, of course; you will always know that the books are all set in the same cosmere. You don't have to worry about it, though; from what I've heard so far, he doesn't intend to make the backstory a major theme of the books - or not for a long time, anyway.

On the other hand, there's the story-within-a-story-within-a-story effect that allows you to read and enjoy at whatever level you like...

On the lighteyes/darkeyes question - a careful reread of Dalinar's visions does not really imply that darkeyes are ever the default leaders and the lighteyes the lower class; it merely, as Iarvin pointed out @70, indicates that darkeyes were not at that time excluded from leadership as they are now. That particular vision took place in the time of the Knights Radiant; the convention of putting only lighteyes in charge hadn't yet developed.

Edit to add: Well. There's that weird quirk again, where it posts my previous comments instead of what I just typed. Fortunately, it was still there with a bit of jiggery-pokery...

Also, great minds and all that - I see Sarene said much the same thing while I was typing. :)
Barry T
75. blindillusion
--Later it is brought up that you can make rotspren clear away from a wound by using water, but still nothing is ever mentioned about actually trying to touch them.--

I don't know if it's been mentioned in the comments above, but Shallan mentions what happens if you touch a spren.
Seerow
76. QueenofDreams
@74 I noticed Hoid in Elantris and then in WoK. I actually didn't realise it was supposed to be the same character, I just thought Sanderson had been lazy and reused the name! It wasn't till a couple of months ago that I googled 'Cosmere' and then found out that Hoid is actually the same character. I've just finished rereading all my Sanderson books, mainly to find the other references to Hoid, shards and adonalsium. I have to say it completely blew my mind to realise that Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker and WoK are all linked within an overarching story.
Seerow
77. PHubbard
Re:Chapter 1 - I didn't like this chapter when I first read it, or more precisely didn't like it when the next chapter introduced a 4th POV in as many chapters. Of course, Cenn is just a red-herring and an introduction to Kaladin, but after the Prelude and Prologue (both of which I loved) I was more than ready to get into the main story POV and this felt like a bit of a false start. Looking back though, I can see how important it is to show Kaladin's 'honor' side before he gets all depressed, as this is a vital part of who he is.

Re: Cosmere - I love the subtle connections and underlying magical principles in Brandon's books! As several people have said, it's not nearly obvious enough to bother a casual reader, but makes things so much more fun for fans/rereaders. Brandon has said that he doesn't intend to publish a book for which extensive knowledge of the cosmere is necessary to understand it, so I don't think it takes anything away from the books.

Warning: world/cosmere spoilers!
Re. origin of humans - I'm pretty sure I remember a quote from somewhere (either a Mistborn epigraph or one of Dalinar's visions) which says somehting along the lines of "We/They created mankind, in the image of what We/They had seen before". Bearing in mind that there are (very similar) humans on each of the interconnected worlds in the Cosmere, it seems unlikely that they have all originated separately on their respective planets. The quote seems to imply that there was some sort of proto-human (possibly before Adonalsium was shattered?) upon which the various species of human on different worlds are based.
Deana Whitney
78. Braid_Tug
I’m actually happy to find out that Sanderson meant to connect all his worlds.
Their magic systems are too similar in their logic and workings. So this connection means it’s purposeful, rather than he can’t come up with a radically different magic system.

And yes, we are calling the “non-marbled” skin people, “humans” but in a way, they might not be.
If we look at Sanderson’s Cosmere as a different but related galaxy, people evolved and look human, but if someone from Earth was dropped there, I bet the difference would become apparent quickly. Beyond the whole “we can’t use this galaxy’s magic!”


@ 60; Welcome! Will we be seeing you on the WoT post too?
Seerow
79. Huudu
RE: Szeth and Shardplate

Reading this passage:
Szeth reached underneath the front of the man's breastplate, tapping the straps there. They unfastened, and he pulled the front of the breastplate free, exposing the gemstones on its interior. Two had been cracked and burned out. Three still glowed. Numb, Szeth breathed in sharply, absorbing the light.
I had always assumed that in the course of breathing in the stormlight Szeth would breath in the Stormlight from the gems powering the armor, rendering it basically a giant weight that he would need to be helped out of.
T C
80. Freelancer
The one Kaladin didn't kill. This cannot be Roshone. Kaladin was not betrayed, or lied to, by Roshone. Yes, he was a despicable person, but he was that from the moment Kaladin's family first encountered him. We're not there in the text yet, so I'll not get into details, but Amaram is the one who did not bother to uphold his word to Kaladin's family. He is the reason Kaladin trusts no lighteyes, and the source of the only behavior of his which pains Sylphrena.

