Thu
May 23 2013 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Interludes I-1, I-2, and I-3

The Way of Kings Reread Brandon Sanderson Stormlight ArchiveWelcome back to the Way of Kings reread! With the end of part one we get to see the true evolution of a hero from the lowest point in his life. Kaladin shall rise from the ashes of who he was to become something greater. He won’t just be a polarizing warrior, but a great leader, ideal, and the resurgence of honor itself on Roshar. But before that Sanderson gives us the interludes, which are a sort of mini-tour to parts of Roshar we haven’t seen thus far. With the first set of interludes we meet a most unusual fisherman, visit with two of Shallan’s brothers, and see what Szeth has been up to since he killed a king.

The interludes are some of the most unusual chapters in The Way of Kings. At least, they feel more unusual since for the most part they are focused on things going on in the periphery of the story we’ve been introduced to so far. These sections enable Brandon to keep to a limited number of points of view during most of the book, but let the readers see what else is going on in this big wide world in locales that are likely to become very important. The places we mainly visit with Kharbranth and the Shattered Plains are a very small—however important—sampling of Roshar. These sections also serve to introduce character points of view that will most likely be pivotal later on. Yes, I realize Szeth is a point of view in the interludes and he will be getting “his” book in the Stormlight Archive at some point—some point that I hope is soon, as he and the Shin are one of the biggest mysteries in the series outside of the whole Voidbrings and Origin of Storms elements—at least this early on. When we look back at the series a decade or two from now, when the series is well on its way to completion, the Shin angle might just seem trifling in reflection, but for now they and Szeth have a lot to answer for.

Unfortunately, these chapters have no epigraphs, which I’ll miss as they are fun to pick apart, but the quotes are also missing from Kaladin’s flashback chapters so that’s something we’ll have to get more used to.

Now, who’s up for a fishing trip to Purelake?

 

Interlude I-1: Ishikk

Setting: Purelake

Point of View: Ishikk

What Happens:

After not having too much luck fishing on Purelake, Ishikk returns to the town of Fu Abra and Maib’s house to meet with some foreigners, as well as for a bite to eat. Ishikk bandies words with Maib, a woman who is after him for marriage and has been for a number of years. They both play the game of being in one another’s debt, with Maib giving him food, but Ishikk keeps the scales on his side by giving Maib a rare fish known to alleviate pains in the joints which she suffers from.

Ishikk sits down at a table with a group of three people who he continually refers to as “foreigners.” Ishikk has pet names for each of them. There is Grump, Blunt, and the Thinker. Ishikk finds each of them strange, as they don’t seem to take precisely after any of the Rosharian races he is familiar with, especially around the eyes.

The foreigners have asked him to visit his contacts around Purelake to see if a certain man has been seen anywhere in the area. The man answers to the name Hoid with “white hair, a clever tongue, and arrowlike face,” but he is also known to dye his hair and wear disguises. Ishikk tells them he searched all around Purelake, visiting the towns of Fu Ralis, Fu Namir, Fu Albast, and Fu Moorin, but found no trace of the man they describe. The three foreigners begin to argue amongst themselves after questioning whether he did his job properly and soon depart, with Grump taking up the rear. He is heard to say “‘Where are you Roamer? What a fool’s quest this is.’ Then he added in his own tongue ‘Alavanta kamaloo kayana.’”

Quote of the Chapter:

Oh, he’d heard stories about that sort of life. Nu Rulik send he never had to go to such a terrible place.

Besides, it was probably cold there. Ishikk pitied those who had to live in the cold. Why didn’t they just come to Purelake?

Nu Ralik send that they don’t, he thought, walking up to Maib’s place. If everyone knew how nice Purelake was, surely they’d all want to live here, and there wouldn’t be a place to walk without stumbling over some foreigner!

Foreshadowing much? So war will come to Purelake, or Ishikk will at least go to war. In either case it should make for an interesting and welcome storyline. Ishikk is definitely a fun character to read even if he doesn’t seem very deep. I can’t imagine the Purelakers rising up to fight though, at least as far as Ishikk’s personality lets on. Purelakers seem more apt to take things in stride and wait for the storm to blow over before interceding in some sort of conflict.

Could Ishikk even be a Radiant in waiting for a school not even discussed yet? Of the orders discussed (Lightweavers, Windrunners, Dustbringers, and Stonewards) none seem right for Ishikk. All of the orders though do seem to be related to an element of some kind and we’ve yet to hear about one related to water. Maybe Ishikk could be part of them. A Waterdancer perhaps? Or he could just be a funny fisherman that we’ll never hear from again.

Commentary:

This is a pure Cosmere chapter. I’m not going to go too deeply into the Cosmere aspects, so things will be left fairly vague for the purposes of this reread as I don’t want to ruin the experience of reading Brandon’s other books. Honestly, this chapter is such a Cosmere chapter I think it is part of Sanderson’s grand plan at interweaving an even greater yet subtle story early on that will likely not pay dividends for a long time in coming. Those in the comments can have all the fun they want though picking things apart and naming names.

The broad strokes are that most of the worlds—often called Shardworlds—found in Sanderson’s adult novels are connected and have a grand Theory of Everything, especially in regards to the connections found between the magic and development of life on these worlds including those Roshar, Scadrial (Mistborn), Sel (Elantris), and Nalthis (Warbreaker.) Hoid appears in all of these books in some form. There is/was a God of the Cosmere universe called Adonalsium, who was shattered into pieces, and each world and its people came about under the influence of one or more of these Shards. Each world has its own forces of creation and destruction, with some being more apparent than others, depending on the current state of the world in question.

Each of Ishikk’s “foreigners” is from a different world in the Cosmere. They are world travelers somewhat like Hoid, though we do not know exactly how they accomplish this. The language used at the end of the chapter seems to suggest that Grump is from Sel and Thinker’s scar marks him as being a specific character from Scardial that readers of the Mistborn series might remember. Blunt I’m not sure about at all. Hoid is boldly named and even given the nickname “Roamer,” which seems to nail him pretty well. Why they are looking for him I haven’t a clue, but it probably has to do with trouble, especially since Hoid is involved. The travelers don’t seem to have bad ends in mind for Hoid though so perhaps it is so they can stop something from happening or an incoming battle.

The Way of Kings Reread Brandon Sanderson Interludes I-1 I-2 I-3

The chapter header image contains the masked man. Only a few chapters show this icon, and this is its first appearance. I keep going back and forth about who it could mean, but I think I’ve settled on it being Hoid, for now. Mostly, I’ve come to this assumption because Hoid appears or is referenced in these chapters in some fashion. And being the masked man seems fitting for someone so enigmatic.

Purelake is a very wide yet not very deep lake where most of the inhabitants are either farmers or fishermen. It seems strange that people would live their lives in water almost entirely—as weird as it seems to Purelakers that most people don’t want to be in the water most of their lives. The fishing metaphors are pretty heavy handed, especially between Ishikk and Maib. They’re playing catch and release with each other though Maib is less focused on the release part, but it appears Ishikk is letting his guard down.

Highstorms leave a trace energy that people bottle up in gemstones, but the land itself and the people also benefit for the continual barraging. Could the curative properties of the fish of Purelake be due to the highstorms? If so what else might be awaiting us in the water and the world at large that has been changed?

It is interesting to see that there are two gods worshipped in Purelake showcasing yet another example of duality. Nu Ralik epitomizing good and the other god Vun Makak is all about spite. Could this be another version of the Odium versus Honor myth altered through the ages? Or even an example of the Herald’s mythology changed?

 

Interlude I-2: Nan Balat

Setting: Jah Keved, Estate of the Davar Family

Point of View: Nan Balat

What Happens:

On the estate of the Davar family Shallan’s now oldest brother Nan Balat is killing creatures. He is picking at a small crab, tearing their legs off. Torturing the animals provides him a soothing satisfaction though he says he has no desires to hurt people. Balat goes looking for his axehound, Scrat, who is off torturing his own creature. As Balat lets Scrat play he worries about being a coward by letting Shallan be put in charge of ensuring the family’s importance continued through theft.

Balat laments that the Davars are a broken family, with Asha Jushu driven to vice and Tet Wikim to despair along with their oldest brother (the former Nan) Helaran now dead. Tet Wikim runs up requesting his immediate attention to a important problem.

Quote of the Chapter:

Wikim comes running up telling Balat that “We have a problem.”

“How large a problem?”

“Pretty big, I’d say. Come on.”

Argh. This is what we call an agonizing cliffhanger with just enough—barely a sentence—to whet the appetite for a meal a long time coming. In the vernacular of James T. Kirk:

The Way of Kings Reread Interludes I-1 I-2 I-3

During the whole course of The Way of Kings the “problem” is not addressed again. My guess would be there is a visitor to the halls of the Davar family. Maybe someone connected with the Ghostblood,s or someone who is just demanding to see Brightlord Davar, who is dead, but still believed to be alive by everyone outside of the family. It is an odd thing to add such a cliffhanger this early on, so my hope is Words of Radiance ventures back to Jah Keved for a few more rounds with the Davar brothers.

Commentary:

So how screwed in the head is Balat? Pretty out of whack, but he seems to believe he masks it well. People always underestimate those with disabilities, but let’s not forget the supremely badass Glotka from Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself. In the end I think Balat will surprise us in many ways. At least I hope so if he ends up becoming a focus character. What kind of sadistic bastard will Balat turn into as the series progresses? A pretty sorry one is my bet.

Nan seems to mean, senior brother or it could intimate they are next in line for being called Birghtlord ____. We haven’t found this kind of status signifier elsewhere so it may merely be a Jah Keved affectation, or something that runs across all of the Vorin kingdoms. Tet and Ashu seem to also be other status signifiers for family hierarchy.

