Jun 13 2013 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapter 15

The Way of Kings Reread Brandon Sanderson Stormlight ArchiveWelcome back to the Way of Kings reread on Since my last article I’ve been busily documenting the ecology of Roshar, and while that’s been illuminating, I must say that it’s good to be back to the work of reading (and rereading (and rereading)) the book itself. Today I will be covering another long chapter, one that further peels back the veil of who these Alethi nobles really are. As such, expect plenty of smack to be talked about Sadeas, by Wit at least. Dalinar also delivers a particularly delicious teardown. I may not be able to resist joining the fray myself.

Chapter 15: The Decoy

Setting: The Shattered Plains

Points of View: Adolin and Dalinar

What Happens: Adolin continues to oversee the cleanup in the aftermath of the chasmfiend attack, which has left the hunting party stranded on a plateau. He walks among his soldiers, passing men harvesting carapace and long lines of the injured. Although there was a route of escape to the east, Dalinar had decided to wait rather than risk extending into Parshendi territory while carrying wounded.

He approaches a group of lighteyes lounging in comfort and leisure, even after the disaster of the hunt. Nearly fifty men died, with close to a hundred more wounded. Adolin feels this loss deeply, as he lost men he knew, but the King had brushed it off. He goes to seek his father.

Dalinar is standing at the edge of the plateau looking eastward, and Adolin can’t help remembering him rebuffing the chasmfiend, Plate glowing. His heroism has earned Dalinar a momentary reprieve in the minds of the other lighteyes, but Adolin fears it won’t outlast weeks of apparent inactivity. He wants more. He goes to give the final casualty report to Elhokar.

Dalinar reflects on the war: six years of siege, six years of the strategy he himself had suggested long ago, not knowing about what would prove to be a crucial factor in the war. The gemhearts changed everything, turning a perfect trap into an extended series of games. He turns away and fights the urge to do Adolin’s job for him as he watches his son move towards the royal pavilion. Although he knows that the blond in Adolin’s black hair is an inheritance from his mother, Dalinar can remember nothing of his dead wife.

To keep himself form interfering, Dalinar examines the dead chasmfiend, picked apart after its gemheart was removed. Most gemhearts are harvested while chasmfiends pupate, an easy process after a fast race and often a hard fight for the right to claim that prize. The gemhearts are what the Alethi and the Parshendi fight for, and since many Parshendi died in these conflicts and they have no means of bringing in reinforcements, the contests are tactically sound.

The gemhearts are also enormously valuable, allowing the highprince who claims one to supply his entire army for months, as well as being phenomenally useful in soulcasting. This, combined with the Vorin teaching that the finest warriors have the most exalted afterlife, keeps the highprinces at each others throats, as much rivals as allies. Dalinar is worried that the purpose of the Vengeance Pact has been forgotten. The Parshendi claimed responsibility for assassinating Gavilar, but in all these years they’ve never said why, and no one but Dalinar seems to care anymore.

Dalinar wonders whether he really believes in the visions that come to him during highstorms. Could they be sent by the Almighty? Could Dalinar Kholin really have been chosen to unite the highprinces? While ruminating, he sees Sadeas step out of the king’s pavilion, and catches a signal from him:

Sadeas caught Dalinar’s eyes, nodding slightly. My part is done, that nod said. Sadeas strolled for a moment, then reentered the pavilion.

Dalinar, knowing that it is time for him to act, and seeing his sons lurking near the king—most likely to spy on Sadeas—Dalinar goes to see his nephew.

As soon as he sees him, Elhokar begins asking his uncle why he hasn’t won as many gemhearts as Sadeas recently. He says that it’s the bridges giving Sadeas his advantage, although Dalinar stiffly contends that his army has won plenty of battles, despite being busy with more important things recently. Sadeas scoffs at this; what could be more important than the war? Elhokar keeps pushing:

“You should switch to bridges like his,” Elhokar said.

“Your Majesty,” Dalinar said. “Sadeas’s bridges waste many lives.”

“But they are also fast,” Sadeas said smoothly. “Relying on wheeled bridges is foolish, Dalinar. Getting them over this plateau terrain is slow and plodding.”

Dalinar points out that the Codes forbid a general order anything he wouldn’t do himself. Sadeas complains that he wouldn’t eat gruel either, but Dalinar holds fast, saying that he would never under the furthest extremity want to enter battle with neither weapons nor armor. Sadeas counters that, when they gave the bridgemen shields, the Parshendi stopped focusing fire on them. They stopped performing their purpose: to distract the Parshendi from targets of actual worth.

Gavilar’s last words flash into Dalinar’s mind. Those words were a quotation from the ancient text The Way of Kings, and another passage from that text comes with them:

“Sometimes,” Dalinar said, “the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important s the victory itself.”

Sadeas looked at Dalinar incredulously. Even Adolin and Renarin—who had come closer—seemed shocked by the statement. It was a very un-Alethi way of thinking.

With the visions and the words of that book spinning in his mind lately, Dalinar wasn’t feeling particularly Alethi.

Sadeas’ rejoinder, however, is very Alethi; winning the contest is worth anything. Dalinar says that this is a war, not a contest, but Sadeas insists that everything is a contest. “All dealings among men are a contest in which some will succeed and others fail. And some are failing quite spectacularly.” Adolin has had enough, and snaps at Sadeas, almost calling him a coward before Dalinar cuts him off and Renarin puts a hand on his arm. Sadeas smirks at Dalinar and offers a further barb:

“One son can barely control himself, and the other is incompetent…The firebrand I can understand…You were once impetuous just like him. But the other one? You saw how he ran out onto the field today. He even forgot to draw his sword or bow! He’s useless!”

Adolin almost summons his blade, but Dalinar insists he will handle it. And he does:

Dalinar turned his attention to Sadeas, speaking very softly, very pointedly. “Sadeas. Surely I did not just hear you openly—before the king—call my son useless. Surely you would not say that, as such an insult would demand that I summon my Blade and seek your blood. Shatter the Vengeance Pact. Cause the king’s two greatest allies to kill one another. Surely you would not have been that foolish. Surely I misheard.”

In the echoing silence of that iceburn, Sadeas backs down. The conversation with the king begins to wrap up, before Wit arrives, mocking Sadeas and putting a verbal test to Renarin, which he passes easily. Sadeas seems to want to kill Wit, but isn’t willing to accept the penalty: the one who kills the King’s Wit must abandon his land and titles.

Before leaving the pavilion, Elhokar asks whether Dalinar has begun looking into an issue he previously asked him about. Adolin is curious, so Dalinar takes him away to show him something. Soon Adolin is holding a long leather strap, the strap which broke and threw Elhokar from his horse during the battle, trying to determine whether it was cut. The king has made it the center of his most recent paranoia. The break is smoother on one side, but an assassination attempt through the strap would be incredibly incompetent. However, even an incompetent assassination attempt must be looked into. Adolin groans that the others see them as Elhokar’s pets, never winning wealth or glory.

Dalinar realizes they’re not talking about the strap anymore, and that Adolin is still thinking about how he held him back from challenging Sadeas, even though they both hate him. Dalinar says that he knows Sadeas better, and they’ll amend that in a moment, but in the meantime should look into the strap, no matter how unlikely an assassination attempt is to be directed against this popular king. He gives Adolin a list of tasks, then takes him to go learn about Sadeas.

Dalinar and Adolin find highprince Vamah, very unsubtly remind him how generous the king is with loaning out his soulcasters, especially to Vamah, who is about to need them for a lot of wood. Vamah gets the message, and leaves in a huff. Dalinar explains how Vamah has been complaining about Elhokar’s soulcasting fees, and that this was a reminder of how much Vamah relied on the king. At this point Sadeas appears, and asks if he carried out his part of the plan. Dalinar asks if Sadeas had told Vamah that he was increasing what he charges for wood. Sadeas has doubled it. Adolin realizes that they planned all of this, from the moment they invited Vamah on the hunt.

They then begin arguing about Elhokar, with Sadeas insisting that it is Dalinar’s rigidity that fosters the king’s paranoia. Dalinar tries to invoke the codes, but Sadeas will have none of it. Dalinar says Gavilar followed the codes, Sadeas asks where that got him, and peaceable discourse breaks down. Sadeas barbs Dalinar further:

“I’ll protect the boy my way,” Sadeas said. “You do it your way. But don’t complain to me about his paranoia when you insist on wearing your uniform to bed, just incase the Parshendi suddenly decide—against all reason and precedent—to attack the warcamps. ‘I don’t know where he gets it’ indeed!”

Dalinar has had enough, and turns to go, but Sadeas holds him back, asking if he’s found why Gavilar wrote what he did. Dalinar has not. Sadeas says he never will, and that trying to is tearing him apart. They leave.

On a small hill, Dalinar tells Adolin about Gavilar’s final words to him, which told him to follow the Codes. Gavilar is the one who showed the Codes to Dalinar, after he began changing. He tells his son that, when the assassin attacked, Dalinar was drunk out of his mind. He reminds him that Sadeas acted as the decoy, trying to draw the assassin away, defenseless as he did so. But the ploy failed, and neither Sadeas nor Dalinar can forgive the other for their failure. So they vowed to protect Elhokar, no matter what. They differ on how to do so. But despite the hate that raises between them, Dalinar knows Sadeas for a brave and cunning man, and wants his son to respect that.

Adolin asks Dalinar to at least consider not trusting Sadeas, and Dalinar says he’ll consider it. Then they talk about the writing, which is a mystery to both of them. Gavilar shouldn’t have been able to write, but they can think of no other explanation for the words found next to his body, the words that still drive Dalinar, the words that led him to The Way of Kings. “You must find the most important words a man can say.”

Elhokar finds the two of them, asking whether the Shardbearers can’t be on their way yet, but Dalinar points out that he doubts Elhokar wants to be running across the plateaus exposed. Elhokar asks whether they’re looking into the saddle girth. Dalinar has, but they haven’t been able to decide whether it was sabotage. Elhokar insists, claiming that Dalinar won’t take the plots against his life seriously. Dalinar protests, saying that this is a poor way to try to kill a man in Shardplate. For a moment, Elhokar looks at them as if with suspicion, then orders them to look further into the strap.

Adolin is shocked by this suspicion, and Dalinar promises to speak to him about it later. The bridgecrew has finally arrived.

Dalinar goes to check on Gallant, enjoying the special bond a Ryshadium forms with its master, and thinking again about The Way of Kings. He thinks of the parable of the king who stopped to carry a heavy stone for a struggling peasant, which he can remember word for word. The book is very poorly regarded in Alethkar for its message of regal humility, but that message is beginning to grow on Dalinar. He turns to head back to the warcamp, thinking about bridgemen:

He turned his mount and clopped up onto the bridge, then nodded his thanks to the bridgemen. They were the lowest in the army, and yet they bore the weight of kings.

Quote of the Chapter:

“You see, Dalinar? The Parshendi are too tempted by the exposed bridgemen to fire at anyone else! Yes, we lose a few bridge crews in each assault, but rarely so many that it hinders us. The Parshendi just keep firing at them—I assume that, for whatever reason, they think killing the bridgemen hurts us. As if an unarmored man carrying a bridge was worth the same to the army as a mounted knight in Plate.”

Yeah, what kind of idiot savage would ever value those two lives equally? Are they really so stupid as to think that we value the lives of our own kind, even in their unweaponized state? Sadeas is such a class act.


Yes, I’m dying to discuss Highprince “Don’t Call Me Shirley” Sadeas, but first I have a little aside about spren. After Sadeas and Dalinar tag-team Vamah, he is livid. Angerspren are boiling up all around him. And it is impossible for anyone not to notice that he’s angry. I’m pretty sure this is one of the root causes of how toweringly unsubtle the Alethi are.

Now, to the meat of the subject. Sadeas takes a beating in this chapter. Adolin nearly cuts his face off, Dalinar icily destroys him, and that’s all before Wit even shows up. According to Wit, Sadeas makes his job too easy: “your very nature makes mockery of my mockery. And so it is that through sheer stupidity you make me look incompetent.” He follows this up with a whore joke, which is somewhat feeble but at least cleverly worded: “I point out truths when I see them, Brightlord Sadeas. Each man has his place. Mine is to make insults. Yours is to be in-sluts.” Wit reminds me of a Shakespearean fool. His language always feels out of place, but in an intentionally crafted way. In this conclave of self-obsessed windbags, Wit is a man with a pointy stick, and he has a lot of deflating to do. That being said, I find his jokes a little tedious. What does everyone else think?

Sadeas definitely goes way too far while provoking Dalinar. You do not mess with that man’s sons, and Dalinar’s response is so delicious. He emanates so much threat, so much promise, without ever saying anything that Sadeas could latch onto. And at the end of it, the entire rejoinder has a graceful exit for Sadeas built in. It’s exquisite to watch.

As is probably clear from my choice of quotation, I am quite convinced that Sadeas deserves everything he gets this chapter. While his military calculus may be sound, and, indeed, his strategies have won him a lot of wealth and have killed a lot of Parshendi, the human cost clearly doesn’t even matter to him. There was no somber cost-benefit analysis there, he just unthinkingly believes that some human lives are worth less than others, and actually finds it quaint that the Parshendi and Dalinar expect him to care about the lives of bridgemen.

Knowing how all this ends, it’s rather painful to watch Dalinar unceasingly defend his respect for Sadeas. He believes in his former friend’s bravery and cunning, and I don’t think he’s wrong that those qualities exist, but they cover up the fact that, at his core, Sadeas is a conventional Alethi. He believes in competition. He believes in winning. He believes in ambition. He believes in himself. And even though he wants Elhokar to be safe, to be protected, he won’t disentangle his own ambitions from that. He won’t protect Elhokar without furthering his own goals. Dalinar is changing while Sadeas is remaining the same, and as he changes Dalinar doesn’t succeed at adjusting his expectations for Sadeas.

Adolin sees Sadeas from his own honor-bound Alethi perspective, but he still sees what he’s about more accurately than Dalinar does. He’s wrong to think that Sadeas only cares about himself, but right not to trust him. One of the problematic traits of Dalinar’s character is that, although he listens to his son, and always agrees to consider others’ points of view, he still possesses so much moral certitude that he always ends up acting on his own instincts instead.

Elhokar’s paranoia seems to be on full display here, but we actually know better. The whole Mystery of the Saddle Strap is just an elaborate loyalty test on his part, which I really don’t think Dalinar deserved to be subjected to. What I do like about this is how easily and skillfully Dalinar slips into detective mode.

I’m fascinated by how quickly and easily Elhokar slipped into a set of “proper kingly behaviors,” considering that he is only the second king in a new dynasty, many generations after his nation was last united. We see in this chapter the traditional ways that he handles his highprinces, letting them bicker amongst each other without letting it touch him, and deals with warfare, not going into battle himself but controlling the use of soulcasters as a tax. Gavilar was inspired to unite Alethkar by the legacy of the Sunmaker. I wonder if that time period is also where Elhokar is drawing his instructions on how to rule from.

The Way of Kings Reread Chapter 15 Brandon Sanderson Stormlight Archive Alethi Codes of WarThis chapter also sees an increase in emphasis on the Codes. We learn that Dalinar received them from his brother, that he follows them obsessively, to the extent that it annoys his son and compatriots, and that they seem to be based on essentially decent values, like not requiring something of your soldiers that you would never do yourself. We also hear the opinion that they are the misguided beliefs of how leaders ought to be, utterly divorced from any reality that ever existed. In my opinion, that’s probably partially true, but that doesn’t mean the codes are worthless. They do act as a major handicap in Dalinar’s political life.

Speaking of, Dalinar is a hopeless politician. Sadeas has maneuvered him to always be the bearer of bad news, and I don’t think Dalinar would ever bother to think about how that is inconvenient. He trusts that it is part of the scheme to protect Elhokar, not realizing how short his end of the stick is.

Perhaps even if he knew, he wouldn’t care. The Codes and The Way of Kings have changed him in huge ways, all of which are wrapped up in his visions. Those visions are building up a weight of foreshadowing. Something for us all to look forward to.

That’s all for this week. Next week, Kaladin!

Carl Engle-Laird is the fiction assistant and resident Stormlight Archive correspondent for You can follow him on Twitter here.

Kurt Lorey
1. Shimrod
I believe Wit has a purpose behind the words, so I'm not too worried about the brilliance of his humor. But, he is using the position of Wit as his shield.
Gary Singer
2. AhoyMatey
I suspect Hoid doesn't have to worry too much about mortality.
Flint Timmins
3. Giovanotto
Great post Carl. I agree with you about Wit. Brandon Sanderson seems to enjoy wordplay quite a bit. You find characters in many of Brandons book, like Lightsong in Warbreaker and Wayne in Alloy of Law, doing the same act. I also enjoy wordplay but I think Wit and Shallan just do too much of it.

Do we know how long it's been since since the Kholins united Alethkar. It could be Elhokar learned his politics first hand from his parents. I also think it's obvious to the Alethi and the reader that the real power lies in Sadeas and Dalinar. Without their loyalty Elhokar wouldn't stand a chance.
4. AndrewB
Carl - I like Wit's humor. But then I am found of sarcastic, witty humor. It is why I love the Naked Gun movies so much. Leslie Neilson was a comedic genius in his timing. Also, I am envious of Wit. While I like this type of humor, I am usually cannot come up with such good lines and puns.

This chapter shows a perfect example of the difference in attitude between the seasoned elder and the rash youn man. Unfortunately, I, like Adolin, was not as rational as Dalinor when I was Adolin's age.

Thanks for reading my musings
(Aka the musespren)
(Sent from my smartphone; please excuse any typos)
Jennifer B
5. JennB
It is interesting reading the Alethi Codes of War definition of honor on the plate above when you know about Sadeas's end game. It's almost as if it was written with him in mind.
Ben Lillijord
6. Superben
'... He still possesses so much moral certitude that he always ends up acting on his own instincts instead'

This so perfectly sums up the one major flaw in Dalinar's personality. Well said.

Personally, I laughed out loud at the in-sluts joke. Of course, I still enjoy a good poop joke, so take that for what it's worth.
7. Twitchity
Personally, I find Sanderson's attempts at humorous dialogue to come across as flat at best; he's got a deft hand at characterization and earnest emotion, but he's not in any way a particularly witty writer, and probably shouldn't be trying to force humor, especially when it's key to a character's role. Wit's dialogue (and the later "meet cute" scripting as well) jerked me out of the story every time I encountered it. It's a shame, because when Sanderson plays to his strengths he's quite good indeed.
Ben Lillijord
8. Superben
I always figured that the Wit encounters were written to jerk us out of the story. Wit (Hoid) is a character who isn't of their world, and doesn't fit in.

As Adolin says (not a direct quote, I don't have my book): Wit isn't a lighteyes or a darkeyes, he is just Wit.

Maybe I'm grasping at straws though. I'll always defend my home boy Sanderson.
William Carter
9. wcarter
Sadeas is a paragon of virtue and moral fortitude. He's protecting the King, killing the king's enemies while enriching the kingdom, and he's greatly reducing the number of convicts and undesirables present in the region*.
I honestly don't see what's not to like about the guy...

*Warning studies have shown reading or hearing large amounts of sarcasm can lead to fits of confusion, rage or mistaken trolling. Please consult your local moderator before replying.
Nadine L.
10. travyl
the Saddle Strap is just an elaborate loyalty test
I didn't see it as a loyalty test, but the desperate act of Elhokar to make Dalinar believe that there is a real threat on his life - as he is convinced. He just didn't consider the further implications it would have on Dalinar because it happend "under Dalinar's watch".

wcarter @9 :)
Robert Dickinson
11. ChocolateRob
@9 Don't forget looking stylish while he does it too.
Jared Wright
12. J Town
"Personally, I find Sanderson's attempts at humorous dialogue to come across as flat at best; he's got a deft hand at characterization and earnest emotion, but he's not in any way a particularly witty writer, and probably shouldn't be trying to force humor, especially when it's key to a character's role."

It's nearly impossible to write humor and have it work for everyone. (Unless you happen to be Terry Pratchett.) It does appear to me to be true to the character, though, and it works thematically as already mentioned. So it's effective in its purpose, even if it's not to everyone's tastes.
Matthew Watkins
13. oraymw
Okay, I have a thought on the Parshendi.

First, we know that the Parshendi are able to fight without orders, changing their formations in a moment, most likely when their singing changes. I suspect that the Parshendi have something like a hive mind.

So, this line jumped out at me: "for whatever reason, they think killing the bridgmen hurts us." Maybe the Parshendi feel the death of each individual member? If they are a hive mind, and they feel each death through the entire army, then it would make sense to target the least armored person, because it decreases the effectiveness of all the other soldiers.
14. James T Eblefunker
I think Shallan is supposed to be a bit unfunny. Everyone just kind of rolls their eyes at her.
Keith Buttram
15. Wookster125
I usually like Wit's comments, but the insults / in-sluts comment didn't really work for me.

Part of the problem was that I may have been reading too quickly at first, and didn't realize they were different words.

The other part of the problem to me, I think, is that the joke only works in english. Thinking of the Alethi speaking english just throws me for a loop.

Reminds me of Min's toh / toes comment in tWoT.
16. McKay B
Some of Wit's quips are quite clever. Others are quite flat. I think this is on purpose: I think Hoid is intentionally relaxing his standards banter-wise, both to cover up who he really is and to be an effective King's Wit.

I kinda see Brandon himself in a similar light, actually. I think he CAN write very witty dialogue, but he doesn't feel like it's in-character for his characters to use it constantly. So he sometimes leaves in the quick-and-dirty joking that isn't as clever. (I doubt he can come up with the really good stuff as fast as e.g. Pratchett.)
17. Ogrepete
One thing I've never understood very well is why/how Ryshadium came to be and then came to be tamed by humans. Do they have something to do with spren, like every other "magical" thing in Roshar?
18. Freelancer
Some are making the same mistake as Adolin, supposing that Dalinar doesn't see what's happening in front of him. Adolin has already been corrected on that count once, and will be two more times. Dalinar is aware that in the scenario Sadeas has crafted for their "teamwork" to supp0rt Elhokar, Dalinar always wears the black hat. He gets it that Sadeas will always make the politically favorable move for himself, and leave Dalinar looking weaker, ineffective, or at least less favorable. After all, as Sadeas rightly points out, the Alethi lighteyes view everything as a competition, so why would Sadeas do otherwise?

Dalinar knows, and he doesn't care (to his son's chagrin). What's more, the subtext strongly suggests that he prefers it this way, accepting all of the negative backblast on himself, since it doesn't concern him. As I've said about similarly related concepts more than once, better him than someone who can't take it. He simply chooses to not play the politics, because to do so would demand that he engage in those behaviors which would oppose his adherence to the Codes. This, this is called conviction. Standing for principles unconditionally, and willingly accepting the consequences.

At the moment, I'd say that only two people are truly aware of how thoroughly Dalinar has devoted himself to these principles. Navani, who has known for awhile, and Wit, as can be seen by his obvious choice not to include Dalinar in his mockery.
19. Confutus
The herald Icons are Jes-Chach, the same as for chapter 13 (although reversed, with Jes in the upper position this time. Whether this is significant I don't know. )
Again, the connections I see are with Elhokar and Adolin.

I'm going to take issue with the idea that the Alethi Codes of War are divorced from reality. They seem to express sound principles of military leadership that one finds exemplified here and there in the better forces around the world and throughout history.

As we will see later, the Codes date from the time when the military of ancient Alethela was organized by the Knights Radiant for the purposes expressed in their ideals, to protect the civilian populace from things such as Midnight Essence, thunderclasts, voidbringers, and whatnot. It is no accident that Kaladin is also following the codes, more by instinct than knowledge.

Sadeas more than anyone else epitomizes how far modern Alethkar has drifted from the original focus of a protective military to the mentality of "War is a game conducted for fun and profit." in the absence of periodic desolations to remind them of what they were supposed to be doing. From this point of view, the war codes are an anachronism, but I take it that it's really the modern Alethi view of war that's dysfunctional.

Sanderson has practically telegraphed a surprise attack by the Parshendi on the Alethi warcamps or the King's complex at some point in the story, one which will prove disastrous for the Alethi.
Maiane Bakroeva
20. Isilel
I can only agree that Wit and Shallan just aren't that witty and their banter often feels forced. I liked Lightsong, though. Also, Wit's insults of Sadeas here aren't particularly illuminating of Sadeas's true nature. IMHO, calling him stupid is generic and a disservice to those Wit supposedly tried to warn.

Adolin reminds us yet again that Dalinar's armor glowed during the fight. Definitely a hint that he was surge-binding, IMHO. Makes me fairly certain that this was what drained and cracked Elokhar's gems. Why not Dalinar's own, though?

And yes, Dalinar doesn't _really_ listen to people, but then since nobody truly understands or shares his goals, their advice is also of limited value. Even though Adolin is right about Sadeas, of course.
Dalinar's political acumen... Hm. He is actually a strange mix. Some forms of manipulation he sees very clearly and can employ skillfully, while he is willfully blind to others. But would he be so blind, if not for misplaced belief that his visions gave him answers, rather than merely warnings?

What I don't understand about the Strapgate is - yes, it is normally a poor way to kill a shardbearer, but with a pissed off chasmfiend in the picture, it is quite possible to get hurt or killed if the strap snaps at a bad moment. So, is Elokhar just terminally stupid?

Back to the bridges. Having glanced at the map - yea, slave caravans travelling from Shinovar to the Shattered Plains to provide bridgemen who last about half a dozen runs or so can't make any kind of economical sense.
And is it really that helpful to use Bridgemen as pincushions? Parshendi only fire at them when they carry and place their bridges - wouldn't it be cheaper to provide the bridgemen with shields and use something shield tactics to protect the troops?
And, for that matter, why can't noble Dalinar copy the technique, but have protected soldiers carry the bridges? Surely they won't be in more danger than other soldiers, so it would conform to the Codes?

Also, Soulcasters - does Elokhar control all of them? I thought that every prince had Ardentia of his own and they are the ones who own and operate the Soulcasters.
Niraj Merchant
21. NirajMerchant
@20 If I remember correctly, it seemed that the gems in Elhokar's shardplate were depleted, making his armour break more easily, something that wouldnt have happened under normal circumstances. So he was putting himself in serious danger under normal circumstances.

Secondly I think that all the gemhearts were effectively on loan from Elhokar to the various highprinces. So even if their ardentia operated them, they ultimately belonged to the crown. In fact the crown pays them a substantial sum of money to purchase them after they have been captured.
Jeremy Guebert
22. jeremyguebert
When it comes to Sadeas, I think Adolin said it best when he called him an eel. He's not completely morally bankrupt, and there are some positive things about him, but as a whole, he's not someone I'd want to spend any time with.

@ Wit - I've always been a fan of witty banter/wordplay. Lightsong is one of my favorite characters ever, and I enjoy (as a rule) both Wit's insults and the back and forth banter between Shallan and Kabsal. My favorite part of this particular interaction was Renarin coming up with the perfect response to Wit's challenge "Nothing ridiculous".

The whole strap thing was one of the less intelligent things that Elhokar has done. I was somewhat upset with him when I found out that he set it up himself.
Matt Stoumbaugh
23. LazerWulf
I think it's explained in a later chapter that Wit saves his best barbs for people who "deserve" it. And by "deserve", he means people who will take his criticism and use it to change themselves. That's why he's so hard on Renarin. Sadeas is to set in his ways (thus, "stupid") to ever change, so Wit doesn't put his effort into his barbs at him. The only reason he still makes them at all is because others expect it of him, if only because they don't "get" the true purpose of The Wit.

Personally, I like Wit's humor, even the "in-sluts" joke. A bad joke, and a bad pun in particular, is an almost unifying thing. People will disagree on whether or not a joke is "good" or "funny", but a bad joke/pun is universal (I enjoy them for precisely this reason). But if I enjoy them and you don't, at least we can both agree that it was bad. (See? Unification!)
24. Garr
"The Parshendi just keep firing at them—I assume that, for whatever reason, they think killing the bridgemen hurts us. As if an unarmored man carrying a bridge was worth the same to the army as a mounted knight in Plate.”

I thought this line was significant. We know that the Parshendi aren't mindless savages like Sadeas thinks they are. What do they understand that leads them to this practice? Do they understand how Sadeas' use of the bridgemen weakens his moral state and that of his army? Do they see that if they continue in moral decay, the armies will destroy themselves, or at least be unprepared for the Desolation?

@13 I hadn't considered the possibility of a hive mind affecting their perspective on this. I like the thought. It will be interesting to learn more about the Parshendi/Parshmen.
25. Daimon
Newer information suggests that the Parshendi don't really have a hive-mind. They are all connected to something, but they're each an individual.

I'd guess their tactics are an outgrowth of misunderstanding. The Parshendi have very limited numbers, they're all part of a single tribe that has done it's best to isolate itself from the rest of the world.

I'd guess that they shoot at the bridgemen because they can't really imagine how many more Alethi there are than there are of them. The largerst poertion of their people are in this war, they think that in a war of attrition they have an chance equal to the Alethi, and so shape the battle to maximize loss of Alethi life. They're very wrong in their assumptions. It's kind of ironic, they're slowly losing this war because they're not comsopolitan enough, so Sadeaus is right, they are savages, though they aren't stupid, which is more or less what Sadeaus means when he says savages.
Tim Kington
26. TimKington
@20 I think Dalinar's gems were drained too, but everyone expected that after he held off the chasmfiend.
Sean Dowell
27. qbe_64
This observation would be better off in the interlude about measuring spren, but I will likely have forgotten it by then so here we go.

I was watching a Brian Greene (physicist/string theorist) special last night, called Fabric of the Cosmos. While going through the history of quantum mechanics he mentioned something very interesting. In general, the characteristics of electrons are not defined until they are measured. I immediately thought of what happened when the spren were measured. I'm not sure if Brandon has any background in physics, but If spren turn out to be macroscopic representations of subatomic particles, then count me in! I love me a little actual science in my SFF.
Sean Dowell
28. qbe_64
@20, 21, 26.
In the prelude Szeth mentions that shardplate interferes with his lashing and also removes Galivars breast plate to get to the gems to draw in the stormlight. I take this to mean that you can't draw stormlight from gems inside of plate through the plate itself. But you may be able to draw stormlight out of the gems in your own plate. When he says interfers with his lashing he may refer to the fact that he couldn't bind a quarter of his own weight inside the plate or lash himself to walls while wearing it, or he could mean that when he draws in stormlight he'd draw it in from his own gems and render the plate useless.
Has anyone asked this of Brandon directly or not? Can you draw stormlight through shardplate? Or can you draw stormlight from your own shardplate?
Alice Arneson
29. Wetlandernw
qbe_64 @28 - Does this help? It's the only thing I could find on a quick search.
INTERVIEW: Sep, 2012 (Verbatim)
ZENITH: Szeth mentions that Lashings don't work with shardplate (on?). Is there any way to get around this (As in, lashing with shardplate on, or lashing people with shardplate on), and, if so, does it have anything to do with the Knights Radiant and/or their ideals?
BRANDON SANDERSON: This has to do with the nature of the magics in the cosmere. They interfere with one another. Something that contains a lot of power--we call it investiture--resists the efforts of magic to influence it. A strong spirit can interfere as well.
30. Garr
What if Elhokar drew stormlight from his own plate before the battle? We know he sees the cryptics, which likely will lead to soulcasting, but there may be another power that Elhokar has access to... one less obvious when you're using it. (I think he'd know if he went to Shadesmar.)
Adam S.
31. MDNY
I don't think we know enough yet about stormlight. We know that shardplate interferes with drawing external stormlight, as per Szeth's thoughts. But in Dalinar's visions, he saw the radiants glowing, and performing fantastic feats that no one today performs. If Elhokar's plate was drained just from his encounter with the chasmfiend, how could the radiants in Dalinar's visiontransport hundreds of miles, fall from the sky, and battle monsters without their plate being drained and broken? Part of the answer seems to be their link with spren, but since we don't know what kind of spren links each order, or how Shadesmar links to the orders, or exactly what Elhokar has seen (whether he has seen Shadesmar or just the spren), I don't think we can say exactly what his deal is. Yet.
Alice Arneson
32. Wetlandernw
I think part of what's going on with the Shardplate is the difference in the magics - the outward effect might be the same (or similar) but the way the magic is used is all the difference. I suspect that the KR were using the magic of the Shardplate (which is somehow part of the Surges and Essences) while Szeth would have to use the magic and the Shardplate separately - which means they'd interfere with each other.

Does that make any sense? (I know the idea makes sense - just not sure if my explanation does.)
Adam S.
33. MDNY
wetlander- I get all that, and I understand what you're saying and agree. I just feel like based on Jasnah's statements, the linking with spren may play a role as well, something I feel we'll learn more about in WOR, but just don't know enough about at this point. Maybe someone sabotaged Elhokar's armor, maybe he drew on the stormlight, or maybe neither happened. We just don't know enough about him and what he sees and does, nor about how the KR worked with their spren, specifically the orders linked with those symbol-head things (forget their name).
34. Zen
Considering that the KR armor always glowed brightly, I would say that what Dalinar, et al have is dull and lifeless. They don't really understand how to charge or use it. Much of that probably goes back to Honor and the Ideals of the Radiants.

I suspect Syl would not be much more impressed by the evil use of Shardplate, than the evil use of Shardblades. Both are lifeless husks of what they once were, holy objects debased and corrupted by evil and ignorance.
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
MDNY @33 - Oh, absolutely, I think the spren bond is critical to proper use of the Shards. I think that's part of what makes a Knight Radiant - and besides, we know Szeth doesn't have one.

I also agree that we don't know what's going on with Elhokar; we just don't have enough info on him personally. I find it easier to make reasonable speculations when I take into account not only what I know about Elhokar (which ain't much), but also what I know about Szeth, Kaladin, Dalinar, the Knights Radiant, the Heralds, the spren, etc. I'm much better at working out the general picture and then trying to figure out how that might apply to an individual, but as you say... we just don't know enough to figure out what's going on with Elhokar.

Regarding the cracked gems, there are three possibilities: A) they were flawed to begin with, B) Elhokar unknowingly drew on them, C) someone else drew on them. (A rider to C might be "something else affected them - like the chasmfiend.) If it's A, then there's a saboteur in the entourage, and someone really is trying to kill him. If it's B, Elhokar may be closer to being a KR than he looks, which would be cool if surprising - or closer to being like Szeth, which might not be quite so cool. If it's C... Could Dalinar (or anyone else) draw on the gems in someone else's Plate? Could the chasmfiend affect them? If so, why only Elhokar's?

I think the most probable answer is B, though I won't hazard a guess as to which way Elhokar is going from there. Sure am looking forward to finding out... According to facebook, Brandon is very nearly finished with WoR; just the epilogue left, at last notice.
Jennifer B
36. JennB
qbe_64 @ 27
I think that Brandon Sanderson was studying physics before he switched tracks and started writing fantasy. Don't know how far he got, but he probably has a pretty good base.
Flint Timmins
37. Giovanotto
I lean more towards the idea that Elhokar's plate was somehow sabotaged by the Ghostbloods or some such villain simply because I don't see anything extraordinary about him during the fight. If a Radiant (or in this case pre-Radiant) can draw on his own Stormlight, I would expect some mention of Elhokar's abilities during the fight or see Dalinar's own plate weakened after his theatrics. If Radiants can draw from other suits, why would they ever fight together? I think the most realistic answer is that someone really is out to get Elhokar. I suspect he his paranoia is being fueled in part by real threats, not just cryptics and his father's death.
Jeremy Guebert
38. jeremyguebert
@ Parshendi tactics - I find it unlikely that they beleive the army will be weakened as a whole by taking out a large number of soft target. Until Bridge 4 starts wearing carapace armour, the Parshendi leave the bridgement alone after the fighting starts; if their entire reasoning was that they thought they could weaken the whole by killing the highest number of combatants, they would continue targeting the unarmoured bridgemen after the initial assault. My best guess is simply less sophisticated tactics, due to lack of recent experience in warfare.

@ the Codes - I found it interesting to note that in each point of the codes, the phrasing begun with "the officer shall..." - it seems to deliberately set out a higher standard for those in charge than for the common soldier. It would be nice to see that principle actually carried out.

@ Elhokar's gems - I would agree with Wetlander @35 - I think option B is the most likely (in addition to the reasons listed there, I don't see how an assassin could get close enough to make the switch, and why such an assassin would stop at just swapping out the gems), although we certainly don't know yet. As always, I look forward to learning more as the series progresses.
39. Freelancer
I come up short of trusting Jasnah's reference to the cryptics as "a type of spren", for the following reasons:

~ So far, Roshar is the only location represented in the cosmere with spren
~ The cryptics are inhabitants of Shadesmar, which is not particular to Roshar, but is an alternate plane of existence for the entire cosmere
~ Brandon refers to them exclusively as cryptics, giving the barest nod to the term "truthspren" as an understandable fan-chosen title
~ From Jasnah's perspective, indeed anyone living on Roshar, where there are myriad forms of large and small entities whose visibility is mutable, and subject to various stimuli and circumstances, a creature which is nominally invisible except to those it chooses, is going to be thought of as a type of spren.
40. WonderChimp
At some point Brandon said (I can't find the reference) the symbols that make up the heads of the cryptics would be familiar. I'm wondering if they would look like the Stamps that a Forger makes.

The reason to think this is that the Forgers think they are changing the soul of an object, but they are likely changing the object in the Cognative realm. If the Cognative is seperate from the Spiritual, then it would make sense that fixing the Emporer's mind would require something out of the Cognative realm, not out of the Spiritual realm.

Also when Shallan goes to Shadesmar (Cognative Realm) she has the objects talking to her. Soulcasting fits with the lore/nomenclature of Forging.
William Carter
41. wcarter
I'm betting the cryptics heads look eerily similar to the Aeonic alphabet and the ruins used to denote metals in Allomancy.
Alice Arneson
42. Wetlandernw
"Last chapter of Words of Radiance (Stormlight 2) is done. Still have to do epilogue, epigraphs, and a few interludes. But we have an ending!" (25 minutes ago)
Dan Anderson
43. DanAnder
Several people said that Wit isn't that witty, I beg to differ. Wit is not suppose to be extraordinary clever, he suppose todo his job as the kings political tool. As such his insults best served when their subject or their surrounding aware of their nature, with nearby servants who can overhear the juicy bits its a bonus.
44. Superben
People were wondering how Elhokar (or someone else) could draw on the gems in his plate, when Szeth clearly states this is impossible. I have a theory.

Looking at mistborn: 2 types of magics could sometimes perform the same trick. Such as super strength coming from both allomancy and feruchemy. I think the same thing is happening here. Szeth uses one type while the KR use another type. The KR type is probably aligned with shardplate. While Szeth's is at odds with it.

It makes me wonder where the blades fit into all this though. Considering they seem to work with both and na'vi (ahem, Syl) doesn't like them.
Jeremy Guebert
45. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @ 42 - Thanks for sharing the good news!
Alice Arneson
47. Wetlandernw
Jeremy - I've been watching his facebook like a hawk... :) I'm so eager to see this next book.
Jennifer B
48. JennB
Haha...let's hope I can get that association out of my head before the next book comes out. We always called her Nagi. ;-)
Phil Anthrop
49. Isomere
The Alethi codes of war image has a guy with his hand up in the air and a warrior swinging a sword at him. Does that trajectory seem like it went THROUGH him to anyone else? Makes me think the shard blades were originally designed not to kill when passing through someone, and something has changed over the eons
Josep Abenza
50. JosepAbenza
It's curious that nobody has mentioned this, but the greatshells have a unique type of spren associated with them:
Dalinar looked up at the hulking carcass. Tiny, near-invisible spren were floating out of the beast’s body, vanishing into the air. They looked like the tongues of smoke that might come off a candle after being snuff ed. Nobody knew what kind of spren they were; you only saw them around the freshly killed bodies of greatshells.
Given what Carl mentions in his article:
Beyond that, they are far larger than any crustacean should be able to grow. During a Q&A Brandon Sanderson said that this is possible for a couple of reasons. First, gravity is lower on Roshar. More importantly, however, greatshells have a symbiotic relationship of some sort with a special kind of spren.
I guess these are the spren mentioned.
Jonathan Purcell
51. Lomeon
@49 Isomere
That's a really great observation! I really like the idea that the shardblades are broken or corrupted and are not behaving as they should. This theory is corroborated by the fact that all of the Radiants we have seen wielded blades and were presumably bonded to spren, but Syl hates the blades.

I had never really looked closely at the scenes illustrated in the Alethi Codes of War. Here's a breakdown as I see them:

1. An Alethi officer's sword is caught by an unarmed man in a robe during combat
2. An Alethi officer swings a sword through a floating (or sitting) man in a robe with his hands raised
3. Two Alethi officers cross swords in combat
4. An Alethi officer crosses weapons with a spearman
5. An Alethi officer stands holding two swords

Alternatively to your theory, these images could correspond with the codes themselves:

1. Could be depicting a wobbly drunken officer whose sword is easily caught
2. Could be depicting an unhelmeted officer (out of uniform) attacking an helpless man
3. Could be depicting officers needlessly dueling
4. Could be depicting an unmatched battle the officer would not take part in himself
5. Could be depicting an officer carrying a looted sword from an abandoned ally
Sean Dowell
52. qbe_64
@29, Wetlander, thanks for the blurb!

Well there's a few assumptions, but I think they're logical and safe ones.
Assuming Szeth removes the breastplate because shardplate interferes with drawing in stormlight, then you cannot draw stormlight through someone elses armor. I think it's also safe to assume, based on the logical nature of Brandon's magic systems, that plate would not "magically" distinguish intent between friend and foe, and therefore Dalinar could not draw stormlight from Elhokar gems, even while trying to save his life.

In the days of the KR, Dalinar makes no mention of pouches or sources of stormlight (this might because he has no idea that you can draw in stormlight), but the female KR makes mention of saving her healing for those who need it, which suggests a finite amount of resources/stormlight available. This leads me to believe that (now we're out of safe assumptions and well into speculation), the KR housed their stormlight within their armor, and therefore it is possible to draw on your own gems. How they do so without rendering their plate useless I do not know. But following that line of logic, Elhokar did something surge-y to deplete his own gems. Dalinar, either drew his own gems' light in as well or his plate just got fucked up by a giant chasmfiend trying very hard to crush him.
James Briggs
53. traveler
HI all Ive been gone for a weekand just caught up. So this post will be all over the place. I dont have access to a computer other than work so it doesnt allow me to go to all of these sights you send. RATS.
questions Are we not supose to include spoilers? I thought this was an open discusion.
I have heard some talk about Cultivation, Honor and Devotion and understand some of what you are saying because ive read all of Brandons worksbut this is about how they are relavant to this world?Im interested in a better understanding.
Next I think that investure is what keeps any one from using lahsings on some one in shardplate and that a neahl bonded spren is what alowes a KR to use his lashings. I think tha dalinar was protecting the king and that act is what alowed dalinar to exceed all expectations. they could not draw from someone elses plate or the design would be flawed. but a spren bonded may account for using your own stormlight while in your plate.
As to what type of spren you will get or have will depend on your abilatieswhe you start and that is what created the ten orders. As to the oaths I thought that I read somewhere that the first 4 oaths applied to all of the radiants and that they had others that applied to each order indavidual to each of the ten.
I think that Whits insult to sadias was inspired, think about it Sadias pays everyone to keep them in line with promotions or fear ore money to maintain his control. So IN-SLUTS was an insult to him BIGTIME. BURN !!
18@Freelancer Dalinar is unaware of Sadias until the very end. But now the Bear is awake and Dalinar has Navani to help. Other high princes better watch their tailfearthers.
19 @Confutus Dalinar is going to unite the war camps and the parshendi will attack to keep this from happening. I wonder if this is what drive the Parshmen to become parshendi?
24-25 That is a cool thought, what if the male and female pairs think together, you se them fighting in pairs and four at a time. So their minds would be lonked and when nessasary they could do this with others at will.And the dont know that the alethi cant so they kill the bridgemen to hurt the whole.PS I like true science when he can to.
49-51 I never saw that about the knights in the picture. what if there is a way to catch a blade with your hands? ore have it pass through you without harm if you follow the codes the right way?

Last thing, how may rewrites will he do it be satisfiedbefor he is done. I am dieng to read the next book!
Alice Arneson
54. Wetlandernw
briggs2 @53 - Just a couple of things... I think the "rule" about spoilers (more a suggestion, really) is that if you're talking about another series, it's kind to mark it as such; if you're talking about things Brandon has read from WoR, you should mark it; if it's in WoK, it's fair game. Someone else might have a different take.

About the KR Oaths - Each order has five Ideals; the first Ideal (Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.) is shared by all ten orders. The other four were unique to each order; for example, Kaladin's oath, "I will protect those who cannot protect themselves," is unique to the Windrunners.
Jeremy Guebert
55. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @ 54 - That's my understanding of how spoilers should be treated in this re-read as well. The idea being that this is a re-read of WoK, so anything within that book is fair game, but trying to keep things safe for people who haven't read all of the other Cosmere novels and/or don't want to know anything about WoR until they read it.

Briggs @ 53 - Specifically about Cultivation et. al.: Brandon's Cosmere novels (aka those not set on Earth or a near imitation of it) all share the same universe. They are on separate planets, but there is one overall world/structure that ties them all together. Within the Cosmere, there was once something known as Adonalsium, which was some sort of God-like being/thing. We actually don't know a lot about Adonalsium itself aside from the fact that it was shattered into 16 Shards. Each Shard is itself a God-like being, and is specifically aligned with a trait or intention. Cultivation, Honor and Devotion are all Shards. From the Coppermind ( Warning: Only click that link if you have ample free time), the Shards we know about are:

Ruin and Preservation from Scadrial (Mistborn)
Endowment from Nalthis (Warbreaker)
Devotion and Dominion from Sel (Elantris, Emperor's Soul)
Honor, Odium and Cultivation from Roshar (Stormlight Archive)

These Shards can either work together or in opposition to each other, and are generally responsible for most if not all magics seen within the Cosmere. Odium is a particularly nasty piece of work, and is seemingly bent on destroying all of the other Shards.

There is an abundance of speculation involving Shards, but I think that covers the basics.
James Briggs
56. traveler
Thanks all. I will mark what I read in other places. Untill I can get my own conputer and access I will be locked out from the coppermind. I intend to get one as soon as my last bill is paid off ,It will be my x-mass present to me this year!
and thanks for the rundown on the shards.
Jennifer B
57. JennB
Brandon Sanderson7 hours ago via Twitter
Just finished the Words of Radiance (Stormlight 2) epilogue. 11k words long. I still have a handful of Interludes and skipped scenes to do.
Deana Whitney
58. Braid_Tug
@ 57: Oh, boy!
Did he learn from writing WOT epilogues or what? Maybe that should be WOT prologues... wordy...

So Peter, is he still on track for the November release?

@55, yes, thank you for the rundown.
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
Peter can give a more definitive answer, but I'm pretty sure November won't happen. They'd said at one point that if he could have the first draft done in April, they'd make November. Since the first draft is not quite finished, and it's mid-June... I'm betting they'll shoot for a March release, but that's just my personal guesswork. There are a lot of marketing considerations thrown in, as well as physical constraints of publishing.

(Sometimes I'm one of those "expect the worst and all your surprises will be pleasant" people... though it can bite. I convinced myself that my first child would be two weeks late, and I wasn't quite ready when he arrived a week early! In this case, if I tell myself March, there's a chance I'll be pleasantly surprised by a January release. :) )
Sean Dowell
60. qbe_64
Anybody watched Spaceballs?

The scene where the movie is done before they've filmed it, and they use to find where the rebels went. Man would it be nice if that existed for the rest of Stormlight Archive.

Spaceballs, what a great movie.
Adam S.
61. MDNY
LOL qbe. I love Spaceballs (own it), but Mel Brooks' best is History of the World Part I. And yes, I wish we could fast-forward to just get all 10 books today.
62. Zen
I just got notice from Amazon that the planned release date for Words of Radiance has been changed to January 21, 2014. So, be optimistic, cremmlings. It is coming.
Laura Taylor
63. Lauranimal
Still trying to catch up with this re-read! And over the last few threads, a thought has been bouncing around in my head:

We will keep seeing Syl become more solid, more conscious and sentient. More physically present. Where is the limit of this? Just how manifest can she become?

With that in mind, I've been batting around this kind of crazy thought that, what if the Shin... are Spren. The spirit of a thing or person, manifest and become that thing or person.

Always, when we see spren, they wriggle up from the surface/stone. If the surface of Roshar is a manifestation of the shards... and maybe the splintered shards, then stone shamanism makes a bit more sense... and the way that the Shin view things so very differently makes a lot of sense? Are they they the spren who would be the balance of Cultivation and Honor?

I think this would also explain how Szeth would have Surge-binding abilities without actually BEing a KR.

And there are no spren in Shinovar because they ARE Spren (?)

And, as for the stone/surface of Roshar it's self... Kabsal demonstrates the use of cymatics in shaping the patterns of the various city formations; The underlying stone patterns. Someone mentioned Brandon's use of physics and string theory with regard to matter being able to exist in 2 forms. Oscillating wave, or static. Once you measure a thing at it's most base form (which is energy... the thing that builds the scaffolding of matter ...the string in string theory) your expectation,or your measurement of it or conviction about it, then defines it.

So I'm wondering ... are spren a type of energy scaffolding? a basic building element or group of elements with evolving consciousness? The more conscious they become... the more defined they become, the more solid they become in terms of real matter. The more conviction about the attributes that they define themselves by... the more solid and physically defined they become.

It seems to me, the greatest weapon one will be able to use against the voidbringers and thunderclasts would be vibration. Sound. cymatics. In fact, I speculate that some form of this was used to shatter Honor, and the shattered planes are the physical pattern/manifestation of that living stone/shard; aka, shattered plains.

And if Spren are the spiritual remnants... strings... pieces of the existing shards... which are the source of various magics, then bonding with spren is what would make those magics available for an individual to use. I can't help myself. Szeth doesn't have a spren... because he IS a spren. And maybe his crime was in claiming that his people are or were the original voidbringers... or the energy that was the scaffolding for them. (I know... this sounds really convoluted, but it makes sense in my head!)
Laura Taylor
64. Lauranimal
Hmmm... tried to edit my post... didn't seem to work.

Wanted to add another thought that occurred to me:

If Szeth is a spren, instead of bonding to a person and gaining manifestation through a symbiotic relationship, he is bonded to stone. His oath stone.
65. NightowlKnitter
I know I'm very late to post, but I don't understand why everyone is saying that either Elokhar or Dalinar had to absorb the stormlight from Elokhar's armor. In the prologue, where we are first introduced to shardplate, BS is very explicit in showing us how damage to the armor causes stormlight leakage, and eventual full armor failure. He then tells us that the armor is able to repair itself, with time. However, Elokhar first damaged his shardplate when he jumped off the vantage point a couple of plateaus back, then, just a short time later, he was knocked off his horse by the chasmfiend, and finally when he rushed the beast, it knocked him free (just before knocking Dalinar off his horse with the tail). In both of the first two incidents, we are told specifically that the armor was leaking stormlight. Clearly, there has been enough damage just in this to damage the stones in Elokhar's shardplate. There's no need to have someone using stormlight to accomplish this task! This is NOT to say that any one of these men COULDN'T be using stormlight, only that it isn't necessary for them to have the outcome they did.
Alerie Corbray
66. AlerieCorbray
@Nightowlknitter: I also came late to the party. It is nice to see a more recent post. If I remember correctly, most of the king's gems were cracked. I suspect that the cracked gems are unable to hold stormlight, which acts like a battery of power for the shard plate. The inference being that it is possible that the gems were that way before the king put on the armor. Dalinar is asked by his nephew, if that many gens could have been broken in the fall or during the battle with the beast. His uncle can not remember a time when so many were lost. The conclusion being that someone either switched the gems or damaged those on the king's armor, knowing that its power would fail as the king met the chasm beast. As far as the forty foot fall from the observation rock, it was not significantly damaging in itself. At some point, either near the end of this book or in the released chapters of TWOR, Kaladin makes a similar drop of about forty feet, without any armor and only has storm light to protect himself. He is not harmed.
Alerie Corbray
67. AlerieCorbray
@Nightowlknitter: if what I am purposing in the above seems wrong, I found my backup. It is in Chapter 36, where Jasnah has lead the ladies on a dangerous walk. (534/1001). Jasnah has just demonstrated to Shallan's horror, the Soulcaster as a weapon. In the process, the smokestone crystal cracked and lost all of its stormlight. Jasnh removed the broken crystal from the device and popped it into a pocket. This was the series of events that convinced Shallan to switch the two Soulcasters.

In edit - I also found your citation on the 40 foot drop made by Kaladin. It is from chapter 59, page 843/1001. Kaladin makes the 40 ft drop, without armor and no significant damage. He lost all of his retained stormlight, and his legs ached a little, but he was okay. So my conclusion that the king in leaping from his high vantage point of about 40 feet in height, that he would be fine, remains correct. He lost Stormlight, but having the armor aided him in retaining the rest. This is not what cracked most of the gem stones that serve as a battery inside of his shardwear.

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