~~ More later
Matt Spencer
81. Iarvin
@79 RE: Szeth and Shardplate

That makes sense, except that we do see Windrunner Radiants wearing full shardplate - and the shardplate technology isn't likely to have changed since then, so the Windrunners probably did have gems powering their armor as well, but evidently were not hindered from lashing themselves as we see them flying around presumably using their lashings.

I think there are a couple possibilities here. The radiants used the armor to its full extent, and so the fully activated armor may have had protections from drawing from its empowering gems while it was activated.

Or the armor could always protect from drawing from its empowering gems, and Szeth just doesn't like using armor. I'm not sure which one I find more likely.
Karen Fox
82. thepupxpert
Kind of off topic here but had to respond to @62 Rob re Vin's earring, I spent the entire first read thinking that the earring had enormous implications but I thought it would give her away at the balls because it was so unique. Back to the comments...
Charles S
83. Cheese_Ninja
I agree with the others that say the whole Alethi 'lighteyes=leaders' thing came about from the glowing Radiant's eyes and also from Shardblades permanent changing the eyecolors of the people who claimed them after the Recreance, which lead to a new social caste in which they were the leaders.

I never noticed Cenn seeing that whole "warping of the air" which was probably Syl.

I also agree that Kaladin's regrets about saving Amaram are the source of his whole "Lighteyes that I didn't kill" comment.

@41 Thanks for mentioning the Heralds used in the chapter heading, the complete list is on the coppermind wiki here. I've noticed that sometimes the characteristics are less important than the Herald themself. (Baxil's interlude features Shalash/Shalash, the epilogue features Taln/Hoid.) Chapters with Soulcasting are much more likely to feature Palah or Shalash, and chapters with Windrunners/Lashings might have Jezrien, so it also seems to be linked to whichever Order of Radiants the Herald is associated with.

@81 I think the glowiness and glyphs on the Radiant's Shardplate were indications that the Plate was somehow attuned to them, and that they couldn't accidentally draw the Stormlight from the gems powering it.
Seerow
84. Phoex
Well, I'm not too sure about this, but I remember reading that Kaladin's eyes glowed when he drew in a lot of stormlight, so the lighteyes thing might come that, not necesarily from shardplate/sharblade.
Jennifer B
85. JennB
No one has said or asked this directly, but do eyes absorb stormlight like gems do? Does lighteyes = bright while dark eyes = dun? Shardplate could facilitate a person's eyes absorbing the stormlight. Though I have no idea why such a thing would be genetic.
Carl Engle-Laird
86. CarlEngle-Laird
JennB @85: Well, the eyes are associated with the essence Vev, which is also associated with diamonds, and with soulcasting quartz and glass. Diamonds are also the gems most frequently used as light sources, since their light is pure white, and they are the cheapest gemstones. I wouldn't be surprised if diamonds are used to cast spheres. So they're kind of loosely tied to the storing of Stormlight.

More interestingly, I think, is the fact that the eyes of anyone killed by a Shardblade burn out of their sockets, and that people see this as synonymous with their soul being killed or severed from their body. So, eyes are tightly connected to the soul, at least in Vorin cosmology. So, lighteyes have stormlight stored in their souls. (Vorinism is so icky.)
Seerow
87. Helanna
I love the Cosmere. The little hints won't affect a casual reader, so they can just be read as stand-alones with no problem. But with knowledge of the Cosmere, the little hints become oh so tantalizing, and it's so rewarding to find them and link them all together.

