Sep 5 2013 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapter 29

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Another week has come and gone, and with it another section of The Way of Kings. This week the reread arrives at Part Three: Dying, which brings Shallan back into focus, with Dalinar disappearing for a few hundred more pages. In some ways that means a return to civilization, trading Dalinar’s command tents and fevered dreams for Shallan’s comfortable libraries and uncomfortable moral dilemmas. Did you miss Shallan, fellow rereaders?

Chapter 29, “Errorgance,” introduces the symbolheads, fleshes out Shallan’s criminal motivations, and opens a conversation about Jasnah’s atheism. It’s so brimming with secrets and schemes, so devoted to developing characters and ideas, that I feel obligated to devote an entire article to it.

Chapter 29: Errorgance
Point of View: Shallan

What Happens: Shallan is in the Palanaeum, checking in with her family by spanreed. She reports that she’s in Jasnah’s good graces, but that it will be difficult to get a hold of the Soulcaster. Jasnah guards the Soulcaster carefully, wearing it all day and locking it up at night, but if Shallan can become her bathing attendant she might find an opportunity to steal the fabrial. Privately, though, Shallan is growing distraught over the plan. She has been loving her time as Jasnah’s ward, luxuriating in the unfolding world of scholarship, and may now have to repay Jasnah’s kindness with treachery.

Back in Jah Keved, the family has had its own difficulties. The last quarries have been running out, and people expect Shallan’s secretly deceased father to have an opinion on the succession of the increasingly-ill highprince. They figure that Shallan has a few months to retrieve the Soulcaster, at best. Shallan asks whether it might not be better to seek Jasnah’s help, but her brothers can’t see the princess coming to the aid of “an unknown and disliked Veden house,” or keeping their secrets.

Nan Balat sends Shallan’s other brothers away, and tells her that their servant Luesh, the man who knew how to use the Soulcaster, has died in his sleep. After he died, men showed up claiming to know their father, and implying knowledge of the Soulcaster as well. They want the Soulcaster back. Nan Balat thinks these may be the men responsible for the mysterious maps and letters they found in their father’s possession, men with sinister plans to change the kingdom. He thinks they wanted their father to make a bid for the succession.

Now they have to get the Soulcaster back, but even if they do, they won’t get to use it to continue creating wealth and closing their father’s debts. A noose is closing around them. Nan Balat has his scribe draw a symbol from a pendant Luesh wore, a symbol that was also tattooed on one of the sinister men’s hand.

Their conversation concluded, Shallan crumples up the paper and disposes of it, then goes back to her studies under Jasnah. The scholar has her studying the history of the Alethi monarchy, which is beginning to bore Shallan to tears. Just as she mutters about how she’s “really coming to hate the Alethi monarchy,” Jasnah sweeps into Shallan’s alcove. Jasnah and Shallan discuss the rhetorical mode being employed in the scholarship Shallan has been reading. The scholars subscribe to the Assuredness Movement, which relies on the literary device of intentionally overstating a case in argumentation. Shallan coins the phrase “errorgant” to describe these arguments, which she defines as being “twice as certain as someone who is merely arrogant…while possessing only one-tenth the requisite facts.”

The women go back and forth on the nature and value of certainty and doubt in scholarship, before moving on to the proper applications of Shallan’s hyper-active quipping. Jasnah values Shallan’s cleverness, but thinks it worse than useless when used clumsily or prematurely. She bemoans how Shallan was punished for making inappropriate quips. Putting her in the corner to sit in silence was not only misguided, it was incompetent, as Jasnah is convinced this only gave her more opportunities to think up retorts, and trained her to try to make quips so clever her tutors wouldn’t catch and punish them.

Finally, Jasnah asks Shallan if she’s made any conclusions about the assassination of Gavilar. Shallan is hesitant to offer an opinion, feeling that to be inappropriate from one so young and inexpert, but Jasnah insists, and says that scholarship is worthless when the knowledge gained through research is not put into practice. This sinks in, although Shallan still doesn’t have an opinion to offer. She thinks again how smart Jasnah is, and how much she is learning as her ward. She wonders what Jasnah is looking for in her studies. Just as her stomach grumbles and her thoughts begin to turn to lunch and the freedom to sketch, king Taravangian appears behind her.

Taravangian asks he if can join them for lunch, and Jasnah acquiesces. As they eat, Shallan considers the King’s reputation as less than brilliant, despite how he is beloved by his people. The king, however, has come with questions. He wants to know how Jasnah came by her Soulcaster, and how she keeps it from the devotaries, but Jasnah refuses to answer him. He’s also come to ask Shallan to draw a portrait of him, which she happily agrees to.

As she draws, Taravangian engages Jasnah on the subject of her atheism. He probes her lack of faith, but his arguments for the existence of the Almighty are all effortlessly turned aside. Jasnah’s rhetoric is superior, and Shallan begins to feel hollow inside as she watches her mentor defeat a man she quietly admires as he tries to defend his faith. Taravangian admits that Jasnah makes her points “quite effectively,” but that he doesn’t accept them. Jasnah calmly responds that she does not seek to convert him, and asks Shallan if she’s finished with her drawing.

As Shallan looks at her completed portrait, she realizes that she has unconsciously done something inexplicable.

She had drawn something standing in the doorway behind the king. Two tall and willowy creatures with cloaks that split down the front and hung at the sides too stiffly, as if they were made of glass. Above the stiff, high collars, where the creatures’ heads should be, each had a large, floating symbol of twisted design full of impossible angles and geometries.

Shallan looks up sharply, confirms that the hallway is empty, then grabs the sheet and crumples it, apologizing to Taravangian for her sloppy work. Taravangian asks to at least see it, but she refuses in a panic, promising to make him another portrait before the end of the day. Jasnah backs her up, and Taravangian agrees, then leaves.

After his departure, Jasnah comments briefly on how uncharacteristic it is of Shallan to make such a mistake, before moving on to the inappropriate quip Shallan stifled just in time. She urges Shallan to find ways to express her cleverness in appropriate ways.

Shallan and Jasnah discuss Taravangian’s wit. To Shallan’s surprise, Jasnah fiercely defends the king, calling him a wonderful man, who should be emulated for his peace-seeking ways and charitable works instead of scorned. Shallan asks if Jasnah believed everything she said about the Almighty, and Jasnah confirms, but admits she somewhat overstated her position. She keeps her mind open on the topic, although her convictions grow firmer with each conversation like the one she just had. Shallan protests that the conversation wasn’t entirely fair, due to the king’s limited capacity. She makes an argument for religion based on her heartfelt feelings on the matter, and though Jasnah again rejects these arguments, she admits that Shallan’s rhetoric is improving, and that she would yet make a fine scholar.

