Sep 19 2013 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 31 and 32

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on This week’s chapters are interesting counterbalances in Kaladin’s life. In the first, Kaladin witnesses how cowardly and mean the town folk of Hearthstone can truly be, caused by a mere sentence from a Brighteyes and thus sowing his hatred of the upper class. Even with that unpleasantness, Lirin finally shows some backbone and basically tells a mob to “come at me, bro.” And in the second chapter, Kaladin’s plans come to fruition...

Chapters 31: Beneath the Skin
Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens: Kaladin is with his father studying while his father is drinking. Lirin tells Kaladin that he should stay in Kharbranth after his training instead of returning to Hearthstone or another “tiny, backward, foolish town.”

The winter is particularly harsh for Kaladin’s family, as everyone from town has stopped donating to Lirin for his healing services after an offhand remark from Brightlord Roshone.

Kaladin encourages Lirin to use the spheres they had saved for his education, but Lirin insists this is what Roshone wants—to make them spend the spheres from the previous Brightlord. Kaladin returns to his studies, but is distracted by a rock Tien had left. His thoughts wander to Tien’s new chosen career of carpentery (instead of surgeon), and his own choice soon either to become a surgeon or to join the army.

A small group of people arrive at the house, bent on taking Lirin’s spheres. Both Lirin and Kaladin can see these are no highway robbers, but locals claiming they intend to give the spheres to Brightlord Roshone. Lirin places the bowl of spheres on the table and dares them men to take them, saying:

“You’ve threatened violence against me. Come. Hit me. Rob me. Do it knowing I’ve lived among you almost my entire life. Do it knowing that I’ve healed your children. Come in. Bleed one of your own!”

The men fade back into the darkness saying nothing, leaving Lirin and Kaladin alone.

Quote of the Chapter:

When men perceive the world as being right, we are content. But if we see a hole—a deficiency—we scramble to fill it.

This is a rather important but harsh lesson for young Kal to learn, as are most of these flashback episodes we’re shown. Those who are weaker try to make those who are strong even stronger by pleasing them any way they can. These lessons are shaping Kaladin in the man we know—someone who wants to standup for those who are weaker against the powerful.

Commentary: A sad yet oddly inspiring chapter in its own way. Roshone is putting Lirin’s family through hell simply for malice. The very town has turned against Lirin yet they still have the gall to use Lirin’s skills. Lirin is in such an odd position. He’s lived in Hearthstone it seems most, if not all of his life yet he is seen as an outsider but he wants to belong yet accepts maybe too readily that he doesn’t. He has the knowledge to both acknowledge that most of the town folk are wrong about many of their assumptions and actions, but is honest with himself enough to grok that this is just the way of things in small towns. In other words its like high school where the ignorant and jerks rule all too easily.

Still there is an odd positivity shown in this chapter. At least a moment that helps form Kaladin in a meaningful way. Kaladin witnesses Lirin standing up to a literal mob seeking to rob them. Young Kal has often talked about how his father seems full of excuses for people, but Lirin has his own bravery of a sort. Usually, it is limited to his willingness to help others medically, but after a little hero juice Lirin seems willing to go toe-to-toe with his neighbors. Or he could just be smart enough to know how to turn them back without raising his fist. In either case, however horrible it is for Kaladin to see his neighbors turn against him it shows him that even one person can make a difference. Kaladin’s dislike of bullies can probably be traced back to this moment.

Kaladin is also a thinker, which he gets from his father. Here we see Kal studying human anatomy—and he isn’t just memorizing the information for his intended education as a surgeon, but also studying what the weaknesses are in the body that he could use in a fight if need be.

I had forgotten Tien was to be a carpenter. Sanderson paints Tien in such fashion that he comes off as more of an ideal innocence than a fully fledged character. Tien signifies a lot of things to Kaladin. To young Kal, Tien means happiness and joy. To bridgeman Kaladin, Tien is regret and hope wrapped together. It cuts deep when Tien is lost because he is so relatable to that precocious boy most have known in their life at some point. All life that was cut short needs to be repaid, which is why Kaladin fights so hard for Bridge Four. It is a debt that can never truly be paid.

Regret, though, is something Lirin is instilling in Kaladin too. And regret is all too familiar to adult Kaladin as we see in the next chapter. While Lirin taught Kaladin regret, Tien was all about teaching him hope.


