Thu
Aug 8 2013 12:00pm
The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 27 and 28

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on Tor.com, your weekly fix of Roshar revelry. This week we reach the end of Part 2: The Illuminating Storms, which means we’re more than a third of the way through and approaching the halfway point quickly. Major events are happening in the lives of Kaladin and Dalinar. The first chapter takes us to the Kaladin’s breakthrough moment with the men of bridge four, which further solidifies many of them to his lead. With “Decision” Dalinar lets off some steam Shardbearer style while wrestling with one of the most important decisions of his life as a highprince of Alethkar.

Chapter 27: Chasm Duty

Setting: The Shattered Plains

Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens: Rock and Teft have taken to training with Kaladin the past two mornings after their first night spent squeezing knobweed reeds together. The trio continue to work their knobweed supplies each night, but Gaz seems suspicious of their actions.

Bridge Four is called to a bridge run early, but Sadeas’ forces arrive too late and are turned back against the entrenched Parshendi. After returning, Kaladin goes back to the same apothecary he had procured bandages from days ago with the hopes of selling some of the knobweed sap.

The apothecary tells Kaladin that what he’s collected isn’t worth very much as it is from wild knobweed, but he’ll give Kaladin some clearmarks for it. However, Kaladin knows first-hand how well it worked on the wounds of Hobber and the other injured bridgemen. Syl also confirms Kaladin’s suspicions that the apothecary is lying to him.

Kaladin realizes that all the apothecaries at the Shattered Plains are acting in collusion, collecting the antiseptic sap and selling it to the highprinces at inflated costs. The apothecary at first denies it, but relents and offers Kaladin one skymark for the bottle—as much money as he earns in a month as a bridgeman. Kaladin threatens to expose the apothecaries, as he believes it is wrong to charge so much for something that could be saving lives. The apothecary counters that the highprinces can well afford the costs, given what they win in gemhearts out on the plains.

Kaladin decides to take the skymark along with some bandages and offers to get more for the same deal in the future. The apothecary hesitates, but Kaladin convinces him it is safer to let him supply the sap, as it keeps a clean line of origin to a bridgeman should anyone discover what the apothecaries have been doing.

Contentedly, Kaladin leaves with his pocket one sapphire mark heavier. As he walks back to the barracks he considers running again like he had in the past. Syl doesn’t think “anyone would blame” him should he do just that. Kaladin decides he has to stay because he couldn’t abandon Rock, Teft, and the other men of Bridge Four given what he already started. They needed him and he has to do it for Tien’s memory.

As soon as Kaladin arrives back to the barracks Gaz informs him Bridge Four will be going on chasm duty—collecting weapons and other valuables amongst the corpses of those who fall to their deaths in battles against the Parshendi—even though it isn’t their turn in the rotation. Kaladin refuses to take the blame and asks Gaz how much he was paid, thinking the other crews are responsible. Gaz replies:

“Everyone knows you broke the rules in bringing back those men. If the others do what you did, we’d have each barrack filled with the dying before the leeward side of a month was over!”

After surrendering their spheres, the crew travels down the ladder into the chasm, where they could face chasmfiends or the possibility of being stuck during a Highstorm—either of which could mean death. The men will also be thoroughly searched on the way out for any spheres or other valuables they find. Kaladin, Rock, and Teft try to make the work pass quickly by chating and getting some of the others involved, but only Dunny takes the bait.

The crew finds a group of Alethi bodies which they have to search thoroughly for any valuables, including weapons, armor, and boots. After grabbing a spear, Moash goads Kaladin:

“Look at him... Ho, bridgeleader! You think that you’re grand? That you are better than us? You think pretending that we’re your own personal troop of soldiers will change anything?”

Instinctively, Kaladin drops into an intricate kata exercise sequence with the spear. Once Kaladin comes out of his kata trance he realizes all of the men are staring at him. Teft exclaims:

“I’ve seen katas before. But never one like that. The way you moved... The speed, the grace… And there was some sort of spren zipping around you, between your sweeps, glowing with a pale light. It was beautiful.”

Kaladin assumes this light is Syl, and that now many besides Rock haveseen her. Rock encourages Kaladin to challenge a Shardbearer, but Kaladin explains that he doesn’t want to be a brightlord, having tried that once already.

The crew continues to look for equipment; they run across many bodies, including a few Parshendi. Kaladin has never seen one before and wonders how they grew a tough armor out of their bodies, giving them a chitinous aspect. He is also astonished at the work in their weaponry, especially one particular dagger that has an etching of a Herald on it.

As their chore ends, Rock tells Kaladin he would have all of the men within a few weeks after what he has already done. Kaladin is disheartened because so many of them could be dead in the weeks to come, but he has a plan involving Rock’s special skills to move that timeline up.

After chasm duty, Kaladin and Rock buy supplies for dinner using the skymark. Rock cooks the whole crew a meal, encouraging even the more reticent members—such as Moash—to accept Kaladin’s leadership. The next morning nearly all of the men join him in his daily workout.

Quote of the Chapter:

He was alone in a chasm deep beneath the earth, holding the spear of a fallen man, fingers gripping the wet wood, a faint dripping coming from somewhere distant.

Strength surged through him as he spun the spear up into an advanced kata. His body moved of its own accord, going through the forms he’d trained in so frequently. The spear danced in his fingers, comfortable, an extension of himself. He spun with it, swinging it around and around, across his neck, over his arm, in and out of jabs and swings. Though it had been months since he’d even held a weapon, his muscles knew what to do. It was as if the spear itself knew what to do.

Tension melted away, frustration melted away, and his body sighed in contentment even as he worked it furiously. This was familiar. This was welcome. This was what it had been created to do.

Kaladin spun through the last motions of the kata, chasm forgotten, bridgemen forgotten, fatigue forgotten. For a moment, it was just him. Him and the wind. He fought with her, and she laughed.

