Thu
May 16 2013 12:00pm
The Way of Kings Reread: Chapter 11

The Way of Kings Reread Brandon Sanderson Stormlight ArchiveWelcome back to the Way of Kings reread! We’ve reached Chapter 11, and with it the end of Part One. As such, I’ll only be covering one chapter this week, but will also offer my impressions on the entirety of Part One. I’ll discuss the characters introduced, how they developed, how the Part functions as a whole, and more.

In addition to that, I have stories from Brandon Sanderson’s visit to Tor headquarters, a special (and incredibly limited) giveaway of The Rithmatist, and more, all below the cut.

Brandon Sanderson was in New York on Tuesday to kick off his signing tour for The Rithmatist. I got to meet him for the second time, and discuss how pleased I was that Tulsa, my home town, is an independent Island in the alternate United States featured in The Rithmatist.

I also watched as he accidentally produced a bonus signed copy of The Rithmatist. This special, limited-edition signed hardcover can be yours, but beware, it is signed to Ray. If your name is Ray, or you are willing to pretend as much, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as soon as possible, and we’ll work something out.

At the end of the meeting I told him how much we’re all looking forward to Words of Radiance, and he confirmed that he’s working hard on it. It’s about 80% done, so we’ve got some time left to wait, but also a lot to look forward to.

And now, with no further ado, the reread.

 

Chapter 11: Droplets

Setting: Sadeas’ Warcamp, The Shattered Plains

Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens: The highstorm subsides, and Kaladin slips on his sandals and leaves the barracks, passing soldiers using their one allotted blanket as either a covering, a pillow, or a headwrap to block out the world. Outside the rain is falling in sheets and the wind is still strong, as the highstorm has just barely passed the point of danger. Kaladin walks through the lumberyard, through waves of chilling rain, and is accosted by Gaz.

The sergeant is retrieving charged spheres from a metal basket on the leeward side of a barrack, where he put them out before the storm for infusing. This is a risk, since baskets can be torn free in storms, and some people believe that the Lost Radiants steal spheres as well. Kaladin thinks that it’s more likely these spheres are stolen by desperate and greedy men willing to risk a highstorm. Gaz threatens to string Kaladin up if he’s among these thieves, but Kaladin turns away from him without answering. Gaz is not pleased:

“Storm you! I’ll have you strung up anyway! Don’t think you can run away; there are still sentries. You—”

“I’m going to the Honor Chasm,” Kaladin said quietly. His voice would barely be audible over the storm.

Gaz shuts up, letting him walk away as soon as he’s left behind his sandals and vest. Kaladin walks down to the Shattered Plains along a now-familiar path, considering how many men spent the time between runs stunned, almost catatonic. Kaladin himself has noticed difficulty making decisions after being shocked in battle, but the boy who died on the last run finally jolted him out of his pattern, let him decide to come to the Honor Chasm, the last honorable decision a bridgeman could make, the choice to kill himself.

As he travels along the wide, deep chasm, Kaladin thinks that the plains can’t possibly be natural, that the land has been broken, and now breaks the people who come to it. He reaches his destination, then sits to watch the raindrops “plunging into the dark depths…little suicidal jumpers. Thousands upon thousands of them.” After admitting that his father was right, that you can’t save by killing, he prepares to join them, and puts one foot over the edge of the abyss.

At that moment, Sylphrena’s voice pierces his malaise. She is calling to him as she staggers through the rain, flying erratically, as if she is carrying something heavy. Kaladin pulls his foot back and reaches out to greet her. She has brought him blackbane, one of the most deadly poisons available, the leaves that he lost in Tvlakv’s slave caravan.

As Syl explains how she thought that losing those leaves was a turning point, and that she thought that if she found them she’d be able to bring back the old Kaladin, the fighter, Kaladin almost laughs.

She had no concept of what she’d done, fetching him a leaf of one of Roshar’s most deadly natural poisons because she’d wanted to make him happy. It was ridiculous. And sweet.

Despite this, and how far Syl flew, how she risked forgetting who she was, Kaladin insists that he has failed, that it’s too late for him to help anyone, especially the others in his bridge crew. Besides, “they’re dead. They’re all going to die, and there’s no way out.” If they’re already dead, Syl replies, what could one more try hurt? After all, if they’re all going to die, Kaladin can’t make things any worse for them. She begs him to try one more time.

Kaladin thinks of the men in his barracks. He thinks of himself, “crying at the death of a boy he hadn’t known. A boy he hadn’t even tried to help.” He crushes the blackbane leaf in his hand, and walks away from the chasm.

Back at the camp, Gaz mocks him for being too cowardly to kill himself, but before he can finish his thought Kaladin grabs him by the neck and slams him to the ground. He tells Gaz that he’s taking control of Bridge Four. He’ll still accept tasks, but he’s bridgeleader, and he decides how the bridge will be run. He also says he’s going to start bribing Gaz, one clearmark every five days, in exchange for staying out of his way.

Kaladin returns to Bridge Four’s barrack and looks at the men hunkered down inside, men who look much more pathetic now that he’s no longer suicidal. He draws on the memories of the man he used to be, and begins approaching each bridgemen. Starting with a man named Teft he asks their names, tells them his own, and grasps them by the hand. Many resist, not wanting to give him their names, but in the end he has learned each and every one. He holds them in his mind, as an affirmation that his men matter, and promises himself that, even though he might fail again, he will find a way to protect them.

Quote of the Chapter:

“The world just changed, Gaz,” Kaladin said, leaning in close. “I died down at that chasm. Now you’ve got my vengeful spirit to deal with.”

This is more than just Kaladin proving he’s still a badass warrior. It’s more than an action movie one-liner. It’s the realization of Kaladin’s changed understanding of himself. Kaladin believed, quite possibly rightly, that he was stuck, with nowhere to go. The man he was had died. Kaladin Stormblessed, the leader of men, the peerless warrior, honorable leader, who gave everything of himself for everyone in need, is gone. And in a way he’s made himself the avenger of that dead man. He’s echoing who he used to be without tying himself to all the same choices he made. It’s a very thorough way to start over, philosophically.

Commentary:

We’ve reached the absolute bottom of Kaladin’s arc, but thankfully not the absolute bottom of the Honor Chasm, and from here on it will mostly be upward, with a few notable regressions. I must say that I’m very glad that Kaladin has pulled himself back together, but it’s fascinating to see what it took for that to happen. Let’s unpack this.

First, there came his perception that his father was right, that you can’t save anyone by killing people. As I said last time, I’m not sure we can consider this to be strictly true, but it’s important for Kaladin. Kaladin has to live this contradiction. He has been trained as a healer, and he values saving lives above just about anything. But it may not be inaccurate to say that Kaladin was born to be a fighter. We see more of this later, but soldiering was always Kaladin’s ambition, and he is remarkably good with a spear. He takes to violence with a natural ease that is frankly terrifying. How does a natural killer handle a drive to save and preserve lives? Kaladin will need to find more answers to this problem before he’s done.

Second, there is his acceptance of his own death. Kaladin frames this as the end of a journey, one in which he grew in understanding but not wisdom. He earned the scars along that path, fought difficult battles, has seen the darkness in the hearts of men, and, essentially, lost his innocence. He accepts that the truth of the world has broken him, and takes the step that will end his life, even if he’s interrupted before the very end.

Then, Syl returns. She is his conscience, his savior, his honor. She is his companion at the worst of times. Most importantly to this moment, she is the one who remembers what was so great about him, the fighter, the leader, the man who cared about what happened to the weak. She sees what he could still be, and now that she’s back, she can remind him.

But she’s brought something with her: blackbane. Poison. There is a duality to many weapons, a use beyond killing humans. Spears can be used for hunting. Axes can fell trees. Hammers can break up rocks and clear roads. Blackbane lacks this duality. It is the purest weapon, the purest form of death, because it can do nothing but kill. But Syl has delivered this to Kaladin because to her it’s not so simple. It has a symbolic duality as the thing that used to give Kaladin hope that he could change the world around him.

Kaladin could have killed himself with the blackbane. Or he could have killed Gaz with it. He could become a weapon himself. But he crushes the blackbane again, intentionally this time. He turns his back on that, and accepts that although he has been broken, he can rebuild himself into something else.

Again, Syl is the one who reminds Kaladin who he’s supposed to be, and who gives him the kick in the pants necessary to do the honorable thing. If not for her, he would have died an abject and broken man. She brought him back to life, back to honor.

After he puts himself back in gear, Kaladin is remarkably effective. He bullies Gaz into letting him have his way and then gives him a minor incentive to keep him alive while he does his work. He assesses the bridgemen and, despite the vastness of their despair, he starts at the beginning. He learns their names, and teaches them that they matter to him. He still has that remarkable sense of what his followers need from him.

Gaz continues to be built up as a greedy, short-sighted, cowardly man. He’s very one-dimensional at the moment, and will remain so until we see the world from his viewpoint, but that’s okay for now. We need someone to represent the system, so that we know who to hate in the short term while Kaladin figures things out.

We learn more about the currency of Roshar. Spheres are worth more when infused with Stormlight, which can be accomplished through moneychangers, or by taking an economic (and physical) risk by putting your spheres out in a highstorm. I like that spheres are worth more when they’re magically and practically useful than when they’re just pretty. It’s probably a relic of the old days when people remembered how to do magic, although there are still Soulcasters who need their spheres infused.

We see, again, the divide between cultural and personal honor. The Honor Chasm—should we really believe that suicide is an honorable course of action? Better, I think, to call Kaladin honor when, in the face of repeated failure, he takes the emotional risk and commits himself to helping the helpless.

It seems like bridge runs give bridgemen PTSD. “Many of the runs were so draining, so horrific, that they left the bridgemen stunned, almost unresponsive for the days between. Many bridgemen had trouble making decisions. The same happened to men who were shocked by battle.” It makes sense that in this fantasy world, which understands medicine so well, they would have a rudimentary theory of PTSD, which is often observed but rarely medically examined in other epic fantasies.

Last of all, the epigraph: “Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns.” This is almost certainly a window into the Realmatic underpinnings of this world. There are 16 Shards, three of which resided on Roshar. Honor, Cultivation, and Odium. Now only one reigns: The Broken One. I think it’s possible to interpret this as saying that there used to be three Shards, and then Odium arrived, driving out one and defeating the other two, but I don’t think we have much evidence to support that at the present.