Shallan swells with pride, before remembering that she is not going to be a scholar. The most she can hope for is to become a successful thief.

Quote of the Chapter:

“Just because I do not accept the teachings of the devotaries does not mean I’ve discarded a belief in right and wrong.”

“But the Almighty determines what is right!”

“Must someone, some unseen thing, declare what is right for it to be right? I believe that my own morality—which answers only to my heart—is more sure and true than the morality of those who do right only because they fear retribution.”

“But that is the soul of law,” the king said, sounding confused. “If there is no punishment, there can be only chaos.”

“If there were no law, some men would do as they wish, yes,” Jasnah said. “But isn’t it remarkable that, given the chance for personal gain at the cost of others, so many people choose what is right?”

“Because they fear the Almighty.”

“No,” Jasnah said. “I think something innate in us understands that seeking the good of society is usually best for the individual as well. Humankind is noble, when we give it the chance to be. That nobility is something that exists independent of any god’s decree.”

I could go on, really I could, but my space here is limited. Suffice it so say that a committed atheist is not a common thing in secondary world fantasy with as high a magic level as Brandon Sanderson prefers. Seeing Jasnah’s arguments here is refreshing, but it’s also fascinating for a variety of reasons. First is the basic fact that we, as readers, are pretty sure she’s mostly wrong. God-like beings definitely exist in Sanderson’s universe, and we have every reason to believe that something that could be called the Almighty once existed. On the other hand, if the Almighty existed, he’s definitely dead now, and even when he was alive it seems like he made all kinds of bad decisions.

I don’t believe that Roshar is currently governed by an omnipotent being that controls fate and makes moral decrees that men and women must follow. I believe that Vorinism is wrong on most of its points. So, I agree in Jasnah. But there is or was a god, and one who cared about how humans acted. Regardless of how accurate her position is, I admire the courage and commitment it takes to be a lone atheist in a community of scholars, all the rest of whom ascribe to the same faith.

Commentary: So much is happening in this chapter! First is the secret society of the three triangles, who are menacing Shallan’s poor, helpless family of misadjusted criminals. When this society gets a name later in the book, we will come to know them as the Ghostbloods, but for now they’re just another aspect of a dizzyingly precarious political situation threatening to ruin Shallan’s life. Her family’s problems have so many different angles, almost none of which Shallan has the knowledge or capacity to do anything about, and that’s even before we get into her guilt.

Things would probably be easier for Shallan if the person she was trying to rob didn’t merit so much respect, but that’s totally not happening. Jasnah is brilliant, which Shallan can’t help but realize, and also sees potential for greatness in her young ward, which Shallan could never have expected. Jasnah’s praise is rare and hard-won, so it’s no surprise that Shallan is growing to crave it. When Jasnah compliments her rhetoric at the end of their argument of religion, Shallan practically glows, despite just having watched her mentor disbelieve and attempt to disprove her deeply-held convcitions.

I really like Taravangian. He dodders a bit, sure, but he really is trying to do good in the world. I wonder why he seems so gloomy and self-hating sometimes, though. Ah well, surely it will all turn out for the best.

That was foreshadowing.

Sanderson drops a number of off-handed references to how difficult it was to grow up in the Davar household, and how much that’s screwed up Shallan and her siblings. He builds this up slowly, and it pays off well. It also colors how I read every comment on Shallan’s “natural timidity,” or every reflection she makes about how much freer she feels now that she’s out of her childhood home. That being said, as much as I’m glad that Shallan is opening up in her newfound freedom, her quips remain equal parts endearing and irritating. Errorgance is not the kind of portmanteau that makes me exult in the boundless possibilities of language, and it gets a lot of attention here. After all, it’s the title of the chapter. But hey, I also wrote a number of thesis papers on cheesy topics, and occasionally indulged in a truly ill-advised turn of phrase, so who am I to judge?

Okay, I’ve waited long enough. Let’s talk about the symbolheads. These are in the top three or so for weirdest spren ever, so the easy money is on me having all kinds of crackpot theories. Symbolhead is my personal favored terminology, by the way, so feel free to call them something else. I’ve heard “truthspren” and “secretspren” bandied about as well, and both have a certain validity.

Why can Shallan see these things? I think this question brings us closer to understanding how her “Memories” work. She has a weirdly specific kind of photographic memory, which is in fact more accurate to that term than normal. She can take a mental picture of something and then reproduce it unerringly, but once she has a Memory down on paper, it fades in her mind. Once she draws something she has to take another Memory before she can draw it again. It’s through these Memories that she starts to see the symbolheads. I think that when she records a Memory she captures something essential about her subject, makes a true recording of what she’s seen, and in doing so looks in on a world that is normally beyond her perception.

Spren are able to hide from people they don’t want seeing them, even when they’re around, so it makes sense for these things to be invisible to almost everybody. I’d argue that their appearances in Shallan’s drawings point to them being present even when no one can see them, though.

So, why does she start to see them now? Well, let’s assume that they were often there before. They might have been in plenty of Shallan’s other Memories, but she never drew one. There’s something different about this drawing, though; Shallan wasn’t paying attention to her work as she drew. She was focusing entirely on Taravangian’s argument with Jasnah. I think that, because she wasn’t paying attention, her common sense wasn’t able to filter out the impossible things that were hiding from her. If the symbolheads are relying on human disinclination to see what can’t possibly be there, that explains why Shallan’s automatic and unthinking recreation of her memories would still show them.

I have so much more to say about these things, but that will have to wait for them to be more fully revealed later in the book. For now, I’m just going to luxuriate in how nice it is to be back in the warm, cozy Palanaeum, instead of the harsh Shattered Plains. This lovely reprieve should last at least until the next reread article. But let’s just all relax and curl up, surrounded by a nearly infinite number of books. Aaaaaah.

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

Kurt Lorey
1. Shimrod
Are you so sure that the Symbolheads are spren?
I started typing how Taravangian was one of my top three most interesting characters in the book (somewhat for spoilerish reasons), but then started counting other interesting characters and just began thinking how amazing it is that Sanderson gave us so many conflicted, principled, arguably moral people that are totally at odds with one another.