Chapter 32: Side Carry
The Shattered Plains
Point of View: Kaladin

What happens: Bridge Four practices the side carry with their bridge—they are still rough at working together, but they’ve clearly improved. Kaladin breaks off from overseeing the training, leaving Rock in charge as he sees Gaz with newcomers that will fill-out the various bridge teams.

Gaz quickly assigns the men to different teams, but neglects to give even one to Bridge Four, despite their numbers being down to 29 men from the standard 40. Gaz tells Kaladin he doesn’t need any men, as Bridge Four has hardly lost anyone on the recent bridge runs. As Gaz walks away, Kaladin grabs his arm. They stare at each other briefly before Gaz concedes and tells Kaladin he can have one man from the lot.

Kaladin scans the group for a tall bridgeman, and one of the recruits shouts out to be picked—a Herdazian with one arm who claims to be a great fighter, having beaten three drunk men with only his one arm. Kaladin knew immediately that the Herdazian would “make a terrible bridgeman” and probably would be used as arrow fodder towards the front on his first run in most other bridge teams. But Kaladin recalls something about Tien that pushes him into accepting the Herdazian as his new bridgeman. Gaz is shocked by Kaladin’s selection, but Kaladin simply walks off with the Herdazian, whose name is Lopen. It’s clear that Lopen has no clue what bridge duty entails, and that he likes to talk an awful lot.

Kaladin leads Lopen over to his bridge team as they are taking a break from training. Even the five injured bridgemen mingle among them. Kaladin sends Lopen into the barrack for his sandals and vest, and Rock comments that Gaz must have stuck them with the new one-armed bridgeman. Kaladin ignores Rock, not wanting to admit he had chosen Lopen. There is a call for a bridge run, and Bridge Four quickly snaps into action—unlike the other crews that often ran around confused. Kaladin orders Lopen to fill the waterskins and follow behind the crew as soon as he could.

Bridge Four is the first to arrive, with the troops still gathering at the disembarking point to the Shattered Plains. Lopen soon catches up, carrying a litter filled with waterskins along with Dabbid and Hobber. When the bridge run begins, Bridge Four’s hard training paid off—though still tired, the men have the strength and stamina to carry on, and the water stops between each bridge also seem to enliven them.

Sadeas’ forces travel for hours over the plateaus of the Shattered Plains. Kaladin knows this allows a greater chance of the Parshendi beating them to their intended platform—the infamous Tower, from which no Alethi forces have ever recovered a gemheart. Kaladin worries, but decides they will attempt the side carry maneuver despite objections from the squad. He tells the men to trust him, and that they’ll use the bridge as a shield upon their approach.

Kaladin sees Gaz speaking to Brightlord Lamaril as they begin the side carry, but they both seem content to leave Kaladin and the team to their folly. Bridge Four makes good time across the plateau despite the odd angle and approach. The Parshendi shoot volleys of arrows at Bridge Four, but they land harmlessly against the side and top of the bridge. After a few zig-zag movements across the field, they arrive at the chasm’s edge and slide the bridge into place.

Kaladin then realizes the Parshendi were no longer targeting his crew, and notices the chaos behind them. Many of the other bridge teams were already down, having attempted to angle their bridges like Bridge Four. Some of the other teams managed to drop their bridges in place, but many had been cut down by the Parshendi while others lost control of their bridges while attempting unfamiliar maneuvers. The cavalry finally starts to cross the chasm, but due to many mislaid and missing bridges they cannot make an effective charge against the Parshendi forces. Kaladin briefly considers trying to help some of the other bridges, but he knows it is too late.

Kaladin is pulled back behind cover, his men congratulating him on the success of his plan. But Kaladin admits he has “completely undermined our assault”—the cavalry that had made it across weren’t enough to push the Parshendi back and they were being broken up and picked off in smaller groups. Before this point, Kaladin didn’t realize what effect his plans for one bridge team would have on a major assault such as this. Bridge Four forced the Parshendi to focus on the other teams, but also succesfully got ahead of all the other teams.

