Thu
Oct 3 2013 11:00am

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 34, 35, and 36

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on Tor.com. This week we’re covering chapters 34, 35, and 36; the first two are really just one chapter with no real break and for that reason I’ve also combined the commentary for chapters 34 and 35.

These are some monumental chapters in terms of importance to the narrative of both Kaladin and Shallan, and certainly live up to the section title: Dying. Kaladin must face a Highstorm to decide whether he lives to see another day. Shallan learns a very callous lesson from Jasnah and finally accomplishes her very long game.

Chapter 34: Stormwall
Setting:
The Shattered Plains
Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens: Kaladin groggily awakens and realizes he is strung up upside-down against the side of Bridge Four’s barrack. Syl is with him. He takes account of his injuries at the hands of Lamaril’s soldiers—he has a few bruised, if not broken, ribs along with numerous cuts, a swollen eye, and an injured shoulder.

Syl tells Kaladin she got a small bit of revenge against one of the soldiers who hurt him by tripping him repeatedly. She also informs him that Lamaril was executed by Sadeas personally (a lighteyes had to be shown taking responsibility for the failure), and that Gaz apparently survived unscathed.

Sadeas orders that Kaladin will be left out to face an oncoming highstorm—the Stormfather’s justice will decide if Kaladin lives or dies. Kaladin has been outside during highstorms in the past, but always with some semblance of cover—tied to the barrack, he will be exposed to this highstorm’s full force.

Syl leaves briefly and returns with Rock, Teft, and Moash. They tell Kaladin that all of Bridge Four made it back to camp, but that more than 200 bridgemen were lost during the battle. Kaladin knows all their deaths are his fault, regardless of his intent.

Rock assures Kaladin that they will remember him and continue to function as a unit (eating together, practicing maneuvers, etc.), as Kaladin taught. Kaladin asks the men of Bridge Four to come out after the highstorm—if he lives through it, he’ll open his eyes. As the men leave, Teft gives Kaladin a sphere “for luck” to hold during the storm.

Kaladin and Syl are left alone to await the storm, which is quickly rushing towards them.

Quote of the Chapter:

“Tell them,” Kaladin continued, voice firmer, “that it won’t end here. Tell them I chose not to take my own life, and so there’s no way in Damnation I’m going to give it up to Sadeas.”

Defiant until the last. That’s our Kaladin.

 

Chapter 35: A Light By Which to See
Setting:
The Shattered Plains
Points of View: Kaladin and Teft

What Happens: Kaladin is cold. The rains and debris from the Highstorm are battering him around. He is blown from side to side by the strong winds, yet his tether holds. Syl instructs Kaladin to grab the roof when he is blown near it; he manages to catch it while still holding on to the sphere Teft gave him. Kaladin starts to slip and grabs for the ring he is tied to.

Kaladin thinks he sees Syl trying to bend the winds around him. Suddenly Kaladin sees blackness and thinks he is briefly somewhere else, where he can stand free of the storm and his injuries. A large face in the darkness wseems to be smiling at him. Kaladin feels a jolt of electricity from the sphere, which now glows brightly. When Kaladin looks back up, the face is gone and only darkness remains.

Kaladin sees a flash of lightning and is thrust back into the storm, though it has abated somewhat. Kaladin looks again at the still glowing sphere in his hand and passes out.

As soon as the storm ends, Rock, Teft and most of Bridge Four head out to check on Kaladin. They find him still hanging from a ring, with cuts all over his body. They think he is dead, but Kaladin opens his eyes (although he is still unconscious) and drops the sphere—Teft notices the sphere is dull, which surprises him, as spheres left out during highstorms are always infused with energy.

Quote of the Chapter:

In that darkness, an enormous face appeared just in front of his. A face of blackness, yet faintly traced in the dark. It was wide, the breadth of a massive thunderhead, and extended far to either side, yet it was somehow still visible to Kaladin. Inhuman. Smiling.

Kaladin takes a brief trip to another realm. But whose face was that in the sky? I have a lot of theories—perhaps one of the Heralds (Jezrien a.k.a. the Stormfather), Honor, or maybe even the face-changing spren in Kasitor—but this is again something without a clear answer though surely it will be addressed in the future.