Taravangian, Dalinar, Jasnah, Szeth, Wit, and Kaladin are all trying to do what's right even at their own expense and several pairings are going to end up trying to kill each other if they're ever in the same place.
Carl Engle-Laird
3. CarlEngle-Laird
@1 I can't recall off-hand whether Brandon has closed this issue. He may well have admitted that they're spren at some point. Until someone answers that question; I'm very sure in my own mind, but would welcome arguments against that possibility! In the meantime, my arguments for are that they display signs of monofocus on a human emotion or mental state and have selective invisibility to humans, both traits we've seen in other types of spren.
4. Jasuni
I recall there being a confirmation that the symbolheads aren't spren. My memory could be faulty.

There is definately something magic about Shallan's drawings. Have no idea how the magic works, though.
Adam S.
Fascinating chapter. Like most of this book, it raises more questions than it provides answers for, but I predict that will be the case for another few books, at least.
Shallan's family is definitely in a bad position. The ghostbloods seem pretty sinister even on first encountering them indirectly, before we know their name or that they have an agent close to Shallan. The death of the Davar family's link to the ghostbloods gives me pause. It just seems awfully coincidental that the one man who knows how to use the soulcaster, now that Shallan's father is dead, just dies and no one knows how to use it now. However, I guess it is just coincidence, since we haven't met anyone to this point who would be likely to have killed him. Jasnah apparently opposes the ghostbloods, or at least rivals them in some way, but the Davar family is now largely irrelevant to them, other than their dead patriarch.
The symbolheads are creepy. I don't know why Shallan draws them. Like you, I suspect that somehow her subconscious is able to perceive them on a level that her conscious mind doesn't process. They seem sinister by appearance, and their early actions with Shallan, taking her to Shadesmar and later taking her when she is unable to get back with Jasnah's help, are not necessarily benign. I'm not suggesting they are evil, by any means, but they don't seem as benevolent as Syl, for example. Then again, I have the sense that spren aren't always good or evil, but they can be. I can't remember the exact phrasing, but in a future Dalinar vision he is talking to Nohodon, I believe, and Nohodon says something like "alas, not all spren are as discerning as honorspren". While I take this to mean that some of the radiant orders were not as assuredly good as others, it could also mean that some of the spren associated with the orders are not as pure in their motives, like the men (and women) they are bonded with.
I spent some time trying to figure out why Shallan draws the symbolheads now, and never before. I can't pinpoint any specific thing she has done that would enable her to see them or bond them now, and not earlier in her life. Maybe being near Jasnah, and seeing her soulcast, drew them to her, because she saw them without realizing it. Or maybe they have been near her for a while, and the longer they remain nearby, the more she becomes aware of them and they pop up in her drawings. Whatever the answer, they are definitely fascinating (like most spren), and they give Shallan's chapters some added tension that remains throughout the book.
Jasnah's conversation with Taravangian illustrates her astute mental abilities, and showcase his good-hearted, kindly soul that remains our only view of him until the end, when BWS yanks the rug out from under our feet. This kindly old man is murdering hundreds of people? I share Szeth's horror.
William Carter
6. wcarter
Brandon said the fanterm "Truthspren" was close enough for general use for the time being but--and I feel this is important--he has personally always used the term "Cryptics" when referring to them.

So...that doesn't really answer the question of whether they really are spren or not does it?

In any case, they remind me a lot of the *Finns from the WoT series. We don't know enough to say whether they are good or evil either, but it seems like if they do have a moral code, it's rather alien to that of the people of Roshar.
Birgit F
7. birgit
I thought the Ghostbloods somehow killed the man who knew how to use the soulcaster to make the family give it back now that they have nobody who can use it. Or maybe they killed him when he couldn't give it back because he didn't have it any more.
Sean Tabor
8. wingracer
Whenever I think of the symbolheads, I can't help but think of them as the video head dudes in the movie "Ink". I know they are different but my brain doesn't care, that's how I see them.
Sean Dowell
9. qbe_64
I remember a Star Trek episode with a similar premise. There's an episode of Voyager (Scientific Method), where out of phase aliens are performing experiments on the crew without them realizing it, and only Seven (after some implant alterations) is able to see them.

If the symbolheads call Shadesmar home, perhaps they are just hanging out in their own realm but "out of phase" with the current physical realm. Perhaps one of the talents of Shallan's yet unrevealed Radiant order is the ability to see through to the cognitive realm which in turn allows her to soulcast.

Or perhaps the Symbolheads only follow around very specific people with the ability to soulcast and can form their own spren bond (a la Kaladin and Syl).

In my opinion, I think it's a combination of the two. That the symbolheads call Shadesmar home, but are drawn to people in the physical realm that can access the cognitive realm via Soulcasting.

There's my two cents (rounded down to nearest five cent denomination now that we've eliminated pennies in Canada)
Maiane Bakroeva
10. Isilel

But wasn't the Nahodon conversation before the Radiants were even founded and concerned freelance surge-binders? I thought that the Radiants were conceived as a solution to the problem of surge-binders bonding with morally inferior spren and sometimes becoming less than ideal citizens as a result?


If the Cryptics are associated primarily with soulcasting, why are they hanging around Taravangian and later Shallan herself, but not Jasnah?
As to why Shallan is only noticing them now, well, traditionally in fantasy many magical talents manifest/increase in late adolescence and hanging around an active surge-binder may have provided a catalyst, too.

Taravangian... Hm. A mysterious character indeed. Does he honestly consider himself to be ultimately benign? The time will tell.

As to Davar family, they can't catch a break, seemingly. Finally free of their sadistic tyrant of a father, yet for everybody apart from Shallan, things are worse than ever. And Shallan is on borrowed time, here, too...
Adam S.
11. MDNY
@10 yes, Nohodon was before the radiants (I think) but I was more pointing to his reference to people being bonded to spren and different types of spren not being as kind or beneficial to humanity. So just because a certain type of spren is bound to a class of radiants, that doesn't mean that spren is purely good, just as a man who becomes a radiant isn't automatically good, it takes good men/women (like Kaladin, Dalinar, Shallan, etc) to make true radiants again, not just the ability to use stormlight (like Szeth, who is not a radiant).
Andrew Berenson
12. AndrewHB
The spanreed conversation between Shallan and her brothers makes me look forward to learning more of Shallan's back story in the next book. I hope in the Shallan flashbacks we can get more light on Shallon's father's activities and allegencies before his death.