Much has been said of the Alethi’s “Thrill,” but what if most of the Alethi feel only an adulterated version of the Thrill, while Kaladin’s trance is what it once was for warriors of honor when the Radiants were strong. Dalinar shows similar aspects of this knowing just what to do when in the thick of it, but other than Adolin very briefly discussing it with Dalinar we don’t have further aspects to dig into to see if it really is that different. Especially with the added feature of Syl being thrown into the mix—maybe she is what puts Kaladin over the edge. As mentioned in the last post, Dalinar seemed to have a Windspren near him during battles. This is likely Syl since she drops hints about him in a couple places and often likes to wander without telling Kaladin where she’s been.

Commentary:

There are a few big moments here. The most important is that Kaladin finally has won the men of Bridge Four. It is definitely an uplifting moment for once, which was especially needed since we’re near the half way point. This doesn’t mean the road is easier; in fact, in many ways it will be harder for Kaladin and his men because the closer they get, the harder it is when one of them dies. I still can’t believe Kaladin considered running away with his sap-spheres, but it stands to reason anyone in his position would be looking for an out. He is the lowest of the low, which is a position he’s been in for many, many months now. It shows both his strengths and his weaknesses that he has an opportunity to get out, but his honor and conscience won’t let him. His men need him. Tien is again brought up as inspiration for Kaladin, which is likely something he’ll always hold onto.

The other important moment was Kaladin’s kata down in the chasm. He proved to the men that he is a more than capable warrior and leads them to believe someone of his ability could save them. He gave them hope. And he then stuffed that hope full of Horneater stew.

The last line of the chapter is perhaps one of my favorites in all of The Way of Kings: “Now he had to keep them alive long enough for that to mean something.”

Oh, Kaladin, don’t stop believing. Kaladin would totally be a Journey fan.

 

Chapter 28: Decision

Setting: The Shattered Plains

Points of View: Adolin / Dalinar

What Happens: Adolin is inspecting a new type bridge to be used along with his father Dalinar, who had approved its construction recently at the behest of Teleb. The hope is that a man-driven bridge would help the Kholin forces in plateau assaults, in addition to the more reliable yet slower chull-pulled bridges currently in use. However, the new design fails as it is too weak to hold the chull-bridges. Adolin suggests redesigning the bridge rather than scrapping the idea entirely. Dalinar agrees, but seems distant and asks Adolin why there are no Shard-like devices for workmen to help them do their work. He reasons the strength enhancements of a Shardplate could easily help many laborers do their work much more efficiently. Adolin brushes it off and they go on inspections around their camp. Dalinar asks if Adolin feels the Thrill, which seems to be a taboo subject with him. They continue to walk amongst the barracks of the compound where his men and their families have now resided for six years. It seems to trouble Dalinar that so many families are now living at the Shattered Plains, and that the Alethi presence would probably be here from now on; even if the war with the Parshendi were to end tomorrow, many would still stay to harvest the gemhearts.

Adolin and Dalinar watch some of the companies as they trained, and reflect the unusual style in which the Parshendi fight—working independently in warpairs, but with more systematic order than they first appeared. The Parshendi style took a while for the Alethi to get used to, but they have adapted their own style and train well to combat them.

Adolin and Dalinar arrive at the Fifth Battalion with Havrom and the rest of the companylords in line. Dalinar pushes Adolin out to conduct the inspection and then praises him for doing well, saying that the men “know you care for their needs, and they respect you.” After the inspection Havrom brings the Kholins to a tent where all the men that Sadeas interviewed the other day are waiting. Sadeas’ questions were very similar to those Adolin had already asked concerning the King’s saddle and who has access to it.

Adolin wonders what is distracting Dalinar so much when a runner from Highprince Thanadal arrives to inform Dalinar the highprince would not be able to make their engagement. Dalinar presses the runner who reveals that the Thanadal does not wish to go on joint plateau runs with Dalinar.

After the runner leaves Dalinar tells Adolin he has now been rebuffed by all of the highprinces except for Sadeas, who he has not yet approached and admits that he’s failed to get the highprinces to work together. Dalinar then dismisses Adolin.

Dalinar requests his warhammer be brought to him. Once it arrives he jumps into the pit, breaking apart the rock walls to widen them. He summons his Shardblade a few times to slice apart some of larger sections, but always returns to his brutal strikes with the hammer. Dalinar again thinks about how useful the Shardplate would be to a common worker, and the men around him stare in bewilderment as he works. As Dalinar begins to tire, Navani, who had been watching him, asks if he’s going to apologize for missing their appointment. Navani then tells him his spanreed assigned to Jasnah is flashing, which means she is trying to contact him. Dalinar gets out of the pit, realizing for the first time he had planned to make a decision about stepping down when he was done, but he didn’t get to finish. Dalinar and Navani go to his complex to receive the messages, as both are anxious to hear from Jasnah. On the way Navani mentions that she finds Dalinar very interesting and their discussion dovetails into why Navani chose Gavilar over Dalinar when both were courting her:

“I didn’t pick him because he would become king, Dalinar. Though that’s what everyone says. I chose him because you frightened me. That intensity of yours... it scared your brother too, you know.”

Upon arriving, they are joined by Adolin who tells Dalinar he offered a clerk position to Danlan Morakotha—it seems Adolin is now courting her, even though she only arrived at the plains the previous day. Danlan then works Jasnah’s pen-like spanreed into position with fresh paper and ink at the ready.

Jasnah begins the message with an update on her current whereabouts: Kharbranth. Dalinar tells her she is missed and would be a great help if she returned to the Plains. Jasnah writes that she is finding very interesting hints about her work. She then asks Dalinar to again relay his first meeting with the Parshendi. He tells her it was in an unmapped forest south of the Shattered Plains and he first found them “Camped, free and organized. And they carried weapons. Not crude ones, either. Swords, spearks with carved hafts...” Yet they didn’t show any Shardblades at the time and he hadn’t seen a Parshendi carry one until after Gavilar’s assassination.