I actually just found the Coppermind wiki, and after three valuable hours I was supposed to be using for homework, I decided to re-read Elantris. The religious conflict takes on a whole new meaning when you know that the Shards of that planet, presumably the creators of humanity there, are both dead and Splintered . . .
Nadine L.
88. travyl
Re Eye Color: Iarvin @54, thank you for quoting Hoid, seems my assumption about Brightlord = leader is not similar to what happend to the priests, who are now forbidden to own anything because at some time in history they abused it.

Re brightly shining Eyes: it is never described that Dalinar or any other Shardblade/Plate bearer nowadays (excluding Szeth) has burning eyes, so i don't think that if a Darkeyed man would get a Blade, that his eyes would get lighter.
@several, yes: thanks for pointing out the heralds in the chapter-icon, i'm planning to pay more attention to that detail on this reread.
Seerow
89. Bragado
Just a few thoughts.

It's occured to me that spren could be a manifestation of Honor's or Cultivation's power/body similar to the mists in Mistborn. The mists in Mistborn were a manifestation of Preservation's power and allomancers could draw them in to make them more powerful, which Vin did on occation. Because the mists were part of Preservation, they were repelled by those with hemilugric spikes (because hemilurgy was Ruin's power and Ruin and Preservation were opposites). I think in some similar way the spren are a manifestation of the power of Honor or Cultivation (don't have enough info yet on which shard) that enhances the powers of the nights radient/Kalidin.

I don't know if Kalidin started developing his powers because of Syl, or if Syl was attracted to Kalidin because he was manifesting the powers. As I recall, in one of the early flash backs when Kalidin first picked up the staff he took to it easily (I don't have my book here so I may be remembering wrong) and he had a great debate for several of the flashbacks on whether to become a warrior or healer.

Another thought is that for a long time Kalidin was using stormlight and lashings without knowing it. We see this on his bridge runs, but also in some of the flashbacks as he was fighting for Amaram. For that reason he was called Stormblessed. I think Kalidin showed honor and was developing his powers which then attracted Syl to him and they later bonded.

The next point is that Kalidin believed his eyes would change color if he took up the shardblade. I don't know that it matters if his eyes would have changed, but he believed it. When he killed the shardbearer he was already disollusioned with light eyes because he had been lied to and put down by light eyes his life (remember his family was of a high rank as brown eyes, one or two steps down from a light eyes) and light eyes betrayed him so many times that he didn't want to become like them. He rejected being a shardbearer and becoming a light eyes because in his mind he would then be like any other light eyes and would betray who he was and his "dark eyed people".

One last thought -- on the subject of the statement that a light eyes should be a servent to dark eyes. I didn't take that to mean that the dark eyes were once leaders of the people, but from the servant leader thought of leadership. In that type of leadership, the leader is to serve and help uplift those they serve instead of lording control over them. I thought that statement was that light eyes, as the leaders, were to serve those they led, similar to Jesus Christ in the Christian religions. He was the leader, but taught and served those he led. Based on the premise of the WOK book Dalinor had been reading, the servant leader philosophy fits in well with the rest of the teachings, and it totally the opposite way light eyes treat those they lead, thus making WOK a very radical book for Dalinor to follow.
Seerow
90. Confutus
I once went through and made a chapter-by-chapter listing of the icons, trying to figure out what, if anything, they meant. For a few of them, the significance stood out rather plainly, but more were obscure. I expect that if one of the heralds actually does show up, so will his or her icon, but usually it's not quite so simple. For instance, I don't think Talenel shows up in Amaram's warcamp (given when, where, and how he does appear), and I don't think Vev--whatever her name actually is, but her icon appears female-- appears in Tvlakv's slave caravan, so I look for some other meaning. For the most part, I prefer to reserve my observations about them for when they come up.
Cameron Tucker
91. Loialson
"It is never mentioned what would happen if you tried to brush a spren away."
On this point Michael, I'd like to point out a relevant Shallan POV:
"Creationspren began to gather around her pad, looking at her work....She'd learned to ignore them. They weren't substantial-if she moved her arm through one, it's figure would smear like scattered sand, then re-form. She never felt a thing when touching one."
-Chapter 7 "Anything Reasonable" pg 135 paperback WoK
Spren (at least for sure Creationspren, and I posit it's the same for other non-sentient Spren; I'm unsure on Spren like Syl) can be brushed aside. More correctly, brushed through.
M K
92. Sarene
@88. travyl
Re brightly shining Eyes: it is never described that Dalinar or any other Shardblade/Plate bearer nowadays (excluding Szeth) has burning eyes, so i don't think that if a Darkeyed man would get a Blade, that his eyes would get lighter.
But they are lighteyes, ie. they have lightly coloured eyes. As far as I understand, taking ownership of Shardplate/Blade would make the person's eyes turn light (not burning) even if they are dark eyed. At least, as far as I understand it, this is what Kaladin believes, and personally I don't think there's any reason to think it wouldn't happen.
Lola Peets
93. IdioticGenius
As I am rereading WoK, i am also rereading Mistborn, and one of the things that stood out for me is that in the beginning, they believe that there are only 10 alomantic metals. Now, we know that in the cosmere 16 is an important/sacred number (16 shards of andolsium, 16 alomantic metals, ext...) so what is the importance of 10? WoK believes 10 is an important number but I believe that it is not -- not with 16 being so heavily prevalent in the cosmere.