We probably will not get a POV chapter from Shallan's father. I am hoping, however, that observations from Shallan and comments made by her father (be it towards Shallon or others) will provide a fuller picture of her father's activities.

It will be intersting to see how such activities tie into the larger story BWS is writing.

This chapter takes a whole new meaning once we learn Taravangian's true motives at the end of TWoK. Is it possible that Tarvangian wanted Shallan to draw a portrait of him to see in fact if Shallon could see the symbolheads. I doubt this. But Taravangian is like an onion. A man with many layers. So it is possible (although highly unlikely).

If Shallan drew a picture of Kaladin from a Memory she took of him and Syl happened to be around Kaladin when Shallan took her Memory, would Shallan draw Syl in the picture?

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Jessica Trevino
13. Ciella
I love this chapter. It's the one where my little Atheist heart jumped for joy at Jasnah's wonderful and thought out arguments! It's rare for any author to so well understand and represent someone who's beliefs and motivations are so opposite of their own. It's a testament to Sanderson's writing that he can so honestly portray an Atheist that (while in a different world and disbelieving an entirely different religion)goes completely against his own ideology. Especially the part where they argue about morality, it makes me so happy :)
Adam S.
14. MDNY
@12 I've often thought that Jasnah would discover the truth about Kaladin and Syl because of a Shallan picture, tying multiple storylines together (and maybe Dalinar too, with his mission to reforge the radiants).
David Foster
15. ZenBossanova
Sanderson gave a reading from WoR at the Phoenix Comicon, that gave some insight into Taravangian. Not just insight, but serious WTF.

I would link it, but TOR does not seem to like links very much.
Maiane Bakroeva
16. Isilel

But I thought that Nahodon came up with the idea of the Radiants, to ensure a corps of surge-binders bound to "idealistic" spren among other things.
I.e. theRadiants were supposed to be an improvement over the previous practices, when people would bind spren indiscriminately and then use their surge-binding for selfish and even nefarious purposes. We'll see when we get to the chapter in question.
In any case, I'd find it disappointing if some Orders of the Radiants were "better" than others - so far it seems to me that they all upheld high-minded ideals.

Regarding Davars - I forgot, has it been mentioned who operated the spanreed? Because that woman would know all their sorry secrets as a result and as their luck is going, may be poised to betray them...

And, yea, it would be interesting to know what Papa Davar was up to... Though did he himself even know how to operate the soulcaster or did they have Luesh use it and ride herd on him?
If the latter, then the patriarch may have just been a pawn and we won't learn anything interesting about the aims and plans of the Ghostbloods from that direction.

Kind of intriguing that Luesh seemingly agreed to keep the secrets of junior Davars from his co-conspirators, yet didn't warn them that somebody would be coming for that soulcaster once they could no longer hide their father's death...

Also, if valuable resources can just be created from nothing at a profit... How did the economy look like before the war against the Parshendi when so many soulcasters became tied supplying the army?

I mean... what's even the point of having quarries or whatever, for materials that can be soulcast?
We were told that growing food is normally cheaper than soulcasting it, but clearly it was profitable for Davars to soulcast whatever it was into the quarry. Skipping the quarry step would make it even more profitable. So why are there natural quarries at all? They shouldn't be able to compete.
Dixon Davis
17. KadesSwordElanor
Good point Isilel @ 16, I was wondering the same about the quarries. Ass-u-me it will be addressed at some point. I feel like there might be something I am missing.
Matt Stoumbaugh
18. LazerWulf
@15: The Interlude Brandon is reading on tour can be read, in its entirety, right here on (*spoiler alert*, obviously)

P.S. The trick to adding links is to copy/paste it into notepad then copy/paste it here, which removes the inherent hyperlink.

EDIT to make a working link using later comments.
Alice Arneson
19. Wetlandernw
Nitpick #1 – Shallan is in her room in Jasnah’s quarters, not in the Palanaeum, while she’s doing the spanreed conversation.

I’m wondering about our general assumption that once she draws something, the Memory fades as a result of her drawing it. I know that’s what it sounded like before, but in this case it sounds more like she could have used that same Memory to draw a second picture, but she didn’t trust it after seeing the figures behind him. She took a new Memory so she’d (hopefully) have a different picture to draw. Yes, indeed. I think I’ll have to have a chat with Brandon about Shallan’s Memories… (Of course, there’s every chance we’ll learn more about them in the next book.)

That said, I definitely agree that the Memories capture something about the subject that goes deeper than the physical realm. Considering the cryptics’ (later) apparent connection to Shadesmar, that makes sense. I also agree that these particular spren are there all the time, and it is (currently, anyway) only in her Memories that she actually “sees” them. The next question is whether they are there because of Shallan, or because of her subject. At this point, I’m not sure I even want to guess.

I like the notion that because her attention was so very much elsewhere, her common sense didn’t filter out the impossible. I don’t know that I’m sure it will hold true, but I like it.

Shimrod @1 – Yes, Brandon has confirmed that the cryptics are indeed spren.

TBGH @2 – It’s almost scary, isn’t it? It’s a world full of “real” people, all with their own understanding (and sometimes misunderstanding) of what is right, wrong, good, evil, best, worst… So they do good stuff, and they do stupid stuff, and they get hurt, and they are happy (once in a while). I love it.

MDNY @5 – Brandon commented at one point that spren aren’t as concerned with “good and evil” as people are. They just… are. So we might perceive the actions of a particular spren, or species (?) of spren as “evil” but they don’t really see it that way.

Isilel @10 – I don’t know if the Radiants were necessarily conceived as a solution to the problem of morally inferior spren, but the Nohadon conversation was definitely before the Radiants. It does seem that after the establishment of the Radiants, all of the Surgebinding became (more or less) their sole province, so there certainly seems to be a connection.

Also – good thought on whether the cryptics really are associated with Soulcasting. Maybe they have more to do with Shallan’s Memories and whatever Surge that involves (assuming it does), and the Soulcasting is something altogether different. I wonder if we’ll find out that Elhokar has a photographic memory, too. Interesting thought, especially since it would be less obvious; being a manly sort of man, he wouldn’t be a sketch artist. Maybe one of the reasons he seems so stressed is that he’s got too many detailed Memories in his head.

