Mar 4 2014 1:00am

Journey Before Destination: Words of Radiance Spoiler Review

It’s here! At long last, after much hand-rubbing and finger-steepling, it’s here! Words of Radiance has arrived, my friends. And so we can talk! We can sing! We can dance! SPOILERS ABOUND! Okay, enough with the shouting and exclamation marks (and this is not France). Assuming you’ve got your copy, and that you have read it as fast as you possibly could, we’re ready to dig in. But I have to say it, as has been said on spoiler reviews so many times before:

Please, please don’t read this until you’ve finished the book.

Personally, I usually don’t care if people want to spoil a book for themselves, but in this case the way things are revealed is just as delicious as what is revealed, and you really need to get there the right way. This review will massively, totally, completely spoil the book otherwise. Journey before destination. Read it first; we’re not going anywhere. But when you’re done…


This was a really hard book to “review.” There’s so much in it, and so much to talk about, it was hard to know where to start. To put a handle on it, let’s take a look at what we expected to see, and what we finally saw.

Kaladin and Bridge 4

We all went into this expecting Kaladin to become a full Windrunner, fight Szeth (and win, of course), and make himself invaluable to Dalinar in returning the Knights Radiant. And… we got what we expected, just maybe not quite the way we expected it.

He’s not a full Windrunner yet, but he’s made a lot of progress. Dude can fly—I say that counts for something. He learned his third Ideal, although he sure went at it the hard way. For some unknown reason, I didn’t expect him to do the bad-attitude thing in this book, and let’s just say it’s a good thing I rarely work at a desk. Either it or my head would be in a world of trouble. He’s only 20 years old, so maybe he gets a pass on some of his arrogance, but he could sure benefit from a little more big-picture thinking. Early on in the training exercises, he learned that under certain circumstances, his Stormlight skills deserted him.

“What happened?” Kaladin asked. “The Stormlight drained from me. I felt it go.”

“Who were you protecting?” Syl asked.

“I . . . I was practicing how to fight, like when I practiced with Skar and Rock down in the chasms.”

“Is that really what you were doing?” Syl asked.

That, my son, is called a warning, if you’re paying attention. (Or, for the reader, foreshadowing…) His whole purpose as a Windrunner is to protect, but it seems to take a while for him to figure this out. Not only are the means as important as the end, the motivation is critical to success. Back in The Way of Kings, his father gave him a great picture of this; with one tiny slip of the knife, he could have rid Hearthstone of Roshone, but the means were simply unacceptable. Kaladin wasn’t listening properly:

“Somebody has to start. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right. If nobody starts, then others cannot follow…

“The lighteyes don’t care about life,” Lirin said. “So I must…”

But his father was wrong. It was a stunning, frightening revelation. This wasn’t idle fancy or daydreaming about the glory of battle. This was real.

At that moment, Kaladin knew he could kill, if he needed to. Some people—like a festering finger or a leg shattered beyond repair—just needed to be removed.

And so he continues to think that he has the wisdom and insight to know who needs to be removed, and in that arrogance he destroys his bond with Sylphrena. I suppose we should give him a certain amount of credit for continuing to live and fight as best he can even without her, but it was just so stupid. To think he had the right to decide that the kingdom would be better off without the king… well, it reminds me all too much of the “Side Carry” chapter.

On the bright side, it set up one of the most amazingly glorious scenes in the book. I get goosebumps just thinking about it! First, the realization that “The king was Dalinar’s Tien.” Oh, the tears… Yes, Kaladin. The fact that Elhokar has made some really stupid decisions doesn’t mean you can murder him, or stand by and let someone else do so. He matters, even if you don’t like him. He matters to someone. And so Kaladin returns, at great physical cost, to find and protect the king, even when it’s hopeless; he’s beaten down, critically wounded, ready to die, and he gets up one last time to do what has to be done. No more standing by to let people be killed for the greater good. And then, he finally gets it:

“If I protect . . .” he coughed. “If I protect . . . only the people I like, it means that I don’t care about doing what is right.” If he did that, he only cared about what was convenient for himself.

That wasn’t protecting. That was selfishness.

And then a line that moves me to tears, after so many rereads:

He is mine! a feminine voice said. I claim him.

I’ve read this entire book twice, and sections of it about ten times, and I still choke up. Too weak to stand, he stands anyway. Too weak to hold his knife, it falls from his hand.

“I will protect even those I hate,” Kaladin whispered through bloody lips. “So long as it is right.”

And then, reaching out his trembling hand with his last iota of strength, Sylphrena herself becomes his Shardblade, returning his powers, and he explodes with Stormlight. Oh, the glory! At last, he can fly to the rescue, because he can let go of his anger and his grudges and be about the work of protecting people. It doesn’t end there, of course. But we’ll talk about the rest of it in a few minutes.

Bridge Four
I think we all expected Bridge Four to stay together as a unit; I’m not sure we quite expected the role they would play in bringing the rest of the bridge crews up to speed. We didn’t see a lot of this after the first couple of parts, but enough to know that those thousand men are in training and may become a significant asset. For now, I’m just going to look more closely at a few key players.

A magnet for wrong decisions if ever there was one, this man had so much potential and he continually channeled it in the wrong directions. He finally got his Shards, which was permitted indirectly by the king himself, and he still couldn’t let go of his misdirected desire for revenge. I think I’m glad Kaladin didn’t kill him, but now he’s connected to Taravangian—and I don’t trust that one, either. There was always a bitter edge to Moash, and now that we know where it came from we can understand… but that doesn’t mean he’s right.

Well, we had hoped to find out what his backstory was, and the deal with the Envisagers. I guess we found out. This makes me very sad, and also a little bewildered. How long had those people been trying unsuccessfully to trigger Surgebinding? How many had died in vain? I guess the second answer depends on the first, but it doesn’t seem like so many should die before they realize that not a single one has manifested any signs of power, and maybe they’re wasting lives that could have been better spent in more productive pursuits—or at least less destructive methods. The punishment for their “crime” was a bit weird, though. “These people keep killing themselves! This cannot be allowed! Off with their heads!” Say what? Once again I’m grateful for my lack of a handy desk.

I don’t recall seeing much by way of expectations regarding Shen, but he sure took a step up in this book. For one thing, we get his actual name: Rlain. For another, he proves that he’s smarter than they thought, when he points out that his singular treatment as the only member of Bridge Four without a spear means that he really is still a slave. This leads to a couple of very cool moments, including his getting that spear and his return to the Alethi.

Perhaps we should have realized early on that Shen was more than he seemed. In the very early Eshonai chapters, we were told that dullform was very similar in appearance to the sprenless slaveform, a.k.a. parshmen, and that they used it now to spy on the humans. Maybe some of you clever folks figured that out right away; I don’t recall thinking about it at that point, but when Rlain disappeared, it became obvious enough even for me. The affirmation of Kaladin’s (and Dalinar’s) decision to treat him with respect was gorgeous, when he returned to the Alethi with news of the Parshendi changes. Poor Rlain. He went in good faith to spy on the humans, but when he returned to report back to his people, they had abandoned their four-and-a-half-millennia avoidance, and had returned to the old gods.

I didn’t have many specific expectations of Shen coming into Words of Radiance, but I sure have some for Book Three!

Ah, the Lopen. Throughout the book, he continued to bring humor, optimism, and encouragement to Kaladin and Bridge Four, and we’ve all loved him for that since he first walked in. He’s been trustworthy and resourceful, and his endless supply of cousins is hilarious. (“There’s a cousin for that.” Heh.) I’ll admit to being a bit suspicious of them at first, because they kept showing up for no apparent reason, but the scene in Little Herdaz explained so much about the Herdazian attitude toward family that I was completely reassured. What an incredibly clever place to hide the king! I adore the Lopen. And I want to be his mother.

Whatever we might have expected of Lopen in this book, he expected to glow—and he did! One of my favorite lines from the entire book:

“Oh, storms yes! Everybody, give the Lopen your spheres! I have glowing that needs to be done.”


The Kholin clan

Although they aren’t quite the main characters (I give that to Kaladin and Shallan, at least for now), this family stands at the center. Dalinar’s visions, Jasnah’s scholarship and Surgebinding, and of course Elhokar as the Alethi king, ensure that they’re central to the plot. I’m still not sure what to expect from them at any given moment, though.

First off, I have to note the cleverness of the prologue scheme, wherein we saw that night six years ago, the night of Gavilar’s assassination. Through Jasnah’s eyes, we see many of the same people and events, with some very informative additions. The fact that Jasnah is a repeat customer of more than a dozen assassins is a bit mind-boggling. (Good grief! Who does she have them assassinating? How is anyone in Alethkar still alive, with her around?) Even more interesting is her introduction to Shadesmar, which is both creepy and astonishing.

At the end of the previous book, with Jasnah and Shallan heading for the Shattered Plains, I think we all expected Jasnah to lead the scholarship that would find Urithiru and figure out what the Parshendi deal was. I, for one, did not expect her to die in Part One! Once she was dead, I wasn’t quite sure whether to expect her to return or not. She came back, all right—but what a return! Was she in Shadesmar the whole time? Was she off-world altogether? She was able to make alterations to her clothing, wherever she was—and now I expect to learn some very interesting things from her in the next book!

At the end of The Way of Kings, Adolin seemed like a nice boy, but not a lot else. What expectations did we have for him? There was always the possibility he’d become a Knight Radiant, though it wasn’t all that sure. In fact, I don’t recall seeing much discussion of what readers expected of Adolin, other than the general hope that he’d stand strong with his father and be useful. With the early release chapters we discovered that he would be betrothed to Shallan, which sent the shipping mechanisms into high gear. (Oh, that was fun to watch. Mwahaha.)

What we didn’t expect, I think, was Adolin-the-elegant-duelist performing an absolutely brutal beatdown on another Shardbearer in his first bout. We (or at least I) didn’t expect to see him behaving so badly to Kaladin—that sneering “bridgeboy” thing made me want to beat him severely about the head and shoulders. On the other hand, who expected him to do such a complete about-face halfway through? That scene set aside the last things I didn’t like about Adolin, because when he decides he’s wrong, there’s no grudging admission stuff—he flat out joins forces with Kaladin, and accords him respect and friendship. Aww.

And expectations aside, that overmatched “duel” of one to four was amazing amazing amazing.

Last but not least, I don’t think anyone predicted that he would finish the book by getting into a fistfight with Sadeas, and end up shoving a knife into his eye. (Ewww. Brandon. Did you have to?) I’m pretty sure we all cheered to know Sadeas was dead, but I’m really not sure what this says about where Adolin is headed. Was it murder? Was it a fair fight? Discuss. (I certainly hope that Sadeas is all the way dead, though. If he comes back to life as foul as ever, I’m going to climb into the book and kill him myself.)

While we’re on the subject of our fair-haired boy… I’m going to insert my loony theory section. I have a theory about Adolin: that he will be a Knight Radiant of the order associated with Kalak (Ironstance!), and that this order is most likely the Willshapers; further, that he will somehow be able to revivify the spren that was his Blade. That last may be wishful thinking, but he has consistently refused to name the Blade because it obviously has a name of its own, and he talks to it before he goes into a duel. I’ve got no proof, but I sure like the idea.

Renarin is a Radiant! Renarin is a Truthwatcher! Happy dance! Happy dance! This, I did not expect. Hoped, maybe, a little, but certainly didn’t expect. Fascinating revelations with this boy. The thing that blew my mind (which you likely don’t catch the first time through—at least, I didn’t) was that the very first time he touched that Blade, minutes after Adolin won it in the Chapter 14 duel, he grimaced. Didja notice that? Eventually we find out why: He already had a developing spren connection and he was hearing that horrible screaming from the dead spren. And he did his perceived duty anyway. He bonded the Blade, he tried to practice with it, he tried to use it in battle, he used it to help Shallan figure out the Oathgate, and all with that screaming in his head every storming time! With nothing more than a grimace when he summoned it, and a sigh of relief when he dismissed it, I say the man has incredible mental strength. He deserves to be a Radiant, unless that turns out to be an ancient Chinese curse, like “interesting times”….

Here’s another character for whom we had little to no expectation, except the hint that perhaps he could see Cryptics and might therefore become a Lightweaver. That would explain the cracked gems in his Shardplate very neatly, too. Well… no. We aren’t any closer to knowing whether or not he’ll become a Radiant, or why those gems fractured. What we found, instead, was a deeply insecure man who didn’t get nearly enough training for the job he’s been saddled with. A man who wanted to do the right thing, who wanted to be a good leader and a good king—and simply doesn’t know how. His scene with Kaladin was poignant, revealing a man who’d never been taught self-discipline, who had to learn the hard way who not to follow, but smart enough to know a genuine leader when he saw one. Also? A king learning humility at the hands of a Herdazian matriarch… Heh.


“ ‘As I fear not a child with a weapon he cannot lift, I will never fear the mind of a man who does not think.’ ”

Dalinar met and exceeded expectation. Not only did he become Highprince of War, he found ways to turn disparagement to his advantage. He continued to receive visions, to piece things together, and to act boldly on what he learned. He found ways to be both statesman and warrior, though not without a certain amount of frustration and setbacks. His continuing relationship with Navani is fun to watch, because not only do they love each other, they respect each other and draw on one another’s strengths.

And he bonded the Stormfather as his spren.

Yeah, look at that again. Dalinar is spren-bonded to the Stormfather himself. And so he has become a Bondsmith, an Order with very few members, but with great power and, presumably, insight. I wonder if this means that the Stormfather will no longer block the honorspren from returning and bonding more Windrunners.

Incidentally, I’d like to hear some theories here: What is that Blade Dalinar bonded when he was “ill” for a week, and then unbonded when he became a Bondsmith? I originally thought it was Taln’s Honorblade, which seemed a bit weird, but… okay. However, it’s described thus: “Wider than most, it was almost cleaverlike in appearance.” That really doesn’t sound much like Taln’s in The Way of Kings epilogue, which was “long, narrow, and straight, shaped like an enormous spike.” But clearly it’s not a known Blade, so… where did it come from? And it screams when Dalinar summons it after forming his bond with the Stormfather (!!!), so it can’t be an Honorblade, because they aren’t dead-spren-Blades. (Szeth’s/Jezrien’s doesn’t scream when Kaladin holds it.) So what is it? Where did it come from? I want to know.



Well, we knew this was Shallan’s book, and so we had plenty of expectations. First, that she’d make it to the Shattered Plains with Jasnah, that she’d end up in some kind of romantic entanglement, that she’d develop her Lightweaver skills, that she’d use her Shardblade… and of course that we’d find out where she got that Blade in the first place. As I said before, “I can almost guarantee that no one will look at her the same way, whether you loved her, hated her, or anywhere between. I won’t promise that you’ll love her. I won’t promise that you’ll even like her. But I promise you won’t see her the same way you did before.”

Main plot
She made it to the Shattered Plains, all right, but not with Jasnah. In retrospect, it’s kind of amazing to realize just how much Jasnah taught her in those first few chapters, and how much those lessons enabled Shallan to survive and make her way not only to the Shattered Plains, but through the political minefield of the warcamps and across the Plains to the center. There was a general expectation that she would figure out how to get to Urithiru (albeit we expected Jasnah to be more involved in that…), and she did, but in just about the least expected way possible.

She certainly ended up with a romantic entanglement, and it was really quite delightful to find the “too-obvious!” match-up turning out to be so much fun. And, really, so good for both of them. Her straightforward curiosity and complete failure to flirt properly are so exactly what Adolin needs. I have to confess that as soon as it became clear that they were both smitten, my first thought was, “Which one is going to die?” So far, happily, neither one, although there are no guarantees for Book Three. Adolin has become quite the loose cannon on deck, so… I don’t know. I hope things work out for them, but I’m not sure I expect it! I think they’re a great pair, and if she’s a bit quicker with words than he is, it’s not a problem. It’s not like he’s stupid, he has just oriented his intelligence toward warcraft rather than wordplay so far.

One thing most of us weren’t expecting was the revelation of Shallan’s ability to simply not remember the things she dared not think about. There were a few small hints in The Way of Kings, perhaps, but only recognizable in hindsight. At first I wondered about her lack of grieving for Jasnah, but then I put it down to a need for survival. As the hints built up, though… it’s one of the least of many, many things this poor child learned to simply not think about, to the point of being unable to acknowledge their existence. Not that she blocked Jasnah’s death that thoroughly, but she nearly blocked all the grief.

That Shardblade we expected to see certainly turned up again—in multiple forms. How soon did y’all twig to the fact that it was Pattern all along? That she really didn’t need ten heartbeats, and that she’s been bonded to this Cryptic since she was about ten years old? That yes, indeed, that Blade was her very own, original, living spren? That was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. In fact, I’ve decided to forgive Tyn for existing, because she gave Shallan the necessary reason to summon her Blade again.

Lightweaver. I hope you looked at the Ars Arcanum and saw the list of Surges there. It explains a lot. In this case, it explains why Lightweaving includes both visual and auditory effects. What really stunned me was the realization that Shallan must have spoken at least the first Ideal about seven years ago. Kaladin had to speak his third Ideal before he got his Blade, but there’s no guarantee that it works the same way for every Order. Or within an Order, for that matter; it might be mostly based on the need of the moment, as long as you’ve spoken the first Ideal. The development and exploration of Shallan’s newfound abilities was cool stuff, though. It will be fascinating to see what else a Lightweaver can do.

Flashback Sequence
The second major thing about Shallan, of course, is the development of her backstory. And here’s where I know I’m going to make some people angry. I do not, and cannot, and will not hate Brightlord Davar. I feel sorry for him. Deeply, excruciatingly sorry for him. (Yes, I feel equally sorry for his children; I’ll get there in a minute.)

When I look at his story, though, it hurts deep down in my heart. Here’s a man who had a relatively happy life—pretty wife, four sons, one beloved little daughter, and a comfortable home. I’m sure he had his moments of frustration (what father doesn’t?), but they were happy together.

Shallan could remember a time when she’d rarely, if ever, seen him angry. Those days were long, long dead.

(Chapter 45)

What happened? His daughter, the precious little girl he adored, started doing… strange things. Things she shouldn’t be able to do. Things like the Knights Radiant, the betrayers of mankind. She wove illusions that could move and speak. Her drawings became reality. As a parent, that would be amazing and a little scary. But then his wife—her mother—apparently connected with one of the (how many?) societies of people who wanted to destroy any incipient Surgebinder as quickly as possible. I suspect that the arguments with his wife began then, though I don’t have hard evidence for that. In any case, he argued with his wife and her friend, defending his little girl. And they tried to kill her.

He tried to defend her, to stop them. He fought with the other man, and managed to hurt him, but in the end he was pinned on the floor, watching his wife—her mother—approaching their eleven-year-old daughter with a knife. To kill her. His little girl defended herself, with her own Shardblade that no one had ever seen before, and his wife died instead of his daughter. His tenderness toward Shallan, at the end of that first flashback, was heart-rending. How his heart must have been aching, and in the midst of it his first action was to comfort and soothe and shelter his little girl.

And he never told anyone who really killed his wife.

He loved his girl, and he never told anyone—but can you imagine living with the lies he allowed to be believed? It destroyed him. There was no proof, so he was never prosecuted, but everyone, including his sons, believed that he had murdered his wife. For that matter, they believed that his wife had taken a lover, which… is perhaps a minor point, but it also was a lie. And so he descended into anger and madness.

At the same time, that precious little girl can pull out a Shardblade to defend herself. How terrifying is that for a parent? For six years, this man lived with accusations of murder, hiding the identity of the real killer for her own safety. At the same time, he also lived with the knowledge that however angry he got, he dared not give her cause to fear harm at his hands, or he could end up with a Shardblade through his spine, too.

This picture, of a man who both adored and feared his little girl, who sheltered her at great cost and who crumbled under the pressure of that cost… this picture tears me apart. I ache for this man.

As for his children, I ache for them too. The sons, allowed to think their father murdered their mother, and in front of their beloved little sister, could do nothing but hate him. As their father fell into depression and anger, he took it out on them, twisting them further. As always, when imperfect people interact negatively in such close confines, all the worst traits are brought out in each one until the entire family is broken.

And Shallan… poor Shallan. It wasn’t her fault, but she couldn’t help believing that it was, because her abilities were at the core of it all. I’m no psychologist, but I’m told that this kind of voluntary amnesia is a well-documented means of dealing with stresses too great to be borne. The shock of having her parents fighting over her abilities, of her mother trying to kill her because of those abilities, and of her own frightened reaction resulting in her mother’s death, all combined with her heretofore calm and sheltered life, would certainly qualify as “stresses too great to be borne,” in my opinion. Add to that her father’s fits of anger, her brothers’ various forms of escape, and finally the night of first her stepmother’s and then her father’s murders, and it may be no wonder her mind simply refused to acknowledge any of it.

On a personal note, having read all this, I have had a great deal of difficulty being patient with people who repeatedly comment on what an awful person Shallan is and what losers her brothers are. It’s so easy to simply look at the surface presentation and judge them as a waste of breath; when you see what has happened to them, what put them where they are… maybe the judgmental attitudes are a little misguided, eh? Then again, that’s true in real life. So there’s that.

In terms of literary appreciation, Sanderson did a superb job of gradually revealing a grim and terrifying youth, as well as Shallan’s means of coping with it. The increasing awareness of her ability to simply block out anything she didn’t want to hear or remember, and the way that ability reconciled the hints of her past with her present (apparent) superficiality, was brilliantly done. And I’m a little shocked that he made me feel sorry for her father in spite of things like this:

Father stood outside. Shallan could make out a crumpled form beyond him, lying on the floor of the hallway. Minara, the serving maid. Her body didn’t lie right, one arm bent at the wrong angle.
Father entered Shallan’s room and shut the door behind him. “You know I would never hurt you, Shallan,” he said softly.
She nodded, tears leaking from her eyes.

“I would not want to have to punish anyone else because of you, Shallan,” Father said.

(Chapter 48)

That makes me angry, because it’s such a terrible way to manipulate a child—but at the same time, it reveals the depth of his fear of her, and that brings me back around to pity mixed with the anger. It’s a broken, dysfunctional family, and I feel deeply, painfully sorry for all of them.

Sigh. Moving on.


Everyone Else

We certainly had expectations for this one—primarily, that he would attempt to kill Dalinar, that Kaladin would fight him, and that Szeth would lose somehow. (Because he couldn’t possibly be allowed to kill Kaladin!) Show of hands, folks: who actually expected Szeth to show up and have that big confrontation with Kaladin less than halfway through the book? Once again, things happened earlier than anticipated, and not at all as expected. Kaladin was so clearly not ready yet, and frankly the only reason he survived is that Szeth was completely blown away by the fact that Kaladin could use Stormlight and heal his Blade-severed hand.

At last the tormented man learns the truth, and hides from it in comforting lies from Taravangian. Too bad for him that Kaladin has also learned the truth, and has a Shardblade that is also a spear, a hammer, a shield, a halberd… Is there anyone here who didn’t make at least a little bit of noise when Syl said, Oh. That’s right. You probably want me to be a spear, don’t you? Szeth finally had to face the truth—that he was, in fact, not Truthless, and all the murder had been based on a lie instead. And he just let Kaladin kill him.

Turns out he’s only mostly dead. This Darkness guy is creepy, and perhaps even creepier with the proof that he is indeed Nalan, the Herald associated with Justice, who has been going around digging up whatever “crimes” he can find in the past of any incipient Surgebinder, and executing them on the pretext of “justice.” Speaking of expectations… what do you expect of Szeth now that he has Nightblood to mess with his head? That’s just painful to contemplate. Will he actually be bonded to a spren and be a real Skybreaker? Book Three just can’t come soon enough…

We expected to see Gaz again, and perhaps learn what was behind his disappearance. To some extent, we did; he owed more money than he could possibly repay, and so he deserted. We still don’t know how he ran up such a debt, or whether it will still come back to haunt him. For now, he’s Shallan’s, which was a development no one foresaw. He’s actually a rather likeable guy now, and I was pretty impressed with him finding Shallan a copy of Words of Radiance. What think you: is his change of heart a result of loyalty to the one who freed him from his impossible debt, or to Shallan’s Lightweaving on him? Or both? There remains some mystery to this one.

I can’t wait to hear what y’all think of Taravangian now. Even the early revelation of his “gift” from the Nightwatcher didn’t prepare me for the fullness of what was revealed in his Interlude. I’m assuming (for the moment) that his Diagram has to do with Cultivation and her ability to see into the future, but I find it hard to believe anyone following that closely to something they themselves came up with when they were off-the-scale brilliant. He has made a god out of what he was on that one day, and… I don’t trust it.

Well, I sure hope y’all read Warbreaker recently. Now we know why Brandon wouldn’t post his initial version of The Way of Kings, even though he’s never been reluctant to share his unpolished work and let us see the process. He didn’t want to spoil that surprise. (For anyone like me who didn’t catch this, I’ll let others tell you in the comments, just in case you want to go back and try to figure it out for yourself.)


Plot Elements

Finding Urithiru
Plenty of theories have been floated about the location and access to Urithiru; some placed it on the Shattered Plains, some in Shinovar, some in or near the Purelake, some even on another planet in the Roshar system. As of the end of The Way of Kings, I’m not sure I saw any speculation connecting the Oathgates with Urithiru. It was exciting to see the way it really works, and then to realize that we’ve seen other Oathgates and just didn’t recognize them. We still don’t know exactly where Urithiru is, or whether it contains the kind of information Jasnah was hoping for, but at least it’s found. As a side exercise, it’s very interesting to go back to the previous book and look at all the limited information on Urithiru; it all makes perfect sense when you know what it really is. Now we can expect to learn more in the next book or two.

The Parshendi
Also now known as the Listeners, we learn about the Parshendi just in time to develop sympathy for them and then watch them all turn into Voidbringers. Or something related to Voidbringers, anyway. In looking back through the epigraphs in The Way of Kings, the hints really are all there, so the reader who expected to find the Parshendi/Voidbringer connection was rewarded. Maybe not quite the way you’d have expected, though… The reader who expected the Parshendi to be the good guys and the Alethi the bad guys wasn’t that far off, either—not during The Way of Kings. Had the Alethi sought peace earlier, they might have found allies rather than enemies.

Instead, we find them pushed to the edge of survival, and therefore the edge of desperation. While the sprenless slaveform Parshmen are still out there, it’s not really the same thing as the voluntary choices made by the Listeners. At great personal cost, they have searched to find forms that would help their people survive while still refusing admittance to “the old gods”—Odium, and the apparently god-like spren associated with him. (Combining information from Eshonai and Taravangian, am I the only one who thinks the Unmade are Odium-spren, something on the order of the Stormfather and the Nightwatcher? I’ll bet I’m not…)

It was especially sad to see the whole thing through Eshonai’s eyes, as we learned about Narak and the various forms, as we met her mother and sister, as we began to understand the Rhythms. To see her preparing to meet Dalinar and ask for peace, knowing that he was hoping for the same thing—and then to have it all snatched away by her decision to take Venli’s place and bond the stormspren. Her own mind, screaming deep down inside, as her consciousness is overcome by Odium. Her avoidance of Peace, even when she was willing to attune the old Rhythms, because that’s where the screaming was the strongest… that just hurt.

It also makes one wonder: was warform actually of Honor rather than of Odium? Is the screaming of her mind similar to the screaming of the dead spren in the Shardblades? Is there still a “good” spren bonded to her, but overwhelmed by the stormspren? It seems that there ought to be a connection. On a loosely related note, I wonder if we’ll ever find out what happened to the Listeners who chose not to accept the stormspren bonding. Did they escape only to be killed by the Highstorm/Everstorm confluence? Or did they really escape? And did anyone else think it an interesting happenstance that they escaped from the Oathgate plateau, just like the Alethi armies would later?

The Everstorm
There was a lot of speculation over whether or not we’d see the Everstorm in this book. For that matter, there was a fair amount of speculation over what the Everstorm actually would be. The reality was mind-numbing. What we haven’t seen is the full effect, as it rounds the world and hits the continent backwards. The destruction to come is frightening to contemplate all by itself. What will happen next time the Everstorm collides with a Highstorm?

My final questions, to which I may never know the answers, are these: Would the Everstorm have come anyway? Was Odium returning inevitably, or did the actions of the Listeners bring about his return? Or, perhaps, were those actions inevitable?

Discuss! Enjoy! See you in the comments! [Note: please be aware that the spoilers in the comments are not limited to Words of Radiance, and include discussion of other Sanderson works. Wherever possible, we would appreciate it if you could white out any major spoilers for other books or series as a courtesy to other readers, but we cannot guarantee that every commenter will do so, so please tread carefully if you are trying to avoid information about Sanderson's other novels/series.]

Alice Arneson is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys reading, writing, and throwing snowballs. She owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Brandon Sanderson and Peter Ahlstrom (and probably a greater one to their wives). The most amazing thing she’s ever heard was the Tudor Choir and Seattle Baroque Orchestra performance of Messiah.

David Foster
1. ZenBossanova
No! I will resist reading this until I have completed the book! I am not going to read this tonight!
3. wdyates91
I couldn't resist to skim this... =( Zahel? Warbreaker? I just read the book recently and this doesn't ring any bells...god I need this book!
4. birgit
Pattern said that the Lightweavers only have one ideal, and Shallan needs more truths, not more oaths.

Was Venli working with Amaram?
How many secret societies are there? Taravangian's Diagram, the Ghostbloods, Amaram and whoever he might be working with, Teft's sect, the shamans in Shinovar, ...

I didn't expect Jasnah to be back, but it was obvious that Syl would be back when Kal did the right thing and protected Elhokar from Moash.

Were Elhokar's shadows Cryptics who didn't like being around someone bonded to an Honorspren or were they Odiumspren? Can a human bond Odiumspren?

I first thought the Blade Dalinar got from the mad Herald was a Honorblade, too, but now I'm not so sure. If it was a normal Shardblade, where did the Herald get it?

Darkness seems not to kill Surgebinders just because they are Surgebinders if he revives Szeth to make him a Knight.
Gerd K
5. Kah-thurak
Concerning Jasnah's Death:
I think it was relativly obvious that she would return, because her death had so little emotional impact - and Brandon is too good a writer for that. I dont think he will ever be able to that in the way Erikson can, but I would expect more than this, when a relativly major character dies. I also think, that it might have been better for the future books if Jasnah had really died. Brandon is connected strongly to Robert Jordan who was known for his inabillity to let any major character die a final death. He could have ended any speculation if he was willing to let major characters die early in the series and the sense of danger for them in future volumes would have been much more real. The way it is now, Jasnah "died" and returned, Syl "died" and returned and Seth "died" and returned, Eshonai fell into a chasm... does anyone believe she "died"? That is a little too much for my taste. At least we can hope that Sadeas wont return.

But I dont want this to sound negative. I really liked Words of Radiance. The above is my only real criticism of the book and Brandon is the author I know which is the most likely to work on his weaknesses and improve on them.
Gary Singer
6. AhoyMatey
Fantastic review, Wetlander!

I liked how Adolin took Sadeas out. The man was a real tool. He was also responsible for the Parshendi fighting to the death. In an early battle, they surrendered, and he killed them anyway. He showed them they could expect no mercy.
7. McflyCahill90
It's here! Finally, we can talk about it!

Great review, Wetlander! It's great to finally discuss what's inside. I read Words of Radiance back in February, but I've had to keep my trap closed for a whole month. Definitely not as long as you, but it was still agony!

All in all, I thought WOR was utterly fantastic, and gave us exactly what we were hoping for, even if, like you said, not in the way we expected. The last 150 pages alone were entirely squee-worthy. Nothing beats that moment when Kaladin finally is able to let go of his anger and dedicates himself to protecting everyone, even those he hates, as long as its the right thing. Syl fighting for him against the Stormfather (who needs a post of his own), was heartbreaking.

Shallan really stepped forward in this book, and I was so happy to learn more about her, dig into her personality. Now we see why she is the way she is, what drove her actions and personality from book one. Her interactions with Mraize, Pattern, Jasnah, Adolin and Kaladin all highlighted different aspects of her, and it really worked to show how complex she is.

I was little sad that we didn't get a whole lot of Dalinar. Regardless, he still had a lot of great moments. That bonding with the Stormfather had me laughing and shouting for him. Who can imagine what THAT'S going to be like in the next book? But hey, couldn't hurt to have a friend in the storms, even if that friend is a weird splinter of a former, "god," who seems resigned to killing everyone on the planet.