Another thing that grabbed my interest was that in one of Dalinar's visions (the first one the reader is witness to) that he meets 2 Radiants. The Radiants eyes DO glow, and there Shardplate does as well. It occurs to me that the only way for current Shardplate to be coloured is to paint it -- in the vision, the Shardplate is coloured on its own. Dalinar also notices that the female Radiant is "magically" wearing a helmet. I believe she causes it to appear in much the same way as Shardblades do. I believe that nobody understands Shardplate and blade as well as they think they do, and it is not at all what they think it is.
Seerow
94. Staizer
So, who ever mentioned the three different shard blades got me thinking... You ready?

in the Mistborn series we have the three different magics, one with a net gain, one net neutral and one with net loss.

what if the three types of shard blades are the same? The only other times we have seen magic it has either been net neutral ( most times), or net gain.

what if Szeth is truthless because his sword not only killed someone but took their wind runner abilities and gave them to Szeth at a loss. It would explain his shame, his abilities, his red eyes and why his sword is different.

honorblades are net gain swords, shard blades are neutral and truthless blades are net loss... What type was shallan's really? Do her eyes glow the color of a soulcaster stone? Was she born that way or is she like a vorin hemoluergist?
Alice Arneson
95. Wetlandernw
There's another kind of blade in WoK, too - or at least another description. The one carried by the Parshendi Shardbearer in Ch. 68, "Eshonai," is described as "wicked and barbed, like flames frozen into metal." Is that merely a variant of the "normal" Shardblades carried by Dalinar, Adolin, etc. - or is it the third kind of Shardblade? Honorblades might be in a category all their own.

Slightly off topic: Speaking of Eshonai, I see that the coppermind wiki identifies Eshonai as the (female) Parshendi Shardbearer in that chapter, and also as one of the upcoming PoV and book-focus characters. However, there's nothing in Ch. 68 to verify either of those, and I can't find any other confirmation either. Does anyone know about this? Was someone putting their theories in as fact, or is it based on an unpublished (or at least unfootnoted) extra-textual comment by Brandon, or.... what? Generally speaking, the coppermind wiki seems pretty reliable - but generally speaking, it provides footnoted sources for statements like this.
Seerow
96. Kirala
Regarding Syl's appearance, I always picture the Spring Sprite from Fantasia 2000. I'm always fascinated with the way the Sprite shifts below the neck from amorphous to woman and back.