Kaladin sees Gaz, Lamaril, and some spearmen approach Bridge Four. His men stand to defend him, but he tells them to leave and get back to camp safely. Whatever happened, he knows he deserves the repercussions. As Gaz approaches, Kaladin steps out and is quick to admit that the failure of the assault was his doing, but he didn’t know it would happen—he was just “trying to survive.” Lamaril coldly explains, “bridgemen aren’t supposed to survive.”

Kaladin says if they leave him alive, he will admit fault to their superiors, but that if they kill him it will look like they are trying to cover something up—many soldiers had seen Gaz and Lamaril taking as Bridge Four started their side carry and didn’t move to stop them.

Lamaril orders Kaladin beaten, but not killed.

Quote of the Chapter:

Kaladin watched, really watched. He’d never studied the tactics and needs of the entire army in these assaults. He’d considered only the needs of his own crew. It was a foolish mistake, and he should have known better. He would have known better, if he’d still thought of himself as a real soldier. He hated Sadeas; he hated the way the man used bridge crews. But he shouldn’t have changed Bridge Four’s basic tactics without considering the larger scheme of the battle.

Consequences. They can bite you in the storming rear.

Commentary: Wow, two very sad chapters in a row. Kaladin shoots and scores only to get fouled out the next moment from ref Lamaril. And here I thought things were looking rosy for Kaladin for a minute there. No such luck as we’ll soon see Kaladin’s punishment meted out in a very raw fashion.

No matter how hard Kaladin tries he just can’t quit being too honest, but that is what Syl finds so intriguing about him. Now he has a new partner in crime with Lopen who knows just how to get things done. But like the episode with villagers trying to rob Lirin this too is an important lesson for Kaladin to know for the future. He’ll go on and think at a larger scale, which will one day win him everything surely.

The Parshendi continued to chant, somehow knowing— without orders—when to draw their bows.

Can we get Words of Radiance yet just for the promised Parshendi perspective? What does the singing signify to them? Merely a way for them to time troop movements or something deeper? Gah, I need to know just how they think.

We haven’t talked about the epigraphs much from the third section, but this feels like the right place though I’ll be jumping ahead slightly with some other epigraphs in forthcoming chapters. First though this chapters epigraph:

“They lived high atop a place no man could reach, but all could visit. The tower city itself, crafted by the hands of no man.”

Many of the epigraphs we’ve seen so far in this section and most in the next few are from Jasnah’s research notes on ancient times. The epigraph from this chapter I’ll note mentions a ”tower," which to me suggests a connect to the Shattered Plains’ so called Tower plateau. This epigraph and the one from chapter 35 seem to support this theory. The epigraph from Chapter 35 also discusses Urithiru and how it was placed as far west as possible to be near Honor. This seems to intimate that yes, Honor is the Origin of Storms in some fashion, but also that the Shattered Plains was at one time the location of the city of Urithiru, which was destroyed at some point possibly during a Desolation.

Urithiru may be one of the Dawncities, perhaps the last built by the Dawnsingers. In further support of this are the drawings of some famous cities of Roshar on page 498 (hardcover edition) depicting their shapes. They appear to be very organic looking as if they were grown. Very close to the shapes of snowflakes. Even by the technology of Roshar today engineering at this level is beyond them.

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

Adam S.
Even though it ends on a down note (to say the least), I love Kaladin's emerging success in this chapter. His side carry helps save his bridge crew, letting all of them survive, something that NEVER happens for bridge four.
Gotta love The Lopin, what an amusing minor character to join Kaladin's small cadre.
The first chapter shows how all Alethi society is unhinged from the ideals of the radiants, with the peasants willing to betray a respected and honorable member of their community at a word. Obviously their brightlord is a schmuck, but they are willing to threaten and rob their town healer because he displeased the brightlord. The problems in Alethkar go deeper than just some bad leaders, there is a lack of honor that has become deep-rooted, and even good men are drawn to evil acts as a result (possibly Odium's influence?).
Matt Stoumbaugh
2. LazerWulf
If Honor's home was Urithiru, and Urithiru was in what became the Shattered Plains, wouldn't it stand to reason that the Plains became Shattered when Odium splintered Honor?