The first line tells us precisely what sort of thoughts we should attach to Balat as a character, “Nan Balat liked killing things.” I take this to mean we should not trust this man. There is something not so right with him. He may be crippled, as he says, but above all else he is dangerous. However, he says the whole family is broken and shattered with each left a cripple in their own way. Some baear their scars more easily than the others, with Balat having a cane as a life partner after nearly losing his leg.

This chapter really just raises questions about the Davars and doesn’t clear a thing up. What is the problem at the end? What caused the break in Balat’s leg that left him having to walk with a cane for the rest of his life at such a young age? Most likely it has to do with his father, and may have been the reason Shallan got involved, which led to the elder Davar’s death.

Balat claims only he and Shallan were left unscathed from their father’s temper as the other brothers all developed problems, but he clearly doesn’t understand how his treatment of animals is a small part of him trying to take control over others—something that his father Brightlord Davar always strove to do from the little we’ve heard of him. We get mention of the other two brothers. The oldest Davar brother Helaran is presumed dead, but I wouldn’t count him out too quickly. His death left Balat as the senior son. A very brief mention of the last brother Asha Jushu seems to indicate he’s a bit of a thief or gambler.

Although the chapter is a bit scant it does gives us a different type of land than we’ve encountered before along with some more explanations of the life infesting the world. Scrat, Balat’s pet axehound, is off gleefully torturing an animal just like his master and Balat nearly goes as far as to take the kill away from his hound to pull off the legs himself. An axehound sounds a bit like a giant roach, but at the level of a dog. Now the songling is an interesting create. Songlings are shelled creatures, though the name brings more to mind a bird, but this is Roshar. Songlings beat out noises on their shells/carapaces and seem to do so in tune with others of their kind almost as if they are playing a song as part of an orchestra. It seems to show a certain level of intelligence by even the smaller creatures of the world.

The land of the Davars is rife with vines, which take over most areas, even growing over trees. While most of the world of Roshar is continually battered by large storms, there is still great variation in the regions, just like we would find on Earth. I don’t know why I find that so surprising now that I look back, but I always felt most of the world was more desert and rocky-like than it actually is. The cover had a lot to do with this. Roshar is supposed to be this arid, craggy place, but there is plenty of life to be found everywhere we turn and many ways of living.

 

Interlude I-3: The Glory of Ignorance

Setting: Ironsway, Bavland

Point of View: Szeth

What Happens:

More than five years since Szeth killed king Gavilar he finds himself a slave to a vagabond named Took. For Took, Szeth is mostly a conversation piece that will enable him to meet people in bars he visits and hopefully be given drinks to keep telling his fabricated stories. Almost like a sideshow. While talking with a local miner Took orders Szeth to cut himself, which he does without protest. When ordered to cut his own throat he says “As Truthless, it is the nature of my suffering to be forbidden the taste of death by my own hand.” The miner is taken aback by how Szeth sounds like a proper Lighteyes with refined speech. Szeth believes that his mannerisms and way of speech are why his many masters over the last five years have not kept him, but it could also be because they suspected he was capable of a lot more and many were uncomfortable not only with having someone learned in their low-presence, but also the possibilities beyond cleaning and heavy lifting.

As Took gets up to leave the miners ask him to stay and tell another story with the offer of a beer. Szeth remembers after the assassination how the Parshendi abandoned him and his oathstone, which he then had to recover and wait along the roadside for someone to come for him to give it to. Szeth mentions he has had a series of owners from the last few years that number in the dozens. Finally no one offers Took more to drink so he leaves with Szeth following. Outside Took stumbles to the ground. As Szeth goes to pick him up he realizes Took is bleed copiously and has been stabbed through the neck.

Men come out of the darkness and rob Took of what meager money he had on the. One comments that Szeth could be valuable as a Shin slave. Another robber notices Szeth’s oathstone and Szeth must now explain that whoever has his oathstone he will obey completely outside of killing himself. Inwardly, Szeth also acknowledges that he is also forbidden to hand over his Shardblade.

Quote of the Chapter:

Perhaps they could sense the truth, that he was capable of so much more than they dared use him for. It was one thing to have a slave of your own. But when that slave talked like a lighteyes and know more than you did? It made them uncomfortable.

Szeth tried to play the part, tried to make himself act less refined. It was very difficult for him. Perhaps impossible. What would these men say if they knew that the man who emptied their chamber pot was a Shardbearer and a Surgebinder? A Windrunner, like the Radiants of old? The moment he summoned his Blade, his eyes would turn from green to pale—almost glowing—sapphire, a unique effect of his particular weapon.

Outside of reaffirming his own abilities are those of a Surgebinder, Szeth also links what he does to the Windrunner order of the Knights Radiant. But does that not necessarily mean he is a Windrunner, especially since he isn’t living up to the honor part? Not likely. Also, could he be a Windrunner if the Radiants are not currently in existence? Can you really be a member of a group if there is no group?

Szeth‘s Shardblade seems to be very special indeed. His eyes change color and glow when he wields it, which isn’t a normal attribute of the Shardblades we see the Alethi wield. The legend is that once taken up by a darkeyes a Shardblade always changes the eye color permanently to that of a lighteyes, which also passes down to the children of the Shardbearer as well. It seems Szeth’s sword is something greater, perhaps the sword of a Knight Radiant? Maybe even one once possessed by a Herald themselves? Doubtful, but you never know. Maybe Szeth taking control of this particular blade is what led to him becoming Truthless.

Commentary:

The fated-to-be-enthralled-by-men Szeth makes his inglorious return. And he is at his most pitiable yet he has refrained from killing for the last five years. We learn that Szeth is now 35 years old and has been a Truthless for 7 years, which means he was a Truthless for about two years when he killed Gavilar. Given the skill level Szeth has with not only his Shardblade, but with his Lashing it stands to reason that he practiced the skills for many more years than just two, so he learned much of what knows before he became Truthless. It begs the question though of how many Shin know how to do what he does? Is it a small sect/school in Shinovar, or is it a larger presence long engrained in Shin society? Do they have many other Shardblades? Do only Truthless have them? The Shin continue to vex me.

The phrasing Szeth uses when asked to cut his throat is very telling. He says “As Truthless, it is the nature of my suffering...” So at least a partial point of being Truthless is that you suffer, so it would seem to mean that being a Truthless in the Shin society is a punishment. Punishment for what?

Szeth’s oathstone also comes up and becomes pivotal. Szeth had to find his oathstone after the assassination as the Parshendi left it when they escaped, which means there is a connection that Szeth can sense between him and the oathstone. Unless it was blind luck, which doesn’t seem likely. He is drawn to it, so what kind of power does it have? What does it contain? A spren perhaps? A magical connection caused by Old Magic perhaps? Some sort of curse placed on him by the Shin?

Szeth reveals he has had nearly two dozen masters since he killed Gavilar. Yet none of them ever got to the point where they would ask him to kill. Each instead decides to pass a very valuable slave to someone else. Szeth, though weary, welcomes this as his penance for the actions he has partaken in. Most of his past masters seemed to be common people, but by the end of the chapter Szeth gets drawn into a darker crowd.

Took mentions a story about the Nightwatcher who stole a sphere that glowed black at night, which seemed eerily similar to the sphere Gavilar gave to Szeth as he lay dying. Szeth left the sphere somewhere in Jah Keved to keep it from his current and future masters so that they wouldn’t take it from him. The Nightwatcher is an interesting element that crops up in quite a few places and seems to be connected to what Rosharans call “the Old Magic.” So this seems like our first lead on what the sphere could be related to: Old Magic. There is also a passage from The Way of Kings (the book Dalinar later reads) that discusses the Nightwatcher and, given Gavilar’s link to The Way of Kings, it stands to reason the sphere works in somehow as well. Did Gavilar visit the Nightwatcher as well? Was this his gift from her? If so then what was his curse? From what little there is to gather about the Nightwatcher it seems that if she grants you a boon you also get a curse. So she is another example of the world of Roshar having a balance.

Next week we begin Part Two, which introduces Dalinar and Adolin.


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

78 comments
zas452
1. zas452
Blunt is a character from a book that is as yet, unpublished. It has been established in various Q&A's that he is not from Yolen, the world of Dragonsteel and The Liar of Partinel.

He could possibly be from Taldain, where White Sand is set, or from some of his other works, namely The Aether of Night or The Silence Divine
zas452
2. Seerow
"The oldest Davar brother Helaran is presumed dead, but I wouldn’t count him out too quickly."

I was under the impression that Helaran was the Shardbearer that Kaladin killed. Am I misremembering?
zas452
4. Rybal
Seerow, while not explicitly stated as such in the book, that is the prevailing theory.
zas452
3. PHubbard
Some brief thoughts on the interludes (haven't got time to comment on everything - there's so much in here!):

Ishikk:
I loved this chapter when I first read it. Not sure why exactly, just something about Ishikk’s laid back attitude and off-hand thoughts (“If they were going to give him made-up names, he’d give them fake names back”) that tickled my sense of humour. I also completely missed all the wider references (I hadn’t discovered the cosmere at this stage) and cameos in here. Re-reading it, it makes me chuckle to notice some of the things I missed first time; the use of “friend” and “understand” by ‘grump’ being the best one (Elantris readers should 'kolo'!). I also like the comment by blunt that “there might be something in these fishes, you know” – makes me think of a lot of re-readers and 17th sharders…seasoned travellers of the cosmere reading magic and plot into every little detail and superstition!

Nan Balat:
I’d forgotten quite how disturbing the inside of his mind is. I mean, he fights off depression my torturing living creatures! Seriously messed up. I think this is another of the many things in this world that should make us go “something is very, very wrong here” – the death-sayings are another, as well as possibly the tainted shards and various other things. But this one in particular looks to me like the work of Odium on the world – an affliction that is relieved by slowly killing other things seems exactly the kind of twisted thing we would expect from a force whose intent is ‘deep hatred’. I also wonder if this condition is hereditry, and is what led their Dad to be so unpleasant.