@93 Do we know that 16 is that important throughout the entire cosmere? I suppose the 16 shards might be indicative, but we know that there are in fact Ten Heralds, which leads me to think that in Roshar, at least, ten truly is a significant number. I think spren and Surgebinding may be complex enough without having missing numbers to calculate. Also, in Mistborn, there is a much stronger mathematical component evident in the magic from the beginning - powers are clearly matched in pairs, less clearly so in pairs of pairs, hinting at an ultimate power-of-two structure. There has been very little math invovled in Stormlight so far, howevermuch numerology may be present. As for the rest of the cosmere, Warbreaker has numbers involved, but I can't discern a pattern to the increasing number of Breaths required to attain each Heightening (of which there are ten, with no appearance of more). Elantris is all symbol-based, rather than number-based, as far as I can tell. Sixteen is just not registering as universally important.
andrew smith
97. sillyslovene
@95 Wet-
IIRC, there was some pre-released chapter from her perspective, along the lines of the videos that BwS has of him writing the next book (i.e. not necessarily cannon, but finished enough that it was put out as a teaser or something) . I can't remember exactly where or when it was, but I remember reading it.Weird that it isn't referenced.

As for the three types of shardblades: I don't think the honorblades are included among them (I may be wrong) because looking at all the shardblades in the book we get: 1- Szeth's (which is completely different from the rest), 2- the 'normal' ones like Dalinar's, etc, (roughly six feet long/length of a man) and then 3- a weird one, the one Amaram takes, which is described similar to two but having a gemstone in the pommel, something not mentioned about any other blade. This last may potentially be a new type created by fabrial tech rumored to be close...

see:
http://stormlightarchive.wikia.com/wiki/Shardblade
Alice Arneson
98. Wetlandernw
I found it! There was a tweet back in February, where Brandon said "Yes, Szeth is 3. Eshonai (she is the Parshendi Shardbearer) is probably 4. Dalinar rounds out the first five." Now to get that referenced in the coppermind...
Genhi Whitmer
99. portal_stone
I enjoyed the Cenn POV and sort of figured he was going to get killed anyway. But it served to demonstrate what kind of man/leader Kalidin is. It also helped convey a little of the sense of deep loss and failure that Kalidin would feel after the deaths of Cenn and the other men he led. They were his brothers in arms.

As discouraged and depressed as Kalidin is, one still senses strength in him. Mostly by the black leaves he has. He is still thinking of action, of some kind. He is also close to truly giving up, but perhaps the appearance of the spren jolts him out of his despair a little.

I'm still not a fan of fairy-like creatures, but I'm hanging in there. I wish I did not have images from Hook or Legend in my head (shudder).
Matt Spencer
100. Iarvin
@95 and 97

Here's links to the three reads that Brandon has done from WoR. Peter Ahlstrom suggested not using them for theory discussion theory here, so I'm happy with that - but I don't see any harm in sharing the links with people! Listen at your own risk - these are Words of Radiance chapters that are from before the revision/editing process is finished!

http://www.17thshard.com/news/brandon-news/red-carpet-once-white-shallan-flashback-from-r117

http://www.17thshard.com/news/brandon-news/second-part-of-the-stormlight-2-parshendi-reading-r115

http://www.17thshard.com/news/brandon-news/brandon-reads-a-scene-from-stormlight-2-r112
T C
101. Freelancer
The traditional fantasy saga is introduced to the reader through the eyes of the incipient hero. Brandon Sanderson has often declared that he seeks to put a twist on the traditional methods wherever it is fitting. And though he has done so here, using Cenn the untrained spearman, he wastes no time bringing the real focus to Kaladin. The clue-bat is a mighty one in this regard: Cenn isn't described, except in comparison to Kaladin and Dallet. His initial POV is one which evokes a sympathetic response, but is also pathetic; he's scared to death and convinced that he's going to die, and nothing has happened yet.

Enter Kaladin Stormblessed. Not physically as yet, but as told to Cenn by Dallet, with the rest of the squad nodding that their squadleader is why things will be alright. What follows is more subtle than the common info-dump at the outset of a new story; it is a staged reveal of several aspects which are immediately significant, and several more which are left waiting to be expounded upon. The tension for wanting to know more of the whys and hows is begun very quickly, and amplified steadily until the arrival on the battlefield of a shardbearer. Other parts, like why specifically Kaladin bothers to take young, untrained soldiers under his wing, get only a hint, after which it takes most of the book, and several further flashbacks, before the complete truth is known.

I find myself disagreeing with the post analysis. This chapter is not "forgettable", in that it creates starting points which impact the reader's understanding of all the story arcs in this volume, not just Kaladin's.