Isilel @16 – I agree – I’ll be disappointed if some of the KR are more “good” than others. It doesn’t make sense to me.

The Davar spanreed was operated by Nan Balat’s betrothed, Eylita. Shallan thinks of her as “incredibly nice, but not very clever.” They do all seem to feel they can trust her, though.

Re: Soulcasting and the quarries – best guess is that, since all the Soulcaster fabrials are held by the ardents, they and their “owners” kept a bit of a stranglehold on making stuff. At least, they weren’t sufficiently free with the making, so that it was still profitable for landowners to actually grow/quarry/whatever the normal raw materials. I don’t think Soulcasting a quarry would be the normal route, though; it was done to hide the fact that they were using a Soulcaster at all. They had to have quarries, and workers to quarry the marble, etc., in case anyone started looking closely at them.
Nadine L.
20. travyl
I agree, that Shallan draws the Cryptics this time, because she doesn't pay attention to her drawing. However I can't believe that someone who draws as much as her never before was distraced while drawing, so there has to be something more to the fact that she can now see them.
Given the fact, that from now on, she can hardly draw at all without drawing them, i agree that there is a catalyst or growing factor. It could be Jasnah (but I doubt it), It might be the fact that Shallan became a Shardbearer and that it takes time to develop your abilities. (Like Syl has been with Kaladin for months before it became obvious for him - and here again, from that point on the relationship and his powers development accelerated.)
(I never saw the Symbolheads / Cryptics as spren, but have no arguments).

@15: Tor usually accepts links, if you use the link-button above and don't end your comment with them.

@16 Isilel: It is mentioned, that the wife (?) of one of the brothers writes at the spanreed. I wouldn't fear betrayal from her, because without her husband she isn't worth much in Alethi society.
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
LazerWulf @18 - You can also paste the link into the comment box here, right-click on it, and unlink it.
Alice Arneson
22. Wetlandernw
Ciella @13 - There are far, far better arguments against atheism, even in the relatively simple context of human "morality," than the ones propounded by Taravangian. Since we're not debating atheism here, I won't go into it.
23. Freelancer
When Shallan is drawing from a Memory, what she is doing very nearly equates with Automatic Writing, but without all the creepy possession business. She doesn't need to focus consciously on what she's drawing.

Why she sees the cryptics now when she had not previously, is most likely more about them than about her. Perhaps her latent Soulcasting ability gained some spark from being near another when they used the same talent, and this brought her to the attention of the cryptics, who are now shadowing her, believing themselves invisible, but not hidden from her ability to capture Memories.

Surely we can all agree, that her capacity to store a complete scene with a blink, is a paranormal talent. If she has always been capable of "seeing" non-corporeal phenomena using this method, but has heretofore not been in the presence of such, it would fit the knowable facts up to this point.

Links are no mystery. Use the link icon at the top of the comment box (2nd from the right), and paste in the full url text. It will automatically strip the protocol (htt p://) from the rest of the address and compose it as a useable hyperlink.
24. Freelancer
travyl @20

I'm of mixed responses about your comment regarding the wife of the Davar brother who acts as spanreed operator for their communications. You seem to be suggesting that Alethi women have no personal status or existence apart from a husband. If this is not your meaning, please correct me. If it is, I would point you to the wide variety of females encountered in the story who work jobs with no obvious connection to a male spouse. Yes, the society is hidebound in its gender-based division of "proper" activities, but with the females having theirs include the arts, sciences, and pretty much all intellectual pursuits, it's a tough row to hoe, to suggest that they are a subordinate class.

The males have war and physical pursuits, and with the emphasis placed on military stature in their society, this does place the males in the positions of greatest political influence in a direct sense, but it by no means excludes the women, since they are absolutely depended upon and trusted for all forms of communication, in a realm where trust is clearly a risky thing. I would also note the continuous (if not contiguous) stream of independent young ladies turning up as courtship targets of Adolin. Are they the dilettante debutants we might pre-judge them to be, or are they free agents working for the best positioning with the best romantic prospect, while having a fully functional life of their own?

I don't think we know quite enough yet about the world, to have a conclusive judgement on this count.
Cheryl Sanders
25. RestlessSpirit
I had an interesting change of perspective while reading your re-cap, Carl. There are good reasons for Shallan to have drawn the Cryptics as all of y'all have discussed. What occurs to me is at this point the Cryptics seem to become more and more curious of Shallan. I think they might have been surprised she was able to draw/see them and began to actively observe her to learn more about her. Put them on a collision course but there ya' go! However, this type of behavior on the part of the Cryptics might also explain why such disparate people seem to see them.

There is some excellent foreshadowing after Shallan's spanreed convo with her family: “You mustn’t be drawn in, Shallan told herself, settling back with book and notes. Your goal is not to change the world. Your goal is to protect your brothers and your house.”

Oh, Shallan, what are you going to do?
David Foster
26. ZenBossanova
@MDNY (#14)
I have long been thinking of Shallan discovering Syl the same way as she did the Cryptics. In fact, if she doesn't do that, I will be surprised.
William Carter
28. wcarter
@27 maheshkb

Are you suggesting that Taravangian is a Time Lord?
Jared Wood
29. Shardlet
@9 I am doubtful that the cryptics/symbolheads live in Shadesmar. On the two occasions when we have seen Shadesmar, the cryptics are conspicuously absent.

@10, 11, 16 and 19 The Knights Radiant (at least according to legend) were establish by the Heralds, not Nohadon. The KR were the core of the armies of the Heralds in the desolations. Since the time of the Nohadon vision is right after a desolation, I suspect the KR were already in play. A key aspect of becoming a KR is speaking the ideals of the KR which are presented in the mind of the KR (or proto-KR) and then are spoken. This is not simply taking an oath of office. It seems clear that the proto-KR develops in some character attribute tied to a particular order to such a degree that the words of the next ideal come into the mind of the proto-KR. It seems that it would be challenging for Nohadon to establish such a phenomenon. It is also important to note that not all surgebinders (e.g., Szeth) are KR or on track to become such. Szeth's surgebinding capabilities are not the result of a spren-bond. So, there are (and likely were) surgebinders who are/were not KR.
Steven Muniz
30. CrimsonRave
By far I find this to be one of the most interesting chapters! This really gives us a look at Jasnah and her beliefs. She really kind of goes to the beat of her own drum, which is one of the many reasons that I like her. What I find most interesting is that Shallan is really starting to feel some guilt when it comes to the theft. Plus the argument with the king is one of the best conversations that is written in the book!

