Thu
May 30 2013 12:00pm
The Way of Kings Reread: Chapter 12

The Way of Kings Reread Brandon Sanderson Stormlight ArchiveWelcome back to the Way of Kings reread on Tor.com! Last week we covered the interludes between Parts One and Two, and this week we’ll be diving into Part Two: The Illuminating Storms, which introduces Dalinar and Adolin as viewpoint characters, and continues Kaladin’s storyline. It draws the focus back from the small-scale, deeply personal conflict that Kaladin was experiencing in order to focus on Alethi affairs of state and the policies by which the war against the Parshendi is being waged. It also introduces Wit, which issues in not only a host of Brandon Sanderson Cosmere connections, but also a number of jokes ranging from excellent to terrible. Let’s dive right in.

 

Chapter 12: Unity

Setting: The Shattered Plains

Points of View: Adolin and Dalinar

What Happens: Elhokar Kholin leads a hunt for a chasmfiend into the Shattered Plains. Accompanying him are Highprince Sadeas, Highprince Vamah, and Highprince Dalinar, as well as Dalinar’s sons Adolin and Renarin and a number of his soldiers. Elhokar, Dalinar, Sadeas and Adolin are all dressed in Shardplate, magical armor that offers great protection and also massively enhances the wearer’s strength, speed and dexterity. Most Shardbearers paint and decorate their plate; of those in the procession, only Dalinar keeps his plate unpainted. On him the Shardplate doesn’t look like a costume, it looks like a tool, and he looks like a soldier.

Adolin watches his father, knowing that he’s thinking about the visions that have plagued him during highstorms. He discusses his father’s recent episode with his brother Renarin. The brothers have to face the fact that their father may be going mad. To make matters worse, other Highprinces have begun to mock Dalinar, saying that he never hunts gemhearts or goes into battle unless he is ordered to by the king. Sadeas, in response to praise from his king, complains that the competition for gemhearts has grown unexciting, “as some people don’t seem interested in participating. I guess even the best weapons eventually grow dull.”

Adolin grows angry, and considers challenging Sadeas to a duel, when Renarin warns him off. Adolin had begun subconsciously summoning his Shardblade. Renarin distracts him with talk of the hunts, which bore Adolin, and by discussing Adolin’s recent romantic misadventures. Not really wanting to talk about how he’s screwed up his courtships, Adolin pulls up next to his father.

The words from his visions, “Unite them,” whisper in Dalinar’s mind as he rides alongside the king. Elhokar is growing anxious, wanting to reach the hunting ground, but Dalinar says they’re still a few plateaus away. He mentions that if they had a vantage point they might be able to see the pavilion, which gives Elhokar the bright idea of racing his uncle to the top of a nearby rock formation. He spurs his stallion to a gallop, leaving Dalinar behind.

With a curse, Dalinar takes chase, leaving Adolin in command. Despite how ill-thought-out this competition is, Dalinar can’t deny how good it feels to charge freely after his nephew, the wind in his face. He decides to give the king the best race he can. Gallant, his Ryshadium stallion, is more than a match for the king’s horse, and he quickly outpaces Elhokar. Reaching the base of the rock formation, Dalinar throws himself from his saddle and begins to climb. Elhokar quickly follows, and the two race to the top.

As he climbs, the Thrill of contest rises within Dalinar, and he savors it as a worthy substitute to the Thrill of battle. Dalinar’s lead drives Elhokar to climb foolishly and to push himself into ill-thought-out maneuvers, but Dalinar maintains his narrow lead. He is very nearly at the top when the words enter his mind again: “Unite them.” He hesitates, and Elhokar pulls himself up to the top of the spire.

Uncle and nephew gladly catch their breath on the top of the rock formation, gloryspren rising around the king as he savors his victory. Dalinar observes his nephew, almost too handsome, so similar in appearance to his father Gavilar. They observe the Shattered Plains below them, and Dalinar feels as if he’s taken in this vantage point before, but the feeling quickly passes. Elhokar points to their destination in the distance, and they observe the cloth pavilion a few plateaus away.

Dalinar and Elhokar share a brief, pleasant exchange about the thrill of the race, but when Dalinar mentions how it reminds him of Gavilar, Elhokar’s mood sours. Dalinar mentions how it must have seemed foolish for them to run out ahead in a war zone, and Elhokar brushes away his concerns, as the Parshendi haven’t sent sorties this far in years. Dalinar counters that he seemed worried about his own safety two nights ago, but Elhokar responds with annoyance that he has no reason to fear enemy warriors that he can fight with blade in hand, and every reason to fear assassination. Dalinar can’t reply to this, but he confirms that his investigations did not reveal any traces of trespassers on Elhokar’s balcony or any other signs of watchers in the night. Elhokar remains dissatisfied.

A silence grows between them, and Dalinar realizes the source of the faint familiarity. He did stand on a rock formation like this, but it was during one of his visions:

You must unite them, the strange, booming words had told him. You must prepare. Build of your people a fortress of strength and peace, a wall to resist the winds. Cease squabbling and unite. The Everstorm comes.

Dalinar tries to broach this subject with Elhokar, but can’t think of a way to make it seem anything but foolishness. He suggests they return to the others.

Adolin waits for scout reports and considers how to handle his love life. He is trying to determine how to frame his falling out with Rilla, his previous object of affection, to Janala, his current pursuit, when one of his scouts interrupts him. All is prepared, and there have been no sightings of the Parshendi. Adolin orders more scouting, then watches Elhokar leap from the rock formation, Dalinar climbing down and then leaping as well, but from a safer altitude.

Adolin can’t help but think that his father has been choosing the safer route more often recently. He watches the lighteyes from Sadeas’ and Vamah’s party, sheltering in palanquins and wearing loose, informal clothing, and wishes that the Alethi War Codes didn’t command that he remain in uniform on a hunt. No one but Dalinar Kholin, and, as a result, his sons, had followed those Codes in centuries.

Adolin passes a couple of sycophants mocking his father, and again begrudges the Codes, which prevent him from challenging a man to a duel while he’s on duty or in command. He can’t duel everyone who speaks against his father, and, more problematically, he can’t entirely deny the truth in what they say. Because Elhokar acts like a highprince of the Kholin princedom, Dalinar can’t act as a ruler in his own right, and instead bends to Elhokar’s wishes and dedicates himself to protecting his nephew.

Adolin decides to give the king a report, and joins Sadeas, staring at him defiantly. Elhokar seems bored by the scout reports, and Adolin also thinks how strange it is that Elhokar fears assassins so deeply but doesn’t take scouting seriously. Elhokar suggests riding ahead of the vanguard, but Dalinar complains that that would make him bringing his troops along pointless. Elhokar agrees to wait for the army to cross.

After this, Adolin joins his father, who stands staring towards the Origin, where highstorms begin, Renarin beside him. Adolin says that perhaps they should finish the tedious hunt quickly. Dalinar tells him how much he used to look forward to greatshell hunts, and they suss out the details of the hunt, which Adolin finds boring and Dalinar considers to be part of a grand tradition. Renarin brings Adolin’s love life into it, which Dalinar proves to be politely bemused and befuddled by.

To change the subject, Adolin points out how strange it is that the king insisted on joining this hunt, considering how paranoid he is. Dalinar explains the king’s motivations as best he can:

“He worries that his subjects see him as a coward because of how much he fears assassins, and so he finds ways to prove his courage. Foolish ways, sometimes—but he’s not the first man I’ve known who will face battle without fear, yet cower in terror about knives in the shadows.”

Adolin realizes that his father is right, and that his wisdom is deep and true. Then Dalinar says that his nephew is a good man, and could be a strong king, if Dalinar could only figure out how to persuade him to leave the Shattered Plains. Adolin is shocked as Dalinar explains how he wants to heed his visions, but doesn’t believe he can unite Alethkar here. Adolin can’t believe what he’s hearing, and tries to push him back, suggesting that instead of asking for a retreat, Dalinar push for an attack, to make a decisive victory instead of a prolonged siege. Dalinar ends the discussion.

As Adolin goes to continue his scouting, he longs to see his father as the warrior he used to be, thinking that so many things had changed with the death of King Gavilar. Not only had Dalinar grown more serious, more cautious, and more committed to the Codes, his relationship with Sadeas had also degraded.

His work completed, Adolin rejoins Dalinar and Renarin, and they are accosted by the King’s Wit. A tall, thin man with dark black hair and a coat to match, Wit is a weapon of the king, tasked with insulting those that the king can’t afford to personally offend. He makes light of Adolin’s womanizing, forcing him to admit his recent misadventures. Wit laughs, then moves on to Renarin, who has decided that anything he says will lead to mockery. Wit begins weaving a bawdy tale about Renarin seducing two of a trio of sisters, forcing a flustered reply from the young man. This does not please Dalinar, who suggests that Wit reserve his mockery for those who deserve it. Wit says that’s what he was doing:

“Those who ‘deserve’ my mockery are those who can benefit from it, Brightlord Dalinar. That one is less fragile than you think him.”