Also, Cenn may begin by being convinced that he won't survive, but that's not the same thing as thinking of himself as "cannon fodder". He's simply terrified in the face of his first action as a spearman. If he truly believed that his purpose there in the view of his superiors was to die as a distraction for others, I daresay he would have run away no matter how encouraging Dallet was.

This chapter isn't meant to be grand. It is meant to be exactly what it is - desperate. But its more subtle purpose is showing us some of the nature of Roshar, of the Alethi culture, of the manner of warfighting in this time and place. Rockbuds, the naturally presumed superiority of lighteyes, the idea that a slickrock plain could be looked at as pasture land, spren; all things which are foreign to the reader, but common place on this world.

Chapter 2 immediately shows us that being a spearman isn't nearly as low as life can go. Instantly there are numerous questions which go begging for a large chunk of the volume: Why is Kaladin a slave? Where is the slave caravan heading? What happened on that battlefield once the Shardbearer arrived? Who's dishonor is responsible for the title of the chapter? The last was the most obvious to me, as Kaladin already had shown his contempt for the hypocrisy of most lighteyes. In chapter 1 he checks this contempt regarding Amaram (whom we later learn didn't even attempt to keep a promise to Kaladin's family), because Kaladin feels himself as much at fault. So it had to be Amaram's dishonorable act which fully broke Kaladin's trust.

Sylphrena. What a clever device to sustain the reader's curiosity across dozens of chapters. That she presents to Kaladin at the outset as a windspren, gives the reader no opportunity to question that assessment, since he surely knows more about the world around him than do we. Even when she binds his slop bowl to his hands, he considers it a common prank of such a spren. But then, when she begins talking to him, including calling him by name, the question comes which is not answered for most of the book; "What are you?" Kaladin begins to refer to her as "spirit", rather than windspren; he insists that spren shouldn't understand abstractions like politeness; yet he allows himself to engage in conversation with it, about how he is no longer fighting his enslavement. All-in-all, an intriguing bit which ends with no answers, and many more questions.

As for Syl binding Kaladin's bowl to his hands, it may well be indistinguishable from the Lashings of a Windrunner, but it may also be different. There is no description of Stormlight leaking, steaming, or puffing from around the binding. Perhaps the dusk sunlight was enough to keep him from seeing it, or perhaps there was none. It may be that spren can do naturally, what humans require Stormlight to accomplish.

Chapter 2 also shows us continued evidence of Kaladin's medical understanding; in this case, the slave with the "grinding coughs". Internally, he rehearses the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. And, then his heart is broken just a tiny bit more as that slave, whom he'd hoped would be saved by his actions, is slaughtered anyway. The continuing theme of failure in the life of a former spearman, and with each such defeat, Kaladin sinks lower and lower.

~~ MISTBORN SPOILER BELOW ~~

There's something else here. Kaladin "hears" his father admonishing him about behaving rightly. I'm strongly reminded of Vin hearing her brother's "voice" reminding her to never trust, to always expect betrayal. Except that it wasn't Reen she was hearing, it was Ruin. Might Brandon be recycling this device, with Kaladin hearing someone/something else, and overlaying Lirin's teachings as the source?
Seerow
102. Staizer
@freelancer I agree completely with your assessment here. The whole first few chapters ran so smoothly and left you wondering just the wrong questions to keep everything a surprise.

i would like to say that the way Brandon starts his novels, with the exception of elantris, has been the same and is actually appreciate what he is doing with them.

the beginning of his books starts with a character who knows the magic system backwards and forwards. This is seen through Szeth in this book, vasher in warbreaker, kelsier in Mistborn, and in a way through Shia in the emperor's soul. Then it immediately moves to a character who not only knows nothing of how the magic works but also, most likely has misconceptions about it. This way the main character can learn about the magic system at the same time as the reader and be as shocked by magical revelations as the reader is, but the reader also gets to see how awesome the system is to begin with.

having read the prologue with Szeth using lashings to bind the door closed on the guards we could have assumed that kelsier was accidentally using magic himself to bind the bowl to his hand but because we are just as new to magic as he is we make the same assumptions he does but for different reasons. We know how the magic works but not his world, he knows his world but not how magic works.

just an interesting way a playing with introductions to get people not only excited by the magic, but also surprised by it as well.
Sean Dowell
103. qbe_64
Re: the posting of Michael Whelan Kaladin picture.