 

Part One Breakdown: Above Silence

Part One started slowly, but built up a lot of powerful and fascinating momentum. It introduced two of our viewpoint characters, Kaladin and Shallan, as well as presenting us a third-person perspective on Jasnah. By taking the entire Part to develop these two characters, Sanderson gave himself more than ample time to lay his foundations. I think that, by and large, this strategy worked, especially where Kaladin is concerned. By the end of Chapter 11 we are fully committed to Kaladin. We’ve seen him go as low as possible, and then resurge as who he is supposed to be. But, again, would it have been possible to have developed this more quickly? To have introduced his flashbacks slightly earlier, and get into the core conceit of the book sooner? Could we have spent less time in depression town? I would have liked to spend less time in depression town.

Shallan’s chapters, I felt, were less purposeful, less driven, than Kaladin’s. Sanderson uses Shallan as an inquisitive young mind, an explorer, so that he can engage us with his world. And that definitely worked. I feel extremely engaged with Sanderson’s worldbuilding in Shallan’s chapters. I don’t, however, think that she does as well in this introduction as Kaladin does. It took longer for Sanderson to get into her character, and to differentiate her voice from the other snarky protagonists he has written before.

Shallan will blossom into something much greater, the window into the intellectual life of Roshar, now that she has been accepted into Jasnah’s wardship. Providing access to Jasnah would almost be enough on its own to make Shallan my favorite viewpoint character in this novel, but we barely get that in the first section.

These quibbles aside, I believe that Part One did what Sanderson needed it to do. It built strong foundations for Shallan and Kaladin, made them characters we wanted to know more about, established the mysteries surrounding them (Shallan is a thief! Kaladin attracts mysteryspren!), and turned them loose in a deliciously realized world. Part One is the slowest portion of the book, and that is a good thing. There is so much more to come. Indeed, you could argue that the main plot has yet to begin. While Kaladin and Shallan bear the brunt of the emotional journey in The Way of Kings, the most significant elements of the plot are developed through Dalinar’s chapters.

The best aspect of Above Silence, in my mind, was the ease with which it establishes the non-character aspects of the world. We learn so much about the creatures of the world, Vorin society, spren and more, with a minimum of infodumps. By the end of Part One Roshar feels real, and vivid, which is a triumph. We need to accept Roshar to care about its geopolitics, which is what Part Two will expose us to.

Next week Michael will return, with coverage of the Interludes between the parts. The Interludes show us far-flung places in Roshar, and are a fertile swath of worldbuilding, so get ready for a real treat.


Carl Engle-Laird is the production assistant for Tor.com. You can find him on Twitter.

107 comments
Robert Dickinson
2. ChocolateRob
I assume thst the reason why infused gems are more valuable is simply that the stormlight poves that they are genuine, you could make fake spheres easily as they are glass hidden within glass but you could not get them to glow.
Kob
3. Rybal
I could be remembering incorrectly, but doesn't the book at one point explicitly state that infused gems have the same value as dun ones, but that many merchants were hesitant to accept them as such because of the limited proof?
Kob
4. PHubbard
Totally agree with the summary of Part 1: although it is slow and at times depressing, it defintitely establishes Kaladin and Shallan as characters and makes you care about them. I think the hints about their backstories as well as the prelude & prologue give enough mystery that you're gripped and want to find out what's going on. And I love the worldbuilding - I think Roshar is possibly the most inventive fantasy world I've encountered, and I think Brandon introduces us to it brilliantly.

On the epigraph, this is certainly a significant one for the cosmere and larger story, as perhaps suggested by its being the final one of its type for a while (epigraphs switch from 'death quotes' to 'The Letter' after the interludes). The 'three' seem likely to be Honor, Odium & Cultivation, and we know from Kaladin's highstorm dream later on that 'Odium reigns'. Does this make Odium the 'broken one'? In what sense is he broken? I'm sure this will become clearer as we get more information, but here's a bit of wild speculation:
Could the black sphere (prologue) be some part of Odium's power (analagous to Ruin's dependance on Atium in MB)? Does this connect with 'the element' which the letter writer (in part 2 epigraphs) claims to have hidden so well? Unlikely to be that simple, and BS will certainly not have reused the same plot device, but it could be something along those lines...
Nadine L.
5. travyl
I love the moment when Syl brings Kaladin the leaf - and his reaction to it.
About the spheres 2 & 3 are right: dun spheres have the same value as infused ones, but the recipient might want to test if they are not fakes, call in an expert... It's never said how much you'd have to pay to exchange your spheres for infused ones.
Maiane Bakroeva
6. Isilel
This may not be directly connected to this chapter and out of sequence, but it has been suggested in the discussion of the previous chapters that the Radiants abandoned their shards because they felt that they had dishonored themselves and were no longer worthy.

I don't remember the details, but my impression was the opposite - that the Radiants retired because they considered general humanity to have become dishonorable and unworthy.
And because of the belief that Desolations were over for good, they no longer held the moral authority to enforce their ideals, from the PoV of the rest of humanity. So, instead of enforcing their belief system by violence, which was the only way left open for them, they chose to resign in protest.

Also, for some reason I have it lodged in my skull that the straw that broke the camel's back and provoked the Recreance was enslavement of Parshmen. Am I completely off my rocker?

Of course, the Radiants retiring still doesn't explain why the wasn't a resurgence (heh) of plain old Surge-binders in the interim. It is way to convenient that they are just appearing in the nick of time, after millenia of supposedly complete absence. Yea, there is Szeth, whatever he is, but shouldn't there be more of them?

And speaking of shardswords - Szeth's and Shallan's (I did notice hers when I first read WoK) seem to be different, could they be abandoned Heraldic blades? Or can an owner with surge-binding potential change the way theirs look like?

And yay! Finally an uplifting chapter for Kaladin,where he starts becoming the hero that he had been telegraphed to (eventually) be from the get-go.
Kob
7. Beanchild
While Kaladin's fall and resurgence is slow, and I can understand you wanting to spend less time in depression town, I just wanted to add that as someone who has suffered from depression, these chapters really resonated with me. The fact that we followed Kaladin the long way through his journey with despair actually inspired me, and that sense of emotional identification with a fantasy character is something I've never experienced anywhere else because, as you said, most authors don't want to spend a lot of time in depression land.
William Carter
8. wcarter
Is anyone but me hoping Gaz ends up under a bridge before all is said and done?
Eric Wyatt
9. SunDriedRainbow
On my second reread, I was convinced that this chapter happened something like two-thirds of the way through the story, and I was caught completely by surprise when it happened. I guess that's good, since I wasn't really prepared for a long slog through more endless angst.
Kob
10. Ciella
@ 7. Beanchild - I'm totally with you there. It felt completely realistic and earned to me. Someone doesn't just snap out of depression because they feel like it. It's not usually until the very bottom that someone might be able to bounce back. And if Syl hadn't been there, Kaladin would have jumped. I really believe that. Off Topic: This is also why I'm a fan of the 6th season of Buffy. Heroes fighting against depression feels real to me because of my own battles with it.
Kob
11. Beanchild
@Ciella It's also why my favourite character in Mistborn is Sazed. His long struggle with the loss of his faith is extremely real. I don't identify with him as strongly because I haven't had that experience, but it's incredibly well done, and made me more conscious of what religious experiences are like.
Alice Arneson
12. Wetlandernw
It’s interesting to note how it seemed to many readers that Kaladin’s downward spiral lasted so long, but here we are at the bottom – and with a tremendous bounce, we’re heading back up – and well under a quarter of the way through the book.

Re: “How does a natural killer handle a drive to save and preserve lives?” The easy, snarky, end-of-the-book-wisdom answer is obviously, “Become a Knight Radiant, and kill the real Enemies of life.” Less superficially, though, the answer that will be hanging over us for some time is, “Who exactly are those enemies?” I had almost said “kill the real Enemies of humankind” – but I’m not sure that’s valid on a world where there are other sentient races than man, and we still don’t know whether the Parshendi are good, bad or indifferent. I suspect a key is in the fact that he defends the innocent – or at least, those who can’t defend themselves. In a much later chapter, Teft says “Protecting ten innocents is not worth killing one.” Defending, even killing, those who would deliberately harm the innocent may be the critical difference in the questions of honor here.

On the spheres… As you say, it’s pretty cool that spheres are worth more when they are magically and practically useful than when they’re just pretty. I like the multiple layers Brandon built in here. Spheres serve a practical purpose, both for decoration and for giving light, when they’re infused, so there’s an in-world reason for ordinary people to get/keep them charged, beyond their use in Soulcasting fabrials – and it’s a very good thing, because Kaladin can only draw on them when they’re charged. Clever, that.

Re: suicide as an honorable death… It doesn’t fit in our culture, but there was a time not long past when it was considered better to die, even at your own hand, than to be dishonored by, e.g., going to prison and bringing disgrace on your family. This was more true among the “upper classes” – the people who were supposed to be “above” criminal behavior, or at least above getting caught – but it was not an uncommon thing. We don’t see much of that kind of “honorable suicide” anymore; there is the occasional financier who would rather die than lose all his money and prestige, and be stuck serving a long prison sentence, but that comes across more as selfish than honorable. Not that I’m advocating suicide, you understand, but there was a time it really was considered preferable in honor than some of the alternatives. Even now, there is an understanding that it might be better to die than to allow oneself to be tortured into giving away state secrets, for example.

All that said, suicide to escape despair isn’t really honor, IMO. So yes, it’s much more honorable to live and serve, even at the risk of personal pain, as Kaladin does here.

The epigraph: This has really got my mind twisted. As far as we know, Odium has not Splintered the Shard Cultivation – just Honor. That sounds more like Honor is the Broken One… but we have pretty good evidence elsewhere that Odium reigns. (At least, Tanavast seems to think so.) Is Odium referred to as “broken” because he is so awful? Because the mind of the man was broken by possession of the Shard? Because… what? I’d love this to be a foreshadowing that Honor is not so helpless as we thought.

Part One Breakdown:
Kaladin – While it might have been nicer to spend less time in depression town, I think we needed it to comprehend Kaladin. As I’ve said before – it’s a bit like the 200-page “Last Battle” chapter in A Memory of Light: Brandon wants us to feel the despair, live the depression, be in the character’s space. It’s not much fun, granted, but it’s excellent story-telling. And by now, we (or at least I) feel like I know Kaladin pretty well; although there are still some big questions about his past and his future, we have a good feel for who he is in the present. Appropriately for the “main character” of this book, he’s the one we’ve gotten to know best at this point.