Commentary (for chapters 34 & 35): What an emotional couple of chapters. The emotions coming from Kaladin and his compatriots is unmistakable. Even more though you feel right there along side Kaladin as he meets the storm being tossed to and fro. And the men of Bridge Four are now like brothers. They care for one another if not for the sake of belonging for the sake of what Kaladin tried to do. He showed them there was a different way to live. A way that left them open to the good things. Shades of Tien’s influence if ever there were any.

Syl’s connection to Kaladin is deepening and right at the point where he goes through unbelievable pain. She feels cold. She accepts a lie from Kaladin, which shows she can understand their need sometimes. Warrior Syl also comes out to play for a bit as she tries to push aside the worst of the storm Kaladin is facing.

And how about that little sphere that could? No matter what Kaladin wouldn’t let go of it. If he did he would have been giving up. The question I was left with is was it Teft’s plan all along to leave that sphere with Kaladin to see if he could pull Stormlight into himself? Teft’s background starts to creep out from here on out and he knows more about the Radiants than your common Alethi. Teft knows things and when he starts sharing Kaladin’s whole world will open up.

 

Chapter 36: The Lesson
Setting:
Kharbranth
Point of View: Shallan

What Happens: As Jasnah bathes, Shallan studies King Gabilar’s account of his first meeting with the Parshendi in the Unclaimed Lands. The book was recorded by Jasnah, who added various footnotes to the accounts.

Shallan’s mind wanders to her hidden fabrial, and to Jasnah’s which is sitting out. She sees a chance to make the switch, but as Shallan stands, Jasnah looks as though she knows Shallan’s intentions.

Shallan asks what motivated the Parshendi to kill Gavilar. This leads to a discussion about what Gavilar wanted from the Parshendi that would involve a treaty between the Alethi and Parshendi. Gavilar likely wanted the Shards that he believed the Parshendi held, though what the Parshendi truly wanted out of a treaty remains a mystery. Jasnah has her suspicions about the motivations of the Parshendi, but she doesn’t share them with Shallan. Jasnah admits the gemhearts found in the Chasmfiends of the Shattered Plains could be involved, though.

As Shallan again considers switching the Soulcasters, Jasnah praises the progress of Shallan’s studies. Defeated, Shallan turns away from the Soulcaster. Jasnah senses something is wrong and tells Shallan that a hands-on philosophy lesson is in order. Shallan protests, but Jasnah insists that philosophy is important “if you’re going to be involved in court politics. The nature of morality must be considered, and preferably before one is exposed to situations where a moral decision is required.” Jasnah dries off and dresses quickly (also putting her Soulcaster on) and escorts Shallan out of the Conclave to the Ralinsa and on to a rough looking roadway. As they walk, Jasnah pulls back her glove slightly and reveals her Soulcaster, its light and her wealth shown for all to see on the darkened street. Jasnah informs Shallan that this street has become notorious of late—many theater-goers have been murdered and robbed, yet the city watch has done nothing. Shallan is clearly concerned and wishes to go back, but Jasnah heads into the dark alley and Shallan reluctantly follows.

The light from Jasnah’s Soulcaster glints off the knives of four waiting men. As the first of the men approaches to attack, Jasnah touches his chest with her hand; a moment later the man turns into fire. He isn’t engulfed in flames, but rather the man’s very essence was changed into fire. An outline of his screaming form is seen briefly before it dissipates.

The other three men attempt to run away, but one falls. Jasnah reaches out to him and at her touch he becomes a solid form of quartz. The other two men run in the opposite direction, but Jasnah’s hands erupt in lightning and the men disappear in a cloud of smoke.

Jasnah calmly leaves the alley with Shallan nervously following. Shallan is aghast, as it is forbidden for Ardents to use Soulcasters on people. And Jasnah dispatched two of the men from a distance, which is unheard of; Soulcasting always requires direct contact.

Jasnah calls for a palanquin to take them back to the Conclave. On the ride back, Shallan and Jasnah argue about Jasnah’s Soulcasting. Jasnah insists it was the right thing to do, as the men would have killed more people, and that this also pays Taravangian back a little for the kindness he has shown her. She goes on say:

“Am I a monster or am I a hero? Did I just slaughter four men, or did I stop four murderers from walking the streets? Does one deserve to have evil done to her by consequence of putting herself where evil can reach her? Did I have a right to defend myself? Or was I just looking for an excuse to end lives?”

Shallan is at a loss to answer, so Jasnah assigns her more research to discover an answer. As she helps Jasnah undress for the night, Shallan finds the courage to finally switch her broken Soulcaster for Jasnah’s, feeling that Jasnah had no right to it after her actions tonight.