He looks WAY to old! He's still supposed to be like 19!
He looks about 30.
T C
104. Freelancer
Staizer @102

Err, Kelsier? I don't think Surgebinding and Ironpulling are that much alike. I know you meant Kaladin. It's pretty sure that Syl did that, he heard her laughing when it happened, and she admits binding others' feet to the ground to trip them, and similar pranks. Early on, he only uses the Stormlight under great stress. The melancholy he is experiencing in that scene wouldn't trigger it.
Seerow
105. Staizer
Right did meant Kaladin.

the point i was making is that the way Brandon introduces his magic leads you to make incorrect assumptions about the people and magic, so that you can learn with the character.

when I first read tWoK I assumed, because of what happened with Szeth, that it was kaladin doing the binding and syl had nothing to do with it. Now I know better because I learned the truth as kaladin did.

How do you as a writer get the reader to forget that they can see is from other people's viewpoints when they are in one character's head at a time?

We know that surgebinding exists, kaladin does not. However, like I said, we don't know much about spren while kaladin has probably had to study them more than most people because of his medical work.

when kaladin has the bowl stick to his hand; kaladin, not knowing about magic assumed it was just a normal wind spren trick. Whereas I, not knowing about spren assumed his assumption was wrong because I DID know that magic exists and thus I falsely attributed the cause to him instead. (Make sense?) We are both wrong in our assumptions, him because it is not a normal windspren trick and me because spren can also use magic too, not just kaladin. We as the reader and the character learn something new and surprising at the same time together from different viewpoints.
Birgit
106. birgit
Maybe spren can do lashings because their "body" is made of Stormlight.
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
There was a post yesterday about Michael Whelan finishing one of the preliminary studies he did for WoK. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/04/michael-whelan-paints-kaladin-from-the-way-of-kings

Hopefully the link works and doesn't get spam-killed.
Genhi Whitmer
110. portal_stone
I have a technical question; if there is someplace I can find the answer without ruining the vibe of this thread, please let me know. How do you know when a new topic has been posted (i.e., WoK reread Chapter 3-4, etc)? Thanks in advance!

freelancer, I also agree with your assessment. I found these chapters to be very important in introducing us to Kaladin, in addition to continuing to build the world around him. I found myself trying to imagine what the crustaceans they use like horses look like..... Or grass that pops out of the way for the wagons and then pops back up!

I have my teen son now hooked on this book. He is absolutely loving it - hasn't put the book down. This is a bit of a problem since we are sharing the book! :)
Carl Engle-Laird
111. CarlEngle-Laird
@110: No need to feel like you're ruining the vibe. Way of Kings reread posts go up every Thursday at noon. If you want reminders you can follow Tor.com through its RSS feed or by following it on twitter.
T C
112. Freelancer
Or FB. Both Tor.com and Brandon flash when a new The Way of Kings post goes up.
M K
113. Sarene
I just come here every Thursday and check the new post manually. The link to the re-read is on the Tor.com front page, on the right side, so I just click my way here. :)

I certainly agree that Kaladin looks far too old in that painting. He also doesn't look at all the way I imagined him! Not just because he looks too old, he's also supposed to have black wavy hair that reaches his shoulders. (Okay, so you can't tell that well from that painting, but it doesn't look long or wavy enough to me!)
The newcomer was a young man–perhaps four years older than Cenn's fifteen–but he was taller by several fingers than even Dallet. --- His black Alethi hair was shoulder-length and wavy, his eyes a dark brown.
It's a great painting though! Just doesn't make me think of Kaladin. :)
Seerow
114. Ogee
Agree that the painting looks great, however I also agree it is not the mind's eye picture of Kaladin that I had. I may need to stay out of the WOT-uverse, but was thinking more of an Aragorn figure. Dark and brooding, but also serene and altogether good. This picture feels evil and menacing to me.
Karen Fox
115. thepupxpert
@110 & 111 - I also put a reminder on my Outlook.