I have to disagree somewhat with the assessment of Shallan’s chapters. Partly, I suppose, I’m not generally inclined to be critical of someone’s writing unless I feel the storytelling suffered, and I didn’t feel that way about Shallan. She had four chapters to Kaladin’s seven, and much of it was used for world-building, as you say – and very successfully. Being a more secondary character in this book, it was IMO better to get to know her more slowly – if only to reduce confusion at the beginning. Instead of seeing her from the painful inside, we see her much more from the outside, even though it’s her POV. We see the sheltered innocent, out on her own, with too much depending on her – but with hints that there may be other things going on. With Kaladin, it was pretty obvious that there was a lot more backstory; with Shallan, the hints are somewhat more subtle. They’re there, especially on a reread, but they’re quieter.

At this point, then, we have Szeth, who is mostly mystery; Kaladin, who is our depressed-but-intriguing friend; and Shallan, who is a mostly-frightened-but-still-determined young girl with a rather bizarre family back home, but who we don’t yet know very well. She’s definitely snarky, and definitely inquisitive, but very uncertain. She doesn’t quite know who she is yet. I see it not as “It took longer for Sanderson to get into her character, and to differentiate her voice from the other snarky protagonists he has written before,” but more as “Sanderson introduces her less vividly because that’s the way we’re supposed to see her at this point in the story, and that’s the way she tends to see herself.” In other words, I think the lack of depth in Shallan’s portrayal thus far was deliberate; he wanted her to be a bit of a blank in comparison to Kaladin’s (rather painful) vividness at this point. Now that we’ve got Kaladin settled into his path, it will soon be time to develop Shallan’s character and background a little more fully, although obviously the real depth will come in the book containing her flashbacks.
Kob
13. PHubbard
@wcarter
You are not the only one! I think the think that really did it in this chapter was the line "Lordling? Leave the sandals and the vest; I can't be bothered to send someone to fetch them"

@SunDriedRainbow
Yes! I really though Kaladin's 'depressed' arc went on for at least half the book, it certainly felt like it the first time. Was pleasantly surprised to find him turning upwards this early on.
Carl Engle-Laird
14. CarlEngle-Laird
I'm really glad to hear that Kaladin's journey through depression resonated with some of you. I do think it's a nicely nuanced and rewarding journey. I also think we're going to see more of it in upcoming books. My understanding is that depressive tendancies are massively mitigated by the kind of personal drive Kaladin is displaying here, but don't necessarily go away?
Kob
15. Confutus
For me, Kaladin's decision to live and take command of Bridge Four was what's called a Moment of Awesome. (From TV Tropes)

The herald icons are Jez-Jez, I suppose because Kaladin starts taking command and asserting his leadership. So far in Part I, they've been the same, but in the interludes we will start seeing two of the.
William Carter
16. wcarter
@Wetlander 12

The thing about Odium is well...according to Hoid's notes Raze (Odium's shard bearer) was pretty much a grade-a jerk even before he got a hold of the Shard.

The description of a tragic figure transformed into somthing dark would better fit Ati--who later became Ruin in the Mistborn series. He was supposedly a decent fellow. And even Ruin was a necessary sort of evil since decay is a fundamental aspect of nature.

So yeah...I'm not sure what is meant by "Broken" either or even who it refers too.
Matt Spencer
17. Iarvin
In many ways Kaladin struggle with depression does last the majority of the book, its just not as dominant. There are multiple times when he finds himself thinking that there is no point to continuing, and has to recieve a similar kickstart. I kind of imagine Kalidin's emotional arc like a bouncing ball that bounces up a hill. His lowpoints still exist, and they are still more extreme than the lowpoints might be of a person that doesn't struggle with depression, but even Kalidin's low points are trending upwards from this point.

This is probably inaccurate to some extent, because the second "low point", may not be the second lowest point in his arc - I think the second lowest point may be after he recovers from the High Storm, and realizes that the bridgemen's fatility rate is not an accident.
Kob
18. Roriea
"three of which resided on Roshar. Honor, Cultivation, and Odium. Now
only one reigns: The Broken One. I think it’s possible to interpret this
as saying that there used to be three Shards, and then Odium arrived,
driving out one and defeating the other two"
This reads very weird. Odium was one of the 3 on roshar and then Odium arrives and defeat the other shards Driving one out and defeating the other 2? Am I the only reading it that way?
Kob
19. mutantalbinocrocodile
Agree thoroughly with @7 about the length of the depression story. I do think that WOK is overlong, but I'd much more happily dispense with the endless battle scenes and non-visionary Dalinar (who takes forever to be interesting and is self-righteous at the best of times) than an authentic fictional re-creation of a misunderstood and ghastly mental condition.

I do wonder if you may be ascribing too much knowledge and planning ability to Syl at this point with the elaborate symbolism of the leaves. I don't think she has that capacity for symbolic thought now. I'd interpret more simply as: she saw that Kaladin was really upset losing the leaves, she went looking for them to make him "feel better", but he was primed for some kind of major psychological shift, and the absurdity of Syl bringing him an instrument of suicide to stop him preventing suicide startled him out of his depression feedback loop. I have read about similar internal experiences in first-person accounts of depression: perceiving humor or irony can be an important step.
Kob
20. HathsinSurvivor
18. Carl is saying that you could interperet it in multiple ways (if the three correspond to shards and Odium = the broken one). You could say that the three were Honor, Cultivation, and Odium, and now only Odium rules. Or, you could say that Honor, Cultivation, and someone else were around, and then Odium arrived, destroying/killing/running the others off.
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
ChocolateRob @2 – IIRC, that’s part of why infused gems are preferred – infused gems are obviously real; no confirmation from a professional is required. They’re also handy to have as illumination, as well as currency. And…

Rybal @3 – Yes, you’re right in that spheres are technically of the same value whether dun or infused. Chapter 17 explicitly states that “A dun sphere was worth just as much as an infused one…” However, merchants are sometimes reluctant to accept the dun ones, and moneychangers apparently make a practice of exchanging charged spheres for a greater quantity of dun spheres as the price of doing business.

Confutus @15 – Jezrien. Hmm. I wonder what that does to my theory that Nalan shows up when Kaladin is arguing (mentally or really) with his father over the question of whether someone can kill to save. Is it still true, because here Kaladin merely says that his father is right? Is it unrelated to Nalan? Is Nalan only shown when Kaladin is confidently holding on to the idea that justice can be served by fighting against those who would do harm? Jezrien often seems to accompany the chapters where Stormlight is significant for either Kaladin or Dalinar, for what that’s worth.
Also – good thing you didn’t link to the tvtropes MOA… someone could get lost in there. :) But yes, it was definitely an MOA.

wcarter @16 – Yes, I remember that Rayse was a rather nasty piece of work even before he took the Shard; I’m not sure what the implications for this subject might be. Mostly, I’m reaching for anything I can to explain Odium being the Broken One – because that term sure seems more applicable to Honor, at least on the surface.

Roriea @18 – Presumably Carl will clarify this, but I read it as though the second sentence was intended to provide an alternative possibility from what was assumed by the first. We assume that the only three that have ever been on Roshar are Honor, Cultivation and Odium – but what if the original three were Honor, Cultivation and “Other,” and when Odium came, he drove out “Other” while defeating Cultivation and Splintering Honor. That was my take on it, anyway. FWIW I don’t think that’s true, but we really don’t know enough about the Shards at this point.
Kob
22. Shardlet
re: epigraph

We know that Honor and Cultivation (hereafter referred to as H & C) came to Roshar together and that at some later point Odium shows up too. Do we know whether or not it was just H & C who came first or did they perhaps bring an unmentioned (so far) friend? Odium attacks and succesfully splinters H. We do not know the status of C and the unnamed shard.

Alternatively, it could be the standard: H & C show up at Roshar, 'Hey, this place is cool. Let's hang here.' An inderminate amount of time has passed and 'Hey, it's our old pal/that freaking jerk (insert personal preference) Rayse. What are you doing? Betrayor! NOOOOOO....'.
Kob
23. Shardlet
@HathsinSurvivor #20

As Hoid says, "Timeliness". My hat is off to you.

Though my comment was more dramatic :)
Kob
24. 2lsky2
Just a random thought.

What if Honor sort of fought off Odium, but was broken in the process? I keep hearing about how the Alethi version of honor is clearly not correct. What if it has been perverted because Honor was broken?
Kimani Rogers
25. KiManiak
Thanks, Carl

Yeah, this chapter shows how far and how low Kaladin falls, and the beginning of his upward swing. I will say that the tor.com reread post has motivated me to do a full reread of TWoK (as opposed to the partial rereads I’ve done in the past), so I reread Chapters 9-11 (and their somewhat disturbing circumstances) for the first time since my initial read of the book. It still was difficult to get through, but I’m glad I did.
(And of course, then I sped way beyond the pace of the reread, even though I initially meant to parallel it. My hat’s off to those other rereaders who only go at the pace of the Carl & Michael; I just don’t have the restraint.)

Very good job by Sanderson of conveying Kaladin’s despair and sense of hopelessness, as well as showing Kaladin’s desire to still seek the “honorable” way out of what he sees as a hopeless situation (even though it is clear to the reader that it is not). Even the name of the chasm seems to perversely apply to what we know of what Kaladin has valued and sought in the war on the Shattered Plains since he was young. I still don’t enjoy reading it so much, but I think that speaks to the quality of the writing.

For the epigraph: “The Broken One reigns” seems to be open to interpretation. The easy interpretation is Odium. But, what if it’s talking about Honor? If Odium killed Honor, wouldn’t that mean his Shard has broken (splintered)? If the Highstorms are some type of power wave/deathcry from Honor’s splintering (still just a theory, but one I lean towards), and that infuses the various gems, then maybe the epigraph is speaking somewhat metaphorically here when using the term “reigns.” The power that “reigns” in Roshar, which mankind has easiest access to and has manipulated for his own use, is the power of the “Broken One.” I don’t know; just spitballing here, yet again.

All in all, I think Part One did a great job of introducing the reader into the world of The Stormlight Archive. And we haven’t even met all of our protagonists or POV characters, yet.
Kob
26. AndrewB
Carl -- your statement "She is his conscience, his savior, his honor" is (IMO) the perfect snapshot to describe her interaction with Kaladin.

There is a sort of gestalt effect between Syl and Kaladin.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Don Barkauskas
27. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @12:
It’s interesting to note how it seemed to many readers that Kaladin’s downward spiral lasted so long, but here we are at the bottom – and with a tremendous bounce, we’re heading back up – and well under a quarter of the way through the book.
I think one of the reasons that it seemed to last so long is that even though present-day Kaladin's narrative is mostly on an upward trajectory from here on out (with bumps, as others have pointed out), Kaladin's flashback scenes are in a downward spiral leading to his enslavement. So even though starting now we're getting the uplifting story of him recovering, we're simultaneously getting the depressing story of how he reached his nadir. Thus, our experience of Kaladin's story has downward elements throughout the entire book until the very end.
Kimani Rogers
28. KiManiak
PHubbard@4 –Kaladin had been told specifically that Odium reigns? Haven’t gotten to that part yet in my reread. Oh well; since the death quotes can often be vague/ambiguous, I will cling to the possibility that Odium may not be the “Broken One” in this particular circumstance. I am intrigued by your speculation about the black sphere, though.