Wit leaves, and the Kholin men join the king, to be briefed by the day’s huntmaster, Bashin. To bait the chasmfiend, Bashin has been pouring hog’s blood into the chasm and having chulls drag carcasses over the edge. He anticipates it will take two or three hours for the chasmfiend to take the bait. Bashin suggests that, once the beast arrives, they weaken it with arrows, and go for the legs to bring the chasmfiend down. At that moment, he notices a chull bleating in distress. It pulls away from the chasm, and Dalinar realizes that there ought to be bait at the end of its rope.

Something dark—something mind-numbingly enormous—rose out of the chasm on thick, chitinous legs. It climbed onto the plateau—not the small plateau where the hunt was supposed to take place, but the viewing plateau where Dalinar and Adolin stood. The plateau filled with attendants, unarmed guests, female scribes, and unprepared soldiers.

Quote of the Chapter:

“Your Majesty,” Dalinar found himself saying. “I…” He trailed off as quickly as he began. What could he say? That he’d been seeing visions? That—in defiance of all doctrine and common sense—he thought those visions might be from the Almighty? That he thought they should withdraw from the battlefield and go back to Alethkar?

Pure foolishness.

Dalinar is in an even more difficult position here than it seems. Not only does he have to fear that he’s going crazy due to his intense dreams, he agrees with the sentiments those dreams express. He has the clarity of vision to realize that the highprinces aren’t united, and that this war of vengeance is, if anything, driving them further apart. But not only does he risk seeming crazy if he reveals his visions, he also risks being denounced as a heretic. Attempting to tell the future is deeply stigmatized in modern Vorin culture. It is evil and heretical. There’s really very little he can do.

Commentary:

By the standards of The Way of Kings, this chapter is immense. Preceded as it is by the three brief interludes, and twice as long as Chapter 13, Chapter 12 sprawls, like a behemoth. The chapter has a lot of work to do: at the beginning of Part Two we’re introduced to Dalinar, Adolin, Renarin, Elhokar, Sadeas, Wit, and the ongoing state of Alethi politics. That’s so much to cover that I’m going to have to do it systematically, topic-by-topic.

Before we get into that, though, I should say that Michael and I have been thinking about it, and have decided that the best way to cover the letter-fragments that make up the epigraphs to Part Two is to put them all together and cover them as a whole once this part is over. As such, we won’t be discussing them week by week.

Let’s start with Dalinar, for the simple reason that I really missed Dalinar. In my opinion he forms the principled core of the novel. He’s not more honorable than Kaladin is, but he is in a position where he is constantly tested, tempted to take the less honorable but politically expeditious route, and his choice not to has meaningful political consequences. His viewpoint takes up a surprisingly small percentage of this chapter, but his most salient qualities are immediately apparent. Dalinar is a rigid, principled, and stalwart man, a thorough thinker who takes a long time to come to a decision, perhaps because when he does take action he commits himself totally. Dalinar has changed a tremendous amount since his brother’s assassination, under pressures both internal and external. His guilt has driven him to accept the Codes, which he holds to despite how outmoded and archaic they seem to his contemporaries, while his visions drive him to political action, while forcing him to question himself at every turn. Dalinar is a huge bundle of mysteries, and I look forward to tackling them in depth.

At this early point in his arc, we mostly see Dalinar through the cipher of his son, Adolin, whose points of view are interspersed with his own. I like Adolin, and think he has the potential to be a great person, but in this chapter he comes off as shallow and vulnerable to the pressures of his society. He idolizes his father, and for good reason, and does his best to uphold his father’s vision of right conduct. That being said, the man he really wants to know is not the Dalinar who is now present, but the Blackthorne, the famous warrior that all Dalinar’s contemporaries remember, scourge of many battlefields. This preference is, I believe, a warning from Sanderson to his readership. Dalinar is not going to be that kind of hero. Adolin is also the kind of person who can’t emotionally commit to a woman and makes up for this by serial womanization. That, and his Calling is dueling. I find this to be the silliest thing possible. Who decides that dueling is their purpose in life during wartime?

One thing that I realized only after rereading, and which I’d like to talk more about when it becomes relevant to the chapters at hand, is that while Dalinar can’t remember his wife, Adolin never bothers to think about his mother. I wonder what that says about him?

Adolin’s younger brother Renarin is a fascinating figure in the text. He has a “blood weakness” which prevents him from undergoing martial training. Off-hand I can’t recall whether this is supposed to be hemophilia or some kind of nervous condition, but either way it puts a terrible social disadvantage on him. Renarin cannot prove his worth in battle, cannot participate in the masculine arts at all. He seems to be a sensitive, introverted, and thoughtful man, one who could be capable of great scholarship if that was permitted to men outside the Ardentia. It’s possible he will end up an Ardent, but I somehow doubt that. I would look to him as one of the testing points of Alethi’s gendered norms, going forward. In the meantime he will continue to fuel Dalinar’s overprotective qualities, which will in turn keep him introverted and repressed.

In that way, Renarin is a mirror to Elhokar, another target of Dalinar’s over-bearing ways. Elhokar is the son of a conqueror, and as such is in one of the historically weakest possible positions of rule. Empires united through conquest either last for a very long time or fall to pieces over the course of the first successor to the conquering king. Dalinar is sworn to maintain his brother’s empire, but as such never really thinks of it as belonging to his nephew. Elhokar’s nature doesn’t help. He is understandably paranoid, which makes him seem weak. He is also very prone to suggestion when it comes to prolonging the Vengeance Pact, making him manipulable by Sadeas. There is another aspect to Elhokar’s paranoid fear of assassination beyond the death of his father, but that is not revealed until much later. For now it’s best to focus on Elhokar’s overwhelming but misguided attempts to prove himself, which are neatly laid out by Dalinar.

Dalinar’s fellow highprinces seem to have figured out how to handle Elhokar much better than he has, and none is more expert at this than Sadeas, the one time friend of Dalinar. Sadeas is framed here as a soft, preening man, an ugly man, one who surrounds himself and the king with sycophants and snivelers, who delights in pointless games and who can be trusted only to take care of himself. This is Adolin’s opinion, which he holds strongly, and it’s notable that Dalinar’s viewpoint never really touches on Sadeas in this chapter. Adolin’s impression of Sadeas is only partially correct. Sadeas does like playing politics, does enjoy the games of court, but there are other layers to him, layers of competence and purpose that tie him to Dalinar’s own purposes. Trying to dig through the layers of his identity is one of the most important narrative games of The Way of Kings. We, of course, also know Sadeas as the one who makes Kaladin run bridges, the one who runs an untidy warcamp. We have plenty of reasons not to trust him.

Then there is Wit. On my first read I wondered who Wit was initially, but was still surprised as his true identity began to be played out. I think that his silly insults act as a partial smokescreen to his larger significance.

Let’s discuss the state of Alethi politics. Elhokar has relocated the center of power from Kholinar to the Shattered Plains, and in doing so has put his entire country on a war footing. This could be a good idea, a strong way to unify the highprinces to a common purpose, but it has backfired. The “war” is really just another competition, driving the highprinces apart and perpetuating their tendencies towards rivalry rather than cooperation. Not only do the Shattered Plains prevent them from launching a unified assault, it drives them to hope for their fellows to fail while they succeed.

But is Dalinar’s solution to retreat the correct one? Adolin suggests that he push for a bolder attack instead, and that makes some sense, as well as playing into Dalinar’s legendary reputation, but can it work? If Dalinar had succeeded in convincing Elhokar to pull out of the Shattered Plains, would he have been able to hold the highprinces together? What would have united them? There is no integration of armies at all, and only a couple of centralizing powers held by the king. This is mostly irrelevant, as Dalinar’s opinions are so massively unpopular, and he is so bad at playing politics, that his subtle maneuverings could never gain traction. He needs to strongarm his message into action, which is exactly what he seems poised to do by the end of The Way of Kings.

Next week, we resolve the massive cliffhanger of the looming chasmfiend. Heh heh heh.


Carl Engle-Laird is a production assistant at Tor.com, and their resident Stormlight correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter.

116 comments
Jeremy Guebert
1. jeremyguebert
I don't know if this has been corrected in later editions, but my copy of the book has an error in it: When Dalinar is talking to Adolin about Elhokar, he refers to him as "Your nephew". This should be either "Your cousin" or "my nephew".
Peter Ahlstrom
2. PeterAhlstrom
That was changed to "your cousin" in the paperback.
Sean Dowell
3. qbe_64
One of my two favourite parts is coming up in the next chapter.