@Carl - great breakdown in this chapter. You had many points that I never looked at the first time I read the book!
Sean Arthur
31. wsean
@13 - seconded. It's an underappreciated aspect of Jasnah's character, I think--Brandon clearly went to a great deal of effort to not just research arguments for atheism, but to understand them deeply enough to keep her from becoming a straw atheist. It's hard to pull yourself out of your own worldview like that.

Of course, given where she lives, she's dead wrong, but so it goes.
Alice Arneson
32. Wetlandernw
Sharlet @29 - I surely wouldn't say that Nohadon single-handedly established the KR, since they were obviously tied to the Heralds. However, we really don't know how they came about, and the conversation with Nohadon certainly sounds like a precursor to their development. If I had to speculate, I would guess that perhaps over the course of Nohadon's lifetime, he developed the ideals that would, eventually, become the core of the Knights Radiant, and that when they next returned, the Heralds gave the KR a structure and a purpose. Sheer speculation, of course, but we don't actually know their backstory.
Robert Dickinson
33. ChocolateRob
Who here has seen the new look of Brandon's website. it went up a few days ago. The section on Words of Radiance has a blurb describing the direction that it is taking, it mentions where the main characters are and what they are doing (although it does also describe Jasnah as Dalinar's sister).
The FAQ section is interesting too-
Question - Why is there only one question in the FAQ?
Answer - Because we're still working on it.

I think I'd argue the point of Jasnah being 'dead wrong' I don't think that she is denying the existance of a God-like being but more arguing against the organised religiousness that speaks for him. Whether she believes that there is a God or not isn't the issue, it is the way people speak for God. She looks for the facts within religion, not the way others may interpret them to fit their own view. If there are god-like being with awesome power does that mean that they must be worshipped or are they just another thing that is. Does Might make right? I think she disagrees.
Nadine L.
34. travyl
Freelancer @24
I admit that I have been to rash with my comment. Especially since wetlander told us, that it is "only" a berothed and not (as I remebered) a wife. And there is another mistake in my comment: it's Jah Keved, not Alethkar, though they do seem to have similar rules, due to the fact of both being devoted to Vorinism.
Re-reading my comment, it seems alltogher wrong, and too presumptuous besides one fact: I still think they are quite safe to trust her. It is true that woman have their own lives, but if the Davar family is busted down - from minor nobility to destitute - hardly above Darkeyed level, it certainly would include her (as long as she were married to him, which she as of yet isn't).
In all, thanks for your correction.
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
FWIW, I'm not sure we should view a Vorin betrothal quite as lightly as our own culture. People break engagements all the time, and we don't think too hard about it, other than maybe to say, "Well, good thing they figured it out before they spent all that money on a wedding..." I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking that in this kind of a culture, betrothal is taken pretty seriously. If the Davar house goes down before the wedding takes place, Eylita might not have to go down with them, but there's not a very good chance of her making a good match afterwards either. So she's got a very real interest in doing what she can to keep them from going down at all.

ChocolateRob @33 - Yeah, the FAQ made me laugh. :) The one thing I'm bummed about is the loss of the WoK interior illustrations, though presumably they'll be back up eventually. I was finding those rather handy. I do like the new look, though; the colors of the previous version were hard on my old eyes.

Re: Jasnah - I think she does deny the existence of an "Almighty." She is convinced that there's a natural explanation for everything, without resorting to the powers of a superbeing. In one sense, she may be right, for a certain contextual definition of right. Vorinism thinks of Honor as "the Almighty," but an Almighty who can be destroyed by another entity isn't exactly all-mighty, is he? (Now I'm sounding like Fuzzy Wuzzy.)

In this discussion, Taravangian approached it with the "morals" argument - that our human definitions of right and wrong must come from somewhere outside ourselves. Jasnah counters that humans are perfectly capable of figuring out and defining right and wrong for themselves. It's a no-win situation, really, because both arguments are based on presuppositions. Taravangian presupposes the existence of a higher being whose spiritual influence gives humanity their definition of morality; Jasnah presupposes the capacity of the human mind to understand all there is to be understood. There's no common ground for genuine discussion, so it all comes down to who gets flustered first.
Adam S.
36. MDNY
I think Jasnah is too much of a skeptic to be an atheist, she doesn't believe in God because she sees no proof that one is necessary. I always thought of her as more agnostic, a true believer in science and logic, but not a person who would automatically reject the existence of the Almighty on principle.
Carl Engle-Laird
37. CarlEngle-Laird
@36 I have to respectfully disagree with your definition, because I don't think skepticism precludes atheism. Many skeptics are also atheists, and indeed skepticism often leads to atheism. Believing that there is no Almighty because there is insufficient proof of that being's existence is still atheism, the belief that there is no god or gods. I think that agnosticism is the belief that there could or could not be a god, and there's not yet enough information to decide one way or another.

I'm sure Jasnah is a skeptic. But I'm also sure she's an atheist. She does not see any proof of the Almighty's existence, nor does she see any necessity for that existence. It's possible that, given real proof that she would be capable of verifying, she would accept the existence of a divinity. I'd say that's probably as likely to happen over the course of the Stormlight Archive as not. But for now she's still decided in her own mind on the subject.
Nadine L.
38. travyl
Carl @3/37
I really appreciate that you keep commenting in the comment-section and not just "leave us" after your initial thoughts. Thanks.
Carl Engle-Laird
39. CarlEngle-Laird
@38 My pleasure. This commenting community is great, and it's nice to be able to step in and say something every once in a while.
Julian Augustus
40. Alisonwonderland
Hi Wetlander,
In this discussion, Taravangian approached it with the "morals" argument - that our human definitions of right and wrong must come from somewhere outside ourselves
Like Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative.
David Foster
41. ZenBossanova
Not that I have any desire to get into an argument about if she qualifies as an atheist or not, but it might be, that when we get to the end, and Shallan and Jasnah both meet Cultivation or Odium or any other shard. One will (correctly) interpret it as a person with godlike power, and other the other will (correctly) interpret it as a God.

The hilarious part being, both would be right.