Wet@12 – Kaladin’s arc may be on the upswing, but there is still a lot of negativity, setbacks and suffering for our hero on the horizon. Not to mention him essentially being sentenced to death…

Re: Honor being the Broken One – I see you had a similar thought as well, even though it appears that you are leaning more towards Odium being the “broken” one. I also would like to find out that Honor is still somewhat of a player in present day Roshar. I still lean towards associating the Highstorm with his “death,” but I’d be open to other possibilities as well.

Iarvin@17 – Yes, Kaladin does at times need a “kick in the pants” to regain a positive outlook on things. And, hand in hand with that, Kaladin does indeed suffer and have setbacks through the vast majority of the book that lead to him needing that kick.

Bad_platypus@27 – I also like your point about how part of Kaladin’s story is still on a downward trajectory, even though his present story is somewhat on the upswing.
Carl Engle-Laird
29. CarlEngle-Laird
@18, @21: What Wetlander interpreted me to be meaning is essentially waht I meant. I was remembering hearing somewhere that Odium arrived on Roshar later than Honor and Cultivation. I was indeed interpreting two possible scenarios, one in which all three were reigning over Roshar and then Odium beat up the other two, and one in which three non-Odium shards were on Roshar and then Odium beat all three of them down and destroyed or drove out the one that was not Honor or Cultivation. I find the latter situation very unlikely, but the way the epigraph was worded made me suspicious.
T C
30. Freelancer
I will have more to say later, but for now only one thought. There is nothing honorable about jumping off a cliff. The name Honor Chasm is, and was meant to be, a cruel joke, a rebuke of those who would take that path.

So here you are, a slave, with no choices except to obey or die, and when you obey, by running with a bridge, you are also likely to die. The fear of waiting for that arrow that performs the coup de grace, may just drive some to evade that fate by jumping, but that still gives the act no honor. If another person has forced you into such a situation, as is the case with Kaladin, then you simply do what you are able to do, and if you die for being unjustly in that place, your death is on the head of the one whose lie brought you there. Commit suicide, and your death is on your own head.

It is completely understood that such oppression and emotional trauma can make suicide seem attractive by comparison. It cannot make it honorable.
Kob
31. WonderChimp
I have to wonder if the shardblades are pieces of Odium. That would also explain why the KR left their blades and plate. They would have figured out that they were using terrible tools. Also, somewhere Brandon mentioned that the Thrill is related to Odium. It may have been in a recent Reddit AMA. IIRC, only those with shardblades/plate talk about the Thrill.
Ben McSweeney
32. Inkthinker
Does the bonus "Ray" copy of The Rithmatist also come with a bonus chalkling doodle? I can't recall which ones I did that to and which ones I did not.
Kob
33. Confutus
@31
The shardblades are mentioned in the Prelude, and were presumably being used as a tool of the Radiants against thunderclasts and the like even before the breaking of the Oathpact. They do not seem likely to have been a tool of Odium, at least, not in the first place. There are various hints that some kind of corruption of the Knights Radiant, or their plate and blades, or both them and their tools, took place in the 4,500 years since the abandonment of the Oathpact.
Kob
34. Confutus
@30
That seems like a Western perspective of honor. Other cultures, such as the Japanese, have taken a different view of things. I'm not prepared to discuss the details, and I don't think we have enough information on the various views of honor on Roshar to be able to say.
I don't happen to think suicide-as-an-expression-of-honor is a particularly useful or praiseworthy cultural ideal, but it at least ought to be distinguished from suicide-as-an-escape-from-intolerable-life. Kaladin seems to be a bit confused on the matter.
Sylphrena would be the most obvious resident expert on the subject: I'd be interested in hearing what she has to say about it.
Maiane Bakroeva
35. Isilel
@33 Confutus:

But is there any evidence re: corruption of Radiants, except for the legends of succeeding civilizations that blame them for Recreance? As I wrote above, it always seemed to me that Recreance was about the Radiants laying down their guardianship of humanity, because of _it's_ corruption, not theirs or that of their shards.

And re: Honor chasm - isn't it strange that they are OK with bridgemen killing themselves? Don't they cost money and shouldn't there be uncertanty about re-supply, given that it depends on decisions of slave caravan owners and vagaries of their journeys?
When I am thinking about how much bringing the slaves that far ought to cost in food alone, I can't really see how the system could be sustainable. It has been mentioned that it was in place for less than a year and, frankly, I just can't see it going on for much longer, Kaladin's rise to awesomeness or no.

Now, discarding religious considerations, I agree that there are some rare situations, where killing oneself might be honorable, but I can't see Alethi considering suicides of bridge slaves to be such, so the name of the chasm probably is, indeed, mockery
James Briggs
36. traveler
I CANT FACE ANOTHER BRIDGE RUN ! That is why they jump. In Kaladins case he cant face himself if he doesnot try to protect others . That is how SYL convinced him to try again . Roshar is a world that has honor but Kaladin is the prime example of honor. that he is working for dalinar showes us that their are others that have principals also. Not all people do . It is concidered by some that a stab in the back is also thought of as part of the game . Dalinar is one of those who protects others like kaladin and once perfected we will see the first KR.
Rich Bennett
37. Neuralnet
so glad this part of the book is behind us. Honestly I almost quit reading around this point of the book (too bleak, characters were a little boring) but then it really starts to take off in the next chapters.
Deana Whitney
38. Braid_Tug
Honestly I'm a little surprised Gaz shut up about Kaldin going to kill himself. Figured the slaves would have even that choice taken from them.

His comeback like:
“The world just changed, Gaz,” Kaladin said, leaning in close. “I died down at that chasm. Now you’ve got my vengeful spirit to deal with.”
One of the strongest lines of this early part of the book. Gave me hope about the rest of the book. Because I really only enjoyed the Shallan parts this early.
But a believable portrayal of depression. I see it in my family members.

@11. Beanchild: Have you read Sanderson’s annotations about Mistborn on his website? He has some interesting thoughts on Sazed and how he changed the third book. First draft, Sazed had already reviewed and rejected everything. But beta readers called it “too depressing.” So he made Sazed “active” by having him review them. Which I think worked great, considering how he uses the knowledge we were given glimpses about.

Don’t want to give too big a spoiler just in case someone here, hasn’t read Mistborn.
T C
39. Freelancer
Confutus @34

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify my point. Suicide to escape oppression is not honorable, nor would it be considered honorable by those to whom you refer. In the most extreme cases of "loss of face", guilt or shame, it can be that suicide is considered the only remaining honorable act.

There is a great difference between the two. Kaladin has done nothing to be ashamed of. In spite of the guilt he heaps upon himself for failing to protect, he tries to protect, every time. And in payment for his honorable behavior, he is a slave destined to die by a Parshendi arrow. Taking his own life to "escape" that situation would render everything he did before utterly meaningless. A friend used to say, "nothing beats a failure but a try". It sounds trite, but it is wise. Syl supports this notion when she asks Kaladin what it could hurt to try one more time.
Kob
40. SmokeyandBooger
@19 I agree with your assessment that Syl was not yet able to understand the symbolism of the leaf that she brings Kaladin. At this piont, she is still childlike it most of her thought processes and interactions.

@35 There is a part of the book where the cost of throwing away the bridgemen's lives is discussed with regards to monetary value. They state that it is cheaper to put the dregs of society and it's outcasts there and let them die than to constantly train and outfit a soldier. Although I do agree that eventually the expense of doing things in this way would finally outweigh the "savings" for Sadeas.
...
I can't remember if Kaladin is told specifically that Odium reigns (I think it happened when he rode the storm later in the book), there is a part towards the end when Dhalinar realizes that the visions he's saying are a type of recording created by the Almighty who specifically says "Odium Reigns"
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
Aha! Y'all have finally triggered what I've been looking for re: Kaladin thinking suicide was the right thing for him to do. Obviously, there's the depression aspect: just get me out of this horrible, horrible situation. The other half of it, for Kaladin, is that his perspective hasn't straightened out yet: he actually believes that it's his fault when other people die. Everyone he's tried to help is dead, therefore it must be because he tried to help them.

If that were true, he just might be right. Let's pretend that it really is his attempts to help people that targets them by the PTB. If so, the best thing he can do for everyone around him is to stop trying to help, right? And the only way he can truly stop trying to help is to be dead, because of who he is. After all, every time he's tried to stop caring, something comes along and makes him try one more time. So the only way to stop the cycle of I-help-and-they-die is to kill himself.

It is, however, not true. (It's also rather egocentric, when you think about it.) It is not his attempt to help that kills them. Tien was killed -not because Kaladin tried and failed to help, but because one vindictive man sent him to the war, and another didn't care how he used untrained boys. The men of his squad were killed - not because Kaladin tried and failed, but because the "honorable men" were more pragmatic than honorable when the chips (or the Shards) were down. The slave was killed - not because Kaladin tried and failed to help, but because the slaver wasn't interested in taking a risk.

This doesn't, actually, entirely exonerate Kaladin; there were a few occasions where his choices actually did lead to the death of others. Leading slave escapes might be in that category. Trusting his overlord to honor his wishes about the Shards instead of making sure it was done on the spot almost certainly resulted in the death of what was left of his squad. He is not entirely without fault, but it was still the dishonorable behavior of Amaram, not Kaladin's naivete, that killed them.

What Kaladin is lacking at this point is humility - the comprehension that he is not the cause of everyone's problems. He also needs to understand that honorable intention isn't quite enough - he needs wisdom and understanding, as well. An honorable highprince wouldn't hurt matters any, either...
Flint Timmins
42. Giovanotto
I think this is a great chapter to end Part One. There is a real sense of resolve that fuels the later Kaladin chapters. I like that Kaladin finds his honor again at the Honor chasm (which I've always thought was a deragatory jab at the bridgemen.) He decides to make the best of what he is given and see if he can't do for others what Syl just did for him. I found it very moving.
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
@several re: Odium - He is mentioned three times in the book.

The first is Chapter 46 (Child of Tanavast) when Kaladin is riding the storm, and the voice tells him: “Odium comes. Most dangerous of all the sixteen. You will now go.” Kaladin asks a few questions, but the only answer he gets is a soft, “Odium reigns.”