Szeth:
Sigh…poor Szeth. His chapters are always a bit tragic. Not that much seems to happen in this interlude, but it's the first time we find out about his Oathstone, the fact that he can't kill himself (I think?) and various other aspects of his character and past that I mostly just take for granted.
zas452
5. PHubbard
A couple of other things:

Ishikk = Ishi #HeraldCameo, anyone?

@3, 4 There was some discussion of this a few weeks back. My view was that although this has been theorized by some, the chances of Shallan's family having 2 blades & 1 plate and still being heavily in debt seem pretty remote, so it's doubtful.
Jennifer B
6. JennB
I think that the news Balat receives is that the advisor that knows how to use the soulcaster has mysteriously died in his sleep. We don't know this, but it is likely that he was killed by the Ghostbloods. The Ghostbloods now know all of Balat and Shallan's secrets, if they did not already.

Also, it seems to me that there is some sort of magic going on as Balat tortures the crab. It seems more than just something in his head.
zas452
7. Vauric
@2 Seerow - I remember reading that theory as well. In one of the last few Kaladin flashback chapters, we see Amaram asking who the Shardbearer was, as no one recognized him. This lead a lot of people to thinking that the Shardbearer wasn't Alethi, and that the timelime may have meant it was Shallan's older brother.

As for the emergency at the end of Interlude 2, I always assumed that this was the arrival of the members of the Ghostbloods, coming to ask for the fabrial back. We here later on that Shallan talks with her brothers vial spanreed about them, so I assumed this was their arrival.
Jennifer B
8. JennB
Maybe Balat's enjoyment of torturing animals is a sign that Odium has infected the Davar household. The soothing feeling seems related to the Thrill to me. Both Shallon's father and Balat seem affected. Maybe Shallon always escaped her father's temper not because she was a girl, but because she had some other protection.
Sean Dowell
9. qbe_64
@5 - I'm assuming the heralds still know that they're heralds and that a POV chapter would reveal that fact. But you never know.

re: Shallan brother=Kaladin shardbearer.
Conservation of characters would be the strongest argument to support this, but I'm guessing its misdirection from Sanderson. It seems a little early in the game to be conserving characters. I'm guessing Kaladin's foe was part of the Targarvian plot to destroy the leaders, but Amaran doesn't seem important enough to be killed. Maybe it was just some sadistic Kavedian kid who just inherited his plate and sword and decided to take it for a test drive?
zas452
10. Rybal
The older brother being a shardbearer could have nothing to do with the Blade that Shallan has. It is entirely possible that the set he would have been using (if he WAS the one from Kaladin's flashback) was on loan to him from the Ghostbloods. If that IS the case, it is yet another reason they would want a return on their investment.
Alice Arneson
11. Wetlandernw
Not much to say about the Ishikk Interlude; it’s world-building and Cosmere-building, and makes me wonder what Hoid is up to, and why these guys are trying to find him.

Nan Balat… is creepy, in a rather pathetic way. That boy is broken somehow. The similarities between him and the axehound Scrak are a bit bizarre, too. (I had to note the creativity in having the “songlings” turn out to be arachnoid critters. Lots of bizarre going on up in here…) And once again, I’m reminded of Lewis’s space trilogy – Nan Balat is so horribly like Weston in Perelandra that I instinctively associate him with all that entails. On the other hand, he’s Shallan’s brother, and they obviously care for one another very much, so that’s on the good side. I wonder if the injury to his leg was the same night as their father was killed, or if it was earlier. I suspect the former, though I have a vague notion I should know for sure.

FWIW, I think we do get the news Tet Wikim brings, Chapter 29 via spanreed. It’s either the news that Luesh is dead, or the news that some men have come looking for him and wanting the Soulcaster back.

More insights into Szeth… He certainly has a definite concept of honor, but it sure is twisted from any concept I understand. (Reminds me a little of some arguments we had over Berelain in the WoT reread – is it good that she never breaks an oath, or stupid that she swears trivial oaths and then expects other people to just go along with whatever it takes to fulfill them, regardless of any promises or oaths of their own?) This boy is also broken somehow, IMO!

And it reminds me once again… what does it take to make someone Truthless? Is it some innate ability manifested? Is it a choice made? Is it a specific crime committed? Are any two of those the same thing? I really want to know, and I don’t want to wait for the last book to find out! I suppose we’ll learn in Szeth’s book; it seems like a logical endpoint for his flashback sequence.

His Blade makes his eyes go sapphire, which fits with the Windrunner coloring, as his Surgebindings fit with the Windrunner skills – but Brandon has been very clear elsewhere that, whatever Szeth might think about it, he is not a Knight Radiant. I wonder if the color is associated with the Blade itself, or… what.

Oh, yes. What happened seven years ago? There are three significant events associated with that time frame: Szeth becomes Truthless, Gavilar discovers the Parshendi, and the first of the “death rattles” is observed. Was it the beginning of the Last Desolation? Was it the first of the warning signs? I can’t think it’s coincidental.

And on to the comments...
Nadine L.
12. travyl
On re-reading I really liked the Interludes.
I doubt that Ishikk could be a Herald he seems to be too "naive / not well traveled - although he has seen a lot of places around the Purelake ,)
I really liked the explanation when we learn, why he "thinks of" one god, and "names" the other, really interessting.
Of course I missed the Grump / Thinker personalities, still don't recognize them actually.

Re Nan Balat:
I like how he sees how his brothers were broken, but thinks that he came away "unscathed", while he tortures animals. - This is true, it is harder to see or accept your own faults.

Re Szeth:
I'm not sure about your timeline conclusion Michael. Mistborn-Vin got pretty good in the use of her magic ability in less than a year, so Szeth doesn't necessarily have to have the years-long training (i.e. before becoming Truthless).
Nadine L.
13. travyl
Edit: double post, sorry.
Jennifer B
14. JennB
Relating Shallan's father's violent rages and Balat's calm sadism may be a mistake though. I still think the soothing feelings Balat gets (which, if I remember correctly, also physically alleviates his pain) is related to the Thrill.
zas452
15. Confutus
The illustration on p.580 is supposed to be from Shallan's sketchbook and has several views of an axehound, so there's no need to speculate on what one looks like. The model might have even been Scrak. I'd say crustacean rather than arachnoid...there's an evident relation to the chulls.
zas452
16. Confutus
The herald Icon in I-1, "Mask" appears every time Hoid does, or in this case, where he is talked about. I-2 has one we haven't seen before, "Kak" (probably for Kalak), who is traditionally associated with resolute/builder. I-3 is "Betab", who is traditionally associtated with wise/careful, and we haven't seen this icon before, either. Someone, in a different chapter, exlaims "Sweet wisdom of Bettar!" which can tentatively be taken as this Herald's name.
Jamie Watkins
17. Treesinger
Reading about Ishikk I couldn't help wonder about standing in water constantly. There has to be some health consequences. I know that just hanging out in the pool for a couple of hours makes my feet look pretty funky.
Jennifer B
18. JennB
I believe that we can assume that Purelakers are a separate race with physical attributes that allow them to stand in water for extended amounts of time.
zas452
19. AndrewB
Do we ever learn how a shardblade is passed form one person to another (be it father to son) or traded/sold like Dalinar did? What is to stop Dalinar from accessing the Shardblade in the future (other than his honor -- he does not seem the type of person who wwould renege on a deal).?

I am probably in the minority. But I am not a fan of the use of the greater Cosmere throughout all of Brandon's books. For a number of reasons, I have not read any of Brandon's other stand series that are part of the Cosmere. I had once recall Brandon saying that if you did not read all of his books, it would not imact on your understanding of the world of a particular book (here Roshar). The more I read this re-read however, the more I begin to doubt that. Oh well.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
20. Wetlandernw
Seerow @2 and others – There is speculation that the Veden Shardbearer Kaladin killed was Helaran, but it’s not confirmed. Brandon did say that there was a “mysterious death” in WoK that he implied ought to engender at least as much debate as “Who killed Asmodean?” – it almost has to be either Lord Davar, Helaran, or Luesh. Since we find out who killed Lord Davar, it seems the others are more likely, and Helaran is clearly the more interesting option – especially since we don’t actually know for sure that he’s dead. The exact quote is, “In honor of Asmodean, I'll say that there is a mysterious death in The Way of Kings that could use some resources devoted to it. I did not put it in there simply because of Asmodean, but as I thought about it after writing it, I said, "Oh wow, I wonder if people will pick up on that." So there you go.”

Vauric @7 – In Chapter 51, the stormwarden specifically states that the dead Shardbearer was Veden, that he personally didn’t recognize him and would investigate. That’s the only specific link to Helaran that we have. Some people think the timing proves the point; others see a potentially wide enough gap in the time frame that it doesn’t prove anything. I guess if Helaran shows up again, we’ll know it wasn’t him; if he doesn’t… we might find out, or we might not. And… I see you beat me to it on the Ch. 29 spanreed conversation.

JennB @6 & 8 – I’ve been wondering, too, if there’s actually a magical connection between torturing the critters and feeling better. It might just be psychosomatic, or it might be creepily real. Eww.

Confutus @15 – Yeah, most of the critters are more like crustaceans than anything; part of the reason I said “arachnoid” instead of “arachnid” – just because it has eight appendages. :) Lots of things fall in to that category – exoskeletal critters with eight legs – and Brandon describes them in terms of crustaceans, but since they don’t seem to live in/near water to survive, I tend to think of them more on the line of non-violent scorpions. Arachnoids.