This chapter, very expository. Lets us in to the high prince inner circle. Very different perspective than what Kaladin has given us. Good set-up, for a long chapter I was never bored.
Karen Morrell
4. karenm83
I completely missed the fact that Adolin never thinks of his mother. You'd think he'd have a passing thought about her every once in a while, maybe something one of the women he's with does something that reminds him of her. Wonder what that's all about. And at this point in the book I HATED the Dalinar chapters; not because of the character, but because they toook FOREVER for me to wade through.
Niraj Merchant
5. NirajMerchant
This is from information outside the text, but if I remember correctly, Adolin did not exist in the initial drafts of this book. He was created in order to make Dalinar's internal conflict external and therefore more interesting. This could explain a few of his characteristics, such as why he doesnt think about his mother at all. In addition from a narrative point of view, I dont think we are supposed to know much about Dalinar's wife until future books, so Adolin thinking about her would ruin that. It could also be a part of the Nightwatcher's magic

One more thought I had was that it is odd that house Kholin has three shardblades (including Elhokar) while Sadeas' house of almost equal power has none
Halvor Hanssen
6. Halhan
As you say this chapter is immense and I can't help but feel that Sanderson would have been better off introducing us to these new characters in another way. However, the plot and characters are strong enough to keep it together and it works out, to a certain extent at least.
Gary Singer
7. AhoyMatey
I've found errors in the original DRM protected eBook that have been fixed in the DRM free version. For whatever reason, Amazon has never updated my original eBook to the newer version.
William Carter
8. wcarter
I personally like Adolin, but for some reason I just don't see him surviving through the end of the series. Something about him reminds me too much of a few young men from other fantasy series who didn't make it.
TBGH
9. TBGH
At this point, I think the character among the Alethi nobility I found most interesting was Elhokar. Everybody is pulling him in different directions and he is so desperate to be making decisions that are indisputably his own that he does some stupid stuff. Really a dangerous situation for the kingdom, but does set up a weak king (and seemingly decent man) who desperately wants to be strong but can't figure out how.

I hope we see some growth out of him through the series.
Sudo Nym
10. Shakerag
I find myself kind of "ehh" about Wit. I mean, I know Brandon wanted to have a series-spanning character, but I'm just not sure that he pulled it off as well as Stephen King did with Flagg.

That said, "strap" plot on the horizon!
Gary Singer
11. AhoyMatey
I do find it rather ironic that Dalinar has visions from God that he needs to unite his people while Taravangian believes he (Taravangian) is the Great Uniter. And Taravangian is sending Szeth to assassinate Dalinar as messily as possible. We’ll see what Kaladin says about that…
Jennifer B
12. JennB
I don't see why Adolin should be thinking of his mother at any of the times we are in his head. I go days without thinking of my mother and she is alive and well just a phone call or 5 hour drive away. If we are going all Freudian, I go days without thinking about my father too and he lives 15 minutes away. Adolin's mother may have died when he was young. He may not remember her well.
Flint Timmins
13. Giovanotto
Sadeas isn't that noteworthy in this chapter, but I love the uncertainty surrounding him throughout the book. Adolin is certain he's an enemy while Dalinar is certain he's an ally. And he really ends up being both. He does terrible things but he believes his actions are in the best interest of the kingdom. I'm anxious to see how he's dealt with.
TBGH
14. lyraadirana
I hated the Dalinar chapters as well (@4) at first. They took me out of the cozy familiarity I had build with Kaladin and Shallan. It wasn't until my second read that I was able to appreciate his POV and its significance. I can not wait until WoR. I can't beleive this series is going to be so long, that it's going to take so long... I'm going to be an old woman when the last book is released.
Jennifer B
15. JennB
I wonder if a blood disease could be soulcast away?
TBGH
17. hmm
@15 wasn't that question asked by a character in the book itself?
Adam S.
18. MDNY
Wit is fascinating for me. Those of us who have read other Sanderson books have seen Hoid- as he calls himself later to Kaladin- nearly everywhere. He usually is a rather small character, appearing in one or 2 scenes, and I often don't like him, though he is always crafty and knowledgeable. In this book, he was fascinating, one of the most compelling and enigmatic characters we see . I have no idea what his endgame is, but it seems that he will be more involved with the plot of the Stormlight archive than he has been in any other Cosmere work- already he's involved with 2 of the main characters, and one of the interludes concerns characters from other worlds searching for him.
Jeremy Guebert
19. jeremyguebert
@2 - Good to hear, just thought it was worth pointing out.

@ Adolin not thinking of his mother - That never occured to me, but I'm not too concerned about it. The Nightwatcher's gift or curse was to purge all memory of her from Dalinar's mind, which I wouldn't expect to have any effect on Adolin. FWIW, I suspect that was actually the gift, due to the fact that Dalinar frequently feels ashamed about it. Since he's not the one choosing what the curse is, it would make less sense to me that he would feel guilty about it. In any event, from a narrative perspective, I expect to learn a lot more about Dalinar's wife when we get to Dalinar's book, and I would understand if Brandon didn't want to give away too much beforehand.

@5 - Just goes to show that not all power is directly associated with Shards and warriors, although one might expect that in a culture as militaristic as the Alethi.

@ Wit - I absolutely loved his scenes in WoK. I'm a huge fan of witty repartee and wordplay, so I quite enjoyed his sense of humour, plus as a fan of Brandon's wider work, I found it extremely interesting to get a deeper glimpse into a character we've seen quite a bit around the Cosmere.

@Elhokar - His paranoia is well-founded, between his father being assassinated and being able to see the cryptics when no one else can, but his handling of that still bothers me a bit. Not that he's poorly written, just that his lack of trust, especially in Dalinar, is somewhat irritating.
Nadine L.
20. travyl
I like Wit (the character, as well as him being Hoid). His comments and insults are entertaining, and i like that he treats Renarin as a person who can cope with critics - we'll see it later, but Adolin tells us right away that Wit is nicer with Renarin than others, despite how Dalinar reacts to him.
By the way, I'm not sure, Renarin is set to become a Scholar. Dalinar will give him his Shardplate, and he might get a boost of self-confidence out of that.

In both my two reads (pre-tor-re-read), I never noticed, that
Elhokar sees the "cryptics" and has therefore a real reason for his paranoia. I'm already curious, if it was subtle, or if I was just inattentive.
TBGH
21. Ciella
@20, It was subtle but blatent at the same time, kinda like Shallan's Soul Blade. There's a latter chapter at a dueling competition where he mutters about "Symbol heads in the mirrors" but Dalinar just thinks he's ramping up the paranoia.
Peter Ahlstrom
22. PeterAhlstrom
NirajMerchant@5 Adolin existed, but he did not originally have any viewpoints in the first draft of Part 2.
TBGH
23. Staizer
I just had a thought that i believe was connected to the epitaph at the beginning of chapter 11 dealing with the broken one reigning that this chapter made me think of.

If: the highstorms form just to the east of the shattered plains; the location they form at is the exact location honor was splintered; the highstorms are considered a controling force in the world due to their formative and destructive nature; the highstorm is what is left of honor, or part of what is left. Then- the broken one reigns.

however!

If: odium may make decisions based on current events; is capable of influencing events and people and has done and will do so; odiums influence is bringing about his own goals (i am probably missing some assumptions here, like odium's power unbroken is greater than honor's power splintered. However i believe the point is getting across). Then- odium reigns.

now, both of these do not need to be mutually exclusive as both can be considered to reign at the same time, just with different spheres of influence.
Matt Stoumbaugh
24. LazerWulf
@10 I'm not sure I'd be comparing Hoid to Flagg just yet. I've never read too much of King (Only Shawshank and Green Mile), but I do know that Flagg was the main antagonist of The Stand, and a pretty important figure throughout The Dark Tower series.

"Wit", however, is the closest Hoid's come to being a main character, and even so, he's just a prominent side-character so far. The second closest is in Warbreaker, which, IIRC, is the only other time he's gone by the name "Hoid". All of his other appearances only amount to glorified cameos. (Seriously, with the exception of Alloy of Law, I cannot recall which characters in which novel he was, and the only reason I know about AoL, is because it was at the signing for that book when I was first made aware of his existence and told which scene to look out for. And he doesn't even have a speaking role in that.)

However, Sanderson has mentioned he has plans for a Cosmere-spanning epic, and has promised that Hoid will feature prominently.
Sean Dowell
25. qbe_64
Just had a Eureka moment while reading @20 and @21 and i thought I would share (I'd imagine this has been pointed out already by someone in the Sanderson cosmere, but it's an original thought for myself). I didn't realize that Elhokar could see the cryptics upon my first read either. However, knowing that he can see them would strongly suggest that he can soulcast. In his investigation Dalinar found that the gemstones in his shardplate were nearly spent, which is also what happens when soulcasting.

Perhaps he drained them himself in a moment of panic fueled soulcasting!

But what did he soulcast? I'm going re-read the next chapter super closely to see if there's any mention of anything unusual.

Also i'm fairly certain that shardplate prevents stormlight from being drawn through it (Szeth needs to rip of the breastplate to get to the gems in the prologue). Perhaps you can draw upon gems in your own plate?
Jonathan Purcell
26. Lomeon
It seems clear that "unite them" cannot refer to the Alethi princedoms, as Tanavast's death likely long predates their creation. My theory is that it either refers to the Knights Radient, all the nations of Roshar, or even the Heralds themselves, as this would be a necessary step in preperation for the coming of the Everstorm.

My more ambitious side wanted to think that Tanavast was refering to the other Shardholders (such as Sazed), but that's getting way too far ahead of the story.