The second, later in the same chapter, comes when Kaladin asks Syl if she recognizes the name, and she hisses and disappears. We never get more on that.

The third comes in the final chapter, in Dalinar’s last vision, when he finally realizes that nearly everything he’s seen was “pre-recorded” rather than interactive, and the last words he hears are, “I am… I was… God. The one you call the Almighty, the creator of mankind. And now I am dead. Odium has killed me. I am sorry.”

Which… rather leaves us hanging. Is he right? Is he really dead, or not? Honor was Splintered, but how much power do the Splinters still hold? What effect will Honor have on the world in the time to come? Can the Knights Radiant stand again, with Honor Splintered? So much we don’t know yet.

Looking for further information, I came across this, from a signing report last fall:
ZAS: So the number of Shards that have been on Roshar is three, correct?
BRANDON SANDERSON: Correct.
ZAS: People have been thrown by you saying that Odium is not native to Roshar.
BRANDON:Odium is not native, that's the thing. Are any of them native? So if you dig the deeper question, are any of them native, ehhh, none of them are native to the planets you've seen so far. What I probably should've said to be more precise is that Honor and Cultivation were there long before Odium showed up.
This would strongly imply that the “three” in the epigraph really are Honor, Cultivation, and Odium rather than some unnamed third that came with H&C and has since been driven out. It still begs the question of which one is “the Broken One” and in what manner it reigns. Due to the aforementioned statements that “Odium reigns,” I keep trying to figure out how Odium can be “the Broken One,” but I’m not having much luck. It would have to be very figurative, using “broken” to describe Odium. It makes much more sense to think that “the Broken One” refers to Honor… but how does Honor reign? (I can actually think of several possible meanings, but they reek of a chirpy optimism that doesn’t seem to fit the setting.)
Jennifer B
44. JennB
It seems to me that Honor is still around. I think he is the Stormfather that Kaladin sees in the Highstorm. We don't know what splintered means, it could be just that the shard's power is spread out making it so that the holder cannot control it.

Do all the shards typically work in pairs like Ruin and Preservation, Honor and Cultivation, and Devotion and Dominion? If so, there should be a shard that compliments Odium in some way. Also, does it seem odd that the pairs seem to balance each other in every world except Rosher? Honor and Cultivation both seem like positive forces, while Ruin could be considered negative to balance Preservation's positive and Dominion could be considered negative to balance Devotion's positive.
Kob
45. Abu Casey
I love the little aside Kaladin makes as he stands at the chasm, noting that it looks unnatural, like the world itself has somehow been broken. When you look at the map on the frontpiece, it certainly looks like someone punched Alethkar. What happened? Is this Odium's doing or something else?
Jennifer B
46. JennB
I do see that the coppermind says that Endowment is the only shard on Nalthis, but I am not sure if that means that there was not originally another shard there.
T C
47. Freelancer
In one place we are told "The Broken One reigns", while in several more it is said that Odium reigns. If MA = MG, then we know that . . . ?
Anyone?
Penny?
Anyone?
Bueller?
William Carter
48. wcarter
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that it's actually Cultivation that's the "Broken One" rather than Odium or Honor.

Seasons on Roshar are...psychotic, they don't go in any predictable manner which means that a traditional calendar in terms of planting, harvasting, etc is impossible and pointless. On a planet with a god actually called Cultivation, that seems more than a little odd.

Only Shinovar has anything remotely recongizable as far as flora and fauna are concerned to us Earthlings, which may mean she still has some foothold there.

So my theory: Odium flat out killed Honor, but he only did something to severely cripple Cultivation.

SPOILERS for Mistborn series: Preservation did something similar to himself and Ruin when he imprisoned Ruin's mind turning his body into the Atium at the Pits of Hathsin. Neither one were "Splintered" per se (since they weren't dead), but they weren't quite whole either.

So my guess is Odium has done something similar to Cultivation. Lessening her power without actually killing her--like Ruin was while he was searching for his body.

If so then she might still there, but Odium is now far more powerful in addition to being all Evil and Stuff.
Jennifer B
49. JennB
The face in the storm was male, wasn't it?
T C
50. Freelancer
wcarter @48

I had held to that idea upon first blush, then considered something else. Those things we call spren, so far that we know of the cosmere, are limited to Roshar. If this be a correct supposition, then for the purpose of this discussion, it may well be that spren are all descended from the same shard. Again, if this is true, I would posit that Cultivation chooses to exist in a fairly small portion of Roshar . . . Shinovar. I would further posit that just as Preservation was in the mists, Odium is in the Highstorms.

It is sensible to make a deduction that Cultivation is broken on most of Roshar, with the very sparse vegetation, the harsh environment, and so on. But something stronger than the shape of the land prevents the Highstorms from touching Shinovar, and something so far unknowable to us causes there to be no spren either. Given the relatively lush vegetation, the thriving of mammals above crustaceans, and the honoring of "he who creates" above "he who destroys", I am strongly attracted to the idea that Cultivation has set up shop here.
Jennifer B
51. JennB
Freelancer @ 50
I like that idea. What shard do you think Spren come from? Are they the splinters of Honor?

I am not convinced that the Highstorms are bad though. After all, Kaladin rode the storm. Stormlight comes from the storms and Kaladin speaks with something during the storm that warns him that Odium is coming. Not to mention the Almighty's message comes during the storms. Perhaps Odium is distracted during the storms, allowing other forces to work.
Alice Arneson
52. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @47 – All other things being actually true, it’s logical that A=G. But… we don’t know how true those things are. Who says the Broken One reigns? At what point in time? Is the voice correct when it says that Odium reigns? At what point in time? Odium = the Broken One is the obvious answer, but since when is Brandon obvious about these things? Or rather, since when is the obvious answer he gives us necessarily the right answer?

wcarter @48 – Well, that would be an interesting twist. I’m not sure I’d buy it, but I wouldn’t entirely rule it out either.

Freelancer @50 & JennB @51 – I also like the idea that the spren are all descended from the same Shard, and that Cultivation has set up shop in Shinovar. I’m coming to… a strong suspicion… that certain of the spren may be Splinters of Honor. At the least, Brandon has confirmed that we see Splinters in WoK, and the spren (like Syl, anyway) seem the most likely candidate. Also, he has indeed confirmed that Honor was Splintered.

However, I don’t buy the idea that Odium is in the Highstorms – but that’s largely based on the face Kaladin twice sees in the Highstorms – and that speaks to him later, telling him about Odium (as quoted @43). I suspect that it is Tanavast (or what’s left of him) in the Highstorm; it’s even possible that the Highstorms are part of the Splinter action we’re supposed to have seen. (And yes, Jenn, the face in the storm is most likely male; we’re not told specifically, but Kaladin certainly identifies it as male when he thinks of it as “the Stormfather?”) On a careful rereading, we don’t actually know that the face and the voice belong to one another, but… it seems most likely.

I guess I’m seeing Stormlight as an aspect of Honor; it was there in useful form prior to the breaking of the Oathpact and prior to the Splintering of Honor. Since it comes from (or is delivered by/during) the Highstorms, I associate the storms with Honor as well. Jenn has some very interesting thoughts on this @51, with which I think I agree. As a theory, of course. We don’t know enough for anything else yet.
T C
53. Freelancer
Ok, not so likely that Odium is in the storm, given that the entity who converses with Kaladin during a Highstorm warns him of Odium.

I hold to the idea that Shinovar is not isolated from the Highstorms by landscape alone, and that the same distinction is also identified with the lack of spren in that region.

As for the question of which shard is connected to the spren, could they not ALL be honorspren in a way, manifesting when a sincere demonstration occurs of that with which each form of spren is concerned?
Alice Arneson
54. Wetlandernw
I fully agree about Shinovar and it's lack of spren, and I'm with you in thinking that it probably has something to do with Cultivation. (I have to wonder, though, what that does to my notion of the Surges being part of Cultivation... It fits for Szeth, but what about everyone else?)

I love the idea of all spren being honorspren... Although I don't think it's quite that straightforward. Nohadon, talking to Dalinar about some guy called Alakavish, comments that "not all spren are as discerning as honorspren." That doesn't mean that all honorspren are the same, or that they all are linked to the same behaviors/skills.

I'll have to think about it some more; right now I have a tiny boy who needs to be kept out of trouble. (Babysitting is fun, but I've almost forgotten what 1- and 2-year-olds are like...)
Jennifer B
55. JennB
I think that all Spren could be of Honor without all Spren being Honorspren. The coppermind notes that splinters can have a different intent than the shard they came from. Perhaps Honorspren were splinters intentionally made by Honor and other Spren appeared later when Odium splintered Honor.
The Knights Radiant were supposed to bond Honorspren, but with new, less discerning Spren available, they became corrupted.
Jennifer B
56. JennB
Carl,

I just read the Letter in its entirety for the first time at 17th Shard, and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to handle the whole thing at once in the reread rather than in bits and pieces as it appears in the book. I feel that reading it all together gave me a lot more insight than reading it in pieces as I had before, and I think it would be much easier to analyze and discuss it as a whole.

Thank you for the rereads,
Jenn
Kob
57. Staizer
In order to understand who reigns, and when let us consider dalinar's visions as these provide us with an exampke of life before honor was splintered (this is mostly from memory as i dont have the book with me, fact checking would be appreciated)

1. No highstorms, when he appears in the village to protect them he comments on their huts, asks about caves to hide in. In fact i believe the people were farmers if i remember correctly.

2. "Stormlight" still existed sans highstorms, the knights radiant did all their things without an apparent source of fuel that dalinar saw, their armor may have been fuel enough.

3. No spren, if i remember correctly, dalinar also commented during his visions that there were no spren around.

With these three facts we can conclude one of two things...
all of his visions were in shinovar or the whole planet was like shinovar before honor was broken... ("'Honor' was broken"sounds like a theme for the book series if you ask me)

i propose that the shattered plains are the location at which honor was "shattered." I also propose that cultivation caused a quick evolution of the planet in order to save it from being destroyed during the resultant highstorms that are a part of what is left of honor. Cultivation most likely made a stronghold in/around shinovar to protect herself from odium, cultivation doesnt feel she has the ability to defend herself or the world wholly.

If the knights radiant had not existed previously i would have proposed that honor shattered into 10 parts, however that still might be the case, each part of which, when reassembled would be honor. As ruin and preservation together make harmony. That would imply there are now lesser shards that represent the aspects that the ten orders of the knights radiant uphold.