Also @108 - thanks for sending the link, sometimes I just don't see where all this stuff is being uploaded. I commented over there as well.
Genhi Whitmer
116. portal_stone
Thanks all for the help in figuring out about new posts!
Seerow
117. papadopolis
Freelancer @ 101: Plus before the Cenn joined the army he was a shepard of some kind, which is a standard epic fantasy trope.

I thought the first chapter was a joke by Sanderson, creating a viewpoint that used a lot of epic fantasy main character tropes, only to have him dead in the second chapter.
Seerow
118. BubbaCoop
Later it is claimed there were 100 (10 x 10) desolations, though Jasnah considers this exaggeration/mythologizing
mike janzen
120. goombah
re: when did Syl first appear...Later in the books Kal is reliving a scene in Amaram's army where he's trying to toss his coin purse and it sticks to him, almost making him stumble. This always seemed to me like the first place that Syl is possibly mentioned.
Seerow
121. JayTurner341
re: @tkThompson. In your post, you mentioned something about the Parshendi being Voidbringers. As I go through the book this time, I'm beginning to think the Parshendi are the decendents of the Radiants. I don't have any specific evidence to back this up, but as I read, little things jump out at me that say, "Hmm... That's a lot like the Radiants." They fight in pairs, they have specific words that give them power/focus, the Tower plateau has small mounds that look like fallen walls covered in snow... (makes me think of Urithiru.)

I read most of the comments for these readthrough pages, but not all of them. I apologize if somebody else has already mentioned this.
Lindsey Duncan
122. LindseyBargnoffle
Some things that I find particularly interesting about shash brand isn't actually the brand itself, but what else it stands for. I thought it was bizarre that it meant "dangerous" but was also the name of a month (the first epigraph was recorded during the month of shash). Not only that but it's the number that Shalash is associated with.

So shash is a month, means dangerous, is represented by a garnet, relates to blood, honesty, creativity. Not to mention the brand on his head is the essence for the missing statue in Gavilar's palace. Implications??
Samuel R
123. Talenel
Ignore my last post, it should have gone in the last group.
Liz Roberts
124. VocaLizard
@100 Iarvin:
I'm at work right now, and I cannot listen to/download the links, but I definitely will. I don't know if it's one of the ones mentioned there, but when I went to the Rithmatist signing a few months back, Brandon read from the POV of the king of Kharbranth. I think it was mentioned that it was an Interlude, but I could be misremembering. I don't remember what all was said, because, though I was interested, I was mostly reveling in the fact that BRANDON SANDERSON was 10 feet away from me and reading.

FWIW, that reading was after answering my question (for this reading) of basically, "How much more is there to the magic systems in ALL of your books, than what you actually show to us as readers?" He more or less said that his magic systems are very detailed and there is a lot more to them, and a lot more fleshed-out detail, than we ever get to see. That's actually good to know, I think, because it means these magic systems he creates are even more exact and interesting, and because it means there's still more we can learn that either might be revealed in interviews, or whatever, or in future books.

I'm new to the whole Coppermind wiki thing, but I believe that once I get through all of these re-read chapters, I will be spending a LOOONG time over there, followed by re-reading probably all of his books. And I do have all of them, including the Alcatraz books, though the only ones I haven't read are the WoT books. Still working my way through that series, slowly....

@101 Freelancer:
"Kaladin begins to refer to her as 'spirit', rather than windspren...."
Syl is a spirit. Rao means "spirit." The heart, and secret, to Elantris was in the "spirit," as you will, and the book was originally going to be called "The Spirit of Elantris" or "The Spirit of Adonis" or whatever the original word for Elantris was. So as not to give everything away for the book, I'll just mention that Spirit was significant in the book.

As per the annotations on the Elantris title page:
"'Ado' was simply the Aon I chose to base the city's name around, and 'Adonis' (Pronounced with a long 'A' and a long 'O') was the word that came out of that Aon. So, I named the book THE SPIRIT OF ADONIS, hoping to play off of Raoden's name."

It's just another instance of Ado, or Adon, playing a part. Adonalsium, anyone?

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