They then discuss the fact that the Parshendi picked up the Alethi language in a matter of days. The first thing the Parshendi asked about were to see the Alethi maps. Jasnah then asks if they ever mentioned the Voidbringers, which they had not. A drawing then started to come through which seems to depict a chasmfiend in great detail. Jasnah mentions it was drawn by her new ward. She goes on to say that the image is a depiction of a Voidbringer in an ancient book—which surprises Dalinar—though she isn’t sure that means they are actually the Voidbringers.

As Jasnah gets ready to break the connection, Dalinar again entreats her to come to the Shattered Plains. She tells him she will, but won’t commit to a date though she is eager to see a chasmfiend in person. Dalinar tells her he’ll have a dead one for her when she comes to the Plains. After Jasnah breaks the connection, all of the scribes and onlookers leave except for Navani. Dalinar realizes he has made his decision about stepping down: he will abdicate so that Adolin can take over. He tells Navani this and she believes it to be a mistake. He then orders her out, as he doesn’t want to discuss the issue further with her.

Quote of the Chapter:

“I’m not implying that the Voidbringers were the same thing as chasmfiends. I believe that the ancient artist didn’t know what a Voidbringer looked like, and so she drew the most horrific thing she knew of.”

I’d say she was implying pretty hard that the Voidbringers were the chasmfiends and this is the chapter that has led most of us to believe that. However, I still think it is a deflection of some kind by Sanderson. Would he be this transparent about the Voidbringers this early on? I’m of the school that believes there are necessarily one type of Voidbringers, but there still has to be a hierarcy to them somehow. The question then is who is giving the marching orders?

Commentary:

The construction and testing of human carried bridge by Dalinar’s men makes me very curious about how Kaladin and his men will be treated in Words of Radiance. Let’s face it, Kaladin’s burgeoning skills—while useful to the men of Bridge Four—are wasted. Also, let’s not forget the cover for Words of Radiance was just released and that certainly shows Kaladin getting ready to be useful other than as a beast of burden out on the Shattered Plains. But this is a Dalinar chapter so let’s focus on him for a bit.

Passing on the mantle of the Kholin family to Adolin is perhaps one of the hardest things Dalinar has had to face. His honor and the visions infesting his mind are fighting each other. He realizes his actions and acceptance of the visions are causing the name of his family to erode and weakening them, which is the last thing he desires. There is too much goodness in Dalinar. This is evidenced in nearly everything he does from bringing the families of his soldiers to the Plains to refusing to use chasm bridges as Sadeas does, but the Alethi highprinces see much weakness in him and even one hole casts him down in their eyes. Only the holes are getting bigger as he succumbs to the visions and what they tell him. Yet the visions and his honor are what will bring him to greatness. Whether that be as a Radiant or merely the instrument that helps them reemerge is still a question. Dalinar is, if not, an agent of change at least an inspiration of change.

Adolin seems ready for the task in strictly military terms, but he isn’t ready to be the patriarch, especially when he father is very much alive and still a capable person. Adolin isn’t calling for his father to step down, but for him to step up and silence the detractors like he knows Dalinar is capable of. He wants his father to be the same hero he idolized in his youth, but Dalinar has changed and there is no going back to who he was.

Navani is a complication Dalinar is not yet ready to deal with which just compounds his frustrations. Navani really doesn’t hold her cards close to her chest. From the beginning it is clear she has designs on Dalinar yet her own daughter wants Dalinar to be wary of her which I just find odd.

Dalinar worries about the economy if so many gemhearts are continued to be brought in is quite insightful. Especially, since few Alethi seem concerned at all. It is like a gold rush. Yet there might be only so many chasmfiends. Could they be farmed to death essentially making his worries void? Dalinar also brings up an interesting point about Shards.

“Shardplate gives awesome strength, but we rarely use it for anything other than war and slaughter. Why did the Radiants fashion only weapons? Why didn’t they make productive tools for use by ordinary men?”

“I don’t know,” Adolin said. “Perhaps because war was the most important thing around.”

“Perhaps,” Dalinar said, voice growing softer. “And perhaps that’s a final condemnation of them and their ideals. For all of their lofty claims, they never gave their Plate or its secrets to the common people.”

Maybe the common people couldn’t be trusted with it? That seems the more likely answer, especially in light of the information we get in the visions where the armor acted differently in the past. Current Shardplate seems tainted somehow and according to Syl the Shardblades are disgusting to her. But in a way it does seem like there was more to the Shards in the past.

The Alethi are descendants of the defenders of Roshar which the Heralds helped established and as we’ve seen with one of Dalinar’s flashbacks. The Radiants’ main function was defense against the Voidbringers and their ilk. So what if there were other branches created by the Radiants shardmakers for more ordinary purposes? As with the flashback we’ve seen the healing that the Radiants were capable, which seems to be a form of a fabrial. And the Soulcasters in general do the work that on our planet would be done by common workers such as constructing buildings. Instead they use Stromlight to cast buildings. Soulcasters are used to create food from rock and turning the very land into smoke so it does seem a matter of perspective for Dalinar or lack of one as he is use to this as an everyday thing.

Lastly, how cool are spanreeds? They’re basically a semi-magical form of a telegraph. I want one!

 

Tune in next week for Carl’s summation of the mysterious epigraph letter!


Michael Pye (aka The Mad Hatter) runs The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Reviewwhere 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.

42 comments
AJH
1. AJH
Regarding how Kaladin and his men will be treated inWords of Radiance, I'm pretty sure Dalinar said his men wouldn't be playing the Chasmfiend game anymore, and instead would be fulfilling the duties requires by the High Prince of War... like patrolling the camps and protecting the Kholins...
Bridge 4 will be serving as an honour guard of some sort, and the rest of the bridge crews would be free to join his army, or to go home.

Pretty sure that was the gist of it.
William Carter
2. wcarter
The relationship between Navani and Jasnah is one I look forward to reading about in Words of Radiance.

They're two highly competent and discerning individuals who are so high in the social strata of their society that neither is just too worried about the cultural mores. The two are so similar in so many ways (with the exception of Jasnah's athestic leanings) that there is really no way that the two could be anything but best friends or viterolic rivals.