Quote of the Chapter:

Was it possible to do something horrible in the name of accomplishing something wonderful?

Shallan’s past misdeeds are again alluded to, but it seems after she witnesses Jasnah’s act that her own actions of the past aren’t nearly as bad. At least in the moment though we know Shallan can vacillate. I wonder if Shallan’s arc will eventually be summed up by this one sentence? She is definitely troubled by whatever she did, but she doesn’t seem truly anguished over it. She is more anguished by the fact that whatever she did helped facilitate the current troubles her family is in.

This line also reminds me of Kaladin’s role. He too did something he thought was right only to discover his attempt at saving the lives of Bridge Four cost the lives of over 200 hundred other bridgemen. Similar things could be said of Dalinar in later chapters as his desires to live to the code and be moral cost the lives of many men.

Commentary: Reading this chapter more in-depth makes me appreciate Shallan and Jasnah all the more. They are the characters that actually inform us the most about the past of Roshar despite Jasnah’s noncommittal attitude on most matters. This is something I probably didn’t appreciate so much during my first read-throughs as I was always in a rush to get back to Kaladin, which is understandable since he is the heart of The Way of Kings.

Not that I’d enjoy having Jasnah as my teacher. Turning a man into fire? What she really did was forbidden. Ardents are the main users of fabrials and from what little we’ve been told they aren’t used in combat situations. But why is that? Wouldn’t a battle go much quicker if you can turn your opponents into a whiff of smoke? Though as Shallan mentions traditionally Soulcasting could only be done with physical contact and Jasnah displayed skills with range. We later learn what Jasnah is doing isn’t quite fabrial dependent, but more related to the abilities of the Radiants. It certainly begs the question of how she developed these abilities and how much her father knew.

Jasnah is so much a mystery and Shallan seems so certain something bad happened in her past given her palpable hatred of the men she callously murdered. Though Sanderson hasn’t said it I could see point of view chapters in Jasnah’s future. But really couldn’t Jasnah have taught this particular moral lesson in a less haunting way?

Shallan finally stole Jasnah’s Soulcaster! Which is its own philosophical argument. Was it right? Greater good and all that. As we’ll see the Soulcaster is more of a red herring than anything else. Shallan just really didn’t know what she was getting herself into while trying to get in with Jasnah.

It was quite interesting to see how the relationship of recorders works with such added commentary. It does bring into question the authenticity found in modern Vorin writings a great deal. Especially, given how ardents are more known for suppressing certain knowledge. It seems Sanderson wants us to question what we’re told about the past.

Shallan’s and Jasnah’s discussion about the Parshendi allowing the Alethi to hunt the chasmfiends unveiled the fact that there were other greatshells called the lanceryn that also had gemhearts.

“When the lanceryn died off during the scouring of Aimia, we thought we’d seen the last gemhearts of large size. And yet here was another great-shelled beast with them, living in a land not too distant from Kholinar itself.”

This seems to be a connection to our tattooed friend, Axies the Collector as there are few mentions of the “scouring of Aimia,” which doesn’t seem to have occurred too deep in the past. Could the scouring have had to do with the harvesting of gemhearts like the Alethi are so engrossed with currently on the Shattered Plains.


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.

38 comments
Matt Stoumbaugh
1. LazerWulf
I always assumed that the face was the Stormfather. I never really noticed that he took a trip to Shadesmar, though. I just thought that the face he saw was etched on the clouds or something.

As for Teft, I don't think, at this point, he was trying to figure out anything. Giving Kaladin a sphere seemed more like a superstition than anything. "Always carry a sphere with you if you go out into a highstorm." Later we do see him feeding Kaladin stormlight, but I don't think that's what this was, at this point.

At the Steelheart signing in Houston, Brandon read from the WoR prologue, which was from Jasnah's point of view. (He also pronounces her name "Yas-nah", but has also stated that his personal views on name pronounciation are "whatever the reader wants is right".)