From our point of view, it's easy to see how Dalinar, assuming the visions are addressing his personal questions, gets this completely wrong. Interpreting visions and prophecy is very tedious business, and he doesn't even notice that the voice isn't talking with him; it's delivering a message.
andrew smith
27. sillyslovene
QBE_64@25
I've wondered about that too. Will have to keep an eye out. However, in rereading this chapter, I have to wonder if the cracked gems are a redhearing: resulting from Elhokar's extreme leap of 40+ feet in this chapter. He goes directly in to fighting, and has the strap break, but he never confesses to anything about the gems, and everyone assumes that there really is someone trying to kill him because of it. But maybe, it was just the fall...

On other topics:
Renarin is an interesting character. I agree with much that has been said, especially about him perhaps being a way to explore (and break?) Alethi gender norms.
Rereading this chapter this time a few things jumped out at me about him. As for quotes that could potentially be put in there as suspicious foreshadowing, check this one out:
"He always paused before he replied to a question, as if testing the words in his mind. Some women Adolin knew said Renarin's ways made them feel as if he were dissecting them with his mind."
The connection to science (dissecting) is direct as a characterization, but could also be foreshadowing. Taken as a possible indication of a surgebinding power, this could also be very noteworthy. Interestingly, Renarin has the same reaction to Wit that the women have to him: "I find him unnerving." Many have speculated about a possible KR position for him, and this could be an indication that he will belong to the Lightweavers (the KR that somewhat corresponds to Hoid's powers)?

We've talked about the Thrill other places. Just to have the quote here:
The Thrill of contest began to rise within him. It wasn't nearly as keen as the Thrill of battle, but it was a worthy substitute.
They are definitely, as understood by Dalinar, distinct and separate feelings, but related.
Jeremy Guebert
28. jeremyguebert
@25 - Panic-induced soulcasting as an explanation for why his spheres were nearly drained is an intriguing idea. It certainly lines up with the little we know of soulcasting (iirc, the only time we are in the head of someone at the time they're doing it was when Shallan soulcasted her goblet to blood, which involved both the cryptics and Stormlight).

@26 - Dalinar's assumption that the visions are active and personal as opposed to a generic message left for whoever might happen to receive it has a lot of interesting implications. See: "Can I trust Sadeas?" "Yes." (disclaimer: Not exact quotes, but that was the general idea). Very good point about "them" not referring to the Alethi highprinces.
Robert Dickinson
29. ChocolateRob
On the subject of comparing the Thrill to how Kaladin feels when he wields a spear I'd like to throw in a bit from The Rithmatist that seems relevant -

"Never be ashamed of aptitude. However, the comment you made in there... That was not the sign of a boy who was proud of his aptitude. It was a boy who was proud of being better than another. You disappointed me greatly."

I straight away felt that this part summed up the difference between Kaladin and the Thrill. What Kaladin feels is pride in himself, his aptitude whereas the Thrill is about pride in superiority over others.
Or another way - Pride in bettering oneself over pride in bettering others.
TBGH
30. AndrewB
sillyslovene @27 said: "
The Thrill of contest began to rise within him. It wasn't nearly as keen as the Thrill of battle, but it was a worthy substitute.
They are definitely, as understood by Dalinar, distinct and separate feelings, but related."

I disagree. To me, this quote means that there is one Thrill (hence the capital "T"). For Dalinar, IMO, the Thrill is not so intoxicating for a contest as it is for a battle.

Count me as a fan of the concept of a Wit. Hoid, the Wit, I take it is one of the more sarcastic and biting Wit's that the characters have probably seen in generations.

I happen to agree with Dalinar that the Codes should be adhered to while on duty (and also while in a war-time situation). I have not served in the militarty. The only thing I can relate it to is casual dress in the work place. Years ago (from what I understand), there was no concept of casual dress. Professionals (at least in the legal profession - of which I am a member).

Nowadays, however, many firms allow their employees to dress in business casual (unless meeting with a client or going to court). In some places, jeans are acceptable (sometime only on Fridays; other places at any day when not needing to dress formal).

In my opinion, jeans are just too informal for any professional work setting. As such, I sympathize with Dalinar in this issue.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
TBGH
31. SCM of 2814
On reading, Renarin's the only one that manages to come out well against Hoid, when the Wit asked him to 'Say something (that doesn't make you sound stupid)'. during the first King's Feast. I hope Renarin ends up being the MacGyver of Roshar. Every place needs a MacGyver guy :)

I thought the blood weakness might be anemia, since you can't get a 'sudden' hemophilia attack out of nowhere.

On Shardplate: I've always thought they were portrayed as strangely fragile, kinda like armor made from diamond or glass, since we get battle scenes were Dalinar and Adolin have thier armor cracked all over. I wonder why the Shardbearers don't wear more conventional and possibly two-inch thick plate armor OVER their shardplate to keep them from shattering under normal conditions, that is, in battle against a not-Shardbearer. They've got super strength, after all, and the shardblades seem more vulnerable to blunt impacts than baldes, since even fights between shardbearers, it's the force of the impact of the Shardblade that damages the Plate, not the edge, as show b the fact that the Plates crack outward, but are never actually CUT. Hopefully Renarin is the one who comes up with this bright idea in future.

I have high hopes for this series, and REALLY hope that at some distant point around books 8-10, we get to see Roshar magic against other Cosmere Magics. 'Grump's' Aon Dor might not work so VERY far from Elantris and there's no more Atium for Thinkeer to burn, but still, the hope is there...

Hmm... Soulcasting vs Surgebinding vs Aon Dor vs Allomancy vs Forgery (gotta love Forgery!) vs Talents vs Breath vs Breaking vs Rithmancy... ah, getting a nerd-on just thinking about it...
Jonathan Purcell
32. Lomeon
SCM of 2814 @31

Possible tentative hinted spoiler: I don't have the source, but I believe that when asked who would win in a fight between magic users from his various worlds, Brandon insinuated that the asker would enjoy the epilogue of the second book. I have been holding my breath ever since.
William Carter
33. wcarter
@31 SCM of 2814

I thought of Plate that way too then I looked into it and now I'm not so sure. Yes it cracks, but it actually takes a hell of a lot of punishment before then, and it protects the wearer better than steel armor could.
Steel armored knights could be fought in historical times by an unarmored man holding a broad sword upside down and attacking with the pommel and crossguard.

Yes the blade couldn't penetrate the armor, but the concussive force of the crossguard would still knock out or even kill a knight with a direct blow to the head.

Shardplate seems to work more like modern ceramic body armor used by the military. It stops incoming rounds by cracking and spreading the force. Steel plates would just get punctured by high velocity bullets and actually do more damage to a solider.

Arrows are basically useless against a Plate wearer and so are regular swords. It takes repeated heavy blows--one of which would kill an ordinary man to take out even a piece of Plate. During that time your fighting a man or woman who can move faster than you, jump 40 feet or more in the air with little to no risk of injury and is several times stronger than you.

@31 and 32

This is completely off the main topic but I don't care. It's got me geeking out too!

I'm leaving Shardplate/plates and Nightblood for simplicity's sake and just focusing on innate magic.

I'm guessing a Breaths magic user from Warbreaker wouldn't get very far in those brackets unless they had a truly ridicious amount of breaths so they could make an entire army of awakened to fight for them.
Aon Dor has the most raw versatility but it takes a while to draw all those complicated ruins and I doubt a Coinshot would just stand there and let an Elantrian finish the spell for a giant fireball or something.
A mistborn is almost invincible until he or she run out of metals, then they're toast against anyone with enough staying power to survive their initial onslaught.
Feurechemy is probably even more useful than Allomancy in some ways, but we don't know quite as much about it's various relationships with the metals.
Soulcasting seems like a combination of the faults and virtues of both Aon Dor and Breaths and you have to actually touch someone to off them.
I think the windrunner surgebinders (i.e. the ones we mostly know about) would probably match up well against an allomancer and it would depend on which ran out first: metals or stormlight.
My guess: Grandpa Smedry for the win! Think about it--he arrives late to the battle and finds everyone else already torn up and beat down then tricks whoever's left standing into completely exhausting themselves trying in vain to hit him.

Too bad the Alcatraz series doesn't take place in the Cosmere
Rob Campbell
34. rccampbe
Long time lurker here. I've read the re-read and comments for WoT, NotW, and WMF, but always after the fact. I'm excited to participate this time and build some anticipation for WoR. I'll start with just a few comments.

I recognized Hoid's name, but otherwise knew nothing of the Cosmere until this re-read. Wow. That's ambitious. And of all the authors I've read, I'd most trust BS to do it because of his work ethic re: getting books done. He's a machine, which is great for us.

PeterAhlstrom@22 Thanks for contributing and giving us a perspective on the writing/publishing process.

As for the chapter, I noticed for the first time that there was mention of Dalinar's dad also 'having visions' or possibly just being crazy. Important? Or irrelevant? I could see it either way.
Jonathan Purcell
35. Lomeon
@33 wcarter

Wild speculation gone amuck! Combine this with Hoid's homeworld magic, plus the Lerasium bead, Moon Scepter, and Breaths he likely stole, plus whatever he's learned from his time on Roshar. Multiply that by the Ars Arcanum author's obsession with Hemalurgy's "great interest to the Cosmere."
TBGH
36. Horatio S
@19 (et al)

So, I've always thought that the boon was that Dalinar no longer thinks of his wife, but that the curse was that no-one else remembers her either.

