Jan 9 2014 1:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Interludes I-7, I-8, and I-9

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Stormlight Archive Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on We are now less than two months away from Words of Radiance! Carl has already had a chance to dip into it, but I may try to hold myself back until we finish the reread. Let’s see if I have that will power! And in case you missed it, the Prologue and first two chapters of Words of Radiance have been posted online here at And that first sentence of the Prologue is a doozy.

Just before Christmas Carl covered the last two chapters of Part 3, and that last chapter is still a killer to me every time I read it. Everything Kaladin ever felt about the lighteyes became true, and one of the few men Kaladin looked up to betrayed him utterly. I sure hope he pays for it in the future. This week we’ve reached the third and final set of Interludes and though they are very short chapters, two of them reveal much including tidbits on “The Old Magic” and something odd about the nature of spren. Szeth also gives us a very big glimpse of his true power.

Note from on high: Yesterday published an excerpt of Words of Radiance, covering the prologue and the first two chapters, which can be found here. We ask that those who choose to read these chapters confine their discussion of the events within to the excerpts’ comment threads, so as not to spoil those who choose not to read excerpts, but still wish to enjoy speculation in the reread. Thank you!


Interlude-7: Baxil
Emul, in the palace of Ashno of Sages
Point of View: Baxil

What Happens: Baxil and his fellow Emuli cousin Av break into Ashno’s palace along with their mysterious mistress so that she can deface and destroy works of art. The mistress confuses her employees as they don’t know what race she came from of her reasons for destroying the art (instead of stealing, which she forbids them from doing). The mistress is beautiful, with large eyes like a Shin and darker skin like a Makabaki, but the tall build of an Alethi. She also has light violet eyes and her presence scares them so they tread lightly around her.

The mistress asks for her tools as they enter the Hallowed Hall where Ashno keeps his images of the Kadasix. She begins slashing paintings and small works of art starting with a painting of Epan, Lady of Dreams.

Beyond sneaking into palaces, Baxil and Av’s job seems to consist mostly of carrying around the mistress’s tools and acting as lookouts, which leaves them plenty of time to talk with each other. Baxil mentions he is thinking of “seeking the Old Magic” by visiting the Nightwatcher. Av warns him off from doing so as his close family has chased the Old Magic in the past, and no good has come of it. With each boon the Nightwatcher grants, you are also cursed. Av’s father, for example, had to live the rest of his life seeing the world upside down.

Baxil wants to ask the Nightwatcher for courage, believing that if he wasn’t such a coward, the mistress might look upon him as “more than just hired muscle.” The mistress soon returns for her mallet (to destroy a large statue), and she idly mentions trying to procure a Shardblade in order to make quick work of such things in the future, though it “might make it too easy.”

Baxil worries over the hammering of the statue, as the noise may draw attention. Av points out that is probably why she left it for last. As she finishes, Baxil asks Av why she did this. Av suggests if Baxil isn’t fond of his limbs, he’s free to ask the mistress himself. Inwardly, Baxil decides that he will search out the Old Magic.

Quote of the Chapter:

“I could phrase my request perfectly,” Baxil said.

“Doesn’t work that way,” Av said. “It’s not a game, no matter how the stories try to put it. The Nightwatcher doesn’t trick you or twist your words. You ask a boon. She gives what she feels you deserve, then gives you a curse to go along with it. Sometimes related, sometimes not.”

“And you’re an expert?” Baxil asked.

And so we just learned the way the Nightwatcher most likely acts when someone is seeking a boon. Now we just have to wait for future Baxil episodes to see it happen as he goes in search of the Nightwatcher for his courage. I’m sure he’ll end up fine. It would be funny if getting the courage he seeks turns him into a Radiant or something similar of a darker nature. You just know everything is not going to come up roses for our Baxil.

Commentary: One thing this chapter also showed is again how time has altered the history of the world. The Prime Kadasix is Jezrien and Kadasix just seems to be the Emuli term for the Heralds. The problem with this chapter is it is far too short given everything going on and mentioned. Firstly, we finally get what seems to be a fairly honest overview of what the Nightwatcher and “The Old Magic” can do. Until now it has all been little asides. And that “Old Magic” certainly sounds like it could do nearly anything, but it comes with a downside. Those downsides can include anything from having your vision upside down or numb hands. Now those seem like very physical and just a little bit wry of the Nightwatcher to impose on someone. It makes me think the Nightwatcher has some twisted sense of humor.

Now this begs the question of what is going on with Dalinar since he has admitted seeking the Old Magic. Up until now I’ve assumed that Dalinar’s curse in the Schwartz—I mean Old Magic—has been the memory loss with his wife and as of the moment that’s still the likeliest answer. But what is his boon? Still a big question I hope is answered in Words of Radiance.

The other big reveal was the mistress, who to me is both a Herald and the same person behind the missing statue from the Prologue. My first guess is she is the Herald known as Battar, but I have nothing concrete to confirm that. Just a feeling at the moment, and the fact that Battar’s associated attributes are Wise and Careful, and the mistress certainly seems careful. Though she may be Shalash, as the missing statue from the Prologue was of Shalash and the painting the mistress first destroys depicts Epan, Lady of Dreams. Of all the attributes given to the female Heralds, the closest to dreams is creativity which is also associated with Shalash. Further, the Herald icon found at the start of this chapter is the same as in Shallan’s first chapter, and Shallan’s abilities seem most related to Shalash thus far. The mistress being a Herald is supported by her description as a mix of Shin eyes with the build of Alethi, and especially by virtue of the fact that she has violet eyes that are almost white. Well, now that I wrote all that out I think I just convinced myself she is Shalash.

Now why does she want to destroy depictions of the Heralds, which are most likely of herself? That I have no clue on, but it could have something to do with going against her own nature. She is supposed to be involved with creativity and art such as a painting or statue is definitely a creation and now she wants to not be associated with that past. Could this mean the other Heralds are also working against their original inclinations?


Interlude-8: Geranid
A tiny Reshi island
Point of View: Geranid

What Happens: Ashir and Geranid are on a small and secluded Reshi island, both working on experiments in the name of their Callings as ardents. Ashir’s field of study is food: he works on caramelizing a Shin fruit along with some curry. He comments that he is growing tired of his Calling and may change his research. Ashir questions the use of knowing about food in the Spiritual Realm, as he doesn’t believe you’ll need to eat while there. He also wonders if you needed to eat in the Shadesmar (also known as he Cognitive Realm) and decides he needs to check for accounts of people having claimed to have eaten while visiting.

Meanwhile, Geranid is wholly captivated by her study of a flamespren even through their chit chat. She reveals that her work with spren is progressing well; despite her figures being erratic, she says she can predict when they would and wouldn’t be erratic. She’s recently found that if you write down the measurements of specific spren, it would freeze that way. It seems the act of observance along with recording makes it stick; if you erase the measurements, the spren returns to its habit of changing shape and size.

Ashir is surprised, but quickly thinks of a new experiment to check. He staysin one room with the calipers to measure the spren while Geranid waits in the next room, out of view of the spren. He calls out three different measurements while she records just one; the spren again freezes according to the measurements Geranid records. She returns to observe the flamespren and notes that it looks a little like a little person now though it still moved above the fire. She erases the measurement and the flamespren immediately changes shape at random. Geranid then tries writing random figures which might be the measurement of the spren to see if it would again stay one size, but to no avail. She then thinks out further experiments to try, such as measuring a flamespren’s luminosity to see if that, too, would stabilize. Ashir congratulates her on the find, saying:

“I don’t know what it means yet, but it might very well change everything we understand about spren. And maybe even about fabrials.”

He then goes back to work to make Geranid something sweet to eat.

Quote of the Chapter:

“The spren change when I measure them, Ashir,” she said. “Before I measure, they dance and vary in size, luminosity, and shape. But when I make a notation, they immediately freeze in their current state. Then they remain that way permanently, so far as I can tell.”

So if writing down what a spren looks like as accurately as possible makes them adhere to that size what other power could the people of Roshar have over the spren that they don’t realize? More Geranid chapters please.

Commentary: Geranid and Ashir give us a view of the ardents we haven’t yet seen and they also bring to light the fact that the ardentia knows a lot even though they are rarely forthcoming. Right off the bat they are talking about Shadesmar and other than Jasnah and Shallan no one else in all of The Way of Kings mentions that word, at least that I can find reference to. So the ardents are not only the spiritual keepers, but also the scientists and researchers of Roshar and they are clearly doing their best to amass even more knowledge through experimentation.

While Ashir is busy playing with what sounds like onions from Shinovar Geranid is onto something that is sure to change the way the spren are viewed. The act of observance does in a sense push your will onto something—make it more real. The spren could possibly interpret that act to further degrees, but to what end? It is still unclear what the spren are and their capabilities besides what little we’ve seen from Syl and she makes it clear she is special. What connection do the races of Roshar share with these spren. What could they manifest as through their will via the spren?

It is interesting to see the relationship that Ashir and Geranid have and it is something I wouldn’t have expected of ardents. Ashir and Geranid definitely act like a team, which shows a little duality between the sexes at work on Roshar that seems to be missing from so much of modern society. And they seem to be quite a capable team show us exactly what can be accomplished by working together. They complement one another and push each other’s research on. We need to see more of this on Roshar and we need to see more of Geranid. And wouldn’t it be neat to read a conversation between Geranid and Axies?


The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson UK GollanczInterlude-9: Death Wears White
Jah Keved
Point of View: Szeth

What Happens: Szeth breaks into the Palace of king Hanavanar of Jah Keved in order to assassinate him. Unlike most of Szeth’s other jobs, this one was to be public, noisy, and he was to kill anyone in—or even near—his path. As when he killed king Gavilar, he was also ordered to wear all white so that those who see him will connect the acts. He acts as Truthless and follows the orders to the letter.

Szeth takes no pleasure in the job; with each slice of his Shardblade he hates himself a little more. Szeth is upset that there is a feast, as he had hoped it would be a more simple evening with fewer casualties. Szeth slashes anyone he comes across, and uses his Lashings indiscriminately and more publicly than ever before, lashing tables, people, and himself in different directions. Szeth finally goes directly for the king, who sits behind a high table. As Szeth approaches, he senses something is wrong and Lashes himself to the ceiling. Suddenly, two men in Shardplate emerge from under the table wielding Shardblades. He evades their blows, but notices a group of soldiers approaching with the new half-shard shield fabrials that could supposedly stop a Shardblade. The king summons his own Shardblade; the rumors of him having one are evidently true.

The king shouts, “You think I didn’t know you were coming?” and Szeth now feels validated that he can blame the king for all the deaths tonight as he knowingly planned the feast in an attempt to ensnare Szeth.

Szeth breathes in more Stormlight than ever before and drops his Shardblade, which evaporates. Szeth’s opponents are stunned that someone would drop their blade during combat. He runs towards them and Lashes dozens of men to the ceiling, while sending some towards the still oncoming Shardblades. Szeth also takes the time to infuse some knives towards the King, who only narrowly saves himself with a half-shard shield.

Szeth then uses a small powered Lashing to make himself much lighter, yet still powerfully quick. He runs into the melee, killing and Lashing men at will. The Shardblade warriors converge on Szeth, but they cannot land a blow nor gain any advantage on him. The King is close behind them instead of trying to flee for his life as Szeth expects. Szeth blocks their blows and suddenly lashes himself to a wall as bodies begin falling from the ceiling, causing havoc. Szeth Lashes a large stone and aims it at one of the Shardbearers, who doesn’t get up again.

Szeth is running low on Stormlight now, but starts to call his Shardblade back as he heads towards the remaining Shardbearer. He Lashes the table they are both standing on; the Shardbearer is flung off the table as Szeth rides it upwards, jumping off before hitting the ceiling. He leaps towards the now dazed Shardbearer and hid own Shardblade finally materializes again. Szeth’s blade slamds into the Shardbearer, killing him.

The King is stunned, but his guards move around him and make to escape. Szeth Lashes himself towards the King, slicing and killing a dozen of the guards as he draws in more Stormlight from spheres. Szeth makes his way through the remaining guards and knocks the king’s half-shard shield twice, destroying it. The king asks Szeth “What are you?” and Szeth simply answers “Death” as he thrusts his blade through the king’s face.

Quote of the Chapter:

You are a work of art, Szeth-son-Neturo. A god.

Szeth finally shows us just how deadly he is and it isn’t even his Shardblade that does the most damage. His binding abilities are scary good. How will Kaladin overcome him when they finally have a confrontation? Kaladin is still very nascent with his Surgebinding while Szeth is surely at the top of his form.

Commentary: Can you imagine being killed by a guy with tears streaking down his face? Szeth cherishes life, but is possibly the ultimate instrument of death we’ve yet seen in The Way of Kings. This chapter was all about showing off Szeth’s skills. He displayed the use of the martial art know as kammar as well as sword play and Surgebinding unlike anyone has seen in thousands of years. Szeth is a honed weapon in body and mind. Szeth only chooses to release his full wrath once he is absolved from the deaths of all those at the feast. The King is guilty of knowingly putting people in harms way in Szeth’s eyes.

Szeth says something interesting about his Shardblade:

Ten heartbeats, Szeth thought. Return to me, you creation of Damnation.

Creation of Damnation is what grabs me. The mysterious nature of the Shardblades has always made me curious. What is Szeth’s blade is exactly? It certainly doesn’t seem like a normal Shardblade and I feel it is doubtful that it is an Honorblade. I think it is a different type entirely and something related to the Voidbringers, Ten Deaths, or whoever is behind it all. Let’s call it an Odiumblade.


Next week Carl will be back to crack open Part Four and the return of Dalinar’s POV. Exciting times are ahead as we delve deeper into the last third of the story.

And remember, if you’re read the preview chapters of Words of Radiance (found here), please keep any spoilers to yourself!

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.

1. Jasuni
I believe that the mistress has been confirmed to be Shallash, daughter of Jezrien.
Nadine L.
2. travyl
Michael, If you'll really wait until "we finish the rererad" and not just until march 4, that will truly be amazing.

Regarding the interlude 7)
It's good to be reminded that the heraldic identity of the mistress is still up to speculation. I like your reasoning of how you talked yourself into believing it's Shalash. But if it's her, why do Baxil and Av not recognize her? (I've only read your summary today.)
3. Porphyrogenitus
Ten heartbeats, Szeth thought. Return to me, you creation of Damnation.
Don't spren dislike shardblades? It could very well be that they're all products of Odium, and having a blade is what prevents Szeth from fulfilling his moral potential as a Radiant.
Leeland Woodard
4. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
I like it.

It's obvious from Szeth's chapter that, despite the fact that he has stopped thinking of stone as sacred, he's still more or less keeping to the basic tenets of his belief system. Notice that he talks of destruction as being something terrible and low, which is a very Shin thing to do.

The spren chapter is probably one of my favorites, because it rasies a lot of interesting questions. Especially when thought of in light of the answers given / questions raised in Chapter 1 of WoR.
Alice Arneson
6. Wetlandernw
Jasuni @1 - As far as I can tell, it has been confirmed that Shalash is Jezrien's daughter, and that "the mistress" is destroying images of Shalash - but not that "the mistress" is Shalash. However, I think the arguments for that last are pretty good. I actually asked Brandon at the Steelheart signing, and I don't remember what he said. (How lame is that?) I'll go back and check the recording.
David Foster
5. ZenBossanova
I always thought that she was destroying the art for the same reason that many ladies dislike having their picture taken. She has just taken it to the ultimate limit.

I don't think the shardblades are from Odium. The Heralds and the Radiants all used them long before the Oath-breaking. What they are is a very good thing, used in a very evil way.
Robert Dickinson
7. ChocolateRob
The guy that saw the world upside down is interesting, I can't remember where but I've heard that you can set up such an illusion but after time your brain will simply flip the image back the right way. I can't say if this is true but I know of something similar that is. -
My cousin had a tumor removed from his head but was left deaf in one ear. At first he was offered a hearing aid that would basically enable him to feel basic vibrations in that ear (can't remember the exact details) so he could tell which directions sounds were coming from but it was big, ugly, invasive and not even very effective for all that. He refused. Not long after, he was offered a new alternative, a pair of hearing aids where the one over his deaf ear bluetooths all the audio to the one in his other ear. Even though all his audio goes into the same ear, over time his brain is able to distinguish which sounds are meant to be entering which ear and he is able to automatically tell which direction sounds are coming from and restoring his hearing to more or less normal.
Daniel Robertson
8. danr62
The way eyes work everything you see is actually projected onto the back of your eye upside down and your brain flips it the right way.

Baxil's mistress has not been confirmed as being Shallash (unless Wetlander has it) but that is the general consensus among fans.
Andrew Berenson
9. AndrewHB
Michael wrote "How will Kaladin overcome him when they finally have a confrontation? Kaladin is still very nascent with his Surgebinding while Szeth is surely at the top of his form."

At this point in the series, I agree. Kaladin would not stand a chance. However, if they fight each other (as the cover of WoR suggests), I would hope that Kaladin improves with his abilities. Otherwise, it will be a very short fight. If Kaladin does not improve, one of two things will happen:
a) Kaladin will die (I do not see Brandon going in that direction); or
b) Szeth will stop fighting and leave the scene (perhaps because he sees the Pashendi or perhaps the fights ends up on the plateaus of the Shattered Plains and Szeth finds them sacred),

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Jeremy Guebert
10. jeremyguebert
Nothing to add on Baxil.

On Geranid: this locking-in of spren attributes once they're recorded is fascinating to me, especially in light of Kaladin's bond with Syl. Since the bridgemen are trying to help him figure out his abilities at the end of Way of Kings, I'm worried that recording how much faster/stronger/etc. the bond makes him might set artifical limits to his abilities by restricting Syl's ability to adapt and change. Anyone else wonder about that?

Also, I noticed something that seemed slightly odd to me. We know from Kabsal that ardents are forbidden to marry (and presumably, engage in any "physical activities" related to that), and Geranid thinks to herself that they keep to the boundaries of their station (or something along those lines). Yet, there was later mention of "their cot" (emphasis on the singular). I suppose it's possible that you could share a bed with someone that you are fond of from the opposite sex, and have nothing untoward happen, but it would take far more self-control than I have. Just sayin'... Anybody else notice that, or was it just me?

On Szeth: This chapter shows just how scary Szeth is. We saw a bit of it with the balcony in the prologue, but there are a couple of points in this chapter where Szeth uses multiple lashings on the same object to devastating effect - I can hardly imagine the terror of seeing a massive stone block or sharp knife falling at me several times faster than gravity. Also, the line "You planned your trap during a feast. Now I can blame you for their deaths"... *shudder* as if we weren't terrified enough, dude.

On the plus side for Kaladin when the confrontation comes: Kaladin has Syl, and his bond with her has the potential to be a huge advantage, at least in terms of raw strength in surgebinding. We already have evidence that he can hold stormlight for longer periods of time than Szeth can, which could help in an extended fight.
Deana Whitney
11. Braid_Tug
Re: the ardents - highlights how silly I think the split of food is among the highborn Alethi. But yes, looking forward to seeing this pair again. And the results of the experiments. Wonder if she will leave the observation for a week, then burn the paper to "free" the spren.

Re: Sight - yes the brain will self correct after a given time. So that should show us, as Michael says, the Nightwatcher has a sense of humor. Dalinar gets annoyed and saddened sometimes by his lack of memory of his wife, but it doesn't really affect is ability to function. And before the books are over, he'll probably have new wife.

So, who do we think Szeth will be sent to kill? He's going to be on the Plains at some point, but will he be sent after Dalinar, Elhokar, or one of the other High Princes?
Edit: oops! forgot it was Dalinar.
Other thoughts:
If the Blades are a thing of Damnation- What are the Shardplates?
The Alethi seem to think of them as best when used a pair of things. Platebearers often have blades. But so far we’ve only seen two people that have a Blade without Shardplate – Shallan & Szeth.
We saw the Radiants with Plate and some form of Blades. Are these not the Shardblades currently being used?
Sly seems to have no problem with Dalinar’s Plate. Just the Blade.
12. Rancho Unicorno
I admit I'm a bit confused. I thought that Shen hated himself for the violence he is forced to perpetrate and the descration of stone. Considering that Shardblades make violence more efficient and desecrates stone (and not flesh), why wouldn't he consider all Shardblades to be creations of Damnation?
David Foster
13. ZenBossanova
At the end of WoK, Szeth was sent after Dalinar, and told to make it messy, so fighting Kaladin is inevitable.

But while Szeth is better trained, Kaladin has two advantages.
1) He holds Stormlight far longer than Szeth. He even maintains it subconciously. Szeth simply can't hold on to it that long. It just leaks away from him.
2) Sylphrenia - or even spren in general. Szeth has no spren and they seem to be foreign to Shinovar in general. Also, the oaths and spren-bond seem to be something that Szeth does not have.

It is not an obvious win for Szeth at all.
Chris Chaplain
14. chaplainchris1
Re: Baxil's boss, I think her motivation is guilt. Shalash is associated with honesty as well as creativity, and she and the others are the biggest oath breakers of all time. it makes sense to me that she, whose honesty was prized, would have a really hard time with that. and it makes sense to me that she would destroy depictions of herself that generate the qualities that she thinks she has lost.

forgive the spelling problems, I'm sending this from my mobile. and my mobile is about to die, so I'll have to rejoin the rest of the conversation later.
Chris Chaplain
15. chaplainchris1
Venerate, not generate. stupid voice recognition.
16. TBGH
RE Gavilar: I'll bet his boon was forgetting his wife because he was heartbroken after her death (though he now regrets it). His curse I'm less sure of, but could be related to the loss of the Alethi thrill in combat.

I love Sanderson's combat scenes, but Szeth is a little too good for me here. He should have at least gotten a scratch or some bruises or something from running unarmed and unarmored through a pack of dozens of guards. That said, still can't wait to see Szeth vs. Kaladin.
Jordan Hibbits
17. rhandric
Re: creation of Damnation:
I read it simply as him cursing the blade idly, rather than hinting at it's origin.
Kimani Rogers
18. KiManiak
Thanks Michael.

I do think Baxil’s mistress is Shalash. I think the clues that you mentioned are pointing the reader in that direction. As for your conclusion that the Heralds may be working against their original inclinations: that would be fairly interesting to see what 4500 years of life on Roshar would do to each of them. If nothing else, I would think the guilt of their actions (including the betrayal and abandonment of one of their own) could definitely warp their natures into something a little more Dark.

Ashir’s interlude definitely gives the reader a nice hint that the ardentia is rather cosmere-aware, and moreso than the average Rosharian it appears. I wonder what other secrets the ardentia keeps. Also, there are accounts of people (ardents?) visiting Shadesmar. Plus, this was a nice look into the possible nature and limitations of spren. Just enough of a tidbit or two given to the reader to keep them wanting for more.

Oh, and I would love an Interlude that had Geranid and Axies interact. Geranid could measure hangover spren.

Szeth’s interlude made me reaalllyyy want to find out more about his training. Are there more Shin with similar skills and abilities? What the heck is Shinovar hiding behind those mountains?
19. JCall
Considering how Szeth feels about what he's been asked to do, it seems to me that he feels damned by his killings, not that the sword is. It creates *his* damnation.
Jordan Hibbits
20. rhandric
It's a tool that makes him better at killing, one which he must use, as per his orders.
Deana Whitney
21. Braid_Tug
@Michael, Wow, until we finish the re-read?
Are we always going to cover 3 chapters a week? If we do that for the next 8 weeks, you can start on March 6th. My birthday.
A happy two days after the WoR comes out.

But at 2 chapters a week, looking at 12 weeks. So right before JordanCon in April.

If you are currently staring at the book finished, yet unopened on your desk: I salute your massive self-discipline. Some envy mixed with that too.
Sean Dowell
22. qbe_64
Re Ardents:
I made this point in a chapter a long time ago after watching a a Brian Greene (physicist/string theorist) special, called Fabric of the Cosmos.
I believe Brandon has a background in physics which could explain the following relation:

While going through the history of quantum mechanics he mentioned something very interesting. In general, the characteristics of electrons are not defined until they are measured. I immediately thought of what happened when the spren were measured. Perhaps spren are macroscopic representations of subatomic particles? or Shadesmar/cognitive realm exists in subatomic space? This would jive somewhat with the observations that it exists everywhere at all points in time.
anthony moore
23. anthony.moore
I agree with @Braid_Tug, Syl stated she does not like the shardblades. She stated he is a better man for having gotten rid of his. Hearing this leads me to believe these shardblades are lesser copies of Honorblades that shouldn't exist. Maybe the Knights Radiant shouldn't have used them in the first place. There's something in this. Maybe the eventual defection of the knights is due to their being tainted by the shardblades...I'm just theorizing guys so don't shoot me!
Tian Kai (Thompson) Gao
24. tkThompson
@Michael Pye: I don't understand why you think Szeth's shardblade is different from every other shardblade. Is there any evidence for why it might be different? Because to me, "creation of Damnation" is just how Szeth views his shardblade (and probably all shardblades), a result of his upbringing and the Shin culture's abhorrence of violence, and shardblades are the ultimate tools of violence.

Personally, I think the shardblades act partly in the Spiritual Realm, as evidenced by its ability to cut off nerve endings without physically severing the limb.
Leeland Woodard
25. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@24 Brandon has said at signings that there are three basic types of blades.

As to what those three types of blades are, we aren't sure. We know there are Honorblades (there are ten of them, one for each herald), Shardblades (lots and lots of them) and then something else.

The assumption is that Szeth's "shardblade" is this "something else." The reasoning behind this is that it is assumed that Szeth's surgebinding is fundamentally different than Kaladin's, and it is possible that his surgebinding is coming from the blade itself.

Spoilers for the first three chapters of WoR follow:
It is possible, though, that Szeth's blade is actaully an Honorblade, and that specifically it is Jezrien's blade. This is based on the Prologue, where Jasnah overhears what we can assume are two heralds talking about a third herald (Ash, maybe Shallash?), and possibly talking about Szeth, saying:
Words echoed in the hallway, coming from up ahead.
“I’m worried about Ash.”
“You’re worried about everything.” Jasnah hesitated in the hallway.
“She’s getting worse,” the voice continued. “We weren’t supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse.”
“Shut up.”
“I don’t like this. What we’ve done was wrong. That creature carries my lord’sown Blade. We shouldn’t have let him keep it. He—”
Matt Stoumbaugh
26. LazerWulf
I'm also of the belief that Dalinar forgetting his wife was his boon, but that the way he forgot it (never being allowed to remember, and not even recognizing her name when someone says it) was the curse.

Geranid seems like she's stumbled on a version of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for spren. (At least, that's what it reminds me of...). Also, if I were to be stuck on Roshar, I'd like to have Ashir's job. I've got a huge sweet tooth, and I hate spicy things, so, as a guy, being an ardent would be the only way I could enjoy the foods I like, and being able to cook, even innovate, different types of food would give me huge joy.

Szeth's partial lashing where he made himself lighter reminds me of how Wax (from the Mistborn Adventures) uses his Feruchemy to go around at 3/4 his own weight all the time.
27. SCM of 2814
I don't think Szeth calling his shardblade a 'Creation of Damnation' is particularly significant. By now we've been shown how much he hates what he has to do with it. He could just be cursing out the Shardblade, in the same way we'd call something damned (damned car, damned fish, damned mother-in-law) if we don't like it.
28. WonderChimp
@24 I had thought the 10 from the Heralds were Dawnshards, or was it confirmed somewhere that Honorblades/Dawnshards are the same thing?
Michael Pye
29. Michael_Pye
@tkThompson Though Szeth's blade isn't well described it has been noted to be on the shorter side while the traditional Shardblades we see are described as quite large. Also, Brandon admitted that there are 3 types of Blades seen in The Way of Kings. So yes some of this is supposition, but we have seen Honorblades and Shardblades which means there has to be a third and I think it is Szeth's blade. Check out this interview with Brandon:
Entry 156 he confirms Szeth's sword is small. Entry 108 covers the confirmation of 3 types of blades seen so far.
Alice Arneson
30. Wetlandernw
Re: Shalash – My memory is totally failing. What I asked Brandon was if the old woman in the Palaneum was Palah, and while he wouldn’t confirm it outright, he said it was a good theory. He also said he thought we’d actually seen all of the Heralds at least “cross the screen” in WoT WoK, but without any real clues for some of them. I know Shalash/the mistress entered the conversation, but I don't know what (if anything) Brandon said about that connection.

Jeremy @10 – Huh. I was just sure they were married… I think in my mind I made the jump to “an ardent can be married to another ardent” without necessarily having any support for the idea.

Backing up… I think Syl is enough more intelligent (or sentient, or whatever) than the flamespren that she’d be able to tell if they were creating limits by writing things down. But… I don’t know. We’ll have to RAFO.

WonderChimp @28 – No, the Honorblades and the Dawnshards are quite distinct things. Not that we know much about either one, but enough to be reasonably sure they aren’t the same thing.

(edited because my fingers think they know better... or something...)
Leeland Woodard
31. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Is it possible that the Dawnshards are splinters of Honor from when he was killed?

Wild, unbased speculation that could easily be disproven, but it might be. Or maybe they're something that the nine of the ten heralds gave up when they broke the Oathpact.
Jeremy Guebert
32. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @ 30 - Yeah, nothing I'm sure of, either way, just some things that seemed interesting to me when I read the interludes myself. I'm all for RAFOing. Only 54 days to go!
Walker White
33. Walker
Spren cannot have always hated shardblades; the Knights had them even at their height, before the Recreance. There is a theory (that I like) that modern shardblades are corrupted by the Recreance. There has been much speculation on the nature of the "screaming sound" during Dalinar's flashback to the (possible) Recreance. The screaming of spren perhaps?
34. Westmarch
Ipad thought, so will be brief. What if the message to Dalinar to "unite them" means to reunite the Heralds despite their breaking the Oathpact?
Birgit F
35. birgit
There were experiments with mirror glasses that turn the world upside down. After a few days perception seemed normal again.
Rich Bennett
36. Neuralnet
I have this crazy idea that both Szeth and Shallan basically created their own shardblades... called them into existance or pulled them out of shadesmar somehow during a traumatic event. maybe their life was in danger and they instinctively brought forth a shardblade to defend themselves... my other thought was that maybe you had to kill someone to create a shard blade so somehow in the process of killing her father (which we dont really know happened yet??) shallan created her own shardblade and then Szeth's crime that got him sent away would also have been killing someone that resulted in creation of his shardblade. To me this would explain why Shallan is so secretive about her shardblade and Szeth sees it as an item of damnation. Also, Syl thinks the blades are evil maybe this is because you have to kill someone to create one??
The radiants must have had some way to create shardblades and I get the feeling that they all had their own individual blades.
David Foster
37. ZenBossanova
My own suspicion, is that Shardblades involve the life of a spren, and when used for things contrary to that spren's ideals, (ie. disHonorable things, such as killing for personal gain) then that spren dies. It is that death that bothers the spren so much.
Nick Hlavacek
38. Nick31
My personal guess is that Dalinar sought out the old magic to help him overcome his grief at the loss of his wife, and that his boon and his curse are the same thing - that he's forgotten her entirely. (Much more of a curse than a boon if you ask me.) Another possibility is that he went for something to do with how he changed after the death of his brother, in which case I don't know what his boon is. In any case it seems clear that he regrets going.
Nadine L.
39. travyl
Wetlander @30
He also said he thought we’d actually seen all of the Heralds at least “cross the screen” in WoT
I wonder, did they fight with the Lightsiders or alongside the Sharans?
They broke their oathpact, so they might be Darkfriends now. ; )
40. Blend
Given the Geranid chapter talks about how recording the dimensions of a spren lock it into place, I took the mistress' defacing of art as having something to do with that. Maybe the locking of dimensions is not just part of a spren. Maybe she's trying to free herself from the strictures that are being set upon her by all the art of her, depicting her as honourable or whatever.
David Foster
41. ZenBossanova
#39 Travyl - I was just thinking something along the same line!

#40 Blend - Now that is an interesting idea! It gives that Herald a much better motive than merely disliking to see herself in art.
Dixon Davis
42. KadesSwordElanor
travyl & Zen

Seeing Wet make that mistake made me smile. It was like the first time in 3rd grade I saw one of my Teachers at the grocery store and thought “she is a real person.”

J/K Wet. Don’t take your homemade snickerdoodles out of the bunker. ;)
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
travyl @39 - ::eyeroll:: Brain? What brain? Who needs a brain? My fingers can type on their own! (oy....)

On a guess, they were split. Jezrien, Kalak, Vev, and Chach fought for Team Light, with Nalan, Shalash, Palah, and Betab on the Dark Side. Ishar watched to see how it would go. :P

KadesSwordElanor @42 - Are there still snickerdoodles left? The ones I kept at home are long gone. Good thing the bunker has that ward of infinite keeping...
44. mumblemumble
If the mistress is a Herald, then the motivation for destroying the art is that it is a tribute or idealized view of the heralds' perfection. The guilt of their betrayal is what drives her to destroy them.
Kimani Rogers
45. KiManiak
Wetlander@43 - I sent you something in your shoutbox.
Don Barkauskas
46. bad_platypus
qbe_64 @22:
I believe Brandon has a background in physics
Actually, per the biography on his website, he started as a biochemistry major before switching to English. Biochem does involve some physics courses at any university in the US, and at BYU that dose include an introduction to quantum mechanics (per BYU's website), but he did his Mormon mission after his first year at BYU, so he may or may not have actually taken that course yet.

Regardless, it's a commonly enough known that he could have picked it up from a lot of places.

LazerWulf @26:

Actually, (the most well-known version of) the HUP states that you the precisions with which you know the position and momentum of a particle are inversely related, so the more accurately you measure where a particle is, the less accurately you can tell its mass and speed.

As others have noted, the true parallel here is quantum mechanics.
Dixon Davis
47. KadesSwordElanor

Just noticed that in the Lift except, Lift notices that the face of one of the Heralds has been scratched off of a painting of the Heralds in the Bronze Place.
Walker White
48. Walker

Brandon has said several times that his assistant Peter helps him with the physics.
Andrew Berenson
49. AndrewHB
Neuralnet @36. I like your suggestion of having to kill someone to create a shardblade.

I am very interested to see how Shallan acquires her shardblade. I find it highly unlikely (and would be somewhat disappointed) if the following occurred: There is some dispute involving her father and Shallan's father summoned his shardblade. During the confrontation, the shardblade fell to the ground (but did not vaporize). Shallan then used the shardblade to kill her father. It was during this struggle that the shardblade broke the fabrial. However, Shallan killed her father without any of her brother's witnessing the act and she somehow learned how to summon the shardblade afterwards (IIRC, Shallan thinks at least once about the ten heartbeats to summon a shardblade).

I hope Brandon will tell a better scene than the one I just did above.

Thanks for reading my musings.
(aka the musespren)
Stuart Munson
50. Bored
I have long suspected that Shallan has had her Shardblade for most of her life. For some reason, I suspect she acquired it young. That is the reason that her father does not treat her like he treats her brothers. It is fear of what she could do to him if provoked.

I also suspect that she killed her father in some sort of panic attack in an attempt to protect her siblings and that she damaged the soulcaster with the shardblade in the process.
Leeland Woodard
51. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
On the subject of Szeth's shardblade, I had a thought just now.

It's EXTREMELY significant that his shardblade is smaller than others. It has been pointed out to us numerous times that shardblades are so large because they were meant to fight something much bigger than men--they were meant to fight the Voidbringers. Who in the world would make a normal-sword-sized shardblade to fight the Voidbringers? Nobody. You need the reach of an especially long blade.

To me, the fact that Szeth's shardblade is so much shorter than others means that it was intended to kill men, which inherently makes it a more sinister weapon than the other shardblades. Sure, the other ones are being used to kill men as well, and that's bad, but at least the purpose for which they were created was to kill something inherently evil.

We know that the cognitive realm primarily deals with how an object or a person sees itself. The goblet that Shallan turned into blood, for instance, had a personal identity. Spren, who come from the cognitive realm, all have their own identity. Based on Gerind's studies of Spren, we see that the ways that WE define something that exists or is based in the cognitive realm can directly affect the thing itself--in this case, forcing the spren to freeze its size. Let's relate this back to shardblades in general, and Szeth's blade in particular. Shardblades, having been created for the express purpose of destroying the Voidbringers, would probably see themselves as good things. Perhaps when they become misused, or seen by all others as a creation to kill men, it corrupts them in some way related to their presence in the cognitive realm. A blade created with the express purpose of killing men would be an entirely different sort of blade--its cognitive counterpart wouldn't even have a slice of the innate goodness of a blade created for a good purpose.

Anyway, those are just some ideas. Sorry if it got a bit dense or wordy.
David Foster
52. ZenBossanova
If you use a spren (which are living ideas) for things contrary to that idea, does that kill them?
Jeremy Guebert
53. jeremyguebert
39/43 @ WoT vs WoK - amazing how much difference a single letter can make. Of course, now I'm thinking about how Shardblades, Shardplate and surgebinding would interact with channeling. That could be quite interesting indeed...

smintitule @ 51 - Woah, that's dark. I never considered it that way, but that's a fascinating idea, especially in a world where the way objects see themselves and their intentions is obviously manifest.
54. penprince
Szeth vs kaladin. Kaladin is exceptionally gifted in fighting. A storm. Also he evolves at an astronomical rate. Hes managed to kill two shardbearers. Actually kill one and wound another with just a spear. Kalad is something special but szeth...szeth is a god. Special got nothing on god. Szeth would murder kaladin in half a second. The best kalad could do was to run and survive. There has to be a compromise. For that fight to happen and last more than half a sec, kalad has to learn surgebinding at some miraculously accelerated rate maybe being taught by his spren and obtain a blade of some kind. Even then my bet is in szeth. Of course theres a 3rd option. Szeth is truthless and kaladin's spren is honour spren. They could somehow unbind szeth from his oath of service and he would be free and maybe train kalad instead. Now that would be something.
David Foster
55. ZenBossanova
@Penprince #54
Kaladin vs Szeth

Well, there is no denying Szeth has certain advantages, namely that he is better trained. He is like a Shaolin monk of Stormlight. In essence, he is a ninja, with a shardblade.

But Kaladin, has a spren that seems to guide his moves. Kaladin can also hold stormlight far longer than Szeth can. With Szeth it leaks away immediately, whereas Kaladin even holds on to it subconciously. Also, note the cover - Kaladin seems to be drawing a bit of stormlight from gems in the ground. If Kaladin can draw it out enough that Szeth has no stormlight left, then we have a much more balanced fight.

But regarding Szeth and his oathstone SPOILER
I asked Sanderson at the Phoenix Comicon, and he said Szeth is not magically bound by his stone. It is not a magical binding. Take that for what it is worth. It is my paraphrasing, and we know Brandon can be exacting how he phrases things.

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