As for Dalinar, the man is too idealistic. While I admre characters like Dalinar and Raodran sp? from Elantris, I personally find it hard to believe that someone--even one with a strong moral center and honor code--could believe so fervently in the basic good nature of his or her peers when they have lived their entire lives in cour politics where said peers have given direct evidence to the contrary time and time again.

I understand (and agree) with Dalinar's goals, but not his methodology. In short, I think it takes him longer to figure out he needs to "treat them like children" than it should have. And that mistake nearly cost his family a great deal.

Edit to add: When I mentioned the "Windspren" in the comments last week, it never even occured to me that the one talking to Dalinar might have been Syl herself. Interesting thought Michael...
AJH
3. TBGH
Navani really doesn’t hold her cards close to her chest. From the beginning it is clear she has designs on Dalinar yet her own daughter wants Dalinar to be wary of her which I just find odd.
And my previous Navani-Lwaxana comparison becomes even more valid. How often did Troi try to warn others about her mother?

Anyway, to me the most interesting part of these chapters is how the leaders in Sadeas' camp keep trying to undermine Kaladin. Not that they're doing it, but how they consistently refuse to take direct action (seizing the injured bridgemen or directly punishing Kaladin) and instead try to play games with him and his bridge to try to make him look bad. Not sure how realistic that is, but shows how ineffective the leadership as a whole under Sadeas has become.
Walker White
4. Walker
Much has been said of the Alethi’s “Thrill,” but what if most of the Alethi feel only an adulterated version of the Thrill, while Kaladin’s trance is what it once was for warriors of honor when the Radiants were strong.

A common believe on the various Brandon forums is that the Thrill is actually a manifestation of Odium, and what Kaladin feels here is very different.
Walker White
5. Walker
Kaladin would totally be a Journey fan.
Given what we have seen on the Words of Radiance cover, he certainly has the hairstyle.
AJH
6. Ruskets
Perhaps the shard plate isn't tainted but needs to be worn by a surgebinder for full effect. Both Zeth and Kaladin have refused to wear it, so I can't rule that out yet.
AJH
7. McKay B
(Spoiler alert) Crazy speculation time:

Roll over text to read:

Voidbringer = chasmfiend. Voidbringer = parshman. What if there's no contradiction here? With the info in the WoR teaser about how the Parshendi can assume various "Forms," is it possible that even something as grotesque as a greatshell is a "form" that a Parshendi can assume?

Obviously it's a more extensive change than the Forms Eshonai considers Forms. I don't think a chasmfiend can turn back into a Parshendi, and the Parshendi obviously have no moral qualms about killing chasmfiends. Perhaps the spren that affects the transformation is affiliated with the Parshendi "gods" whose return the Parshendi were trying to prevent when they killed Gavilar? (Except wait, Gavilar knew about and met chasmfiends before he died. Hmmm.)

Maybe chasmfiends are a Form that *dead* Parshendi can take? That would certainly explain why the Parshendi don't morally object to killing them, and why they would consider the divine to be involved in the transformation. It could also explain why they're so particular about how their dead comrades' bodies are treated, if they're trying to protect them from this transformation somehow. And surely the Voidbringers would be a horrific threat if, like a video game boss, they came with two "lives," a reincarnation cycle where they become much nastier after you defeat them once. (End speculation.)
AJH
8. TBGH
@7

Totally crazy, off-the-wall, virtually no chance of being accurate . . .

I like the way you think.
Kimani Rogers
9. KiManiak
Thanks Michael,

As to your question about how Kaladin and his men will be treated in Words of Radiance, I admit to being confused. At the end of WoK, Dalinar and Kaladin negotiate for all of the freed former bridgeman who wish to stay in the Shattered Plains to be trained as guards/soldiers. There were no plans for them to be used as beasts of burden, as far as I can recall.
(Edit: And I see AJH@1 made the same point)

As for the Voidbringers, I think Sanderson threw out quite a few possibilities to keep the reader continuously guessing.

And since Sanderson has a reputation for having clever twists which leads to the readers trying to read-into and overanalyze everything, it would be pretty funny if the first thing that Brandon suggested as the Voidbringers (the chasm fiends) actually turns out to be the Voidbringers. Afterall, those things are forming chrysalises and pupating into something, right? And the Parshendi are trying hard as hell to kill the chasmfiends in their pupating state, and **WOR SPOILERS** we learn that the Parshendi fear the return of their gods (which may be the Voidbringers), as well as them coveting the gemhearts to continue to facilitate (in some fashion, possibly soulcasting) their being able to eat.**END SPOILERS**

McKay B@7 – I see we have similar subject matter, but differing views re: the Parshendi and the Voidbringers. Cool. I wonder if either theory will actually end up being close to what Brandon has in store for us…
Adam S.
10. MDNY
Hmmm.. Voidbringers.... I don't think that term was used at all in the preface to the series (when the Heralds gave up their blades and a battlefield is described littered with corpses of apparently humans, parshendi, and beasts). It may be a term used to refer to something we may have seen at the beginning, but there are 2 different proposed answers thus far. I agree that BWS rarely gives us straightforward answers, particularly early in a series (We didn't get the full picture in Mistborn until the final book in the first trilogy, with hints at more revelations to come). Therefore, the voidbringers could be parshmen, greatshells, something we haven't talked that much about, or not exist (that last is unlikely). Probably Jasnah and Shallan will eventually get the right answer, just in time for the world to be about to end in book 1o.
It's interesting that Kaladin finally has a chapter that is mostly awesome, while Dalinar is now the emo downer figure (for the most part). But Dalinar's chapter was interesting, especially his thoughts on Shardplate and his communication with Jasnah.
Scott Silver
11. hihosilver28
Carl, why disparage the post? I think that shardplate for uses other than warfare is a very interesting idea. Editorially putting in (the now deleted comment) seems like the wrong way to go about that discussion.
Bridget McGovern
12. BMcGovern
@11: I don't believe Carl was disparaging the post at all, just leaving in his own notes on the text for further discussion. Assuming that's the case, I've deleted the shardplate comment (in the post and here in the thread to avoid any further confusion), so that he can chime in here in the comments when he has a chance.
Scott Silver
13. hihosilver28
That sounds true. It just felt odd to be pulled out by an editorial comment.
David Foster
14. ZenBossanova
I don't believe that the chasmfiends, per se, are the VoidBringers. In fact, BSanderson has said that the overharvesting of gemhearts may/will lead to a population collapse like we had in whaling a century or two ago.

But the WOR Spoilers: the Parshendi can change forms and they fear their gods (Odium?) and that is why they came here. And in their terror, they just attacked the people that could have best helped them. End Spoilers

What I really find interesting, is the Parshendi dagger with a herald on it. Why would they use that image? That is very curious.
Sean Dowell
15. qbe_64
Do Parshman eat? I can't recall if they ever specifically mention Shen joining their nightly stews. And I know there's a discussion between Kaladin and Moash or Teft regarding why they fight (for Gemhearts for soulcasting is the answer giving), which implies they are using it for food. I believe the same point is brought up by Dalinar. It seems as if they must, but I can't think of a specific reference to a parshmen actually eating. And if they don't eat, then the Parshendi wouldn't either, and then why the fuck would they need the gemhearts?
Andrew Berenson
16. AndrewHB
All -- if you must post spoliers from WoR, please white them out as ZenBossanova @14 did. Even if you provide a spoiler warning, that may not work 100%. Somebody can still accidently read the spoiler.

(I am not affected by this. However, there are others who read this thread who do not want to read any spoliers -- even accidently. Please remember that in the future.)

If Kaladin had escaped from the war camps and "abandoned" (to use Michael's word) the men of Bridge 4, would Syl have left Kaladin? I think she might have. I beleive she stays with him because he has honor (small "h" intentionally). Part of that honor is protecting people who Kaladin sees as innocent and/or oppressed.

wcarter @2 wrote: "The two are so similar in so many ways (with the exception of Jasnah's athestic leanings) that there is really no way that the two could be anything but best friends or viterolic rivals."

You do realize that Nacani is Jasnah's mother. The sentence I quoted above could imply that you forgot this fact. (I do not think that was the purpose. However, if I was not familiar with this novel and knew nothing about Navani and Jasnah, I would never have guessed a biological mother/daughter relationship between the subjects of your sentence.)

Thanks for reading my musings.
AnsdrewB
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
17. Wetlandernw
Walker @4 – “A common believe on the various Brandon forums is that the Thrill is actually a manifestation of Odium, and what Kaladin feels here is very different.” It may be a common belief (or believe, if you like), but that doesn’t make it true. I lean toward Michael’s interpretation; Kaladin, with his spren bond, is experiencing the pure form, while most Alethi only get a diluted or twisted form. Whether the twist has to do with Odium remains to be seen, but Dalinar’s experiences are a bridge between the two. We’ve seen occasions where Dalinar seems to work with his Shards in a way that is, in this time, apparently unique: faster, cleaner, surer, stronger… purer. And yet, at other times, something he thinks is the same thing is nauseating. To me, that indicates that what Dalinar experienced while protecting Elhokar from the chasmfiend is the same Thrill (or whatever it really is) that Kaladin experiences in this chapter; what he experiences during the fighting with the Parshendi seems the same to him, but makes him sick. If (and this is only speculation) Dalinar isn’t fully bonded with his spren, it might only help him during the times when he is doing something “right” (in line with the origins of the KR) but not at other times when he’s just fighting a stupid war.

McKayB@7 – PLEASE put WoR spoilers in white text before you post them. Not everyone wants to read these things ahead of the release.
KiManiak @9 – Ditto.
Zen @14 – Thank you.

One thing I’m having trouble with regarding the bridges: How does using man-bridges to bring the chull-bridges along speed things up in any significant way? If you still have to use the chull-pulled siege bridges to get across the last chasm, the only place you gain any time is when the chulls can keep going instead of stopping to allow the army to cross. Is that seriously enough of a gain to be worth anything? I get the impression that on any given run, there might be 20 or 30 chasms to cross. Even if Dalinar has his chull teams and bridges out on the last plateau safe enough for permanent bridges, and he has the chulls departing immediately, and there are only 10 new chasms to cross (rather optimistic, but for the sake of argument…), once the army catches up and passes the chull teams, it’s still going to have to wait at the end for them to catch up again before crossing the final chasm. What am I missing, here?

Also - "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach..." :)
Anthony Pero
18. anthonypero
@15:

The parshemdi and eating and gemhearts comes from a reading of the next book that BS did at a signing.
David Foster
19. ZenBossanova
I am inclined to agree with Wetlander about the Thrill.

We see in several of Brandon's other books, both the Good and Bad both using the same magic system. It is not the magic system itself that makes it evil. I would even say this holds true for Hemolurgy.

Thus, Shards, are not corrupt in origin, but in use. Or has Shakespeare would say, The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

I expect the Thrill will be similar.

But what is VoidBinding then? What does that even mean? And does this mean it is itself, not inherently evil? Could Kaladin et al use it for good later? That is a strange thought.
William Carter
20. wcarter
@Andrew 16

I remember, I just didn't mention it because I don't think it's actually relevant to their semi-adversarial relationship (uncommon for it not to be though that obviously is with family members).

Based on the conversation, each had with Dalinar, their similar personalities are all that make them clash, not their familial bond.

They obviously still cared about each other, but both warned Dalinar against associated with the other.

Navani at least was obviously interested in talking to/hearing from her daughter despite their opinions of one another. But by the same token it's equally obvious they don't talk regularly. She never even asked Dalinar to tell Jasnah she was in the room--especially after Jasnah dissed her.

Their last conversation with each other was months before according to Navani (Contrasted with Dalinar himself who had spoken with Jasnah a few weeks prior).

So my guess is there' s a reason the two give each other plenty of space and it's not just that they're both named Kholin.
Patrick Mosbacker
21. Patillian
@17 re: Dalinar's human carried bridges

I think the value (time saved) of not setting the chull bridge would be real, but small, when the Parshendi beat them to the chrysalis. I think the focus is there because Dalinar is opposed to the bridges because of the inhumane approach to an occupied plateau, but I don't think attacking plateaus where they lost the race to the Parshendi is the real strategic advantage he is looking for since he is insisting on waiting for the chull-pulled bridges anyway.

The human-carried bridges would be much faster (1 1/2 times, twice as fast, three times as fast? I don't quite have a good feel for this since there are still slow bottlenecks at each chasm crossing.) and vastly increase the chances of the army arriving before the Parshendi. Then the human carried bridges could be used safely, and Dalinar's forces could already have the gemheart or at least be in a defensive position by the time the Parshendi arrive. They have to guard the bridges with soldiers either way, and the Kaladin chapters mention that the Parshendi don't bother the bridgemen when they are retrieving the bridges.

It seems that the Alethi camp politics honor the winning of the gemheart/wealth as much or more as any battlefield heroics, so he would gain a lot in the court of public perception by winning more gemhearts in this fashion.
Flint Timmins
22. Giovanotto
Dalinar digging the trench is one of my favorite scenes from the book. I love the idea of the kingdom's greatest warrior digging a latrine trench with a set of priceless magical armor and sword. It's no wonder people think Dalinar is going insane.

Dalinar has a point about Shard's being used for labor. How easy would logging, mining, or construction be with Shard technology? Jasnah and the other artifabrians are finding practical uses for gemstones, as evidenced by the spanreeds, heat fabrials, and the alarm device used by Rysn the trader in one of the interludes. If they discover how to create Shards (which I don't think they will) it would be nice to see them used for practical, peaceful purposes (though Plumbers Radiant doesn't have the quite the same ring to it as Knights Radiant.)
Eric McCabe
23. Zizoz
Was pleasantly surprised to see a two-chapter post today. I'd expected just one, given that both these chapters are over 20 pages.

As one of those who are trying to avoid WoR spoilers, I'd like to echo the request to white them out.

Something I forgot to post last week: we learn that the tower is an outright loss in breakneck; that reminds me of the plateau called the Tower, which the Alethi always lose at.

Dalinar had the same thought about human-carried bridges being unuseful when they had to wait for the chulls in the last chapter, but he decides that "In these races, even a few minutes can be meaningful." I suspect those minutes would be saved by not having to lower the chull-pulled bridges at each chasm, which is a slow process.
Birgit
24. birgit
Adolin says that the picture looks similar to a chasmfiend, but the artist didn't quite get it right. Maybe the drawing is really something else and the chasmfiends are just the only familiar creature that resembles them.
Scientist, Father
25. Silvertip
I don't know, Michael. With his ability to find hope under layers of loss and desperation, Kaladin seems like more of a Springsteen type to me ...

S
Carl Engle-Laird
26. CarlEngle-Laird
@11 That editorial comment was, indeed, for my own purposes. I was trying to leave myself a reminder to consider the KR's motivations, but my shorthand really didn't belong in the finished post. I'm very sorry it pulled you out of the experience, and I'm sorry to Michael for cluttering his reread. It won't happen again.
Scott Silver
27. hihosilver28
Ah, that makes sense. No worries, Carl. I thought you were talking about Michael, not making a note to yourself about the Knights Radiant, which is why it felt weird. Looking forward to hearing your speculation next week.
Adam S.
28. MDNY
@17 I don't think using Sadeas' bridges would speed things up a lot for Dalinar, but they would definitely make him a bit faster. Dalinar's bridges are slow because a)they are pulled by slow chull and b) the army has to wait for them to be lowered by some sort of crank system. If man-carried bridges were used to transport the chull bridges for the first however many chasms, leaving only the final chasm for the chull bridge, you save all the time it takes to lower and raise the mechanical bridges (maybe 5-10 minutes per chasm, over 20-30 chasms?).That adds up to a significant amount of time, even if it's still slower than Sadeas' system. Thus Dalinar's research into adding man-carried bridges.
@24 I had the same thought, Birgit. We know there are sea creatures with gemhearts, and those extinct ones from out West (Aimia? I think?) Maybe a creature related to chasmfiends is still out there somewhere (maybe a Thunderclast from the prologue, unless that just referred to a chasmfiend).
David Foster
29. ZenBossanova
Adolin says that the picture looks similar to a chasmfiend, but the artist didn't quite get it right. Maybe the drawing is really something else and the chasmfiends are just the only familiar creature that resembles them. - Birget #24
Now that I think about that, that makes worlds more sense. It especially makes more sense in light of *spoilers* the fact that the Parshendi can change forms, or used to be able to. *end spoilers*
Nadine L.
31. travyl
I love the scene with Kaladin wielding the spear - and Syl making the "show" for the other Bridgemen even more wonderous by showing herself.

@16. AndrewHB:
I don't think that Syl would have left Kaladin, hat he tried to escape with the money, leaving the Bridgemen behind: I don't think one single act would necessarily break their link, and as she will explain to Kaladin (chapter 57), if Syl left Kaladin, she "would go back to being as I was before" - and she fears that.

Question for clarification: are we sure, that Syl hates Shardplate? As far as I remember from the book, her aversion is directed against the Shardblades, not the Shardplate (armor).
Jeremy Guebert
32. jeremyguebert
@23 - Good catch on the tower thing. Anyone want to bet BWS did that intentionally?

I absolutely loved Kaladin's scene in the chasm. Very cool to see him, essentially, in his full glory again.
Dixon Davis
33. KadesSwordElanor
Started reading WOK 1st of August (I’m in love), but haven’t finished. Just caught up with reread and on point to be able to contribute to discussion on the Interludes tomorrow. Must confess I haven’t read all post responses, so as continue to make my way through them, please excuse me if anything is redundant. Hope that doesn’t ruffle any feathers. Also, feel the need to acknowledge my WOT reread friends.

:: waves and smiles, while attempting to make Callandor appear between outstretched hands::

Observations:

Am I the only one who thinks it is so cool for Kal to have a Tinker Bell?

For some reason the spren’s (apart from Syl) inability to really do anything remind me of the Aon’s in Elantris, but that may because I just read Elantris one month ago. So, they may become more significant later in the series, or even in this book.

Just becoming familiar with BS via WOT, so I am not real familiar with all his other works (Mistborn is up next). Might it be possible that his worlds spill over into one another, a la SK and the DT series? I thought I read something about an Elantris character in the upcoming Dangerous Women, but I have no idea where that came from.

For no good reason, Natanatan seems significant to me.

For no good reason, Adolin’s new flame, Danlan Morakotha and Makabaki (place Dalinar’s dream sequence Shardbearer might be from) seem to have a correlation to me. It may simply be because they both begin with M and have a k in them. :)
Nadine L.
34. travyl
Kades...@33. (::waves back::)
The comments are full of spoilers for the whole book, so maybe you'll want to wait a week or so (until you've finished the book :).

If not, go ahead, there were interresting discussions, and your question about Brandon's world will be answered - in short / as "teaser": the adult books are in the same "Cosmere" and yes some characters appear in more than one "world" (e.g. Hoid).
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
KadesSwordElanor @33 - Welcome! ::waves back::

Brandon's worlds do indeed spill over into one another; his epic fantasy is all connected in the Cosmere (his universe). So far, you don't even have to be aware of that to enjoy the books; in any case, you don't have to make all the connections to make sense of each book. But they are indeed connected; at this point, I wouldn't recommend that you go searching for the connections, since it would involve too many spoilers for books you haven't read yet. Feel free to ask (in discussion or via shoutbox) if you want to make a particular connection without risking spoilers on the coppermind wiki.

The only connection I know of with the story from Dangerous Women is that Brandon has said elsewhere that it is set on an insignificant Shard world (or something to that effect). There is debate as to whether Hoid shows up in the story or not; at some point I'll ask Brandon that, if no one beats me to it. If he does, I'm pretty sure I know what character he is. :) So far, though, Hoid has showed up in every Cosmere book; this is the first one where he plays a significant role as a character.
andrew smith
36. sillyslovene
So, finally had a moment to put up some thoughts...hopefully this won't get too lost as the conversation has kind of died down here...

Continuing the discussion on gender roles and potential for effects on Alethi culture and the future:
The issue with the bridges – someone above noted that that the fix to the bridges might be as easy as making two thin, strong bridges: but for the issue here, you have the men (Teleb, Adolin, and Dalinar) who are trying to fix a problem, by means of taking ideas back to their women (Lady Kalana) who are the engineers, etc, all for the purpose for waging war better. So it is no wonder that they aren’t able to develop a good fast fix- their engineers are predisposed to not want to fix anything for bettering warfare (as that would transgress social boundaries of male/female roles, just as a man (non-ardentia) coming up with a way to mix paints better or developing a new type of poetry would be problematic, even if he was not actually doing the creating) and the men potentially don’t have the expertise/knowledge to diagnose, let alone fix, the problem...This societal split has probably done a lot to ossify technological advancement and general progress.

This raises the question of what type of education the men receive, and it seems the answer is given in this section too- Adolin is getting all the education that he is liable to get from his father. So, there are some serious issues with lack of structured learning here. (Are there any indications that men get any type of schooling like Shallan was supposed to have had?) However, that is balanced by Dalinar’s apparent knowledge of economies, etc later. Is that just that he's been around for a long time and actually takes the time to have things read to him to gain knowledge? Do most men (both high and/or low classses) do that at all?

It also seems that one of the biggest tropes that BWS is raising in this book is that these social constructs must be crossed (transgressed?) by strong individuals, because that is the only way to get them back to their KR heritage: Jasnah, as a woman, is a heretic, kills people, etc; pretty sure Szeth is bound to cross some major social constructs sometime; Kaladin does so by demanding what he does at the end of the book vis-a-vis authority over lighteyes; Dalinar here is using his tools of destruction for "creative" purposes, i.e. building something- pointing out which (potentially, depending on where the Alethi draw the semantic lines of what 'creation' is) makes Navani’s statement very full of irony: “As an aside, has it ever struck you that most masculine arts deal with destroying, while feminine arts deals with creation?” This definitely plays to the dualist ideas throughout the book, but it also makes it seem that Navani seems to still be caught in the social construct: she only sees Dalinar crushing and destroying rocks, not creating a latrine. As has been pointed out though, she does cross social boundaries at will in other areas though...

Any guesses as to whom, other than Jasnah, Dalinar has a spanreed connection with? He has four others set up… Probably at least one back to the capital, but all four back to people at the capital? Seems odd… (521)

Jasnah’s conversation with Dalinar reads much differently when you know what her theory is, as she asks about shards, knowledge of language, etc. Is she putting things together to think that the reason they now have shards is that they are on the verge of shifting into voidbringers?

Knowing about the planted strap being cut, also, makes this statement from Dalinar full of all kinds of sweet irony that goes over the head of a first-reader:
“Your brother tried very hard to get himself killed by a chasmfiend a few weeks back.”

From the Kaladin chapter:
“Well, if they were glyphs, they weren’t ones he was familiar with. Of course, you could draw most glyphs in complex ways that made it hard to read them, unless you knew exactly what to look for. There was a figure at the center of the hilt, nicely carved. It was a man in fine armor. Shardplate, certainly. A symbol was etched behind him, surround him, spreading out from his back like wings.” 496
Also, is anyone aware of whether or not anyone has asked Brandon to identify what the glyphs on the hardcover boards are meant to represent? We know they represent the orders, and that the one for the windrunners is a sword (it doesn't look like one on the inside cover, but it does as embossed (is that the right word?) on the outside of the hardcover). But what are the rest supposed to be? I would bet that he would give it a RAFO...maybe someone could string an answer out of one of the illustrators? :) Could give some great hints as to the other orders and their powers...

And lastly, something with some spoilers, so I'll just white out the whole thing:
This also reads interestingly with regard to some of the things we know about Eshonai spoilers – she has plate/blade now, but she says in her interlude that she was with the group that made initial contact with humans. Did she have plate/blade before but just wasn’t wearing/using it? Where did she get it? (end spoilers)
William Carter
37. wcarter
@33 Kades

Jumping on the Cosmere bus with WoK eh? Good luck to you.

@31 travyl

When Syl spoke with Kal about Oathbringer--Dalinar's sword--she expressed distaste for the blade specificially, and that she was glad he was rid of it. I would also note that Adolin noticed Dalinar's slate grey armor "seeming to glow" a few times during his more heroic moments in battle.

His blade on the other hand is never once mentioned as glowing (though we know from his visions that they used to in the hands of true KR's).

Take that how you will, but for me it seems to be a clue that while neither are obviously being used as they were intended, the plates at least aren't necessarily corrupted.
Alice Arneson
38. Wetlandernw
sillyslovene @36 - You make some good points; most of them I'll have to think about a little before responding. However, I have to disagree with this bit: "...So it is no wonder that they aren’t able to develop a good fast fix- their engineers are predisposed to not want to fix anything for bettering warfare (as that would transgress social boundaries of male/female roles,..."

Any engineer worth the name would not be concerned that it might be considered a way of "bettering warfare" in this context. She would look at it as an engineering problem: how do you build a bridge light enough to carry, long enough to reach across the chasms, and strong enough to support the weight of the chulls & seige bridges? The fact that the solution will make her husband (and the lord he serves) better able to wage their war is either irrelevant or a bonus; it's not like she's trying to go out and do their jobs.

This is also illustrated by the Grandbow we saw Sadeas using back in Chapter 12 or 13; it's strictly a weapon, and therefore directly to do with the arts of warfare, but it was developed by a team of engineers and artifabrians of which Navani was a part. It's not at all "unwomanly" to use one's skills to create tools for the men to do their jobs better; it would be "unwomanly" to try to go do those jobs for them. While I'm sure we may see ways where the gender roles do create divisions and inefficiencies, I don't think this is one of them.

I think a far worse effect is that the only way for a man or woman to step outside his or her societal role is to become an ardent, with all the other restrictions that entails. Take Renarin, for example. He has all the qualifications to be an excellent engineer, and very few qualifications to be a warrior - but to pursue his areas of natural inclination, he would have to give up his freedom. He would become the property of someone else, with no income and no property. How many men in his position are going to give up everything their family and status grants, just to pursue something they think they might be better at doing? The same argument could be made for women, though there are (so far) far fewer notable things a woman can do as an ardent that she can't do anyway.

Granted, Renarin is a fairly extreme case, given his position in society; many men in less lofty social strata might find sufficient advantage in joining the ardentia.
andrew smith
39. sillyslovene
@Wet,
Sorry for the delay, been really busy.

Your example of the Grandbow is a great counterpoint to the issue I brought up. There is much to be discussed there. (However, the fact that Navani led the teams that devised them does suggest something as she is prone to cross social boundaries, as noted. Would another woman of the court have dared to do so? I don't know, would need more evidence).

I guess my issue, and why it stood out to me as possibly a gender-roles split was the fact that Lady Kalana is not with them out there in the practice field. Teleb says that he would have to take word back to her and have her "devise a new design." The fact that the (presumed) main bridge engineer in the camp was not present at the test of the expanded bridges (that presumably were her design, it doesn't say) does speak against your ideas of what/how an engineer perspective would ignore social taboos. Something is keeping her away: apathy, not wanting to intrude on male space, etc, could all be reasons.

Also, having read it again, Teleb does include himself in the design process, saying that "we made the smaller bridge too thin when we widened it."
So, maybe there is not as much of an issue of male-female roles coming in to play with fixing this issue. However, there is still the issue of education, and the fact that the main engineer who would devise the designs is not there for the testing. This could still combine to slow tech development, etc.
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
Well, it's always ideal to have the design engineer observe the testing, IMO, but I also (as an engineer) know that really doesn't happen so much. The designers do their work, but someone else does the actual construction, and then someone does the testing, and then everything goes back to the engineers. What I'd want to see, using this example, would be Kalana not only working on the design, I'd want her checking the materials and observing the construction, and then observing the test to see exactly where the weak points are. But... I also know engineering, manufacturing and test folks, and they often prefer not to have someone else peering over their shoulders. :) And engineers can be an arrogant lot.

I agree that the engineers ought to be involved in the testing, and there's no good reason (that I can see) for them not to be - but at the same time, I'm not really surprised that they aren't. And yes, that kind of thing definitely contributes to slowing development IRL.

It does raise an interesting side question, though... Who does the construction? For stuff like this, it ought to be men, purely for the physical strength required - but that would certainly be counter to Navani's contention that women's arts are creative and men's are destructive, wouldn't it? (Then again, I don't honestly think Navani really believes that - she's more likely to say something like this just to get on Dalinar's nerves.) Well, maybe the ardents do all the construction. Then it wouldn't matter. :)
AJH
41. Lori Jo
Let's talk about the similarities between Parshendi and Radiants. The Parshendi and Radiants both fight in pairs. The Parshendi are a leap and a bound above the Parshmen in the same way that the Radiants are above mortal men. I wonder if shardplate grew from the Radiants in the same way the Parshendi grow their carapaces. Perhaps Syl doesn't like the shardplate because the humans are all running around in the cast off skins of dead Radiants?
The main flaw with this idea is that the Radiants were able to willingly give up their shards.
AJH
42. Barca
My first post, but I wanted to get it out there before the release of WoR.
Some people are hoping that the Parshendi are not the voidbringers. I think they are the people who are attributed with bringing the void, if not the actual void bringers.
Only having read the Mistborn and WoT series, I am more curious about what is the void and why should people be 'afraid' of it. Do Shards, Spren, Chasm Fiends, Spheres, Soulcasters, etc come from the void? Shadespar must be part of the void, right? Did the Parshendi kill Elohkar because they feared that he would try to stop the void from coming? Or that he would bring the void?

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