Just some thoughts to ponder
Birgit
58. birgit
Maybe Shardblades and Shardplate have names with Shard in them because they are parts of a Shard. If they are parts of Honor and somehow were corrupted when Honor was splintered that explains why Syl dislikes them.
Maiane Bakroeva
59. Isilel
I hate to sound like a broken record, but is there actually any evidence that the Radiants or their shards were corrupted? Apart from self-serving propaganda of civilizations that succeeded them, that is? Couldn't Syl's aversion to them be because she feels that they were desecrated by the use to which their post-Radiant owners put them?

JennB@55:

Didn't pre-Radiant Surge-binders bond to other spren too?

Staizer @57:

Interesting theory. I still tend to think that humans and horses didn't originate on Roshar, though. Everything else you propose holds together well for me, however.
Kob
60. Staizer
@isilel
according to some Q&As brandon has answered (http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/3497-humanitys-spread-through-the-cosmere/) and others... Humans first came from one planet, or at least the shards did. Humans had managed to get to other planets as well. Then the shards started creating and/or changing humans on their worlds.
My point being that humans are not native to any of the planets in brandon's stories, so you are correct.
Jennifer B
61. JennB
Stazier @57
In Daliner's vision there were no visible Spren, but Syl is only visible to Kaladin and Rock.

Isilel @59
Sorry. I don't know anything about pre Radiant surgebinders. Where do we see them? The only pre Radiant scene I can think of is the in the Prelude.
Jennifer B
62. JennB
Okay, so I have been trying to figure out where there are pre Radiant surgebinders and I discovered that Daliner believes that his vision with Nohaden was pre Radiants. If that is the case , that would imply that the Heralds did not found the KR. Did Nohaden found the KR?

Also, are Shallan and Jasnah each bonded to a Spren? It seems like big groups of the Symbolheads just kind of hang out around them. There doesn't seem to be a specific bond between Shallon and one individual Spren.
Nadine L.
63. travyl
Staizer @57.
Thanks for putting that together, sounds reasonable ;)

Isilel: @broken record
I agree with you, that the Knight Radiants left their Shards behind because something/body (maybe humanity) discouraged them and not because the blades were tainted.
Maybe the being picked up by "unworthy" humans did taint them afterwards (if taint is the explanation for Syl's aversion towards to blades).
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Lots of good stuff going on here! We don’t know exactly when the Knights Radiant were founded, but apparently a) during or after the time of Nohadon and b) before the Oathpact was broken. We also know that Honor wasn’t Splintered until after the Oathpact was broken, IIRC. Oh, and we don’t know when the Heralds came along, but it was clearly well before the time of Nohadon and the Knights Radiant.

We don’t know if there’s any connection between Honor being Splintered and the Recreance. We also don’t know (Isilel!) why the Knights Radiant walked away from their gear, why the gear apparently went dead when they walked away from it, whether it’s been corrupted in some way, how it was made in the first place, what happened to the rest of it (if there really are only the 100 or so surviving Blades), when any of those things happened,or why Syl has such an aversion to it. We don’t even know what powered them in the first place, other than some vague application of Stormlight.

It’s interesting to note that the Radiants in Dalinar’s vision (the one where they fought the Midnight Essence) were able to summon and dismiss parts of their Armor as well as their Blades at will, and not with a 10-second wait, either. Opposed to that, in the “present” world, up to a full set of Plate can be regrown from a single piece, although it won’t work if someone else has the breastplate and is regrowing the missing pieces from that. What implications does that have?
Cameron Tucker
65. Loialson
The thing I'm curious about, is Dalinar's visions. There was one readily apparent thing Dalinar learned throughout the book:

Tanavast (The god who held the Shard of Adonalsium Honor) was behind leaving the record, and the parts with him speaking, "narrating" if you will, are not at all interactive.

Interestingly enough, when Dalinar is actually within a vision interacting with people in the past (NOT having dialogue with Tanavast), he seems to change small things, and actually interact and have conversations with those in that past. Curious.

This leaves me with two questions:

1. Is Dalinar actually able to to affect the past in some small fashion (like when saving the poor woman and her daughter when he was stuffed into her husband's body), or just the interactive "interface" of the visions Tanavast has left. IE no actual interaction with the past, just with a video-game like interface that is a recreation of the past.

2. WHY DOESN'T JASNAH HAVE DALINAR ASK SOMEONE (IMPORTANT) IN THE VISIONS REGARDING THE VOIDBRINGERS IN DEPTH AND SETTLE THE BLOODY MYSTERY ALREADY!!!!!!

(I know Dalinar confused the Midnight Essence with Voidbringers and the female Radiant disabused him of that notion, but that is the closest we get, and he could do SO much more with that treasure of interactive visions in his head during Highstorms).

But seriously, Jasnah is the smartest one in the loop on this, Navani has already proved the legitimacy of the visions with Dalinar quoting "Dawnchant" (they think). You'd think she'd just jump on this like a duck on a beetle.

Jasnah trusts her uncle with this (at least to some extent, though she is still gathering data to prove her claims of Parshmen being Voidbringers when she communicates with Dalinar via spanreed later), and when that her uncle's visions are proven real, she could REALLY capitalize on that and drill him to ask information of the visions so they can get mankind's crap together, sooner better than later.

Has anyone else considered this? I feel like Elayne when she expressed the advantage Rand had with Lews Therin's memories. I REALLY hope Jasnah sees something similar in her uncle that they can utilize.

Fingers crossed for Words of Radiance!
Jennifer B
66. JennB
Loialson @65
Unfortunately, Jasnah does not know about Dalinar's visions. The reason Dalinar is trying to convince her to come back is so that he can confide in her privately without using a scribe. Now that Navani is in the loop, it is possible that Dalinar could communicate with Jasnah using Navani as a scribe, but Dalinar only decided to bring Navani into his confidence at the end of the book. Maybe at the beginning of WoR they will contact her. They may have to wait until she arrives at the Shattered Plains though, since she may already be on the move.
Jennifer B
67. JennB
I am really curious to see if all the visions repeat now. It would be a great opportunity for Dalinar and Navani to gather some info.
Cameron Tucker
68. Loialson
Hmm, Pretty sure Dalinar and Navani mention bringing Jasnah into the loop in passing, though it didn't happen on screen. I'll have to look it up sometime tomorrow.
T C
69. Freelancer
JennB,

While Brandon hasn't specifically rebuked the use of the term spren for the symbolheads, he always calls them cryptics, and hasn't stated that they are spren. The term truthspren was fan-created, and is not cosmere canon. I don't believe that there is any bonding between the cryptics and anyone else.
Jennifer B
70. JennB
So maybe Jasnah really has never seen these cryptics. Maybe they have nothing to do with soulcasting. I have seen speculation that they are somehow related to Devotion though I have know idea how that would fit into the story.
Nadine L.
71. travyl
@64 Wetlander:
We also know that Honor wasn’t Splintered until after the Oathpact was broken, IIRC
Why do we know that? It's not knowledge from the book is it?
Only having read he book (and these comments), for me it could also make sense, that the splintering / defeat of Honor caused the Desolations to begin with? - If you don't accept this, what do you think started the (repeated) Desolations (the true Desolation isn't the first one right?, Do we even know if it's the first one since the Heralds broke the oathpact?)
Phil Anthrop
72. Isomere
@71: This is from a very vague quote from Brandon found here:
The Almighty was still around when the Heralds did their thing.
Unfortunately, this quote doesn't actually prove much. It strongly implies Honor was still unbroken during the desolation 4500 years ago, but strictly interpreted it means the Heralds were created before the Almighty ceased to exist. We don't know what "their thing" is referring to. We don't know what it means for the Almighty to be "around". Does it mean Tanavast is alive? Or that the Shard is intact? Could Tanavast have survived the shattering of Honor?

And just who is the Almighty anyway. Brandon has said that on Roshar the people themselves don't understand who the Almighty is and use the word incorrectly. Personally I think the Almighty is a combination of Honor, Cultivation and two Yolenian Humans that all merged together, but this is admittedly a speculation with very limited support:

There is no direct evidence for the merger, just my interpretation of some pictures and relationships in the book:
1) A single eye with two pupils is a strong indicator of two conscious minds looking out through the same eye.
2) In the Knights Radiant Table: Two winged Greatshells forming a single larger form in the negative space between them is a strong suggestion of some type of spiritual or cognitive connection.
3) We have another confusing WoB that seems to say the Spren have varying degrees of Investiture from both Honor and Cultivation, and that spren are all peices of the "one" that has gone.
4) The Highstorms seem to have components of both Honor and Cultivation in them.
5) The name of the Almighty is "He who Transforms", which could be a hint that he metamorphed. Also, Transformation is very strongly associated with the Intent of Cultivation.

Going back to the original question: We strongly suspect, but it hasn't been confirmed that Honor was broken after the Oathpact was abandoned.
T C
73. Freelancer
While looking for something else, I came across this:
Before she could consciously think of what she was doing, she was struggling with her sleeve, trying to get the Soulcaster out. It was the only ting she had resembling a weapon. No, that was stupid. She didn't know how to use it. She was helpless.
Except . . .
Storms! she thought, frantic. I can't use that. I promised myself.
She began the process anyway. Ten heartbeats, to bring forth the fruit of her sin, the proceeds of her most horrific act.
This, to me, is convincing proof that her Shardblade was her Father's, and that she took it when he died.

Now, to what I was originally about. The cryptics. It is they, sketched by her in her own room, standing so close that she reached out and felt something, which caused the panic represented in the quote above. What happens next is significant to the current discussion regarding them. Continuing in the same passage:
She was interrupted midway through by a voice, uncanny yet distinct:
What are you?She clutched her hand to her chest, losing her balance on the soft bed, falling to her knees on the rumpled blanket. She put one hand to her side, steadying herself on the nightstand, fingers brushing the large glass goblet that sat there.
"What am I?" she whispered. "I'm terrified."
This is true.
Later, when she asks of the cryptics to be sent back to that place, in order to convince Jasnah that she knows the truth of her unaided Soulcasting ability, the voice requires that it must know something true about her, and repeats the previous question, "What are you?" This time, her answer is "I'm a murderer. I killed my father." And that was enough to take her.

A few other things. The cryptics, according to Jasnah, are a type of spren. She states this authoritatively, and twice disrupts explaining further. She also states authoritatively that they are tied to Soulcasting, and that:
". . . each Radiant's abilities were tied to the spren."
This being given in the chapter entitled "Veristitalian", I'm a bit more inclined to believe it isn't simply a mistaken conclusion, but one Jasnah has arrived at through well-founded research which is yet to be shared with the reader.

Finally, the ocean of beads in Shadesmar. This is the weirdest, but to me the clearest, conclusion of all. I believe that each bead is the "soul" of an object, the Cognitive representation of it, whether or not animate. When Shallan first visits Shadesmar, unexpectedly, she is asked a question:
You want me to change? a warm voice said in her mind, distinct and different from the cold whisper she had heard earlier. It was deep and hollow and conveyed a sense of great age. It seemed to come from her hand, and she realized she was grasping something there. One of the beads.
The movement of the ocean of glass threatened to tow her down; she kicked frantically, somehow managing to stay afloat.
I've been as I am for a great long time, the warm voice said. I sleep so much. I will change. Give me what you have.
The bead she is grasping in Shadesmar corresponds to the goblet in her room. The voice is the goblet itself. What she had was Stormlight, probably from the ersatz fabrial's gems. So she cognitively communicated with the object, the goblet, which permitted her to change it to blood in exchange for Stormlight.
Kob
74. matei t
i'm new here but i'd like to throw some ideas at you:

i think it's safe to assume Honor was splintered after the KR left because the visions contain that memory. if that is so, then what was the Oathpact that was shattered so late, if the Heralds' abandonment happened so much earlier?

what happened to Tanavast himself remains to be seen. I remember however the conversation Hoid has with Dalinar about gibbletish and what would happen if you ripped a man apart and put the parts back together. maybe that's Honor's current state, hence the "Broken One" possible confusion.

another thought: the murder of devotion produced a chasm in Elantris.
what if what Odium did to Honor produced the Shattered Plains?
i initially thought the plains were somehow shattered by the abandoned Dawnshards, way back when, but now i'm not so sure...
Deana Whitney
75. Braid_Tug
Brandon said at the WOT AMoL panel, something along the lines of : Each person has a set of beliefs about how their world works. Sometimes this is not the reality, but it is the truth as they know it.
I believe it is part 4 of the panel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9qxJdWplnI

He could be talking about his WoK world too. They charters think X about their world and have expressed the belief. But they could also find a Truth that is different as the books go on and as we all learn more about the Radiants and sprens. .
Maiane Bakroeva
76. Isilel
Freelancer @73:

Very interesting quotes indeed. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Jasnah tell Shallan at some point that she herself couldn't see the symbolheads, despite also having native Soulcasting abilities? Unbeknowest to Jasnah, her brother Elokhar, though, is seeing the symbolheads and going nuts with fear of going mad/paranoia?

Are we sure that Shallan's "greatest sin" was killing her father? I mean, she was protecting her brother from him, right? We'll get to the chapter in question in due course, but I seem to remember that she feared that her father would kill her brother and intervened...
T C
77. Freelancer
Isilel,

While I was looking through those chapters again, I did have that idea in mind, and I cannot say that I saw a statement from Jasnah that she couldn't or hadn't seen them. The only inference I can draw is that, since she identified them from Shallan's sketches, she has seen them herself.

As for Shallan, "greatest sin" is a misquote. She calls the Shardblade:
. . . the fruit of her sin, the proceeds of her most horrific act.
In her shoes, I think that, even if done from noble purpose in protecting a weak brother, killing her own father is a sin, and her most horrific act. Taken together with the background we have of her extremely sheltered existence prior to her father's death, it is difficult to imagine that she had an opportunity to commit any more horrific act than patricide. I'll stick with this analysis for now.
Jennifer B
78. JennB
Isilel @76
I remember Jasnah saying that she could not see the Symbolheads. I was not sure if she was telling the truth. She has no reason to trust Shallan at that point.
Alice Arneson
79. Wetlandernw
Actually, Jasnah did not say she couldn't see the cryptics. Shallan asked her directly if she saw them too, and Jasnah very slickly avoided a direct answer. (It's near the end of Chapter 72.) Jasnah certainly recognized them - whether from personal experience, or from her brother's description is unknown. It's fairly clear that her slippery response was deliberate; she did not want Shallan do know the answer.

Shallan assumes that Jasnah has not seen them... but we don't know. Given that Jasnah seems content to let Shallan keep that assumption, I can't help thinking that she has seen them, but doesn't want Shallan to know that for some reason.
Kob
80. SmokeyandBooger
I came across an interesting little tid bit while trying to find something in the beginning of the book. I don't know if anyone has commented on it, but would be interested to hear everyone's take on it. In the beginning when Szeth is getting ready to kill the king, he is checking out the Parshendi and notes that this is what the Alethi call them, not what they call themselves. I don't believe it is ever revealed what they call themselves. I'm thinking this was a clue that is going to be important in future books. Maybe what they call themselves is going to have gigantic ramifications when the True Desolation comes
James Briggs
81. traveler
77@freelancer ; wetlander is right I was reading chapter 72 and Jasana recognizes the pictures Shallon draws of the symbol heads and calls them some type of spren .So what is Shallon, Jasana knows and at that point decides to train her.
somthing else is that Jasana says (each radiants abilities are tied to the spren) so there will be other bonds like Kaladin and SYL
Deana Whitney
82. Braid_Tug
Off Topic: Anyone here from Oklahoma? Are you and family okay?
I know moondivatx is safe and fine.
Sending out positive thoughts.

Everyone, if you can and are willing, in light off all the recent crap around the country, please donate blood. The overall supply is low.
Carl Engle-Laird
83. CarlEngle-Laird
@82 I actually come from Oklahoma originally, although not from the area that the tornado hit. It's been a little surreal. I'll second your call to give blood, anyway. It's what Honor would do. Probably also Cultivation.
T C
84. Freelancer
briggs2 @81

Yes, I believed, when I responded to Isilel @76, that Jasnah never answered whether she had or had not seen them. But I couldn't be certain, so left my response qualified. It was she who thought Jasnah had stated that she hadn't seen them. By the time I was home from my son's birthday dinner and had a chance to peek at the book again, Wetlandernw had done the work. It's how we roll.

I suppose that Jasnah has seen them, to so assuredly identify them from Shallan's sketches, but it is no more than supposition at this point. As for the bonds of spren and Radiants, we hope that Jasnah is speaking from research, and not an extrapolation of her own. In stories like this, one source does not confirm a fact, except that internal POVs don't lie about personal experience.
T C
85. Freelancer
On the O/T, I donate every time I'm able. The one time in my life that I'd been called, as a member of the walking blood bank, to come and donate, I'd just returned from a deployment which included a visit to Mombasa, which required Malaria inoculation. You cannot give blood for 18 months afterwards, and I felt really horrible that I had to say no.
Deana Whitney
86. Braid_Tug
@ 85, you are a good man.

@ 83, Okies unite! My family is in Moore. I moved away 11 years ago, but still. Helping this weekend. Hope all the other storms expected don't materialize. An aunt and now 4 friends have lost their homes.
James Briggs
87. traveler
84@freelancer: there are alot of things that are speculation and i agree that we dont know, but this is a opinion that I am willing to run with. In dalinars vision with tanavast hi stats that he wished that all spren were as dicerning as honor spren , this gives us 2 examples fo KR and spren inter reaction.all things are combined with the spren to creat a better ,more powerful KR. but i think that you dont think that you have to have a spren to have power , I just think that it makes you more than what you could be by yourself.
James Briggs
88. traveler
wetlander ;sorry for all of the errors its not something that i was ever good at but i enjoyed this more than you know being my first atemptat using this kind of comunication, love everyones coments and hope my contributions are relivant , thak carwe everyone JIM
T C
89. Freelancer
Braid Tug @86

Nah, it's easy, and it grows back. Not like donating a kidney. Besides, the blood bank folks get a kick out of how quickly I bleed. (Not sure if that's a good thing)


briggs2,

That's a teeny-tiny pic, but are you sporting a '70 'Cuda there?
James Briggs
90. traveler
89@FREELANCER GOOD GUESS,has a 440 sixpack with pistolgrip shifter. but not original.I got the motor ,trany and dana gears out of a 68 plymoth gtx. its still fun
T C
91. Freelancer
Had a '70 of my own, until I had to sell it when joining the Navy. 442 W30 convertible. Hurst blueprinted 455, Rochester tri-power. Suckers are worth over $80k nowadays. Makes me cry.
James Briggs
92. traveler
Sounds nice I never realy looked at what this one is worth besause the numbers dont match. My other toy is a 74 cheve blazer, its the last year that they were a full convertible. They still cost me less than a new car to maintain and are more fun
Cheryl Sanders
93. RestlessSpirit
Hi all, long time reader at this site and catching up to this re-read. A re-read that I'm enjoying immensely, by the way. Thank you very much Michael & Carl!

I was reviewing comments upthread to help gather my thoughts re: Odium and saw that Wetlandernw said it @12. "Is Odium referred to as “broken” because he is so awful?" That was my assumption when I did my re-read.

The epigraph in this chapter and this from the letter: "Rayse, on the other hand, was among the most loathsome, crafty, and dangerous individuals I had ever met. He holds the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards." In my brain, these are connected. Rayse/Odium = Broken One. Obviously I have no textual evidence. Just these two things that only feel right to me :)
Jennifer B
94. JennB
RestlessSpirit @93
re Odium
That is how I always interpreted it too.
T C
95. Freelancer
I've mentioned it before elsewhere, but it's odd to consider broken/splintered shards, when shards are broken pieces of something. So the really big question is, 16 Shards of what? A Divinity with multiple personality disorder?

O/T, Brandon's most recent release opened on the New York Times bestseller list.
Alice Arneson
96. Wetlandernw
Re: Odium - The first time through, of course, I had no idea what any of this stuff meant. We'd never heard of Odium at this point - nor Honor, nor Cultivation, not as entities in themselves. "Sixteen" is kind of a flag, if you've been following the Cosmere discussions on line, but other than that, there was just not enough information.

The next time through, I think my mind made the subconscious leap from "the Broken One" to the "Bent One" from Lewis's "Out of the Silent Planet" and I just... went with it. Now, in discussing it more deeply, I'm not as sure - but there's still that "Odium reigns" and "the Broken One reigns" parallel.
Kob
97. Confutus
I've been away from the computer for most of the past week, so I'm slow at replying.

@30 Freelancer (and others), consider that a suicidal bridgeman could also either refuse to go on a bridge run and get himself executed as a coward, or actively try to get himself (and maybe his fellows, too) killed by a Parshendi arrow, which seems an iffy and uncertain way to go about it. Being merely wounded and having to wait agonizing days for some combination of hunger, thirst, and infection to finish the job is all too likely an outcome.

The "Honor Chasm" would be seen as the least painful, dishonorable way to go about it. I don't see mockery so much as a last attempt to salvage a scrap of dignity from a bridgeman's ignominious end.

@ 35 Isilel, there is evidence that Sylphrena dislikes the Shardblades and Szeth views his as a curse, which are hints that something may have changed about them since the Radiants used them against Voidbringers and thunderclasts.
Also, Jasnah mentions a fragment which seems to date from about the time of the so-called Recreance or shortly thereafter, indicating that "The so-called radiants had begun to show their true nature", which could be evidence of their corruption, anti-Radiant propaganda, or even a little of both.
Cheryl Sanders
98. RestlessSpirit
"A Divinity with multiple personality disorder?"
LOL was my first thought, but upon reflection - maybe not so LOL?
William Carter
99. wcarter
Broken one reigns and "Odium reigns" are hard to reconcile without it having something to do with him being a bad person god.

But Rayse was supposedly a jackass from the getgo, and Odium is a naturally malevolent shard. It being evil shouldn't make it broken because that's what it is. Ruin had to decay, Preservation had to try and maintain. So there must be something we're still missing to figure out who the "broken one" really is and why.

On a side note, I think I just set someone up for the Hunny
Deana Whitney
100. Braid_Tug
So since Sanderson sets his worlds up to be related, are Ruin and Preservation just different aspects of Odium and Honor?

Yea! We hit the hunny on this thread. We don’t do that often enough on this Re-read yet.
Kob
101. MDNY
Braid_Tug: Ruin and Preservation are the 2 shards from Scadrial, the Mistborn world. They are now both part of Sazed- or Harmony I guess. The concept of shards seem to be still not fully delineated, but it seems that the "gods" of all of Sanderson's worlds are linked in some way to shards- 3 are linked with Roshar (Odium, Honor, and Cultivation). It still isn't clear (to me at least) what shards are, or where they came from, but they seem to be from Adonalsium (a term Hoid brings up in this book, and Sazed mentioned in Hero of Ages). So Ruin and Preservation are different from Odium and Honor (and Cultivation) but they are all similar forces/powers, and all linked. I think. Congrats on the hunny.
William Carter
102. wcarter
@100 Braid_Tug

It would be more accurate to say they are all (Odium, Honor, Cultivation, Ruin, Preservation, Dominion, Devotion, Endowment, etc.) aspects of Adonalsium.

MISTBORN SPOILERS: Sazed gained the shards of both "Ruin" and "Preservation" at the end of the Hero of Ages. By Alloy of Law he is considered the new shard "Harmony."

Exacly how different Harmony is from Sazed the man isn't known. What is known is that shards influence people, and after long enough exposure will dictate how they act.

--end spoilers--

Odium himself could have absorbed the shards he defeated but likely chose to splinter them instead because even though they would make him more powerful, they would also fundamentally change who he was.

Apparently he likes being an angry, hate-filled jerk.
Kob
103. Staizer
@101 MDNY be careful with the mistborn spoilers, please go back and edit your post to white out the mistborn stuff.

@100 braid tug

each shard is a representation of a trait or ideal. Each shard is a pure embodiment of its trait so the holder of ruin wants nothing but ruin, preservation only wants to preserve. Honor will attempt to bring out honor in all, odium is hate, not destruction but hate. Ruin is passive, it wants to destroy all things but it doesnt care why. Odium hates all things and wants it gone, hence why it is so dangerous, it cant be reasoned with, it cant be slowed. The more you fight it the more furious it becomes.

so if you compare ruin and odium, they are similar but not the same people, and honor and preservation are once again similar but not the same people, nor are they the same aspect.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
And more good discussion this morning! I love this place. :)

Staizer @57 – I started to post this back… whenever, and got sidetracked into a history timeline. J So I’ll post it now, for what it’s worth. There’s one thing wrong in your summary, but I think it actually makes sense. In the first two of Dalinar’s visions we’re given (Midnight Essence and Recreance) he doesn’t mention spren at all, other than noting it’s too dark to see the fearspren he assumes are crawling around the little girl. In the third, though, the one with Nohadon, they actually talk about the spren; Nohadon comments that not all spren are as discerning as honorspren. The big thing to notice is that the Nohadon vision clearly took place in history before the other two, since at that point the KR hadn’t been founded yet.

Of note, though, since this is in context of a conversation about Surgebinders (and later, Soulcasters), and how despite their greater powers, they are just as corruptible as any other human, I think it might be safe to say that use of the Surges is linked to spren in some way. (It might be that “the Nahel bond” is a spren-bond that gives you control of the Surges. Or… it might not, since we know Szeth can control two Surges, but is not bonded to a spren. Hmm.) The more I look at it, the more I think the Recreance is related to Honor being Splintered. When (assuming!) the Radiants lost the connection to Honor (Honor the Shard, not honor the concept), maybe they reverted to mere Surgebinders with all the corruptibility of human nature. Perhaps, realizing that was happening, they decided they had to walk away from the things that gave them more power than other people, since they couldn't be trusted with that greater power.

Anyway, your first two points (lack of Highstorms and existence of Stormlight, whatever it was called then) seem to be valid. The idea that the Shattered Plains are the location at which Honor was Splintered is pretty cool – and pretty likely, I think. (If Cultivation made her base at one end of the continent, and Honor at the other, that rather fits…) If the Highstorms are related to the conflict between Odium and Honor, and if that conflict took place on the Shattered Plains, it seems like a logical follow-on that the storms hit there first, then weaken as they go across the continent, and have no effect at all in Shinovar where Cultivation provides her protections. Sheer guesswork, but I like it for now!
Deana Whitney
105. Braid_Tug
@ 101 - 103: Thank you!
I've read all the books in the Cosmere, but have never made all these connections.

Enjoyed the education. And just in time for the next post, where it was needed.
Kob
106. Incognito
I know this is way after the reread (but I've just found it now), and no-one will ever read this, but I felt I had to comment on the 'Honour Chasm' as regards what people have said in this thread. If only for my own peace of mind.

I suffer from depression, and have been in uncomfortable positions in my life with my feelings. Although, obviously, I'm still here. I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of either the person suffering from the despair and brutally disabling condition of depression, or else the position of the guards who ignore their orders to stop the bridge runners from killing themselves to understand the 'Honour Chasm'. So I'm going to try to explain how the shoes might look like.

Before I say anything else, I'm not writing this to glorify committing suicide in any way - although I do think that categorising people who commit suicide as selfish, weak, cowardly, etc. causes a lot of problems, if only for the fact that it makes people less likely to seek help from people when confronted by these thoughts. I mean, if you are feeling like your only recourse is to end your life, then being called derogatory words is the last thing you want to hear in response. All I write below is simply a description of how it can feel to be depressed, and how your point of view might look like. Obviously, I needn't add that I can only speak for myself, but in my experience I'm nothing particularly special or unusual.

So, huge disclaimer out of the way...

In a way, the bridge crews are a fantastic metaphor for depression itself. No hope, no moments of joy, no life. Each moment of each day is made up of forcing yourself to go on for no real reason other than instinct. Plodding one foot after the other with a huge weight on your shoulders, with people jeering all around you, closed in on your own thoughs, no expectation or even hope of things improving... the metaphor is perfect.

And the thing is, no matter how low you are, the threat of things getting even worse for you still exists; whether death, as in the bridgemen's punishment if they refuse the charge, or even just some nebulous fear that somehow makes your living hell get even worse if you try to change it. The horror you're facing at that current time is easier for you to deal with than the horror you don't know, because at least you know what you are dealing with right now. For some people from the outside, the choice seems obvious - getting better seems far more inevitable than getting even worse if you try something different, and surely it can't get much worse than what feels like rock bottom - but for the person within the depression, feeling that utter hopelessness, it's hard to believe that for you such a thing as 'better' is even attainable.

From the point of view of the guards: they are confronted by the conditions the bridgecrews are in daily. They see what Kaladin couldn't at first: that the bridgemen are being treated as an expendable resource without any trace of humanity in them, and they know just how dishonourably they are being treated by Sadeas. That's precisely why the army get uncomfortable with first Kaladin, and then Bridge Four standing by their bridges: pretending otherwise becomes even more impossible.

So why can jumping off the cliff be considered honourable? It's simple, really. They have taken control of their lives into their own hands. They have wrested control of their fate away from other people, and even away from their own instincts - because no-one actually wants to die; they just want their pain to stop. They have stood up, and refused to play this game of never-ending torment; they have taken the only option that seems available to them to fight against this particular atrocity of Sadeas; they have rebelled against all of the pain they are facing and said 'no more'; and that takes strength, courage, and, yes, shows honour. And, from the point of view of the guards, allowing them to do that probably helps to assuage their own feeling of dishonour.

They are party to this abomination that is bridge runs, but allowing the slaves to jump is like ending the life of someone who is being tortured until eventual death, without the torturer knowing. Yes - fighting for that victim's freedom would be the honourable thing to do, but giving the mercy of death - rather than the unrelieved pain of torture - is more honourable than doing nothing.

To try to explain in a personal way the kind of position I am talking about that a brideman might be feeling:

There are times I have felt cowardly because I could not bring myself to kill myself. The act of (metaphorically) plodding onwards with that heavy bridge on the shoulders, rather than jumping off the cliff felt like weakness to me. I wasn't brave enough to do the one thing I could to end it. It's that cut and dried in my mind. And yes, the fact that I couldn't muster the strength to do what I 'knew' I should do made me feel lacking in honour. After all, I wasn't taking the responsibility and making the sacrifices necessary to release me from my pain. It just so happened that the only way I could see to release me was permanent. When you are in highly charged emotional situations (whether high or low), your whole point of view changes about the world, and your choices need to be assessed with that in mind.

All that rather - well - depressing stuff over, I just want to reiterate that I am not trying to glorify suicide. If you have these kind of thoughts and feelings, the best thing you can do is see a GP and get referred to a Psychiatrist. For some people, chemicals are in an imbalance in their brains, and they genuinely can't 'make' themselves feel another way - as an aside, Kaladin seems to be one of those, with what is mentioned later in the book with how Tien can snap him out of his funks - and for others it's a result of their life experiences, and being trained to think in other ways, or find new avenues of possibilities in how you live your life. For still more, it's a mixture of both.

Whatever your religious views (if any), this is your one chance of life in this world (reincarnation beliefs don't include your memories and what makes up 'you'), so do you damnedest to make the most of it. It can really hurt at times, but if you can get through it, then it's worth it.

Sorry for the huge post (in case anyone actually did read it!). I guess to some extent it felt personal.
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
Incognito @106 - Someone always sees. :) Thank you for sharing; I do appreciate your candidness and your insight.

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