Audio of that reading can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/lazerwulf214
(not really WoR spoilers, since the prologue takes place on the same day as the WoK prologue, but maybe?)
Sam Mickel
2. Samadai
In my first read of this section, I didn't think about the gem sphere, but on my subsequent reread, I realized that the sphere was being constantly charged by the highstorm, and that Kaladin was draining it to stay alive.
Peter Ahlstrom
3. PeterAhlstrom
The Lesson is one of my all-time favorite chapters of Brandon's. Gives me the shivers, it does.
Adam S.
4. MDNY
Great couple of chapters.
Your quote from chapter 36 could apply to all the main (POV) characters of this book. In a way, The Way of Kings is about honor, from Dalinar's struggle to be honorable in Alethi society to Kaladin's quest to survive honorably while surrounded by dishonorable men (and women, as we'll soon see) to Shallan's struggle between self-interest (family interest) and being honest and committed. We're seeing honorable characters in a world where Honor is dead (pun intended).
Andrew Berenson
5. AndrewHB
I beleive that Jasnah was justified in killing the four men. She is defending herself. It is no different than say if a great swordsman was walking down the street in a manner that suggested a sign of vulnerability. When the men would attack the swordsman, he would pull out a sword and kill all four of them.

In this chapter, the four men messed with the worng woman. She had the means to defend herself by "magic" and was willing to kill her attackers.

She does acknowledge that she may have put herself in the vulnerable position. Nevertheless, when she went out, she was not assured of finding those men. Moreover, she did not strike first. Her attackers made the first move. I would say that Jasnah would be in the wrong if after reaching her destination and the men did not attak her, she kept walking around that area until she "hooked her fish." I would also say that Jasnah would be in the worng if she randomly went up to the first man she saw and burnt him to ashes.

Thanks for reading my musings.
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Matt Stoumbaugh
6. LazerWulf
@5: I think I agree with Shallan's assessment. Jasnah's actions were "just" but not "moral".

To use your analogy, it would be one thing if the swordsman acted vulnerable all the time in hopes that thieves would attack him, who could defend himself, rather than an innocent bystander, who could not. It's completely different if he did this to INTENTIONALLY draw them out with the goal of killing them.

Jasnah had no reason to be in that alley except for the fact that she was hunting them. Just because they took the bait on the first pass doesn't mean she wasn't going to keep trying until they did, and just because she let them make the first move so she could claim it was self-defense, and, thus, justifiable to the law, doesn't mean that it wasn't an act of vigilantism, taking the law into her own hands.
Shaun Duquette
7. MorpheusStone
I wonder if Kaladin could absorb Stormlight straight from the storm.
Nadine L.
8. travyl
LazerWulf: Kaladin was in Shadesmar? I never read it that way, always thought it was just the calm eye of the storm. Will have to re-read the scene again to look if I can identify Shadesmar...

I'm convinced that Teft didn't suspect Kaladin's ability to feed of Stormlight before the storm. Only afterwards, once he sees the dun sphere after the Highstorm he starts suspecting. (next week / next chapter) we'll see how anxious he is, if it could be true, so I agree with LazerWulf, that giving Kaladin the sphere, was only on account of giving him "a light".

Will comment on "The lesson" once I've reread it, didn't expect it this week.
Matt Stoumbaugh
9. LazerWulf
@8: I read it that way, too, but OP said that Kaladin was in another realm.
Suddenly Kaladin sees blackness and thinks he is briefly somewhere else, where he can stand free of the storm and his injuries.
It's not explicitly stated that this is Shadesmar, but since he "thinks" he's somewhere else, and Shadesmar is the Cognitive Realm, it makes sense.
David Foster
10. ZenBossanova
Jasnah little lesson is fantastic for little moral discussions. I like to think of it, that she just saved several lives of people in the future.

The face that Kaladin saw, I supposed that had to be Honor/Stormfather. They are the same person, right? The only other Radiant it could be, would be Talan, since the others abandoned their posts.

Also regarding the storms, I heard a little something in Brandon's online writing lectures - it is technically a spoiler, but it is more, just something of cultural interest
spoiler --

It is currently the fashion, in some cities, to sit in a cafe, and watch the storm approach, and then rush to a shelter at the very last second.
End spoiler
I would love to try that myself.

But the lanceryn, that sounds a little like
spoiler --

Brandon gave a demo of how he writes, giving an interlude with the merchant girl we saw in WoK. At the end, she gets a little creature, that all we know, is very rare and valuable. Could it be...?

End spoiler
bakon
11. bakon
@6

A comparison to our modern society would be a girl who purposefully wears expensive jewelry in a bad neighborhood and when she gets jumped, takes out her concealed handgun and kills everyone there. The controversy over recent events such as the Trevor Martin case exhibits that whether or not the person was in the right to defend themselves, there will be negative reprecussions from killing.