It kind of reminds me of Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke arguing if light was a wave or a particle. But we know both are true.
42. Jasuni
@29 Wild theory: The Heralds are immortal, but I think that they were once mortal. Jezrien, the King of the Heralds, used to wear a crown (prelude), so I wonder if there is any possibility that Nohadon became a herald. If so, then the Knights Radiant could have been founded by both Nohadon and the heralds.
Adam S.
43. MDNY
Carl, that's interesting, because I really feel that Jasnah could easily be convinced that the Almighty is real, or at least that godlike beings like Honor, Cultivation (if we ever get more on what/where Cultivation is) and Odium are real, if the right evidence was presented to her. As opposed to the Vorin church, most of whose members could never accept any proof that their beliefs are wrong. There's no way to be sure, based on what we know so far, that's just my sense of her and her priorities. She isn't anti-god, just anti-church, which may be why she kept that book of endless pages she passed on to Shallan later in the book.
44. Confutus
The herald Icons for this chapter are Palah and Shash.
It seems to be fairly evident that Palah, which is associated with learning and giving, is present because Jasnah has a strong role in this chapter, while Shash, which is associated with creativity, is present because of Shallan.

Jasnah (ch 72) identifies the symbolheads as a type of spren, after she is apparently surprised that Shallan can see them, or percieve them. She evades the question of whether she can see them herself. She also confirms that they are related to what Shallan does, although her phrasing "what you do" right after she had admitted that soulcasting is what "we" do hints that there may be a difference between the way Jasnah does it and the way Shallan does it.
Adam S.
45. MDNY
@44 I agree that Shallan and Jasnah may not do things the same way, but they both soulcast and they both can visit Shadesmar. Beyond that, we just don't know enough about them, especially about Jasnah, to say how (if) they differ. I'm hoping at least some of that will be answered in the next book, even if many of our big questions remain for several more books (and we get new questions after each book, based on BWS' other works). Good catch on the language Jasnah uses, though.
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
Confutus @44 - I've begun to wonder if Palah shows up specifically on the chapters where they are in the Palaneum, rather than for Jasnah per se. I haven't done the research to see if the Palah chapters really do involve the Palaneum, but it seems fairly probable...

On the other hand, there's the possibility that Palah is the Herald associated with Jasnah's KR Order-to-be. Which I'm assuming is the case... but then I've been assuming for a long time that both she and Shallan, along with Kaladin & Dalinar, and maybe Elhokar and Adolin and Renarin, are going to become KR... Hey, I like them. They should be Knights, right? :)

I haven't done the research yet, but I'm more and more convinced (based solely on the name) that the Palaneum is named for Palah.
47. Confutus
Since, as far as I recall, the the only place Jasnah has shown up so far is in the Palanaeum, I'm not sure that it's possible to separate them yet. It took me a few rereads to notice the connection between Palah and the Palanaeum, but it's more evidence that that herald (whatever her name actually is, and I'm asuming "she" based on the icon), was indeed the patron of learning and scholarship. Given that Jasnah is one of the foremost living scholars on Roshar, a connection between her and Palah's order of the KR would seem natural. However, the persistent appearance of Vev when Kaladin is acting the healer and Tanat when he is acting the soldier, when most of the evidence suggests that he is developing as a Windrunner in Jezrien's order of KR suggests not putting too much weight yet on such observations.
(Brandon seems to be fond of making natural assumptions do the most amazing acrobatics.)
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
Okay, you triggered a thought... there is one time we saw Jasnah outside the Palaneum for an entire chapter: The Lesson. She was in her quarters in the Conclave, and then out in the city, and then back to her quarters. And Palah is still on the arch. So... yup, it's Jasnah and/or teaching and learning that is associated with her. And I'm still betting Jasnah will belong to her Order. :)
Steven Muniz
49. CrimsonRave
This is becoming a very interesting topic. I think it is also important to point out that a sudden event could be enough to change Jasnah. It would be really interesting to see if she keeps this same mindset thought the series but changes due to a death or something. I feel that if all she needs is physical existence Brandon would easily be able to give it. But again like everyone else this is just speculation on my part.

@carl agree with previous posts! Have you respond back is a treat. Just knowing that you take the time to read posts really makes this community a great place! Keep up the great work!
Birgit F
50. birgit
Is it possible to repair Shards? Maybe Jasnah will learn about them (from Hoid?) and find a way to fix Honor. How would repairing a god influence her attitude to religion?
Matt Spencer
51. Iarvin
Is Palah the herald that Shallan sees wandering through the stacks later in the book, when she's covertly looking for another copy of one of Jasnah's research books?
andrew smith
52. sillyslovene
Not much else to add. Though, I would like to give a shout out to Carl for retaining, at least partially, the ambiguity surrounding the scary dudes visiting Shallan's family and what they want:
After he died, men showed up claiming to know their father, and implying knowledge of the Soulcaster as well. They want the Soulcaster back.
As this section is told from an absolutely unreliable narrator (Nan Balat, as mediated through Eylita), there is the possibility that the visitor was absolutely talking about the Soulcaster. But there is also the possiblity that he was talking about the Shardblade. He implies to Nan Balat that he knows his father had something, and Nan Balat assumes that means the Soulcaster. In reality, he/they might have been looking for the Shardblade. Or both the Shardblade and the Soulcaster. Nan Balat, (probably) only knowing about the Soulcaster, would immediately assume that was all he was talking about.

The way it is written seems to want to get us looking one way, while really we should be looking the other. Bait and switch.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the guy wasn't looking for the Soulcaster, just that there is some real ambiguity in the statements and enough of a whole to fit some really neat foreshadowing in. Or at least a red herring.

Also, reading the interaction with King Taravangian is interesting in light of some of the spoilers that are out there about it. Just saying. Spoiler: he must be having a bad day here intelligence wise. But, on such a day, when he wouldn't be allowed to make important decisions, he's allowed to mix and mingle with someone, when the act of doing so with that person could have drastic political implications?
Matt Spencer
53. Iarvin
I'm pretty sure that the Tarvangian related spoilers were guessed by people and confirmed by Brandon well before he confirmed them with the WoR readings. I'm not sure if that nuance matters at this point to people - but obviously confirmation from Brandon on other topics has been free game (see the discussion and discovery of the recipient of Hoid's letter). I'm curious if WetlanderNW or anyone else has an opinion on the discussability of spoilers which Brandon revealed well before WoR. (November 2011) contains the heart of the spoilers on the topic.
Alice Arneson
54. Wetlandernw
FWIW, in my opinion the things that Brandon has said in interviews & Q&A are pretty much all fair game for discussion. He tells us things he doesn't mind us knowing, but anything really plot-critical, he'll keep back. For myself, I couldn't care less about the released scenes from WoR, either, but I know there are others who really, really don't want to get those scenes, or information from them, out of context of the book. In fairness to them, I try (and encourage others to try) to not talk about stuff that we'll be reading in a few months, so as to allow them their full enjoyment.