Also, I love the Side Carry chapter, if only because I've never seen a plan succeed so spectacularly, while at the same time go horribly, horribly wrong.
Brian Carlson
3. images8dream
I love the moment when Lirin confronts the mob. I think it qualifies as a MoA. I also love that he uses the light of the spheres to dispel them, since the whole conflict is grounded in that the townsfolk are ignorant of how the world really works. His literal shining of light turns is a metaphorical one as well. As Bill says over on the Malazan reread, fantasy is awesome because metaphor can become reality.
4. Jasuni
A later chapter mentions that the townsfolk are still feeding Kaladin's family, albeit secretly. Even some of the people who tried to rob Lirin gave them food.

Lopen fits right into the bridge four with his personality.

The shattered plains are in the east, not the west, so Urithiru couldn't have been at the shattered plains. (stormward = east, leeward = west).
Matt Stoumbaugh
5. LazerWulf
@4: Since the chapter that mentions the townspeople are feeding them comes after this one, it almost seems like the events of this chapter shamed them into doing that.

Nice catch about the east/west thing. I should have caught that, but I was too caught up in the new theory being presented, a theory which is now debunked because it was based on flawed geography.
Adam S.
Urithru is in the mountains, isn't it? And West, as was pointed out. I have no doubt its location will be revealed, eventually, but I'm pretty sure it can't be the shattered plains. That doesn't mean they weren't shattered by some other act of Odium, we just don't know enough to formulate any (reasonable) theories on the given evidence. I'm sure more will be revealed. Slowly. Over 9 more books. Argh I want WOR!
Michael Pye
7. Michael_Pye

My feeling is the timeline isn't firm enough to say if Urithiru was made before or after Honor was shattered. I too think the Shattered Plains is where Honor was killed, but I also feel like Urithiru was built to honor his memory. I don't have anything concrete to back that up though.
Andrew Berenson
8. AndrewHB
Chapter 32 is a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences.

Thanks for reading my musings.
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
9. Wetlandernw
Lopen is so much fun. I wasn't quite sure what to think when he first showed up, and IIRC, I expected him to be a problem of some sort. I've come to really, really like him... which probably means he's going to die in book 3, right?

MDNY @6 - "Slowly. Over 9 more books. Argh I want WOR!"
I'm coming to the conclusion that actually knowing how many more books remain can be a drawback. :) On the one hand, we can expect to get some answers in WoR, right? There have to be some! On the other hand... you can pretty well bet that half the answers will just raise more questions, and the other half will be balanced by totally new questions coming along. And of course, I'm reasonably sure there will be a few questions we have now that we'll still have a year from now. I just wonder how many questions we have now, we'll still have TEN years from now, or if it will be all new questions by then. :)

LazerWulf @2 - "I've never seen a plan succeed so spectacularly, while at the same time go horribly, horribly wrong." Well, that about sums it up. The same sort of thing happens/ed with the Shardbearer in the flashbacks - it was a great plan, it succeeded, and it went horribly wrong. Do you suppose he really learned the lesson here, or is he going to repeat the pattern again and again?

@ several re: Urithiru - There sure is a lot we don't know about it. We know it was in place (wherever...) during the time of the Heralds and the Knights Radiant, right? What we don't know is just when Honor was Splintered. Was it before or after that time? My private theory, based on nothing but "I think it makes a certain amount of sense," is that the Recreance and the Splintering are related - though I don't have any idea which might be cause and which effect. I've wondered if perhaps breaking the Oathpact somehow altered the balance of power between the Shards so that Odium was eventually able to Splinter Honor, without whose direct influence the KR fell apart... but we don't even know the time scale, much less the order of events, so it's sheer speculation. For all I know, the Splintering might have resulted in the Oathpact. That'd be one in the eye...
Sean Dowell
10. qbe_64
On Earth, the magnetic polarity of the poles reverses every 100,000 - 1M years. Who's to say that East is not West and the Origin has swapped sides since the days of Urithiru.

Additionally, remember that whole Well of Acension thing being in the mountains to the North in Mistborn? For Brandon, direction is potentially purposefully misleading.
Matt Stoumbaugh
11. LazerWulf
@10, You know, you may be on to something there. I wouldn't be surprised if the Shattered Plains were actually the city of Urithiru turned to stone (similar to how Steelheart turns the city of Chicago to steel, making that the SECOND time Brandon has done that), with the battles being fought on the tops of fossilized buildings, and the chasms the remains of streets and alleys. (How else could they have been big enough for men to walk through, and even train in?) And "The Tower" is actually the remains of an actual tower that stood above the subterranian city (technically true, since the building tops are at "ground level", which is no less weird than carving a city into the side of a mountain) in order to watch for the highstorms.

EDIT: Seems there's already a discussion about this on the 17thShard forums: (SPOILER WARNING, there's WoR discussion in there).
Peter Ahlstrom
12. PeterAhlstrom
Oh Wetlander, I see you're also taking lessons from the Aes Sedai.
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
Peter @12 - I always wanted to hold the One Power...
Nadine L.
14. travyl
Re 9,12,13:
Wet, I've read your comment several times now, and am still no sure, to which part Peter is referring. You seem to know though. So unfair...

Regarding Chapter 31, I'd like to comment on a detail that remebered me of the discussion we had in the reread of Chapter 14:
Someone proposed that the stones Tien gave Kaladin could hold stormlight and thereby modify Kal’s mood.
While it was a good theory, rereading this chapter, I can’t believe it anymore: Kal is practically constantly exposed to a gobletful of infused spheres. If he could have "used" Stormlight in his youth, he would have drained those spherese and not needed any stones (given from Tien), which un-cut as they are could only hold a tiny amount …
The connection between Kal feeling depressed and the lack of stormlight still stands though (IMO).
Sean Tabor
15. wingracer

Maybe but I don't think Kal was in direct contact with those spheres very often. He certainly wasn't carrying them around with him on a regular basis.
William Carter
16. wcarter
Ah Lopen, the man with a cousin for every occasion. One can never have too many cousins...
17. Confutus
The herald icons for chapter 31 are Vev - Chach. We have usually seen Vev where there is an emphasis on healing, and Lirin and Kaladin would both bring that element. Chach, which is associated with brave/obedient may to have to do with Lirin's facing down the mob. I am reminded of the performance of Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird".
I wonder how much of Kaladin's fortitude in the face of adversity is owed to the example of his father, whether they will meet again, and how that meeting will go.

For chapter 32, the herald icons are Tanat - Nan.
We usually see Tanat when Kaladin is doing something military. We haven't seen much of Nan...Chapter 9, when Kaladin is first assened to Bridge 4, chaper 25, when Roshone shows up to replace Wistiow as Brightlord of Heartstone, and Interlud I-6, when Szeth's oathstone is captured by somone who knows what he is about. Although Nan is associated with Herald Nalan (There is a relief of Nalan 'Elin on p 944), this icon is looking more like a signal that someone is about to eat a monstrous injustice.
18. Confutus
The illustration on p 498 goes with Chapter 33.
Scientist, Father
19. Silvertip
Those who are weaker try to make those who are strong even stronger by pleasing them any way they can. These lessons are shaping Kaladin in the man we know—someone who wants to standup for those who are weaker against the powerful.
A useful thing to read about, in a week where it seems that politicians in my State and National capitals are competing with each other to see which of them can curry the most favor with plutocrats by further worsening the lot of the downtrodden. Of course there's only so much comfort in fiction, but it's nice to be reminded that the ideal exists.

I don't always believe in Hell, but when I do, I'm sure it holds a special place for those who, granted power, wield it for the purpose of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted.

Dixon Davis
20. KadesSwordElanor
Silvertip @ 19

My prayer almost every day. “May our leaders be more compassionate about solving our labor crisis.”

I won’t stop praying because I can’t. But so far, it doesn’t seem to be working.
James Briggs
21. traveler
19, 20, may our leaders not sell our inalienable rights away and may this great nation servive what is coming!!

HI ALL , im going to be at a book signing on tuesday with BWS and I have one question that I want answered ,but thought that I would see what else all of you were interested in asking so let me know befor tue. night .

I wonder if Lopen will end up a KR. That isnt my question just a thought
Wetlander 9 NICE I wondered if Nohadon was around befor honor was splintered and after that desolation the KR were organized.
Alice Arneson
22. Wetlandernw
traveler @21 - I have a whole list of questions.... but here are a couple I think Brandon might actually answer. As always, only ask the ones you're interested in yourself.

1 - Is the recipient of Hoid’s letter (epigraphs in WoK) immortal because he’s a dragon, or are the two coincidental? Has he (or she!) always been a dragon?

2 - What year is the "present" in WoK? (The epigraph numbering starts in mid-1171 and goes through late 1173, but what relationship does that have to the timing of the book?)

Have fun at the signing!!
Matt Stoumbaugh
23. LazerWulf
@21: The 17th Shard forums have a topic just for this:

I'm going to be at the Houston signing on the 27th, and I already have my question in mind.
24. Ilmoran
Regarding Urithru/Origin/misleading of directions/reversal of magnetic poles:

There's no indication that the high storms are affected by magnetic direction, and in fact I would suggest that the presence of Shinovar suggested that even if the magnetic poles swapped, Origin stays where it is, and the same areas continue to be blasted by high storms.

As for whether or not the indications of directions are a misdirection, remember that in Mistborn, there was a clear reason and motive by an in-universe entity to move and conceal the location of the Well. Here, thus far there is no reason for someone to hide where Urithru was, unless we assume that something in Urithru is dangerous to Odium (who currently, probably doesn't believe anything is a danger to him).
Deana Whitney
25. Braid_Tug
Ch. 31: Liked how it made young Kal really respect his father in a way he never had. Agree that is was one of those life defining moments. Why are almost all the Brightlords we see, such jerks?

@21: His Texas appearances would have to coincide with a weekend when I can’t leave Dallas.

Since he’ll be there in support of Steelheart, he may steer away for “spoiler” questions for those in the audience who haven’t read WoK. That’s what he did at his reading at Worldcon.
So word your question carefully.

We’re not supposed to talk about non-published stuff here, right?
Alice Arneson
26. Wetlandernw
Braid_Tug @25 - "Why are almost all the Brightlords we see, such jerks?" Probably for the same reason the "upper classes" (i.e., those with money and power) are usually perceived as mostly jerks: human nature tends toward arrogance. Someone who has all the trappings of power, etc., naturally thinks that they somehow deserve it, and that it proves they're better than everyone else. It may be stupid (especially from the perspective of us peons), but it really is human nature. We take pride (and I mean that in the worst way) in whatever we can, whether we've earned it or not; it usually takes a great fall to make us realize that we just really aren't all that, no matter what we possess.

Re: non-published stuff... depends on the definition. On this particular reread, we've been trying to stay away from WoR spoilers, no matter how official they are, for the sake of those who prefer to get their information in context when the book comes out. Q&A stuff... well, if someone feels it might be considered a spoiler for non-published stuff, it's nice to at least white it out, but I've always felt free to talk about that stuff. If Brandon gave it away freely, I figure it's canon and acceptable for discussion.

(That said, I know there are also people who feel that anything not in the books is non-canon. There don't seem to be many of those around here, though.)

Oh, and re: signings... You're quite right - Brandon may steer away from questions that are spoilers for WoK, but if so, he'll probably say so at the beginning. On the other hand, WoK has been out for three years, so he might not be too worried about it. He's more likely to ask people not to spoil Steelheart, since a lot of people first get their hands on the book AT the signing. In any case, if someone thinks their question might be considered a spoiler for anything at all, it's easier (and more fun, IMO) to just ask it in the signing line.
Peter Ahlstrom
27. PeterAhlstrom
I can answer the year question. The current year is indeed 1173. The date of Kaladin/Dalinar's part of the end of the first book does not match up with the date on the Endnote with the ketek, but it's late in the year.
Alice Arneson
28. Wetlandernw
Oh, cool! I've been wondering about that for a long time, and wasn't sure how close I'd come to figuring it out right. :) Thanks!
29. avbreaksbad
I have a question for the masses. I'm new to Sanderson's world, having picked up TWoK after finishing TWoT. After reading the book, I started on this reread, which is fantastic btw. So imagine how often I scratched my head when reading the posts and the comments when they would mentions things about Shards and Worlds that this reader with pretty good comprehension did not read in TWoK. So I started with Google, and after literally three hours researching (the likes of which would make even Jasnah crook an eyebrow and show the merest twitch of a smile), I decided to ask the faithful. Where should I start to jump into this Cosmere as reckless as Elkohar jumping to a feast prepared in the deepest Chasm? Should I just Wiki Brandon's books and go from the very first one, or is there a recommendation on the order of the books? I appreciate the help I'm sure to receive.
Alice Arneson
30. Wetlandernw
avbreaksbad @29 - Welcome!! Given that you're prepared to jump in feet first, I don't think there IS a bad place to start. Publication order is easy, in which case you'd start with Elantris. If you want to get a feel for the more "epic" fantasy, Mistborn is a great read.