Confutus @16 – For private use, I simply called the I-1 icon Hoid, though Mask is probably better. I-3 is Shallash (Creative/Honest), though, not Betab.
Flint Timmins
21. Giovanotto
I really like the interludes in WoK. We get only quick glances but the amount of worlbuilding those glimpses provide is incredible.

I didn't realize until preparing for today's post that the Purelake theology is a variation on Odium/Honor. What is interesting is that Ishikk states that there are certain holy places where you can escape Odium's power and speak of the "true" god.

I can't wait to learn more about the 17th Shard. Who does the recruiting? How do they decide who to recruit? What are they hoping to prevent by catching Hoid?
zas452
22. Confutus
@ 20 Wetlander.

That's right, it is Shalash. My mistake.

However, I'll stick to my guns on the crustaceans. I live in an area where scorpions are reasonably familiar. (My sister, when she was stung by a scorpion at about age 5, claimed that a crab had bitten her...there is some resemblance on the front end, but the tail end is very different). Most earth varieties of crustaean have 4 pairs of legs, 5 if you count claws or pincers, but it varies. Most earth variety crustaceans are also aquatic, but the woodlice or sowbugs are a fully terrestrial order. Shallan's chulls seemed to have 3 pairs of legs plus the pincers, and her axehound had three pairs, no pincers. It's the exoskeleton that I noticed, but that's common to all the arthropods, (including insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and other assorted beasties.)
Kimani Rogers
23. KiManiak
Thanks Michael,

The interludes are an interesting approach, no doubt about that. The first time reading through WoK, I know that I was somewhat confused about the purpose of the Interludes. Since then, I have done a reread or two that just focused on the Interludes, they were so fun and well-presented.

I love the Cosmere stuff, and truly appreciate that Brandon provides us with the “broader world” view (or in this case, the broader universe view) during the Interludes. Plus, Szeth is a very intriguing character and I enjoyed getting bits and pieces of his story sprinkled in, while the main tale focuses on Kaladin, Shallan and (very soon) Dalinar.

Re the Purelake: I have to doublecheck when I get home as I don’t have the book with me, but isn’t there a reference to the Purelake draining or receding during Highstorms? I look forward to finding out more about this particular area; I’d be shocked if this isn’t a focus/arc of the main storyline in the next few books.

Re: Davar Household: I do look forward to seeing more about Jah Keved and the Davars in Words of Radiance. I didn’t really see the “cliffhanger” as such; I figured it was something that is addressed several chapters from now. Or (depending on the timeline), these events could be addressing something that will happen at the end of the book (Shallan failing to get the fabrial, or Shallan choosing to be Jasnah’s ward for real).

Re Szeth: I like how Brandon slowly gives us more information about Szeth’s abilities and limitations. Szeth is knowledgeable about the Knights Radiant and their abilities. Szeth also drops that little tidbit about his eyes changing color when he summons his Blade.

And although we still don’t know a lot about what being Truthless entails (What’s up with the oathstone? Why must he blindly follow whatever the Oathstone holder says? Is there a link between the Shardblade, the Oathstone and being Truthless?), we do find out a bit more about what Szeth can and can’t do (or, what is he is allowed and not allowed to do, would be more accurate). And the horror that is his life. We’re left with the dread of Szeth’s Oathstone falling in to the hand of thieves and murderers; another turn for the worse.

Re the Nightwatcher: I am definitely intrigued, but we know virtually nothing about her. She blesses and curses, but why? How? Is she Cultivation, or a former Herald or a servant of Odium? So many questions…
Kimani Rogers
24. KiManiak
As for the comments...

Seerow@2 – Re: Helaran being the Shardbearer Kaladin killed – That is a popular theory, but it’s still just speculation as of now. Questions about Helaran, his father and the Ghostbloods are still unanswered, as of the end of WoK. (I see other commenters have addressed this as well)

PHubbard@5 – re: Ishikk – I didn’t get that vibe. I could see him being named after a Herald; and how being named after certain Heralds may even be popular in parts of Roshar. But his comments about the gods, the Purelake, the land, etc lead me to believe that he isn’t a Millennia-old superhuman.

JennB@8 – re: Odium and the Thrill – Possibly, but I still have questions about the Thrill and if its of Odium or not (or if its been corrupted by Odium). The Knights Radiant seem to speak of it during Davilar’s flashback, but they mention it as something to be controlled or directed.
Wet@11 – Comparing Szeth to Berelain (or at least, his sense of honor)? Huh; I never would have thought of that :-)

Good call back to “7 Years Ago” and the pivotal events that occurred then. Also, the Brightlord in Kaladin’s village dies seven years ago too (I believe), although that’s probably just a coincidence.

Confutus@16 – As always, thanks for the info about the chapter headings.

Treesinger@17 & JennB@18 – re: Purelakers – I just assumed that the Purelakers had evolved some type of tolerance/adaptability to standing in water, but it’s basically the same thing.

AndrewB@19 – I believe that Shardblades and their wielders develop some type of bond, that allows the wielder – and the wielder only – to summon them. I think that you can relinquish your Shardblade if you want to; the way in which we’ve seen so far (by Dalinar) is to set it in the ground.
Matt Stoumbaugh
25. LazerWulf
@19: We see that the Shardblade disappears whenever the Shardbearer lets go of it, unless he (or she) specifically wills it not to (as we see in the first Greatshell battle, I think). So when Dalinar plunges his sword into the ground for Sadeas to take, he is basically severing his connection to it, and when Sadeas picks it up it should bond itself to him.

This makes me think that the tactic of willing the sword not to disappear when you drop it is a dangerous one, as anyone could pick it up when you're not holding it and bond with it. I have no evidence of this, it's just a feeling. It may be possible to "drop" the sword without severing your bond to it, meaning you could dismiss it "remotely" if someone else picks it up. I doubt it, though.

Shardblades also manifest into solidity when their Shardbearer dies.

And I'm probably using "Shardbearer" wrong. Sorry. I've been following the re-read, but I haven't actually read the book in months.
Jennifer B
26. JennB
Just a random thought:
Wouldn't it be perfect if Kaladin got ahold of the oathstone?
Adam S.
27. MDNY
Szeth is the greatest of the interlude characters, and perhaps my favorite character in the whole book (along with Shallan)- all because of his complexity. Szeth himself is actually rather straightforward- he doesn't seem to ever lie, he has a strong conscience, crying when he kills, and always obeys his master, no matter the consequences. Yet he acknowledges the issue with his actions, even as he undertakes them. We have know idea what his crime was to become Truthless, or exactly what that entails. He is the biggest murderer we've seen in this book, yet he IS a radiant, whether he terms himself one or not (he has abilities that must be linked with a spren of some sort, and is a windrunner or surgebinder or both- unclear the specific differences). I love all of his scenes.
The purelake interlude threw me a bit, because it was the first time I ever noted Sanderson referencing other Cosmere worlds/characters (other than Hoid, who just seems to be the Samuel L Jackson of the Cosmere- he appears everywhere, not always for an apparent reason). However, I loved the POV, even if we never see Ishikk again. Nan Balat seems really disturbed, but I think the whole Davar clan is in some way. Him and Szeth appearing in the interludes makes me unsure whether the other interlude characters we meet, like Ishikk, will appear elsewhere= have to wait and see if they crop up in Words of Radiance.
Jennifer B
28. JennB
Re Helaran being the shardbearer
I think I remember that someone in Araman's camp also mentions that the Ghostbloods may have been behind the attack. This also supports speculation that the shardbearer was Shallon's brother since her father was involved with the Ghostbloods.
Jared Wood
29. Shardlet
I am surprised no one has commented on Ishikk's last statement. After Grump says "What a fool's quest this is", Ishikk says with a chuckle "Well, you've got the 'fool' part right". Many of you may think me foolish in thinking so, but I think that Ishikk knows Hoid and is being intentionally evasive. It sounds to me like Ishikk is making a reference to Hoid's guise as the king's fool.

Edit/Yes, I realize that Ishikk could be referring directly to Grump et al. as being fools for pursuing a quest so seemingly pointless to Ishikk. But, I think there is more to Ishikk than that./

WARNING, potential Warbreaker Spoiler ahead!

To me Nan Balat's is reminiscent of Tonk Fa from Warbreaker. However, I don't recall if there was anything to indicate that Tonk Fa gained anything from his sadism except pleasure.
Halvor Hanssen
30. Halhan
@MDNY
It seems logical to me that Szeth being Truthless is his punishment for killing a Shen of importance. It seems a fitting punishment, and as the people of Shinovar seems to have a feudal-Japan sense of honor and duty, it explains why Szeth is actually going along with it. He seems to see his punishment as right and justified (hence the theory that he killed someone).

To take the feudal-Japan comparison further, you need only look at the samurai. The Truthless is like a twisted mirror image of the samurai of the movies. Szeth is bound to the Oathstone, bond to honour almost as a slave.

It seems to more than honor though that keeps him to his oath, as it is clearly something magical about the Oathstone, but for me the honor part of the deal is more intriguing.

On a last note: Micheal Pye definitely onto something with the duality thing, it's everywhere. Not only with the dark vs light thing in Odium and Honor, but also another kind of duality as you mentioned with Balat and his Axehound, alike, but different, as we also see in the Shards, where we have Ruin and Odium. Ruin destroys without meaning, Odium destroys because of hate.

So we have both a two-poles-duality and a same-but-different-duality. I wonder where Sanderson is going with this.
zas452
31. McKay B
I thought Szeth mentioned at one point that the Shardblade was actually given his Shardblade as *part of* his punishment when he was deemed Truthless? He certainly seems to have negative feelings about it. Of course it's an open question whether he was already skilled with swordplay in general, or with surgebinding, more than 7 years ago.

It's interesting that Szeth has a distorted form of surgebinding to go with his distorted value system, according to which he is "honorable." Although his conscience is telling him that this form of "honor" is messed up. (Will he start listening to it, in future books?)