Since it wouldn't be a very good boon/curse if he could just ask Adolin to tell him about his mother and retrieve the memories that way.

The flip side of that is that it could just be that Adolin's mother was gone when he was very young. I don't quite remember if it mentioned WHEN she disappeared/died as Dalinar doesn't remember....
Carl Engle-Laird
37. CarlEngle-Laird
So, I've just remembered that there is a moment when one of Dalinar's sons, I believe Adolin, mentions his dead wife. Dalinar hears it as incoherent whispering.
Adam S.
38. MDNY
Other people clearly remember Dalinar's wife, including his sons, they just don't talk much about her, presumably because she died when they were young and it's been a long time. I always suspected that his boon was to ask for the pain of losing her to go away, and in response the nightwatcher removed ALL his memories of her, including his ability to even hear her name. Or something like that. It seems that both his boon and his curse were related to his wife- I think someone said in the book that the curse can be different from the boon, but it can be related as well.
James Briggs
39. traveler
33 @wcarter Thanks, I like the comarisonof the different powers.
off topic think about a mistborn like vin that was able to breath stormlight and be in shardplate.WOW
37@CarlEngle-Laird I think that dalinar was talking to navani asking what she rembered about his wifeand when navani said the name all that dalinar heard was a shush sound.
Next; Dalinar is going to give Renarin his shardplate in the end, and that he will learn to breath stormlight just like Kaladin so he will heal himself eventualy
plus I still think that the honor blade that is in the last chapter will end up as Kaladin's honor blade because of 2 things, the hearld in the end dies and the blade stays behind , and the description of the blade reminds me of Matt Cauthon's ashendari spear. Just guesses but their are great at keeping my mind flying see you all monday
Nadine L.
40. travyl
Carl, it's not really wispering, and in the book it's Navani saying her name (chapter 64):
... then Shshshsh came along.”
As always, when the name of his wife was spoken, it came to him as the sound of softly rushing air, then slipped from his mind immediately. He could not hear, or remember, the name.
I think it is natural, that Adolin, the soldier would think more about his father (over whom he is concerned for going insane). If not mentioned (I don't remeber), I think it's implied that the sons remeber their mother.
Jennifer B
41. JennB
Briggs2 @ 39
Taln doesn't die, he just collapses from exhaustion. If he died, his blade would have disappeared. He was the only Herald to die in the last Desolation. His return means a new Desolation has begun.
Maiane Bakroeva
42. Isilel
For some reason, I thought that Dalinar's boon was Renarin's survival when he was mortally ill and should have died. Not sure what prompted me to see it that way, though.

I also assumed that the Herald survived, BTW. It would be much too lopsided without at least one...
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
@many re: Dalinar’s wife – Dalinar claims to know perfectly well the nature of both his boon and his curse, and he clearly associates the loss of his wife’s memory as the curse, not the boon. He can’t remember her name, her face, or anything about her except that she existed. When someone else speaks her name, it is replace by a sound like “softly rushing air;” when he meets it in any other context, his mind simply cannot hold on to it. We haven’t been told yet what the boon was – but it’s not forgetting his wife. (Seriously – why would he want to do that? It’s not like she was a harridan; Navani recalls her being very nice, if not terribly clever, and that everyone loved her.)

For the record, she died about ten years ago; Adolin would have been thirteen years old, and Renarin about nine. It’s not particularly odd that they wouldn’t think or talk about her very often, especially given the context. She’s been gone for the greater part of even Adolin’s consciously-remembered years, and for all of their adult lives. There is one point at which Renarin mentions that “Mother told me that story when I was a child;” that’s a fairly natural thing and Dalinar apparently can hear him say it, since it wasn’t her actual name. My mother died about six years ago; I think of her, but not necessarily every day, and I don't actually mention her all that often unless it's natural to the subject of conversation. My father is still living, but the same is true of him. I don't know why fictional characters should be different, unless the author has some reason for lampshading their memories.

Also from the For What It's Worth Department, I assume (until proven different) that the trip to the Nightwatcher and the loss of his wife will be a significant part of Dalinar's flashback sequence, much as I assume that the death of her father will be significant to Shallan's, much as the death of his brother was significant to Kaladin's.

briggs2 @39 – In the Prelude, Kalak recognizes the seven swords driven into the ground, and specifically thinks that “If their masters had died, the Blades would have vanished.” The fact that Taln’s sword does not vanish in the Epilogue should convince us that he is still alive even when he collapses.
TBGH
44. M Knight Shallama
Actually, his wife's name IS Shshshsh.

WHATTA TWEEST!
Jeremy Guebert
45. jeremyguebert
@33 - Right on point about Shardplate - it's not going to crack unless there's serious damage put onto it. We just happen to be involved with Shardbears who are regularly getting beat up on.

On the Cosmere cagematch - I don't have much to add, except to say that since Aon Dor is tied to a particular location, I think they'd have quite a bit of trouble unless they had the homefield advantage. A Mistborn versus a Windrunner would be quite the matchup, and as @35 alludes to, Hoid seems to have bits and pieces of various world's magics with him, which could make for some deadly combinations.

@34 - Welcome to the party! From what I remember, it seemed to me more like Dalinar's father was suffering from PTSD than he was seeing similar visions to Dalinar's. I personally don't think that it's going to be relevant, but I've been wrong about these things before.

@ Dalinar's wife - I think that MDNY @38 has the best explanation I've seen to date. I could easily believe that a grief-stricken man who had just lost his wife to want to rid himself of the pain, and the complete lack of memory of her could be the corresponding curse.

@ 39 - The blade remaining is actually evidence for Taln being alive, not for him being dead. It's explicitly explained in the Prelude, as Wetlander has pointed out, but there is a fundamental difference between how Shardblades and Honorblades (the ones used by the Heralds) react when their master dies. It would certainly be awesome to see Kaladin use an ashanderi-like "Shardspear" (for lack of a better term), but I'm fairly sure he won't be using Taln's, as Taln is still alive.
Jared Wood
46. Shardlet
@24 Hoid also appears using the name 'Hoid' in Mistborn (an informant Kelsier uses) and in Elantris (A beggar who works with Sarene).
TBGH
47. AndrewB
Wetlandernw @43 re death of loved one. If you are correct about the scope of future flasback scenes for Shallan and Dalinar, I wonder if the flashback scenes in all books in the series will address that theme. I think that would be a great idea.

FWIIW, I if a book focuses on the past of a Herald, then IMO it would be interesting if the reason (s)he choose to take the Oath Pact was due to the loss of a loved one.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
(Aka the musespren)
(Sent from a smartphone; please excuse typos)
Antoni Ivanov
48. tonka
Since you all should be experts at these books (err, a book, I suppose), I think you can help me with a question.

At some later point, I recall Dalinar said that he won shards (blade and plate) during the first years of the fighting and gave it to Elhokar (not to Adolin). But I think Elhokar should have inheritted his father's shards. That means that the Kholin house must have 4 shards, but I am seeing three. It's possible that Elhokar gave it to Adolin, or simply Sanderson made an error and meant that Dalinar gave them to Adolin.

It's just something that has been bugging me since I read the book. And I've been waiting until the reread reach the Dalinar section so I can ask.
Sean Dowell
49. qbe_64
@48 - I had thought the same thing, that Dalinar won a set of shards for the king specifically. But when I reread that chapter (it's coming up) it says he gave the plate and blade to the king to be gifted to a worthy warrior. So I think Elhokar is wearing his father's armor (which I thought had mysteriously disappeared), and we don't know who Elhokar gave the new set to.
James Briggs
50. traveler
HI all, ALRIGHT. Time to disagree. this is why i think that Talnel is gone. second paragraph from the end. Sanderson He slumped forward, hittingthe rocky ground,Shardblade clattering down behind him. It did not vanish.The guard inched forward.One proded him with the but of his spear. The man who named himself a hearld did not move.

If he had just passed out the blade would have turned to mist and vanished. So he is dead.

This is still just my opinion but we will see. and kaladin still might not get it because the shattered plains are far away.

New subject, Before when there were KR there were 10 orders. During one of Dalinars visions on PG.730 he is seeing the KR run at a wall there looked to be some 200 Shardbearersout there. soon more fell from the sky then there wer 300 Raidiants that all glowed blue.

I think that there must be atleast 2000 to 3000 sets of plate and blades. Are they all lost or are they destroyed, because there has to be somthing for Dalinar and Kaladin to work with to rebuild the KR? Just a thought , where are they.
James Briggs
51. traveler
I will conceed that Talenel may have passed out but that would mean that he willed his blade to stay, so where does that leave us . Guess we will wait to find out. I hope that Brandon won't leave us hanging , because that is what he is good at is making you wonder.
William Carter
52. wcarter
@briggs2

Go back and read the prelude again. It explicitly says that the 10 blades wielded by the heralds only dissapear if they die, not the other way around like other blades. In fact the ring of swords is how Kalak was able to figure out that Talenel was the only one to die.

"Kalak frowned as he stepped up to the base of the spire. Seven magnificent swords stood proudly there, driven point first into the ground. Each was a master work of art, flowing in design, inscribed with glyphs and patterns. He recognized each one. If their masters had died, their blades would have vanished."