I personally would read them in publication order, just because that way you "grow into it" - but that's just me. I don't honestly think there's any way to go wrong - except maybe by reading the Mistborn trilogy out of order.
David Foster
31. ZenBossanova
I am going to second, Wetlander here. Just jump in with Warbreaker or Mistborn, or Elantris. Other things like, The Emperor's Soul are great too. (just read that today) The Cosmere is fairly separate worlds, at this point. We should get a more overarching story later, but for now it is all in bite-sized portions.
Alice Arneson
32. Wetlandernw
Here's a thought: Go to your favorite bookstore and buy whichever Sanderson book you see first. Start with that one. :)
William Carter
33. wcarter
Unless it's Well of Ascension or Hero of Ages...if that's the case take the extra 30 seconds to find Mistborn first.
Birgit F
35. birgit
I got an e-mail from Amazon Germany that WoR appears on November 21. Did they not notice that the date has changed or are they right?
36. Confutus
They aren't right. Someone at Amazon Germany isn't a fan obsessively watching the progress bar on his third-draft revisions.
James Briggs
37. traveler
Thanks I will enjoy the signing, my question has to do with Shallons memory and the spren that are all around her. I dont know if he will answer but it should be fun to try.

I started with Elantris, then the Mistborn seiries. now I have listened to or read all of his books may times so enjoy your explorations and welcome to the BWS addiction.My favorite is WOK, then warbreaker. But there all good.
Matt Stoumbaugh
38. LazerWulf
@29: Publication order is good, but if you really want to jump in feet-first into Realmatic Theory, the Mistborn Trilogy is the best place to start. Elantris and Warbreaker are really more stand-alone, and don't mention the shards on their worlds at all, but Mistborn deals (tangentally, at least) with the struggle between two of the Shards of Adonalsium, Ruin and Preservation.
Sean Tabor
39. wingracer
I started with Warbreaker because I was bored, broke and needed something free to read. At the time, he had the whole book on his website, free of charge. I really liked it so on to the Mistborn series.

Other than Mistborn, all his novels pretty much stand on their own so read them in any order you like. Just make sure to read Mistborn in order followed by Alloy of Law.

On another note, I finally read Legion. Why did I wait so long? For whatever reason, the synopsis just didn't sound appealing to me but my god I loved that book. What a fascinating character. I really want more of him.
40. avbreaksbad
Thanks to everyone for the quick responses. I went out today with my wife and kids to the local bookstore and got Warbreaker and the four Mistborn books, ordered Elantris to be shipped from another store, and pre-ordered Steelheart. So I should be set for a while. My only fear is that I'll be in the middle of the Mistborn series when WoR comes out. (There was a day when I could've read through all the aforementioned in 6 months, but with two boys, 8 and 5 respectively, I'm just happy I still have a full head of hair for the time being!). Again, much obliged!
Dixon Davis
41. KadesSwordElanor
avbreaksbad Welcome

I feel you. I have 2 girls (4 & 7). We are currently in soccer season and I am coaching both of their teams (herding cats). I have been an avid fantasy fan for years and just recently discovered Sanderson (via WOT). He is one of the best. The cosmere is blowing my mind.

P.S. et al

I never hear anyone talking about Inheritance. Am I the only one who thought Paolini wrote a decent fantasy series? Just curious.
42. rider
Poalini was great, loved that series. Last book was disappointing though.
43. Blue Print
My second crazy theory of the reread:

I think the tower is the place where the heralds renounced the oathpact. "The place of the meeting was in the shadow of a large rock formation, a spire reaching into the sky."

I think the renouncing of the oathpact was the event which gave Odium the power to splinter Honor and that was the event which shattered the plains as well.

Cheryl Sanders
44. RestlessSpirit
“A thump came at the door. Kal jumped. It hadn’t been a knock, but a thump. It came again. It sounded like something heavy pushing or slamming against the wood.“What in the stormwinds?” Lirin said, rising from his stool. He crossed the small room; his undone vest brushed the operating table, button scraping the wood. Another thump. Kal scrambled out of his chair, closing the folio. At fourteen and a half, he was nearly as tall as his father now. A scraping came at the door, like nails or claws. Kal raised a hand toward his father, suddenly terrified. It was late at night, dark in the room, and the town was silent. There was something outside. It sounded like a beast. Inhuman. A den of whitespines were said to be making trouble nearby, striking at travelers on the roadway. Kal had an image in his head of the reptilian creatures, as big as horses but with carapace across their backs. Was one of them sniffing at the door? Brushing it, trying to force its way in?”

This quote from Chapter 31 reminds me of the chapter when Dalinar has one of his flashbacks and helps two of the Knights Radiant battle the Midnight Essences. I can imagine this is how people on Roshar are going to feel and react once The Desolation gets going full swing. I find it to be excellent foreshadowing and my head canon believes that Kaladin will rescue his parents from a similar situation thus bringing about their reunion.
45. wind spren
I think lopen is seen by Kaladin that needs help to survive, and he is doing his part, by helping those that cannot help themselves. Kaladin also seems to be surrounded with those that help him in many ways to understand himself and others from their obscure observations, most are yet to come.

Micheal Pye
"epigraph from Chapter 35 also discusses Urithiru and how it was placed as far west as possible to be near Honor. This seems to intimate that yes, Honor is the Origin of Storms in some fashion,"
I don't see this statement of Micheal's this way, more like perhaps Urithiru was placed near Honor to protect Honor from the storms. Now with no one going to Urithiru to protect Honor, there are more and more storms, taking with it more and more Honor.
not sure I explained my concept very well.
Eric McCabe
46. Zizoz
@17: We haven't seen much of Nan, but we're about to. It's tied with Vev and Tanat as the most common icon in Part 3.

Nan also almost always is the lower icon, though I can't even begin to guess why.
47. Ilmoran
@43 I had a similar thought that the Breaking of the Oathpact and Splintering of Honor were linked.

Thinking more of it, I have a theory based on events from Mistborn.


So, in Mistborn, the Well of Ascension was a collection place for Preservations power, and Preservation wanted the power to be used up, because if it was allowed to dissipate without being directed, it would react to Ruin's prison and free him.


What if the Oathpact performed a similar role: provide a directed outlet for Honor's power that somehow kept Odium at bay (or perhaps Odium and Honor had struck a bargain/wager: servants of Odium vs champions of Honor, and Odium couldn't attack until the matter was settled), and when the Oathpact was broken, it left Odium free to attack.
David Foster
48. ZenBossanova
@39 Wingracer - Regarding Legion was simply fantastic. I got it as an audiobook. This had the unfortunate side effect that I didn't realize how close I was to the end of the book. I was crushed when I realized it was over. It was a lot of fun. It was Sandersons idea for a TV series, and I hope it gets developed at some point, as long as it does not slow down our Cosmere stories.
49. rider
Thats a really good theory and although I think you are probably wrong, there's something there that makes sense.

I'm not explaining myself very well. I think your theory is half right if that makes sense
Dixon Davis
50. KadesSwordElanor
No one needs respond. Had to let out my emotions. Shouldn't give away anything.

Sadeas must die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jordan Hibbits
51. rhandric
You must have just read a certain chapter, Kades.
52. rider
Is that a response to something in WOR?
Dixon Davis
53. KadesSwordElanor



No. If you haven’t finished WOK, you will see.
James Briggs
54. traveler
wetlandernw the letter from Hoid to the dragon. The Dragon is I mortal but he can be killed. He is a he also. I will be around to see if I can get another chance to so we will see.
Matt Stoumbaugh
55. LazerWulf
@54: Go post this on 17th Shard. They love to get confirmations of these things.
James Briggs
56. traveler
I am having trouble with the site,I just can't make the connection or I would. I can read the 17th shard but can't seem to get the site to respond
57. rider

I have read WOK 3 times ;) abd yes I agree, sadeas must die!
58. _Elena
/Sanderson paints Tien in such fashion that he comes off as more of an
ideal innocence than a fully fledged character./
^this. Tien is, for lack of a better comparison, Kaladin's own Prim Everdeen - an ideal more than an actual character, and I'm not quite convinced I like it.

Also, chapter 32 really is depressing. I remember getting so excited about halfway through it, and then.. well, it killled me.

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