Thu
Jan 2 2014 1:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 50 and 51

Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread on Tor.com. All of us here at Stormlight Central hope that you had a wonderful holiday season. My first new year’s resolution is to blast through to the end of Part Three!

This week I’m covering chapters 50 and 51, with a brief word on the epigraphs. We’ll see Jasnah lay the smack down on Shallan and reach the end of Kaladin’s backstory chapters. You’d better hope that your holiday was a happy one, because there’s no joy in Roshar in these chapters.

Chapter 50: Backbreaker Powder
Setting:
Khabranth
Point of View: Shallan

What Happens: Shallan awakens to find that, although she expects to be burnt from “toes to ears,” she’s practically perfectly well. Only the earlier cut remains. A nurse arrives, which means she’s in a hospital, in what proves to be a guarded room. The guard doesn’t answer her request to know if Kabsal is all right, and once Shallan remembers that she revealed herself as a thief, she spends a truly miserable half-hour waiting for punishment.

Jasnah arrives, obviously deeply angry, and demands to know what devotary she was working with. Shallan protests that she was only working for herself, trying to honor her dead father’s debts. Jasnah points out how foolish this is; if she had succeeded, she would have brought down the wrath not only of “the entire ardentia, but Alethkar.” Jasnah says she’s having Shallan put on a boat for Jah Keved in the morning.

She also explains that Kabsal is dead. He ate the bread that he had laced with backbreaker powder, but without the jam as antidote he had no chance to survive. Jasnah says he was playing Shallan the entire time.

For a moment, Shallan hopes that she can get Jasnah to explain the strange things she saw, but her mentor’s cold rage dissuades her. Jasnah leaves her after saying how very disappointed she is:

“You might not have escaped with my fabrial, but you have thrown away a very promising career. This foolish scheme will stain your life for decades. No woman will take you as a ward now. You threw it away.” She shook her head in distaste. “I hate being wrong.”

Shallan sits in her hospital room, alone.

Quote of the Chapter:

“Protecting them does you no good. Eventually, you will tell me the truth.”

“It is the truth,” Shallan said, looking up, feeling a hint of defiance. “It’s why I became your ward in the first place. To steal that Soulcaster.”

“Yes, but for whom?”

“For me,” Shallan said. “Is it so hard to believe that I could act for myself? Am I such a miserable failure that the only rational answer is to assume I was duped or manipulated?”

Shallan reaches the peak of her shame/defiance combo here, trying to feel like she was at some point in control of any part of her life. It goes over predictably poorly with Jasnah.

Commentary:

Shallan is subject to nested layers of restraint and rejection in this chapter. She’s locked in a room, both a prisoner and an invalid. The scope of her world has shrunk to that room, and she’s threatened with being taken directly from it to a boat that will take her home, where she will once again be an orphaned young lady from a house with no influence, no money, and no prospects. Jasnah has pronounced the death of her career and the end of her enjoyment of her mentor’s trust. On top of all that, her would-be boyfriend is dead from bad-at-assassination. Yes, that’s a real cause of death, shut up. This means he, uh, probably wasn’t her true love or anything.

Shallan has always been separated from the people around her by lies. The people who she thinks she can be somewhat truthful with, her family, are all in Jah Keved, and she keeps secrets even from them (I’m looking at you, Shardblade). She’s been trying to run a con on the person she respects the most, and if not for the person she thought she was falling for, she would have succeeded. Now it’s all caught up with her.

Since we can’t reach into the pages and give her a big hug, I think we should leave Shallan alone with her grief for a little while. Maybe Kaladin is having a better time of it.

 

The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson UK GollanczChapter 51: Sas Nahn
Setting:
Alethkar, Amaram’s Warcamp, One Year Ago
Point of View: Kaladin

What Happens: Kaladin waits to be seen by Amaram, with his four surviving men. He wonders if he was a fool for giving away a Plate and Blade and ponders why saving Amaram’s life is considered worth the lives of his men. He thinks on Amaram’s reputation and demeanor, how he demands that his men be treated with respect, but allows his men to treat those under them like slime. He remembers that the highmarshal let Tien die.

Amaram enters, accompanied by one of his stormwardens. He compliments Kaladin’s bravery, leaving the young man at a loss for a response. Kaladin reminds him about the events of Hearthstone, but they don’t seem to register on Amaram. He asks why Kaladin refused the shards, and isn’t content with Kaladin saying that he just didn’t want them. Kaladin insists again that they be given to his best man, Coreb, who will take care of the survivors once he becomes a lighteyes.

Amaram looks at Coreb, then has him and all of Kaladin’s other soldiers killed.

Kaladin curses Amaram again and again, while the lighteyes explains that he needed a story for why he was taking the Shards for himself. As the best-trained wielder of the Shards, he thinks he could save thousands of lives. He couldn’t have just asked for them, as rumors would have spread, and in the end Amaram isn’t convinced that Kaladin wouldn’t ask for them back. He says that this is what must be done for the good of Alethkar. Kaladin is less than pleased with his rationale:

“It’s not about Alethkar! It’s about you! Storm it, you’re supposed to be better than the others!” Tears dripped from Kaladin’s chin.

Amaram looked suddenly guilty, as if he knew what Kaladin had said was true.

Amaram tells his men to brand Kaladin “sas nahn,” a slave’s mark. He says this is an act of mercy. In exchange for Kaladin saving his life, Amaram will spare Kaladin’s. He seems to feel guilty for a moment, then leaves the tent. The branding iron descends, and Kaladin screams in agony.

Quote of the Chapter:

“…why Thaidakar would risk this?” Amaram was saying, speaking in a soft voice. But who else would it be? The Ghostbloods grow more bold. We’ll need to find out who he was. Do we know anything about him?”

“He was Veden, Brightlord,” the stormwarden said. “Nobody I recognize. But I will investigate.”

Oooooooooo.

There are many who suspect that the nameless Shardbearer Kaladin killed in this battle was Shallan’s brother, Helaran. This is some of the evidence they point to. Whether he was or not, this passage raises a ton of questions. Are the Ghostbloods trying to kill Amaram? What makes him so special? What’s up with stormwardens anyway?

Commentary:

I don’t think any of us actually expected things to go better for Kaladin.

Kaladin gets an up-close lesson in the heroic reasoning of Alethi lighteyes. Watching Amaram justify his slaughters is sick, although in my mind it takes a backseat to the persistent Alethi belief that slavery is some form of mercy, as compared to execution. The thing that really surprises me about this chapter is how much Amaram buys into his own hero narrative. When Kaladin tells him that he’s supposed to be better, it strikes deep. He knows what people think of him, and he actually wishes it were true. It seems like he doesn’t really believe he’s morally superior to other lighteyes, but on the other hand his justification for his disgusting actions are all based on saving thousands of people with the force of his virtuous swordplay.

He’s such a tool. Really, I can’t even.

I think that this chapter Kaladin turning his hatred for Amaram and other deceitful lighteyes into a shield against his own guilt. He started the chapter unsure whether he and Amaram were any different. They both made decisions that led to the death of his men. They both failed to save Tien. But Amaram marks Kaladin indelibly, physicalizing his hatred of the ruling class, and by doing so he draws a divide that lets Kaladin function. His hatred is a survival mechanism. I bet we’ll see it become a hindrance in the future, though.

 

Epigraphs

The epigraphs to Part Three were all excerpts from Jasnah Kholin’s research journal. They contained a wealth of information about her investigations into the Voidbringers, and a careful reader should be able to pick up plenty of clues that lead in the direction of the big Voidbringer reveal. I want to remind readers that we have to be cautious not to accept the first answer made available to us. Things are rarely as simple as they seem in a Sanderson novel, and we have so many books left ahead of us.

Speaking of books ahead of us, I have a confession to make: I spent most of the break reading and rereading the final manuscript of Words of Radiance, in preparation for some of our upcoming promotional material. As such, I’m going to have to take a less speculative approach to my articles in the immediate future. Just assume that, whenever you speculate about what might happen in Words of Radiance, I am stroking my chin appreciatively somewhere. The book is great, and I know you’re all going to love it.

Next week Michael will cover Interludes 7-9.


Carl Engle-Laird is an editorial assistant for Tor.com, where he acquires and edits original short fiction. He is also Tor.com’s resident Stormlight Archive correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter here.

52 comments
Rich Bennett
1. Neuralnet
"Speaking of books ahead of us, I have a confession to make: I spent most of the break reading and rereading the final manuscript of Words of Radiance"

Lucky Dog! I spent the break rereading Elantris, thinking about the cosmere and wondering about WoR. Thanks for the rereads
Rybal
2. Rybal
"Speaking of books ahead of us, I have a confession to make: I spent most of the break reading and rereading the final manuscript of Words of Radiance"

I kind of wish you hadn't said that - it just makes me jealous that I still have to wait two more months for this book. I REALLY want to see what happens next.
Jeremy Guebert
3. jeremyguebert
Welcome back, Carl. I quite enjoyed the "dead from bad-at-assassination" line.

"Maybe Kaladin is having a better time of it." Yeah, no. I appreciated the sarcasm/irony put into that line, although Kaladin's section remains one of the hardest bits of the book to read for me. To be rewarded for his heroic, selfless, superhuman actions in rescuing Amaram by such a complete and brutal betrayal is indescribably apalling.

Wanton slaughter of his closest friends, physical disfigurment, and being sold into slavery - it's no wonder Kaladin is seriously messed up, and frankly I'm impressed that he held up as well as he did. Although I do have to agree that his obsessive hatred of all lighteyes on general principles is liable to get him in trouble down the road... Hopefully, the development of a positive working relationship between him and Dalinar et. al. will help to overcome his (semi-justified) prejudices.
Robert Dickinson
4. ChocolateRob
" /Quote here about what an awesome time Carl had over the break/"

Well if you're going to bring it up yourself then you can't blame us if we try to question you about it rather than comment on today's chapter. What I'm most curious about WoR right now is roughly how balanced out Shallan's chapters are with Kaladin's in this and WoK? Does she get alternate chapters in each part of the book and Kaladin only get viewpoints every other part (WoK reversal) or are they more evenly balanced this time? Are they about the same as before except that Shallan gets chapters about her past before some of her regular ones? I don't want to know exactly how much all the characters get, just these two compared to each other in the first book.

On today's reread I'll just point out that Thaidakar was the first person Gavilar suspected when he was assassinated in the prologue, so from this passage we know that he suspected/expected that the Ghostbloods sent Szeth.
Mike I
5. MikeyRocks
Happy new year y'all! This is the section where my thoughts on Jasnah changed. I think up to this point, we were led to believe that she is a cold heartless killer/researcher with no remorse (i.e. the cut-throats in the alley), the fact that she didn't punish Shallan more than her intent to send her back home is proof that there is a lot of "human" there. I think of all the characters, I am looking forward to finding out more about Jasnah and seeing where her story line goes.
BTW: I had a Sanderson-thon these past two weeks, finally reading Steelheart, Mitosis and The emperor's soul. Sanderson is quickly joining my authors Mt. Rushmore which has Jordan, Card, Erikson, Rothfuss and Brett. (I have a 6 faced rushmore don't judge me. )
Rybal
6. a.v willis
I've got to say, one of the reunions I'm interested in seeing is Kaladin and Amaram. With the indications that the bright lord is on his way to the shattered plains and Kaladin's newfound status as Dalinar's BG, I think it could be a memorable encounter to say the least.
Kimani Rogers
7. KiManiak
Thanks Carl. Happy New Year!

I’m curious if Jasnah’s threat that no one would take Shallan as a ward was really just meant to scare Shallan. Would Jasnah really spend the energy and effort to blackball Shallan internationally? I wonder what the ward/wardess communication network is like.

Idle thoughts, of course. Shallan and her family needed the Soulcaster; it’s doubtful that she would be seeking to be the ward of anyone for the foreseeable future.

I’m strongly leaning towards the Veden Shardbearer that Kaladin killed being Shallan’s brother. Shallan’s family (via her father) apparently already had some arrangement with the Ghostbloods via the Soulcaster and their head servant (and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that if Shallan got her Shardblade from her father’s corpse, he may have originally received the Blade from the Ghostbloods as well). I’m also curious as to why the Ghostbloods are after Amaram.

As for Amaram and Kaladin… it’s just sad. It hurt to read what had finally broken Kaladin; that it wasn’t just Tien’s death, but it was Amaram’s betrayal along with it. Recovering from betrayal like that will be incredibly hard for Kaladin. I know that a number of readers would love for Kaladin to confide about his new Radiant powers to Dalinar early in Words of Radiance, but I fear that someone who has been betrayed like this won’t be willing to trust all that easily or quickly. Dalinar may have to do a lot more to convince Kaladin of Dalinar’s honorableness.

Finally, Carl, I do indeed envy your being able to read the final manuscript for WoR 2 months before it comes out. However, I can focus on the fact that March 4th is just 8 & ½ weeks away.
James Reid
8. JamesReid
@1 I spent the break reading Steelheart. Finally got to it. It was great and I'm almost as exicted for Firefight next fall as Words of Radiance.

Brandon defintely has a tolkeinesque view of power and how it corrupts when missued.

@7 Yeah, I can't wait to see how Dalinar and Kaladin play out together, they have a lot in common, both feel guilt over their brothers deaths.
Deana Whitney
9. Braid_Tug
@ Carl - ack! Teaser! but not surpized.
So at least 3 people on this Re-read have gotten to read WoR already? Or is it more? chin stroking and mental toast, indeed.
So do you know if we order a hardback copy of the book, do we get the ebook for free?

And for the post:
Double whammy of depressing things. Glad Shallan immediately goes on the "have to do something" in her next chapter. If she was Kaldin, we might have her on the boat before she decided to turn around and confront Jasnah. But everything Jasnah said was also point on. Why risk a war to fix the problems of one small house? Very short sighted and selfish of the whole clan. But that's often the case, hard to see the big picture if you've never been exposed to it. And sounds like Daddy did not expose them to it.

Kaldin, makes his fury and his depression so understandable. Not really much else to say. Others have covered it better.

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's!
Nadine L.
10. travyl
Yes two powerful chapters.
It was a clever move by Sanderson to leave off Shallan's story for the whole next part. I was so eager to learn how Shallan would manage to avoid being shipped back to Jah Keved and "stay in the story" - and this after I previously wasn't all that interested in her plotline.

Poor, poor Kaladin, I agree with those above: it will be hard for Kaladin to ever trust again a Lighteyes (unless they give away their Shardblades to prove their merit ;).

Braid @9: Three? I know of Wetlander and now Carl, who else?
Leeland Woodard
11. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Alright, I have a few things.

First, let's talk Amaram. Obviously we dont have much to go on about him, but it seems like he's being set up as an opposite of Dalinar. In a way, Amaram is an ideal Alethi man. Where Dalinar and Kaladin follow the Knight's Radiant ideal "Journey before destination," Amaram seems to follow the Alethi idea, "Destination before journey."

Secondly, I think we get an even better picture here of Jasnah's opinion of Shallan. When Jasnah is teaching Shallan, praise is given rarely and only when Jasnah thinks that Shallan especially deserves it. Here, Jasnah gives praise but in a backbiting sort of way. She implies that she really, truly believed that Shallan would have become one of the greatest scholars of the world, while at the same time saying that Shallan wasted her own talents.

Most importantly, let's talk epigraphs. During this re-read, I've been paying careful attention to these epigraphs to see if I could draw a different conclusion from them than Jasnah apparently does. A lot of them talk about the unnamed subject (I'll just be calling them Parshendi) changing "right before our eyes." There's talk of them becoming suddenly violent. They're compared to the highstorms. There's one that indicates that a man is standing "before a sea of black and red" (but conspicuously doesn't say whether that sea of black and red was behind him, backing him up, or in front of him, facing him). The one reference we have in the epigraphs to someone actually definitely fighting against one of the parshendi specifically states that it was written by a Knight Radiant during the time that "they had already begun to show their true colors," implying that they were betraying mankind.

The conclusion that I draw from this is that Brandon has carefully constructed the epigraphs in such a way as to be able to be read both ways--that the parshendi are the enemy, and that they are allies. The epigraph regarding the Knight Radiant fighting against a parshendi is the only one that I think crosses the line--it essentially states that a Knight Radiant that was evil was fighting against the parshendi.
Deana Whitney
12. Braid_Tug
@10, travyl: I believe Peter pops up every once in a while here. He would be a third. Or if I'm thinking of the wrong thread, Michale Pye is another strong contender for a beta reader.
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
Carl re: WoR - yes, welcome to my nightmare lovely dilemma. :) All those things you can no longer talk about, and the bitter (or in some cases, delicious) ironies of certain statements... Yup.

Amaram's reputation vs. his actions here is bitter indeed. It really, really made me want to reach right into the book and hurt him. Very badly. "Honor" indeed. It still makes me want to spit at him, even just reading the summary! Grrr.

Shallan, on the other hand... leaves me torn between giving her a hug and slapping her upside the head. Poor kid. Pulled too many ways, she is, and in a sense she's right - she hasn't done a lot that didn't involve manipulation of one form or another. At least she's finally managing to develop some choice as to which source of manipulation she's going to accept. Sort of.
Leeland Woodard
14. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@wetlander(13) and Carl,

Bet you guys can't wait until March, when you can finally let everything spill out, eh?
Andrew Berenson
15. AndrewHB
Carl, in your comments to Chapter 50 you wrote Shallan has "been trying to run a con on the person she respects the most, and if not for the person she thought she was falling for, she would have succeeded."

I disagree. In reality, the trick would have been on Shallan. She stole the fabrial that Jasnah pretends to use to cover up her Soulcasting. Do we have any evidence that the fabrial that Shallan stole can actually work. If it does not work, then the "con," in essence, would be on Shallan.

In WoR (or some future book), I would like to have a PoV from Amaram thinking about his true feelings about what he did to Kaladin and Kaladin's men to get the Shardblade and Shardplate.

Interesting that we have the name of a person (Thaidakar) that is mentioned in two different (but unrelated) scenes. Yet the reader has no knowledge of who this person is. Yet, characters in the story do.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Rybal
16. Crisapx
@14. smintitule
They can wait a lot, since they already know what happens, the rest of us on the other hand are like thirsty people in the desert looking for water.
Making theories out of nothing, like a palace made of straws just to try and squeeze some more information from the book xD
Alice Arneson
17. Wetlandernw
smintitule @14 - You have no idea. Well, actually, clearly you do! :) I'm honestly not sure which is harder - knowing that it's written and you still have to wait 9 weeks to read it, or knowing what's in it and not being able to talk about it for 9 weeks! It's an honor - and a great deal of fun - to be part of making it the best it can be, and I am delighted to have had that privilege. But oh, oh, oh, it's hard not to be able to talk about it! And as Carl noted, it's hard to have to stay out of the speculation discussions.

Andrew @15 - Actually, Carl is quite correct in what he said - Shallan was trying to run a con on Jasnah, and if not for Kabsal she would have succeeded in what she was trying to do. The fact that she'd have ended up with a fake doesn't change that. On the other hand, you're right - the end con would have been on her: conned (however inadvertently) into stealing a fake. One can only wonder what would have happened if she'd successfully gotten back to Jah Keved with it and given it to the Ghostbloods.
Leeland Woodard
18. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@15 AndrewHB

I believe we see Jasnah state later on that she carved her soulcaster out of wood, and soulcast it into metal. So it's really quite fake.
Mike I
19. MikeyRocks
@wetlandernw obviously without getting into specifics did you offer up any edits to the WOR read? I am not 100% sure how the process works. If you did, would you be able to tell us when the book comes out some of your edits? I love finding out how projects get from draft to completion in books, movies, etc.
Jeremy Guebert
20. jeremyguebert
smintitule @ 18 - where did we see that? My memory isn't perfect, but I'm fairly certain it's not in Way of Kings proper.
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
Mikey@19 - Yes, I did. Pointing them out and "taking credit" could be difficult, though, because with Brandon it's very much a group effort. It's ultimately Brandon's story to tell, and (other than actual continuity issues) he took our comments for what they were worth in light of his purposes.

Check your shoutbox for more on the subject.
Mike I
22. MikeyRocks
Thanks Wetlandernw, I'll go read my shoutbox now :)
Leeland Woodard
23. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@20 Jeremy

...honestly, I don't remember. I swear it's in there...somewhere that Jasnah is talking to Shallan about soulcasting without a soulcaster, and talking about how she discovered she could do it.
John Brown
24. Seerow
"Speaking of books ahead of us, I have a confession to make: I spent most of the break reading and rereading the final manuscript of Words of Radiance, in preparation for some of our upcoming promotional material. As such, I’m going to have to take a less speculative approach to my articles in the immediate future. Just assume that, whenever you speculate about what might happen in Words of Radiance, I am stroking my chin appreciatively somewhere. The book is great, and I know you’re all going to love it."


Envy. All of the envy. And hate. Lots of that too.
Glen V
25. Ways
I suspect Amaram would have tried to separate Kaladin from the Plate and Blade even if Kal had wanted to keep it. It's unlikely he would have succeeded, though, with Kal holding such huge equalizers.

I want to believe Jasnah was intentionally setting the stage for Shallan to admit guilt, explain her motives and apologize in this chapter. I don't think Jasnah wants to lose Shallan as a protégé.

There is wealth of speculation, and some confirmations from Brandon, regarding the Parshendi on the 17th Shard discussion threads. Neat stuff, but definitely spoilerific.
Julian Augustus
26. Alisonwonderland
Ki @7:
I’m strongly leaning towards the Veden Shardbearer that Kaladin killed being Shallan’s brother.
The strongest argument against this theory is that, if true, it would mean Shallan's family owns a full set of shardplate, two shardblades, and a soulcaster, even if the soulcaster is merely borrowed. It is difficult to conceive how a family with such resources can have the financial difficulties described by Shallan. That is not to say we won't find an explanation in a later book for the family's financial troubles. I am inclined to reserve judgement on the theory, though for the moment I am leaning slightly against it.
Julian Augustus
27. Alisonwonderland
JR @8, on Steelheart:
I also read Steelheart twice during the break... I was shocked that I had missed all the clues to the big reveals at the end, so I had to reread the book to pick up on what I had missed. I am also looking forward to Firefight later this year.
Kimani Rogers
28. KiManiak
Alison@26 - Actually, that theory doesn't require that Shallan's family owns any of those things.

You acknowledge that the soulcaster is borrowed; why can't the other items be borrowed as well?

The book strongly implies that the Ghostbloods had partnered with Shallan's father and had lent him an important object, which Shallan and her brothers assume is the Soulcaster. It appears that Shallan and her remaining brothers were not aware of her father's Shardblade (assuming Shallan got her Blade from him) before his death, otherwise Nan Belat and the rest would wonder about it's current location. Afterall, the ShardBlade itself could provide multiple possibilities to potentially address any debt.


So, those are two priceless items that we know Lord Davar had and that the remaining members of House Davar knew nothing about. And if the Soulcaster was lent to House Davar by the mysterious fellows who appear to be Ghostbloods, as Shallan and her brother's assume, why couldn't both the Soulcaster and the Shardblade be lent (Quick aside: my personal theory is that the item that Nan Belat thinks the Ghostbloods hinted should be returned is actually Lord Davar's Shardblade. But that' a discussion for another time)?

If the Ghostbloods provided a Soulcaster and/or a Shardblade to Lord Davar to forward their agenda in Jah Keved, it is definitely plausible that they could provide a Shardblade and Plate to Helaran to forward their agenda in Alethekar and/or against Amaram (note that Amaram attributes the actions of the Kaladin-slayed-Shardbearer to the Ghostbloods in Chapter 51).

And if Lord Davar was working with the Ghostbloods to help them achieve their goal, why not his eldest son, who has just happened to mysteriously go missing? Why not provide him with a Blade and Plate to eliminate Amaram, who appears to be an opponent of Thaidakar and/or the Ghostbloods?

There you go. A reasoned rebuttal (based upon provided information, logical deduction, some wild speculation and some not-so-wild extrapolation) that addresses your argument against this theory.

Do I buy all of this? Not 100%, no; this is based on a lot of speculation after all. Like I said, I'm leaning towards this theory, but that doesn't mean I'm sure. I just like it better than others, and it explains how a family as financially troubled as the Davar's could have any and/or all of their priceless artifacts.
Nadine L.
29. travyl
Another possible argument against the Shardbearer being Shallan's brother is, that he is dead. Of course it could bring tension if it was revealed that Kaladin killed her brother, but if said brother, whom the Davar family presumed dead, truly lived, it might bring more tension, if he is still alive and still working with the Ghostbloods, to be an opponent in a future book.
Julian Augustus
30. Alisonwonderland
Ki@28:
It is possible the Ghostbloods agreed to lend all these priceless items to one family (putting all their eggs in one basket?), but I think all those ifs together stretch the credibility somewhat. Let me put it this way ... if this theory is indeed correct, I would expect Brandon to come up with a pretty convincing reason for the Ghostbloods to behave that way (perhaps Shallan's father is the head of the organization? ... but if so, why is the family facing financial ruin?).
Deana Whitney
31. Braid_Tug
@30: Seems like Shallan's family is more a cat's paw to the Ghostbloods. We can only hope that Brandon fills us in more come March. Because more than one thing smells fishy regarding that organization and her father.

Yet somehow I do expect we will find out about her oldest brother, and it won’t be a happy thing either. Sort of like Kaldin’s parents. I want to see them again, but dread how they will be used.
Kimani Rogers
32. KiManiak
Alison@30 – Yeah, it is a somewhat imaginative theory; no doubt about that. I grant that it’s somewhat out there, and my feelings won’t be hurt in the littlest bit if this theory is disproven in WoR (even if we see Helaran return to the Davar family in Chapter 1. Actually, it would answer some questions while creating a slew of others).

But a lot of epic fantasy series have fantastic events happen in latter books that could have been perceived as “imaginative” or darn near outrageous earlier in the series.

Anyone taking Min’s first viewing of Rand and correctly theorizing what
“A sword that isn’t a sword, A golden crown of laurel leaves, a beggar’s staff, him pouring water on sand, three women standing over a funeral bier with him on it, A bloody hand and a white hot iron, and black rocks wet with blood”
would mean after only The Eye of The World came out, would have had that theory torn apart 6 ways to Sunday (The sword is a sa’angreal that only he could free from its centuries long enchantment? And Rand magically makes it rain in a barren desert? And Egwene isn’t even one of the 3 women around his funeral bier? ...What the heck is an Aviendha?).


And the “Helaran was the Shardbearer that Kaladin killed” theory has a lot more in-book clues then Min's viewing in TEotW.

I’m cool with the skepticism; we are discussing a rather unsubstantiated theory (and I don’t even fully support it, I just like it a lot currently). But we can look at the merits of the theory. We can discuss what’s plausible, what’s improbable and everything else that falls in between.

On that note, I think it is improbable that the Ghostbloods were “putting all their eggs in one basket.” An organization that can: 1) lend a Soulcaster to a minor Vedan lord, 2) provide Shardblade and Plate to a warrior to kill a relatively minor Alethi lord, and can 3) send an assassin after an Alethi princess; is likely to have more resources than just 1 Soulcaster, 1 Shardblade (or even 2), and 1 Shardplate.
(Wow. So many grammatical errors in that sentence)

Otherwise, how could they retrieve those items if the borrower doesn’t want to return them? Logic (or maybe just plain common sense) would suggest they have at least as many (if not significantly more) of each of those items in reserve, in case they need to forcibly take them back.

Lord Davar doesn’t need to be the head of the organization in that case. He could be a pawn; one of the many tools they have at their disposal to accomplish whatever their goals are. An organization that ambitious would have to have access to more resources then what they’ve utilized so far; that’s almost common sense. Otherwise, what was their endgame?

So does this theory stretch credibility somewhat?

Eh.

A lot less than: a boy trained to be a surgeon defeats a warrior with nigh-invincible armament by jamming a severed spearhead the boy caught in midair through the nigh-invincible warrior’s eye-slit; rejects the invincible armament and is betrayed and enslaved by the person who’s life he saved; discovers and develops magical powers (and befriends a magic fairy!) while enslaved and sent into war; and ultimately earns freedom and respected bodyguard positions for himself and all of his fellow slaves by one of the most feared warriors in his nation.

Or the one where a sheepherder is actually the reincarnated savior of the universe, becomes a powerful sorceror-king and defeats the devil.
:-)

This is epic fantasy, after all.
Jeremy Guebert
33. jeremyguebert
smintitule @ 23 Hmmm... I do remember a line about how "everyone else who does what I... what we can do uses a fabrial" or something along those lines, but I don't recall anything in there where Jasnah specifically states that she soulcasted her fake fabrial.

KiManiak @ 32 - well reasoned, I especially liked the last couple paragraphs, lol.
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
@23 and 33 - I did a fairly thorough (if not exhaustive) search of WoK for the source of Jasnah's pseudo-fabrial, and couldn't find anything. My best guess is that the remembered statement was someone speculating about it; even if it were a question asked and confirmed at a signing, it would likely be in the coppermind wiki. But I'm certainly keeping my eyes open for any info on the topic, now. :) Curious minds want to know!
Rybal
35. a.v willis
Perhaps we're looking at this from the wrong angle. Supposing Shallan's brother was the shardbearer, that makes this scenario even more improbable. That would put their magical inventory at 1 shardplate, 2 shardblades, and a fabrial, that's kind of jumping the magical shark. But what if, instead, the blade Shallan used wasn't actually a shardblade? We know her talent is lightweaving, which is believed by most to be the ability to at some point, transmute matter, what if she's able to create some simulcrum of a shardblade? Perhaps that's how the shardblades first came to be, we know fabrials were created to replicate the affects of soulcasting, maybe shardblades were created for the same purpose.
Kimani Rogers
36. KiManiak
A.v willis@35 – I guess it’s possible that she created something Shardblade-like. We haven’t really seen it onscreen; there’s just been hints and references. Although, why would she need “Ten heartbeats, to bring forth the fruit of her sin, the proceeds of her most horrific act” when summoning the simulacrum?

As for “jumping the magical shark?”

Hmm. I’m all for challenging the validity of this or any theory however you’d like, but I’m perplexed as to why folks have issue with the possibility of one family (or more specifically, this family) having access to multiple magical devices.

1) It’s highly unlikely that the Davars own any of them:

a) Shallan and her brothers assumed the fabrial was lent to their father by the mysterious men (likely Ghostbloods);

b) The Shardblade Shallan has is not public (and likely, not even Davar-family-wide) knowledge, which leads many to speculate Shallan took it from her father, who no one knew possessed it. The similarities between him having a secret fabrial and him having a secret Shardblade, lead to a logical assumption he could have been lent both items;

c) The Vedan Shardbearer that Kaladin killed was linked to the Ghostbloods. The Davar family is a Vedan family linked to the (likely) Ghostbloods. The eldest Davar son has gone missing for quite sometime, allowing for the possibility that he was in Alethekar bearing Shards over a year ago when Kaladin was in Amaram’s army. The Ghostbloods have shown they are willing to lend out priceless magical items to accomplish their goals (whatever those may be).

Amaram has apparently encountered -and been opposed by- the Ghostbloods in the past, enough for Amaram to think that the Ghostbloods sent the Shardbearer to kill him. It’s conceivable that the Ghostbloods would recruit and arm a member of a Vedan family that they are currently engaged in clandestine activities with to attack Amaram.

But there's no reason to believe that the Davars technically own any of the objects.

2) And if you really want to suggest that Brandon has “jumped the magical shark” with a family in WoK (which I personally am not, by the way), why not look at the Kholinars?

-At least 5 sets of Shardplate & Blade that we know of in the family at one time or another (2 with Dalinar/Adolin; 3 with Gavilar/Elhokar/whoever got the Shards that Dalinar won for the king);

-1 sees visions every highstorm;

-1 is the best duelist in the nation;

-1 likely sees Cryptics (although he doesn’t realize it);

-1 secretly learned how to naturally Soulcast, while presenting to the world that she has her own personal fabrial;

-1 is one of the preeminent fabrial designers/creators in the nation;

-1 sees SPOILER (Stormlight Archive spoiler)

So Brandon is not opposed to having one family equipped with multiple magical devices and other unusual assets.


Anyway, it’s definitely possible (if not probable) that the Davars are no more involved with the Ghostbloods than what little we have already seen of Lord Davar’s actions and arrangements in TWoK.

But I am intrigued by the inclination to reject the theory that Helaran was the Vedan Shardbearer that Kaladin killed, just because it would require the Davars’ to have had access to 4 magical devices instead of the 2 we know they have/had.
Charles S
37. Cheese_Ninja
I'm still not entirely convinced that Shallan's Shardblade came from the Ghostbloods originally. It seems like they'd be asking for it back in addition to the Soulcaster if that was the case, unless they didn't know it was in the Davar family's possession. Obviously the Davar family isn't supposed to have it, or they could try to sell it to pay off their debts and even make a profit, but the source of the Blade is more nebulous than the Soulcaster.

I'm the first person (that I know of among people who posted online) who thought that the guy Kaladin killed was Helaran. But I think that his Plate and Blade were loaners, and not his to keep. Which should be interesting, because there are so few known Plates and Blades in modern-day Roshar, that a set of unknown origin should raise some speculation among the nobility and whoever else might track those things.

Also, why's no one speculating on Restares? This is the only other time Restares is mentioned in the book, besides when Gavilar is suspecting him/her as the one who sent Szeth. It's almost certainly a pseudonym. I'm tending towards Taravangian, but a Herald is my second choice. Unfortunately, a Herald is also my first choice for Thaidakar, which means I'm probably resorting to them a bit too often.
Jeremy Guebert
38. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @34 - Thanks for looking into it! Also, the fact that you're looking into it reduces my fears that maybe it was something that was revealed in Words of Radiance.

Cheese_Ninja @ 37 - iirc, the Ghostbloods are asking for their "item" back, which people have speculated could actually be the Shardblade, not the fabrial.
Rich Bennett
39. Neuralnet
just going to jump in a little late...

one of the frustrating and obvious questions to me re: this book was why didnt Shallan sell the Shardblade... seems like that could have solved a lot of her family's problems and much easier than trying to steal a soulcaster. It implies she needed to keep the shardblade secret for some reason. I just dont really buy the idea that the ghostbloods gave the blade to her father. Shardblades are too valuable, they would have come after it.... been more diligent about hunting Shallan down. so why cant she sell the shardblade... this has been bugging me for a months. (and I suspect it will bug me for a long time since it could be years before we have a full answer)
Rybal
40. WonderChimp
@39 Out on a limb, but I think Shallan's shardblade is her father's soul or his mind and was created as she killed him. I am still not sure if Shardblades are spiritual or cognitive, but I'm leaning spiritual. She hasn't told anyone because, while it would solve a bunch of her family's problems to sell it, it would mean telling people not only what she did, but what she is. We can also add that she doesn't really know what she is so it would be really hard to explain.
Dixon Davis
41. KadesSwordElanor
I am starting to buy into the fact the Shallan might have created the Shardblade through whatever act caused her Father’s death.
Rybal
42. windspren
for those of you that read the WoR manuscript, I hate you! now on to the reread... what is the story behind the ghostbloods. I thought they wanted everyone to believe in the vorin religion and not be heretics?

if its a shardblade shallon has, i do not think that is what the ghostbloods are after, her weapon she had before her father died.

can any one tell me which direction the water from the shattered plains flows? is it to the ocean, because if it isn't , there must be some place that is very wet between highstorms, or it is absorbed into sand and disappears.
Carl Engle-Laird
43. CarlEngle-Laird
Yeeeeeeah we're pretty hateable.

Executive request: The prologue and first couple chapters of Words of Radiance are now on the site! We'll be putting out more chapters as the book approaches. For the sake of those who wish to read the book as an unspoiled whole, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM COMMENTING ON WHAT YOU READ IN OUR EXCERPTS IN THE REREAD THREAD! The excerpt comment sections will make excellent landing sites for speculation and discussion.

Thanks, and enjoy!
Leeland Woodard
44. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Congrats, Carl. You just made the next hour of my life unproductive. And to think that I was planning on getting a jump-start on this semester's homework.
Nadine L.
46. travyl
KiManiak @32:
"a boy trained to be a surgeon defeats a warrior with
nigh-invincible armament ... develops magical powers (and befriends a magic fairy!) while enslaved ..."
I not sure if I'd read the book, if this had been the blurb.

@36: regarding your spoiler:
if I'd follow your spoilery link, would I find mere speculation or known facts based upon Q&A and / or WoR material?
Alice Arneson
47. Wetlandernw
travyl @46 - It's a known fact, with a picture of what Brandon wrote in someone's book, but if I were you, I would NOT go read that. The reveal in WoR context is so, so, so much better.
Carl Engle-Laird
48. CarlEngle-Laird
I don't think that the information gained there is world-shattering enough to merit ruining the mild but pleasant surprise of the slow revelation in book. Also, I don't think it's really jumping the magical shark to depcit a noble family in this world as having accumulated a lion's share of weath, power, education, and privilege. As for the Davars... *chinstroke*
Alice Arneson
49. Wetlandernw
As for the Davars... indeed! I see your *chinstroke* and raise you a "Heh."
Kimani Rogers
50. KiManiak
Travyl@46 - Yeah, that blurb makes that story seem somewhat outlandish. Clearly, my skills and abilities do not lean towards writing epic fantasy. Fortunately, Brandon Sanderson's and Robert Jordan's do.

As for the spoiler, I understand where Wetlander and Carl are coming from, seeing as how they have read the book, or at least some version of it. Lucky busters! :-)

Being someone who has not: I will say that to me it seems somewhat minor and random, and if the context of the reveal makes the information that much better, and if you were able to hold off on pursuing spoilers up until this point, then you're better off waiting the 7 weeks and 6 days until the book comes out.

I abandoned my "No-Spoilers-For-Epic-Fantasy-Series-I-Love(tm)" stance for AMoL and click right on spoilers now, but I respect your self discipline and restraint and would encourage you to reward yourself by reading Words of Radiance unspoiled.

@48 & @49 - "As for the Davars..." chinstrokes? and "Hehs?"
Carl and Wet, I've changed my stance on your guys' early exposure to WoR. I'm no longer envious-yet-happy-for-you.
:-)
:-P
You guys are cruel!!
:-P (thbbtt!)
:-)

I eagerly await March 4th.
(Please Tor, set that date in stone, if you haven't done so already).
Nadine L.
52. travyl
@47-50
Thanks for the explanations, I will refrain from clicking that link. I do read Tor's pre-release material, but so far I resisted spoilers from other sources.
It probably means, that I will have to read WoK again, after WoR, to see what I missed, but that's not really a drawback.

Re the "chinstrokes" and "Hehs?"
Keep it up, it signifies, that we can really look forward to the book.

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