Jasnah obviously has much more political clout than Taravangian's rule (or apparent rule), and she probably could have pressured officials into apprehending those muggers in a lawful manner. On the other hand, her taking care of it herself exhibits her best and worst qualities: she is brave and isn't afraid of dirtying her hands, yet at the same time is callous and merciless to those she deems as her enemies.

She's one of the books more fascinating persons, as she is clearly not as noble as Kaladin, who only fights/kills to protect, while at the same time doesn't seem quite as ruthless as Taravangian, who will slaughter thousands of innocents in the hopes of saving millions. Shallan as a character has never been very interesting to me, with her bland moral "goodness," but Jasnah is fascinating because we don't know where her moral boundaries are. Does she limit herself to killing only those with obvious and terrible guilt? Or does she cross the much bigger line of killing those who are innocent for "the greater good?"

I think these three chapters are my favorite in the book. It's by far my favorite "Shallan" sequence, and I love the images brought up during Kaladin's struggle against the highstorm.
Brian Carlson
12. images8dream
The Jasnah seen is great. I think what is more distrubing than the killing, is that she did this specifically to teach a lesson. That tells us something about what Jasnah values (namely making Shallan think).

To be clear, the men she killed acted morally wrong. Nobody should call them 'victims'; they had criminal intentions and had committed crimes in the past. If self defense is justified, then Jasnah's action is justified.

However, her motive motive might not be justified (I think it is, but that depends on your moral theory). The dilemma arises froma case of right action with a possibly wrong motive.
Kush Shastri
13. BurstDragon
There'a a typo
What Happens: As Jasnah bathes, Shallan studies King Gabilar’s account of his first meeting with the Parshendi in the Unclaimed Lands. The book was recorded by Jasnah, who added various footnotes to the accounts.
Gavilar
bakon
14. Confutus
The herald Icons for chapter 34 are Nan- Jes.
There is some connection with justice, since Kaladin is being supposetdly being judged by Jezrien and the highstorm but he also seems oddly and unreasonably confident that he will survive, in spite of his considering it a desperate gamble.

The icons for Chapter 35 are Jes-Jes.
Jezrien the stormfather is in here somewhere. I'm reluctant to state that the face Kaladin saw was definitely him, but it seems the most likely possibility.

The icons for chapter 36 are Palah- Nan.
Palah, mostly beause of Jasnah, I would guess, and Nan, because there is also a question of justice in the lesson she gives Shallan. There are several interesting legal and philosophical conundrums presented by Jasnah's actions here. From some points of view, she had every right to do what she did..from others, she did not. The interesting thing to me is that Jasnah acted with forethought and deliberation and was committed enough to whatever her moral principles are to act on them.
Matt Stoumbaugh
15. LazerWulf
@12: Yes, the men Jasnah killed were bad men, but did they deserve to be murdered? I think it's clear that Jasnah's motive was to kill these men, since, a) it's not like this was something that happened on their way to a specific destination, or while they were just "out for a walk" (like she told Shallan). If they were just going out for a walk, there are other, safer places they could go. No, she specifically sought these men out by going to the bad part of town. And b) we know her intention was to kill them because that was the first thing she did. She did not even try or consider capturing or incapacitating them for the local law enforcement to deal with. She went straight for the headshot instead of the kneecap.
Brian Carlson
16. images8dream
@15: I don't think it is clear what Jasnah's motive is at all. We don't know enough about her at this point. It really could be the case that there is some trauma in Jasnah past that would trigger her to use deadly force when attacked, and that she either did not plan on using deadly force or hadn't made up her mind; when the moment occurred and the men attacked, she decided. Figuring out people's intentions is tricky business in fiction.

Furthermore, these men weren't just thieves, but mudering thugs. Killing a man for stealing is wrong because people steal for many reasons, some of which are defensible. People who steal and murder are probably just doing it because they don't care about others. Regardless, once you start killing people unjustly, you give up the right to be protected from others. Maybe what Jasnah did was not praiseworthy, but it has to be morally acceptable. She killed men who were known murders and attacking her. This is also why Batman is a hero, and Jasnah isn't.
bakon
18. Vauric
How do we know the men Jasnah hilled are the same men that murdered the theater patrons? How do we know that those 4 men were all there at the earlier murders, and not just 3 or 2 of them? How do we know they would have murdered Jasnah and Shallan, rather than attack/rape/rob them? Do we know that they didn't overhear how rich people were being easily robbed in that alley and decided to try their luck?