Talenel's blade still being there while he is on the ground is all the proof you need to know that he is still very much alive. Whether he willed the blade to stay or not is irrelevant.

*edit to add italics to the quote
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
tonka @48 & qbe_64 @49 – re: Kholin-owned shards… We know Dalinar has had his set for many years, right? And Adolin’s are inherited from his mother’s side of the family; he’s held them for about seven years. Elhokar has a set, but I don’t think it’s Gavilar’s original set, because the Blades are described very differently; I assumed that Elhokar had a set already when Gavilar died, but we really don’t know where Elhokar’s came from. We also don’t know for sure what was done with Gavilar’s set, assuming that the Blade descriptions were intentionally different. We also know that Dalinar won a set during the first year of the War of Reckoning, which he handed over to Elhokar to give to whoever he deemed worthy. And yet, the text is quite clear that the Kholin army only has two Shardbearers: Dalinar and Adolin. (Obviously, Elhokar isn’t considered part of the Kholin army.) It rather begs the questions: what happened to Gavilar’s set, and what did Elhokar do with the set Dalinar won? Best guess is that both sets belong to the Crown, and are bestowed (non-permanently) on warriors thought to be worthy.

One more interesting note: according to the Coppermind wiki, Dalinar “has won many Shardblades and Shardplates in battle.” I can’t find what they’re using as reference, so for now I consider that “unconfirmed” – but if it’s correct, what happened to all of them? Dalinar was hoping to win another set so that he could give them to Renarin, and it’s pretty clear he’s only won the one set, in this particular war, but what did he do with the other ones?

(ETA: In Chapter 65 it mentions Dalinar as "the man who had scattered them, the one who had dueled their leaders and slain their best Shardbearers." It doesn't seem that he actually kept their Shards, though - or perhaps, since he won them in Gavilar's name, they became Crown property.)

briggs2 @50 – If Talenel were a Knight Radiant, or a normal Shardbearer, you would be correct; his Blade would have vanished when he dropped it. But the Honorblades, the ones belonging to the Heralds, behave differently. While we don’t know what happens when a Herald simply drops his Blade or is knocked unconscious, we do know what happens when he dies:
... Oddly, only one of the others was waiting for him. Jezrien. Had the other eight all died? It was possible. The battle had been so furious this time, one of the worst. The enemy was growing increasingly tenacious.

But no. Kalak frowned as he stepped up to the base of the spire. Seven magnificent swords stood proudly here, driven point-first into the stone ground. Each was a masterly work of art, flowing in design, inscribed with glyphs and patterns. He recognized each one. If their masters had died, the Blades would have vanished.

These Blades were weapons of power beyond even Shardblades. These were unique. Precious...
So… Taln can’t be dead, or his Blade would have vanished. And the Honorblades behave... differently than the Shardblades of the Knights Radiant. We just don't know what all the differences are.

(ETA: I see wcarter beat me to it... *sigh* That's what I get for spending so much time on the House Kholin question, and then not checking for new comments before I post!)


As for the KR sets of Plate and Blade… We’re only assuming that all of them had a full set, but I see no reason to doubt that assumption. And I’d noted that, too – Dalinar is only seeing two orders (Stonewards and Windrunners) in the Feverstone Keep vision. If he is seeing all of the KR from both orders, and assuming that all the orders were the same size on average, that’s a minimum of 1500 sets of Shards that ought to be floating around out there. And there are less than 100 known sets on Roshar. Really makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Nadine L.
54. travyl
After reading the quote about the Herald's blades I have now some (rhetorical) questions:
How are the Herald's swords protected from "theft"?
Will Taln be able to simply summon his blade once he regains consciousness, even if it is taken up by somebody in the meantime?
And if so, can the connection be brocken by "driving the blade into stone" or are the Heralds still connected to their Shardblades and if they "will" it, they can summon the blades they left 4500 years ago?
James Briggs
55. traveler
I get to see Brandon at the provo book signing tonight, any questions you want me to ask?
William Carter
56. wcarter
@54 Travyl

There seems to be some sort of psychic bond between all shard blades and their owners since you can mentally store them in and summon them from Shadesmar.

My guess is the 10 "honor blades" are/were bonded to their respective heralds and if someone else picks up his blade, Talenel could just re-summon it (making it disappear into mist in the from thief's hands and reappear in his own).

As for the other blades, they were purposely abandoned by the heralds--probably as a deliberate part of their plan to avoid going back to the fire and brimstone hell they wait in between desloations.

My guess is they had to get rid of the blades to avoid that fate, otherwise why would they? So it's entirely possible they are still waiting in that stone or have new masters by now.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
briggs2 - Ask travyl's questions @54!! I'd dearly love to hear the answers... :)

Another curiosity that was raised some time ago: are the men talking with Elhokar at the feast (in the Prelude) the same as the ones later seen searching for Hoid?

A personal curiosity: Are Shallan's Memories related to a Surge, or is that just a peculiar talent of hers?

And a totally leading question, which will probably get a RAFO if it's anywhere close... Are the Surges related to Cultivation in some way, as the Heralds (or the Essences) are to Honor?
James Briggs
58. traveler
Im printing this to take with,see everyone tue.
James Briggs
59. traveler
Im going to ask why brandon doesnt chim in here once in a while to settle points that he feels he can clarify.
Granted i think that he is the king of indirect answers. So we will see.
56@wcarter That is why I think that Talenel droped the blade at the end and completed the breaking of the oath pact.
Wetlandernw and I will have to agree to disagree untill brandon writes about it or answers thi question. This is my question tonight!
Cameron Tucker
60. Loialson
@15 JennB

As far as a "blood disease" goes, and if I'm remembering my anatomy and physiology right, soulcasting the blood and replacing it (as Jasnah did to Shallan) would not get rid of a blood disease usually.

Meaning that blood cells are produced in the bones. Even if you soulcast away the diseased blood and replaced it with new clean blood, you bones would create new blood of of the "corrupted blood cell template", if you will.

It's possible that you could soulcast the blood away periodically, and there is potential that it might help Renarin, but I doubt that it would be a sustainable or valid solution to his disease, unfortunately.

Unless Soulcasters could find a way to fix the way his cells generate in the bone(resoulcast all of his bones), so they could pump out good blood cells, I don't think that soulcasting will be the way to go, at least not with just removing and replacing the blood.
TBGH
61. Jasuni
@25 chances are that all 10 of the orders of the knights radiant use stromlight, so the probability of Elhokar being able to soulcast is low. Far more likely that he will be capable of something else.
@55 Not related to WoK but where does Hoid appear in the Rithmatist?(or does he simply not appear for once?)
TBGH
62. connerjade
No Hoid for the rithmatist, but that is a YA novel, which is not a cosmere universe.
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
Jasuni @61 - All ten orders use stormlight, yes; but only two of them can Soulcast. The hint that Elhokar might be a soulcaster is based on his ability to see the cryptics, which seem connected to Shallan's soulcasting.
TBGH
64. Nobojo
Can I add my really crazy theory? It is mentioned in one of Dalinar's visions that Odium might be persuaded to choose a champion (as a means of defeating him possibly)- indicating a final duel/battle- Adolin's specialty/calling is dueling and the first sentence in Adolin's POV chapter refers to slaying a god and that the gods should fear the Alethi nobility. That would be some crazy foreshadowing but fun!
James Briggs
65. traveler
Im back the signing was great. brandon read from WOR and from the rithmatist,and from the first chapter of the next Alloy of Law. Im shure you will find it interesting.
brandon would only answer 2 fo my questions and one of them was truely a brandon answer.
54@travyl The oath pact is not broken, and the hearld at the end of the last chapter may or may not be dead , he also may or may not realy be Talanel. Kind of an answer , so I am with wetlandernw on this now and retract my opinion about talanel being dead.
57@Wetlandernw Shallon's memories and talent , she has a natural talent but her abilities are also supernaturaly enhanced during the first book.
61@Jusuni Brandon said that Hoid showes up in all of the books except for any that he writes on earth.So hoid is not in the Librarians or the Rithmatist books.
Alice Arneson
66. Wetlandernw
Brandon and his "may or may not be!" *sigh* That's probably about what we should have expected. :)

Re: Shallan... well, it doesn't eliminate my "Lightweavers use the Surges of Transformation and Memory/Vision/Light" theory... but it doesn't exactly confirm anything, either. Wait and see, again.

Thanks for asking the questions!! It's always so much fun to have someone go to a signing and come back with answers. Even the non-answers are interesting in their own way; usually, if he won't answer directly, it means there's something there worth being interested in, right?
William Carter
67. wcarter
Frankly I'm surprised briggs was able to get that much out of him.

One little tidbit (and I won't say which) throws the reading session he did from Words of Radiance at JordanCon into a different light.

Alas, Brandon has let the awesome power of the RAFO corrupt him. Seriously, the evil gleam that pops up in his eyes every time he dances around a clever question these days kinda scares me.
Jennifer B
68. JennB
From brigg2 @ 65
Shallon's memories and talent , she has a natural talent but her abilities are also supernaturaly enhanced during the first book.