Good news, Michael: Brandon has stated that Book 3 will be the flashback book for Szeth. Of course he could change his mind as he writes.

Although the first sentance about Nan balat was disturbing and got us started considering him in a negative light, I felt like that was a bit of misdirection. Especially after we see his relationship with Shallan later, I came away feeling like he's basically a good guy, even if he's struggling with some sociopathic psychosis. (Hey, Kaladin struggles with depression, which (probably) isn't anything magical. Why not similar struggles for other characters? And I do think his animal-torture habit is related to Father Davar's abusive temper. He just has it more under control than Daddy did.

Of course, I suppose him being basically a good guy doesn't preclude the animal torture being a manifestation of the Thrill. Dalinar and Adolin are basically good guys, too, and yet they feel the Thrill. Hmm.

But long story short, I'm not sure I consider Balat any more "screwed up in the head" than many other characters. Certainly less so than poor Szeth.

@12: "Grump" is Galadon. The darker skin matches (assuming his Elantrian glow doesn't work on Roshar), but the real giveaway is his speech: "friend," "understand?" and even a few words of genuine Dula at the end. Meanwhile, "Thinker" is Captain Demoux from Mistborn. He got the scar on his head in the final battle with the koloss/Marsh, if I remember correctly; and one of the others in the interlude even calls him, according to Ishikk's interpretation, "Temoo." (Ishikk thinks this must be a made-up or code name, but it's just very foreign to him.) I suspect Demoux's ability to burn atium is probably related to his ability to become a worldhopper in the 17th Shard.

Galadon and Demoux are heroes, so that implies positive things about the 17th Shard as an organization. Yet they have an antagonistic relationship with Hoid. I suspect there are some deep misunderstandings at work, but it's always possible that Hoid's not such a hero himself.

@19: Confirming what @24 said: Dalinar can only summon his Blade if he was the last person to un-summon it. Once he gives it to Sadeas, he has no particular control over it anymore.

Finally -- songlings' ability to sing "in tune" with their fellows = similar instincts to the Parshendi and their tribal songs?!?
zas452
32. McKay B
@27: Brandon has previewed one of the Interludes from Words of Radiance, and it marks the return of not one, but TWO of TWoK's Interlude-POV characters. Neither of whom is Szeth. So ... take that as you will. It's still not an indication that either of them are going to become major key players in the main plot.
Brian Carlson
33. images8dream
I loved Ishikk and the Purelake section for its worldbuilding. As several people have already pointed out, Ishikk's theological beliefs can be seen as an abstraction from Honor/Odium. However, they also bear a strong resemblance to many non Indo-European mythologies and Zoroastrinaism (which I think is Indo-European) which focus on dieties that have dual natures, or sibling dieties that embody all aspects.
zas452
34. Rybal
@19 AndrewB

To the best of my knowledge, Brandon never stated that you would understand everything in his books if you were unfamiliar with the cosmere stuff. As it stands, the cosmere stuff makes up about 1-3% of any of his books and only adds to things. You were able to read the book just fine without any of that, right? Think of it like Stan Lee cameos in Marvel movies - an added bonus.


@20 Wetlandernw

I am fairly certain that the "Who killed Asmodean" type question is in reference to Gaz' mysterious disappearance. I'd have to go over to 17th shard to check, though.


@27 MDNY

Sanderson has confirmed that Szeth is NOT a Radiant. Whatever is happening to him is something completely different.


@32 McKay B

I am pretty sure that one of the interlude characters that is coming back is the spren researcher (sorry, can't remember his name).
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
Confutus @22 – Never having spent any more time than absolutely necessary around either crabs or scorpions, I’m no expert on these things. Add spiders to the list, and you get the three things most likely to make me keep my distance. I don’t mind reading about them, but I keep the visuals to a minimum. As I said, “8 appendages” plus “exoskeleton” jumps my mind over to equal “arachnid” by general association. In any case, most of the time they don’t really sound very similar to anything in our world anyway.

KiManiak @23 re: the Interludes – You just reminded me of something I heard before I read the book. Brandon described it as “Two preludes, three novels, a novella and six short stories” or something to that effect. (I think he was justifying the length of the book, maybe at the Seattle signing.)

Re: the Purelake – you remember correctly. During highstorms, the Purelake drained into pits and holes. It’s also pretty close to the Reshi Sea, and I know that figures into the next book somewhat (at least in one or more Interludes). It will be fun to learn more.

KiManiak @24 – Agree with you about the Thrill and Odium – we have to wait and see, but I don’t see it as originating with him. As for Szeth and Berelain… well, they both appear to have some odd notions of honor, right? ;)

LazerWulf @25 – Yeah, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Blades (and Plate) and their link to their holders. However, you’re right in the way you’re using the term Shardbearer – it’s anyone who holds a Shardblade or Shardplate. (If they have both, they’re a “full Shardbearer”.) The big confusion is that some of the fans have created another term, Shardholder, to designate someone who holds one of the original sixteen Shards of Adonalsium. Brandon doesn’t use that term; he calls both the object and the holder of the object a Shard.

JennB @26 – Now that would be funny! I don’t see Taravangian letting it go very easily, though…

MDNY @27 – I think it would be more accurate to say Szeth is a Surgebinder; Brandon was quite clear that he’s not a Radiant. He also said unambiguously that Szeth is not bound to a spren.

For what it’s worth, it appears that Surgebinders are those who can manipulate the basic Surges of the world Roshar; the Knights Radiant could do that, but with some additional qualifications. Each Order is associated with one of the the ten Essences and two of the ten Surges; the only one we know in-book is the Windrunners order (Jes + gravitation + pressure, though the specific identity of the Surges is extra-textual). We also know, from the WoR title announcement, that the Skybreakers are associated with Ishi and either gravitation or pressure, plus one other Surge. And we know that Transformation (inherent to Soulcasting) is one of the Surges, but we don’t know which two Orders can use it. My bet is on the Lightweavers to be one of them; I think we’ll find out in WoR.

There’s still plenty we don’t know, but we’re slowly building up what we do know.
Adam S.
36. MDNY
Huh, I never thought of Shinovar as Japan. I can see what you're getting at there, with the honor thing, but to me the most distinctive feature about Shinovar was its difference in weather and climate, and how its isolation from the rest of Roshar makes everything different-plants that don't retreat in a storm, strange animals like "chickens". I just thought of it as looking like undeveloped European or American countrside. Plus they seem to be ruled by a group of priests who gave Szeth his blade, and presumably his punishment, and warriors are the lowest members of their society, which isn't a very Japanese tradition- Samurai were at the peak of their heirarchy. Because it's so different from the rest of the continent, I wondered if it might be held/ruled by Cultivation, while Honor and Odium had their battle in the rest of the world (I didn't come up with that, seen someone speculate it somewhere but I like the idea).
Adam S.
37. MDNY
Wetlandernw- thanks for clearing that up. I was totally thrown by Szeth having Surgebinding abilities, just assumed he must be bound to a spren. That makes things clearer- yet somehow murkier at the same time. What the heck is that guy?
I still think he will become one. I mean come on, he can't kill _______!
Alice Arneson
38. Wetlandernw
Rybal @34 – How could I forget Gaz? Good chance he’s the mystery; certainly better than Davar or Luesh, and much more interesting, really, than Helaran. Brain fade, I guess.

MDNY @37 - I know, right? I can't see Kaladin killing him, but no way is he allowed to kill... well, any of the people we know will be in the vicinity when he shows up where T is sending him.
Charles S
39. Cheese_Ninja
The timeline for Helaran's disappearance and subsequent assumed death are pretty open-ended. There's really only one sentence about it in Chapter 8, in the paragraph just before the first paragraph where she hints her Shardblade.
There was that matter of the strange collection of maps they’d found in his study. What did they mean? He’d rarely spoken of his plans to his children. Even her father’s advisors knew very little. Helaran—her eldest brother—had known more, but he had vanished over a year ago, and her father had proclaimed him dead.
Did the father proclaim him dead at the same time he vanished, or a bit after? If it's the latter option, we have a whole lot of wiggle room. I'm also not sure how simultaneous Shallan's timeline is compared to Kaladin's. Keeping in mind that a Roshar year is 10 months and that BS is probably doing a small bit of rounding, Kaladin's fight with a Shardbearer is referred to as happening "8 months" before Chapter 2 and "one year" for Chapters 47 and 51.

Here's how I see it: Helaran was working with the Ghostbloods in a different capacity from his father, on the battlelines. Helaran gets loaned a Plate and Blade in order to kill Amaram in the middle of a battle, since the enemy forces should have already been scattered by that point, the Ghostbloods in charge figured it was a safe and easy method using with a full Shardbearer with almost no risk to either the possession of the Shards or the life of the Shardbearer. Kaladin just screwed their plans by being way too competent.
“…why Thaidakar would risk this?” Amaram was saying, speaking in a soft voice. “But who else would it be? The Ghostbloods grow more bold. We’ll need to find out who he was. Do we know anything about him?”

“He was Veden, Brightlord,” the stormwarden said. “Nobody I recognize. But I will investigate.”
The Davars are the only Vedens we even know at this point with ties to the Ghostbloods. I don't think there exist any better options than Nan Helaran. As a plus, this gives Kaladin, Amaram, and Shallan a shared thread in the story.

Kaladin to Shallan: "Oh, sorry, I killed your brother."

Amaram to Shallan: "I'm not sorry, your brother tried to kill me."

Shallan to Kaladin: "You killed my brother while he was trying to kill this other guy, but I can't really fault you, because I killed my dad."

It has a lot of appeal.

Also I'm pretty sure BS's mention of a mysterious death/disappearance is reference to Gaz, not Helaran.
I'm planning for you to find out what happened to Gaz. There are sufficient clues that you can guess. But it is not explicitly stated, and I'm not going to say it's as obvious as Robert Jordan implied Asmodean's killer is. I was tempted to spell it out explicitly, but there wasn't a good place for it. I will probably answer it eventually, maybe in the next book, but until then you are free to theorize.
I don't Hoid is exactly a villian, but I think that his pursuit of his own goals will sometimes get other people in trouble. Hoid also feels like a trickster character, and tricksters are always pissing other people off. From the content of "the letter", even if the 17th Sharders caught up to Hoid, they wouldn't be able to do much to him.

Pure speculation, does anyone else think that Szeth was a Stone Shaman himself before he became Truthless?
BS has said we've seen 3 different types of Shardblade, my guesses are:
1. Typical Radiant Blades used by the majority of the characters.
2. Honorblades, used by the Heralds
3. Szeth's Blade, shorter, double-edged
I think that his Blade is the source of his Windrunner abilities, for a few reasons.
1. Turns his eyes sapphire, the color associated with Windrunners.
2. Taravangian refers to the Blade as a "monstrosity of a Shardblade" despite its smaller than normal size
3. The original version of Szeth from WoK Prime had neither a Shardblade nor Windrunner abilities.
Matthew Watkins
40. oraymw
A theory that I personally agree with about Szeth is that the Oathstone does not magically compel Szeth to obey the person holding it. Instead, it is part of the Shin culture to revere honor and truth, and it seems like the Truthless punishment is specifically that they are required to do these things, even though they could just break their Oath at any time.

The last time that I read through the books, I didn't see any times when Szeth specifically says that there is a magic about the Oathstone that compels him to obey. Even more, the section where Szeth meets up with Taravangian seems to give an indication that Szeth almost breaks his word. Taravangian also seems to imply that it is possible for Szeth to do so.

This makes an even more interesting twist on Szeth's character, and one that is possibly more horrifying.
Anneke van Staden
41. QueenofDreams
Re: Nan Balat. I'm not so sure about some of these theories on his enjoyment of torturing animals. We know from Shallan that their father was abusive. I think Balat's vice is a result of this abuse. He's broken inside and enjoys inflicting pain on helpless creatures in the same way his father did to him. I think the relief he feels is more psychological. I actually think of it as similar to people who self harm, except he's harming animals instead. The other two brothers are noted to have vices as well, but Balat is obviously lacking in self awareness as he doesn't equate his weird proclivity with being psychologically damaged himself. Shallan seems more self aware in that regard, as she often notes her fear of confrontation as being a result of her upbringing in an abusive environment
Anneke van Staden
42. QueenofDreams
Oh and I have to say, I wondered about Ishikk and how his feet don't end up all manky from being in water all the time. The first thing that sprung to mind when I read it was the character Feather Witch in MBotF, and how her feet go all rotten from being constantly submerged
Halvor Hanssen
43. Halhan
@36 Yeah, I agree. It was the sense of honor I was talking about, not Shinovar itself, that's totally different. What I tried to say was that how Szeth regards honor is reminicent to the samurai way of thinking about honor, but again, I agree, it's very different in that way that Szeth sees it as punishment.
Don Barkauskas
44. bad_platypus
LazerWulf @25: Here's the proof you were looking for, from Ch. 13:
Elhokar slammed to the ground, dropping his Shardblade. The weapon reverted to mist, vanishing. It was a protection from keeping a Blade from being taken by your enemies; they vanished unless you willed them to stay when releasing them.
Pretty clearly implies that Blades just lying around can be taken by anyone.
Nadine L.
45. travyl
McKay B @31
About your explanation about Thinker being Demoux:
“Superstition,” Grump replied. “You always look for superstition, Vao.” ...
“And you, Temoo?” Blunt snapped.
The "snapped" implies an answer to the one that previously spoke, so the way I read this sequence Blunt calls Grump "Temoo", not Thinker. Though now I know who's supposed to be who, Thinker does make more sense.
Mahesh Banavar
46. maheshkb
Szeth becoming Truthess:
Did we not (will we not) see in a later chapter that the Shin have their soldiers/killers/murderes as the least important people in society? So perhaps, Szeth murdered someone and therefore, became Truthless, as a punishment.
T C
47. Freelancer
The ways in which we have seen Shardblades change hands:

~ The Bearer dies, at which point the Blade materializes near the body
~ The Bearer embeds the point of the Blade in the ground, at which point it remains behind when they release it

Now, the text is canon, so apparently a Bearer could simply set the Blade down and will it to remain so that another may take it. But we have seen Heralds, Radiants, and Dalinar all release their Blades by shoving them into the earth.

Nan Balat's reaction to dismembering small creatures isn't enjoyment. It is a form of relief, and is undoubtedly an emotional twist induced by the treatment of their father. The criminally insane who harm people without intent to kill very often exhibit this trait. They don't like what they do; they are compelled to it to seek momentary satisfaction from an unimaginable (to us) and imaginary pressure they feel, which continually builds between events, and from which they cannot escape until either captured or medicated. This causes me to see Nan Balat with the same face that I had conjured for Peter Wiggin.
Jared Wood
48. Shardlet
New Theory, Nan Balat is the Hegemon! :)

In all seriousness, excellent comparison Freelancer.
zas452
49. SCM of 2814
Blunt is a Librarian from the Hushlands. : D

I really like the worldbuilding Interludes. Always nice to see what near-Supernatural levels of suffering our favorite anime-eyed gravity ninja is going through. Don't think no one noticced, Brandon! Everyone mentions his big eyes.

In the Ishikk sequence, I can't tell if the 'debt' game is a part of purelake culture or just something between the two of them. Berhaps if Brandon had added a third Purelaker to the seen to give a reaction...

And I can't be sure, but if I remember the Cosmere Timeline Brandon gave for the books written and unwritten, 'Thinker' would be really old, since the Original Trilogy (unlike the crapy Jar-Jar remakes :P) happened way back. Did 'Thinker' get Misted up or something? Or did he learns 'that guy in very book'-'s trick to living long?

And random thought, I'm trying to recall if there are any gemstones that are compounds of the Allomantic metals, and wondering what, by some convoluted path of chemistry and assuming they retain their S-Light, would happen if an Allomancer used a Stormlight-infused substance...

On the Cosmere stuff... Has anyone noticed that in NONE of the cosmuere books are there mentions of fossils? Not a one, not by any of the scholars, and Roshar should be rich with the stuff, since from what I can tell nearly ALL of their animal life are shelled invertebrates. That says geological things about the apparent lifespan of the Shardworlds...

Poor Shalan's family. In another sort of movie, they'd all be corrupt aristocrat hillbilly cannibals...

And in later chaps, the 'problem' is addressed as the steward who knows how to use the Soulcaster dying, a thing addressed in an immediate Shallan Chapter.

On Szeth, something's always bothered me about him as soon as I realized he and Kaladin share a power-set: where in Damnation is his Honorspren? He certainly has the same kind of honorable-to-the-point-of-emotional-self-flagellation attitude Kaladin and I suspect Dalinar has (and where is HIS Honorspren, I wonder?), so why doesn't he get alittle Tinkerbell sidekick of his own? I suspect that unlike Kaladin, he gets his ability from his Shardblade. Maybe it's an Honorblade, with an Honorspren built right in.

A meta comment that's definitely early, but I can't help it, I just had the thought while listening to it. The Stormlight Archive Audiobook is done by the same two people who ddid the Wheel of Time Audiobooks. The vocie for the female characters, Kate Reading, has a rather... distinctive voice she used for both Lanfear and Berelain in hte WOT audiobooks. She later used it on one of Adolin's girlfriends, the one he seems to be getting serious about. Due to voice associations, I have an image in my head of that girl as the hottest female in the warcamps... but also potentially ging to be a traitor of some sort. I can almost SEE Brandon adding a line in the margins of the script: "Use Lanfear-voice, give subtle foreshadowing...". :P
zas452
50. SCM of 2814
On Shallan's brother being the one Kaladin Killed: Unlikely. For one thing, if thier family had a Plate and 2 Blades, they wouldn't be poor, they'd practically be the right hand of the king! The economics of the siuation don't line up.

On Nan Balat's leg: I think Shalan nicked his leg with the Shardblade, killing maybe half the nerves.

Also, it is mentioned that in SHin anyone who so much as PICKS UP A WEAPON is immediately declared Truthless.
Jesse Sayers
51. Fluvre
@50 I think Szeth picking up the blade was him voluntarilly becoming a fighter to defend against the voidbringers. Until he has proof then he and the rest of Shinovar consider him truthless. In his first flashback he thinks that something like - "his honor demands that the void bringers exist"-

I think Szeth is a much more compelling character if he follows the holder of his oath stone voluntarilly. I think if he gets proof of the void bringers then he will no longer consider himself truthless.

Nan Balat says that only he and Shallan aren't broken. But Nan Balat is obviously broken. Is Shallan hiding how she is broken? Or is her seeing the truthspren related to her brokenness.

Related to the Nightwatcher- Dalinar says he visited, and either his curse or blessing is that he can't remember his wife at all.
Charles S
52. Cheese_Ninja
@50 I don't think Shallan's family owned either her own Shardblade or Helaran's Plate and Blade. I'm not sure what the full circumstances are that lead to her getting hers (besides the death of her father), but I think Helaran's were strictly loaners for only as long as he was working in that capacity with the Ghostbloods. They did loan Lord Davar a Soulcaster after all.

Also, picking up a weapon doesn't make a Shin a Truthless, only a warrior.
“Shin are a curious folk,” he said. “Here, warriors are the lowliest of men—kind of like slaves. Men trade and sell them between houses by way of little stones that signify ownership, and any man who picks up a weapon must join them and be treated the same. The fellow in the fancy robe?He’s a farmer.”
Truthless are much, much less common than simple warriors.
“I will remember, friend,” Thresh said. “But I do not think it likely we will have another like him.” He seemed to grow distracted. “Indeed, I should hope that we never do….”
D. Pack
53. Wringleader
Is the oathstone somehow related to the oathpact noted in the prelude? If so, maybe Szeth is a follower of Talenel?
zas452
54. Timpenin
@52 I assumed that Szeth's uniqueness was because of his Shardblade and/or Windrunner abilities. That all warriors in Shinovar are Truthless but not all are as deadly as Szeth.
Jeremy Guebert
55. jeremyguebert
Random thought about loaning out a set of Shards - what if they decide they don't want to give them away when they're done? Anyone in full Plate would be hard to force to cooperate...
Phil Anthrop
56. Isomere
I see a link between the Thrill and the Torture soothing since it is Taboo to discuss either one. Seems a good bet Odium is behind both of these.

Another correlation. Hoid tells a story in a future chapter about a culture to the West that feels compelled to commit atrocities because of the will of their King (who happens to be dead). I think this story is a reference to the Shin, and relates to making Szeth Truthless.

The Purelakers have a sacred grotto where they can freely talk without Odium hearing them. Very interesting... From Brandons other books we know there are ways to keep secrets from shards. Could this be a Shardpool? Also, they seem written to deliberately contrast with the Alethi: The Purelakers pretend to worship Odium, then devote themselves to the Almighty by living lives of peace and honor. The Alethi profess to worship Honor, but defy his Intent in almost every facet of their culture and religious practice.
andrew smith
57. sillyslovene
SCM @50
- It is clearly stated that Nan Balat's leg was broken and that he needed a surgeon to save it, although the surgeon almost wanted to amputate. These are not wounds normally associated with a shardblade, even a nic...

The Purelake fascinates me too.
The fact that it drains for the storms seems very significant cosmere-wise. If the highstorms are essentially related to one of the Shards, and the Purelake is connected with another, then this would be a good clue for differing powers being in conflict.
I think there may be good reason to suspect that the Purelake will be associated with Cultivation: a strong presence of life and cultivating the good life. But perhaps a bigger clue (and one curiously left out of the summary above, while the surrounding sentences were noted): the fish with the curative properties Ishikk gives to Maib, the kolgril (a strong clue there of a connection with Cultivation), is also noted that it "sometimes let you see when friends were going to visit by letting you read the shapes of the clouds." This is a curious duality to the Alethi fear of predicting the future. Given that later we learn from Honor in Dalinar's last vision that "I cannot see the future completely. Cultivation, she is bettter at it than I," this seems like strong evidence that the Purelake is associated with Cultivation. (but I guess it could also logically be associated with Honor via that quote also...) What this says about the Highstorms can be speculated...

Along with the ideas of associating Sacred Grottos with ways to hide from certain shards, there is probably some merit to the speculative theories (expressed on 17Shard, etc) that Cultivation's Shard Pool is probably somewhere in the vicinity of the Purelake (underneath?).

Cheese-Ninja@52 - the loaning - there is some ambiguity there. I was going to wait to bring it up, til the spanreed conversation between Shallan and Nan Balat, but there is wiggle room enough in that the ghostbloods "implied they knew of Father's Soulcaster" (565 in paperback edition) - that they could in fact be talking about the shardblade, and not the soulcaster. It is very interesting to read that conversation with that in mind.
zas452
58. PHubbard
@49 re: geology - true, there is no mention of fossils, but Shallan's family mine marble (metamorphosed limestone) which implies there has been long enough for organic sedimentary rocks to form...although given what we know of the deities on these worlds I wouldn't assume anything about the geological/evolutionary history

@57 I like your idea that the purelake is related to Cultivation. The draining in the highstorms supports this, as does the generally serene nature of the area and the purelakers' superstitions. As they say, "there might be something to these fish, you know"!

@52re: helaran
I still think the idea of anyone 'loaning' a set of shards is pretty unlikely. I mean, these things turn people into near-invincible warriors! Kingdoms fight wars over them! If you give someone a set of shards, there's no way you're going to get them back, or can even guarantee being alive much longer - in fact, I seem to remember someone discussing this as a reason they're almost never used in trade - anything you would get from the trade would instantly be worthless as the other person could just take it back.

re: Szeth - do we know if he ever had a spren in the past? What if he somehow killed it/broke the bond by taking up his shardblade, which is what makes him truthless.
Maiane Bakroeva
59. Isilel
Davars are seriously damaged. I wouldn't even agree that Shallan "escaped", leave alone Balat, who is very disturbed. Interesting that he is still capable of caring for people, though.
i kinda always assumed that Balat's injury came from that fateful night when Shallan killed their father to save him,, but now I see that there is no clear indication of it. Still seems to be most likely turn of events to me, though. Maybe blood on elder Davar's body, which Shallan remembers at some point, was Balat's and not his own? What, with his Soulcaster clearly cut by the shardblade.

And Szeth. Szeth was the reason why I used to think that "real" Surgebinders don't need the spren bond, only the less talented/untrained ones do. And that Radiants did it to swell their numbers with those potential ones and for philosophical reasons. But this re-read pointed out the Nahel bond, which I completely missed on my own. So, how is he surge-binding without a spren?!

Also, unleashing Szeth on the world is such a malignant action that I have to wonder if the Shin aren't agents of upcoming Desolation. I don't care about their justifications how it is his master(s) who are really responsible for the destruction he unleashes, this is downright evil to the outside world.

And on the topic of eye-color hierarchy - Szeth had his blade for more than 7 years, but his natural eye-color didn't change. OTOH, when he uses the blade they glow azure (forgotten reason for lighteyes superiority myth?).
So, what's going on here? Is it:

a. Surge-binders are affected differently by the shards they carry than wannabe hoi-poloi

b. It takes longer than more than 7 years to change eye color

c. Shards changing their owner's eye-color is a myth?

Also, were we ever told what happens when a light-eyed child is born to dark-eyes parents? I mean, if the male noblemen are anything like their RL counterparts that should happen often enough... Here and in part with Lirin's family we see the problems that dark-eyes who act like light-eyes face, but what about the other way round? Shouldn't it be even more problematic?
Nadine L.
60. travyl
@58. PHubbard:
I still think the idea of anyone 'loaning' a set of shards is pretty unlikely.
blades and plate can be loaned, see Chapter 58:
By tradition, the king’s own Shardplate and Blade were available for a large fee to those who both had his favor and the wish to duel a Shardbearer.
There are so few blades that nobody would dare to not give the Shardblade/plate back to the king. Loaning could work for any important person (or secret society), who has more than just one set of blade and plate and therefore are likely to being able to force the lonee to give the loan back.
Robert Dickinson
61. ChocolateRob
A) Saying the name of one god but thinking the name of his brother reminds me of the Korathi religion in Elantris.
The two Shards on Sel are Devotion and Dominion, and the Korathi religion calls their god Domi but describe him as being kind and generous.
This sounds like they are worshipping Devotion but have got completely the wrong name (a shortening of Dominion) , as Korathi and Derethi originally come from the same source I guess the Derethi religion is more acurate and the Korathi somewhat scewed.

I just always found it odd that the 'nice' religion is using the name of the 'not so nice' god

B) The question of what happened to Szeth after killing Gavilar hardly seems as interesting to me as why in the heck The Parshendi would have used Szeth in the first place? How did they know his capabilities well enough to have given him the mission to begin with and how did he come to be serving such an isolated people since his first employment by Vstim.
Guess I just have to wait for book 3

C) Another thing I've noticed but never seen discussed in related posts is that the people (ghostbloods?) who appear asking about the return of Lord Davar's soulcaster do not ask for the return of his Shardblade. Do they not know he had one? Did he not have one and Shallan got it from elswhere? Do they know she has one and are planning to kill her for it anyway but want her to steal a working soulcaster first?

D) We can hopefully assume that Szeth will not kill _______, but it may not have anything to do with Kaladin stopping him, do not forget that Szeth is being sent from Karbranth to the Shattered Plains at the same time that Jasnah and Shallan are chartering a ship to make the same journey. Will Jasnah realise he's her fathers killer on the journey, will Shallan inadvertantly befriend him, will Shallan sketch her fellow passengers and inexplicably draw him wearing white and holding a shardbade?
Kimani Rogers
63. KiManiak
Re: the “loaning” and then retrieving of Shardplate/Shardblade –
This not only is feasible, loaning Shardblades (and by extension, retrieving them) is mentioned or implied in the book a few different ways.

1) Dalinar mentions winning a Shardplate & Shardblade from the Parshendi and gives it to King Elhokar to dispense to a warrior he finds worthy. It is logical to assume that the Shardplate & blade are to be considered property of the crown (and therefore loaned out) as opposed to being given to that warrior and his heirs in perpetuity. That would be like elevating that warrior to the level (or above) of the High Princes (some of who are not full Shardbearers, or Shardbearers at all) and I doubt that would be something viewed favorably by any of them. It would be more likely to be viewed as acceptable by the High Princes if the Plate & Blade were owned by the crown and given to a "King's Champion."

2) When Szeth assassinates Hanavanar (king of Jah Keved, in Interlude I-9), Hanavanar is defended by two full Shardbearers, in addition to having a Shardblade himself. It is possible that the Shardbearers were great lords of Jah Keved, but it is as likely that they were the king’s bodyguards or champions. If they are just bodyguards, then it is highly unlikely that the king would have his Shardbearer bodyguards be anything but the best warriors; which would imply that the Shards go to the most qualified and are therefore property of the crown to be dispensed as the crown sees fit. It would be an honor to serve, and something for the greatest warriors to aspire towards. When the next champion arises from the ranks, the Shards pass to him.

3) The best example is something Szeth says. Szeth comments that if he were to die, Shin Stone Shamans would come to reclaim his Shardblade (Interlude I-6). His Blade is a loaner. It can’t even stay with whomever kills him; and he’s not allowed to give it away to any master.


I can also think of a few ways to aid in addressing the "retrieval" aspect of the “loaning” of Shardblades & plate. Very quickly:

a) Make it public that they are loaned. In a kingdom of Shardbearers (like Alethkar), loaning a Shard and then retrieving it shouldn’t be so difficult. When the loan is called in, there is the inherent threat that others could be sent to collect at the cost of your life. Everyone knows that the Shard(s) are not yours.

b) Make it a matter of honor. The bearer is the King’s Champion, and gets a rise in status, wealth and fame. Failure to give the Shards back when requested leads to shame, poverty and disdain. Also, the Bearer will be hunted down. Plus, they will have to sleep sometime, and apparently will need help taking the plate off or putting it back on. They can't believe they can keep the Shard(s) indefinitely, without reprisal.

c) For clandestine organizations (part 1): don’t lend out Shards unless you have the ability to take them back. The Ghostbloods have Shards to loan. It’s just common sense that they should have access to more Shards available for use, just in case they need to take the first set of Shards back.

d) For clandestine organizations (part 2): demonstrate to the borrower the repercussions of treacherously keeping loaned Shards. The Ghostbloods could let the borrower know in no uncertain terms what will happen to them/their loved ones/whomever if the Shards aren’t returned. Intimidation and threat of reprisal is a must.

e) For clandestine organizations (part 3): employ assassins to recover Shards if the person tries to keep them. We already saw (or will see, actually) the Ghostbloods attempt to assassinate Jasnah with poison. All Shardbearers are human, and do have to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom. They will be vulnerable at some time, you will be more likely to recover the Shard(s) when the borrower is less aware or less capable of defending themselves.


Also, it is fair to speculate (based on Szeth’s assumption that the Shardblade will be retrieved) that the Shin Stone Shamans must have some type of retrieval method of which the reader is currently unaware. The Shin also appear to be able to be aware of when Szeth dies or no longer has the Blade, or so Szeth thinks.

I’m sure we will find out more about the use and access of Shardblades & plate as the series goes on. I think it noteworthy that there are only a relative few (about 100 or so) of Shardblades & Plate accounted for, when there were likely several hundred Knights Radiant when the Day of Recreance happened (Dalinar’s flashback accounted for 2 of the 10 orders and even then he thinks he sees a couple hundred Knights shed their Blade and Plate), and therefore potentially hundreds of other Blade & Plate unaccounted for. Maybe the Ghostbloods, the Stone Shamans, and/or the Parshendi (or other groups that the reader hasn't been introduced to yet) have acces to more of the missing Shardplate/blades.

Edit for some grammar and clarity.
Jennifer B
64. JennB
I have been thinking about Cultivation. It seems that most people believe she is hiding somewhere like Shinover or Purelake.

Most Cosmere planets seem similar to Earth. I read somewhere that the Shardholders all came from the same planet, so it makes sense that they would base their worlds on their home planet. Therefore, the basic assumption is that all Rosher started out like Shinover. When the Highstorms started (perhaps when Honor was splintered), all the flora and fauna in the areas affected by the storms adapted. Why? Why would life not just be wiped out everywhere except Shinover? Life on Rosher seems to be extremely adaptive.

The agent for change or adaptation of life on Rosher would be Cultivation. Cultivation does not just refer to growing things, but also to breeding them, changing them over time to suite your needs. Because of this, it would seem to me that Cultivation is even more strongly present where life has survived and adapted than in Shinover where things have remained unchanged since the beginnings of Rosher.

I don't think Cultivation is hiding, cowering in a hole, waiting for Odium to destroy her.
Phil Anthrop
65. Isomere
Pretty big spoilers for Elantris in this post.
http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=985#5
STORMATLAS: Were Cultivation and Honor romantically involved?
BRANDON SANDERSON: Yes.
What changes would happen if two Shards litterally composed of Power and Energy tried to have an intimate relationship?

@61 We don't understand the relationship between Dominion and Devotion. We know they formed a religion together that exalted Unity. It seems they both created the Dor together since every magic system on the planet is powered from that same source. We know the Shards are both Splintered and the Holders are both dead. We know that Shu Dereth wants Unity through Dominion and Shu Korath wants Unity through Love. Interestingly, Shu Keseg, the original religion, teaches Unity of Mind. It is my belief that the two shards were also romantically involved and actually did arrange for Unity of Mind by merging their Shards together. Domi seems appropriate in that context.
Jeremy Guebert
66. jeremyguebert
@63: A well thought-out post. I certainly didn't mean to imply that loaning of Plate and Blade doesn't happen or couldn't happen, just trying to point out the difficulties involved - you'd need to either trust that they would do the honorable thing and return them, have some significant collateral on the user, or have more Shards of your own to use in taking them back if necessary.

@61D: Wow, I never even considered that they might be on the same ship. That would certainly make for an interesting voyage...
MAtthew Thom
68. zas452
A possibly out there theory about Ishikk but here it is.
He can speak the same language as Grump/Galladon- suggesting he has been to Sel.

Could Ishikk be Hoid?
Daniel Robertson
69. danr62
Ishikk doesn't speak Galladon's language. He hears the words but has no idea what they mean.

And from his POV there is no way he could be hoid.

Re:Balat

I always just take it as: I've been broken and I want to break these animals.
MAtthew Thom
70. zas452
Why not? Why include the sentence including "kayana" if it isn't meant to mean something?
We all know Hoid has a base somewhere within the Cosmere, and apart from Yolen, which we will not see for some years, Roshar is the one place where Hoid has a particular focus, within his capacity as Wit to the Kholin line, and as a Worldsinger.

Could it be too much to imagine that Hoid has made his base close to a Shardpool, that of Cultivation?
Alice Arneson
71. Wetlandernw
Reading Ishikk's thoughts, it makes no sense at all that he would be Hoid in disguise. If we'd gotten it from one of the other people's perspective, I could almost buy it, but not from the internal POV. I can't quite see Hoid sitting there idly trying to determine what language they were speaking, but not being good with languages and not caring because it doesn't help sell fish.

That's not to say that Ishikk doesn't know who Hoid is, at least in terms of knowing that he is currently serving as the King's Wit. He specifically tells them that he's asked based on the description and the names they gave him, and that no one has seen or heard of him, which rather leaves it open to... possibilities. But I'm pretty confident that Ishikk is not Hoid in disguise.
Lindy Brown
72. lbrown
I watched an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive" and it was focused on 2 people that were stranded out in the ocean for a few days, I think. After that, their skin was so soft from being in the water that long, that they could be cut badly by any little thing, so yeah, this whole Purelaker thing with always being in the water didn't seem even plausibe to me.

But I also hadn't thought of the possibility of that race having changed so they could live in the water. Thanks for those that mentioned it.
Bill Stusser
73. billiam
Maybe its just the mmorpg gamer in me but I just thought that all the different races on Roshar were just that, different races. You know, like humans are different from elves and dwarves and orcs or trolls, etc. Its kinda like all the different aliens from the cantina scene in Star Wars living on the same planet.

My immediate reaction to Ishikk was that he was that he was like a more human version of the gillman. I mean, we've already seen the parshmen and the parshendi, they're obviously not human. And there was the captain from earlier who had white eyebrows a foot long. Lots of strange folks on Roshar.

Its just one of the things that kind of gives a sci fi feel to this fantasy, which is a big reason why I thought this book was so cool.
James Briggs
74. traveler
Just some thoughts

The black sphere that seth hid,it may have come from shadsmar.It reminds me of the spheres that Shallon fell into on both trips to that place.
I wonder if each of those spheres is a spren.
Why did galvinar want to keep it safe from his opposition?
10@Rybal I agree,
7@Vauric The ghostbloods may have tortured the information out ofthe Davar ardent so they know that the father is dead and want their investment back.
9@Obe_64 Its ment to drive us crazy and I think sandersooooooon will continue to intreage us till the very end.

I think that I found the honor blade that Kaladin will be using eventualy.In the last chapter hoid is waqiting for someone . That person is the hearld Talenel'Elin , Stone sinew hearld of the almighty, the blade thatthe last hearld was draging through the gate. It was long , narrow , straightand and sharplike an enormas spike. that sounds like a spear to me .mabe somthing that Syl will put up with.
Alice Arneson
75. Wetlandernw
But why would Kaladin take Talenel's sword? Taln might have a thing or two to say about that...

In any case, swords are usually sharp along the blade as well as at the tip, so I think it would probably cut his hands if he tried to use it as a spear.
James Briggs
76. traveler
Talenel died and his blade stayed behind. That was the last chapter of the book. You could be right Wetlander but the description of the blade reminded me of Matt's Ashendariblade in the wheel of time
Kimani Rogers
77. KiManiak
It is somewhat arguable whether Talenel is dead or not at the end of the first book (although there is more and more evidence outside of the book pointing to him not being dead).

According to the Prelude, Herald's blades disappear when they die. Talenel's blade is still there. It is rather likely that he is not dead, if you are to go purely on what Kalak says in the Prelude.

I'm more inclined to believe that Talenel is alive right now, and therefore would be unlikely to relinquish his blade.
Alice Arneson
78. Wetlandernw
What KiManiak said: Talenel is not dead, because his blade is still there. It's an Honorblade, not a mere Shardblade.
Dave
79. OHearn
I also think the reread got the wrong idea about Nan Balat. He's obviously very sick, but it's because of abuse in his past. There's no sign that he's getting worse. Balat has normal feelings of guilt for asking Shallan to do so much. He's not a sociopath.
MAtthew Thom
80. zas452
Hey everyone....
I just received confirmation on the identity of 'Blunt'
From Brandon himself

:D

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