Reading the scene, I was emotionally in step with Jasnah the entire time. But rationally, I understand the purpose behind due process.
Matt Stoumbaugh
19. LazerWulf
@16/17: You see, I would argue just the opposite, her actions were praiseworthy, since she removed a couple of murdering miscreants from the streets, but they were not morally acceptable, because of the way she did it. The ends do not justify the means.

Perhaps I misspoke. When I said "motives" I really meant "intentions". The two are often interchanged, but in this case, have two separate meanings. Her "intentions" are what she plans to do, and her "motives" are why she plans to do it. While it's true we can't really know her motives, she asked Shallan to judge her, and by extention, the reader as well, who does not know any more of Jasnah's past than Shallan does. If Jasnah wanted to be judged on her motives, then she would have made them clear. But she clearly shows a)the intent to seek these men out, and b) the intent to kill them. Also, the first two men, she could probably claim as self-defense, but the second two men were fleeing. At that point, Jasnah was the aggressor. You said that these men should not be thought of as "victims" (@12), but that is a false dichotomy. Just because they are a perpetrator, does not mean they cannot be a victim if the situation changes.
bakon
20. Confutus
It appears that Jasnah took the view that, because of the robbery and murder they had already done, the lives of these men were already forfeit. If they had been caught, tried, and found guilty, they would have been hanged. So, her intent to kill them was no more immoral than that of the hangman.

Furthermore, she had sufficient proof from their own actions that it was they, and not some innocent bystanders, who were the guilty parties. That addresses the problem of whether "vigilante" justice is appropriately targeted towards actual criminals or some undeserving victim of prejudice. It also circumvented all the cumbersome legal machinery which is intended to protect the wrongfully accused but is sometimes abused to shield the influential criminal. Her solution is simple and stark, but not necessarily immoral, unethical, or unjust.

The chief question to me is whether her right to self-defense also extends to the right to act as judge and executioner where she does not have legal authority as well. There is reason to believe that Jasnah considers herself to have a duty to protect innocent women theatergoers to go along with her power. If one has a moral duty to uphold the legal system, it is is usually considered better to frighten off the attackers, disable them, or apprehend them for others to arrest and try them. However, if she has reason to think the rest of the legal system as flawed as the crime prevention, she may consider herself to have little duty to uphold it.
Karen Fox
21. thepupxpert
@20 and all above, very good points on Jasnah's intentions and motivations, and we can't help but add our own sense of justice to the scenario. In my world, I might find that any act of taking another life to be indefensible, but in Jasnah's world, we might say that her actions would be considered justifiable, even with the two men who were running from her. They may have given up at that point and were running for their lives but it was clear from the first time we meet them that they are prepared to steal and kill, and not necessarily in that order. What I find rather callous is that Jasnah used their deaths to drive home a point to Shallan. Would she have done it otherwise? Probably, but as I am seeing it for the first time through Shallan's eyes, it was quite a shock.
bakon
22. Ellynne
Jasnah’s actions are suspect on three levels. First, as Shallan realizes, Jasnah is acting in hatred. While odds are the men would be sentenced to death for what they did, there’s a reason civilizations discourage summary execution of wrong-doers in the street.

Second, we have the flaws in Jasnah’s earlier expression of her moral code when she was eating with the king. While the Ardents have plenty of problems, Jasnah’s states that she can rely on her heart to tell her what’s right outside of reference to another moral code. Although she gives Shallan arguments and authorities to study, it’s clear that none of them are likely to persuade her on this point.

The main problem (as presented here) is that what a character wants or feels is expedient may not be the right thing—and can be completely disasterous if a society tries to run on that rule (Jasnah’s attackers, after all, doubtless felt what they did was all right). Jasnah also ignores the social costs of her actions, which alienate her ward when she knows she has enemies trying to use her.

