Thu
Jan 16 2014 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapter 52

Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread on Tor.com. With the interludes out of the way, it’s time to tackle Part Four: Storm’s Illumination.

This week I’m covering Chapter 52: A Highway to the Sun, which reintroduces us to Dalinar, Adolin, and their various problems. Will they come to a conclusion about whether to trust Sadeas? Will Dalinar abdicate? A highstorm is coming, and with it another vision, so let’s get right to the chapter.

Chapter 52: A Highway to the Sun
Settings:
The Shattered Plains, Feverstone Keep
Point of View: Adolin, Dalinar

What Happens: Dalinar and his sons are gathered in his sitting room before a highstorm. Adolin has been trying to convince Dalinar to chance his mind about abdicating. He didn’t want to convince his father he was unfit for duty, and isn’t ready to be a highprince. But Dalinar seems resolute in his decision. He says he plans to return to Alethkar, to defend it from incursions and aid the queen, but Adolin is worried that might lead to an escalation of conflicts with Jah Keved. Dalinar cuts the discussion short, asking his sons to tie his arms to his chair. The highstorm is upon them.

Dalinar finds himself on the battlements of a fortress, looking out over a broad, bare plain. Even though he knows what’s happening, the vision feels so real that he has trouble believing it could be a delusion. Whether his visions are real or not, he is committed to living them, rather than ignoring them. The possibility that they are true and useful is too essential to risk setting aside.

The men around him are dressed in poorly-constructed armor, and are lazing about without discipline. Dalinar chides them to be more alert, but they respond dismissively. Apparently whoever Dalinar is standing in for has no reputation of diligence or authority. He knows, however, that these visions always place him in moments of great conflict, and so he spots the distant shadow on the plain far before anyone else.

The shadow grows closer, resolving into a collection of marching figures. Horses ride out from what Dalinar discovers is called Feverstone Keep to meet them, while the men on the battlements speculate that the rear defense force must be returning. Nothing could have gotten through with the Radiants fighting on the front lines. The scouts return with reports that the approaching troops are bearing flags of friendship, but Dalinar insists they remain alert for a trap. He goes down into the keep to get a better sense of the situation.

He comes upon an officer with dark brown eyes receiving reports that the approaching soldiers are Radiants, of the Orders of the Stonewards and Windrunners. As Dalinar approaches an arrow slit to watch them, the Radiants break into a run. Dalinar estimates that there are more than two hundred Shardbearers charging the fort. He’s only aware of less than a hundred Blades in the modern world, so this onslaught is staggering, even before more Radiants begin to fall from the sky. The three hundred Shardbearers begin to summon their blades.

Dalinar suddenly realizes what he’s watching, and rushes outside to meet the Radiants. One knight in blue steps forward, slams his Blade into the stone ground, then discards his armor like so much rubbish. Knight after knight follows his lead, until the plain is littered with priceless weaponry. The Blades and Plate glow beautifully, but even as Dalinar rushes to demand answers from the Radiants that light has begun to fade. Dalinar feels “a sense of immense tragedy, of pain and betrayal” and can almost hear “screaming.”

Dalinar begs for an explanation, but none of the Radiants respond. Desperate, he grabs one by the wrist, but he pulls away and keeps walking. Dalinar falls to his knees, bellowing: “This is it, isn’t it? The Day of Recreance, the day you betrayed mankind. But why?” Then, the man whose wrist he grabbed turns back to him, and speaks in the voice that has permeated his visions.

The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson UK GollanczIt calls these knights the first, and also the last, and tells Dalinar that these events will be infamous, and be called by many names. Seeming to respond to Dalinar’s questions, it warns him of “the Night of Sorrows,” “the True Desolation” and “the Everstorm,” and urges him to “read the book” and “unite them.” Then it turns to rejoin the other Radiants.

Dalinar looks back at the soldiers, who are now fighting over the fallen Plate and Blades. Soon the squabbling turns to outright violence. The glow from the weapons is gone.

Dalinar awakes to find himself in his chair. Apparently he speaks “unearthly, strange” and “skewed” nonsense while in the throes of the visions, and thrashes in his chair. He insists again that the time has come for him to abdicate, but Adolin pushes back harder. He says that as long as Dalinar accepts that his visions are false, they can contain the episodes, but Dalinar instead accepts only that he is unreliable, not that he has fabricated such complicated and informative visions.

The three discuss what could be causing the visions. If not the Almighty, could some other magic be upon him? The Old Magic, which Dalinar shocks Adolin by admitting he has sought? Something else entirely? They don’t know, and it’s dangerous for Dalinar to be left in command with something like that hanging over him. They reach a standstill, angry with each other. Then Renarin suggests trying to prove the visions true or false.

This idea quickly gains traction. The visions are intricately detailed. Surely if they are pulled from the historical record, they are either confirmable or disprovable. Jasnah is a Veristitalian, and finding truth in the historical record is the specialty of that school of scholarship. In the meantime, they agree to have Navani record the details of his vision. Dalinar doesn’t trust her not to try to manipulate him, but he does trust her to keep a dangerous secret.

Renarin leaves to fetch Navani, and Dalinar and Adolin return to the thorny subject of Sadeas. The investigation is almost complete, and Adolin isn’t content to trust his father’s mysterious visions when it comes to the treacherous highprince. Dalinar relents and gives his son leave to prepare for the worst.

Cut to Dalinar finish his dictation of his vision. Navani has recorded the entire thing, acting both “businesslike and careful,” and is now considering what she has written. Dalinar can’t resist noticing how beautiful she is. At Adolin’s urging, she admits that she’s never heard of the places or events in the vision, but defers judgment to her daughter. She deflects Adolin with talk of Danlan, his most recent girlfriend. Having deduced Danlan’s favorite fruit and ordered a basket of it, she sends Adolin away to get on with his courting, leaving her alone with Dalinar.

Dalinar immediately tenses up, trying to get soldiers in to serve as a chaperone. She puts the moves on, hard. She dismantles his arguments against a courtship, but he dismisses her nevertheless. She presses again:

“Can’t you just relax,” she asked him, “Just for a little while?”

“The rules—”

“Everyone else—”

“I cannot be everyone else!”

Dalinar tells Navani that if he were to abandon his principles now, he wouldn’t just stoop to the level of the other highprinces. He’d be something worse: a hypocrite. He asks her once more to leave, and without speaking she does so. A part of Dalinar wishes she had stayed. Exhausted, he prays to the Almighty, asking to know what he’s supposed to do.

Quote of the Chapter:

What was happening? What was that dreadful feeling, that screaming he swore he could almost hear?

WHAT INDEED? This moment is incredibly significant. The Recreance, the Radiants’ betrayal, is more than just a physical or political event. Something emotional, something with psychic resonance, is happening to Dalinar here.

Commentary: Wow, I had forgotten all about the abdication plotline. I had forgotten that Adolin, shining child that he is, had succeeded at ripping down his father so far that Dalinar decided he was too crazy to rule. At least he has the decency to feel bad about it now. I give Adolin a hard time, usually affectionately, but in clashes like this it’s very difficult for me not to resent him. But when you take away the benefit of hindsight, the quality of genre-savviness, and all those other advantages that let we, the readers, know with certainty that Dalinar isn’t crazy, Adolin starts to seem slightly more reasonable. Dueling is still a stupid way to spend your life, though.

This vision is a doozy. The Recreance is a huge question mark in our understanding of Roshar. We know that the Knights Radiant abandoned their vows and turned their back on humanity. We’ve now seen that they left behind their weapons and armor. This chapter answers some questions, but raises far more. We know that the Radiants left an active battlefront, but we don’t know what they were fighting. We know that they left their weapons behind to humanity, but apparently this group of Knights alone left way way way more sets of Shards behind than are accounted for. Plus, where did the other eight orders go to turn in their resignations? The Windrunners and Stonewards are accounted for, but that leaves room for a lot of other knights. Why did their Shards all glow? What made that stop? Where did they go once it was all over?

Plus there’s the big one: what made the Knights Radiant defect en masse? There must have been some cataclysmic event that triggered the simultaneous defection of the Radiants, and it is completely gone from the historical record as we know it. I can’t wait to discover what that was.

Renarin’s suggestion that they try to verify Dalinar’s visions is so aggressively reasonable it makes me want to cry. Should I be surprised that Dalinar and Adolin never thought of it on their own? They’re both kind of meatheaded, so the scholarly solution was unlikely to suggest itself naturally.

I have mixed feelings about Navani in this chapter. She handles Adolin very deftly, and she seems to be accurately reading Dalinar’s attraction for her, but I wish she’d listen when Dalinar asked for her to back off. Even though I ship them! When push came to shove, she backed away from making Dalinar do something that would compromise his belief in himself, but… Well, it’s just an uncomfortable scene. I wish she would push him a little less hard, and have trouble waiting for the point at which she becomes awesome instead of problematic.

In general, this chapter gets Part Four off to a slow start. It’s all backstory build-up, bringing out the same questions that Adolin and Dalinar have been batting back-and-forth for the entire book. We’ll see if the action picks up next week!


Carl Engle-Laird is the editorial assistant at Tor.com, where he acquires and edits original fiction and writes about the Stormlight Archive. You can follow him on Twitter here.

40 comments
TBGH
1. TBGH
There is still a large disconnect between some of us and you on what Adolin's calling means. Dueling isn't just a way to resolve insults and conflicts. There are also tournaments mentioned and rankings. Basically I see his calling as dedicating himself to be the best 1-on-1 fighter he can be. Which in a society of warriors is perfectly understandable and even laudable compared to some other noble ambitions.

As for the Dalinar is crazy plot, I find Adolin completely justified in trying to convince his father that his visions aren't reliable. He then doesn't just "feel bad" about his father's decision to abdicate but also works to talk him out of it. A noble motivated not by personal ambition but by putting his family and kingdom before himself is a guy I can get behind. Wisdom may or may not come later, but you can't fault his motivations.
Gary Singer
2. AhoyMatey
Great article.
Typo for "...useful is too essential to risk".
Deana Whitney
3. Braid_Tug
I see Adolin as wanting to be an Olympic class dueler. As @1, TBGH said, not a bad thing in a warrior society. And dueling is not about killing. It's about the skill of the fight.

And we haven't found out yet when you are supposed to declare your calling. Say Adolin is 23, six years ago he was 17, and could have declared his calling prior to his uncle being killed.
(Have we learned his age yet? Older than Kaladin, but not late 20s from his behavior.)

And yes, yeah for Renarin in saying “Let’s prove it one way or the other.”

Do we know if the other orders had Shardplate? If they were dedicated to diplomacy, scholarship and other non-warrior pursuits, it’s not clear that they would have the plate armor. Because of Shallan we know some have blades, but otherwise, it’s a big question.
Carl Engle-Laird
4. CarlEngle-Laird
@1 Yeah, I understand. I mostly belittle his calling for the sake of humor, and I definitely don't fault his motivations. Adolin is compliant with his culture in many of the ways that Dalinar rebels against him, and I think that Adolin is the worse for it, but I recognize his dedication to improvement and his deep desire to protect his father.

For what it's worth, I like Adolin a lot better after reading Words of Radiance.
Carl Engle-Laird
6. CarlEngle-Laird
@2 Fixed, thanks.

@5 Naaaah, I'm often just teasing you, but I consider this more to be enticing you. The REAL teasing is yet to come.
Rich Bennett
7. Neuralnet
wow I am getting excited for WoR...

so many questions in this chapter but two new things struck me on this portion of the reread. First the screaming Dalinar hears in the vision as the Radiants resign thier commisions... I hadnt really picked that up before.... Spren dying or reverting to a more limited state??

Second, how does Andolin NOT know his father has sought out the old magic. He has never noticed that his father cant remember anything about his mother... her name just never comes up?!?!? There is something big going on there. I think Dalinar is an unreliable narrator when it comes to his use of the old magic/nightwatcher visit. My current guess is that the old magic and the glyphs that they mention very casually in WoKs are related to AonDor (of Elantris).
Carl Engle-Laird
8. CarlEngle-Laird
@7 As far as I can tell, Dalinar has never mentioned not remembering his wife to anyone as of WoK. We see him dodge the subject repeatedly. What surprises me is that Adolin has never revealed her name to us. Every time someone manages not to mention Dalinar's wife's name in their own viewpoint chapters, I grow more suspicious.
Robert Dickinson
9. ChocolateRob
@6 Do you like Adolin more in WoR because of what he does when he figures out why there is a sudden boom in sock and false beard sales?
For those not in the know he is investigating some of the new recruits in the army to make sure Sadeas is not slipping any spys/assassins in when he realizes that dozens of new widows are sweet polly olivering their way into the army out of desperation and anger. The way he respects their decision and keeps quiet about them is surprisingly decent of him.

"Who threw that?
"She did!.. erm Him, Him"
"Are there any women here today?
"No"

Onto other matters I've found it interesting how Dalinar refuses to become a hypocrite because in my opinion he has failed this in one regard. He is determined to treat his visions as real but when it becomes clear that his nephew is seeing things, he must be crazy.
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
typo - advocate when you mean abdicate.
Carl Engle-Laird
11. CarlEngle-Laird
@10 Thanks, got it.

@9 Good point about how Dalinar treats Elhokar. The man is very bad at not ascribing weakness to those he is charged with protecting.
Nadine L.
12. travyl
This chapter was a fun re-reading experience this time, because I find so many things I mist before. Not just the "screaming" Neuralnet and Carl mentioned, but also the distinct glow (color) of the plate of the Radiant Orders.

17th shard and here kindly presented which Order corresponds to which Herald and place in the rear/endsheet - and now I see that hints add up, to what I so far just "had to believe", without being shown evidence:

Some Knight Radiants glow amber, some blue, then more blue fall from the sky, indicating them to be Windrunners. Both colors fit with the gemharts / color in the rear/endsheets I learned to associate with the order - Very cool.


I wonder about "They were the first, and they were also the last."
Might it mean, that the other Orders didn't so publicly "betray mankind" but hid their shards away somewhere?
David Foster
13. ZenBossanova
The betrayal of the Radiants is definitely the outstanding part of this chapter. But if we are looking for some major event that caused this, I doubt we will find it. For the Heralds, it was just too much, too long. They just decided they couldn't handle it. I suspect the Radiants will be something along those lines.

So, if forsaking their blades, armor and oaths killed the spren, does that mean those shardblades and shardplate are actually spren? That they are somehow spren in physical form? And does this mean they are permanently dead, or can they be revived when men and women begin to cleave to the ancient oaths again, and become Radiants?

If Syl becomes shardblade and plate, is that permanent for her?
TBGH
14. RoKet
I think the Betrayal of both the Heralds and the Radiants is related. We know why the Heralds Quit. I just can't see two entire orders of Radiants (if not all of the orders) quitting untless they learned something that made them feel either betrayed or that their existance was causing more bad than good.

Prelude to WoK the Heralds hoped that by quitting that it might stop the Desolations. Why would they think that? How are the Oath Pact and the Desolation connected.
Jezrien: ". . . a decision has been made. It is time for the Oathpact to end.”

Kalak felt a sharp stab of horror. “What will that do?”
“Ishar believes that so long as there is one of us still bound to the Oath-pact, it may be enough. There is a chance we might end the cycle of Desolations.”
Joseph Blaidd
15. SteelBlaidd
Is it all that clear that Elohkar is seing visions I think Dalinars accepting of Elohkar's visions of cryptics is submerged in his having to deal with the extreame parinoia that he has displayed. In framing his Uncle for an assaination attempet in order to smoke out other potential assasins and the other things Dalinar takes him to task for I suspect that he has only given very vauge mettions of what he is seeing and is indad acting irationaly. Dalinars respons to the vissions is quite rational, they may be real but they also make him unfit for duty, hence the idea of abdication. I think Dalinar would give his nephiew a little more credit if he had been a bit more forthcoming about what was happening and trusting thata his uncle was on his side.
Kimani Rogers
16. KiManiak
Thanks Carl!

I disagree with the “slow start” assertion. This was one of the few times we get to see the Knights Radiant in action… even if it was their defection. And to see 300 Knights Radiant all give up their Blade and Plate and walk away? Without any explanation? I found it incredibly intriguing the first time I read WoK, and I still do. I hope we get more answers in Words of Radiance!

I’ve written a decent amount about my feelings on “The Day of Recreance” vision, and Carl seems to hit most of them on the nose. What about the 8 other Orders? Where are the rest of the 300 Plate/Blades that were abandoned? And a really good one: Who were the Radiants fighting?

I also am glad Carl noted the “sense of immense tragedy, of pain and betrayal…that dreadful feeling, that screaming (Dalinar) swore he could almost hear.” This is one of the passages that strongly hints that this event wasn’t just damaging to the people of Roshar.

As for Navani: Hey, I respect a woman (or anyone, for that matter) who knows what she wants and is willing to go after it. But maybe she was coming on a little too strong.

Carl@4 – I’m going to go with “tease” more than “entice” on that one.
If you keep doing that, I’m going to count that as a spoiler, and remind you of your policy!
;-)
(Obviously, I’m kidding. Plus, it’s your blog, your prerogative.)
Robert Dickinson
17. ChocolateRob
The way that all of them just quit at once gives me the impression that it was not something that they chose to do but something that happened to them. Even if they discovered something truly terrible that altered their whole world view then there would still be divisions among them about what to do, fractures of decisions. The eerie way they just all abandoned battle as one and rent their worlds assunder implies they were controlled somehow.
Also the fact that they broke their Spren bonds causing many of them great pain and death surely backs this up. Can you imagine Kaladin simply murdering Syl one day seemingly out of the blue.

I keep getting confused by comments that imply that the Radiants chose to do what we see them do here.
David Foster
18. ZenBossanova
At the beginning of WoK, Kelek never questions what to tell the Radiants, only the people.

Are the Radiants in on the lie?
TBGH
19. corhen
spelling correction: "dolin has been trying to convince Dalinar to chance his mind about abdicating"

Chance should be Change
Andrew Berenson
20. AndrewHB
"Dalinar feels “a sense of immense tragedy, of pain and betrayal” and can almost hear “screaming.”"

Based upon the excerpts of WoR I have read (those which have been published on Tor), IMO, we get some answers to the above sentence.

I will refrain from commenting on this matter further in case anything I say may be construed by some as a spoiler.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
I think that the blame for Dalinar not taking Elhokar very seriously needs to be shared.

Dalinar is awfully dismissive of his nephew; he seems to think of Elhokar almost as a child, which doesn't do either of them much good. He's not much in the habit of taking seriously any of Elhokar's comments or complaints, so some things get dismissed too easily. And while Dalinar doesn't just write it all off to paranoia (because, after all, Elhokar's father was assassinated), I'm not sure he has much grounds to determine which things to believe and which to shrug off as excessive dramatization - but he doesn't even seem to recognize that he needs to figure that part out.

On the other hand, let's face it, Elhokar is not by any definition a great king. He's not a natural leader, and he apparently didn't learn much from his father in this regard. (For that matter, he doesn't seem to have learned much from his mother either.) He tends to complain a lot, and the fact that (which we don't know at this stage of the book) he set up the cut girth strap himself is not exactly building up his credibility. It really is kind of hard to take him seriously! And if you read again the bit in Chapter 58 where he mentions the things he sees in the mirrors... well, honestly, who would believe him? Shallan would, and perhaps Jasnah... but no one else would, at this stage. I mean, really - if someone started talking about rather bizarre things only they could see, and only in the mirror, I'd start to wonder about them...
Glen V
22. Ways
ChocolateRob @9
Where did that deal about the increase in sock and fake beard sales come from?

Zen @13
I want to believe the Spren weren't killed, that they were instead reduced to a suspended animation state--like the one Syl pulled out of when her relationship with Kal began.
Josep Abenza
23. JosepAbenza
@22: ChocolateRob is taunting the ones who have already read WOR with fake excerpts to try to get info out of them.

And about the screaming and why the KR resigned... as @20 AndrewHB says, if you read the published excerpts from WOR a possible explanation of these events comes to mind, but let's debate it in the specific posts for WOR spoilers.
Birgit
24. birgit
It probably doen't make sense, but could Navani be Dalinar's "wife"?
Josep Abenza
25. JosepAbenza
@24 I don't think so. There are a lot of references to the wife as being dead, and Navani was Gavilar's wife.
Maiane Bakroeva
26. Isilel
Hm... Are Stonewards bonded to a honor spren, like the Windrunners are? It would explain the screams and pain - even if the KR themselves did nothing to sever the bond, the spren couldn't stay with them any longer when they abandoned their duty.

Would also explain "they were the first and also the last" - maybe no other order was quite that demonstrative and perhaps their sprens nature didn't require a traumatic separation? Maybe the other orders were more practical, too, and didn't leave their shards for random people to grab...

I can't agree that the Radiants didn't chose to do what they did - this whole marching up to a keep and abandoning shards in full view of the garrison was clearly a protest action, very much like flag burning or whatever. The spren were also very much with them until they abandoned the shards - hence "almost screams" and the armor losing it's glow.
What were they protesting against in such an extreme manner? The garrison didn't seem to know... but personally, I tend to think that it was against the enslavement of Parshmen.
And that it was a final straw in the long decline of the moral authority of the Radiants after the Heralds resigned and assured everybody that they have won and Desolations were things of the past.

Were the spren killed? Possibly. Although, now that I think about it, Syl does seem like an "orphaned" spren of an ex-Radiant. Another question is - could the spren be unaware of what their Knights were planning and is it possible that none of them could convince their Knight to reconsider? Or did they actually agree with KR actions, no matter the cost to themselves? Being honor spren and all...

It is such a marvelously evocative, somber and mysterious scene!

Yea, Renarin shines with his common sense in the matter of Dalinar's visions. It is somewhat of a pity that he can't be a researcher himself and refused the only option that would allow him to become so. What is his current vocation, I wonder?
Robert Dickinson
27. ChocolateRob
@22 False beards = Life of Brian
Extra pair of socks = Monstrous Regiment (Terry Pratchett)

@23 Not so much taunting to get real information so much as tempting them to troll us with wacky lies.
Teasing us with lines like "For what it's worth, I like Adolin a lot better after reading Words of Radiance." is cruel. Making up silly justifications for such lines is fun for everyone. ;)
Carl Engle-Laird
28. CarlEngle-Laird
@27 I mean the socks were okay, but really it's how good he is at riding dragons that clinched it for me.

WAIT HELP I'M BEING FIRED
Robert Dickinson
29. ChocolateRob
@28 Relax, you've already read it, that means you have 18 to 22 months of sucking up to do before the next.
Nadine L.
30. travyl
@26. Isilel:
The spren were ... with them until they abandoned the shards - hence "almost screams" and the armor losing it's glow.
I don't think there is any evidence, that the spren caused the shardblades/plate to glow.
From the WoK knowledge we have, it's far more likely, that all the Radiants can use stormlight, like Kaladin, and like him leak it through their skin, and this might cause the armor to glow.
So when the KR put down their Shardb/p, they have no longer any access to their bearers Stormlight and cease to glow.
The screem is still a mistery though.
Jeremy Guebert
31. jeremyguebert
This would be an extremely heavy vision for Dalinar. Can you imagine experiencing first-hand an event that was so traumatic it shifted the entire course of history? Especially when it's something that's so long ago that it's mostly lost to history.

I'm very interested in who/what they were fighting at the time, and what caused them to resign en masse. The two theories that make the most sense to me are either a) simply being tired of fighting, like the Heralds were or b) the enslavement of the Parshmen (props to Isilel @26 for the new (to me) theory!)

As others have said: Go, Renarin! Way to come up with an actual reasonable solution to the whole visions debate!
Glen V
32. Ways
Sheesh. Enough with the taunting, trolling and fishing expeditions already. ;-) Carl (obviously) is up for it, but I don't think we'll get anything, one way or the other, out of Wet.

Guess I'll have to jump back over to the excerpts and read them again to decipher what AndrewHB thinks is the answer. The spoiler thread too.

ETA
And...I'm inclined to agree with what Isilel said about the Radiant's behavior very much seeming to be a protest, perhaps against enslavement of the Parshmen. I have to wonder if they bothered to tell anyone why they were doing it (otherwise why protest?), but that's likely lost to history/legend/myth.
Nadine L.
33. travyl
to follow my thoughts @30.
Wouldn't it be great, if in his job as Dalinar's chief-bodyguard, he is to wear leant Shardplate (we've seen this happen with other guards), and he unwittingly "reveals" his secret power due his glowing armor?
Tricia Irish
34. Tektonica
I agree with Isilel@26....I felt the KR so obviously "quiting" the war, was some sort of protest or demonstration of anger. Whether it was the enslavement of Parshmen, or dissappointment in the "religious" leaders and their twisting/using events to their own ends (No! That never happens!), or something else we don't know yet, is up for debate.

I think Renarin is an undervalued character thus far. In this military environment, where waging war is the greatest career a "real man" can aspire to, he is regarded as weak, but clearly his talents lie elsewhere...philosopher, diplomat? I'm looking forward to his development. (And am hoping he doesnt' get killed off.) I predict that Shallan will get along much better with Renarin than she does with Adolin. Just speculating......
TBGH
35. Daedalus
I just had an interesting thought, i dont think it's terribly liekly though. We've seen that Dalinar was quite different a few years previous , from his state during the prologue to what Navani says in reference to her choosing between Dalinar and Gavilar. (has she said this yet? or is it further in?). Anyway, what if Dalinar was somehow responsible, or felt responsible, for his wifes death? And sought out the old magic because he wanted to remove his guilt. But in return he got a dual boon/curse, remove his guilt by removing all his memories of his wife. It would be quite ironic and a nice twist I think.
Patrick Mosbacker
36. Patillian
@34 I've been rereading WoK in jump-around fashion as the excerpts have driven me mad w/ anticipation. Three things make me think Renarin is a strong candidate to become a spren-bonded Radiant, if he isn't already.
1. Bloodlines - His cousin, Jasnah, is a confirmed proto-Radiant, while his father, Uncle Gavilar, and cousin, Elhokar, all rate as 90% probable spren-bonders to me. His brother Adolin is a solid candidate as well, but that is more from the strong aspects of his character than actual occurences in the book.
2. We only see Wit/Hoid take positive interest and have any degree of serious conversation with 3 characters in WoK: Kaladin, Dalinar, and...Renarin. He compliment's Renarin's mind (seemingly in jest, but perhaps implying Renarin may be one of the non-warrior Radiants?) and twice tries to get Dalinar to see him as more capable.
3. The episode when Renarin rides out to try and help Dalinar when the chasmfiend is attacking the hunting party is very suspicious in hindsight. Renarin knows his supposed "blood weakness" and "fits" as well as anyone. He rides out unarmed not at the beginning of the fight, but when his father has been pounded by the enormous tail twice and any desperate gambit, even one that may reveal something "shameful" you have been hiding for a long time, seems worth it to save his father. Did he have some power he thought he could bring to bear? And his reactions later when Sadeas taunts him and his father questions his judgement are both quiet frowning. They're interpreted by Dalinar as shame both times, but I see them as frustration over being viewed as weak, but not being able to share his abilities with anyone. Wit specifically urges Dalinar to change his perspective of Renarin.

It's speculation that I hope is true. =)
Deana Whitney
37. Braid_Tug
@ 36, Patillian: I like your theory about Wit only interacting with 3 characters so far. Really makes you wonder.

Can't remember if I said it here or on another WoK thread. I have to wonder if Dalinar sought the old magic to help Renarin in some manner. The way he looked at his younger son when it was brought up made me think that.

So the boon / curse thing was "To help your son, you must forget his mother." The “help” was just not in the form Dalinar expected. But for Renarin to become a Radiant, when he might have already died, is a great blessing.

I’m also guessing we will not learn much more about it until a flashback during Dalinar’s book. Which I’m really hoping is not the one we will see from a “dead” character. Yet I fear that is the case.
Patrick Mosbacker
38. Patillian
Hmmm. I hadn't thought about the Nightwatcher angle, but why couldn't the effects of Dalinar's request it have effects on the whole family? The blood weakness itself presumably predates the Nightwatcher visit since Renarin is 17 or 18, and Dalinar went sometime after his wife's death 10 yrs ago. But I can't remember if the text tells us if it afflicted Renarin since birth.

Then I stumbled on pgs. 910-911 after Dalinar's vision of the Recreance. It would be so easy to be reading into things too much, but it seems like it hints at both ideas. When Dalinar brings up a possible supernatural origin of his visions that doesn't involve the almighty, Renarin immediately knows he's referring to the Old Magic and the Nightwatcher. He also knows the "facts" as they were of the boon and curse and is able to make plausible conclusions from his father's information, while Adolin is clueless. This could be natural though as Adolin just duels mostly and Renarin has been studious, and very possibly considering a visit to the Nightwatcher himself to requets help with his condition. But maybe he has a reason to take a special interest.

When het gets Dalinar a drink when he comes out of his vision, Dalinar thinks he is having "one of his episodes of weakness" because his legs are trembling, he sits down, and puts his head in his hands. Or is he having some other experience/thought/worry related to the highstorms too? Adolin was with him, but Adolin wouldn't necessarily notice something Renarin tried to hide. And as I said, I could just be reading too far into things. =)
TBGH
39. LoriJo
This is a complete guess on my part, but...

Perhaps shardplate is not made, but grown.

We know from an earlier vision that Radiants are able to materialize their visors at will. The plate and blades shine with stormlight- perhaps they are constructs of Stormlight or some manifestation from another realm intothe Physical. Shallan seems to have access to a blade of mysterious origin- perhaps it is a new one that she called into being on her own.

The 'almost screaming' as the Radiants lay down their armor is, I believe, the screaming of the spren who were bonded to those Radiants as their bonds were broken.

I think shards are similar to Parshendi exoskeletons, and that the
wearing of such as armor by Kaladin and Bridge 4 is a foreshadowing.
In some fashion the shards are corpses. Remember that Syl doesn't like them (maybe just a specific item, maybe the whole class), and perhaps if Kaladin had kept the plate and blade he won, he would never have bonded with her.

It makes me wonder what new adventures Dalinar has in store.
Leeland Woodard
40. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
I'm pretty late in coming to this one, and you guys have covered pretty much everything so far, but I wanted to add my curiosity as to how far apart the breaking of the Oathpact and the Recreance are. I really wonder if the former is the cause of the latter.

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