But... that's just my opinion. There's no "rule" about this sort of thing; it's mostly a matter of trying to be kind to one another. It will get harder and harder, especially if Tor gives us free chapters ahead of time. At that point, it's almost impossible not to talk about the WoR information, so... sadly, most people who really don't want any spoilers pretty much have to absent themselves from all discussions.
Michael Johnson
55. mjjohnson
@52 sillyslovene - I always figured this was just part of his act, as a bumbling, kindhearted monarch, someone who's not all that bright (which we obviously learn at the end of the book is just an act to cover up his scheming and dastardly deeds). Is there any reason to think he really wasn't firing on all cylinders here?

(Possibly I'm missing your point because I haven't seen the WoR stuff yet.)
Jared Wood
56. Shardlet
@42 That is an interesting idea. But, i see a couple of flies in the ointment. While the Heralds were all previously mortal, none of their names jive with Nohadon's. on top of which, the vision is early in Nohadon's career. He had to be king long enough to bring the world under one rule and then to write the Way of kings later in life. It is conceivable that he predated the Heraldic epochs, wrote the Way of Kings, became a Herald and took a new name. But then the Way of Kings would have been virtually prehistoric rather than ancient. I get the impression from both Dalinar and Jasnah that, while it is ancient, it is not that old.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
Jasuni @42 - I actually liked the idea, but it doesn't stand. In Dalinar's conversation with Nohadon, the king asks the question, "When the Heralds next return, what will they find?" So the Heralds were already in place, coming each time to fight against the Desolations. It was only the Knights Radiant who hadn't been established yet; they would, apparently, be forged from the "Soulcasters and Surgebinders" the king mentioned.
andrew smith
58. sillyslovene
As was pointed out in 53, there were people that put together the hints to figure something is going on with Taravangian, beyond simply acting foolish or bumbling, something BWS may have confirmed (I don't recall seeing that, but it's probably out there somewhere). But, again, as a spoiler: yes, the WOR materials confirm that something is going on. He's probably not just acting here.

(Note that like Wet, I tend to respect those who don't want any type of spoilers to be seen. Whiting it out really takes very little effort on my part. )
James Briggs
59. traveler
HI ALL, its been awhile,someone said that I should change my screen name so this is me briggs2.I guess i need to be more security concience.
This is all just a theroryso take it how you will,
I was thinking about Shallon and her skills while I was reading this weeks post andhere it is .
I think that shallons drawing skills are tied to the spren in some way which we all agree, and i finished the book again.During my read through I rembered that 2 ardents were in the interludes and they were measuring the hight of flame spren, when they write dowh a measurement the spren would hold that form until the writen figure was erased.
So what if when shallon blinks to rember an image she is taking a spren and somehow giving it that picture to hold untill she can use it.I dont rember where but she talks about a sense of release whe she draws a picture and has to blink again befor doing another one as she did for the king. We know that she is already talented but her inter reaction with the spren seems tied together to me, and her association with Jasanah who is using stormlight is moving Shallon faster to become what she will eventualy be.
Just a thought BYE NOW
Nadine L.
60. travyl
Two more things to point out from this chapter.
1) from the conversation of Shallan and Jasnah:
"A mythological treasure, Brightness, much like the Dawnshards or the Honorblades. Certainly worth seeking..."
As she says "treasure", I'm led to believe, that those term do not depict mere myths, and even if so, they have enough knowledge left to know these distinct terms. - As far as I recall nowhere in the book are the Shardblades called Honorblades, so I might it be, that the Alethi know, that in heraldic times, there were other blades than the Shardblades, meaning that the Heralds didn't have "mere" Shardblades but Honorblades with different characteristics as we saw in the Prelude and at the end of the book.
Aditionally I'm really curious what she would have to say about Dawnshards ... I believe we haven't seen those yet?

2) A few weeks ago, we discussed the unfeasability of Vorin eating-customs due to their gender separation. In this chapter we see a "compromise" which is accepted from the king: "putting two tablecloth on the round table to seperate the genders during dining."
So it's not necesarrily as strict as we thought, though preparing different meals would still be a bother, even if you would cook one meal and sweeten / spice it at the end.
Adam S.
61. MDNY
Female food sounds too sweet for my palate. Though I'm curious whether both men and women could eat sweet and sour pork/chicken.
Sean Dowell
62. qbe_64
This may open a line of discussion that can't be answered without book two references, so I'm hesitant to even post it, but *Spoiler?
It would have been curious what would have happened had Szeth broken in to kill Taravangian on a bad day, when his mental prowess and personal alertness was compromised to it's fullest extent. If he didn't even realize that he was controlling Szeth, or held the Oathstone. Seems like a giant risk to take. I doubt that his captors/body guards could hope to stand against Szeth. *end of spoiler.
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
qbe_64 @62 - I somehow doubt that even his bad days are quite that bad, and he'd have drilled himself pretty thoroughly to produce the Oathsone when he heard those words, wouldn't he? Or, given what he knew was coming, he'd keep someone who knew what to do with him on the bad days. In any case, I'm sure he'd have prepared for that. On the good days, he's too smart to be unprepared for the bad ones.
*end spoiler discussion* (if such it is)
Sean Dowell
64. qbe_64
#64! woohoo!
Hopefully we'll make it to Part 64 in this re-read, and I get the 64th comment.
Then it will truly be cubed 64.

@63 - yeah I suppose, * if they don't even let him out of the room on bad days, they might just tie it to his forehead and tell him not to take it off.*
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
@64 - Okay, I literally laughed out loud on that one...
66. AirSick_Lowlander
The last thing Shallan did before starting her sketch of Taravangian was withold the truth. She stopped herself from making a gibe at him and said somehting flattering and untrue instead. She then got lost in the coversation and drew a cryptic. I wonder if that is coincidence or something more.
67. AirSick_Lowlander
Shallan's constantly withholding the truth of her reasons for even being in Jasnah's company. Has that also contributed to the spren coming to her now?

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