Final problem, Jasnah doesn’t really understand the king. She mistook the weakness of his earlier arguments about ethics for weak thinking and not for the confusion of a man who seems to have lost his moral foundation and is looking for something else to cling to. Since we later find out what he was already doing (and why he may not be wholly grateful) and what decision he was making at that point, there’s a strong hint that he was asking Jasnah to give him a reason to make a different choice.
Karen Fox
23. thepupxpert
Another point I wanted to make is what set of morals and values are we dealing with here? We all have our own inner set of weights and measures when it comes to being "morally right" but what set of values does this world have? And are there laws to back up those set of values? In my world, stealing, rape and murder may not necessarily guarantee a trip to Death Row, however, in other worlds, the act of stealing may be an automatic death sentence. If the stakes are that high, then why are these men being so cavalier with their lives? If they were just 4 hoods looking for easy prey, then they were definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they still chose to be there. It's definitely a harsh world with harsh consequences.
bakon
24. Jasuni
@2 I don't think that the sphere was being constantly charged. (It was charged during Kaladin's "visit to Shadesmar")

About Kaladin's visit to Shadesmar: what is happening here? He visits there right after hitting the roof hard (likely hard enough to knock him unconscious). For some reason, he couldn't feel his wounds but he can feel the roof below and he feels a deep chill down his spine, which I think also charged the sphere. Obiously, something magical is happening here beyond his abilities as a Radiant

I see two possibilities here as to what happened: either Kaladin went to Shadesmar, or something happened which would be related to men riding the storms (ch. 46), although I suppose it could be both.

We will see the face later (in chapter 46).

In response to the chapter 36 quote, I personally think that an evil act for good is theorectically possible, but that unexpected consequences will frequently overrule any benefits.
bakon
25. wind spren
i had initially thought kaladin seen the stormfather in the clouds, but when rereading the book i thought good it be have been odium? does odium reside in shadesmere? so is it the stormfather he will see once more in the book, or was it odium ?
shallens study of phylosophy has been a good thing for her, i think it helps her grow in understanding herself, and will help her in the future, the way she was taught not so nice , but perhaps is true the jasnahs character.
i question shallons interest in the type of weapons the parshendi carry, that are engraved possibly beyond their capabilities. are the parshendi hiding more to their culture and who they are . is it possible what they are hiding is the reason for their killing of gavilar?
bakon
26. Confutus
@21 Jasnah specifically says that she was planning this anyway. She might have acted sooner or later or without Shallan, but the opportunity to offer incentive to Shallan's study of moral philosophy arose and she took it.

@22 While Jasnah may be hesitant to wholeheartedly adopt the moral philosophy of any one author or religious devotary as her own, she certainly is informed by a number of them. That is more than most people who attempt to contruct their own personal moral systems can claim. The robbers undoubtedly adhered to the philosophy of greed...."what's good for my purse is good". This has rather severe and obvious defects as a moral system.

@23
Shallan states that the robbers would face the hangman if caught, and knew it. This did not serve as much of a deterrent. Instead, it made them more desperate and ruthless, and obliged to kill the victims or witnesses. Jasnah observed that, probably for political reasons, there had been no guards placed to protect theatergoers even after multiple attacks. As most criminals do, they apparently counted on the inability or unwillingness of the rest of society to do anything to prevent or punish their crimes.
Birgit
27. birgit
Jasnah is the sister of a king. At home she might have the right to judge criminals, but she is in the realm of another king.
Fighting is supposed to be men's business, but Jasnah ignores that because she doesn't care for the religion that made those rules. Her dislike of jam is another way in which she acts like a man according to Vorin rules.
Eric McCabe
28. Zizoz
Question: Were the divine attributes for Nan and Palah switched? In my book Nan is listed as associated with the divine attributes Learned/Giving, while Palah is associated with Just/Confident, but Wetlander said it was the reverse in the comments for Interludes 4-6, which makes more sense.
David Foster
29. ZenBossanova
Odium does not live in Shadesmar, though perhaps he could visit. Odium lives on another planet in the Roshar System, according to Brandon.

But I don't think Kaladin was visited by someone malicious. Was it Honor, or what is left of Honor?
Robert Dickinson
30. ChocolateRob
The question is - Was the face smiling because it saw Kaladin or was it smiling because it saw Kaladin getting pulverised?
Alice Arneson
31. Wetlandernw
My personal “quote of the chapter” for Ch. 34 would be:
Syl was silent for a moment. “Do you want to be a miracle?”
“No,” Kaladin whispered. “But for them, I will be.”
Brings tears to my eyes every time.

I’m not convinced that Kaladin visited Shadesmar here. I’m not absolutely sure he didn’t, but I’m not sure he did, either. As for the Stormfather… what an image! I’m pretty sure he’s not really Jezrien, if only because we have some evidence that Jezrien is walking around in a human (if not exactly mortal) body. My first thought was that it was Honor/Tanavast himself, but later evidence (Child of Tanavast, In the Top Room) argues against that. I like the connection to the face-changing spren; maybe there’s something in that. Not the same spren, I think, but perhaps another?

For now, I’m going with the theory that the Stormfather is a Splinter of Honor. If that’s the case, perhaps the “other realm” is the Spiritual rather than Cognitive realm. That would make more sense to me. (Except for that business of standing up while in that other realm, then finding himself still standing – and getting slammed down – when he returns to the physical realm. I don’t get that part. That’s more like time just stopped all around him, but he was still able to move.)

I’m still working through my thoughts about The Lesson, so I’m not going to comment on it just yet.

Zizoz @28 – Apparently the attributes for Nan and Palah were accidentally switched in the Ars Arcanum. I can’t at the moment find the documentation for this; I think it’s on 17th Shard somewhere. If I can find the reference I will post it; alternatively, maybe Peter will step in and confirm. It certainly does make more sense, though.
Dixon Davis
32. KadesSwordElanor
Haven’t seen any very convincing arguments Kaladin visited Shadesmar in the high storm scene, YET.
Shaun Duquette
33. MorpheusStone
@32 Me neither since Shadesmar is described more like an ocean that you have to learn to tame.He doesn't see those shadow things either in the world.Pretty sure Shadesmar is only for Soulcaster types and they don't get a spren following them like Syl.
bakon
34. WARRAVEN
@32 I view that scene as he is one with the storm for a few seconds
David Foster
35. ZenBossanova
Is it possible the face a Storm-spren?

My feeling is still that it is closely related to Honor Himself, the same as Kaladin's dream.
Matt Stoumbaugh
36. LazerWulf
@33: Shadesmar is the Cognitive Realm for all of the Cosmere, not just Roshar, and is the main method of travel by worldhoppers like Hoid (at least until the Scadrians learn to use Allomancy for FTL, in the 3rd Mistborn Trilogy), so it is in no way limited to Soulcaster types.

True, the only time we've EXPLICITLY been in Shadesmar was with Shallan, and that's when it looked like a sea of glass spheres, but who's to say it doesn't look different in different places, or to different people. It's the COGNITIVE realm, so it is most likely colored by perception.
James Briggs
37. traveler
I am of the opinion that Jasanah was acting as her conscience directed. She is all about protecting the people who are important to her and she felt that she should have done more for Tarvangen than she was. She also felt like she should do more with her soulcaster to help the people than she was at the same time.
She also took the opportunity to make sure that Shallon understood the difference between a honorable action aand just using it for her own power.
I'm not going to argue that it was right or wrong because of the situation she was in.

I think that Kaladin saw honor in the storms, I see honor doing the same thing that preservation did by giving them a way to assist them even if he was dead. Just my thoughts
bakon
38. WizardofOzzz
I have always been confused by the storm scene. Did the storm constantly charge the sphere? It would seem necessary for Kaladin to survive the storm.

But then, at the eye of the storm as I read it, the sphere 'suddenly flares up'. So it seems, that there is a moment in the centre of the storm, a moment that nobody notices normaly, because everybody is hiding inside when it is calm and there is a face in the storm. The coming of that face is what charges the sphere. Maybe, because of Kaladin's skills, he could charge himself as well. It would heal him (somewhat) so that he would not feel pain for a moment and survive the second part of the storm.
The problem with this theory is of course that Kaladin and many other people have been out in storms before, and have been awake during storms. They would not have seen the head in the sky, but someone would have noticed a quiet moment in the storm, but that is not mentioned again in the book.

With all that, a trip to Shadesmar is actually a good explanation as to why noone else (as far as we know) has ever noticed/mentioned the eye of the storm before.
Matt Stoumbaugh
39. LazerWulf
@38: I just looked it up, the sphere Teft gave him was "a full skymark", or a Sapphire Mark, which is a pretty high denomination, and so would hold more stormlight than, say, a Sapphire chip (no clue how this relates to spheres with different types of stone in it, so, even though a skymark is worth 25 clearmarks, that doesn't mean it has 25 times more Stormlight) and so one charge would probably have been enough to let him survive.

But remember, he was still pretty banged up, even after consuming all the light from the skymark, and Teft kept having to "feed" him Stormlight to facilitate his recovery.

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