This implies that she did not have this enhancement at the beginning of the book. She snaps Memories and draws them with incredible accuracy before we ever meet her, so what is the supernatural enhancement? Does anybody have any ideas?
Alice Arneson
69. Wetlandernw
wcarter - Positively fiendish sometimes, isn't it? :D

JennB - I hadn't read it that way. Interesting possibilities...
Jeremy Guebert
70. jeremyguebert
Thanks for the report, briggs! Always nice to hear what Brandon has to say, and I'm glad you had a good time at the signing.
Nadine L.
71. travyl
Thanks for the report briggs2.
@59: ... why brandon doesnt chim in here once in a while.
PeterAhlstrom comments somewhat regularly, that's almost-first-hand.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
Speaking only for myself, I'd far rather have Brandon writing instead of wasting time on here. ;) And of course, as travyl notes, with Peter Ahlstrom keeping an eye on us, we're in pretty good shape. Neither one of them is likely to clarify any of our big questions, though - they'll just make us wait and read the next book.
TBGH
73. Confutus
I had a chance to meet Brandon at Phoenix Comicon. I mentioned this reread, which apparently he does follow. But I'm afraid his responses to most of the commentary and speculation here would run to evil chuckling, which is not too terribly revealing. "If they only knew! " is what he actually said.
James Briggs
74. traveler
I got the impresion that Shallon's talent has allways ben enhanced. That was the way it soundeed to me. He also was spacific about the oath pact. But that gleam in his eye was there the whole time,SANDERSOOOON!!
James Briggs
75. traveler
Somthing else is that I thought that Shallon was going to be the back story in the WOR but it is going to be Dalinar and that is what he is finishing up is Dalinar's back story.the rest of it is written.
Carl Engle-Laird
76. CarlEngle-Laird
Briggs2, are you sure about that? He's changed Words of Radiance to be about Dalinar instead of Shallan? This is BIG NEWS!
Jennifer B
77. JennB
Could he change that this late in the game? The first draft is at 83%.
James Briggs
78. traveler
He read about dalinar at the signing andI thought that Is what he said. Now I will have tio go back and watch the video to confirm this is what he ment at the sighning
James Briggs
79. traveler
Im going tto post the question to him on his websight to see if he will confirm this
William Carter
80. wcarter
@76 and 78

I'm fairly certain Words of Radiance is still about Shallan. I wasn't at the signing, but I was at Jordancon back in April.

He made it sound like Book two was orignally going to be about Dalinar and had the then working title of Highprice of War and it was later changed to Shallan's.

And it wasn't a Shallan POV he read at Jcon either, it was actually...know what? I'm not going to finish that sentence.

I would however like to point out that there are dozens of POV's in Way of Kings and it's still "Kaladin's book." I would be confused if there weren't multiple Dalinar POV's in Words of Radiance.
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
briggs2 - By all means seek confirmation, but here's my guess as to what he meant. He often writes an entire character arc, then another, then another. IIRC, he wrote Shallan's flashback sequence as one arc, and the first he completed for WoR. For the sake of argument, I'd suggest he next wrote her "real-time" WoR arc, then Kaladin's, then... whatever other characters are major players, with the interludes whenever he felt like working on them. Now he's finishing up with Dalinar's arc for WoR, and when he has it done, he can do the work of weaving the chapters together to come up with his first full draft. As to the flashback subject, here are his words from the post announcing the book title:
The Way of Kings was Kaladin’s book. He will have a lot to do in Book Two, of course, and you can expect some great sequences within his viewpoint. However, the flashback sequences in Book Two belong to Shallan. In my notes for the series, I had planned for Shallan’s book to be named after the tome she is given at the end of the first novel: The Book of Endless Pages. On Roshar, that is a book of knowledge that can never be completed—because people should always be learning, studying, and adding what they’ve learned to it.
I think he was pretty clear that this is Shallan's book; in the same post, he commented that book 3 is expected to be Szeth's, and book 5 Dalinar's.
James Briggs
82. traveler
Ok my brother recorded the reading, and it is Shallon's backstory, he was just finishing Dalinars POV sorry but there it.
Adam S.
84. MDNY
Thank god. Shallan is much more interesting to me, and more puzzling. Dalinar's cool, but he's not nearly as interesting. If I found out that we aren't going to find out what her backstory is for another book I would be quite perturbed.
James Briggs
85. traveler
Me 2. When the reading is posted you all may find it interesting. Dalinar is having a new dream where ther are chasing a rouge spren through the Purelake. The sprenswims like a fish, but dives down to rock fishers in the lake and comes out of the water as a thunderclast. he stopped reaning just as they were preparing to fight the beast.
Jennifer B
86. JennB
This darn book can't come out soon enough. He sure does like to dangle little tidbits in front of us to lead us on. It sound like his signings are fun. I sure wish he would come to Bend. Ahhh, the problems with living in a smallish city. Maybe next time he's in Portland I will be able to make it.
James Briggs
87. traveler
86@JennB Take a couple of days and come camp out with us when he is signing in Provo UTfor the WOR
Alice Arneson
88. Wetlandernw
Jenn, he's almost sure to be at Powell's for the WoR tour. It's a bit closer than Provo... :) And yes, they can be a lot of fun, because you not only get to listen to what Brandon has to say, and get your books signed, and ask a direct question or two - you also get a chance to just hang out and schmooze with a lot of other people who like the same books you like.

(If you're anything like me, schmoozing with a lot of strangers all evening doesn't exactly sound like fun - but trust me, when they're Sanderson fans, it really is fun. You just remind yourself that you'll probably never see any of these people again, so you don't have any image or reputation to maintain, and then you take a deep breath and start talking to people. :) Since most of them are feeling the same way, they're usually glad when someone else starts the conversation.)
James Briggs
89. traveler
88@wetlandernw Your right they are fun and your serounded by people that like and want to talk about books and other thing that we all share in common. We get 1 or 2 dozen people that show up early and play games and shoot the breaze. And its like being here . I dont own a computer so this is the first blog that i have been on but its almost as fun. :)
James Briggs
90. traveler
CarlEngle-Laird has the transcript from the Rithmatist now and has some of the spoilers so go check it out.
Carl Engle-Laird
91. CarlEngle-Laird
While I highly recommend checking that article out, it sounds like he read from a different section at the signing you attended.
James Briggs
92. traveler
you are right. But my brother has posted a link that is 9 minuets long showing the reading of the latest part that brandon revealed xrayjay

is what it will be under when it comes up.Im guiding him to this posting
Jason Briggs
93. Xrayjay72
Here is a link of Brandon Sanderson reading from the first chapter of the second Storm light book. He said the he had only written this part 2 hours prior to the reading, so less than 24 hours from this post. Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/_STVYVMvx7k
Jason Briggs
94. Xrayjay72
You will need to copy and paste this link into your web browser for it to work, or you can go to you tube and type on key word Brandon Sanderson. Look for the video uploaded by xrayjay72
Antoni Ivanov
95. tonka
But where is my post? I posted yesterday bunch of stuff here, I swear!

PS: How in the name of all that is holy have I posted in the wrong forum? Could someone have moved my post?

---

@53. Wetlandernw
Hm, yes maybe. Sounds possible. Though I was hoping for more definite answer,I've missed other things before. Well we will find out soon enough. If there are any shards belonging to the King, they would be sorely needed by the Kholin family considering what Dalinar and co. indent to do


@59. briggs2
Brandon did write about Taln. You will have to trust me, because I don't have time to dig for quotes but in one of his interview he said that Taln is going to have a book centered around him, the way the first was around Kaladin. Which cannot be if he is death. In the very least he will be POV character , I think, in the next book.

@63. Wetlandernw
I think both Shallan and Elhokar see the cryptics but Jasnah cannot see them. We know that each order have two talents - clearly Jasnah and Shallan share soulcasting and Elhokar and SHallan share the other one. It is entirely possible that Elhokar is also a soulcaster as well and simply both of them belong to the same order while Jasnah is in a adjacent. But I think it makes more narative sense if Elhokar is of the other adjacent one to Shallan's.
Alice Arneson
96. Wetlandernw
tonka - LOL! Okay, this post makes total sense here... and I was really struggling to see how it fit on the other thread. Now I get it...

It would be very interesting to ask Brandon if the cryptics are connected to Soulcasting. IMO, Jasnah is able to see the cryptics; she was too careful to neither confirm nor deny it when Shallan asked her, leaving Shallan to assume that she could not... which of course makes me believe that the assumption is wrong. I'm sort of expecting that we'll learn the answers to both questions in WoR.

FWIW, the fact that someone will have "their own book" (i.e. series of flashbacks) doesn't necessarily mean that they will have survived until that time. However, it's a bit difficult to have Taln as a POV character (in anything other than flashbacks) if he's dead. Which is another reason to think he's still alive.
James Briggs
98. traveler
95@tonka glad to hear it I thought Brandon was a little evasive about talanel, just to spark discusions.
William Carter
99. wcarter
This may seem weird but I'm more concerned with Elhokar's relationship with the cryptics than I am Jasnah's.