Don't want this post getting too, too long, so just highlights from here on out:

-Learning the truth of Szeth and why he was exiled was great, and his subsequent return by Nalan's hand offers up a whole new plate of madness for him to latch on to. And like you said, with Nightblood there, telling him its okay to kill others, I can't imagine we're going to see anything good come from this. Though if he bonds a spren, becoming a Skybreaker (who have Pressure and Division surges, I believe?), AND has Nightblood? Dude's going to rip right through everyone.

-Who else thinks the Ghostbloods are worldhoppers? When Shallan meets Mraize at their hangout, there seem to be offworld items there: a vial of pale sand (White Sand, maybe?) a flower in water, (Tears of Edgli?), and other odd items. Could they be involved in more of the Cosmere? Same for the Sons of Honor and Amaram's group.

-The Lopen glowing was amazing, and gives me hope that the rest of Bridge Four will start developing surging abilities. Maybe not all Windrunners or even all Knights, but definitely something to help back up Kaladin.

-Adolin and Renarin really shone in this book, and I'm very curious to see what a Truthwatcher is capable of. It sounded like it wasn't very, well, pleasant for Renarin when he was gripped in his visions, but maybe that's because his religion states that seeing the future is of the Voidbringers, and him, understandably, freaking out. As for Adolin, it'd be interesting to see an Order of Knights that were a little more hard edged, a little more ruthless. Though I fear there's going to be major fallout for him from ol' knife in the eye.

-Taravangian, man . . . ugh. Just Bad News Bears all around.

-Oh, Eshonai. I hope you remember yourself before it's too late.

-YAY JASNAH. Can't wait to see what trouble her and Ivory have been up to in Shadesmar.

-Who is the Shard speaking in the epigraphs to Wit in book four? It's got to be whoever he was speaking to in the first book, and they don't sound like a particular good person/shard.

-Oh, Zahel. If you who I think you are, then how the hell did you get to Roshar, and how the hell did you lose Nightblood? Had my eye on him the moment he showed up; used too many color metaphors and knew too many cosmere terms to be anyone but V.

Book 3 is definitely going to be dealing with the fallout of the Everstorm and Highstorm, along with, I don't know, EVERYTHING ELSE. If it's Dalinar's book, we'll see more of the Blackthorn, whereas if it's Szeth's, we'll see the road to becoming Truthless. I honestly have no idea where this series is headed and it excites the hell out of me. I really don't know where we could go next!

Oof, there's way too much more to talk about but I don't wanna eat up the whole thread. First time posting, and first time able to talk about all this, so I'm just excited to gush! Needles to say, I loved the book and can't wait to see what everyone else thinks.
Alice Arneson
8. Wetlandernw
Kah-thurak @5 - We talked about that a bit in the beta-readers final reactions. It is a bit... noticeable. While there were plenty of deaths that won’t be undone, none of us are likely to miss Roion all that much, or even Sureblood. And it does give fuel to the idea that Brandon can’t/won’t kill major characters that we’re really invested in. He can, of course: Kelsier was dead in the first book, and his later “reappearances” were revealed to be faked. Kelsier’s death was one of the primary reasons I was, if not absolutely convinced, at least willing to believe that Jasnah might really be dead. As someone said on the Chapter 7 thread, you can’t entirely kill a scholar; she could have been “active” in the remaining books through her writing, as she is in this one.

There are two angles to this character death thing, though. One is that Brandon is an architect. Assuming that Kaladin (as Windrunner), Jasnah, and Szeth are each necessary to the future plot, he couldn’t just kill off Syl or the other two (or anyone else) for the sake of GRRM fans. As an architect, it’s really going to mess things up if you start randomly killing people you were going to need later. And honestly, despite two massive books, he hasn’t had time to give us a real emotional attachment to characters he doesn’t need downstream. (I’m worried for Adolin in book 3, though.)

The other angle is that by “killing” and then bringing back these three, he sets us up to not believe it when he kills someone (all according to plan) in the third or fourth book, and we’ll be (hopefully) all the more devastated because of it. I’m not sure he’s quite that inherently cruel… but I’m not sure he’s not, either!

What I finally came to was this: Well, that's what happened in this part of the story. It's not over yet.
Gerd K
9. Kah-thurak
I thought about Kelsier's role too and that does give hope to the fact that Brandon avoided "inheriting" Jordan's weaknesses along with some of his strengths ;-)

And yes you are right that the emotional attachment to characters that can die at this point is not that big. And I see why having Jasnah "die" and not just "go missing" in Shallan's eyes is important for Shallan's development. But nevertheless... there were a few "fake deaths" too many for my taste and while I am not much of a fan of killing characters for shock effects in the GRRM style, Erikson's works clearly show how much potential a well done character death has for a story.

In the end... we only have to wait 1.5-2.5 years to see how this plays out in the next book :-P
Alice Arneson
10. Wetlandernw
McFly @7 - Isn't it great to stop having to watching your "tongue" all the time? :)

I, too, think the Ghostbloods have Cosmere connections, though I'm not sure all of them know about it. Pretty sure Iyatil and Mraize are hoppers, though.

You are entirely correct about Zahel... And that's why Brandon wouldn't let anyone see WoK Prime.

Kah-thurak @9 - Yes, I think part of the point of Jasnah's death (from a literary perspective) was to put Shallan in a position where she not only could, but had to do these things on her own. I liked the fact that Jasnah truly vanished for the whole book and her return was in the epilogue. For one thing, there was Wit waiting for another wanderer; for another thing, she actually missed out on so many of the development she had expected; for yet another, everyone honestly believes she's dead. And she didn't return at the beginning of Book 3. If she was going to return, I think it works better to have it in the same book, rather than waiting a couple of years. Then it really would feel like cheating. Besides, this way we learn about Elsecallers, too.

FWIW, I would expect 2.5 years for the next book, and about 2 thereafter.
11. McflyCahill90
@Wetlandernw - I know, it feels so good to be able to talk openly now, and I plan on doing just that!

This all feels like we've entered into the true second act of the Cosmere series. Before we just had Hoid running around, causing trouble, but now we have multiple worldhoppers, magic systems clashing, agendas reaching far beyond just their own planet. I feel like now we're going to start seeing those connections come harder and faster as the series moves on, (though not without raising a bajillion questions of course).

Makes me wonder if Vasher and Nightblood arrive on Roshar after the planned Warbreaker sequel. Guess we'll have to wait and see. Though I am excited, as Brandon has RAFOed the idea of an Awakened object against Shardblade. Szeth and Kaladin part 2, maybe?
Jonathan Purcell
12. Lomeon
Thank you so much for this review, Alice! I have been looking forward to it all week.

I completely missed the identity of Zahel! That even after Hoid mentioned that there is someone near his age on the shattered plains and having perfect pitch and the appearance of Nightblood. I suppose it's time to start my second readthrough!

Coincidentally, you never mentioned Hoid in your review. He played a much more substantial role than in The Way of Kings; I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts!
13. Haggis
You be proud to know that I read your message to finish the book before the review and I hit backspace.

That last didn't last long.

On the upside I'm even more excited to finish reading.
14. Gunar
anyone knows how long the audiobook is?
Mike I
15. MikeyRocks
about a third way through and so far I have to say that Kaladin is one rude son of a ***** for calling Lopen's chouta disgusting when he offered him a bite.

So many good quotes so far, the thing about Syl being a tiny bit of god, (the almighty) was very very cool.

There was a scene that remined so much of Rand in WOT, Shallan leaving bloody footprints on the rock, anybody else make the connection (how ever far fetched)?
Alice Arneson
16. Wetlandernw
Lomeon @12 - You're right; I left Hoid out of the review. I really shouldn't have, because you're right - he's becoming more and more involved than we've ever seen him before. FWIW, I had a section about him in an earlier draft, but I threw the whole thing away and started over twice... and I didn't resurrect that part. That was an oversight, and he should have been in the "Everyone Else" section. Here's what I had written in that earlier (unfinished) draft:

Wit gets his own paragraph, mostly because of this:
“I am but a man, Dalinar, so much as I wish it were not true at times. I am no Radiant. And while I am your friend, please understand that our goals do not completely align. You must not trust yourself with me. If I have to watch this world crumble and burn to get what I need, I will do so. With tears, yes, but I would let it happen.” (Chapter 67)
Proof positive that he’s playing another game, a bigger, Cosmere-level game in which Roshar and all its people are merely pieces. We have our own suspicions of what he might be up to, but it’s a bit intimidating to think that he might stand aside and watch our incipient Knights Radiant lose their battle; he might even help them lose, if it suited his purpose. Did you notice his presence in Shallan’s flashback? His role as coachman for Adolin & Shallan was certainly a bit of comic relief, but all in all, his brief appearances in Words of Radiance were eerie.
Jonathan Purcell
17. Lomeon
Wetlandernw @16 - Thank you for sharing that!! I loved that there was a response to Hoid's letter from WoK. The interesting contrast is that, as you quoted, Hoid implies that he would let Roshar be doomed if he must, which seems to be the argument given by the author of the WoR letter. Odium is trapped in this system. The rest of the Cosmere is safe from him. Hoid's inner struggle in this debate seems to mirror Kaladin's; should one be sacrificed to keep many safe? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of one? This is all well and good when Mr. Spock is sacrificing himself to save the crew, but what of a sworn protector allowing the king to be assassinated, or a group of worldhoppers allowing a world to face the wrath of hatred alone?

I also found the absence of the 17th Shard and any of its known members to be fairly conspicuous. Or were they?
Mark Tisdale
18. Shinowa
Odd. The first time my eyes sweated it was for a gruff, bandit of a caravan driver. Bluth, you will be remembered.
Gerd K
19. Kah-thurak
Wetlander @10
Yes, having Jasnah come back at the end of this book instead of at the beginning of the next one is much better - one of Words of Radiance strong points is how well it works as a single volume.
20. Porphyrogenitus
My impression of Darkness and his goals wasn't that he was killing Surgebinders for the sake of killing Surgebinders, but that he was killing them because he mistook causality. He thought that the return of the Knights Radiant would cause a new Desolation, rather than what I am pretty sure is the truth that the Knights Radiant will return in response to and in anticipation of the new Desolation.

One wonders, then, if he will change his course of action now that the Everstorm has appeared and the Voidbringers are on the rise. Clearly it's too late to prevent anything now, so what will he be doing instead?
21. MostGratuitous
First of all. Wow. I felt like a kid again, "I'll just read until 1 AM" 1 turns into 2. 2 turns into 3. 3 turns into 4. "Oh no, I have to go to sleep because I have to be up REALLY SOON.

You raised a lot of really good points @Wetlandernw, though I have to admit that every time someone came back I was thinking, "THIS is the glorious comeback she was talking about!" And then the panic set in that it might not be.

In regards to Darkness, or Nin @20 Porphyrogenitus, I don't think he's going to be coming around anytime soon. The Heralds abandoned their posts. They didn't go back. I doubt that they're going to show up again and say, "Hey, yeah, we're back. Sorry about bailing on you before."

Also, he gave Nightblood to a crazy person.
Alice Arneson
22. Wetlandernw
Also, he gave Nightblood to a crazy person.


Good line, that! :) Yeah, I don't quite see the Heralds suddenly coming back around and being all Heraldic Hero again - except for Taln, of course. (Him... I just hope something enables him to function again soon. Poor guy.) But Nalan, and the others for that matter - they've been backwards too long. I think in their own way, they're probably all nearly as insane as Taln; they just don't show it the same way. It's possible, I suppose, that some of them have just sunk into depression, and will rise again to their earlier honor, but... I don't know. I don't have a lot of hope.

I agree that Nalan seems too smart to still think that he can hold back the Desolation by killing off the Surgebinders, but I don't have any good guesses as to what he will do. Something to do with the Skybreakers... but what that looks like gives me some trepidation.

Speaking of which... are the Skybreakers Nalan is talking about here the same group that Helaran was involved with? Thoughts?
23. birgit
I thought the person Hoid's age was Cultivation (they were talking about a woman he could date).

Could Lift heal Taln's madness?

How does one bond a Honorblade if it's not a spren?
If a Radiant uses a Honorblade of a different order, would he be able to use 4 Surges? Maybe someone could ask Brandon at a signing.
24. parabola
Am I crazy, or did Wit down some metal in his meeting with Shallan's father? She assumed it was poison but he slipped it into his own glass and drank it down.
Mike I
25. MikeyRocks
Am still reading, am going to take it slower than I have the first 24 hours so I can really enjoy the book.

Question: Maybe Wetlander you might know. did Sanderson say how many years the stormlight archive will span? will it be similar to WOT which is really only a few years.
Dixon Davis
26. KadesSwordElanor
Going to get the book this afternoon. Have managed to stay away from "new" spoilers thus far. In the words of Arnold "I'll be bahck." Happy reading everybody.
Paul Keelan
27. noblehunter
Guh. Kal. You spent way too much time in this book reminding me of Dark!Rand. I think I may have cause to regret Brandon getting tasked to finish WoT. He did not need that sort of practice, damnit. Eshonai, too. I spent every interlude hoping that she would come back and just not. Damn her sister anyways.

Also, all Radiants are damaged? Did I read that right? That to bond a spren you need to experience some kind of trauma? I read the book in one sitting so I might be having trouble parsing it out.

Speaking of damage, it's interesting to see how differently Kaladin and Shallan cope. Shallan forgets and seems to be really good at which really helps her run her cons. Which she's essentially been doing it since her mother died (oh man, those flashbacks are gonna hurt on re-read). Kal, though, remembers too much and makes him bad at faking it. He can barely deal with lighteyes at all and it almost corrupts him. If he had continued down the dark path, could he have bonded a voidspren? I seem to recall a moment of red light.

Zahel is V!? I knew I was supposed to recognize him, but WTF? And then Nightblood!? I mean, hi crazy sword of death, but I'm not really glad to see you. Can Nightblood run on Stormlight instead of Breath?
Gerd K
28. Kah-thurak
I dont really get the criticism of Kaladin for his decisions in the novel. Considering what happened to him it is completely understandable that he does not trust the nobility and his difficulties of adapting to the noble (and not allways sensible) ideals of an order that does not even exist anymore and were never explcitely explained to him are also no suprise.

In fact he does actually tell Dalinar about Amaram's betrayal and is ignored. And ethically it is not really wrong not to protect a bad and dangerous king - his obligations are to Dalinar not Elhokar, who is only King because his Father, Dalinar and Sadeas killed a lot of people. It may be politically stupid, and not the thing he can do while beeing a Windrunner, but he just did not know these things.
29. parabola
Am I the only one who blames Dalinar for invoking the Abstruse-Or-Nonexistent-Communication-Rule-Of-Dramatic-Dialogue™ by not cluing Kaladin in on his investigations of Amaram and the whole ambiguous-apology-demand conversation opener.
Maybe Kaladin wouldn't have been so challenge-happy if he knew Dalinar really was looking into it.
30. herald
The meeting I'm most looking forward to in the coming books is the Heralds coming face to face with Taln and having to confront what they did to him/put him through. They sacrificed him for their own gain essentially.
Gerd K
31. Kah-thurak
Dalinar would not want to involve Kaladin in his investigation of Amaram, as he would know him to be biased and the best way to keep him out of it, is not to inform him...
32. parabola

You're right, and I was speaking tongue-in-cheek, but I still see it as the trope you often find to ratchet up dramatic tension. (As Alan Tudyk so often mentions in his audio commentaries of Firefly.)
Why not just have Dalinar let Kaladin know that D's actively investigating it? Why doesn't D say, "I have an opportunity that will let me see what kind of man Amaram is. Just give me some time."?
Jeremy Guebert
33. jeremyguebert
Thanks for your sharing your thoughts, Wetlander!

After being at the local bookstore when it opened at 9:30am and reading pretty much straight through until 4:15:am when I finished the book, I can confirm three things:

1) Brandon Sanderson is absolutely brilliant.
2) It's a good thing I was able to take two days off instead of one, because I would be a wreck at work today otherwise.
3) There was so much going on in this book that I'm likely going to need a re-read or two before I can comment cogently on a lot of the finer details.
34. TAO
Well next book kaladin may be on his own which should be fun. Anyway I might be wrong but this book totally sets up kal and shallan
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
birgit @23 – I agree; my first thought was Cultivation when it came to a woman “his own age.” I would love to hear the answer about how one bonds an Honorblade…

Parabola @24 – You are correct. I missed it the first time through.

Mikey @25 – I don’t recall hearing anything about the timespan for the Archive. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Peter can weigh in on that… if he knows.

noblehunter @27 – “Also, all Radiants are damaged? Did I read that right?” I think so… I’m not sure exactly what that means, though.

Kah-thurak @28 – Yes, Kaladin’s decisions are understandable… but they’re still not good. And you don’t agree to an assassination – whether by committing to direct participation, or by committing to look the other way – just because the king has made some stupid decisions. What really hurts, though, is the number of indications he had from Sylphrena that he completely ignored. IMO.

Re: Dalinar & Amaram, he did look into Kaladin’s accusation. He was lied to, but he looked, and he told Kaladin about it.
“…I checked into what you said, after you brought it to my attention the first time. Seventeen witnesses told me that Amaram won his Shardblade only four months ago, long after your ledger says you were made a slave.”
“Seventeen men,” Dalinar repeated. “Lighteyed and dark, along with the word of a man I’ve known for decades…”
Because of Kaladin’s insistence, even after that much evidence for the other side, Dalinar did yet another test, so I don’t think you can blame Dalinar all that much. And frankly, if you look back at the conversation on page 750 (near the end of Ch. 62, if you’re ebooking), Kaladin wasn’t honestly listening to either Dalinar or Syl. Understandable? Sure. Wise? Thoughtful? Honorable? No. Dalinar proceeded with the test almost immediately, because it’s during the time right after this conversation, when Kaladin & Adolin were in prison, that Dalinar was “ill” for a week, bonding that Blade. Once he’d conceived the test and set it in motion, he really didn’t have a chance to tell Kaladin about it, because by the time he’d bonded the Blade, Kal was released from prison and they set off on the chasmfiend-viewing expedition, and Kaladin fell into the chasm.
Paul Keelan
36. noblehunter
@34 I certainly hope not. The only way to Kaladin/Shallan is to remove Adolin, and I like that boy too much. It's more likely they will become bros in tweaking the noses of assorted lighteyes. Alethi reactionaries will be dropping like flies from sheer apoplexy. Unless the voidbringers get them first. *shudders*

Though Kaladin/Shallan/Adolin has potential to be very interesting. It'd be a delicious scandal I'm sure.

ETA: The worst thing about Kaladin arc in this book is how understandable it is. He's being so wrong, repeatedly, but it makes sense. I'm just glad we got his epiphany in this book and not the next one (or later).

Sidenote: Both Adolin and Shallan have lost mothers and have fathers could not speak of them, albeit for very different reasons.
37. parabola
@Wetlandernw, re: Dalinar not having a chance to clue Kaladin in about his plan... That's a really good point. I did think about the timeline regarding that... plus, I might have been guilty of a little skimming when Kaladin went Rand-in-a-box on us.
Paul Keelan
38. noblehunter
I thought his Rand-in-a-box moment was last book. Please let this have been his Rand-throwing-Tam-across-the-room moment. Especially since Kal's going back to see his family. Otherwise we might still have Rand-in-a-cell and Dark-Lord-of-the-Sith-Rand still to come.

One storming day after release and I'm starting to freak out about the next book. I have an odd relationship with fiction.
Maiane Bakroeva
39. Isilel
Very enjoyable, despite certain flaws.

Shallan's backstory is really brilliant and her chapters were great most of the time, though there was some too convenient and irritating stuff too.
I had an inkling that her blade was different with the whole "but she didn't need 10 seconds to summon it" and then the blade being described as glowing, but I didn't figure out that it was actually Pattern - I kinda resisted the notion that shards were spren and thought that she somehow managed to make it/summon an untainted blade from Shadesmar.
Anyway, kudos to people who figured the shards out and the whole Helaran being Amaram's attacker too.
Kaladin's plot, while annoying and a tad too lengthy, rang very true IMHO. He couldn't and shouldn't have gotten over his lighteyes issues easily. It is a bit unfair that Jasnah can go on pragmatic assassination sprees, yet retain her abilities, while Kaladin has to be 100% honorable and unselfish, but that's the price of being able to fly, I guess ;). Oh, and I totally called Shen being a Parshendi spy, go me!

Eshonai :(. Very poignant and sad. Also, Jasnah was right, sigh. Yet this makes me wonder - how did the ancestors of Parshendi manage to rebel? Eshonai seemed to be almost wholly mind-controlled, but maybe she was overhelmed by something previously unknown to her and it is possible to resist more with experience? There must be hope for her and the Parshmen, or she would have been unambiguously killed.
Also, I didn't understand, maybe due to tiredness from the reading marathon, - didn't Parshendi have to actively choose to bond the Odium spren, attune themselves to specific songs, etc? I.e. shouldn't those who are already bonded with other spren be safe from unwanted posession? Maybe the solution is to somehow bond Parshmen to wholesome spren before it is too late?

Less than enthused about Szeth surviving and generally iffy about the many fake deaths. I really hope that we won't have to deal with a vengeful zombie Sadeas next.
Still, I am perveresly relieved that the blade he got is Nightblood from Warbreaker and not an anti-shardblade running on Odium-ligh, as I thought when I read this scene in the early hours of the morning. Still kind of scared of what Nalan is about now and really don't want Szeth to become a genuine Skybreaker. I mean, it is one thing to do shady stuff like Shallan or even Jasnah, but being a mass-murderer should disqualify you from Radiancy, IMHO.
I knew that swordmaster Zahel was Somebody Extraordinary and Unnaturaly Long-lived, but it never occured to me that he was V!

Dalinar - he was bonded to the Skyfather the whole time, wasn't he? Hence the dreams. An interesting situation, where your own spren wants to kill you, heh. Was great to see his doggedness to finally, finally pay off.
Also, what was the deal with "the madman's blade"? The madman was Herald Taln, so why wasn't Dalinar's last shardblade a heraldic one? Which shouldn't have made him hear screams? I am confused.
Also, what does it mean that Renarin, while already bonding his spren didn't seem particularly uncomfortable with the Plate, only the Blade?

Incidentally, poor Gavilar seems to have kicked a proper hornet's nest with his insights into an upcoming Desolation and caused several ruthless would-be world saviors to embark on their bloody courses. Which now collide with and sabotage those of the _Real Saviors_ (TM)!

BTW, it is rather interesting that the Radiants appear to actually be a _superior_ version of the Heralds, ability-wise.
Personality-wise, the Heralds have protected the Rosharian humanity for eons and bore the torments for it, all without the support and guidance of personal spren. They must have been people of rare strength and integrity, but being people they did break eventually. What happened to them was a terrible tragedy, IMHO.
Hopefully, the Oath-pact is going to be properly dissolved and they will be finally released from whatever it is still keeping them around and twisting them. Bluth's words about deserters seem to apply to them with particular poignance, it seems.
Re: Taln - what did those moments of lucidity mean? Is he faking it now, too tired and terrified to come forth and pick up the burden alone?

: P.S.:

noblehunter @27
Also, all Radiants are damaged? Did I read that right?
Well, Shallan appears to have been a happy little girl when she first bonded Pattern, before her mother went wacko on her. And we don't know about Jasnah. But everybody else so far, yes.
Niraj Merchant
40. NirajMerchant
This was truly excellent! I stayed up all night reading it because I couldnt sleep, and can barely function at work today.

I think my favorite moment was probably the 4 shardbearer duel.

On a side note, is anyone going to the San Francisco signing?
41. parabola
I'm also finding it pretty darn shady that the Stormfather and Wit are both so blasé about the whole "You're doomed... the world's ending... what's on the telly?" thing.
I suppose they both have access to the big picture...
42. Gunar
What is the embossing on the front cover? my guess is a shardblade with something around it...

I got the first weird feeling about Shallan's shardblade when she was in the chasm with Kaladin. She changed the size of it to better remove stones, and we never saw that before.

how does shardplate work? my guess is Kaladin and many other will get it some day. But why doesnt it hurt Renarin?
We know the old KR could remove the helmet in an eyeblink. That sounds very close to Syl changing into weapons.
So will Syl be able to be Shardblade/spear/shield/axe and Shardplate someday?
Maybe Kaladin needs to speak an other ideal or two
Tricia Irish
43. Tektonica
I am so frustrated by all the references to characters from other Sanderson works appearing here. I've read most of said books, but years ago. Could/would someone kindly make a list of who is from other books and who they are? Am I the only one so befuddled?
Angela Vaughan
44. karaokeang
I loved this book and it stood up to all my expectations which is wonderful.

Couple of theories/thoughts...
1) You need to "snap" to become available to bond with a spren. You need to be a little broken. This makes you worthy for a spren but also opens you to Odium's influence. How you respond also determines who you get?

2) I totally think Kaladin was feeling Odium's influence in the majority of the book. Kal seemed to get darker and darker and to feel his hatred (Odium) more fully. Shallan is truly a lightweaver and was able to bring light to Kal allowing him to escape Odium's influence.

3) Jasnah needed to be gone this whole entire book. She knew too much and it wouldn't have been fun for us for her to tell us everything. We do need her in the future books though. Her going to get more information and finding out at the end that things are different this time is awesome. Her knowledge will be a great basis but she doesn't know everything.

4) As an aside, I totally think Jasnah went to Scadriel and am looking forward to seeing her make an appearance in the AoL books.

5) Taln's blade is still out there. My guess is that Bordin/Amaram changed it out for another before it even made it to the Shattered Plains. This is bad.... I also hope that Taln snaps out of it. He needs to spend some time with Shallan.

6) I am so excited to see all the different factions. This is going to get fun trying to figure out who is who and who is good and bad and who to cheer for.

7) There is still another 2 magic systems that we hardly know anything about on Roshar.
a. We know that the Unmade are Odium spren. We even got a couple of their names. We also know that they are capable of moving around and have a huge sphere of influence. Exciting!
b. We haven't seen anything from Cultivation yet. I am thinking that Nightwatcher is a spren like Stormfather. They are both probably originally Adonalsium's and then modified by Tanavast.
I love the theorizing about the magic systems and can't wait to find out more.

8) I think there were a couple more heralds hidden in the book that we heard actual words from. I am thinking the girl with the mask is one of them. At first I was suspicious about Zahel as a herald but then figured him out. I am not entirely convinced that the heralds are so broken they can not be fixed.

Hahas I was right!
Can I just say how thrilling it is to have theories about the books and have them be right? I had proposed a theory on the 17th Shard about spren becoming shardblades. It wasn't very well liked and made me sad. BUT I WAS RIGHT!! Sorry, I had to get that out.

Also I was glad to see that I surmised correctly about a couple of glimpses and who they were about. The Sureblood one surprised me though. I totally think Brandon needs to explain more about Ryshadiums though. I don't think I was invested in the bond enough. Thought - Example of cultivation magic???

Okay.. Enough already!

Want to thank Brandon for being awesome?!?! Participate in the WOR Tour Scrapbook. Find out how at http://wortourscrapbook.blogspot.com.
Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw
Isilel - I'm hoping your suggestion about "bonding the parshmen to wholesome spren to prevent their being bonded by Odium spren" is correct, because it will be awesome to watch somebody figure it out in the next book - and I'd bet Shen will be part of it, if so. Without something like that, any parshman caught by surprise by the Everstorm going wrong-way-to is going to be inadvertenly bonded to a stormspren, and it will be bad news. It certainly does seem that the Odium spren take control of the body in a way the other spren never did.

I'm still really baffled by that Blade Dalinar bonded (and then unbonded at the end). It didn't scream until he was actually consciously *bonded* to the Stormfather, but it sure did then. And I thought the screaming came from the "dead" spren, so an Honorblade shouldn't scream. So it can't be Taln's real Honorblade. I'm so confused...

karaokeang - I think I saw one person (possibly you, but I haven't been on 17thShard much) touch on the idea that the spren becomes the Blade, but needless to say I didn't comment. :) Even then, the idea that they don't become locked into existence as a Blade, but can zip in and out of any shape they chose, and be as solid as they want... What a concept, eh? Can't wait to find out how the Plate is formed!

Will miss seeing you in Seattle. Have fun for me, and look out for AhoyMatey there, as well.
Mike I
46. MikeyRocks
Wetlander, I just finished part 2. I take back everything I said, I think am in love with Shallan, what am I gonna tell my wife. :)
Nadine L.
47. travyl
Zahel - I suspected him to be a Herald and surmised it must be Ishar, (the chapter had his face as icon, and I thought it fitting that the pius/guiding Herald would "hide" among ardents.) But reading the arguments about the color-metaphors I have to agree, V. (I did get the other Warbreaker "stuff": Hoid's perfect pitch and Nightblood.

I suspect Hoid must have swapped Taln’s Honorblade for a “normal” Shardblade. Maybe he has it now? We saw Hoid witnessing Taln arrive and in WoR it is mentioned that he was with Taln on the way to the Shattered plain initially.

Hoid’s appearances: Where was he in Shallan’s first trip to the Ghostbloods? The masked man icon is there, but where is he? (Other than Shallan's thought of Mraize distantly matching his image)

I do wonder,what Kaladin did with Szeths Honorblade – maybe give it to Adolin to become his sparring partner? Would he dare give the sword to anyone (knowing it does't have oath-prohibitions) and after his experience with Moash?

I tought Shallan’s backstory a bit anticlimatic, but it could be because I expected too much, after the alpha-gamma readers comments.

I really hope we do not lose "our" Lopen. I don't really like that he is no longer 'armless.

And last (for now): What the hell is up whit the number epigraphs? And what does the "every second letter ..." on some other epigraphs mean?
Somebody please tell me, once it's figured out. (I'm still baffled that someoe tried and managed to translate Navani's WoK pages, so I'm sure somebody will manage to understand the clues here as well, but it is certainly not me.
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
Mikey @46 - WOOT! I knew you were going to see her differently... :D

travyl @47 - DUH!! I feel pretty stupid now... Of course it was Hoid that switched the Blades. ::facepalm:: It should have been obvious, since he was the one who met Taln, and traveled back toward the Plains with Bordin & Taln, and then just took off part way there. And if anyone could find a Blade no one knew about, it would be Hoid, of course. So does that mean he's got an Honorblade to go with the Breath and the Moon Scepter (?) and the bead of lerasium and whatever else he's collected?

Re: the epigraphs... no, I'll leave that for people to figure out.
49. Gauss
Just finished. Being on the front of a bridge run with parshendi all aiming arrows at me might have been more mentally relaxing(and maybe physically too) than reading this book ;). Hence, please excuse any typos.

I might not remember correctly but while Kaladin had Sylphrena in weapon/shardblade form she did/could not manifest in her usual girl/spren form while during the chamsfiend assault on Kaladin and Shallan where Pattern existed in his Shardblade form Shallan appeared to talk to pattern as if he was in proximity in his normal spren form implying he could be weapon and spren simultaneously.Just a small oddity.
@44 Tektonica The list you wanted
1. The characters sure of:
Hoid (aka Wit) (Interspersed throughout all of Brandons books)
Vasher (aka Zahel) (Warbreaker)
Nightblood (aka black evil sword with szeth of the the fifth heightening, not really a chracter but dont let it hear you say that ;) ) (Warbreaker)
2. The character unsure of :
Mraize and Iyatil (suspected worldhopper)
I am not mentioning characters from WoK who came to Purelake as they are not technically in this book but mostly because my head and eyes hurt so bad and i cant remember anything properly but still want more stormlight ( I hope you like the joke)
Others can link you to apt threads (As far as I remember one was an Atium misting (Mistborn) while one came from sel and was the main companion of the protagonist both of whose names I cannot remember(Elantris))
It might be better to stop writing now(It took me three tries to solve the captcha while posting comments). Three cheers for Brandon and the amazing work he has accomplished with The Stormlight Archive.
Gerd K
50. Kah-thurak
Kah-thurak @28 – Yes, Kaladin’s decisions are understandable… but they’re still not good. And you don’t agree to an assassination – whether by committing to direct participation, or by committing to look the other way – just because the king has made some stupid decisions. What really hurts, though, is the number of indications he had from Sylphrena that he completely ignored. IMO.
For one I have no problem with fictional characters making bad decisions, as long as they are believable. Real world persons make bad decisions all the time after all...

Also I think that it totally depends on the person to be assassinated whether one can agree to it or not. In case of nearly all "normal" persons it would be completely unacceptable. For absolute rulers things are different. Ethically beeing an absolute ruler is unacceptable in itself unless the ruler would be benign and only interested in the well beeing of his subjects - which is clearly not the case for Elhokar, who is responsible for a lot of misery. And lets not forget that he wanted to have Kaladin executed for speaking out of place... that there are reasons for Kaladin to protect Elhokar after all is another thing entirely.
Alice Arneson
51. Wetlandernw
Kah-thurak - Keep in mind that I'm not criticizing Brandon for having written Kaladin behave this way. :) I think it was well done.

I think it's very realistic for Kal to make bad decisions, even ones this bad - but I criticize real people's bad decisions too, including my own. I'm not going to argue whether or not assassination is ever an acceptable solution, but it seems obvious to me that in this case, it is absolutely not, and I think Kaladin should recognize that. Elhokar has never been a brutal, vicious dictator, nor has he ever held absolute power over his people as a whole. He has been too easily led, both by bad advisors and by his own temper, but he's also at times been led by good advisors, as is currently the case. Kaladin, of all people, has been in a position to see that, and to see the king as only human. Unfortuately, for all his anger at the lighteyes attitudes toward darkeyes, he can't get past his own attitude toward lighteyes.
52. _Elena
@34 TAO //Well next book kaladin may be on his own which should be fun. Anyway I might be wrong but this book totally sets up kal and shallan//
1) I really hope he won't be *for the whole book*
(anyway, still fangirling after Kal's parents next book - I loved them so much in WoK.)
2) It totally does, but IMO not in an endgame way, more in a Perrin/Faile/Berelain kind of way which.... I'm actually surprisingly alright with. I'm actually excited about it -- Brandon is very much better at managing romantic subplots than RJ, especially in that he really keeps in the background, so a triangle between the three characters I like the most sounds very much awesome to me as long as it doesn't take up too much space.

And now I need to go reread the book before I can actually offer anything remotely constructive from a plot-related point of view.
53. Hb
Awesome book.. took a lot to read it all in one sitting.. For the people asking about becoming KR. the hints are all over the place. If i remember correctly taravangian interlude had a 'diagram' qoute that was intriquing and perhaps the best explanation because Dalinar didnt snap when he bonded stormfather.. Shallan, Jasnah and perhaps Renarin didnt bond their sprens in moments of great distress. the problems arose after the bonding.. I may be wrong..
54. flyingtoastr
Am I the only one who pictured Brandon cackling manically when Szeth recieved Nightblood and saying "you guys wanted to know what happens when a Shardblade meets Nightblood? How about I have Nightblood versus eight Honorblades?"

I'm sure he plotted it in advance, but I like to think he's an evil genius.

I'm actually glad to see what happened to Szeth. I don't think that his murderous rampage should prevent him from joining the Radiants. Sure, he's a little insane, but everyone else is just as broken. Kaladin shows a lot of the signs of clinical depression (or very bad Seasonal Affective Disorder, at the least), Shallan almost certainly has a case of PTSD, Dalinar can't remember a decent chunk of his life, Jasnah is probably a high-funtioning sociopath, and Renarin is... Renarin. Szeth could find purpose --- if not redemption --- working to combat the desolation with the others.

Other random thoughts:
- Kaladin totally has the hots for Shallan. She seems like she reciprocates, at least a little.
- Syl's line about turning into a spear was the single greatest moment of the book.
- Eshonai's interludes are heart wrenching. There's something seriously off about her sister that I want to know more about.
- I didn't catch that Zahel was you-know-who at first, I merely thought he was a Herald in hiding (with the comment about highstorms being "invested to the hilt"). Looking back on it, his colorful metaphors are a fantastic clue. I wonder what he's doing on Rorshar.
- Hoid isn't afraid of a Shardblade, saying that Jasnah's is "useless" against him. He's obviously a pretty heavily invested individual --- Perfect Pitch means he's at least the second heightening (200 breaths). But that does spell interesting things for the cosmere. Could a Feruchemist be immune to Shardblades by tapping a Nicrosil metalmind? What about a Returned? At what point does a Shardblade just become a sharp piece of metal?
John Brown
55. Seerow
I have to comment, the one point where I really just put the book down and took time to laugh for a while was when we got a flash over to where Kaladin had stored Elhokar. After all of the tension of the climax, getting there and having that moment of levity really helped relax things, and was one of the very genuinely funny things in the book. (Sorry, I love Brandon's writing, but his humor can be a bit forced sometimes. Though I did like that he poked fun at that himself in some places in this book)
56. Rayd
I'm a little curious about the spren bond and weapons/plate.

First, if Syl can change form pretty much at will, how far can it be stretch? Can it be modified on the go to suddenly stretch out and slice an opponent that had barely dodged? I feel this wasn't properly talked about in the book... Kaladin kept switching weapon forms but if he had that ability he would have suddenly trapped Szeth's weapon by changing shapes (make a circular shape with a hole in the middle, close the hole when sharblade is stuck inside), or just avoided his weapon by having his weapon become some bizarre contraption wrapping around/dodging the shardblade.

I also wonder if the Shardplate will end up being a second spren, or an extension if the bond with the spren, where they end up having enough power to do more than just be a weapon. I'd guess the latter makes a lot more sense, but it's still somewhat up in the air.
I'm guessing voidspren can possibly also become plate and armor, and that we have already seen some of these wielded by humans.

I was glad to get explanations for the deathrattles and The Thrill, which both seem related to voidspren. As expected, the Thrill seems to fuel Odium, and is a thing to avoid entirely.

Overall I liked the book. Some decisions from the characters had me shaking my head (mostly Shallan... from suddenly deciding she wanted to be a con artist, to suddenly deciding she wanted more freedom than going with the Kholin family, to infiltrating the ghostbloods and finally to potentially joining them for real... All of those decisions just made me shake my head. Several others seemed insane as well of course : characters just not talking to each other to crazy extents, Kaladin challenging Amaran and Adolin murdering Sadeas all jump out as me... the last one is quite understandable character wise though. I don't feel that Kaladin suddenly calling out a challenge fit his character though.

Thankfully a lot of the uninteresting stupidity seemed to have cleared out by the end of the book, but I can see many stupid decisions in the future.

My biggest disappointments with the book :
-The main characters pretty much all doing stupid things consecutively. I wasn't really impressed by mid-book. The climax helped restore my image of the book but it doesn't remove the boring sections in my opinion. The story took a lot of turns I didn't expect but more important turns I didn't want and usually because of characters' decisions I felt where out of character or just terrible.
-No real confrontation between Kaladin and Amaran. I wanted a real confrontation, from the get-go when Amaran came into camp. The revelation that Amaran hadn't even realized Kaladin was alive until he challenged him... wow. Not even during the fight did he recognize him? He didn't hear the rumors about a darkeyed man that had just gotten promoted to head of Dalinar's guard when we know pretty much the entire warcamp is talking about him? I just couldn't suspend my disbelief. The confrontation wouldn't have needed to be long, it could've gone a lot of ways, and given more tension to Kaladin's early parts with his and Dalinar's reactions (which I also found pretty bad, even if he was investigating behind the scenes). It also would've allowed for an early Amaran chapter, to maybe give some insight into this character a little earlier. It felt like it all got dumped into a couple of pages pretty quickly and no climax came out of the revelations of Dalinar's investigation. I know the fallout will continue, but it just happened all at once and was less impactful for me that way. Overall the impression that I got from Amaran was just a dull character. In the first book, he gave the impression of a regretful man, and I 100% expected to have some early chapters after a confrontation with Kaladin showing his inner turmoil, and possibly to feel some compassion for this character. Instead we got a very different character that seems contrary to how he was portrayed in the flashbacks of Kaladin, short as they were : a man with no remorse or second though.
-Jasnah and Szeth being brought bath to life. I'm never a fan of this in books. I know Jasnah is a powerful person --- a soulcaster --- and that it's a shock that she can suddenly just be stabbed to death in the night. To me that showed just how fragile their powers were : still human despite their super powers. Able to die and be surprised. To have that kind of nullified... I'm not a fan of it. Szeth still being alive just seems like a cop-out for me. I didn't like the explanation and it opens the door for so many ressurections in the future.

Overall for me the first book was a 9.5/10 and this one was a 8/10. A good read, worth the wait and without any gigantic failures, but I will not be awaiting the third book with as much eagerness as I did this one (I'll still be reading it of course). I had enormous expectations, and they were relatively met, but the story simply took too many choices I didn't feel were interesting for me compared to different paths it could've taken to reach a similar result.
Eric Wyatt
57. SunDriedRainbow
Just finished! My poor facebook keeps getting incredibly cryptic all caps responses to things, haha.

I am violently opposed to Kaladin/Shallan because I ship Adolin/Shallan so hard. They are adorable.

I jumped up and cheered with Jasnah came back. I was convinced she would return to open the Oathgate, so I was really sad when she didn't...but then BAM!

The sky battle was awesome. Shallan having to stand up and just deal with things and get things done was awesome.

I'm on a Sanderson high right now. I might have more coherent thoughts later.

I'm super interested in seeing the denonspoilered review, by the way, Wetlander. What's the timeline on that? I know you said it would be some time after release.
Patrick Mosbacker
58. Patillian
What an unproductive two days! I loved it. There were a couple of spots where I laughed out loud, but I think my favorite was when Wit turned up driving the coach. Kaladin, Adolin, and Shallan all recognize him separately, but in relatively quick succession. You! Me! It just cracked me up for some reason. (Though I was very sad to find out Kaladin had lost the flute. No way that is just that. The flute will return somehow.)

My biggest remaining questions:
1. What of the remaining Parshendi? Both those in Stormform and those who escaped? And how had Venli and her buddies already been corrupted? Was even nimbleform corrupt? The form was "crushed by the gods" as the epigraph said?

2. Will the corrupt spren in the storm now transform the parshmen into the other freaky sounding forms since they don't need another storm? (nightform, decayform, etc.)

3. I couldn't quite figure the relationship between the Ghostbloods and Taravangian's pattern folk. They obviously worked together some, but Mraize and mask lady are weird and seemd to say once that they didn't like Taravangian.

4. Will Bridge 4, Lopen, etc. be equal to Kaladin or surgebinding lesser troops of some sort?

5. Nalan was freaky. The Ym interlude was depressing. If he doesn't have his original blade, are his Skybreakers a voidbinding fascimile of the originals? How else would he have power still? who was the guy who woks for Jezerezah in the prologue?

The book featured constant examples of people hitting turning points and changing. Many for better: Gaz and other soldiers, the driver in the same battle, the lazy highlord Shallan stays with, other highlords at last battle, Renarin in many ways, Kaladin. As well as negative change/choice: Kaladin, Moash, Szeth. Adolin had seemed to hit thath positive point along with so many others and lived up to his best self, but the ending was in direct contradiction to the "moral" Kaladin had just learned, as well as Shallan, Lift, Ym, etc. My prediction is that Adolin will fall in some sort of moral way like Moash, Sadea, Amaram, which will eventually lead to the dormant affinity between Shallan and Kaladin to fill in that hole eventually...rather than an active love triangle thing.
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
SunDriedRainbow @57 - With you on all points! :) The "denonspoilered" (love that word!) post is ready, I just have to decide whether to give you the 2000-word version or the 6000-word one. (In other words, just the answers, or answers with commentary.)

Patillian @58 - I guess after he answered all those questions for us, he had to leave us more to chew on while we wait for the next book, eh?
Monica Sanchez
60. hixe
Ah, I loved the book! Kaladin was so frustrating at times but the ending was just great. Read it in one sitting, then went back and reread some of my favorite bits. I really liked the way they set up the skybreaker/justice thing early, when Kaladin is talking about how killing Amaram would be justice, and Syl tells him that he shouldn't think like that since he's not a skybreaker.

Also, not sure if anyone's mentioned it, or if it's a real hint (It's been a couple of years since I read warbreaker), but wasn't Hoid named Dust there? When Kaladin talks to Zahel at the end, and asks if he's seen Wit, he replies, "oh, Dust." I might be remembering incorrectly, though.

I do have one thing that's been bugging me, though I admit it's probably from reading the book too fast. Hopefully someone knows what I missed. When Shallan shows up at the gates and Kaladin confronts her, he tells her that the person she's supposed to be is drowned and the only one who could confirm her identity is dead, but Shallan hasn't said anything about Jasnah being dead yet, and as far as I know nobody knows anything about what happened to their ship (from an earlier comment made by Navini, where she assumes she's gone somewhere else). So, um, how did Kaladin know she was supposed to have drowned?
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
hixe @60 - Before Shallan got there, they had received reports saying that the ship had been lost with all hands. (Chapter 35) I assume that's what Kaladin based his statement on.
62. dhazellouise
I ship Kaladin/Shallan!!! They are better together than Adolin/Shallan. I love listening to Kaladin and Shallan argue!!! AHAHA
63. birgit
And what does the "every second letter ..." on some other epigraphs mean?

When Taravangian wrote the text he sometimes squeezed different lines of text in the same space. It seems that in some place he put one line of text in the gaps between the letters of another line.

I might not remember correctly but while Kaladin had Sylphrena in weapon/shardblade form she did/could not manifest in her usual girl/spren form while during the chamsfiend assault on Kaladin and Shallan where Pattern existed in his Shardblade form Shallan appeared to talk to pattern as if he was in proximity in his normal spren form implying he could be weapon and spren simultaneously.

Kaladin could talk to Syl when she was the shardblade, too.

I don't have the book with me at the moment, but either Adolin or Renarin was always playing with a box. If it was Renarin, could that be his spren?
Tricia Irish
64. Tektonica
Gauss@49: THANK YOU!!!

Wetlander@59: I'd love ALL your thoughts! Give us the big one! (Pretty please.)

I don't know how some of you read that in one sitting! OMG. Talk about fanny fatigue!
Mark Tisdale
65. Shinowa
I guess I had better go ahead and read Warbreaker!
66. TBGH
Sadeas was chilling. The way events stripped away all his self-delusions and he just felt, "Yeah, I'm going to kill them and take over anyway."

I too felt some aspects of the present Shallan storyline seemed . . . filled with fortuitous coincidences. But it did allow a great look into the kind of radiant someone bonded to a lie-spren (yeah, yeah, cryptics, i know) would turn into.

Adolin is awesome, and I can't wait to see his next conversation with Dalinar in book 3.

Kaladin was extra mopey, but it all kind of clicked with me when he compared his current life to when he was struggling against impossible odds to save the bridgemen. I approve.

I didn't catch V either, but it is SO obvious now after reading the post.

And finally, more Wit please!
Alice Arneson
67. Wetlandernw
birgit @63 - It was indeed Renarin. Now that you mention it, there's a fair chance it has something to do with his spren... Can a spren manifest itself as a metal box? I guess I don't know why not, though most spren don't manifest as something so solid. Not knowing anything about his, except that his name is Glys and he makes Renarin a Truthwatcher, we can't say much for now. It would be an interesting question to ask Brandon at a signing, though.
Maiane Bakroeva
68. Isilel
Wetlandernw @12:
I agree that Nalan seems too smart to still think that he can hold back the Desolation by killing off the Surgebinders, but I don't have any good guesses as to what he will do.
Your revelation in the "Glimpses of Radiance" thread shows that Nalan should know very well what causes a Desolation, no? Namely a Herald breaking under torture and leaving the place of torment where Odium keeps them in the interim.
Which is amazingly awful and makes me think that Heralds couldn't have been really sane for a long, long time. There is only so much trauma and guilt that a person can bear, even an extraordinary and enhanced one.
So, either Nalan was lying about his reasons for killing surgebinders or he is so deep in madness and denial that he has forgotten it. Either way, since Desolation is already here, I sincerely hope that he is going to stop.

Also, what we have learned about Heraldic blades and Tanavast/Honor in this book makes me come full circle to my initial impression that he was an advanced alien (yes, one who was also holding a Honor shard) and that technology he granted humankind was being mistaken for magic.
In a fairly unique twist, in this case technology actually _inspires_ magic. Heraldic shards seem to be of technological nature, while those of the Radiants are magical.
And, of course, this resolves my main quibble with Stormlight Archive worldbuilding - people's inability to copy the shards, despite being rather advanced in the science of fabrial. As it turns out, the only shardblades that _could_ have been successfully studied and copied were secretly hoarded by the Shin! Do they also have Heraldic armor, I wonder? And where is Taln's set?
In the matter of explosives and ranged weapons (conventional or stormlight-powered), I guess that the Rosharians are in the same place mentally as Chinese were with black powder or pre-Columbus civilizations of Americas with the wheel. I.e. they didn't (yet?) make a conceptual jump on their own and none of the technically advanced worldhoppers chose to enlighten them. All to the best, probably, knowing humanity.
Odium, OTOH, probably just wants maximum suffering, so introducing weapons of mass destruction might break his toy too early? Not sure about this.

Travyl @47:
I suspect Hoid must have swapped Taln’s Honorblade for a “normal” Shardblade. Maybe he has it now?
Yes! That explains it handily. He must have done it really early on, too, before Taln came to attention of trusted Kholin retainers, because they would have noticed swapping of a distinctive shardblade for a different-looking one. But of course, Wit was there when Taln first arrived, so it was very possible for him to do. But _why_ did he do it? So that people would't recognize an obviously crazy man for a Herald and despair? It couldn't have been to appropriate Taln's blade, because it is still bonded to Taln, now that I think about it. Taln may be mad, but he is still locked into "doing heraldic duty" mode and wouldn't relinquish his sword.
So, Dalinar never even _could_ have bonded Taln's real honorblade, like I thought he did. Duh!
OTOH, no Heralds appearing may cause problems, because people will refuse to believe that a Desolation has truly come (like Sadeas did). Hm...
I tought Shallan’s backstory a bit anticlimatic, but it could bebecause I expected too much, after the alpha-gamma readers comments.
I was shocked to learn that her idealized, beloved mother was even crazier than her abusive father. Because it takes a particular kind of batshit not just to agree that your little girl needs to be killed (this, I could imagine, sadly), but to watch it being done and be prepared to do it personally. Oh, and another utterly heartbreaking thing that I didn't even realize until I read Alice's review - that Lin Davar didn't refrain from physically abusing Shallan and occasionally listened to her because he loved her more than her siblings or because she was a girl or because she was the youngest, but because he was afraid of her shardblade.

This also makes me think that Davar must have done something stupid on the night of his wife'd death, like defacing her body. Because her death by shardblade should have exonerated him and his entire family and supported the assassin theory, no? Shallan was catatonic and mute, she couldn't have spoiled this impression.
Instead of hushing it up, Davar should have invited an inquest, etc. and he would have avoided a lot of the fallout. And he also should have trusted Hellaran with the truth. In fact, I don't understand why he didn't, given that he later apparently confided in Malise.

Rayd @56:
Some decisions from the characters had me shaking my head (mostly Shallan... from suddenly deciding she wanted to be a con artist, to suddenly deciding she wanted more freedom than going with the Kholin family, to infiltrating the ghostbloods and finally to potentially joining them for real...
I felt the same way while reading, but now I realize that it was mostly a kneejerk reaction conditioned by WoT, because all these things looked like beginnings of irritating and distracting side-plots and complications.However, not only didn't the plot go there, thankfully, but looking back, most of these decisions make perfect sense for Shallan's character and situation.

Learning to be a con-woman:

Shallan instinctively sensed that she couldn't trust Tyn with the truth about herself and her mission - and boy, was she right about that! So, her only option was to play along with Tyn's assumptions. Also, Shallan knew that her situation would be very tenious with Kholins once she arrived, without Jasnah to back her, and that she would need every lever she could get to continue Jasnah's research and help her family. So, learning how to convince and manipulate people, etc. was very useful from this angle.


They "killed" Jasnah and clearly researched similar stuff. It made sense to try to find out whether they'd be after Shallan, when/if she went public with continuing Jasnah's work (as she would have to do at some point, to organize her expedition) and whether they knew something that would complement Jasnah's research.
Risky, yes, but reasonable, particularly since Navani kept rebuffing Shallan and there was nobody else she could trust to help her with Jasnah's work.
Becoming a Ghostblood - well, they kinda have her on the ropes? And they may know something critical about what is coming, too. After all, they are one of the groups, who were anticipating and preparing for the upcoming Desolation, so...

Staying with Sebarial - I did think that it was unnecessary and Sebarial turning out to be a dear and a gifted enterpreneur who, nevertheless, couldn't keep his accounts in order(?!), was contrived, but thankfully it didn't result in a plot derail that I dreaded. And also, Shallan couldn't have sneaked around the Kholin camp so easily, nor would unsavory elements meet there. So, yea, I am willing to forgive this.

Oh, and now for something completely different - could Dalinar get around Stormfather's limitations by bonding Jezrien's/Szeth's blade? That could be interesting. Paticularly given that Dalinar is de-facto taking Jezrien's place as the leader of humanity's fight against the Desolation/Odium. That would also avoid the pitfall of giving the blade to somebody unethical. Not to mention that I expect the Stone Shamans armed with the other 8 honorblades to show up and try to retrieve it at some point...

Wetlandernw @67:
Can a spren manifest itself as a metal box?
Well, Shallan kept Pattern in a chest during the days before he learned to be inconspicious, so maybe Renarin was keeping his spren in a box for the same reason? BTW, was it actually explained why Renarin didn't tell his father about the spren ASAP? I mean, it actually made sense for Kaladin and Shallan to be secretive, but Renarin knew that Dalinar wanted the Radiants back and trusted his father...
Drew McCaffrey
69. PallonianFire
Did anyone else see the whole first half of the epilogue as Brandon breaking the fourth wall, and basically telling us to temper our expectations for him?

Of course, WoR firmly exceeded my own expectations, so going by Hoid's view on art, it was a success.
Alice Arneson
70. Wetlandernw
Isilel @68 – That’s an interesting point. At the time I wrote the bit you quoted, I hadn’t yet got confirmation about what causes a desolation, but still. Would it be possible that the Heralds didn’t actually know that when they gave in, the Desolation came? Or did Nalan convince himself otherwise? It does make you wonder about all their sanity, though.

I like the idea of Dalinar bonding the Jezrien-blade… it could have some very interesting repercussions!

About why Renarin didn’t tell his father… I’ve thought about this a bit. One aspect might be that he simply didn’t know that his spren was turning him into a Radiant, since not much was known about it yet. Another aspect almost certainly was that he was seeing the future, which is forbidden by Vorin beliefs as being associated with Voidbringing, so it would have been very hard for him to accept. If his spren first connected with him in the same… immature fashion as Syl and Pattern, he may have been hearing the screaming for a long time before he was able to communicate sufficiently to understand what was happening. That’s my best guess, anyway. It wasn’t until after Shallan revealed herself that he was able to accept/understand what was going on.

PallonianFire @69 - Whether to temper our expectations, or help us realize how it works, or what... but yes, I definitely saw reflections of his experience with WoT fandom and perhaps his own fans as well.
71. birgit
If Taln is still bonded to his Honorblade it is probably simply unsummoned. That still doesn't explain why Hoid would give him a normal Shardblade.

When Kaladin fights Syl is often flying around him and is visible even to normal people. Is that an early stage of Shardplate?
72. silver97rwa
Ok...I'm finally going to jump in here...I may have posted one or two random comments before, but I'm sick of being on the sidelines - I'm all in!
First off - I love the discussions on these boards. There are some very insightful individuals around here, and I can honestly say you all have changed the way that I read fantasy.
Just a few random thoughts to get started...

I don't find myself bothered by the whole "bringing Jasnah back from the dead" thing, because I absolutely never believed her to be dead in the first place. Shallan had a moment in that chapter when she said something like "where is Jasnah?" (sorry, book not available at the moment for actual quote). At this time she was still in view of the place where Jasnah was "murdered" so I assumed at that point that Jasnah had gotten away somehow. I didn't really expect to see her back in this book either...I figured we'd get the suspense drawn out a bit.

Szeth's resurrection though...not a fan!

Adolin's murder of Sadeas was just that - murder. Of course I hate Sadeas, but that was still unacceptable. I am a bit nervous about the direction this takes Adolin as a character.

Finally (for now) I feel like I remember Dalinar saying something about how his blade felt wrong to him and that he never had that issue with his old blade (maybe it was the plate...curses, I wish I had my book with me) and then he thought maybe he hadn't acclimated to it yet. So at this point in the story I immediately thought..."oh, he's uncomfortable with shards? perhaps he is bonding a spren??" But...he didn't bond Stormfather until AFTER this happened. So....what was that all about? Anyone have a thought on this?
Ruben Guevara
73. rbnguevara
I am actually quite pleased with the book myself. Also the comments posted here are much more open minded than 17th shard right now. I have been reading both and after I read WoR again this weekend I may fire back on that site in particular.

I think there has been way to much complaining about what people wanted to see and did not get. Great books are great not because they gave you what you asked for but because they made you cry, laugh, cringe and or toss and turn at night. If I had not read TWoK ever and just picked up this book I still would have loved it as an individual. This was Shallan's book and she rocked it. I kept saying in my head how stupid she was for going into Sadeas camp (EVER) alone and for meeting with the Ghostbloods but thats just me. What I felt while reading this book is what made it great for me. Kal showed a struggle and came out on top however just barely and he got his Shardspear, Sword, Hammer and Shield. Love that part alot. This I think will support my theory that True KR shardplate can be summoned just like the blade can instantly with a full bond through all oaths to your Spren. To bad Dalinar won't get ANY shards from the Stormfather.

More to follow after my 1st re-read. Lopen is my #2 Favorite now.
Mike I
74. MikeyRocks
Am about half way through and there is so much forshadowing going on about Moash possibly betraying Kaladin. I don't like where this is going, not at all.
Nadine L.
75. travyl
Taln's blade (Re 68, 71): I agree, it's not at all sure, if Hoid has Taln's blade, if he really could take a Honorblade away from an living Herald, who didn't actively and willingly give it up. Maybe Taln still has his, and Hoid gave him another, so that the Kholin's would be interessted enough in a raving madman...

Re Shallan's backstory: the truth about her mother is certainly ... horrible. My feeling of "anti-climatic" is more about the father, though I can't explain it well. I know he is cruel (to his servants), and mean to his sons, but the things we saw didn't feel (for me) enough to justify the devastating effect it had on his sons.

I also have trouble to merge the image I have form WOK Gaz with what we’ve seen in WoR: him being friendly, and chuckling.

Wet @48: Are you implying, that you figured out the number epigraphs already? I feel so stupid.
Mark Tisdale
76. Shinowa
Didn''t Gaz get drawn by Shallan? That changes people. Remember Bluth!
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
silver97rwa @72 - I'm still trying to figure out the deal between Dalinar & the Stormfather. The official-formal-looking-bonding happened pretty late in the day, but what was with that dream/vision thing that morning, and the "familiar" feeling to it? Has there actually been some kind of a tenuous bond between them for a lot of years? Or... what?

Also - Welcome! Thanks for jumping in!

rbnguevara @73 - It always freaks me out a little to hear people say they were "disappointed" (or worse) in a book simply because the author didn't write the story they way they expected it to happen. I always want to ask, "Well, who is the incredibly successful author, here, anyway? Maybe his story is better than the one you invented in your own little head, at least for the rest of us!" I don't usually say it, but I think it. :)

Worse, they condemn something as being shallow or lame - and you realize it's just because they didn't see beyond the very superficial layers of the text. I haven't really followed the discussion over on 17thShard - one website is enough right now - but I did see one where someone was complaining about some aspect or other, and it was crystal clear from his comments that he simply read too fast or too shallowly to catch what was really happening. Oh well.

There are, of course, people who simply don't enjoy a particular style of writing or humor, and then they complain that it "fell flat" (which is pretty funny in itself, when other people are rolling on the floor with laughter). I can acknowledge that not everyone appreciates the same style, but every now and then I catch a whiff of "it's just not as good as my style" that really sets my eyes to rolling. :)

travyl @75 - Hmm. That's a thought. Maybe Hoid just gave Taln a regular unbonded Blade to distract people, and Taln still has his own in... wherever Blades live when you don't need them. I personally like that better, but you never know with Hoid.

I think Shallan's backstory will resonate differently, or not at all, very much by individual. For myself, I was always "Daddy's little girl" even though my dad could be rather moody. (He wasn't at all abusive, so I'm not even remotely comparing my situation to Shallan's; he could, however, be hard to figure out and sometimes a little hard to get along with. That part, I can relate to - and that I was always the one who could sweet-talk him out of it.) I honestly think that my relationship with my dad gave me an insight into Shallan's relationship with hers that not everyone will feel. So I have to accept that not everyone will find the backstory as potent, or poignant, as I do. Me? It just about ripped my heart out.

Re: the number epigraphs - I figured out one of them, with a couple of hints that were buried in the gamma spreadsheet, but I've seen other people who have at least partially figured it out. The other one... no. Not even a little bit. The ones with things like "every second letter" are, I believe, Adrotagia's notes on how she deciphered them; he had apparently written one statement, then made use of the wasted space by inserting the letters of a second in between the letters of the first. Something like that, anyway.

Shinowa @76 - I'm still trying to figure out how much of the change in Gaz is "the magic" and how much is due to being given a second chance, so I'm really curious as to how other people see this!
78. Corlanthis
Ooooohkay! Just finished reading and wooooo. This book is going to take a while to process.

First impressions: Not as fun a read as Way of Kings was, but that may change on subsequent readings as the material becomes more familiar. Not to say it was bad! I enjoyed it immensely!

I howled and gibbered and danced around when Szeth was given Nightblood. Because..WHAT? HOW? WHY? WHAT? SO MANY QUESTIONS THERE. Not the least of which related to a certain Swordmaster that I'm ashamed to admit I did not catch all the hints about until reading the comments here.

@24 - Something I've wondered about for a long time, is the sphere of influence of the Shards. How far they extend their own individual magic systems. And..Adonalsium forfend, Can a Returned Snap and then form a Nahel Bond? The mind boggles at the implications presented in WoR. Really need to ask Brandon about this on the 14th if I get the chance.

I'm really curious to see what comes of the Unmade, if that's the collective term for Odium's spren. Especially since what I took from WoR was that the Stormfather and all rest of the spren were created from Honor (And Cultivation's) Splintering. How does Odium also have spren of that level if he isn't Splintered? Very eager to see how this unfolds.

Deaths and Fake Deaths: I was pretty shocked at the abruptness of Jasnah's death. But over the couple of days I read WoR, the more I was pretty sure she wasn't really dead. Her primarily displayed ability is turning things into other things, after all. Handy way to avoid assassination attempts.

Syl: Never really struck me as being dead. Just..broken and back to being a windspren. I never felt the impression that she was expected to stay 'dead'.

Szeth: Okay, was more than a little surprised to see him coming back. But we do have a precedent in Regrowth, so perhaps Roshar does have a slightly more oiled revolving door to the Afterlife than other worlds in the Cosmere. Also: Way of Kings gave me the feeling he was fairly plot important. Kaladin killing him didn't *feel* wrong. But neither does him coming back to head one of Orders.

Sadeas: Good. Eff that guy.

Ahh, that's all I can think of for now. I apologize for the jumbledness of the post. Possibly there will be more to come once I digest the book!
79. McflyCahill90
Some thoughts I had while thinking:

So Shallan drawing you actually soulcasts a person in a way? Is that what happened to Bluth and Gaz? Just curious, haven't seen anything about this before.

Still totally uncertain as to what surges a Bondsmith and Truthwatcher possess. The only ones unaccounted for, I think, are strong and soft axial interconnections. If it goes the way I think, Stonewards possess the transportation and the strong axial interconnection surges, leaving strong/soft to bondsmiths, and soft axial/adhesion to truthwatchers? Would love to get some thoughts on that. Also, what the heck does axial interconnection translate to anyway? I'm guessing it has something to do with realmatic theory?

Glys (Renarin's spren, ), is definitely of Cultivation if he allows future sight. Can't wait to learn more about her. In fact, he may have been sent from the same group that sent Wyndle to Lift, if Wyndle is from Cultivation (or her spren, the Nightwatcher) as well.

I keep getting wrapped up in the Stormfather, and what made him the way he is. He seems to have gone a little loose in the head and resigned to vicious behavior. Hopefully the nahel bond with Dalinar can give him a little more compassion and we can learn how he was broken, (possibly when Honor was murdered by Odium?).

At the end of the Taravangian interlude, it was revealed that Gavilar was actually the one having visions, and was the one who got Taravangian involved. He was also talking with Amaram in secret in the prologue. His visions must have passed to Dalinar after, the Stormfather courting Dalinar after the death of his brother. Really hope that we learn more of Gavilar in the next book, as he is definitely more than he seems. On that note, any new thoughts on the ball of black light from WoK that Gavilar had? Brandon has said that it's supposed to have game-changing importance to it.

Love the similarities to Bridge 4 gaining some stormlight abilites as Kaladin's squires (saw the term over at 17th shard) and the ascension of the Bridgeburners from malazan. Really love that group dynamic, especially if it has the Lopen in it!

Any insight on the numbered code in the Diagram? Apparently it's supposed to be crazy important.

Also, I loved seeing Axies being held captive by the Reshi because he offended their god! Would love to learn more about the Aimians. Was thinking just now, are they part of the cognitive realm? Their shadows aim towards the sun like in Shadesmar, they can shift things about themselves at will. Something to think on.

Damn, I've already got to re-read this sucker.
Patrick Mosbacker
80. Patillian
Even before this book, I had thought Gavilar had been having the same experiences Dalinar did since he had acted the same, stopped wearing his armor, wanted peace, read the Way of Kings, etc. The glimpse that focused on the letter to Hoid asking if he had given up on the dark crystal or something made me very curious if that was the same crystal as the one Gavilar gave Szeth. I theorized on the glimpses thread that it was a more substantial piece or all of the Honor shard, but it didn't really seem to catch others' imagination. So I asked Brandon at the Provo signing. He just smiled, handed me a RAFO card, and told me I would find out more.

My theory fits well with what I learned in Words of Radiance as well. Gavilar had the visions and shared a plan with both the Parshendi and Taravangian. I think he had also somehow gained the shard which he did not share with them. Ruin and Preservation both just manifested as mist, but I think that dark crystal is the part of Honor someone could use to BECOME Honor like Tanavast was. Something has to be done, probably with lots of Spren, to put light/life back into it, but I think that's the key to reviving Honor. Hoid now has no idea where/how to get it, but I love the theories above that he has been involved in shenanigans with Taln's sword. Maybe those swords hold the key unitedly to reviving the shard...and maybe Hoid will steal Szeth's old sword from Dalinar? He warned him that he has opposing goals...

The only one who knows the location of the shard is Szeth! The same Szeth who has new powers and Nightblood (that blew my mind when I read it, and I totally did NOT catch the other Warbreaker character until I read this thread. I did catch the perfect pitch bit.), working for a Herald who lacks his sword (Yet has regrowth? Do the powers become part of you after using the sword enough? Will Szeth retain some Windrunning power along with his new ones?) and shows serious evil capacity to accomplish whatever his twisted vision of right is. So I think they're going to be a Voidbinding version of a Knights Radiant order causing all kinds of complications with that shard piece. Somehow eventually at the end of Book 5 or Book 10, I think Dalinar or Jasnah ends up being the new Honor Shard holder with Szeth being my dark, dark, darhorse candidate that I hope is not the case.

Final tangent that just came to me. Do the other shards know/communicate with Harmony? Does he give insight to them about life? Did Adonlasium break itself up purposely into its various aspects as the letter writer seems to imply in urging Hoid not to mess up Adonlasium's balance on the worlds?
Nadine L.
81. travyl
Talking about expectations...
I was positively relieved by Kaladin's arc (still my fav. character), after Carl said he'd be a paranoid jerk for most of the book. He was moody and troubled, but believably so and I liked it.
Again so with the "unwillingness to talk to each other" Carl prepared us for in his worth to wait article. Yes the characters keep their secrets secret, but (in most cases) there was a good reason for it (fear mostly). It wasn't just a trope as it sometimes felt in WoTime (where characters keep their secrets because they just didn't want other people informed). I could relate to it and so I didn't mind at all.
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
Mcfly @79 – IMO, Truthwatchers have Progression and Illumination, while Bondsmiths have Tension and Adhesion. That would leave the Willshapers with Transportation and Cohesion. But that’s just my best guess. Pretty sure, though, the Stonewards have Cohesion and Tension.

I’m not sure how important the numbered code in the Diagram is to the reader, although I suspect it’s pretty important to some character or other. Hopefully we can get it decrypted soon.
83. AlcairNovall
I loved the whole thing, especially Shallan's interactions with Pattern/Adolin/Kaladin, especially her early stuff with Kaladin when he was still being a grump. That being said, I ship them as friends only, kinda big brother/little sister sorta thing, only better for her than what she'd had growing up in that she won't be needing to fix him.
Also, a thought about something Pattern said at the end to Shallan that I haven't seen mentioned above. The conversation is:
Shallan - Is it true? Am I one of them?
Pattern - Almost you are. Still a few Words to say.
S - What kind of words? An oath?
P - Lightweavers make no oaths beyond the first. You must speak truths.
We've seen Shallan speak one, debatably two, truths through the course of WoK and WoR. The first (and guaranteed one) was at the end of WoK when she walks up to Jasnah and challenges her about the innate Soulcasting. Shallan is asked for a truth in order to go to Shadesmar and confesses that she killed her father (which was just a heartbreaking scene, btw. hurt to watch that go down). The second could be argued to be in chapter 88 when Shallan gets to the room Pattern had picked for her. Her admitting what happened that night in detail could've been the equivalent of her third oath which would put her and Kaladin on par for how far they've progressed on the Radiant path.
Also, Dalinar already knowing his second oath? Not sure how I feel about that when Kaladin and Shallan had to stretch for theirs a bit.
Last thing, totally expecting some Renarin POV next book since he's a confirmed Radiant now (though I missed the Shardblade cue about that).
Chi Hung Duong
84. lividsama
I understand now why Syl thinks the Shardblades are abominations. To her, they are the living dead. Imagine meeting a zombie...
85. Hb
This thread is so much fun...

@80 Nalan uses a fabrial to restore Szeth. I'm confused whether he lacks his honorblade or has it. Lift sees him invest stormlight in her chapter. He has a shardblade IMO and not his honorblade but only brandon will tell. His training of szeth at this point has more to do with Nalan's view/codes of justice rather than surges. Mainly conditioning of szeth (molding him into Nalan) Scary thought.

That said... Cant wait for the next books, imagine Nalan and Szeth in shinovar exacting justice. imagine the horror of Nalan with his honorblade plus the other honorblades in his possession.

As for Taln's blade I for one dont think he summoned it, he just used a ordinary shardblade then discarded it IMO. Where he got it and who gave it to him time will tell.
Gerd K
86. Kah-thurak
One question came to my mind: If Shardblades take 10 heartbeats to summon because they are "dead" Spren, why does Seth also need to wait 10 heartbeats for his Honorblade?
87. McKay B
Whew. So much going on. So many questions. I want to jump into this whole conversation headlong, but I don't know how to even put my thoughts into an order. And I don't have the time or energy to write 20 pages' worth of comments. And I don't know if other people would read it if I did. :)

Renarin. OK, I get that the poor guy was dealing with agony whenever he handled his blade ... but still, his secretive/whiny pessimistic facade through most of this book didn't even feel like the same character as Renarin in WoK. The earlier Renarin was quiet, unsure of himself, but had an underlying strength and goodness that FELT like it could end up as a Knight Radiant. The Renarin of WoR ... just didn't feel Radiant to me. (And incidentally, what trauma qualifies Renarin as "broken" like the other Knights? Is Renarin going to be a flashback character in a future book?!?) Hopefully now that he's figured out he's a Knight, he'll get back to being a likeable character.

By my count, we've got at least 8 major factions in this saga now:
- Dalinar, Syl, and the main body of Knights, following Tanavast's will
- Odium, his spren and the corrupted Parshendi
- The Diagram and its worshippers
- The "Skybreakers" (who, I suspect, aren't actually an order of Knights Radiant but have merely named themselves after the old order, under the leadership of a mad Herald)
- The Ghostbloods (I hadn't thought about them being potential worldhoppers)
- The "Sons of Honor," continuing whatever craziness Gavilar was into
- The Stone Shamanate
- Hoid (yes, he counts as a major faction all by himself).

That's a minimum (unless we get a surprise twist where two of them end up being aligned together -- the Skybreakers and the Stone Shamanate, perhaps?). There could easily be many more. If the Seventeenth Shard breaks their nonintervention policies. If Cultivation or the Nightwatcher (is there a difference? The spren seem to call both "our mother) isn't aligned with any of these groups (I could see her leading the Stone Shamanate too). If the other Heralds are pursuing their own agendas actively. If the Stormfather, despite Dalinar's efforts, keeps acting like a rogue force. If there are any more major factions within Spren leadership (like the governing body of the Cryptics). If any other powerful characters (highprinces, Jasnah, Queen Aesudan, Bridge 4 veterans who go rogue) manage to found their own factions. If the rebels who left the Parshendi rather than embrace Odium turn out to still be powerful.

Yeah. Wow.

I'm hoping Rlain becomes AWESOME now that he's not hiding out as a spy. First he has to figure out how not to become a Voidbringer when the Everstorm hits him.

Zahel. First I thought he was an alias that Talanel was living under, but an Interlude quickly shot that theory down. Then I figured he was probably a worldhopper ... but Vasher in particular didn't even occur to me. I guess I believe it, but ... it doesn't feel like it "fits" as well as other identification of worldhoppers has. I guess in other cases, there have been good physical descriptors of people that have really cemented it for me ... but Vasher doesn't even have a consistent appearance in Warbreaker; he can change forms. So that's a dead end. Vasher wasn't supposed to be a super amazing swordfighter ... why is he the grandmaster of Alethi shard-dueling? I don't know. It doesn't feel like the same character to me, yet. (Of course, he's lived hundreds of years in between, so ...)

I was really happy to learn that living Shardblades could become a spear rather than a sword for Kaladin. Incidentally, is it possible that any other shardblades we've seen could be living?

I think I'm getting better at catching Brandon's hints as I read them (I've got a long way to go after Well of Ascension :P). I think I recognized Hoid pretty quickly in each of his appearances (including his "appearance" as the recipient of epigraphs). I guessed in Shallan's first flashback that she had actually killed her mother, and I figured out that Pattern was also her Blade when she and Kaladin were facing the chasmfiend. (I also caught the perfect pitch comment, and Nightblood. Ugh. Nightblood in Roshar; that can't be good.)

I don't know what to think about shipping anymore. I was a Shallan/Renarin shipper, but that seems unlikely at this point; not that I would have necessarily still wanted it with this book's development of Renarin anyway. I started off very opposed to Kaladin/Shallan, but I have to admit it had some good effects on both of them. Still doesn't really feel right to me. Shallan/Adolin are actually pretty cute together, but it just feels too obvious ... and intellectually unbalanced. I know he's not an idiot, but he's not brilliant either. At this point I kind of hope Shallan doesn't end up with either of them. And I think I'm shipping Kaladin with the lighteyed woman that was in charge of the horse corral. Their brief interaction was hilarious, and Kaladin even admitted to himself almost right away that she was a lot less terrible than most lighteyes. :D
88. McKay B
Oh, among the characters who are still pretty mysterious, but seem like they COULD end up having a lot of depth: Bordin. He totally conned Amaram in circles, and Dalinar trusted him to do so. Who is this guy, and how did he get so skilled?
89. birgit
Taln can't have been bonded to the Blade that was with him if Dalinar could bond it.

Gavilar's black sphere sounds like the captured stormspren Venli gave Eshonai.
Nathan Rice
90. quazar87
So Renarin has Lift's Progression, aka Growth, powers combined with Shallan's Illumination powers. But he sees the future... it looks like "sharing a Surge" is more complicated than it appears. I bet it's Illumination that lets him see the future.
Dixon Davis
91. KadesSwordElanor
Still managing to avoid spoilers here so far, but I feel left out of the action. :( How do y’all read so fast? About ½ through.

Question: Is it just me, or does Lopen talk(inside my head of course) like Cheech?
Maiane Bakroeva
92. Isilel
Re: Taln's blade, IMHO it is the matter of differences between a heraldic honorblade and dead-spren shardblade. I remember reading somewhere - probably in the re-read thread, that a honorblade behaves differently - i.e. it needs to be actively dismissed, rather than be actively maintained. So, when Taln fainted his blade remained and the witnesses thought that it was because it was unbonded, but in reality it was because it was a honorblade.

Taln appeared at the gates of the capital city of Kholinar with a sword which looked different from the one Dalinar took. IIRC, Taln's blade was described as long and narrow - "like a spike", while the blade Dalinar bonded was short and broad "like a cleaver".

Travyl @47 insightfully pointed out that Dalinar hearing screams from his last shardblade means that the swords must have been swapped by Hoid.
As has been specifically demonstrated to us, honorblades don't make Radiants hear screams.
I only disagree that the exchange happened during their journey - because Brodin certainly would have noticed it and reported to Dalinar. IMHO, the Wit must have done it _before_ Taln was brought to attention of anybody of consequence among the Kholin retainers in the capital.

Anyway, the question is why did Hoid do it? Was it to conceal a Herald's madness, with attendant result on humanity's morale? Was it because he thinks that something new must be tried this time around and a Herald would only lead them back to the old MO, which, judging from Taln's rant, routinely resulted in Rosharian humanity being beaten back into the Stone Age?
It couldn't have been because Hoid wants to keep the blade for himself, IMHO, since it is still bonded to Taln and once/if he comes back to himself, he'll just summon it.

BTW, I like Sanderson's twist onthe usual fantasy trope of humanity being at it's weakest and most backward when it finally succeeds in decisively defeating a Dark Lord and breaking a circle of just beating him back intermittenly, at the cost of most/all of it's progress as a civilization.
Because it seems clear that Rosharians are probably more advanced than ever at this point, so it is much more plausible that they'll be able to do something different and superior this time around.
In fact, their technological and scientific knowledge probably exceeds that of the Heralds. All the more reason to sideline the Heralds, maybe...
93. Nikky D
RE: The cracked gems in Elhokars plate after the chasmfiend incident. I have always thought that may have been due to Dalinar, as I always suspected (along with most people probably) that he would also be a Radiant.

We now know for sure that he has used stormlight before the end of WoR. When he breathes it in, he notes how familiar it is and that he has used it to heal himself in the past. He also should not have been able to catch the chasmfiends claw and hold it, but somehow he managed to. He needed to be drawing that power from somewhere and the gems in Elhokars plate could have been a convenient source for him to tap in to subconsciously.
94. Anthony Peers
OK, I didn't mind all the Back From The Dead-ing, because all of them (including Szeth's) were pulled off in a believable way if you "get" the underlying narrative.

The thing that bugged me: with all of the buildup about how Honorspren and Cryptics don't like each other, how is it possible that Kaladin and Shallan spent so much time around each other without Syl and Pattern bumping into each other and flipping out at each other? I was waiting for that scene for the entire book, and it never came! I am disappoint.
Gerd K
95. Kah-thurak
@Anthony Peers
Shallan and Kaladin spent most of their time together when Syl had abandoned Kaladin... so there is not so much opportunity for conflict between Syl and Pattern. Maybe in the next book ;-)
Rob Munnelly
96. RobMRobM
Can't look up in the story or thread. But wanted to say that WoR is (finally) sitting for me at home to read this weekend. Yeah.
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
Syl noted Pattern's presence during the duel of 6-Shardbearers-and-a-Surgebinder, but she was too busy helping Kaladin to go check it out. She didn't have enough information to connect Pattern to Shallan at that point.
Mark Tisdale
98. Shinowa
@90 I believe that Shallan changes peoples' futures by seeing them as they could be. That is not so far off of what Renarin is doing. However, these may both be secondary effects.
99. McKay B
Offbeat thought: Highprince Sedariel + Lord Ashweather Cett. Seem like very similar characters to me; not sure how I'd feel about them interacting!

@90: Do we KNOW that's the two surges that Renarin's order has? I'm not convinced that those are similar enough to Shallan's. Although it would be awfully nice for the team to have a "Growth" healer.

@91: Who's Cheesh?

@92: Do we KNOW that the screaming effect still happens after a Radiant is fully bonded with their own spren and can produce a "living" Blade of their own?
Regardless, I buy into the Hoid switch -- but it seems possible to me that he did it just so he can study/experience surgebinding for himself, even if it's temporary because Taln will eventually reclaim his own Blade. It just seems to fit with Hoid's ongoing goal to "collect" different magic systems unto himself.

@93: Nice - that would definitely make sense! I bought into the theory that Elhokar himself was a budding Knight, but if he is, then he's definitely a slower learner than some. :P And it seems possible that his haunters are Odiumspren rather than Cryptics, at this point.

This brings up another question. Why does Shardplate interfere with Szeth's surgebinding-via-Honorblade?!?

@94: Oh, there's still plenty of time for internal spren politics to create conflict between Kaladin and Shallan. Not that they'd need the help, once she finds out that Kaladin actually killed Helaran ...
Ruben Guevara
100. rbnguevara
@95 Syl never abandoned Kal. Kal betrayed Syl breaking there bond and turning her essentially into a windspren. It was his fault she left not hers. And she did try to warn him. A LOT!!!

Just saying.
Paul Keelan
101. noblehunter
Unless there's such a thing as HonorPlate, I'm pretty sure Szeth wouldn't able to avoid sucking the stormlight out of the gems powering the armor. So at the very least, it wouldn't be good for very long.
102. Shadow.nick
Jasnah's bandolier when she came back... by definition bandoliers are used for ammunition, which would definitely imply she spent at least some time on Scadriel, maybe even brought back a firearm. That would be a hell of a trade agreement between worlds, soulcasters casting metals for Allomancers, Scadriel sending firearms to arm Dalinar's non-surgebinding troops. Fanciful thinking, but still...

Sebarial - sitting beneath the canopy with his mistress eating and drinking in the middle of the battle and storm. Something you would expect from Wit or another immortal, thinking he might be a Herald. Maybe Kalak, as one of his attributes is Builder, and he is more interested in building out an economy in the shattered plains than fighting. Speculation, but something is up with Sebarial regardless.
Lauren Hartman
103. naupathia
Time for me to jump in since I just finished reading - and straight off I want to say I really enjoyed this book, so much. And I'll definitely have to reread several times and probably still won't add anything meaningful to the conversation.

As far as the post, I agree 100%. So many awesome things in this one. Shallan really was great. I was SO SAD when Jasnah died. Like, seriously depressed. She was my favorite character (and still kind of is... but after this book she's got some serious competition). And I was a little on the fence about whether she was really dead. There were some hints - like Shallan NOT bumping into her body in the cabin (only seeing lots of blood). That certainly seemed suspicious. And the idea that Sanderson would kill off a radiant...

But what had me convinced she was dead was I just figured it was Sanderson pulling a GRRM on me - letting everyone know that he can and would kill off main characters with impunity, as long as their death furthers the plot. And frankly, it did add real tension to the book - I honestly expected Dalinar to die in the assassination attempt at the bridge, and then later when Szeth came (after Dalinar's speech to Adolin...). So props to Sanderson, for making me believe characters really were in trouble.

So yea, I was HAPPY to see her back, because I heart Jasnah. But I do kind of agree because of so many un-deaths in this book Sanderson is going to have to work hard to put some real tension into the later ones, which means I'm SO AFRAID that Adolin will die. (Wait, so does that mean Sanderson doesn't have to work hard to make me afrai-OH NO I've gone cross-eyed).

The only time I was close to throwing the book at the wall was Shallan's bit with Tyn. THAT was a true hair-puller. I know why she "threw in" with Tyn - keeping up the charade made sense at first. But then the scene with Kaladin - why wouldn't you just outright be like NO! This girl Tyn is an idiot, I'm Shallan Davar, not a Horneater, and please take me to Dalinar NOW. But when she started honestly listening to Tyn's counsel - thinking to decieve Dalinar - I was getting frustrated. So thank ALMIGHTY it did not go that way. Shallan killing Tyn was probably in the top 10 moments in this book for me.

Oh and can I just say Shallan's backstory was absolutely heart breaking to me, but totally not in the way I thought it would be? From WoK we get that she's had an awful past. From the introduction in carpet once white I immediately understood she had been the one that killed her mother.

But man, I didn't consider until reading this and the responses about how broken her father was over it. Since I was thinking the entire book that Shallan "won" her shardblade from killing her father I had not connected it until the reveal... And just wow. The fact that Shallan's father acted that way toward her and taking the blame for the mother's death - not out of fatherly love or protection but out of FEAR of the shardblade is just ultimately heartwrenching.

And based on the comments I guess I'm really glad I never finished reading Wheel of Time. The first 3 books were okay, the next couple just reinforced what a mysoginistic pile the whole series was so I stopped reading. I don't know what Sanderson managed to do with the series since I can never get myself to read them, but it sounds like maybe me not reading them is best since I don't have any expectations for this series based on Jordan's writing.

Whew well - great read! Sorry I don't have anything inspiring to add other than I really thought Sanderson did a great job. This book met and exceeded my expectations in so many unexpected ways! I look forward to the third.

In the meantime, I'm off to re-read this, and all of Sanderson's other works =)
Michael Johnson
104. mjjohnson
I know it's way, way too early, but: does anyone have any guesses who will be the "champion" to challenge Odium, presumably in book 10? At this point the obvious guess would be Kaladin, but who knows what Dalinar will be able to do as a Bondsmith, or perhaps one of the other characters I'm not thinking of right now.

I was also surprised that Taln had no real role to play in this book. His coming at the end of TWoK was so significant, I expected him to jump up and start training the future Knights in this one. Turns out they probably weren't really ready for him anyway, though.

I may have missed it, but does the Everstorm have some sort of "evil" equivalent of Stormlight (perhaps Everstormlight)? I know it contains lots of evil spren, but do we know if it "recharges" evil magic in some way as well?

Finally, how on earth would Nightblood work without an abundant supply of Breaths? Maybe Stormlight, like noblehunter@27 said? (Or Everstormlight, now that the Everstorm is around?)
Alice Arneson
105. Wetlandernw
naupathia @103 - (Wait, so does that mean Sanderson doesn't have to work hard to make me afrai-OH NO I've gone cross-eyed). LOL! And, yes, exactly. Oy.

Re: Shallan’s father - The fact that Shallan's father acted that way toward her and taking the blame for the mother's death - not out of fatherly love or protection but out of FEAR of the shardblade is just ultimately heartwrenching. I’d disagree with this partially – I think he really did do it out of love. Look at the first flashback, and how tenderly he cared for her. He adored his daughter. But (IMO) over the years, no matter how much he loved her, as he saw himself growing more and more abusive he also became more and more afraid that she might need to draw the Blade on him if he wasn’t careful. That kind of thing feeds on itself. Which is partly what makes it so heartbreaking. There really was a bond of love between Shallan and her father, but it often got buried in his anger and fear. One thing that leapt out at me was that she didn't even realize he was afraid of her, because as far as she would allow herself to remember, he didn't have any reason to be. That's why his fear has to be inferred - but once you do so, it's inescapable.

But that’s just my interpretation.
andrew smith
106. sillyslovene
So, finished it yesterday. While I thought this book was amazing (and fully expect that it will simply grow more so with a re-read and more contemplation), it didn't grab me the same way WoK did. However, I don't think that this has anything to do with the book itself, but rather the position I am in in life at the moment For WoK, I was able to hit the midnight open (and thus was uber-pumped about it), and had enough free time/flexibility in my life schedule that I could be fully immersed in it for the requisite time to finish it. For WoR, not so much - couldn't get to a signing, and reading 3+ other books this last week, as well as class schedule (doctoral student here...), and family responsibilities (having a 3 year old who keeps getting out of bed and needs to be put back every 5 min when you are trying to get through the climax and ending, kinda breaks up the immersion...just sayin') - all equals not as much time to be fully immersed. It did have it's positives as it slowed down my read, and allowed me to better absorb and analyze some of the content - thus was able to catch many of the subleties that others are noting as having missed during their read.

Just one thing that was interesting from my own perspective:
-I absolutely hated the theory that spren would become Shardblades for their knights. It just grated on me, even though I knew it made so much sense, fitting thematically and within the worldbuilding/cosmere. But I think that was because I was seeing them as the 'dead' blades. The way BWS pulled this off was amazing and I appreciated it immensely. I imagine, like has been noted, that something similar will occur with the plate.

I'm really liking how complex the interrelations are becoming with all the intricate underground groups, etc. It will be amazing to see how they come out. Looking forward to more discussion, etc, but even more looking forward to where Brandon will take it from here.

and Wet - I would appreciate the longer version with your commentary :)
Dylan Tullos
107. dptullos
“The king was Dalinar’s Tien.”

Everyone is somebody's Tien. Everyone matters to someone.

Before Kaladin was a slave, he was a soldier. He killed people. He killed them with his own hands, and he killed them with the orders he gave. Those men weren't truly his enemies. Most of them were peasant conscripts just like his brother. He killed them anyway. Not because it was right, but because it was necessary to protect his own.

When Kaladin came to rescue Dalinar, he killed every Parshendi who got in the way. Those Parshendi had families who mourned them. Their only crime was seeking to defend themselves against an invading army sworn to vengeance, an army had already murdered the only Parshendi who tried to surrender. He killed them anyway. Not because it was right, but because it was necessary.

"Journey before destination". Those words are a promise, an oath never to let the means justify the ends. But simply being a soldier, or a bodyguard, requires a belief that the means justify the ends. It means committing murder for the sake of a larger goal. Protecting some means killing others; if Kaladin doesn't believe that, why is he carrying a spear?

Kaladin's father truly chose "journey before destination". Like a true doctor, his first law was to do no harm. Kaladin did not follow in his path. He chose to remove those people who, like a leg shattered beyond repair, threatened the lives of others. Some of those people were powerless, desperate conscripts, forced to kill or die in the face of the enemy, or at the hands of their own officers if they sought to flee. Some of them were Parshendi, who sought only to stop the genocidal Alethi without resorting to the terrible power of Odium. Kaladin took it upon himself to kill them, judging that their murders were necessary, even though the people he killed were innocent of any real crimes.

Elkohar, however weak or foolish he might be, is not an illiterate peasant. He is not a Parshendi soldier fighting against an alien and murderous foe. He is a king. He presides over an enormous realm filled with slaves like Kaladin, and he has made no attempt to free them. He is utterly indifferent to their suffering, since slaves are not people. He also presides over a genocidal war against the Parshendi, as the Alethi attempt to murder an entire race as revenge for the death of one man. These problems do not concern him, simply because they are not his problems. They belong to classes of people, like peasants and Parshendi, who are simply beneath his notice.

Moash is not unique, and there is nothing unusual about his story. His grandparents offended someone powerful- someone who mattered- so they were thrown in a cell to sicken and die. Elkohar is not a tyrant in the sense that he wields absolute power over everyone, but he does wield absolute power over the lives of unimportant people, like Moash's grandparents. And he fundamentally does not care about those lives; when Roshone came to him, he didn't ask any inconvenient questions, because the health of two elderly darkeyes was not his problem.

When his friend asks him to kill Elkohar, Kaladin refuses because "Elkohar is Dalinar's Tien." Every single person he has murdered was someone's son or daughter or father or little brother. Yet we cheer as he slaughters his way through an army of Parshendi. Why? Because we don't know their names.

Kaladin could choose, like his father, never to take a human life. But by killing peasants and Parshendi, then sparing Elkohar, he sends the message that a king's life- the life of a named character- matters more than the lives of the little people. They die so that Kaladin can reach his destination. Elkohar, however, can't be sacrificed for the sake of a destination. In Words of Radiance, just like in real life, the narrative gives some people names and faces, and makes them matter to us, while others sit outside in the darkness and suffer in silence.
Nadine L.
108. travyl
@100 rbnguevara I'm not sure about "Kal betrayed Syl, breaking their bond" - He did started the process, so that Syl distanced herself from Kaladin an he temporarily lost the stormlight ability, but I think it was Stormfathers interference who broke them apart. I don't even know why it happend at the moment it did, Kaladin was running to safe Dalinar, at the time, nothing that strikes me as particularly oath-breaking. (The fact that Syl tells Stormfather that he cannot deny her, if Kaladin speaks the oaths, to me indicates that Syl was forcefully kept away from Kaladin and wasn't just lost.)

Re Shallan (again, sorry if I start to upset or bore you all).
Despite this is her book, we really know not much about her past. Her mother wanted to kill er because she was one of "them" - so likely she'd already manifested some powers by that point. Which would make sense, because when her mother came at here, she merely summoned the blade, but didn't do anything oath-worthy to deserve the spren-bond or Radiant powers for it.
Do you all agree that we still know the event which "gained" her a bond with Pattern, or am I missing something?

I really like this book. The more we talk the more things I remember, which were great...
The really "best moment" for me was probably Kaladin saying "Honor is dead" before he went to help Adolin. I thought it beautiful, especially because he has no hidden meaning behind the words, while we know that the shard Honor is really dead...
And I loved Hoid's comment to Jasnah at the end ... that already happend, you missed all the action Jasnah...
109. littlebit_liz
Thanks very much for the review, Wetlander! Your reflections on the book have made me even more excited to reread the whole thing, which I will likely do in a few weeks.

Yeah, so I learned that next time, I should take 2 days off work instead of 1. Not because I necessarily needed a second day to finish it, but because I was up til about 2 in the morning finishing it, and on top of that, I had too many BIG FEELINGS to really face people the next day. I, um, may have called in sick to work to combat this. Ahem.

Anyhow. I'm still reading through everyone else's comments, but wanted to get some thoughts down here. I loved the book so much. I may be in the minority here, because my understanding was that a lot of people weren't crazy about Adolin following WoK, but I have always loved him so I was super happy to hear going into this book that he would feature more, and he did not disappoint.

One of the things I loved most in this book was the developing friendship between Kaladin and Adolin, which I so wanted going into this book, and which I wanted even more when I read the preview chapters and discovered that they decidedly did not like each other at first. In fact, that they started out not liking each other only made me more confident that they would become friends. Every time they had a scathing conversation with each other, I would cackle like a mad person and say out loud, "See? They're totalling becoming besties!" LOL. Needless to say, I loved the dueling scene in which they, and Renarin, fought together; it was one of my favorite sequences in the whole novel (up until Kaladin ruined it anyway :P). I also loved how Adolin insisted on being locked up until Kaladin was set free, even if he was locked up in relative comfort. ("Are you wearing cologne?" "Hey, I had to bathe in cold water!" ROFL)

I have to say, Wetlander, I didn't think Adolin treated Kaladin any worse than Kaladin treated him. In fact, Adolin seemed to start to let go of his bad feelings sooner than Kaladin did, or at least, that's how it felt to me. In fact, I felt like Adolin started behaving friendlier to Kaladin shortly after his realization that all his other "friends" were not really his friends at all, as none of them were willing to stick with him through Dalinar's changes. I'm not saying that he began making a conscious effort to befriend Kaladin at that point, but it was certainly shortly after his conversation with Jakamov (sp?) that he seemed to attempt to have somewhat less hostile conversations with Kaladin. Also, I think it should be noted that most of his hostility towards Kaladin stemmed from his mistrust of Kaladin, his feeling that something was off about him, and, well, he was right about that, after all ;)

That said, I thought it was a little weird when Shallan took Kaladin to task for being mean to Adolin, because the timing felt a little off - I felt by then that he and Adolin were pretty much friends, and any teasing from either of them at that point was meant in good fun. Maybe she was just interpreting Kaladin's perpetual scowling as ill will towards Adolin, as opposed to that just being his normal face :P

I definitely felt there was set-up for Kaladin/Shallan as well, and am wary about that for the same reasons others mentioned - I feel that may not bode well for Adolin. Unless, in spite of his insistance that he doesn't want to lose her, he ends up getting bored and moves on anyway, which I don't really see happening. The other alternatives involve what would probably feel like a rather massive betrayal to him on the parts of Shallan and Kaladin, or his death, neither of which I really want to see. (At least, I don't want to see him die anytime soon - I love him too much).

That said, I thought Adolin and Shallan worked really well as a couple, but also enjoyed the much rawer connection she and Kaladin shared. So I'm happy with either pairing, just wary as to where a Shallan/Kaladin pairing would leave Adolin.

I really have to credit Brandon on how well Kaladin's conflict over Elhokar was written. In hindsight, I don't know how I ever could have wavered on whether letting Elhokar be murdered could have been the right decision, but in reading it, I did, because of how strongly I empathized with Kaladin. But whenever I started thinking that maybe it would be best if Elhokar died, I kept going back to Dalinar - that it couldn't possibly be okay because it would kill Dalinar, to murder the nephew that he loves and has sworn to protect after Gavilar died. Interestingly enough, it was this same realization that eventually brought Kaladin around as well, that Elhokar was Dalinar's Tien. (I may have teared up at that point :D)

Re: all the fake deaths, this didn't bother me so much because it's still so early on in the series. I definitely would have been upset to lose either Jasnah or Szeth so early in the series, and in fact, was a little upset to see Szeth die, because I didn't expect him to come back (whereas with Jasnah, I did). We already know that Brandon has no problem killing major characters, so I'm sure there will be a fair share of deaths later in the series.

And just to round out this comment, I did not twig to the fact that Zahel was V! Which makes me so happy, because I love him, and now I know why I liked Zahel so much heh. And I was both happy and supremely wary when Nightblood turned up in Szeth's hands at the end!
111. Nakafre
Another point for Zahel as V, which nagged at me when I read it but didn't make the connection at first, are the last 3 lines of I-6.
"He expected a voice to speak in his mind as he drifted off. Of course, there wasn't one. Hadn't been one in years."
@93 I've been on the fence with this since Dalinar's display at the chasm fiend hunt but have felt that the shard plate interfered with this abilityt somehow. Also, in all of Szeth's fights (unless I'm misremembering), he never took in stormlight from a shardbearer, which always seemed like the most simple way of incapacitating one. Still on the fence, but I am swayed by Dalinar sensing that he'd done this before.
Ben Johnston
112. AlcairNovall
@107 What you say is true to an extent. That being said, there is a difference in those situations. Elhokar was about to be cut down in cold blood, straight assassinated, whereas those soldiers on the field and the Parshendi? Those were self defense. Yes, Kaladin's father did make the concious choice to never take a life, but don't think for a second that if someone came at himself or his wife, Odium-bent on doing harm to them and completely unwilling to change course (regardless of the reason behind that resolve) that he would hesitate for a second to fight and kill them if that was what it took. Is Kaladin a bit too ready to wield the spear rather than hold back? Maybe. However, he also has had a long time of having that response to a threat hammered into him.
Mark Tisdale
113. Meerletalis
@109 Shallan got on Kaladin for continuing to pick on Adolin with jibes that were over his head. That had continued even after the thaw began.
Neil Cadsawan
114. rainer3
Got back from the Portland signing with Brandon earlier this evening. Learned that Wit and Jasnah are somewhere in the Unclaimed Hills at the end of the book.

That was my question to Brandon when getting my book signed.

As to Jasnah "coming back from death." I don't think she did ever die. She escaped to Shadesmar and soulcasted something into a body double. I figure she was "in" Shadesmar to soulcast and decided to stay there for a bit. Time must work differently there.
115. Nikky D
@111 I dont think shardplate interferes with using stormlight at all for an actual surgebinder. Szeth is different, since his power comes from the honorblade and not a spren. We have seen instances of Radiants in Dalinars visions where they could function just fine wearing their plate.

I also thought about Szeth not taking in stormlight from shardbearers suits, but the fact is that I don't think we see any instances of him going into a fight without enough spheres to keep him stocked up on stormlight. Dalinar was in a situation where he needed that extra strength but had no spheres on him to draw the energy from. I think this could lead to him subconsciously straining to draw it from places that would usually be quite difficult.

@99 I also wouldnt be surprised if Elhokar is also a surgebinder once he gets past enough of his issues, but I think in that particular situation it was Dalinar who was most likely to have used stormlight.
Dixon Davis
116. KadesSwordElanor
My favorite chapter so far has been 25:Monsters. I mean, Kaladin got “whatever'ed'” by Jenet the horse trainer. First time I LOL’d. Still plodding along and enjoying every minute.

McKay @ 99

Cheech from the Cheech & Chong movies. Lopen sounds like Cheech.
117. Rakugal
Too many comments. Too little time. LOL. Just a quick one for right now: did anyone else see any signifigance in Shallon's dream where she seems to "see" survivors from the shipwreck washed up on shore? Also, does anyone else very badly want to see Yalb again? I know he was a minor character but I liked him asmuch as I like Lopen :)
118. Nakafre
OK, one I apologize for the lenght here...

@115 All good points. We do know that Szeth's abilities and those of Radiants originate differently (Honorblade vs. spren). However, there does not seem to be any discernable difference in those abilities. They feed off stormlight and I do not believe that we've been given any indication that the manner in which stormlight is taken. I believe this is central to nature of the surgebinder's plate as seen in Dalinar's vision in WOK, Starfalls. The Radiant there was able to dismiss her helm at will which seems very similar to Syl's ability to change shape during Kal's final fight with Szeth in WOR. This, IMO, feels very different from normal Shardplate.

Also, recall during the Dalinar's vision in WOK, A Highway to the Sun, when the Radiants discarded their Shardblades (spren) and Shardplate (spren?).
"He tossed the helm to the ground beside hes blade. It rolled slightly as the Shardbearer made fists in his gauntlets, arms at his sides. He opened his plams wide, and the gauntlets fell free to the rocky ground.

He turned, his Shardplate fallling off his body-breastplate dropping free, greaves slipping off.Underneath he wore a rumpled blue uniform. He stepped free of his bootlike sabatons and continued to walk away, Shardplate and Shardblade-the most presious treasures any man could own-tossed to the ground and abandoned like refuse"
The Radiant did not need anyone to help him take off the plate, he willed it to be off. Whereas, we constantly see Shardbearers needing help both putting on and taking off Shardplate in specific order due to the weight of the plate.

And Szeth in WOK, I-9, Death Wears White,
"He lashed himself back downward, dropping behind the Shadbearer to land on the broken tabletop. He stooped and infused it. A man in Shardplate might be protected from Lashings, but the things he stood upon were not."
Again, it just feels to me that Shardplate interfears somehow.

In regards to Szeth and taking stormlight from shardbearers, my thoughts mostly come from Death Wears White in WOK where Szeth faces two full Shardberers along with a very large group of soldiers with half-shards and the Shardblade weilding king of Jah-Keved. At one point, Szeth releases his bags of spheres and eventually runs out of stormlight. Every time he draws in stormlight, his source are spheres lying nearby. This does not prove that surgebinders can not take stormlight from spheres in shardplate but it did give me pause to question as my first thought was to use the stormlight from the shardplate and half-shards first. It may just be that stormlight from the most easily accessable source is used first as opposed to taking from a specific source or the surgebinder may be able to choose to do either.

Also in this section we see Szeth summon his Shardblade.
"Ten heartbeats, Szeth thought. Return to me, you creation of Damnation."
Interesting in that we know via the WOR Prologue that Szeth has Nan's Honorblade. So my question now is since we see dead-spren Shardblades require ten heartbeats to summon, do the Honorblades work differently for the Heralds similarly to Syl and Pattern for Shallan and Kal? Or are they broken somehow similarly to the dead-spren Shardblades?
Nadine L.
119. travyl
@115 Nikky D said "I dont think shardplate interferes with using stormlight at all for an actual surgebinder."

There is evidence that Shardplate does interfere with a Surgebinder:
In Adolin's duel, Kaladin uses a Shard helm to armor his hand.
The helm, he realized ... had somehow fed upon his Stormlight. (Quote from chapter 57)
If the Radiants of old had spren-formed Shardplate, then I agree, that such armor wouldn't interfere, but it most likely wouldn't need gems to work either. -
So would Syl split herself to become Blade and armor (once Kaladin has spoken more oaths), or does Kaladin need to bind another spren for that?
Mike I
120. MikeyRocks
I am still reading but oh my god chapters 56 and 57 were AWESOME
Ross Newberry
121. rossnewberry
Finished at 3:00 AM this morning. Hoo boy, that was a ride.

Wetlander, thanks very much for attempting to pull all of this together.

Nightblood - eek.

I think the second of the number epigraphs is maybe the dates that the Everstorm would hit Kharbranth, or maybe the continent as a whole. Need to look a bit more at the first number epigraph and attempt to discern a... Mmmm... pattern.

There's no way that ditching Dalinar/Sadeas's Shardblade out a window after murdering him will ever come back to bite you, Adolin.

I worry that an Adolin/Shallan/Kaladin love triangle will actually be a significant source of dramatic tension in the upcoming books. Not necessarily overt, but the kind of grating undercurrent that keeps people from fully meshing.

I think the Lift interlude is still my favorite part of the book. She's so Awesome.
Ross Newberry
122. rossnewberry
Oh, and here's another thing. A tiny little throwaway line in one of Shallan's flashbacks, but when Wit is holding forth on the etymology of the word 'axehound,' he seems to hint that the word hound is intended to descend from our English/Germanic word for dogs.

Then, you also have the horses (and humans) who don't conform to Rosharan ecology. And pretty much all of Shin.

It does make me wonder if the Splintering won't eventually turn out to involve the destruction/remaking of Earth as in the Deathgate Cycle.
Dylan Tullos
123. dptullos
@112 Someone did come at Kaladin's father, Odium-bent on destroying his family. His name was Roshone. When Lirin had him under the knife, utterly helpless and on the verge of death, one slip of his hand- one tiny, effortless choice- could have killed him. Roshone lived. Tien died. That's what "journey before destination" means.

Kaladin is very quick to take up the spear, because his life has shown him how mercy is repaid by cruelty and betrayal. The people he kills on the field of battle in self-defense are desperate, terrified soldiers, who are only trying to defend themselves. What's so wrong with assassinating the rulers who actually make the decisions, rather than slaughtering the helpless peasants they send out to die?
Gary Singer
124. AhoyMatey
I think he already had some sort of bond, or was in the process of bonding, otherwise he wouldn't have had his visions.
Nadine L.
125. travyl
Rossnewberry @121
Mmmm... pattern. - I see what you did there ;)
Re Lift: how could she be anything other than awesome, after all that ten (+3) year old girl captured a pet-voidbringer.
I agree there is much to love about her interlude but after one read I wouldn't say it's my favorite.
126. Toothpuller
Speaking of Zahel/Vasher, what about Vivenna? Does anyone else think that the female ardent with the shaved head (named Isilel?) who was training the bridgemen in Shardplay was Vivenna minus her lovely color changing locks?
127. Porphyrogenitus
Regarding the whole assassination v warfare question, I think circumstance and motivation have to be taken as key to the understanding here. Even Kaladin doesn't seem to be all that clear on things, nor does Syl, considering the arguments the two have on the subject.

I suppose that, for a Windrunner at least, the key is fighting to protect those who cannot protect themselves. If Kaladin is fighting Parshendi, then he can only do so if he's protecting someone else (his bridge crew, or Dalinar, or whatever) who is, at that moment, incapable of winning the day without assistance. Note that he specifically told Dalinar that he and his men would not participate in the plateau runs, which seems indicative of his attitude toward fighting the Parshendi.

Assassination, then, is not really about protecting so much as it is preventing or avenging. One could argue that he'd be protecting some hypothetical future oppressed, but the Windrunner mandate is too immediate for that to work. He'd only be able to kill a king if that king were actually in the process of killing someone who could not protect himself. Killing an unjust ruler is not part of his mandate, and thus violates the code and breaks the vow. Preemptive killing would also not qualify, no matter how good the reasoning, given how narrow the Windrunner mandate seems to be.

Thus it should be relatively easy to choose when a Windrunner can fight and when he cannot: is someone in immediate danger who cannot save himself? If yes, fight, if no, don't.
Chi Hung Duong
128. lividsama
I don't think it'd been mentioned, so I'm going to say it:
Wonderful drawings! Everything from maps to Shardplates/blades designs. I've always imagined Shardplates look like some kind of powerarmor, so it's good to have it down visually.
My favorite is the chasmfiend drawing. That one took my storm away.

Kudos to the artists!
129. usmcspadden
With the final revelation of who Zahel is, linking Warbreaker and the Stormlight Archive, I am beginning to think that all of Sandersons worlds (excepting the "alternate" realities in Steelheart and the Rithmatist) inhabit the same cosmere. Does that mean that Odium is the same enemy that Vin faced in the Mistborn trilogy? Are any of the other characters cyphers from other works?

Also on my second readthrough I noticed Shallan missing Jasnah's body. I liked the misdirection allowing us to feel Jasnah's loss and forcing Shallan to grow up herself in the harshest way possible.
Dylan Tullos
130. dptullos
@127 I'm not saying you're wrong. In fact, the text strongly supports your interpretation; Kaladin uses his powers to kill enemy soldiers, but loses them when he plots to kill Elkohar.

This does, however, raise a larger question. What kind of ethical code permits the murder of helpless, terrified conscripts, but forbids the death of the ruler who sends them to the slaughter? Are honorspren really so blind that they allow the murder of the innocent in immediate self-defense, but refuse to permit the assassination of the king who is giving the orders? By that logic, Kaladin should be unable to kill Taravangian. After all Taravangian doesn't ever kill anyone himself, so he should be allowed to continue, unharmed, while the Windrunners content themselves with murdering his pawns.

"Honor" in this context seems to mean killing a thousand conscripts on a battlefield, rather than one tyrant in the council chambers where that battle is planned. Wade through the blood of the innocent, Windrunners, but don't you dare actually strike the people responsible! Thinking ahead and identifying the actual decision-makers behind the slaughter is against your order's rules!
131. Nakafre
Re: Assassination vs. warfare discussion. I believe we're all alligned with the concept that windrunners would be able to kill in open combat situations and would NOT be able to assassinate an unethical king. There seems to be quite a bit of outrage against this concept of letting those who make the decisions go free by windrunners. A windrunner would not, but remember, there are 9 other Radiant branches and there surely must be a faction that view this differently. Maybe Skybreaker Szeth under a redemption story arc with Nin?
Ross Newberry
132. rossnewberry
usmcspadden @129: Yes, the worlds of The Stormlight Archive, Mistborn, Warbreaker, and Elantris are in the same universe, but no, Odium is not the same as Ruin.

You can find significant discussion of this stuff in the Cosmere forums on 17thshard.com, as well as other places.
Dylan Tullos
133. dptullos
@131 I hadn't thought it all the way through, but I think your suggestion is right. Each order has its own unique limitations and rules; Kaladin is forbidden from being an assassin, but I don't think that rule applies to Shallan. Is it possible that, when Honor was splintered, the spren were somehow crippled in their thinking? That each one represents a limited facet of Honor, and is incapable of understanding the whole? That would explain how Syl could abandon Kaladin when he plots an assassination, while Pattern would not.

It would also explain why the orders are dependent on each other. Each of the orders has its own way of thinking, and the limitations and blindspots that come with it. Without Lightbringers, Windrunners could not deal with indirect plots. Maybe Lightbringers would rely upon Windrunners to remind them of "journey before destination" and keep them from the path of greatest expediency.

I strongly objected to the idea that honorspren had some magical grasp of ethics, and that their idea of right must necessarily be true. However, if each order's rules are different, then the spren themselves don't agree. Each spren is a different facet of honor, and none of them have the whole picture; they are incapable of fully understanding honor because their knowledge is limited by their own nature.
Mark Tisdale
134. Meerletalis
@118 "The Radiant did not need anyone to help him take off the plate, hewilled it to be off. Whereas, we constantly see Shardbearers needing
help both putting on and taking off Shardplate in specific order due to
the weight of the plate."

I believe we are seeing the difference between dead and live spren in the armor. I do not believe that a Knight Radiant needs gems to power the armor any more than they needed them for their blades. Dead armor, however...
Nadine L.
135. travyl
@128 Yes the art is once again beautiful.

The only regret I have is, that the hourglas symbol picture is not included in this book, now that we slowly get more information to "figure out" that image.
But I only regret it, because in both my ebook and my paperback of WoK the picture isn't included, and so I don't have a physical copy.

So thanks to whomever decided to include the enpapers in the ebook this time (despite the file-size). I wish they'd done it with WoK as well.
136. birgit
Shallan started using her powers and shardblade very early, and Pattern cannot become invisible like Syl. Where was he hiding all the time?
John Massey
137. subwoofer
Hi Alice :)


Kaladin.... didn't expect him to be the broody brooder, from brooderville? Erm... we spent a fair chunck of book 1 beating that horse, don't see why the program would change here. Kaladin does have trust issues, and let's be honest, guys forget, they don't forgive.

Kaladin is one letter removed from Paladin.... not so subtle, that.

Lopen. Love the guy. Who can outdrink a one armed Herdazan? heh. It's cool that he can hang around too. I am proud that he is one of the chosen Radiants. They need somebody with a good outlook on life.

Not sure of what to make of Dal. I hope love can bring him around. He's too stiff.

Jas is not dead. She is too smart for that.

Erm... Shallan, truth to tell, I blew through her flash back scenes... because I'm simple like that. I'll read in depth on my second pass. She did remind me of Naiomi Watts(sp?) in King Kong when she was hanging with Kal in stuck in the trenches. All the slapstick. Not sure if it was natural, but it was needed.

Fini for now.

John Massey
138. subwoofer
Oh yeah, she's a mighty tomb. This puppy will be my new 2014 bug killer.

I'm sure it can squish the odd rodent and stun the odd cat too...

Stephen Ogden
139. azrael
The moment Nightblood appeared I KNEW it was Nightblood. I love Nightblood. I like Szeth. What a perfect team!

I then assumed that Nin was Vasher. I completely missed all the obvious clues about the real Vasher! DOH! I love Vasher too, so I will enjoy Zahel all the more when I re-read!

Nightblood is referred to by Nin as being a shardblade. I wonder if this is just the use of the local terminology to explain a sentient weapon, or if perhaps Vasher and Shashara had visited Roshar at some point in the past and learnt about shardblades and created ne based on a combination of Rosharian/Nalthian magic/technology. I guess if it can be dismissed/summoned (I don't believe we have seen Nightblood able to do this in Warbreakers, and if it could surely Vasher would have utilised those abilities) that might indicate if the original design was modelled on shardblades or not.

Should we be worried about Nightblood controlling Szeth? With all that Szeth's honour seems twisted, he is honourable even to such terrible faults. Given that Vasher once said 'You cannot tempt the hearts of men who are pure, Nightblood' I wonder if means that Nightblood won't be able to manipulate Szeth... Then again Szeth doesn't feel sick near Nightblood, so obviously isn't all that 'good' (shocking news, I know!).

As Nightblood needs 'breath' to operate, I wonder if stormlight is sufficiently equivalent? Given stormlight is 'breathed in' perhaps it is a lot closer to breaths than we might think - though different enough to provide different skills.
Nadine L.
140. travyl
@137 subwoover: I don't think Lopen will be a Knight radiant, but rather a "squire" to Kaladin (as mentioned in the epigraph of chapter 54).
My guess is that Kaladin can "imprint" his honor to his group, and as long as they follow his lead (excluding Moash) they will gain secondary access to stromlight. ???

Wetlander @82
IMO, Truthwatchers have Progression and Illumination, while Bondsmiths have Tension and Adhesion. That would leave the Willshapers with Transportation and Cohesion. But that’s just my best guess. Pretty sure, though, the Stonewards have Cohesion and Tension
I agree with you about the Stonewards (the epigraph of chapter 37 align them to Taln). If we assume the position of Dustbringers as a given (with Chach; which I found no in-book clues for), only 3 spots are vacant to the 3 remaining orders, and I think you gave the most likely match.
(Though I only grudgingly leave behind my theory of Dalinar / Bondsmith being Builders and therefore associated to Kalak.)

I do wonder though why the Illumination surge would manifest in Renarin as seeing the future, Illumination is still the most likely surge to give the ability.
Magnús Pálsson
141. MagnusMuses
Man I love reading the comments. So many interesting ideas.

Some of my thoughts:

The transformation of Gaz.
Someone in the comments talked about the complete shift in Gaz from lowlife scum to cheerful retainer and how jarring it is. Personally I didn't find it jarring at all. I saw it as a very deliberate autorial (is that a word?) descision from Brandon to showcase the more subtle uses of Shallans power. Sadeas' warcamp, with it's casual contempt for human life and morality, seems to bring out the worst in people. The Gaz we see in tWoK is him at his worst and considering how bad people can be it really isn't all that horrible, only pathetic. What Shallan does is use her powers to show him (and the others) how to be better and give them the oppertunity and trust to make the choice to be better. That is why I call it subtle. I don't think she is making them better, that would be removal of choice and personal autonomy, but her powers augment her ability to persuade them by allowing her to show them their potential. Some very nearly ignore the oppertunity but in the end her trust turns out to be warranted.

I think Shardplate and Shardblades are in some way fundimentally different. Some suggest or even assume here in the comments that Syl is directly responsible for the shardplate. I don't think so. the plate and blades left behind by the Radiants behave completly differently. Also Kaladin doesn't hear screaming from touching plate. Some have suggested that the plate might be formed from another spren bond but I dislike this suggestion, bringing a third person into a close personal relationship between two people is hard (and would be harder to write believably, not that Brandon wouldn't be able to do it). It also doesn't address the lack of screaming. My hypothesis is that the answer lies in the connection of the bond forming spren to a different kind of spren, f.ex. honorspren - windspren. It is a connection that has constantly been reinforced with Syl and I think it was mentioned in general for bond forming spren (I don't remember where and might be completly wrong). It seemes like too much for just a casual connection, windrunner - windspren (wind being caused by pressure differences in the atmosphere). When Kaladin performs the greatest displays of his power (flying) he is surrounded by huge numbers of windspren. I think that is where the plate comes from. It would explain the lack of screaming, the screaming being caused by the betrayal which the windspren are incapable of comprehending thus making the plate merely distasteful.
cryptics - creationspren?
Magnús Pálsson
142. MagnusMuses
Sadeas' death.
Huh? What? I was expecting him to last at least the first 5 books as the annoying horrible scheming traitor that he is. I did NOT expect him to go like this, murdered in the dark in Adolin's fit of rage. This also takes Adolin's character in a disturbing direction that I really don't like and all that when I had started to really like him (he was likable enough in tWoK but...). Sadeas deserved to die but to kill him like this is no victory. Besides, he was a really good villan.

Szeth's rebirth.
At first I was deeply dissapointed that Brandon would pull this. A character pretending to be dead is a cool plot twist but being brought back to life? Lame. Very Lame.
YAY! WHEEEE!!! (vast numbers of innocent air molecules getting punched in glee).
Szeth is the perfect wielder for Nightblood. Man I am looking forward to this! He needed to die but this also needed to happen. Don't know why I didn't see that earlier.
All is forgiven.

Maaaaan that was longer than I thought it would be. I would love some feedback on these ideas.

1) Shallan is awesome, see Gaz.
2) Is shardplate formed from lesser spren connected to bond spren?
3) Sadeas dead? WTF?
Mikayla M
143. Alira
I've finally decided to stop lurking and actually comment.

I loved the book. It was a bit hard to get through in the middle, but the choices the characters made were believable, and I think it worked.

I spent the the whole book hoping Jasnah wasn't dead. I didn't really believe she was dead, the whole thing seemed too abrupt for me, but the longer it took her to appear, the more convinced I became that she'd actually died.

I haven't read Warbreaker since 2009 (when I found out some guy was finishing WoT :P ), so I missed most of the references. When Nightblood appeared it sent me running to my bookshelf (at 4:30am) to check if I was really remembering correctly.
Nadine L.
144. travyl
MagnusMuses @141
I like your spren-shardplate theory. I think it is believable (and has much more circumstantial evidence than other theories that later turned out to be true (Helaran ...)
Stephen Ogden
145. azrael
When pattern mimics Jasnah's voice in the tent, I was reading so fast I wasn't thinking, I saw the name and was like "WHAT? SHE LIVES? HOW DID SHE JUST APPEAR HERE?" and microseconds later I am kicking myself for being such an idiot as to believe Brandon would bring her back without fanfare to just 'appear' in a scene. That reinforced to me that she was dead (despite the pathetic underplayed exit) so when she did really come back by just 'appearing' (and not with all that much fanfare either!) in a scene I was elated.

The last quarter of the book was so much better than the first quarter. I really hated chapter 7.
John Massey
146. subwoofer
@140Travel- nice accent, what is that, German? Over in Poland I am called Undyrdogczk ;)

@141ish Mag... reading about Gaz... well, he seems nice, but IMO most douchy sargents stay douchy sargents. Rarely do they have an epiphany and drop the douche, er, so to speak. Not sure if I liked the direction that path took, but I digress.

Sadeas... dang, that took long enough. Why didn't somebody push him into a chasm or pull a bridge out from under him a long time ago? We know there are highstorms.... here hold this long metal rod and go stand over there, I want to test something. I'm willing to settle for stabbed through the eye and left on the floor. Well done Andolin.

BTW, I am a big fan of secret societies. They even have fancy tatoos.

Maiane Bakroeva
147. Isilel

Wouldn't Stormlight being able to heal missing limbs on a mere squire be seriously overpowered?
After all, Kaladin's slavebrands didn't heal and the jury is still out on Dalinar's scars. BTW, isn't it quite interesting how a surgeon, after seeing his scars, thought that he should have been crippled long ago?
IMHO, Lopen must be not just a an incipient surge-binder, but somebody with the Growth surge. And given his personality, he can only be an Edgedancer.

Anyway, I have re-read the last 20 or so chapters that have all kinda blurred together on my first frantic read and noticed some stuff that flew over my head initially.

Namely, unless Amaram seriously misunderstood something, Gavilar wanted to bring back the Voidbringers to brink back the Heralds, all so he could empower the Church! What?! This makes me think that Parshendi were right to kill him and that everybody else was actually lucky that they succeeded.
Was Gavilar getting his visions from the same source as Dalinar? Was he wildly misenterpreting things? He did seem to behave as a Radiant in spe, what with reading The Way of Kings and not using his plate and blade anymore, but still, the goal of bringing back the Voidbringers should be pretty inimical to the Ideals.

Anyway, why did Gavilar chose to confide in people like Amaram and Taravangian, rather than his own family? I guess that he became suspicious of Jasnah because of her atheism, which is really sad, since she clearly worshipped him. But why didn't he even tell Dalinar? Sure, it was an old Dalinar, but he was another person who worshipped Gavilar and had always been loyal to him.

Speaking of which, the fact that Taravangian not only becomes a complete sociopath when he is at his most brilliant, but also supplements his knowledge using _evil_ mega-spren gives me a very bad feeling concerning his plans.
I mean, "You must become the king of everything" is an obviously bad idea given that he is an old man with certain health problems and without any magical abilities and the Desolation is _here_. Acquiring Jah Keved at the cost of such destruction isn't going to be very helpful, once the Everstorm hits.
I can only hope that Szeth visits some swift justice on Taravangian or that the Diagram will judge Dalinar too valuable to kill, once they hear about his visions in some detail.
At the same time, somebody trustworthy (Jasnah?) should really look at his research, because there might be something worthwhile in it.

I have also somehow missed on the first read that Amaram is going to Urithiru rather than leaving the plains. He is really taking his life in his hands, isn't he? He must know that Dalinar might well execute him.
Oh, and why on earth are the Ghostbloods trying to kill a Herald?
OTOH, I really wanted to see Taln with Dalinar and Shallan again, given that the Bondsmiths are supposed to have some special insight into Heralds and Shallan is so good at building up broken people, so yay.

Why are they moving everybody into the city anyway? Given their shortage of Stormlight and provisions this seems somewhat odd. If they don't figure out how to open another portal soon, they'll be trapped there and cut off from returning via Shattered Plains by Parshmen turned-into-Voidbringers. I somehow can't help but think think that just leaving them behind to be changed wasn't such a great idea.
Sure, Urithiru needs to be explored, but they don't need everybody from the camps for it. Why not send the rest of them home?

I can now understand better why Renarin held back so much and was so terrified when he came out - he must have believed that he was becoming a Voidbinder. Foresight, a shardblade screaming at him (a weapon designed to kill Voidcreatures as far as he knew), and, of course, Lift believed that her spren was a Voidbringer whom she had "captured". That scholar had the same suspicions about Pattern, once he revealed himself.
Naturally, Renarin couldn't believe Glys's reassurances that he was not a Voidspren. Particularly, since, he seemed also unable to resist the compulsion to write predictions of doom on the walls, etc. How did he manage to do it that one time when Dalinar was napping after his vision alone?

I was bit disappointed by Kaladin preparing to take off at the end of WoR, though.
I have hoped that now that the Radiants have revealed themselves, they'd work together a bit, exchange information that they have gotten from their spren and other sources, help each other with Surges where they overlap, like Kaladin teaching Dalinar to use his Adhesion, think creatively about how their abilities can be applied, etc. But it looks like Kaladin won't even tell his collegues about what he heard about the Diagram now.
Well, I can only hope that Shallan is going to help Renarin with his Lightweaving, and that they are going to learn some swordplay from Zahel/Vasher although opening another portal has absolute priority over everything else, of course.

BTW, why are all the worldhoppers we have met so far dudes? Hoid, Mraize, Vasher, the guys from the 17th Shard? Where is Vivenna, at least?

Did we see any hidden Heralds? Could Taravangian's mysterious bodyguard Mrall and that indolent ardent be Heralds? Thaylens qualify as human, yes?
Mark Tisdale
148. Meerletalis
I wonder if the Wind Spren hanging with Kaladin are his potential shard plate...
149. Palpie
Haven't read everything yet, just finished WoR. So i'll just give some thoughts. Then prolly start a re-read once i've finished the bird eater (ty amazon) and dreamwalker.

Jasnah: I really though she was dead, and while i'm glad to have her back cause she's awesome (tm lift), it does make me worry that no one will really die. Except Sadeas, that tool better stay gone, who would bring him back. I'm looking forward to what kind of relationship she has with her spren.

Szeth: It was nice to see that he wasn't magically compelled to obey and knows that he had a choice all along. That means redemption could be available to him. Unfortunately Nan seems to have a very twisted sense of justice. Though hopefully now that the everstorm has come and the voidbringers are back he will stop trying to stop the radiants from returning.

Heralds: Obv Darkness/Nan is one. I think Zahel is too, though i guess he could also be a world hopper like hoid/wit. I don't think we saw shalash, though we did see a painting she had defaced.

Kaladin: less Kal, more Lift. I'm sick of his attitude. Sure maybe he'll have grown up now that he's revealed, but i'm not counting on it. The only reason i'm glad he's still a radiant is cause of Syl. If it wouldn't kill her for him to lose his powers i'd be all in favor of that. Maybe she can rebond to someone that's not so annoying.

Lift: anyone else reminded of early Vin, with a touch of Spook? Hopefully she'll get to urithu soon and spread her awesomeness.

Shallan: So her mom wanted to kill her for bonding pattern. Was her mother a member of one of the secret societies we know? I think that was too early for the diagram, and the others seem to want to return the radiants. I was wondering where the flashbacks were going as they didn't seem as focused as Kaladin's in WoK. Her strangling her father was quite shocking and brutal. Other than that I enjoyed pretty much every moment with her, from co-opting every group she encountered on the way to the plains, to her joining the ghostbloods, to taking over the final expidition.

Secret societies. I think we need an index just for these. Or perhaps a short list of ppl who are NOT a member of a secret order. It does feel a bit like in WoT where about 10 groups think they're the only ones that can save the world, when they should be all getting together and cooperatiing.

Adolin: I doubt he'll get away w/ killing Sadeas that easily. Ialai was probably the more dangerous of that pair anyway. Will this mean he won't be able to attact a spren, because at the end he seemed to be having a similar revulsion to killing and the shards that the others have.

Amaram: I'm not sure about him. I don't think he's as vile as Kal thinks, just less principled that his reputation. OTOH, he did think he should have killed Kal rather than show mercy and tried to steal Talan's blade, and then grabbed Talan at the end.
150. Freelancer
Ok, jumping in.

Jasnah ~ I supposed her truly dead when it happened (with a tiny, hopeless wish that it weren't true, and hanging that wish on her soulcasting mastery). That supposition vanished the moment Shallan first met with Navani. Shallan had to explain getting herself away from the assassins, without giving away her soulcasting ability, therefore the lie about burning the ship. Navani's reaction tells me that Jasnah isn't dead. Navani's words:
"I want to know exactly what happened when you think you saw her die."
After Shallan assures Navani that she saw Jasnah stabbed through the heart, and decided to fire the ship to offer the sailors a chance to escape in the chaos:
"On fire?" Navani asked, horrified, "With my daughter unconscious?"
"You doomed her," Navani said, locking eyes with Shallan. "Jasnah wouldn't have been able to swim, like the others. She--"
This is not simply a mother raving, and grasping at an irrational hope for her daughter. Navani dismisses a dagger through the heart as likely to be fatal to Jasnah. Since the fire story is a lie, it left plenty of room for Jasnah, via whatever method Navani's comments hint at, to have survived. I was pleasantly surprised that Jasnah was shown to us again without having to wait for a future volume.

Zahel ~ So, he's been on Roshar for long enough to be recognized as a swordmaster, and has taken up a position as an ardent. He didn't try too hard to hide that he wasn't Alethi, and it took several of his crazy color-based non-sequitors to wonder if he was from Nalthis. At that point, an out-of-place character whose swordsmanship is worthy of training an already adept duelist such as Adolin? Not too many options. Include Kaladin's nighttime visit to him, where he thinks about the lack of a voice talking in his head. I still want to know how he sees Syl, and how he knows of investiture well enough to refer to a highstorm as "invested to the hilt".

Shallan ~ Brandon is at his most devious here, leading us all by the nose about the events which shape Shallan's emotional issues and self-imposed memory blocks. Spreading out the full reveal over nearly 2,000 pages, though? Eesh. Not going to bother with discussing that, since the truth is now clear. I do wish to respond to numerous comments I've seen that suggest that Shallan is not a believable character.

Some have dismissed as unrealistic what she does with the slavers, then the deserters, because she has no leaderhip ability. I say, you haven't been reading the same story I have. When her father starts losing control, she steps in and makes up the gap. The worse the household gets, the more is required of her in order to stave off the complete breakdown of everyone in that house. It is Shallan who sets up Balat to try and get away, and when that fails, it is Shallan who calmly prepares a poisoned drink. It is Shallan who is trusted by her father enough that he drinks it without any worry at all, and when it proves insufficiently fatal, it is Shallan who strangles him with his precious gift to her. All of this, while her three older brothers do nothing after Balat's feeble attempt to fight him. Long before she decides to try and steal Jasnah Kholin's soulcaster, we see that she has been working to ameliorate her brother's emotional flaws, to help them be happier and less damaged people, even while so very broken herself. Even when nobody, even her brothers, sees this, she is leading. Through deceptive and almost invisible means, yes. So fitting for a Lightweaver.

She has always been able to take control of a situation, but with the repeated traumas that she must hide in her mind, she doesn't fully realize this until she is in dire straits. Fortunately (for us) she finds herself thus occupied quite regularly.

My curiosity about Shallan is how a spren such as Pattern, one intending to bond a potential Radiant, chose a small child. It is after bonding Pattern that she becomes an object of fear and hatred of her mother, what was in this very immature girl that attracted a cryptic? comparatively, it's a no-brainer why an honorspren would be pulled to Kaladin, and Renarin's thoughtfulness made him an even chance for bonding a spren. Which brings me to...

Adolin ~ Sure do like Adolin a lot, but can't bring myself to be emotionally invested in him. I don't have the slightest issue with him killing Sadeas, they are Alethi nobility, competition is their way, and he was tired of watching the painful drama of Sadeas assassinating his father by a thousand tiny cuts. When Sadeas admitted that he had no honorable purpose but to take what he could, I was actually wondering if we'd see Sadeas go flying out a tower window. But this, so similar to the climactic scene of Gladiator, was more than adequate.

For all of his good qualities, Adolin is somewhat of a dilettante; too concerned with fashion, can't hold the attention of a single woman for long, wavers between what's comfortable and what's right, etc. Still, even those aren't the reason I cannot get behind Adolin. I just think he's going to die soon.



Come on, I know most everyone has been shipping Kaladin and Shallan from the beginning. Well, I'm sticking with it. Forget the causal, that was Jasnah using her family to serve her scholarship and politics by getting her apprentice set up well. A Radiant doesn't need that. Already, Adolin is uncomfortable with his betrothed effectively outranking him in that aspect. And no matter what Jack Traven thinks, shared personal trauma does create a positive emotional bond between people. They don't realize it yet, but Kaladin and Shallan got seriously close during that chasmfiend fight/highstorm. And now that they are the top two Surgebinders in Dalinar's little band of Knights . . .

Wit ~ Brandon is going to tease us with Hoid for so many volumes to come. After showing us Vasher Zahel, the next time Wit and Kaladin meet he's tuning what must be a lute, and comments happily how much easier it is with perfect pitch? So, how much Breath did he get? Second Heightening at least. Did he get it all? Zahel is a grouch, which could be a sign of Drabness, but he was never the life of a party. I would guess that Hoid wouldn't have settled for less than Fifth Heightening.

Szeth ~ Poor guy, think of the trouble he would have saved himself if he'd simply believed in himself just a tiny bit more. A spren-bonded Surgebinder meant that he was right all along, and therefore the judgement of Truthless was invalid. He should never have gone back to Taravangian, he should have submitted to Kaladin, learned the whole truth, and returned to Shinovar with a potential Radiant in tow, to say "I told you so". Good move of him to accept death at the end, as the nightmares would only multiply with the realization that none of his murders should ever have happened. I wasn't a big fan of him being revived, though it isn't the hardest thing about the story to accept. And now he has Nightblood. Eesh.

Kaladin ~ (In Cypher's voice) "Why, oh why, did you suck the red Stormlight?" I know that it was his decisions that damaged the bond with Syl, but his intake of red Stormlight was a nice symbol of the errors he was making. Windrunners work best on sapphire. (Teft knows this, it's why they dumped sapphire broams on the ground during Kaladin's last fight with Szeth. It's a well-crafted vehicle for staged reveals, that bonded spren gain sentience very slowly. During that time, it allows the communication failures which lead to misinformed decisions, the foundation of any great epic.

The Diagram ~ Yikes. Don't those people realize that "unfettered" intelligence is also completely sociopathic? I guess they've come to learn that, not permitting him to make policy when he's either at the low or high end, but it also means that they're using the cogitations of someone at the pinnacle of mental capacity, who has recognized that his humanity varies in directly inverse trajectory, to try and determine humankind's fate.

I had this debate with folks standing in line to buy the book last Tuesday. Every time, in story or history, that someone claims their actions are guided by "the greater good", their actions are evil. Not intended to be evil, perhaps, but that doesn't change the judgement of the actions themselves. Just as "for the good of Alethkar" is not an honorable reason to allow Elhokar to be slain, it cannot be permitted to justify anything being done by Taravangian. Others continued to claim that he's trying to do good. But that argument cannot get passed the concept that he ordered Dalinar Kholin's death because it seemed likely that Dalinar would try to bring peace with the Parshendi. Evil. Period.
151. Zach8
(sorry about the spelling and names. I'm too lazy to look everything up)

I dissagree. I think that an apocolips superseeds all, and anything to survive and continue must be put into practice. Which is the diagrams purpose– humankind must continue at all costs.
Really, I think the diagram is awesome. The intellegence level must have been intense indeed. Not only did T be able to plan things politically, like, if I assasinate X Y Z then Q and R will fight and I will end up as king. But he was able, using minimal information, solve some of the biggest mysteries, things that really only a dozen people know. Like for instance: what honor blades are, who has them, what the unmade are, what the Pandashi are, and that they will eventually have a leader who will bring back the old gods, the evil super powerful spren like the m guy that causes the death rattles, what the radiants mean ect...He had the forsight to know that the world needed a leader to unite everone, and decided that it had to be him. I think he would have wanted to have Gavilar, (and that he was part of Gavilar's group), to become king, but the Pandashi ended that dream. Who else could lead? Ya, he does terrible things, kills people, instigated a war killing thousands if not millions, but what does that matter if he unites everyone and starves off total disaster and extinction.
I think there are many charactors that would agree. Kalidin could not, it would go against the oaths. Prehaps not Dalinar either. But Jashna, Shallan, the Ghostbloods (if the Ghostbloods are actually a seporate organization) the skybreakers (except for their radiant at their head, who had his own adjenda) would all listen and help T with fufilling the Diagram.
152. Confutus
I missed the hints of Jasnah's return, but I knew Syl was coming back, and that the Stormfather was wrong. I hope Pattern is wrong about his fate as well. I didn't find Shallan's various maneuverings incredible: She's clever, thinks on her feet, and doesn't fear being devious in pursuit of her goals. She is walking a tightrope between truth and lies in a way that's similar to the one Kaladin walks between killing and protecting. As I read the diagram of the relationship among orders, it seems that the Lightweavers and Windrunners are in many ways pairs of opposites and their relationship is complementary. Shallan with her wit and cheerful resilience showed Kaladin something about how overcome his hatred of lighteyes and keep his oath. Might he someday return the favor with her and a truth she needs to face?

Kaladin: You're going to start hearing "Brightlord Radiant" a lot and you aren't going to like it. Tough. Deal with it. Now that the skies and the winds are yours, you can't honorably go back to something easy like running bridges.

Shallan: I think Mraize was wrong about Veil being the real you, but there's enough truth in it to bite. You need to figure out how to keep from lying to yourself.

Eshonai. You were betrayed. I hope you survive and find a way to free yourself from stormform. If you can, the survivors of your people still need you. Maybe Rlain can help.

Elhokar: The queen you trusted to keep things in order back at home has lost it. What are you going to do now? Kaladin offered you good advice. Either take it, and find something you can do better than trying to rule the Alethi, or start doing it right. You don't have much time.

Moash: Yah, you deserve to feel like a fool. Are you going to stay one?

Adolin: You don't know about Ialia, do you? She's a worse monster than the one you murdered. Yes, he needed killing, not only for what he had already done to you and yours, but for what he was planning to do. But Alethkar doesn't need another Jasnah. It needs justice, and not the twisted version of a fallen Herald. I think maybe you need to take a turn as fugitive and see what your society looks like from the bottom.
153. Freelancer
Zach8 @151

If you cannot recognize a problem with this statement:
"Which is the diagrams purpose– humankind must continue at all costs."
Well, the precedent is very well established. But to return to my previous point, it is EXACTLY the same as Kaladin's dilemma about Elhokar, raised to a global scale. It is not ok to kill people to learn tidbits which may or may not help to mitigate a desolation. It is not ok to set entire nations at war with each other, or themselves, as ploys to become a global ruler, just because you think you know best how to care for them. Anyone who reads should be aware of the long list of names of those whom history has branded as evil, who had precisely that as their goal. Assassinating the most honorable leader in the world, using one of the most honorable individuals in the world, falsely naming him Truthless to do so, is not ok. Apocalypse does not trump all. It does not justify discarding humanity, or what is left behind is not human enough to be worth saving.

Jasnah would be horrified to know the truth of Taravangian, so would Shallan. No, there isn't an honorable character in this story who would approve.
Alice Arneson
154. Wetlandernw
dptullos @107 – While it may be true that many of the “soldiers” were frightened conscripts, I don’t honestly think I could call it “murder” when one soldier kills another from the opposite side. A soldier on the battlefield does not have the opportunity to determine whether the guy he’s fighting is either qualified or desirous of being where he is. It’s the responsibility of the leaders of an army to be sure their soldiers are adequately trained and equipped before sending them out to fight. I tend to agree with Kaladin, at least as regards Tien, that the ones to blame for his death are not actually those who did the killing, but those who put him in their way. HOWEVER: that doesn't necessarily mean that he has the right to kill them for being "bad leaders" because he thinks they deserve it.

Re: the Parshendi – again, Kaladin didn’t have the luxury of determining what each one’s motivation might be; his job as a soldier in battle was to defend “his side” - which generally means killing (or trying to kill) the soldiers on the other side who are trying to kill those on his side. You can’t justifiably call it murder.

Claiming that assassinating your own king is no different than fighting as a soldier in battle is too much of a stretch for me.

travyl @108 – I don’t think we know much more about Shallan’s original bonding than that it has to have happened when she was ten or eleven years old. She clearly was practicing Lightweaving at that age, which means she had to have spoken the First Ideal (and indeed, we’re flat-out told that she did). When and where she spoke the further Truths, or what they were… that, we don’t know. We don’t even know for sure whether all Lightweavers have to find the same Truths, or if they are specific to each individual. (We’ve got just about enough information to engage in a decent debate on that.)

littlebit_liz @109 – “I didn't think Adolin treated Kaladin any worse than Kaladin treated him.” Quite possibly not – but there were plenty of other reasons to bemad at Kaladin besides him behaving badly toward Adolin. He spent a lot of time jealously guarding his grudges (with reason, I admit) when as a reader I so badly wanted him to let them go and become a Real Radiant. Adolin just got more and more lovable as we went along – except for his attitude toward Kaladin for a while there.

Rakugal @117 – Yes, I took that as meaning that she will eventually find out that there were some survivors, including Yalb. Could be wishful thinking… but I indulge myself on these things until I’m proved wrong.

Nakafre @118 – “Interestingin that we know via the WOR Prologue that Szeth has Nan's Honorblade.” He doesn’t. He has Jezrien’s – that’s what gives him the Windrunner skill set. If he had Nalan’s Blade, he’d have Skybreaker skills. Now that he has Nightblood, though, who knows what kind of skills he may have?

Toothpuller @126 – Her name was Ivis, and the idea that she might be Vivenna never even occurred to me… There’s not a lot to go on, but I see no reason it couldn’t be her. I like it. Good catch!

subwoofer @137 – Hey there! ‘Bout time you got here! ;)
::waves back::
Are you going to use this beautiful-artwork dust jacket to kill the bugs, or the beautiful hard binding? Or will you cover it in brown paper first? I’d vote for the third - I’d hate to think of bug-, rodent-, or cat-entrails all over the others… :P

azrael @139 – Brandon revealed that Nightblood is a mis-created Shardblade – created on the wrong world with the wrong magic system. I don’t know what all the implications of that are, but… I have ideas. One is that, just maybe, Zahel/Vasher is also Ishar, who maybe learned world-hopping after the Oathpact was broken (or before he became a Herald), and went to Nalthis to become Vasher. All Brandon will say about that is “RAFO.” (He did confirm that a Herald could be a world-hopper, but not that Vasher is Ishar.) But I noticed that on the chapter titled “Swordmaster” where Zahel first shows up, all four of the Heralds on the arch are Ishar. Ditto on the Zahel interlude.

travyl @140 – I’m not sure who first figured out (or from what!) that the Dustbringers were associated with Chach, but I know Brandon confirmed it at a signing last fall. My first reason for thinking that the Truthwatchers are probably associated with Palah is that so far, the female Heralds seem to be associated with Cultivation and the males with Honor, and we know that Cultivation was better at seeing the future than Honor. Since Palah was the only female Herald whose associated Order was still unknown, it seemed reasonable. IMO, this is confirmed by the Heralds on the arch for Chapter 89, “The Four” – which shows the four Heralds Jezrien, Shallash, Ishar and Palah, in the order we learned of their Radiants. IMO. :)

Oh, also… I don’t think a single Surge necessarily manifests the same way in both Orders that use it; I think their skills are, to some extent, a combination of the two Surges they access.

MagnusMuses @141 – I really like the idea of the Plate being formed by related spren – windspren for Windrunners, etc. I certainly don’t have proof, but as you say, the number of windspren whipping around Kaladin in that one scene is certainly suggestive! It would be a great signing-tour question…

travyl @140 & Isilel @147 – Thanks for the reminder… Like Isilel, I too have a suspicion that perhaps Lopen is going to turn out to be either an Edgedancer or a (presumed) Truthwatcher, with access to the Surge Progression, which enables Regrowth. That would explain why his arm regrows, while Kaladin’s slave brands refuse to heal. My money is on Edgedancer, associated with Vev, associated with healing in general. It fits Lopen’s character, too, IMO.

Re: moving everyone to Urithiru – it actually makes sense, as long as the Soulcasters come too. It’s strong, it’s withstood millennia of highstorms, it’s got room to house everyone, and it’s the logical place to start if they want to try reactivating the other Oathgates. As long as they bring all their gemstones as well, they should have plenty of power and food. Sending people home, which means a whole lot of travel across either the Frostlands or the Unclaimed Hills with semi-predictable highstorms and completely unpredictable Everstorms hitting them from both sides… that sounds like a dicey proposition to me. Better to bring them all to Urithiru and hope to unlock the Kholinar Oathgate.

Re: Worldhoppers – I think Iyatil is a worldhopper, and Mraize is her subordinate. Also, as suggested above, it’s quite possible that Vivenna is disguised as Ivis, the ardent. I don’t think the indolent ardent is anyone special, but I’m pretty suspicious of Mrall.

Freelancer @150 (and 153) – By the time this was done, I was completely wigged out by Taravangian. He has made a god out of his brilliant self, and willingly – eagerly – does everything instructed by that version of himself. That, despite the fact that even he can see that the things he wants to do on his "genius" days are deeply misguided. If the things you want to do on your second- and third-“best” days are awful, why would you think that the things you want to to on your “best” day are good? It defies reason.
155. birgit
Oh, and why on earth are the Ghostbloods trying to kill a Herald?

They tried to kill Amaram and the Herald interfered.
156. FreudianSlip
This is probably a bit nitpicky of me, but was I the only one who goggled at the book and went WTF!? the moment Kaladin started diagnosing Renarin with myoclonic epilepsy? It might just be because I've worked with kids who have epilepsy for the last few years, but for Kaladin to start talking about myoclonic seizures completely ruined my suspense of disbelief (at least for a little while ;) ). I mean, I get that he's got medical training and is almost a surgeon and all that, but in our modern day and age, diagnosing someone with specific kinds of epilepsy usually relies heavily on high-tech gadgetry. So to me it seemed entirely out of place to use such specific medical terminology given the general level of development on Roshar. I somehow found it extremely difficult to believe that Rosharan surgeons have such clear distinctions between different types of epilepsy, and especially for Kaladin to have that same knowledge. But hey, maybe it's just me...? :)
Maiane Bakroeva
157. Isilel
Wetlandernw @154:

Vasher being Ishar would be a very twisty twist indeed! Particularly since being a Returned he wouldn't remember who he is and having changed his appearance, an image is unlikely to clue him in. That would also mean that dying on another world doesnt transport a Herald to Odium's torture-chamber, as a death on Roshar would, according to Kalak in the prelude to WoK.
I did think that Zahel was a Herald in hiding before I read that he was V in this thread, and, of course all the hints are there. But him being Ishar as well would bring it back full circle, heh.
Oh, and it seems that investing Stormlight without a spren or a Heraldic blade is possible, after all.
If Ivis is Vivenna, they don't seem to be together anymore. In fact, Zahel seems to be pretty lonely.

Urithiru - hopefully they'll have a highstorm soon and it doesn't turn out that the city is above the storms or something. Their Stormlight situation is pretty bad.
Nor do I believe that the Oathgate to Kholinar can be used, as palace and temple complexes have been built on the platform. I can't help but think that transporting all these buildings would outstrip the capacity of the Transport Network fabrial.

P.S. I thought that the first of Iyatil's darts was meant for Amaram and the second was for Taln? Taln intercepted both, of course. Oh, and does anybody else feel that Taln is faking at this point?
158. beagel
Well, i haven't read the whole thing, because right in the second paragraph is a doozy. How do you figure he is no Radiant yet? I mean does the stormfather or syl say something? Or did he not do something you wanted, so for you he is no radiant?
Mark Tisdale
159. Shinowa
I believe that Kalinar's slave symbols remain because that is who he thinks he is. They are part of his identity. He heals/regrows, but they remain. His sense of self and perhaps even the spren, including Syl, see it as part of him.
John Massey
160. subwoofer
Jasnah- I'm still not sure I am comfortable with her name... I thought it would be er, hotter. While on the topic of names, I gotta say that I am finding that I have to learn how to spell a whack of new names for this blog. It is very irritating to say the least. There should be a name glossary somewhere so I'm not constantly having to flip through pages... or scroll to the top. Psssst... Rock is an awesome name. Don't expect me to say his real name or spell the tribe/culture he is from, at least not without a bunch of whining on my part.

I am noticing that most of the darkeyes have simple names while the highborn lighteyes have a bunch of names that seem to have random letters inserted to make them exotic. It is like Megan with a "y" or Hadrian or any of those "what was their name?" names. Gimme a break on trying to be original. You want to be original? Invent a working lightsaber, then go change your name, you'll have hordes worshipping you as truly unique.

But I digress- Jasnah- alive. Here's my logic. Kaladin,

::head shakes while looking at that one too::

Erm, Kaladin lived through a terrible beating and being strung out in a Highstorm. He fell into a chasm, fought shardbearers and more falling and having a blade go through his arm. He seems fine. Shallan- gah- same deal, took a lickin', kept on tickin', and she was Jasnah's padawan. I'm not buying a few thugs with knives being successful. If there is a glowing sphere within sucking distance, Jasnah's all good. I figure the thugs have their payment on them and that was not a bright thing to do.

And Kaladin needs a friend too. A light eyed friend. Perhaps even a lady friend.


161. DrewSutherland
Long time lurker, first time poster.

The book is satisfyingly great. Aside from the action scenes (which is one of Brandon's strength IMO), I can't believe how intricate a political world has been created. The larger factions we know of such as the Ghostbloods have subgroups even within themselves for goodness sake! Are they transplanted Cairhienin?

I haven't seen much discussion of this, but I assume that the current feeling for the subject of Dalinar's vision was not only to create the Knights Radiant but also to 'Unite them'. It's interesting to see how much internecine conflict between the orders was documented from Shallan's copy of Words of Radiance in the epigraphs. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to 'unite' Kaladin and Szeth for example.

Finally, for @156FreudianSlip, I'm surprised at your jarring reaction to the description of epilepsy by Kaladin. Considering description of both the disease and its subtypes has been around in our world for at least 4000+ years, this was not at all a setting-breaker for me (but I admit I have a medical history interest...).

Is it too early to say I can't wait for the next one??
162. FreudianSlip
@161 Drew Sutherland

I think in large part it's due to the fact that although descriptions of the disease have been around since 2000BC (like you said yourself), people have mostly thought it was due to stuff like demonic posession, evil spirits or moon gods up until the 17th century at least. So I was basically shocked that a not-fully-trained surgeon on Roshar would refer to the disease with such accurate, modern-day medical lingo. If that makes any sense! :) But then again...Hippocrates himself did suggest a different etiology to epilepsy rather than evil spirits (even if all his contemporaries rejected the idea), so it's definitely feasible!
matei tugui
163. matei
I believe you forget "the wisdom of the Heralds", 10 people from another world come to share their knowledge to the people on this one, in order to save them. Add 4,5oo years of non-desolation to this "seed" and I think you can allow for some advances :)
Alice Arneson
164. Wetlandernw
beagel @158 – What I said was, “He’s not a full Windrunner yet,…” He’s only spoken three of the five Ideals, and he doesn’t have Plate yet. To me, he can’t be a full Windrunner, if there are more steps to take. We don’t really know the original definition of a Radiant – did it include people who were on their way, or only those who had completed the process? We do know that earlier in the book, according to Jasnah, Teft, Kaladin, and Shallan, not one of them is a full Radiant yet. But by now, several of them are well on the way. If you define a Radiant (as several folks seem prone to do at the end of the book) merely as someone who has a spren bond, then sure, call ‘em all Radiants. But they’ve all got a long way to go before they have their full powers.
Deana Whitney
165. Braid_Tug
Done! And WOW!

Re: Shallan, what the flashbacks did now answer was this… What the Hell was a 10 year old doing that enabled her to say the lost vow of the Radiants and attract a spren?
I understand she then had a mental block and didn’t see or interact with Pattern for 10 years, but OMG.
Family makes me sad. Her hugging Hoid made me happy.

The “reviving” line about the shard blades was heartbreaking. I hope more of the blades can be brought back to life in the next few books.

Bridge 4: Love them all. Just feel really bad for Moshe. Lopin & his mom are greatness! But if Stormlight can heal a severed arm, why the hell does Kaladin still have any scars?!

Elhokar and his wife… a shame. Hard to hold out hope for their kids being better people. Oh Pia!

Re: Renarin - Sad this book. He felt rather 2D. Props to him for being able to somewhat function with the screams in his head regarding the sword. But besides the first duel with Adolin, we don’t really have any interactions between the brothers. And Dalinar’s reaction to his coming out was so understated. I know paper space was short by then, but …
Just hope we get more from him in the next few books.

Re: Shipping –
Kaladin is liking Shallan because of her ability to joke at the horrors. Her ability to laugh and be like Tien is what he finds attractive. She’s a survivor, but didn’t go dark. So, he might find Jasnah just as attractive. When she talks to him about life in the chamas, that’s a strong moment in the book.

I find Adolin’s reaction interesting too. He even thought about it. He went from being on the “upper hand” of the relationship, to being in a casual with one of four known Radiant in the world. He was used to being the “best catch” around, now… there’s an imbalance. So it will interesting to see how things develop there.

And Stormfather! Really? He killed Sadaes. Seemed like it started out as a beat down, then escalated. That emphasized “Irrevocably enraged” does cause me some worry.

The largest “lack of commutation” I saw was from Dalinar. He looked into Kaladin’s accusations. But then Doesn’t tell Kaladin that he did it! Just leaves Kaladin hanging there, until after the massive fight. Not cool Dalinar. Please tell you darkeye Captain that you are doing something. Especially if you go and hand the accused murder a Radiant cloak. Agh!

Another reader pointed it out. Kaladin’s time in a cell, really was an echo of Rand’s time in a box. Where he went all dark and brooding. Thankfully we were not treated to scenes of torture as well.

One moment of lightness that while funny, seems almost overdone – HP Sebarial and his mistress Palona reading a novel. While the sky is erupting around them. A little too calm and collected, but does create an interesting visual.
166. TAO
Anybody think that the next ideal will be something along the lines of doing the right thing even if it results in the death of somebody closen to you.
167. jturner
just 'control F'd' some of the things I wanted to say, so sorry for any repeats, I concur with most of the sentiments....amazing, amazing, amazing...some frustrating things; kaladin, dead people not being dead (especiall Szeth..didn't like that)..repeat characters (see below)

Things that I Haven't seen discussed (and I missed a lot of things; I though Zahel was a herald).

Hoid is a lightweaver. He appeared many more times than is actually obvious in the book. He was the maid that brought the food. He was the coachman that replaced himself. I felt this was pretty obvious, so forgive me if someone else already mentioned it. It's also why he recognized Shallan's ability so quickly. He may not be a radiant, but he either has bonded a spren or has an honorblade (...cool if one of the lightweaver honorblades is a 'copy' like from emperor's soul) that has lightweaving abilities and soulcasting. I think soulcasting is one of the ways to world hop...Brandon mentions something about this, somewhere.

Tien; was he also possibly also a budding lightweaver? I see a parallel in what Tien did for Kaladin in holding off odium's influence with what Shallan did.

Okay, this is something that bothered me a lot: character re-usage. Unless, in a supremely clever act, this is actually the exact same character(s). Breeze/Alrianne (not as much, but included her incase this is in fact supremely clever) Sebarial and his mistress. Waaay to similar if it's not on purpose. But dang, if it is the same...nice.

Someone else already mentioned Snapping, and I think it's interesting that honor's children have to snap in a very similar way to preservation's.

I didn't like Kaladin often; I hope that was odium's influence and that he is done being a little.... I liked Adolin a lot more. The book mentions that windrunners work in pairs or teams. I hope that adolin is a wind runner; except...well, the knife in the eye thing. We'll see.
168. jturner
OOPS! one last thing. the title of the next book went from stones unhallowed to skybreaker; Seems like the next book is a Szeth book then.
Cory S.
169. Hungry_For_Hands
@167 - Hoid can Lightweave, but I don't think it is "Roshar Lightweaving". If you read the Ars Arcanum section on Lightweaving, it says the following "Unlike the variations present on Sel..." and "In many ways this is the most similar ability to the original Yolish variant"

So it seems to me that Lightweaving can be found on several worlds, but all of them are slightly different.
Dylan Tullos
170. dptullos
@154 Wetlandernw

Being a soldier doesn't relieve Kaladin- or anyone else- of moral responsibility for their actions. No matter how badly the lighteyes fail in their responsiblities to their own soldiers, it doesn't make it all right for Kaladin to butcher defenseless, terrified conscripts. To put it another way, Kaladin is murdering people exactly like his brother Tien every single day that he fights. The fact that he dresses up in a uniform and fights for "his side" certainly isn't any comfort to the big brothers of the peasants that he slaughters.

As long as Kaladin decides to let the authorities define his duty for him, he is a collaborator to people like Roshone. He fights in their wars, kills their enemies, and helps them take whatever they want. And all of this is perfectly all right, because he's a soldier, and he's wearing a uniform, and the people wearing different uniforms are "the enemy". Never mind that they, like him, don't want to be here, and are just trying to make it through alive. Their deaths take place on a battlefield, so Kaladin's actions are perfectly all right. I'm sure the soldier who stabbed Tien thought the exact same thing when he went to sleep that night.

Slaves die every day. Peasants die every day. It's all part of the natural order of things among the Alethi. But for a darkeyes- a former slave- to assassinate his own king? That's unthinkable. Of course, Kaladin didn't vote for Elkohar, he didn't choose Elkohar in any way, and any oaths of allegiance he may have taken were extracted at the point of a sword. But Elkohar is his king, so Kaladin should protect him.

This kind of thinking pervades fantasy novels. People should follow their duty and obey the rightful authorities. Well, in a feudal society like that of the Alethi, duty is whatever your master says it is, and the "rightful authorities" are the people with the best armor and the sharpest swords. Kaladin's real enemies have never been the soldiers across the battlefield. They've been his own superiors. Roshone, who drafted his brother Tien to get revenge on Kaladin's father. Amaram, who murdered Kaladin's squad and sent him into slavery. Kaladin's entire life was destroyed by "his" rulers, and he's supposed to salute and kill at their command?

The first step towards freedom is recognizing that the life of a Parshendi is just as valuable as the life of a human. That the life of a darkeyes is just as valuable as the life of a lighteyes. That the life of a peasant is worth just as much as the life of a king. It means accepting responsibility for your own choices, rather than hiding behind the soldier's excuse of "just following orders".

The people who threw Moash's grandparents in the dungeon were just doing as they were told. So were the people who killed Kaladin's squad and enslaved him. And every day in Alethi society, nameless people are dragged into slavery by good, obedient soldiers who see nothing wrong with the idea that people are property. In the middle of these atrocities, which happen all the time, readers seem outraged by the idea that someone could assassinate a named character. Because that's against the rules.

Do I think Kaladin should have helped to assassinate Elkohar? No. There's no point. Revenge won't bring Moash's grandparents back. It won't fix Alethi society, and it won't truly change anything. But Kaladin should stop buying into the lies which have kept him down for his entire life. Like his father, Kaladin can choose "journey before destination"; always to heal, never to harm. Or he can choose to kill for the greater good. If he chooses the second, though, he should kill the rulers who give the orders, not just the people who carry them out. And he should stop hiding behind authority, pretending that his uniform gives him some magic protection from the suffering and death he inflicts on the people who wear his brother's face.
Dylan Tullos
172. dptullos
@171 I suppose we will. Thanks for the review, especially the Shallan section. It's very hard to sympathize with characters who inflict that kind of cruelty on the people around them, especially those who love them. In some ways, that kind of evil is much harder to forgive than the grand, world-destroying evil of Odium, simply because it is so personal. We want characters to be just evil, so that we can blame their actions on their evil nature. We don't want to see how someone who cared about their family can slowly betray that relationship, day by day and choice by choice, until the intimacy and love that once existed becomes another way for Shallan's father to hurt and control her. And at the same time, beneath it all, he still wants to love his daughter. In some ways, it reminded me of Eshonai's corruption, except that Davar never had any outside control; he did it to himself.

Readers like to divide characters neatly, to make villains into monsters and heroes into saints. But it doesn't work that way. Shallan and her brothers have to live with their childhood. They can find a way to overcome, to rise above their past, but not to simply wish it away. That struggle to be better, to fight against your own nature, is what actually defines a hero, whether they grew up in Kaladin's loving, kind family or Shallan's abusive, broken household. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that, and your review showed us that the real tragedy of villains is that they didn't have to be what they are, and that the real triumph of heroes is that they didn't, either.
Rob Munnelly
173. RobMRobM
Just finished and I enjoyed it. Nice job, Team Sanderson.
1. Kaladin arc was predictable but I liked how far down he got and I liked his ability to function well in the chasms with Shallan even without stormlight power. Jumping in the chasmfiend's mouth and stabbing up in to the brain FTW.
2. I enjoyed the Shallan backstory except it remains inexcusable that her father takes out his many problems physically on the people around him, including killing them. I may have had sympathy at some level but killing Balat's axehounds and beating/killing servants????
3. I enjoyed Shallan's arc. I can understand some people thinking that the Ghostblood deceptions were a bit much but they were a scary group and info on them was critically important to her personal survival, as well as broader issues. I was very much creeped out by visit at the end of the book. I don't get their agenda and I don't get how they can do some of the things they do - the idea that they are from off-planet is intriguing.
4. Glad Adolin got more likeable. He and Shallan are a cute couple. Loved the reveal when Kal gets out and finds out that Adolin matched him. The four shardplate dual was fun but I don't understand how the rules would permit Adolin to have anyone help him - it violated the terms of his offer, didn't it?
5. So, wait, what does Truthless mean, exactly? Holding honorblade gives him windrunner abilities -we know that. Same would be true for other Shin holding the other blades, correct? So why was he exiled? I'm not getting it.
6. Did not get the Warbreaker references, including the talking sword with black smoke. I has been five years - I just don't recall, other than I did have in my head that Shallan seems very close in temperament and outlook to the Warbreaker sisters.
7. I'd love someone to generate a list of the identified presumed radiants, including the ones in the interludes, and their presumed orders. We know Lift but which one is Jasnah, and which one is the girl from the islands up north who is forced to show her courage? What about the cobbler?
8. Who is the guy chasing Lift? Is he the herald of Justice who revives Szen? Is he really trying to hold off the desolation by killing off the baby radiants - really?
9. Really need to understand how Jasnah got away. Getting stabbed through the heart seems a bit final, even for a radiant.
10. What orders are/were Gavillar and Elkohar in?
174. Confutus
I suspect that at least part of the reason Kaladin's scars aren't healed with Stormlight is that subconsciously he doesn't want them to be. For him to be a lighteyes...a ruler...yet wearing a slave brand says things he wants to say that he couldn't communicate nearly as well in a lengthy speech. The glyph proclaimg that he's dangerous is quite correct.
Cory S.
175. Hungry_For_Hands
@173 - Rob some good points there. For #4 - The way that I understood the duel was that the one solid rule was that he had to be disadvantaged. Apparently 3v4 still fulfills the disadvantaged stipulation.

#9- I assumed that Jasnah had some stormlight running through her at the time of the stabbing. We saw that Kaladin was able to survive falling 100's of feet with the help of stormlight. So in my mind, healing a stab wound to the heart isn't out of the question. When your heart stops pumping, your brain doesn't die instantly, so that would give time for the stormlight to heal her. Shallan notes that her body is missing, so my guess is that she healed up a bit and Elsecalled herself into Shadesmar.
Mark Tisdale
176. Shinowa
I need to reread. I still haven't quite figured out how Kaladin survived the fall.
Deana Whitney
177. Braid_Tug
@ 173: The Coppermind is now updated with some WoR information. Including a list of all the KR Orders. So you can click on each order for their member(s).

Bondsmiths – Dalinar
Dustbringers – none yet
Edgedancers - Lift
Elsecallers – Jasnah
Lighweavers – Shallan
Skybreakers – Szeth, as of his rebirth via Nalan
Stonewards – Talatin before the Recreance. None currently
Truthwatchers - Renarin
Willshapers – none yet
Windrunners – Kaladin, and possible members of Bridge 4

Ym was a healer of some type. But I don't think he was the same as Lift. So they are of a shared pair. He was not listed on the Coppermind.
Adrian Abraham
178. Nazrax
And, I'm finished ... time for a re-read!

I had some trouble with the first half of the book, constantly thinking that Shallan was going to do something really dumb that it would take ages to recover from. In hindsight, I think I was having WoT flashbacks and expected Shallan to be another Supergirl. Next time through, when I don't have to worry about that, I expect I'll enjoy her plot more.

I can see why Kaladin had to go through what he did for his own development, but I have to admit prefering characters that I agree with. I started listening through the Imager Portfolio series while waiting for WoR (I'm through the second book), and I found it very refreshing not to find myself telling the main character "No, don't do it!!!"

When Wit asked Kaladin about the flute, I was surprised I'd forgotten about it and saddened that Kaladin had as well. I can't imagine how it could reappear, but I still hope it does.

As others have said, I really hope Kaladin / Adolin / Shallan doesn't turn into a love triangle. About the only thing worse is long term misunderstandings caused by groundless mistrust.

Now, a question: when Shallan works the Oath gate, she has to rotate the room so the "lock" is pointing to Urithiru. This would seem to indicate that if she'd stopped above one of the other sections of floor mural that they'd be transported to one of the other kingdoms. Yet, Urithiru has 10 gates, one for each kingdom. Can any gate send to any other gate, and Urithiru just has more to deal with the extra traffic? Or are the other sections on the floor just there for decoration?
Ross Newberry
179. rossnewberry
RobMRobM @173:
5. So, wait, what does Truthless mean, exactly? Holding honorblade gives him windrunner abilities -we know that. Same would be true for other Shin holding the other blades, correct? So why was he exiled? I'm not getting it.
As far as I can tell, Szeth believed that the Surgebinding powers or the Radiants were on the verge of returning, and his adherence to that belief caused the rulers of the Shin (Stone Shamanate?) to cast him from society, and into slavery with his Oathstone. What I can't figure out is why they gave him one of the Honorblades when they did it.
John Hatteberg
180. Oronis
Do you guys think Hoid has broken the fourth wall? IIRC didn't he mention that he was a character in a book at one point?

Also, I'm seeing Brandon at a signing here in Houston on Tuesday. I'm going to ask him, "will we have any POV books with villians as the main character besides Szeth?"
Alice Arneson
181. Wetlandernw
@173 & 177 - Nalan says he's making Szeth a Skybreaker, but we have no evidence that he has a spren bond yet.

FWIW, there's evidence that some group calling themselves the Skybreakers is around, since Helaran "sought them out." Whether that's the one Order that went underground, whether they're actually even associated with Nalan, or whether they are just calling themselves by that name... not enough info.

Also: we don't know for sure if either Gavilar or Elhokar had/have/will have/will have had..... a spren bond. It's quite possible, but... we don't know. Gavilar certainly didn't show any recognizable evidence of Surgebinding during his fight with Szeth, and the only indication for Elhokar is the figures he sees out of the corner of his eye and in mirrors.
Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
@173 and 179 - In the Taravangian Interlude: "Szeth had been banished from Shinovar, made Truthless for something relating to a claim that the Voidbringers had returned." We don't know for sure if he was given the Honorblade before that, at that time, or how/why he acquired it. We just know he has it.
John Hatteberg
183. Oronis
The ghostblood lady with the mask, who is she? What's her name again?

Could it be Vasher's girlfriend from Warbreaker? Perhaps that chick from Emperor's Soul? Vin?!
Alice Arneson
184. Wetlandernw
Iyatil - and I have no idea who she could be. I always have to rely on other people to put these clues together. I'm pretty sure she's a worldhopper, though. And higher up in whatever hierarchy than Mraize.
185. Confutus
I would call Nalan/Nin/Darkness a fallen Herald: His practice of finding a legal pretext to kill incipient Radiants is a mockery of true justice, and Szeth once again is the servant of a bad master. Since he will again be getting his Skybreaker powers from an artifact, not from bonding a spren, and making and keeping an oath, he will be a counterfeit Skybreaker the same way he was a counterfeit Windrunner. Sanderson appears to be setting up a conflict between the Radiant Skybreakers and the fakes. I like Adolin for the real thing.
Alice Arneson
186. Wetlandernw
Confutus @185 - Why do you say Szeth will be getting Skybreaker powers from an artifact?
187. Confutus
When Szeth says that he will be facing enemies with Shards and power, Nin gives him a sword, calling it a Shardblade, names him a Skybreaker, and said that it is a perfect match for his task and temperamant. Pehaps he won't be getting the exact set of traditional Skybreaker powers along with it the way he would from Nalan's own Honorblade, but he will be getting something.
Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
One hitch to that theory... that sword is Nightblood. I don't know what powers it might confer, but I don't see any reason to think it's the Skybreaker skillset.
189. Confutus
So if he has the name but not the same powers, he's still a counterfeit Skybreaker.
Jeremy Guebert
190. jeremyguebert
I leave the forum alone for one weekend, and come back to over a hundred new comments. Yeesh.

In all seriousness, it's good to see so many people enjoying the book and involved in discussion.

Most things that I'd want to discuss have more or less been covered, with some interesting new ideas popping up (I really like the idea of subordinate spren (e.g. windspren) becoming Shardplate - anyone think that creationspren could be the equivalent for Shallan?)

As far as the killing to protect debate, while I don't particularly want to dredge up a dead issue, I tend to side with Wetlander - in my mind, killing (especially on a battlefield) is fundamentally different, by definition, than murder. One is acceptable, in certain, limited situations; the other is not. That isn't to say one should be absolved of all guilt when on a battlefield - taking time to consider the overall tactics/moral reasoning behind the battles when possible is obviously a good thing, as are doing what you can to change the system from the inside out and keeping to an honourable battlefield ethic. Anyways, different opinions abound, and we certainly don't need to all agree on every issue to enjoy a good book together.

One last thing - from my reading, it seemed as though Taravangian's intelligence on a given day was inversely proportional to his compassion. If that's the case, then the idea of someone who gets crueler as he gets smarter is terrifying (not to mention working on the idea of "the ends justify the means", which is directly contrary to the Ideals of the Knights Radiant).
Dylan Tullos
191. dptullos
@190 So if you wear a uniform, stand on a particular spot of ground, and stab a terrified peasant to death, it's not that bad. On the other hand, if you sneak into a bedroom to kill the lighteyes who sent that peasant to die, it's murder. I'm sure that people like, say, Sadeas appreciate this kind of logic. Sadly, we can't ask Tien for his opinion.

I am aware that I keep hammering on this point, and there's a reason for that. The idea of "journey before destination" is central to Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. Yet no one seems to have any problem with murder as long as it takes place according to the pretty rules established by the lighteyes. Shardbearers can wade through a few hundred conscripts on the battlefield, come out covered in the blood of boys like Tien, and get a medal for it. Suggest killing that Shardbearer in his sleep, though, and it's a terrible crime. This kind of battlefield justification is extraordinarily harsh on children like Tien, while it is remarkably convenient for Amaram, who is entirely capable of protecting himself on a battlefield.

"Killing" is what lighteyes and experienced soldiers do to their social inferiors on a battlefield. "Murder" is when a slave poisons his master, or a peasant stabs his lord in the bed. Do you really see nothing wrong with that definition?
192. Porphyrogenitus
@ 170 dptullos:

When Kaladin was a soldier initially, he wasn't fighting to help his commander, he was fighting to keep Tien alive. Once Tien died, he shifted to protecting other young conscripts, and sort of expanded to protecting his whole squad. It was only insofar as he was doing this that he attracted Syl's attention. Even his fight with the shardbearer was to protect others.

Once he became a bridgeman, he started to grow in his relationship with Syl at the same time that he began to protect his fellow bridgemen. He only ever fought the Parshendi when they were killing people who couldn't defend themselves (shooting down unprotected bridgemen, trying to kill an overwhelmed and betrayed Dalinar, etc.). Thus even then he was fighting to protect specific defenseless others.

As soon as he and his men were freed by Dalinar, he insisted that they wouldn't be joining the fighting - they'd only be protecting Dalinar and his household (later expanded to include the king, at Dalinar's insistence).

When did he lose his powers and rend his bond with Syl? When he stopped protecting the people under his care.

If Elhokar were issuing orders to his soldiers to go out and massacre some civilians (say, kill all the Parshmen or something to preempt the Everstorm), then Kaladin might be able, or even required, to stop him, even to kill him. However, his remit does not extend to justice after the fact, only to protecting people in the moment. Look to another order for that (Skybreakers seem likely candidates for ex post facto justice).

@ 154 Wetlandernw:

You mention Truths and if they are personal or universal in nature. My guess would be that they're deeply personal, the kind of Truth that comes from living "Know Thyself." Considering the kinds of truth that Shallan has found so far (she is afraid, she killed her father and her mother, etc.), I don't think they're universal Truths so much as acknowledging the innermost secrets that all people hide even from themselves, which naturally vary widely from individual to individual. It could well be that Cryptics are drawn to those with the most explosive or deeply buried such inner Truths.

Pattern mentioned that Shallan had already spoken enough Truths to do what she needed by the end (IIRC in relation to projecting sound via her illusions), but I suspect she's still got one or two more to go before fully unlocking her bond's potential.
Alice Arneson
193. Wetlandernw
At the risk of stirring the pot, I have to ask: What do you call it when one terrified conscript kills another terrified conscript on the battlefield? What do you call it when one trained soldier kills another trained soldier on the battlefield? What do you call it when one Shardbearer kills another Shardbearer on the battlefield? Are they all murder? Or is it only murder when the killer has more training or better equipment than the one killed?
194. Freelancer
Szeth was named Truthless, because he tried to warn his peoples' leaders that something had returned to Roshar which they refused to believe could have returned. Apparently Shin people simply don't make things up, and if you are judged to have done so, you are sentenced to a life of slavery to whomever holds your Oathstone. Szeth wasn't specifically charged with being an assassin at that time.

In fact, given how Brandon answered my question about Taravangian as concerning Szeth, here's what I now believe:

~ Taravangian's Diagram included (shown in one of the epigrams) a theory that a Shin could be made into a weapon

~ Taravangian's Diagram had led him to the hiding place of the Honorblades

~ Szeth is given an Honorblade and told to report certain facts to the senior Shamans

~ As a result, he is named Truthless and exiled

~ Agents of Taravangian monitor Szeth's indentured service, and at an appropriate time, see that his Oathstone gets into the hands of the Parshendi

What is so very intriguing at this point, is that we've been shown a decent amount of "truth" of what has led up to the current state of affairs, and there is yet so much more that we need to know for it all to be clear. Navani claimed that Jasnah believed she bore some responsibility for Gavilar's assassination. Jasnah had been communicating with Taravangian for some time. I don't believe that she was an agent of his, nor is she a Ghostblood. But she might have unwittingly helped move a piece into place (she admits in the Prologue to employing assassins) which ended with Szeth being employed by the Parshendi.

RE: Nightblood
The sword was created by Vasher and another of the Scholars on Nalthis, Shashara. It required a massive amount of Breath, and as in Awakening any object, a Command. The Command given was "Destroy Evil", accompanied by as detailed a visualization as Vasher could manage. However, Nightblood has no conscience, and has no valid point of reference for ascertaining evil vs good. Anyone weilding Nightblood who has impure intent in his heart, finds their will hijacked by the weapon, and everyone in the immediate vicinity is likely to be killed by them, including themself at the end.

The immediate suggestion from all of this, is that the Breath-based investiture on Nalthis directly relates to the Stormlight-based investiture on Roshar, making Nightblood an equivalent to a Shardblade. If, indeed, Vasher is a Herald who went to Nalthis during his 4,500 year hiatus from Roshar, then Nightblood should be able to imbue Surges into his holder as would an Honorblade.
Jeremy Guebert
195. jeremyguebert
dptullos @ 191, Wetlander @193 - Killing is when two soldiers are facing each other on the battlefield. By the time that they're on the battlefield, differing skill levels, differing levels of courage, differing levels of armament are all irrelevant, at least from a moral perspective. Being better at killing doesn't inherently make you evil. Whether or not a war is justified is an entirely different question than whether a particular soldier on a particular battlefield is doing good or not.

Murder is premeditated, done intentionally as a way of eliminating a particular individual. My personal belief is that no one is beyond redemption, so at best, murder is a permanent solution to a temporary problem (this makes me worry for Adolin - as much as I didn't like Sadeas, killing him in cold blood like that was murder, and I don't like what it (and the consequences) will do to him).
196. Afterthought
Wow. I hate living in a country where WoR came out later!

Anyway, so much I could say about this wonderful, wonderful book. I just know that I'll see more when I reread it, too. I'll try to be somewhat original, although there's been so much excellent discussion already...

Firstly, because it left me with a huge emotional impression, I had to close the book and stop reading at one point in particular when Kaladin and Shallan were in the chasms because I was crying. As someone who suffers from depression, I have really appreciated the way Sanderson has tackled the subject in the Stormlight Archive. I'm in awe of his character building abilities - he just seems to get people, and what makes them.

Secondly, was it just me, or did anyone else think that the Stormfather wasn't exactly acting honourably? Whether or not he was forced to give Dalinar those visions, to send a highstorm into the everstorm when as a result of his visions Dalinar and co were out there... Obviously the Stormfather is somewhat broken, but I can't help but wonder if he's also corrupted by Odium. Also, what type of Spren is he exactly? What with the type of Spren being vital when it comes to the order a Radiant is.

Also - Dalinar has bonded with a male Spren! There was I thinking that males bonded with female spren and vice versa. I guess it was just a coincidence that led me to think that.

Thirdly, I love, love, love the world building. I don't think I've ever come across a (fantasy) world that feels so alive, and realistic. Whether it's the magic system(s), creatures, groups of intelligent beings with goals, interconnectivity... Everything feels... 'right', if you know what I mean.

Fourthly - Moash... I had a bad feeling about where he was going since we were introduced to him. He feels very easy to manipulate, and I fear he is going to be gobbled up by Taravangian and his schemes. My gut feeling is he won't find redemption.

I think that's the end of my (somewhat) original thoughts/gushing. Assorted others:

I really, really hope we don't see an Adolin, Shallan, Kaladin love triangle. It would be so refreshing if Kaladin and Shallan could become friends, rather than for Kaladin to compete with Adolin for Shallan's affections. Love triangles are done to death.

Speaking of death... Re: 'deaths' of characters. I actually thought it was obvious Jasnah wasn't dead when her body was noted to be missing by Shallan - I also thought that was why Tor cut the second half of the chapter when they released the audiobook portion. I figured they thought that too many people would notice it and mention it in the comments.

Likewise, I thought it was pretty clear Syl wasn't dead. Leaving aside the problems with ideas 'dying', when the bond between them died, Kaladin was actually fulfilling his oaths, if anything - certainly not breaking them. Syl had already pretty much stated outright that saying the next Oath would fix things, anyway.

Szeth's death took me by surprise - I thought his character had a long way to go, and I've always felt sorry for him. I hold out for hope of redemption for him. I always felt that despite the many murders and evils he committed, he did so because of a messed up moral framework inculcated onto him, rather than him actually being 'E'vil.

His rebirth took me even more by surprise. I honestly have no idea what to make of this. Very interested to see where Brandon goes with it.

Given that all bar Szeth seemed to be so clearly foreshadowed to me, I can't say I have a problem with them 'coming back to life'. As others have noted, we know that Brandon Sanderson is quite willing to kill characters. Personally, I find if main characters are killed off too cavalierly I tend to lose interest in a story, so I'm quite glad that happened.

I do half suspect Eshonai has survived, by the way, so if I'm right there'll be another non-death to annoy people! ;) I just feel there's unfinished business between her and her sister - plus there's a definite lack of description about her after she falls to her death, disguised by Adolin's predicament. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

My memories of Warbreaker are hazy, as it's a while since I read it (and it wasn't my favourite of Brandon Sanderson's books), but Nightblood being a (sort of) spren suddenly makes quite a lot of sense. How on earth did he get separated from Vasher though?

Was secretly glad to see Gaz back, and not only that, but being the character he showed glimpses of being in WoK. People have suggested his character has changed a great deal, but I disagree. A number of times in WoK he's shown to be uneasy about the things happening to the Bridgemen; he's just a coward - or, perhaps more accurately - human. We know people in the middle of something will often go along with things which from a distance we perceive as evil. As onlookers we love to be outraged, and imagine we would stick up for justice and honour in their place, but that's just not what happens in the real world. If it was, tyrants wouldn't get the support of the populous they need to commit their atrocities.

Interesting that those Spren watching Elhokar disappeared when Kaladin showed up. Given the relationship between Cryptics and honorspren, I wouldn't automatically assume they had been Voidspren, though. For one thing, Voidspren (well Void-anything) and the colour red seem to go hand in hand, and Elhokar doesn't mention it, I don't think.

I'm sure there's plenty more I could say, but this is long enough already!
Dylan Tullos
197. dptullos
@192 Porphyrogenitus

I entirely agree with your description of the Windrunners' mandate. I certainly don't dispute that each order has its own purpose, and that Windrunners protect. There is no question that Kaladin abandoned the purpose of his order when he plotted Elkohar's death.

However, I do dispute whether the rules that govern the Windbreakers are actually ethical. Syl insists that they can only fight to protect. But the soldier who killed Tien may have been fighting to protect the lives of his own brother or his own friends. Any rule which allows you to kill with impunity to protect your own tribe, while devaluing the lives of others, is inherently wrong. Kaladin protects his own squad by killing other children just like his brother. Should we be okay with that? Would Kaladin's father be okay with that? Would Tien be okay with that?

@193 Wetlandernw

All of the questions you ask are vitally important. The problem Alethi society has is that it doesn't ask them. Any killing that happens on a battlefield is blessed and sanctioned; anything that happens off a battlefield it is evil and wrong. Warriors are praised, assassins are condemened, and there are no inconvenient or unpleasant questions to keep soldiers awake at night.

Everyone has to bear the burden of their own choices individually. The approval or condemnation of their society can't change the truth. Neither can the approval or disapproval of honorspren. Lirin would say that murder is murder; he had his family's worst enemy under his knife, and he saved him. That's what "journey before destination" means.

No one except sociopaths thinks that killing is right in itself; they all do so for a reason. Whatever their reasoning is- protection or justice- they commit an inherently evil action to accomplish some end. Kaladin kills Parshendi to protect Dalinar's army. His goal, keeping Dalinar's army alive, means more to him than the lives of the Parshendi who stand in his path. That's what "destination before journey" means.

Killing another sentient being deliberately and intentionally is murder. The circumstances may make that murder more or less justified; they may even make it an acceptable choice. They cannot make it not murder. Lirin chooses to save Roshone's life unconditionally, even though it costs him the life of one son and the loss of another. He chooses never to commit murder for any reason- not protection, not justice, not prevention. Everything else is murder, whether it is Dalinar slaughtering Parshendi, Shallan summoning a Shardblade in Tyn, or Adolin putting a knife in Sadeas's eye. Uniforms, orders, and laws can't take away the responsibility that comes from taking a life.

I honestly love the discussion that goes on here. I enjoy reading about the secret societies and their mysteries, the characters and the choices they make, and the predictions of what is yet to come. But if we want to talk about choices, we have to look at what taking a life means. Not just one of the named characters, but the countless unnamed characters who died along the way. If Way of Kings and Words of Radiance get one moral absolutely right, it's that we can't forget about the people that society doesn't care about.
Alice Arneson
198. Wetlandernw
dptullos - I think we have to agree that we disagree on the definition of "murder." I'm more on board with Jeremy's definition @195, though I'm not sure premeditation is necessary. Most definitions of murder include the sense of "unlawful" - for example, "the crime of killing another person deliberately and not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circumstance recognized by law." While wars may be stupid, and are frequently unjustified, they aren't generally considered unlawful - at least, not on the part of the common soldier. The leaders maybe, but not the soldiers.

The Alethi may not be asking the right questions according to our lights, but why should they function by our lights? They are functioning as they have been taught for thousands of years. It's only with the truth now starting to be revealed by the return of the Radiants that the questions of society at large may start to change.
199. Porphyrogenitus
@ 197 dptullos:

Murder and killing are not the same. Murder is a subset of killing that applies only to unlawful killing. One could definitely argue that specific local laws (battlefield orders to kill civilians, institutionalized genocide, etc.) violate a higher law (natural law, God's Law, whathaveyou), so killing under the auspices of such a law could still be murder, but in general if a killing is according to the law (say, lawful self defense, or obeying a lawful order in combat) then it's not murder.

That said, killing is (broadly speaking) inherently wrong, even aside from considerations about murder. Death, as a consequence for sinfulness, is itself unnatural (at least under Orthodox Christian understanding), and killing is imposing death on a fellow living being (or worse, on a bearer of the image of God, which verges on blasphemy).

This fact has long caused tensions among philosophers and theologians (the Christian Roman Empire, for instance, had a lot of arguments about military killing), and is far from a settled question. It might well be necessary from the point of view of the state, but does necessity impart morality? I'd judge not. To me the stronger argument is that the state itself has been invested with authority to use the sword (legal killing, in other words), in order to restrain the sinfulness of human nature. Whether or not this applies to a fantasy setting that is not explicitly connected to our world is the big question.

As for the impact of all this on Kaladin's specific situation, I would start by agreeing that Alethi society itself is inherently evil. My instinct is that it has become corrupted over the millenia by the twin influences of Odium and the Fallen Heralds, which together have twisted what was once a specialization of necessity (specialization of labor leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness, and the Alethi were the warrior specialists who were supposed to lead the fight against the Voidbringers) into a veritable caste-based warrior culture that glories in battle, dueling, and combat in all its forms, without regard to real justice, morality, or the lives of those who perish as a result of the lighteyes' enthusiasms (the Clans in BattleTech/Mechwarrior have a similar moral corruption, now that I think about it).

As for Kaladin, and for that matter the other darkeyed soldiers, much of it comes down to choice. How much choice do they have, really? If the alternative is to stand and die (which is what Lirin would have to do if ever he were conscripted, if the lighteyed commander insisted on sending him out to fight), then how many of us would be strong enough not to fight? At least with Kaladin he had the moral enducement of protecting conscripts who were not just unsuited to combat but were deliberately being used as fodder to draw attacks away from more valuable veteran soldiers (both Tien and the bridgemen qualify here).

I would like to end this rather lengthy post by pointing out again that, as soon as Kaladin had some measure of control over his fate, he insisted that he and his men not be forced to fight the Parshendi. This even played out in those battles where Adolin fought, with his Bridge 4 guards only protecting him personally, and only when necessary, and refusing otherwise to fight (until the Stormform made things go entirely sideways).
200. Freelancer
Afterthought @196

I cannot imagine a love triangle between Adolin/Shallan/Kaladin. Not a chance. Kaladin is simply not the type to infringe where a romance exists, and there's no question that Shallan and Adolin are at least mildly twitterpated with one another. Likewise, Shallan doesn't strike me as one who would dump a known for an unknown. But there have been subtle hints dropped that, in spite of their mutual enjoyment of each other's company, there's a mild mismatch. Shallan accepts (and defends) Adolin's less acute intellect, though her internal POV makes note of it, for example.

Many great relationships begin with one or both members bearing a mild to strong dislike for the other, and only growing interested as they learn more about one another. This is definitely the case with Kaladin and Shallan, as their first meeting established a mutual distrust (including the foundation of an ongoing snark-off), resulting in Shallan taking Kal's boots. Most of the negatives have been washed away (pun intended) by their experience in the chasms. (Funny how each believed they saved the other from dying in the fall)

Anyway, I'm just saying that the clues abound, and in a way that seems hard to avoid. Which leads me to believe that Adolin is a candidate for dead good guy. Consider that Adolin's most significant function in WoR was dueling for Shards, the purpose of which was to weaken the pro-Sadeas princedoms, leveraging them to follow Dalinar's lead. This is now an utterly moot political angle. Add Sadeas' death to the mix, and Adolin's place in the picture is anything but clear.
Leeland Woodard
201. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
A few things that I felt the need to touch on. Some of this has been mentioned by others, but I wanted to clarify for my own purposes, because of the things that I saw.

First and foremost, that there's almost definitely an order of the Knights Radiant that didn't disband. The epigraph for chapter 41 says:
This act of great villainy went beyond the impudence which had hitherto been ascribed to the orders; as the fighting was particularly intense at the time, many attributed this act to a sense of inherent betrayal; and after they withdrew, about two thousand made assault upon them, destroying much of the membership; but this was only nine of the ten, as one said they would not abandon their arms and flee, but instead entertained great subterfuge at the expense of the other nine
This, in addition to the fact that apparently Helaren was leaving to find the Skybreakers leads me to believe that the Skybreakers never broke up. Further evidence for that is the fact that apparently Nalan is going around "making" new Radiants. Also, you'd think that the real Nalan would get that Szeth needs a spren to be a Skybreaker. I don't know that the heralds can just unilaterally decide that someone belongs in their order.

That being said, I think that the order that stuck around isn't necessarily the Skybreakers. I think they're a red herring. First of all, the fact that the person who calls himself Nalan casually tossed Nightblood to Szeth leads me to wonder whether he actually is a herald at all, or just someone that thinks he is. In addition, I don't necessarily think that the Skybreakers are the most likely order to have remained when the Knights disbanded--I'd say that the Stonewardens are more likely candidates. We know about the Stonewards that:
as each order was thus matched to the nature and temperament of the Herald it named patron, there was none more archetypal of this than the Stonewards, who followed after Stonesinew, Herald of War: they thought it a point of virtue to exemplify resolve, strength, and dependability.
Doesn't sticking together to help humanity through the aftermath of the Recreance seem like something that a "dependable/resourceful" people would do?

I think that the order of the KR that stuck around went underground and tried to stay dependable/resourceful. This order could have become the Ghostbloods, or the Sons of Honor, or any number of factions that we know exist on present-day Roshar.

Now, on the "death" of Jasnah. It was evident to me that Jasnah might not really be dead as early as chapter 7 itself. Shallan sees Jasnah's body once, but when she looks a second time, there's no body there. We knew that Jasnah was an Elsecaller, and had the surge of Transportation--that led me to believe that she had transported herself out of there as soon as she could.

Likewise, with Syl's "death"--I figured that she couldn't have gone away permanently, since Kaladin was fulfilling his oaths when she disappeared, not neglecting them.

The only one that really threw me was Szeth's "death," but I'm okay with it because it's really going to do some interesting things later on, especially if he isn't actually a Skybreaker, but only thinks he is.

Regarding Kaladin's brand and Lopen's arm. I believe that Kaladin's brand is sticking around because it's become part of his cognitive identity--he sees himself as branded, and so the brand remains. Lopen, however, doesn't see the lack of an arm as something permanent that defines him (despite the joking), and so it can grow back.
202. Freelancer
RE: Szeth

I think many readers didn't expect his death to be permanent, if only for a very OOC reason. Why would Team Sanderson have bothered to commission the creation of a Szeth card that punches out as a die-cut stand-up, if he died during Volume 2? Also, in terms of bad guys, he's absolutely the most redeemable of the lot, only being a bad guy through his strict (and in a way, honorable) obedience to the sentence of his elders.
Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
smintitule @201 - You just accidentally put a couple things together for me...

The Stonewardens are the only Order whose Herald, Taln Stonesinew, didn't abandon the Oathpact.

The Shin follow something called Stone Shamanism, and revere the spren of stone.

Are the Stone Shamans the remainder of the Stonewardens? Are they the one Order that didn't disband?
Jennifer B
204. JennB
I really enjoyed the book. Very satisfying.

Jasnah: I thought it was pretty obvious that Jasnah was still alive when her body was missing from the ship. I was disappointed that we did not get to check in with her once or twice. Perhaps people would not feel betrayed by her not being dead if the narrative had not completely abandoned her for the entire book. I am very glad she survived.

Shallan: I was pretty satisfied with her plot once she got away from the con woman. Lying about her identity to a Kohlin guard when she is so dependent on the Kohlin family accepting her was really stupid.

Kaladin: Despite some very frustrating moments, I was very happy with his struggles and growth. Like Jasnah, I knew Syl couldn't be dead. Her death would have made all of Kaladin's struggles through two books pointless. Sanderson would have lost his audience if he didn't give us some Windrunning payoff.

Dalinar: He was there. He did stuff. He BONDED THE STORMFATHER! Whoa.

Adolin: I was only interested in him in the first book as a way to learn more about his dad. I liked him a lot more in this book. I am hoping he can bring his Shardblade back to life. Unfortunately, I think that he may die soon.

Renarin: I was intrigued by him in the first book. He didn't live up to my expectations.

Tarvangian: Evil. Evil. Evil.

Szeth: I would have been happy if he stayed dead. Oh well. I'll wait to see how things turn out for him in the next book.

I really need to read Warbreaker again. For some reason I don't remember it at all.

I really enjoyed Wit's part in this book. Especially Shallan's big hug.

My husband thinks that Syl will be both Kaladin's blade and plate. When the Nahal bond is broken, the Spren dies. The plate is separated from the main body of the Spren and can only function with Stormlight. I think I agree with him. I think that Adolin could bring his blade back to life, but he will need to match it up with the right set of plate.

I loved the book. I can't wait to read it again. I need to reread Warbreaker first.
Jennifer B
206. JennB

I wonder if someone could bond the Nightwatcher? If Dalinar is a Bondsmith because he bonded the Stormfather, does that mean that there is never more than one Bondsmith. Can you have an order with only one member?

If Pattern was attracted to Shallan because of her lies, then why did he bond her before the lies even began? It seems Shallan blames Pattern for causing her mother to want to murder her own daughter. Will her next truth be the admission that her mother is responsible and not Pattern (or Shallan herself)?
207. maditalian
Did anyone else catch that the Horneater mountains likely contain at least one shardpool, and that Rock saw an Elantrian (likely Galladon) emerge from one?
Alice Arneson
208. Wetlandernw
JennB @206 - According to the epigraphs,
But as for the Bondsmiths, they had members only three, which number was not uncommon for them; nor did they seek to increase this by great bounds, for during the times of Madasa, only one of their order was in continual accompaniment of Urithiru and its thrones. Their spren was understood to be speci?c, and to persuade them to grow to the magnitude of the other orders was seen as seditious.
I take that to mean that there is only one spren (the Stormfather) for the Bondsmiths, and he refuses to grant his powers to more than about three at a time. No idea about the Nightwatcher, though.

maditalian @207 - I caught that the Horneater mountains contain something at least similar to a shardpool, and that Rock met Hoid coming out of it. Sigzil seems to have caught it, too.
209. McflyCahill90
Glad there's been so much discussion here. So much to go over, so much to ponder . . . !

Still having a tough time pinning down these orders and their abilities. If we're assuming that the 10 Essences and the 10 Surges were printed in the Ars Arcanum in order, so far we have:

Windrunner: Adhesion/Gravitation
Skybreaker: Gravitation/Division
Dustbringer: Division/Abrasion
Edgedancer: Abrasion/Progression
Truthwatcher?: Progression/Illumination
Lightweaver: Illumination/Transformation
Elsecaller: Transformation/Transportation
Stonewards: Transportation/Cohesion (Strong Axial Connection)
Bondsmiths: Cohesion/Tension (Soft Axial Connection)
Willshapers?: Tension/Adhesion

The big question marks here, (and again, this is if the ars arcanum is printed in order against the essences), is what the hell is axial connection? My theory is that it is the manipulation of bonds and connections between things in all three realms. Little research shows that cohesion is the coming together of things, while tension is form of force generated by movement. Thoughts on this will relate to Dalinar? Could Progression and Illumination work in tandem from Cultivation to show Renarin the future and/or the past? We know from Hoid's notes in the Ars Arcanum that Illumination has incredible Spiritual links, (which is how I think she was able to get through to Bluth and Gaz).

I like that idea of Nightblood being a failed shardblade, designed by a Herald that forgot he was a Herald. Maybe rescued by Endowment, given a new life to escape Odium on Nalthis? In either case, the Breath v Stormlight question is fascinating to address because Brandon has stated that all his magic systems work on an underlying principle/theory. So while they'd be different forms, maybe they'd both work after some bit of translation?

I saw a reference to snapping, or a character having to be broken, and I think that is actually very relevant to what Brandon's designed here. A lot of these characters are trying desprately to fill the holes in their lives, fill the cracks of something broken about themselves. It even says on the back of the book, "It is the nature of magic. A broken soul has cracks into which something else can fit. Surgebindings."

Think about the characters in the Cosmere with access to great magic. Raodon. Vin. Kelsier. Vivenna. Vasher. Elend. Wax. And now Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, and Renarin (Among many others). All of these characters have been broken in some way, their souls hurt in some terrible fashion. Their magic, universally, gives them something to hold on to, their pain grants them the chance to heal themselves. And just as easily, we have characters given that chance, who fail, who let the magic break their souls further. If there's any sort of grand underlying theory of Brandon's cosmere magic, it may be this.

I dunno, it's late and my brain is all melty. Thoughts?
210. McflyCahill90
Can someone describe/define a Shardpool? Is that an official term, and where have we seen one before? Is it similar to the pool from Elantris? Thanks!
211. maditalian
Wetlandernw @208

Interesting, never considered Hoid since I immediately latched onto the description of brilliant white hair, which evoked Elantris for me. I'll have to rely on your memory/quote-fu/closeness to the material (?) for this, since I cannot begin to pinpoint that conversation in the massive tome on my desk.

McflyCahill90 @210

From the 17th Shard wiki (highlight to read, cosmere spoilers):

"Shardpool is a non-canon term used to describe a liquid essence of a Shard. It is characterized by a Shard's Cognitive aspect.
Pools mentioned include the Well of Ascension (a pool of Preservation), the Pits of Hathsin (Ruin's pool), and the Pool of Elantris, where the Elantrians go to die."
Dylan Tullos
212. dptullos
@198 & 199

Part of the problem, I think, is my excessively vague language. I used "murder" in the broadest sense of the word, including all forms of intentional killing. Both of you are using the correct, dictionary definition, and I should have thought about the legal implications of my word choice. We don't so much disagree on the subject of murder as agree on the fact that I need to do a better job of expressing myself.

Wetlanderrw, I think the main problem the Alethi have is that they don't ever ask uncomfortable questions. Despite all of the technological progress and martial ability that they boast of, their society has stagnated and fallen into Odium's control. Their guiding light is, quite simply, that those who have the swords make the rules. Towards the end of the book, Dalinar says it best.

"This is unity?" Dalinar asked, waving a hand back toward the scattered remnants of the feast, the departing lighteyes. "No, Wit. We failed. We crushed, we killed and we have failed miserably." He looked up. "I receive, in Alethkar, only what I have demanded. In taking the throne by force, we implied- no, we screamed- that strength is the right of rule."

Laws are simply the rules that the people with power decide to enforce. They have no actual bearing on the ethics of any situation, which is why I have consistently ignored them, though I should have done a better job of explaining that.

Porphyrogenitus, the state can't use the sword to restrict the sinfulness of human nature because the state is made up of sinful humans. Whether they gained their positions through sinful violence or boring elections, they can't guard themselves against the temptations that power brings. The simple question of "Who guards the guardians?" recurs endlessly throughout human history simply because there is no one outside ourselves that we can trust with power. We've come up with a thousand different ways to compensate for that fundamental problem, but not one real solution.

However, you are completely right to say that Kaladin has no good choices. If he doesn't go to the front lines, his own officers will kill him. If he doesn't kill the soldiers across the field, they will kill him. And if he dies, his company of children will be thrown away in the next skirmish. By killing, he protects not only his own life, but the lives of those who cannot protect themselves.

Lirin would die rather than take a life. He would, and does, let his son die rather than take a life. I do not have the same committment or love to my fellow human beings. So I cannot truly condemn Kaladin for doing what he could for himself and those around him. And I think you have hit upon the most essential point of his character when you note that he stopped killing as soon as he could do so. If there is one aspect of the Windrunners' mandate that I truly admire, it is their insistence that they kill only to protect. I may think of them as short-sighted or thoughless, but they genuinely seek to avoid taking life whenever they can do so without directly endangering others. No matter how inconvenient or painful that choice is at times, I am entirely sure that it is the right choice. I might want them to be more imaginative in defining the true causes of a threat, but their reluctance to step outside their mandate says something very good about them, even if I don't like the outcome.

Kaladin's killings, whether lawful or not, are wrong. They are wrong because killing is wrong. Man-made laws can't change that fact; the moral laws of the universe are no more negotiable than the physical laws. His motives... are as good as any motives for killing can be. Do his actions betray "journey before destination"? Yes. Any killing means putting the destination before the journey. Am I willing to say I wouldn't do the same in his place? No. Despite their motto, the Knights Radiant embrace expediency more frequently than they like to admit. That's what taking up a sword means; if they wanted to just do the right thing, regardless of the consequences, they would be pacifists like Lirin.

Kaladin's wisdom in saving Elkohar lay in recognizing that Elkohar was someone's little brother, and that all the vengeance in the world wasn't going to bring Moash's grandparents back. For years and years, Kaladin had broken and hurt people, and he saw how easy and meaningless it was. Hurting Elkohar wasn't going to fix anything. Helping Elkohar... would. It would give Elkohar a second chance to become the kind of person he wanted to be. It would save Dalinar from the suffering and despair his nephew's death would inflict. It would save Moash from committing a murder. And it would let Kaladin finally accept his father's wisdom, and understand that the people who need second chances most are often those who deserve them least.
Alice Arneson
213. Wetlandernw
McflyCahill90 @209 – I’m pretty sure they’re in order, because they fit with what Brandon & Peter confirmed last fall. The one disagreement I have with your list is that I believe the last three are out of order and should be Willshaper, Stoneward, Bondsmith. We know that the Stonewards should be in the ninth position on that list, and based on the Heralds in the chapter icon for Chapter 89, I’m reasonably confident that the Bondsmiths are in the tenth.

As for what “axial connection” means… I heard Brandon say before he had settled on a name for Tension that he was thinking of something that would grant the ability, for example, to make a flexible object rigid, or the opposite. Not sure what that gives you, but… that’s what little I know.

As for the rest… good thoughts, especially for a melty brain. :)

@210 – No, I can’t describe a shardpool (my brain is melty too) … so I go to the Coppermind wiki, which says:
Shardpool is a non-canon term used to describe a liquid essence of a Shard. It is characterized by a Shard's Cognitive aspect.
Pools mentioned include the Well of Ascension (a pool of Preservation), the Pits of Hathsin (Ruin's pool), and the Pool of Elantris, where the Elantrians go to die.
Alice Arneson
214. Wetlandernw
maditalian @211 - Chapter 46, p.540:
“What did he look like?” Lopen asked, eyes wide.
“Like person,” Rock said. “Maybe Alethi, though skin was lighter. Very angular face. Handsome, perhaps. With white hair.”
Sigzil looked up sharply. “White hair?”
“Yes,” Rock said. “Not grey, like old man, but white— yet he is young man. He spoke with me on shore. Ha! Made mockery of my beard. Asked what year it was, by Horneater calendar. Thought my name was funny. Very powerful god.”
The white hair made me jump to Hoid, and Sigzil's reaction (and him getting all "troubled" after that) "confirmed" it for me, as he had been Hoid's pupil. That, and "Lunu'anaki" thinking everything was funny. I could be wrong, but most of the beta-readers agreed on it. Brandon and Peter rarely confirmed our guesses, though, so... we could all be wrong. :) And I see you and I were over on the coppermind at the same time....
215. McflyCahill90
@213 Thanks Wetlander! And the more I think about it, the Tension Surge sounds incredibly useful. Imagine making stone soft, or making the ocean solid. Could be incredibly powerful. I'm leaning towards your thoughts on the Knights and Surges, but I guess we'll have to see how it all shakes out as the books progress =P

Ha, thanks! I always think myself into a corner when pondering Brandon's schemes, but that's one thought that I think definitely holds some water.

And thanks on the definitions of Shardpools everyone. Makes me wonder how many there are on Roshar. I still think there may have been something going on in Aimia with them maybe. Their descriptions ring too clearly of Shadesmar for me to forget it.
Jennifer B
216. JennB
Wetlandernw @208
Thanks for pointing that one out. I had remembered that one of the epigraphs had mentioned an order with only a few members, but I hadn't rembered which one. I also hadn't noticed that all the members were bonded to the same Spren. I wonder how that works? I will eventually go back to read the epigraphs all at once. Puzzling over them when I am reading the book for the first time doesn't work well for me very well. I get too impatient to start the chapter.
Alice Arneson
217. Wetlandernw
Jenn, I don't think it says outright that there's only one spren, but it can sure be interpreted that way. So I did. :)

I had to go through and copy all the epigraphs into a document so that I could just read them... there's a ton of information there!
218. maditalian
Wetlandernw @214

Fantastic quote-fu, thank you! And, after brushing up on my Hoid-appearance-knowledge (via our common source, of course), I have to agree with your assessment that he is the individual in question (not to mention that an Elantrian would have silver skin, and Galladon may not worldhop alone). Thanks for the clarification!
Patrick Mosbacker
219. Patillian
Re-reading chunks of the book has reinforced some ideas to me, and I have a couple of replies to earlier comments.

Shallan mentions that the spren accompanying the chasmfiend are the same as those following skyeels. They also seem to me from the description to be the same ones that followed the Santhid. Santhid = apparently good luck, apparently intelligent, apparently rescues Shallan. chasmfiend = Kaladin says it seems evil and intelligent. Skyeel = Presumably not obviously intelligent since they are commonly observed. What's the connection and significance? There's something there.

I also think the missing chain of Adolin's mother before the 1-on-4 fight is significant somehow. He fought excellently without it, but just like the flute, it will be back.

I think the foreshadowing of some type of moral fall for Adolin because of his anger (the first duel, murdering Sadeas) is strong. I also think the foreshadowing of potential interest between Kaladin and Shallan is strong. They both have thoughts they try to stop after their time in the chasms. I agree they wouldn't naturally pursue a relationship with Adolin around, but I think he will eventually become someone unlovable, despite his positive development in other aspects in WoR. I see him as kind of a much more likable Anakin at this point.

@ 154 & @192 re: Shallan's necessary truths. I agree the truths are confronting your deepest lies to yourself and being brutally honest with yourself. Epigraph Chap 57, pg. 665: A guy wanted to be Lightweaver, but wanted "straightforward" oaths. He couldn't because their oath "process included speaking truths as an approach to a threshold of self-awareness that Malchin could never attain." Like a more sensical take on the Sword of Shannara premise. It also would fit with a common part of Shallan's internal dialogue throughout the book. She recognizes her defense mechanism of forgetting at least a half dozen times and thinks about dealing with those things in the future...or in other words crossing "a threshold of self-awareness."

@206 Wetlander already put in the quote about being very few Bondsmiths. The epigraph for Chap. 58, pg. 675, also addresses their powers. They have a "unique ability" "related to the very nature of the Heralds" that they "alone could address." I think that's fascinating even though I can't quite come up with a good theory for what it means. I also see why the Stormfather being his spren makes sense. In WoK, wind blew a few times when Dalinar overcame the Thrill (which we now know to be an effect of an evil Unmade (Odium fragment spren?) from the Taravangian interlude) e.g. letting Elhokar win a race and hearing a voice to "unite them," feeling horror at battlefield slaughter rather than the Thrill, etc. Stormfather is "broken" and pretty whiny for now, but still has some Honorable effects. Once he gets himself together, it seems like he will be able to provide some pretty spectacular surge power to Dalinar.

@209 re: Could the different world's systems interact because based on the same underlying principles? At the BYU signing, someone asked a similar question in the Q&A. I didn't write it down, but it was something like "If someone brought a seon from the Elantris world to another world, could it help them use the other magic systems? (Anyone else who was there could correct this if I missed something) Brandon smiled and said it would be "difficult, but not impossible."

@218 & @214 It's weird what stuff sticks in different people's minds. I had totally forgotten about Hoid's white hair since his hair is black for his Wit disguise. The description of the angled face and that he made fun of Rock are what clued me into the fact that it was Hoid. Thanks for the shardpool info! That is awesome.
David Foster
220. ZenBossanova
Just finished this morning.
I was quite happy to see I was right about some things (shardblades as dead spren, bonding the Stormfather,etc) and dead wrong about others (location of Urithiru, etc).
And thanks to all for pointing out things I missed (Vasher, Jasnah's bandolier, etc). Sometimes I was just reading too fast.

If Jasnah has a bandolier, are we going to have a "This is my boomstick!" moment from her? Or the replacement of archers with gunpowder? That would take Voidbringers down a notch.
Rob Munnelly
221. RobMRobM
Was this discussed upthread? King Taravangian in the Jah Kaved chapter implying that he did in fact seek a boon that was (essentially) the "capacity" to stop the desolation. Fascinating insight into what makes him tick. Raw capacity without the spren/Radiant restrictions of "journey before destination" and other principles of the Radiants makes him a monster, just like Szeth with his spren-less honorblade.
222. Afterthought
@200 Freelancer

"Twitterpated" - going to have to remember that word!

I think the reasons why you are so sure it won't happen are the reasons why I feared it happening, if that makes sense. I know, I should have more trust in Brandon.

Adolin's big purpose - for me - has always been to step into the breach when Dalinar dies. Of course, now that Dalinar is bonded to the Stormfather, and part of a very select group of people, I wonder if he is actually going to die.

But the other purpose I've kind of assigned him in my head is still there:

I think he's going to bond with the 'dead' spren that is his blade, and bring it back to life. The talking to the blade and his refusal to name it is such a strong signifier, especially given what we know about 'dead' spren and their being 'broken' rather than dead. I also found his first duel for shards interesting, as he wasn't gripped by the thrill, and yet seemed to be influenced by something at the same time. In my head, that's the influence of his shards.

So I'm hopeful that he won't die.

Oh, speaking of Adolin, with reference to his killing of Sadeas that's been talked about in the comments:

I don't think it was a killing in cold blood - I think it was the opposite. He reacted gripped in the throes of emotion, they wrestled, and then he stabbed Sadeas.

Obviously he's not going to attract an honorspren behaving like that, but I don't see any reason to assume it would stop him attracting other Spren. Look at what Dalinar and Jasnah have done in their pasts. Look at what the Stormfather spren did on the plains.

I can still see him becoming a Radiant - quite possibly provoked by the difficulties his killing of Sadeas may cause in the next book and maybe even some sort of exile. After all, he's not been 'broken' yet. Which might open the way for a Kaladin and Shallan relationship whilst he's gone. Which I really hope doesn't happen... At least Kal's off saving his parents(!)

Speaking generally, I would think that the most likely candidates for 'first good guy/girl to die' are the current Radiants. Not only have we had a chance to grow attached to them (bar Renarin), but they've introduced us to the magic they wield by their growth into that role (again; bar Renarin), whereas non-radiants haven't served that purpose yet. Also, the death of a powerful radiant would surely have more effect than a non-radiant.
John Massey
223. subwoofer
Darth Maul bit it in Phantom Menace, his stuff abounds. To a lesser extent, same for General Grievous.

Just sayin' not to base characters lives and rebirths on toys.

John Massey
224. subwoofer
BTW Kaladin's spren mentioned that the Stormfather is broken or flawed from within or some such thing. Does this mean Dalinar has gone loopy too, now that they are bonded?

Maiane Bakroeva
225. Isilel
Wetlandernw @203:

I kinda think that the whole "subterfuge" thing would disallow any of the more Honor-connected Orders. IMHO the Order that didn't disband should be strongly Cultivation-oriented to allow for such moral flexibility without killing their spren and small in numbers.
The latter because given their extreme regenerative abilities, the Radiants should be functionally immortal, unless killed with extreme prejudice, so the fewer survivors, the easier to remain secret and maintain unity of purpose.
I'd also expect that an Order following the Herald of War would hold warriors in higher regard than the Shin do. Not to mention, worship of the spren of stone seems iffy to me, given what we have seen of the source of thunderclasts. And Shinovar seems to be a place where Cultivation is very strong, to boot...

Another thing that makes me wonder - how could the bonded spren have built a civilization in the Cognitive Realm? Don't they have to be with their humans all the time? Do they live on both planes of existence at once, at least after they reach a certain complexity? Or what?

The more I think about it, the more Kaladin's spur-of-the moment decision to go home irritates me. Shouldn't he warn Dalinar about the plot against Ehlokar? Yes, Graves and Moash are gone, but other plotters are still there and could decide to try again. Shouldn't he tell him what he heard about the Diagram? Wouldn't it be a good idea to visit and warn other settlements on his route? To get letters and orders from Elhokar, so that there would be more chance of Kaladin's instructions being followed after he is gone? Not to mention a legal tool for removing Roshone? Etc., etc.
WoK and WoR balanced planning, preparation and research with instinctive insights and intrepid willingness to act on the part of the heroes. Which was refreshingly great, particularly compared with most of the genre. But Kaladin's leaving seems almost WoTian to me.

Though, I imagine that it is, among other things, designed to make Kaladin confront the elephant in the room, i.e. that if their warninings about the Parshmen were taken seriously, the only logical outcome would be a genocide.
It is rather contrived that Dalinar and Shallan didn't already think about it, though, or that one of the highprinces who believe them now didn't already slaughter his Parshmen.

And after what we have heard about Shallan's youth, I have to wonder even more about Laral's upbringing and her father's plans for her. IIRC, she didn't have a tutor. Did Wistiow even have a resident adent to teach her? I remember something about wandering ardents coming to Heartstone to preach - doesn't it mean that they didn't have one of their own?
Why was Wistiow neglecting education of his daughter so much, when being a minor noble who couldn't have inherited his position due to being female, it was critically important for her future? How much were the hundred diamond broams for them, really? Was it the question of Kaladin's education... or Laral's?
Deana Whitney
226. Braid_Tug
Guessing some of you follow Brandon on FB or Twitter. He posed a question about having a POV from a sword.
Several people jump on Nightblood, other's on Need from Mercedes Lackey. About how great both were as characters in their own right.

The point being, we can hope there is at least one chapter from Nightblood's POV in a future book. Or it could be in one of his other worlds. But part of me is holding out hope for Book 3 of Stormlight.
Jennifer B
227. JennB
Patillian @219
My understanding of the Spren that accompany the Greatshells is that they are what allows the giant crustaceans to grow so big without being crushed by their own shell. I believe that the Spren are what allow the Skyeels to fly. My guess is that they are some sort of gravity Spren.
John Massey
228. subwoofer
All the "should's" of the world would make for an easy read, and the next book has to be chock full of baddies. If Kaladin wasn't such a poopy pants in a deep funk we could have skipped over from 62 to 1015. That would have made for a er, shorter book, what's the fun in that? Dunno if Days is still on the air, but when I was rehabbing from a broken leg, they managed to stretch out a simple plot for almost 2 months by flying in the face of "wouldn't it be easier if John Black just told Marlena how he feels?".

Alice Arneson
229. Wetlandernw
Afterthought @222 – “I think he's going to bond with the 'dead' spren that is his blade, and bring it back to life.”etc. That’s been my thought and hope ever since I read “Ironstance” in the gamma version, pretty much for the same reasons you cite. Personally, I think (perhaps wishfully) he’s going to become a Willshaper – although a Dustbringer (a.k.a. Releaser) would be a good fit as well. (Perhaps better, since I think they’re associated with Cultivation rather than Honor.) Clearly he’s not going to be Windrunner, but we don’t have any identified Dustbringers, Willshapers, or Stonewards yet, and we need those, right?

That said, some of the arguments for “Adolin is going to die” are pretty good, too. I just don’t want him to, because I like him. And I ship Adolin & Shallan.

Isilel @225 – Yeah, it’s stretchy… But every time I see these connections, I have to toss them out to see what others make of them. Generally speaking, Brandon turns things exactly the way I didn’t expect, and then when I look back it was totally foreshadowed and I should have guessed it. I’m trying to get better at catching things like that; unfortunately, I “catch” a lot of dreck too. :)

Re: Kaladin and the parshmen… Well, we have to leave something for the next book, right? And he hasn't left Urithiru yet, so there's still time for instructions or authorization to be sent with him.

Speaking of Parshmen... what would happen if they were all very, very carefully kept deep indoors during the Everstorms, but not during highstorms? Would they bond to "good" spren during highstorms? Would a bond to "good" spren, held tightly, prevent the bond to Odium-spren?
Jennifer B
230. JennB
It would be wonderful if Adolin could bring his Spren back to life. I still think that the challenge will be finding the matching plate. The Spren can't be revived until it is whole again.
Leeland Woodard
231. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Concerning Adolin and the deaths of spren:

I feel like the Kaladin "Syl-is-kind-of-dead" to "Syl-dramatically-comes-back-when-Kaladin-says-the-Words" arc may be priming a possible spren resurrection for Adolin. According to Syl, the shardblades are spren who--well, they're not dead per se, but I would say that they're as dead as Syl was when Kaladin went back on his oaths.

To me, this means that if a shardbearer happened to be bonded to a shardblade made from an honorspren, and that person was acting honorably and protecting others. I think that if this person, in the heat of battle, says one of the Ideals of the Windrunners, the spren would come back.

I believe that Syl said at one point that there's a chance that the spren that became shardblades could come back, if the Radiants were still around (looking for a citation on this, but I can't remember the wording so it's hard to search for). I think that this is further evidence that a blade could become a bonded spren, if the right person were holding it and said the words.
Leeland Woodard
232. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Oh, also, I'm throwing in with the theory that Shardplate is made of the "cousin"-spren to the bonded spren. I think that in a way, the Windrunner would bond several Windspren as well. WoB is that it's theoretically possible for a single person to bond multiple spren, and I think that this is the reason why.
Jon _
233. Chasmfriend
Finally finished!!! No, not the book (I finished that days ago), the comments!
Here are my thoughts, musings, comments, questions:

1. Nin and the Skybreakers = good rock band name, also = Javert and Sons
2. Just for fun, let's do some real world parallels of our known Radiant Spren:
Sylphrena = Tinkerbell
Pattern = Poliwag (when he's running into walls), then Poliwhirl as he gets smarter
Stormfather = Mufasa
Ivory = ?? Need a personality before I can do this one
3. - WoR felt like speed dating at times. You get only brief moments with each character, then you have to move on. Just when you find one you really like, you're pushed on to the next one.
4. - Stormfather is a jerk
5. - Dalinar's POV scenes depicted his actions but not really his thoughts/emotions. Instead of a real Dalinar POV, it's just...scenes that star Dalinar. You have major events that should generate significant responses from him, but we don't get much:
He decides to refound the Radiants
He makes Amaram Head Radiant
He figures out that Amaram is a loser
He has his issues with Kaladin
He is validated/vindicated
He discovers actual Radiants
Through all of this he basically flatlines
6. - I got the shakes for Kaladin vs Szeth, Round 1. I had to go into a different room to read it so I could be alone and give it the full attention it deserved.
7. - I liked this exchange:
“A bunny rabbit and a chick went frolicking in the grass together on a sunny day.”

“A chick . . . baby chicken?” Kaladin said. “And a what?”

“Ah, forgot myself for a moment,” Wit said. “Sorry. Let me make it more appropriate for you. A piece of wet slime and a disgusting crab thing with seventeen legs slunk across the rocks together on an insufferably rainy day. Is that better?”
8. - After his grand entrance at the end of WoK, Talanelanealealat (sp?) spent the entire book in a padded room.
9. - Loved the picture of the Chasmfiend. It really helped me visualize the head shaped like an arrow.
10. - The Stormform Parshendi ended up being a big letdown
11. - What's the deal with Venli? She's never explained.
12. - Nightblood for the win!!!

Misc thoughts: Overall, the first book was more impressive, but a large part of that was being blown away by the world building of Roshar.

WoR had more genuine humor and, at times, more actual wit. There were several scenes that had me laughing out loud.

Too often in WoK, Wit's wit was barely above "Hey, Pooface! You smell!" Wit was more enjoyable and clever this time around.

Both books suffer from Shallan's deliberate misunderstanding of common colloquialisms. When asked "What's up?" my 8 year old nephew likes to respond "The sky!" That's clever for an 8 year old. Less so for an educated 18 year old. This book has a lot of clever dialogue in it, but it gets mixed in with a lot of dialogue that's just painful. I wish Sanderson would cut the number of quips in half and go for quality over quantity.

I probably sound pretty down about the book, but I actually really enjoyed it. The things that bothered me are weaknesses in his writing that I'm already well aware of and anticipated. There were many poignant moments and often where I didn't expect them. I loved the idea of Shallan helping people to seem themselves as their best self and the power that has to change a person.

And, of course, the inclusion of Nightblood is an automatic +1 star to any rating.
Jon _
234. Chasmfriend
@203 Wetlandernw
"The Stonewardens are the only Order whose Herald, Taln Stonesinew, didn't abandon the Oathpact.
The Shin follow something called Stone Shamanism, and revere the spren of stone.
Are the Stone Shamans the remainder of the Stonewardens? Are they the one Order that didn't disband?"

Expanding on that idea, perhaps they're sort of Taln disciples at this point. Perhaps that's why they are so adamant that Szeth is lying. To say a desolation is coming is to say that Taln failed. Blasphemous! Exile! Truthless!
Leeland Woodard
235. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@233 Chasmfriend

You just pieced together something for me. Consider this, if you will.

The chasmfiends are described as having arrow-like faces. We even see a picture of them with an arrow-like face.

Who else has an arrow-like face?


Hoid is a chasmfiend. I'm calling it.
Cory S.
236. Hungry_For_Hands
@235 - I think you're onto something here...
And what do Chasmfiends like to eat? Chulls.

Who do we know is a confirmed WereChull? Gaz

Book 10's final showdown - Hoid vs Gaz. I'm calling it
Jeremy Guebert
237. jeremyguebert
Chasmfried @234 and Wetlander @ 203 - very intriguing possibility. I literally did a "say what?" out loud when I first read that.

dptullos @ 197 - That last post makes a lot more sense to me than previous ones in the discussion. It seems that you would be more of the Way of the Leaf kind of philosophy where all killing is inherently evil, always, regardless of motivation. While I can respect that viewpoint, I can't agree with it on a personal level (as Wetlander said, agree to disagree on this one). One thing we can agree on is that there is a distinct lack of asking the tough questions like this in Alethi society as a whole. One last plug for Kaladin, because he is my favorite and I am biased: He himself does start to ask these questions, as early as the end of Way of Kings. I don't have the exact text, so this is a (very) rough paraphrase, but after rescuing Dalinar, he has a conversation with Syl:

K: I thought you hated killing!
S: I do!
K: But you helped me kill those Parshendi to rescue Dalinar et. al.
S: I know!
K: So how does that make sense?

I appreciate that he thinks about the ethics and consequences of his actions, even if he might neglect to do so in the heat of the moment.
Jon _
238. Chasmfriend
@235. smintitule
I picked up on the arrow faced Hoid and the arrow headed chasmfiend, but I didn't connect the dots. It's so obvious! It's staring us right there in the (non-arrow) face!

@236. Hungry_For_Hands
I wasn't going to mention the Gaz = Werechull theory here 'cause I'm developing a treatise on it, but I think you hit it right on the head. Consider what we know: Gaz is really grumpy in WoK, heading into the full moons/Werechull period where he goes missing. When we next encounter Gaz, he's a more cheerful fellow. Obviously he becomes more chullish as the full moons cycle approaches, then reverts back to his more jovial self afterward. If we can figure out the lunar cycles on Roshar we'll know how much time passes before the climactic Werechull vs Chasmfiend showdown.

I think the time where he goes missing in WoR is a red herring (red cremling?). There couldn't have been another period of full moons so soon.
239. Windrunner
I think your a little harsh on Kaladin. It seems obvious enough to us, the readers, that Kaladin should have realized what he was doing to Syl. Yet certain things are always obvious to the reader. He knows so little about the bond that concluding Syl was punishing him is a reasonable conclusion to draw.

Furthermore, even if he had realized what he was doing to Syl he still would have had to come to grips with his anger. Anger that is PERFECTLY justifable. Amaram killed his friends and sold him into slavery. Elhokar indirectly killed his brother. Yet, you expect him to apparently be able to rid himself of all emotion? Doing the right thing isn't always that easy.

What I'm trying to get at is that I believe Kaladins charactar was spot on. He acted as any of us would in a similar situation. Better even because in the end he didn't fall to sweet revenge. Give the man a break.

That being said I really liked a lot of the conclusions you drew here. I actually agree with what you said about Brightlord Davar. You really put my feelings there into words.
Maiane Bakroeva
240. Isilel
Wetlandernw @229:

It is my hope that if the Parshmen are driven out into the highstorm, they might bond with with wholesome spren. At least the dullform should be achievable this way, though they might need the help of Parshendi for other forms, as specific rythms seem to be required for that.
In fact, I expect either Eshonai, if she managed to bounce back by being out in the highstorm and somehow swapping her spren or Thude and his group of survivors to try exactly that.
I mean, Alethi are leaving the camps, abandoning the Parshmen and Parshendi as a people are all but gone. It is their last, desperate hope to save their people, IMHO.
I also think that holding another form and maybe also hiding from the Everstorm should protect the Parshendi from involuntary posession.

OTOH, I am not certain if keeping the _Parshmen_ indoors during the Everstorm is going to be enough. Are the Odiumspren only travelling with it or is it also seeding them? After all, both Eshonai and Syl noticed some few Odiumspren in the wild even before Everstorm was created. And Parshmen don't have any protection against involuntary posession, IMHO.

Sure, we need to leave something for the next book(s), it is just rather contrived that the other highprinces didn't ask what is to be done with all these potentially extremely deadly Parshmen or jumped to the obvious conclusion and slaughtered them.
Alice Arneson
241. Wetlandernw
Windrunner @239 - Oh, I fully agree that Kaladin is realistic. That doesn't reduce the ::facepalm:: effect when he realistically does really stupid things. I know, some time passed between the bit where the stormlight deserted him on the practice grounds and when it started to desert him on the chasmfiend-carcass expedition. