Thu
Dec 19 2013 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapter 49

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on Tor.com. After this week’s post there are only two chapters left in Part 3, which we’ll tackle after a short break for the holidays.

Last week we saw Kabsal’s downfall, and now we’re going to cover Kaladin training the men of his bridge squad in the art of war—from the onset he’s doing it differently than most Alethi. He wants to instill in them what he sees as the most important attributes a soldier can have. Namely, he tries to teach them the importance caring about something and, let’s not forget, also how not to get pushed over. Like I said, important stuff.

Down into the chasm we go.

Chapter 49: To Care
Setting:
The Shattered Plains
Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens: Kaladin and his team are on permanent chasm duty, but they have different plans; Kaladin will begin training the men to be warriors with the hopes of escaping the Shattered Plains, knowing they may have to fight their whole way. Kaladin still has hopes of a clean getaway through the chasm or some other avenue that would present itself, but he’ll prepare his men as best he can.

As they walk in the chasm, Teft probes Kaladin with questions about feeling strange such as “odd surges of strength” or “feeling that you’re light,” which Kaladin hasn’t. The questions remind Kaladin’s of people who sought the Old Magic, including Extes, who had sacrificed his son to the Voidbringers and would suffer everyday by having his arms torn off. The boon Extes had wanted was to know what happened the day he was fated to die. Sometimes Kaladin feels as if he only lived under the auspiciousness of some evil spren that kills everyone around him while he lives.

Kaladin has the men line up and tells them that most trainers would cut down new recruits to toughen them up, but this was unnecessary as the crew are all more than tough for surviving this long. Instead, they must learn that it is okay to care and find a reason to fight. This is their first lesson of the day and one Kaladin hopes the men will remember even if they don’t understand it just yet.

The second lesson is all about stance. Kaladin calls Skar up to try and throw Kaladin off balance. Skar fails, and so Kaladin asks Moash and Drehy to help Skar. All three try to force Kaladin to lose his balance, but he easily uses their own force against them, all the while explaining to the group that losing your balance would likely mean death in combat. Skar, Moash, and Drehy begin to work more in unison, but Kaladin calls them off.

He breaks the group up into pairs and and begins teaching them how to maintain their stance, not lock their knees, and also how best to hold their center of balance. When Kaladin orders Teft, Teft answers so swiftly and affirmatively that Kaladin can tell Teft had military training. Kaladin is glad to have someone else besides himself who had been in the military, though it seems Teft wishes he hadn’t given himself away.

Kaladin then speaks to Rock, who has been standing by the side, clearly not intending to join in the training because he believes fighting was beneath him. When questioned about this, he replies that he isn’t a fourth son and that only fourth sons become warriors. Though Kaladin would prefer to have Rock with them in a fight, he comes up with an alternate plan: Kaladin asks Rock to take Dabbid, Lopen, and Shen to complete the crew’s salvage mission with Syl’s help; she will find the caches for them as she did when they were looking for reeds. Syl reveals herself to Lopen for the first time. Kaladin assures Lopen he still plans on training him, but needs him now as a scavenger more than another spear.

The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson UK GollanczKaladin asks Rock to draw a map of the chasm in hopes of finding a way out eventually. Rock is worried about Chasmfiends, but that was a worry anyone who went into the chasms faced. Their best chance will be escaping to the east from the chasm, but they will still face the possibility of Chasmfiends, spotters for the Alethi, and perhaps even the Parshendi.

For the next few hours, Kaladin watches the men and gives tips as they practice their stances. Moash, Skar, and Drehy take to the training quickly. As Kaladin looks around, he realizes Sadeas had inadvertently given him the best new recruits he had ever trained.

Quote of the Chapter:

“Our passion is what makes us human. We have to fight for a reason. So I say that it’s all right to care.”

Instead of cutting his troops down like most sergeants Kaladin’s aim is to build them up. To give them back their humanity so when battle comes they have a reason to fight besides for the sake of the fight. Use your words, Kaladin. Use your words.

Commentary:

It is hard out there for a Radiant, especially when you don’t realize you are one.

Kaladin is still in the dark about what he can do and even though Teft has more than an inkling he’s keeping that close to his chest. I think that’s half because he doesn’t want to be seen as a loon and half because he is scared of the truth. Both about his past and what will happen if he is right about Kaladin. But honestly at this point how can he have any doubts? For Teft it is more about finding out what Kaladin knows, which is next to nothing. Teft prods him with:

“I don’t know. Just... anything odd?” He coughed. “You know, like odd surges of strength? The... er, feeling that you’re light?”

C’mon Teft just come out and say it already!

Kaladin still innately knows the most important part of being a Radiant and he is already trying to instill those virtues in his men. Kaladin wants his men to fight for a reason. To care. Not just be mindless killers, which is as he sees most Alethi warriors. He’s starting the first training camp for Radiants in thousands of years without even realizing it. It seems clear that in the long term some of these men are destined to become a Radiant of one school or another.

This section reminds me of the early Dalinar flashback chapter where he was fighting the Midnight Essence and the Radiants he encounters invite him to train to join them. The Radiants saw in Dalinar the qualities and skills needed to fight the Voidbringers and Kaladin has happened into a group of men who he will instill in the qualities needed to literally form the vanguard of the Knights Radiant.

One interesting tidbit we get is about Rock’s society.

“First son and second son are needed for making food,” Rock said, raising a finger. “Is most important. Without food, nobody lives, yes? Third son is craftsman. This is me. I serve proudly. Only fourth son can be warrior. Warriors, they are not needed as much as food or crafts. You see?”

Though vastly different in appearance Rock’s people do seem to have many similarities to the Shin. The Shin too put the growers and cultivators of food on a higher level than everyone else along with both groups putting warriors on the lowest rung. Only time will tell if the history behind both groups have a similar origin, but my bet is this is a Sanderson fake out. The Horneaters will have arranged their society for practical reasons as food is tough to find and grow in mountains while something more sinister is likely behind the Shin’s abhorrence of its warriors.


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.

34 comments
Jasuni
1. Jasuni
I think Tukks (who trained Kaladin) also started by lecturing his recruits on emotions.
Jasuni
2. Ilmoran
This re-read is making me wonder if we have a language fake-out going on here.

Teft asks Kaladin if he has "The... er, feeling that you’re light?”
I, and I think most of us, interpret this as a feeling that they are lighter than normal.
But now I'm wondering if it isn't light as in less heavy, but light as in Stormlight. I think I recall Szeth describing being infused with stormlight like being one with it.
I also think that if this is the case, Teft is also misinterpretting it as being lighter than normal (hence the lack of vocal capitilization of the word Light ;) ). My guess is the effects of stormlight infusion/being a Radiant was passed down through stories, and at some point the description of feeling like you are one with the stormlight became confused with simply being lighter on your feet.
Daniel Robertson
3. danr62
I don't think there is anything sinister with the Shin's dislike of warriors. I think they are more closely tied with Cultivation than Honor and so are inclined to value cultivating more.
Pirmin Schanne
4. Torvald Nom
@2: Considering that one of the surges available to Windrunners can make them weigh less quite literally, I wouldn't count on it.
Nadine L.
5. travyl
I agree with Jasuni @1, Kaladin clearly states that he "learned" the lesson "to care" from his instructor early on as well, and hopes that like himself, his men will eventually remember and understand it.

I keep wondering will the quote below be relevant later on?
Extes, who had his arms torn off each day for sacrificing his son to the Voidbringers in exchange for knowledge of the day of his death.
it strongly reminds me of the greek story of Prometheus but is it really "just a tale" as Kaladin thinks?


(edited so for spelling and grammar and vocabulary)
Alice Arneson
6. Wetlandernw
One: Let me just say, I adore Lopen. That is all.

Two: Ah, Kaladin. You’re such a swirly mess of honor, depression, caring, guilt, leadership and desperation. No wonder you have issues.

Three: Teft. What to say about him? Another man with issues. On the one hand, I can understand that (given the popular attitude toward the Radiants as “traitors”) he might be reluctant to imply that Kaladin is becoming one. On the other hand, as a reader I’m pretty well convinced that the world needs the Radiants, and the sooner he and Kaladin get on with figuring it out, the better off Roshar will be. *sigh*

This chapter, and especially Michael’s comments, remind me of an enduring question: in general, how much is a spren attracted to a person who already has certain tendencies, and how much are those tendencies (in this case, honor) instigated, informed and enhanced by the spren’s involvement? Did Sylphrena choose Kaladin because he was so honorable, or has he become so honorable because she was “rewarding” his honorable choices all along? Kind of a cool positive-feedback loop, if that’s the case, but I have to wonder… And if Michael is correct, and some of these men are destined to become Radiants, will that be because they are developing the characteristics here that will attract the spren? Or will they develop these characteristics because they already have (unknown to them or us) spren working on them? Further… are they here, on Bridge Four, because of their spren? Have they been purposely drawn/pushed into being here, so they can get this training? Heh. Always more questions.

Re: the similarity between Shin and Horneater values… I don’t know what Brandon has in mind, but from at least one angle, it’s quite logical. In that same “Midnight Essence” event, we were told that the Alethi were the one kingdom designated to practice and maintain the arts of war between Desolations, while the other nine kingdoms were dedicated to peace. “Every pasture needs three things. Flocks to grow, herdsmen to tend, and watchers at the rim. We of Alethela are those watchers – the warriors who protect and fight. We maintain the terrible arts of killing, and then pass them on to others when the Desolation comes.” So it makes sense that, in the Alethi-influenced (i.e. Vorin) cultures, warriors would be considered the “best” calling, while in the non-Alethi cultures, higher honor would be given to other pursuits – and specifically, those that best serve the family and the society by providing the good things, the comforts, of life. Food, clothing, shelter, arts – those would be the valuable outputs in societies whose purpose has always been to live in peace.
Jeremy Guebert
7. jeremyguebert
I've always loved training sequences. Seeing characters you've come to know and care about build themselves up in preparation for a major conflict is, in some ways, just as satisfying to me as the actual conflict itself.

I'm curious how things would have played out if Dalinar and Sadeas hadn't started working together, and Bridge 4 didn't go back to rescue Dalinar. Could they have fought their way out of the camp? How far could they have gotten? The numbers would always be their biggest issue, but surprise and skill can go a long way.

Hooray, for positive-feedback loops! Certainly there are aspects of both at play here, but I lean towards the character coming first (or at least starting to develop) before the spren shows up. In Dalinar's vision with Nohadon, he mentions that "not all spren are as discerning as honorspren" - since discernment is involved, I would suggest that they are attracted to some pre-existing qualities even before they initiate the bond.
Adam S.
8. MDNY
More great Rock and Lopen moments, I really love those 2- sorry, I meant THE Lopen.
I agree that there seem to be some similarities between the Shin and the Horneaters (elevation of food-producers, devaluation of violence) but I don't know how far that extends. I'm guessing it may be Cultivation's influence at least for one of them, probably not both.
Andrew Berenson
9. AndrewHB
Wetlandernw @6 asked "Did Sylphrena choose Kaladin because he was so honorable, or has he become so honorable because she was “rewarding” his honorable choices all along?"

IMO, it is the former. I would be surprised if Syl has the "power" to reward a person's (in this case kaladin) honorable choices. I think she chose Kalidin because of his honor.

In case this is the last post before the holidays, happy holidays to all.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Maiane Bakroeva
10. Isilel
But how does this new information about the Horneaters agree with Rock's earlier explanation concerning Nuatoma's family being his servants? And what about Nuatoma himself? He was clearly a warrior and there is obviously a hereditary system of succession. It couldn't run through 4th sons, surely? Far too unpredictable.

I am not entirely sure that most of Kaladin's men are going to become new Radiants. I imagine that they are going to come from all walks of life.

And yea, the bridgemen, of all people, don't need to be cut down, they have been already beaten down more than enough! That is, supposing that cutting down _is_ a proper method of toughening recruits. All militaries seem to think so, but I really have no idea whether they are right.
Kaladin's leadership and teaching talents get to shine yet again.
Kimani Rogers
11. KiManiak
Thanks Michael,

Re: the Horneaters and Shin cultural values –

Like what has already been said in the comments: It could be a Sanderson fakeout, but Brandon has also set up an in-world rationalization as to how these perspectives could have developed. The Alethi are descendants of a culture that were warriors. It makes sense that their culture would evolve over the years to one that glorifies fighting. For example, “dueling” is considered an acceptable “Calling” in Alethi society.

Meanwhile, other societies weren’t constituted of people who descended from warriors, but from those who “cultivated” :-) the land, and could develop into farmers, herdsman, artisans, poets, etc. There would be no glorifying of warriors or those who fight; soldiers would be seen as rather unimportant, for those who aren’t needed for (or not good at) producing food, crafts, art, etc.


As for Kaladin developing a vanguard of Knights Radiant:

That would be kind of cool if all of Bridge 4 (or the bridgemen, period)visibly developed into Surgebinders and Sadeas was reminded on a daily basis what he had, devalued and discarded for his Shardblade. Force Sadeas to reassess whether the deal for Dalinar’s Shardblade was as much of a “steal” as Sadeas thinks it is.

Having said that, I don’t think Brandon would make it that simple and easy for Roshar to find itself with an army of Knights Radiant again. We’ll see.
Andrew Phillips
12. APTimes2
I think it can obviously be said that the Horneater culture is more peaceful than the Alethi, but can it be said they are an ultimately peaceful culture? The reason Rock is even on the bridgecrew is because his family head came down to fight a shardbearer in order to win a sword. If they are a culture that values peace above all things it does not make sense to take such a risk for a sword you would never use. What is the purpose? It seems to me that at least the idea of martial power is appealing to the Horneaters because they see their culture lacking in not having a shardblade to call their own.
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
Andrew @9 – When I spoke of Syl rewarding his honorable choices, I was referring to the times when he was able to (unknowingly) use Stormlight while defending and protecting others, and in some cases defending himself as well. I’m also assuming that he is only able to access the Stormlight via her intervention, which is by no means proven yet. Just fwiw.

Isilel @10 – I agree it doesn’t appear to jibe very well, but remember that being a nuatoma may not be a hereditary thing. Rock’s nuatoma was, apparently, something of a warrior, as (clearly) some others have been, but all he said about gaining the position was that “we do not pick our leaders this way.” Since that was in context of explaining that a nuatoma is something like a lighteyes, but not with light eyes, I took it to mean that a nuatoma is simply a leader, chosen as an individual rather than inheriting the position. In further context, he’s probably the leader of either a single village or the people on a single peak. (I’d guess the latter, but I don’t know for sure.) So it doesn’t necessarily conflict, either. If a fourth son is chosen as the nuatoma for a particular group, they are led (during his tenure) by a warrior and may try to obtain a Shardblade. However, if a first, second, or third son happens to be chosen, they would be led by a farmer or craftsman, and would most likely not try for the Blade or Plate. ::shrug:: For all we know, they may have a tradition of choosing among the resident fourth-sons of appropriate age, or something.

APTimes2 – There is certainly an implication that there’s fighting amongst the Horneaters; Rock talks about how “no peak would fight another peak where a man held one of the blessed Blades.” He even says that there’s a probability that if anyone were able to obtain a set of Shards, he’d become king – and they haven’t had a king for many years. But it doesn’t seem as culturally important to the Horneaters as it does to the Alethi.
Alice Arneson
14. Wetlandernw
And just for a fun tidbit, Brandon tweeted earlier today: "The press Tor is using cannot physically manufacture a book longer than 1088 pages. Good thing that's the exact length of Words of Radiance."
Cheryl Sanders
15. RestlessSpirit
Wetlandernw @ 14: That post makes me heartily wish for a thumbs up icon! A meaty tome indeed. Excellent .
Birgit
16. birgit
But now I'm wondering if it isn't light as in less heavy, but light as in Stormlight.

That only works in English, but different bridemen speak different languages. Why should they misinterpret something because of a homophone in English?

Maybe a nuatoma is a war leader and there are other leaders for other matters. Rock might compare the war leader to lighteyes because in the cultures that have lighteyes leaders the leaders are warriors.
Josep Abenza
17. JosepAbenza
Regarding both Michael and Wetlandernw's comentaries, I wonder why there's a resurgence of the Radiants. Ok, Kaladin has all the qualities necessary to become a Windrunner, which we know are demanding, but there were other orders with easier qualification, and we are assuming that a lot of people are going to become Knights Radiant, so, again: What's the cause of this? Why are spren suddenly attaching themselves to worthy--or not-so-worthy--people?
Nadine L.
18. travyl
KiManiak @11: For Dalinar I think Kaladin alone might make the deal of giving away the Shardblade a good one. But Sadeas... IMO he won't begrudge his good fortune of having gained the Shardblade, but it will rankle him, that he didn't kill Kaladin when he'd had the opportunity.

Wetlander @13 re "rewarding honorable choices":
the problem I have with your theory is that Kaladin didn't realize why he survived running at the front of he bridge, he even considers if it might be a curse - not good ground to argue for "positive feedback loop". It was relatively late, when he started to connect his honorable hehaviour to Syl and his gaining access to the radiant power, and therefor I vote for Kaladin being honoralbe all on his own and this causing Syl to bond him - which likely caused his access to the stormlight.

I do wonder though - what if he'd stopped being honorable now (after the bond is established), would Syl leave and would this stop his ability to use stormlight? The Lift excerpt confuses me in this respect, since her bonded spren denies having to obey her, but he still does, eg. enabling her to climb the wall, although he knows, she wants to go into the palace to steal.
Dixon Davis
19. KadesSwordElanor
As always, there may be something I missed or am unaware of. But are we leaving no room for the possibility the Syl was assigned to Kaladin, as is the case in what we see in Lift excerpt. Syl’s memories seem to be slowly returning, and I don’t think we are given a time frame on how long Lift and her Spren have been together. So, Syl might just no be aware of the fact the she was assigned yet?
Alice Arneson
20. Wetlandernw
birgit @16 - "nuatoma = warleader" makes a lot of sense, especially as it's coming from someone outside the Alethi traditions. I wonder if we'll get to find out.

travyl @18 - As I said, this is mere speculation, but my thought was that a positive feedback loop doesn't have to be conscious.
Kimani Rogers
21. KiManiak
JosephAbenza@17 – re: Radiants resurgence and the cause –
Quick answer: we don’t know. However, there is nothing to say that there haven’t been individual (or groups of) Surgebinders hidden in parts of Roshar since the Day of Recreance. We’ve only seen a small segment of Roshar so far. I personally think that the Stone Shamans Szeth references must be pretty formidable for Szeth to be so sure that the Shamans could recover Szeth’s Shardblade when he dies (seeing as that likely means they would be taking the Blade from someone who now wields a Shardblade, and possibly killed Szeth to obtain it). Also, he had to be trained in his abilities by someone; It’s highly likely that he learned from other experienced people (Stone Shamans?) in Shinovar or elsewhere.

As for the cause of the recent resurgence, it appears that a number of things may be linked to Gavilar’s expedition to the east (I think it was the Shattered Plains or south Natanatan) about 7 and ½ years or so before "present day" in the book. That’s when the dying prophecies are first noticed (at least, by Tarvangian). I believe that’s around when the Parshendi are first “discovered.” Gavilar may have obtained the “black light” sphere at that time; and he may have began his fascination with The Way of Kings at that time as well.

Hints are that Gavilar may have put certain things into motion around that time that led to current events. Or, that all could have just been a huge red herring on Brandon's part :-)

Travyl@18 – I agree that from Dalinar’s perspective, if/when he finds out about Kaladin’s Windrunner abilities he will value his trade even more. I also agree that from Sadeas perspective, the gaining of the Shardblade will make it highly unlikely he ever regrets the trade. I’m just saying that Sadeas’s smugness in thinking that he “stole” the Shardblade for some useless Bridgemen may be challenged if a great number of those Bridgemen developed into powerful Surgebinders who were loyal to Dalinar, likely his (now) greatest adversary among the Highprinces.

Or not; I guess it’s all in how the story develops.

Kade@19 – I think we should allow for the possibility Syl was assigned as we still know very little about how the bonding process between person and spren is initiated. Nohadon does say (paraphrasing) that not all spren are as discerning as honorspren, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a group or collection of honorspren that decide which of their kind will bond with a particular individual. It’s possible that they could have sent Syl and somehow, on the way, Syl lost the vast majority of her memories. Wyndle did appear to lose a little bit of himself in the process of being “sent.”

Having said that, I personally still lean towards Syl kind of drifting along until she somehow came/decided upon Kaladin herself. But I acknowledge that we still know very little about a lot of the Stormlight Archive universe.
Jasuni
22. Jasuni
@18 I believe that if Kaladin stopped being honorable, Syl would leave. I suspect this might be part of Syl's reasons for going to find the blackbane leaf (she couldn't stand to see Kaladin giving up).

Lift's spren is obeying her willingly, albeit reluctantly. However, there isn't anything forcing him to obey Lift.

The bond is an tie between spren and person, but it doesn't force the person or the spren to do anything. Syl specificly states that she is willing to terminate the bond in chapter 57, along with what it does.

@19 I don't think Syl was given an assignment. I recall her mentioning that she was attracted to Kaladin taking in the young soldiers.
Julian Augustus
23. Alisonwonderland
Wetlander @14:
Suppose WoR had come in at 1100 pages and Brandon felt that cutting parts of the book to make it fit within Tor's publishing limit was not an option? Without knowing the mechanics of printing, it seems to me there is a relatively simple solution to such a problem: drop down to a slightly lower font! I'm sure if WoR was an 1100 page brick Tor would have found a way to publish it. All that said, the length alone suggests WoR is going to be some book!
Julian Augustus
24. Alisonwonderland
JosephAbenza@17, on why we are seeing new Radiants:
That's easy. If you've read the Wheel of Time, you would know the answer to that one. The Pattern is preparing people to fight the coming Desolation!
Jasuni
25. Aoibheann
I wonder what Rock's craft is?

He says: “First son and second son are needed for making food,” Rock said, raising a finger. “Is most important. Without food, nobody lives, yes? Third son is craftsman. This is me. I serve proudly."

He makes food for the bridgemen (a step up), but he has a craft too?
Alice Arneson
26. Wetlandernw
@25 - He's a cook. He doesn't "make" food (i.e. grow it) but he prepares it, as his craft. It's why he was traveling with his nuatoma.
Jasuni
27. Aoibheann
@26 - Thanks! I always assumed that cook was part of first and second sons' job.

@23 - I think changing the font size could be seen as going for lower quality. There may have been other formatting adjustments to reduce the size by ~1%.
David Foster
28. ZenBossanova
I would not rule out Rock becoming a Radiant. Food, healing, and other aspects are as needful for a military force, as are soldiers.

As as for volume 3.... do it in two parts? That is an extreme measure, but it might be a neccessity. In any case, I am thrilled to hear WoR came in so big!
Adam S.
29. MDNY
@28 Let's not forget that in modern Alethkar, soulcasters are used to make food, but the soulcasters are left over from ancient days and based on Radiants' powers (surgebinders, I believe). So it's totally possible for Rock to have a place as a Radiant who prepares food- though maybe that's wishful thinking.
Rowland Hills
30. TickTockTick
Hello all. There's been some good discussion throughout this reread which I've now caught up on. Great work Michael and Carl, and nice to see a few familiar "faces" from people on the WoT Reread which I spent much of last year reading through every comment on!

I'll try and join in myself now, although I don't have a lot to say on this week's chapter. One question from a previous chapter though:

Several commenters were saying that the body in a pool of blood from Shallan's perspective couldn't have been killed with a shardblade due to the presence of blood.

However, as I understood it, the first cut with a shardblade "kills" living tissue but once dead it can then be cut as with any other non-living matter. On the assumption that the method of killing doesn't vaporise/solidify the blood, doesn't that mean two bug swings with a shardblade would kill someone, then make a big cut in the body for the blood to drain out?

As such, I can't see why the body couldn't have been killed with a shardblade. Did I miss something?
Taylor Topham
31. Gordianknot
@30 - That makes a lot of sense, Adolin uses his Shardblade to do almost that exact thing to a pupating chasmfiend at the very end of chapter 26.

In a wholly different vein, I've been thinking recently about why the seasons on Roshar change so often and unpredictably. I've been wondering if the fluctuations might mean that Roshar is orbiting a variable star. As the star expands and contracts, its energy output would change, increasing or decreasing the temperature on Roshar, manipulating the seasons. Delta Cephei variable stars often have fluctuation periods of a few days to a few weeks, which would fit perfectly with the Rosharan weather variations. I guess this would also mean that the star would visibly change size in the sky, which would make season changes fairly easy to predict, so I may be completely off the mark.
Jasuni
32. Jasuni
@31 interesting theory, and very much possible (in my opinion). Doesn't explain the weeping or the highstorms, but the rest of the weather would be explained.
Glen V
33. Ways
TickTockTick @30
"...doesn't that mean two bug swings with a shardblade would kill someone, then make a big cut in the body for the blood to drain out?"
If the victim's heart is still pumping during the second cut, then yes. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a large pool of blood on the floor. If the killer used a Shardblade, and multiple cuts (knowing full well that one through the spine is lethal), deep-seated anger toward the victim is suggested. By the end of WoK I don't believe we have enough of Shallan's back-story to say for certain she was that angry with her father, although it's starting to seem like it might be the case. It's entirely possible Shallan went Lizzie Borden and killed her dad with a Shardblade, but I'm still thinking he was killed by a different sharp instrument and maybe not by Shallan. Brothers Helaran or Balat come to mind. I'm not convinced Helaran is really dead, we know he had intimate knowledge of the family business and stood up to his father (who probably didn't take kindly to being challenged). Balat is sadistic and clearly has deep issues that may have bubbled up against his father (the source of his issues?) in an argument.
Jasuni
34. STBLST
My conjecture about the death of both of Shallan's parents is that Shallan was responsible for her father's death, but only blames herself in the WOR excerpt for the killing of her mother when she was a child. The latter event was, apparently, precipitated by her mother, a conjectured Ghostblood, intending to harm or kill Shalan via her Soulcaster. This, in turn - I assume, was precipitated by the suspicion that her daughter was starting on the road to becoming a Radiant. Such an extreme reaction can be compared to the extreme reaction of the otherwise sensible Parshendi leaders to the concern that some of Gavilar's actions may precipitate a return of the dreaded Voidbringers. In any case, the mother in white may have killed the servants who attempted to deter her 'madness'. Shallan's father then rushed into the room and slew his wife with his shardblade after hearing what she intended to do to his beloved daughter. The Soulcaster was returned to its place in a safe, while the father comforted the child who believed that the deaths were somehow her fault. More information is given for the later death of her father. He was savagely beating a son in Shallan's presence. She then inadvertently killed her father in an attempt to save her brother. By so doing, she 'inherited' her father's shardblade, which she refuses to use.

Of course, this conjecturing is purely academic since we should have a full account of what happened in a few months, when WOR is published.

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