He just seems very disturbed, and he's one of the hardest characters to really get a handle on in Way of Kings. He's not evil, he's not really incompetent (or great either for that matter) what he is is scared out of his mind because some horrifying alien creatures are constantly hanging around him in the corners of his vision.

And from what little we see of them directly, they remind me a lot of the *Finns from WoT--not necessarily "evil" per se, but definitely dangerious and hard to from a human's reference point.

If that happened to me I'd be a gibbering wreck. At best.

On an unrelated note: setting someone up for the Hunny...
Adam S.
100. MDNY
I agree that Elhokar is not in a good place. Part of it is due to seeing the spren and freaking, but partly it's because he is still trapped in that Alethi mindset of every man for himself, war is the highest calling, yadda yadda. He's in no position to become a radiant until he accepts Dalinar's imposed worldview and abandons his current value system. He may be in the same order as Shallan, or as Jasnah, or both, but he can never really join them until he finds some semblance of acting on others' behalf, not his own.
Whooo! Thanks wcarter
Alice Arneson
101. Wetlandernw
wcarter @99 - Actually, it doesn't seem weird at all. The question of whether Jasnah can see the cryptics is mostly an interesting note, and probably related to the question of whether the cryptics are connected to the Transformation Surge. Elhokar, on the other hand... he just doesn't seem as stable as Jasnah. She's a bit of a wild card, but I'm pretty sure she's on a good track. Elhokar seems a bit unbalanced, and I'm pretty sure seeing the cryptics isn't exactly helpful in that regard. On the other hand, if he learns that the cryptics are linked to a Surge, and that he's on his way to becoming a KR, that could change things up a lot. He might even find out that he's cracking the gemstones in his own armor by inadvertently (or deliberately???) Soulcasting... which should have interesting implications and might help us find out why the KR could use Stormlight while wearing their Shardplate. That knowledge could reduce the paranoia, too.

You know what really worries me about Elhokar? That he might become a Surgebinder but not a Knight Radiant.

Complete rabbit trail, here... I was just looking back at old notes, and realized that at Brandon's Alloy of Law signing in Seattle, he indicated that the first five books' flashback sequences would belong to (in order): Kaladin, Shallan, Szeth, Navani, and Dalinar. Huh. Not that he can't change his mind, of course, but... it's interesting.
TBGH
102. AndrewB
Am I the only one who had the theme to Jaws sounding in my head when I read briggs2 @85 post about the swimming spren?

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Adam S.
103. MDNY
AndrewB - you were the only one, not any more. Damn you, when I get the book you'll have ruined that scene for me. I'll start laughing at a really inappropriate time in the book, apparently, thanks to you.
James Briggs
104. traveler
101@wetlandernw Did'nt I read somewhere that thKR could hold their stormlight indefanatly? And thatKR could fly in their armor ,so mabe Elhokar will learn to use his equipment more fully. I know that some of the surges are blocked by plate but do we know that their is surges that can not be used while in plate?
AndrewB LOL it did'nt cross my mind till you put it there. GEE THANKS
Also thanks for the order of the next 5 backstories although I now wonder who the other 5 will be.
Alice Arneson
105. Wetlandernw
briggs2 @104 - Re: KRs holding their Stormlight indefinitely: I think so, yes - or at least, someone in the book (Szeth?) thinks so. I suspect (but it's only suspicion) that the reason Szeth says that Plate interferes with his Lashings is that he's not a full KR and isn't quite all he thinks he is... as in, the Plate worn by a real Knight Radiant wouldn't interfere with using his Surges.
Jeremy Guebert
106. jeremyguebert
Wetlander and briggs @104&105 - I believe what you're thinking of is Szeth's thought in the prologue:

"Stormlight could be held for only a short time, a few minutes at most. It leaked away, the human body too porous a container. He had heard that the Voidbringers could hold it in perfectly. Sanderson, Brandon (2010-08-31). The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) (p. 24). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition."

So, unless you're going to claim that the Voidbringers are an order of KR, then I don't believe that the KR can hold stormlight indefinitely. It's also entirely possible that you're referring to another passage and my comment is irrelevant - I certainly don't have the entire book memorized.

It's worth noting that Kaladin can hold Stormlight for longer than Szeth, however. I don't have a reference to the interview, but someone asked Brandon about the difference, and he said something to the effect of "You noticed that, did you?"
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
jeremy @106 - I can't speak for briggs, but you're correct in my case; I was thinking of Szeth's thought about the Voidbringers and substituting Radiants for it. There might be something else, but I didn't take the time to look it up.

On the tangent... we do know that the Knights Radiant could use the Surges at the same time they were wearing their Plate, so something has to be different than Szeth's perception. He may think of himself as a Windrunner, but he's not. And we still don't know whose notions of the Voidbringers are correct...
Jeremy Guebert
108. jeremyguebert
That's true, we don't know yet what exactly the Voidbringers are. I believe that I've mentioned on here before that I'm inclined to take Jasnah (and Shallan)'s conclusion at face value, but we really don't know for sure. It will certainly be interesting to find out - I'm really looking forward to the next book!

Speculation: perhaps a set of plate is somehow grown/developed/acquired as part of the process in becoming a Knight Radiant, and the plate itself is attuned in some way to its bearer, making it easier to use Surges associated with their order and harder to use other Surges. It's quite vague and purely speculative, but it's an interesting idea.
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
Funny, I've been musing along the lines of your speculation too. It would help explain Syl's attitude toward Kaladin touching the shards in the flashback; it's not "his" in the right way - not grown/developed/acquired the way the Knights Radiant are supposed to do it. I kind of like the idea of some mechanism that limits an individual to only two Surges; I wonder if the original Surgebinders could work with all ten.
Birgit
110. birgit
The Parshendi dislike it when their corpses are touched and they can grow armor. Maybe the original Shardplate is more like Parshendi armor than a manufactured object. Wearing someone else's armor would be like wearing a corpse and that is why Syl finds it disgusting.
TBGH
111. PHubbard
@Wetlandernw 101: on the subject of flashback characters - I thought it had been confirmed that book 4 would be Eshonai, who first appears as a POV in WoR. If anyone has listened to that BS reading, they will know who I mean.

@briggs2 104: As for the last 5, I've been wondering that too. I wonder if Teft or Sigzil will have flashback sequences - I've noticed while rereading that they both have unexplored but strongly hinted at pasts. Sigzil would be especially interesting, given his connection with Hoid. I don't expect to see an Adolin flashback, as his history is so tied up with Dalinar's, but I'm sure he and Renarin will be very important players for the future.
TBGH
112. PHubbard
Huh? I thought I had whited that name out.

Sorry for the accidental spoiler, if it is one.

Any way of changing a post once it's done?
TBGH
113. Zizoz
"It would help explain Syl's attitude toward Kaladin touching the shards in the flashback" -- which flashback is this?
Bridget McGovern
115. BMcGovern
PHubbard @112: The (maybe?) spoiler should be whited out now, but if there's still a problem, let us know. Also, you can edit your comments by signing in, if you're a registered user.
James Briggs
116. traveler
93. Xrayjay72
http://youtu.be/_STVYVMvx7k
Has any one watched this link? It is the reading of
Dalinar's vision in the WOR that Brandon did at the Provo signing .It talks about the spren and how it turned into a thunderclast. So the void bringers are not only the Parshendi but also evil spren. I wonder how , and cant wait to read the next book . IM having major wait and see issues.
Just a thought but it would be cool if dalinar or Kaladin or Hoid ended up with seth's oathstone
Alice Arneson
117. Wetlandernw
PHubbard @111 – Well, like I said, that was from the Alloy of Law signing in November 2011; he may have changed his mind since then. I have a vague recollection of hearing something like that, but I can’t find any documentation for it. I found another one from April 2012 where he was still saying “...probably Navani is number four. That's the one I haven't nailed down yet. It's either Navani or a character I can’t tell you yet.” I’m pretty sure Eshonai will get some POV time, but Brandon hasn’t said yet (that I can find) that she will necessarily get a flashback book. (Unless, just possibly, she’s one of the Heralds in disguise…? He had implied that Taln and one other Herald would get flashbacks.) I know this kind of thing changes as the series grows, so the things he was expecting to do just after book 1 came out might change pretty drastically by the time he’s got to book 4.

briggs2 @116 – I watched it, although with somewhat divided attention so I probably missed some details. Still… we haven’t spent much time on the idea that some spren could actually be evil, have we? (Or at least… not-good?) I wonder if the spren are tied to the Shards – some to Honor, some to Cultivation, and some to Odium. That would be an interesting twist. I’d subconsciously assumed that spren were mostly neutral, with the occasional oddball "good" one like Syl’s type that are associated with Honor (and presumably Heralds and Knights Radiant). I have to tilt my head a little to consider the idea that some of the spren could bring their (not inconsiderable) strength in on the side of Odium.

And yes, it would be seriously cool for Dalinar or Kaladin or Hoid to end up with Szeth’s oathstone. The twists and turns are fascinating.
TBGH
118. lonechicken
At this point in the reread, I'm reminded of how crossed my eyes got with all the names of important people and places sounding the same. Everyone's name seemingly are 3 syllables and end in "in" or "ar" along with a couple of places.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment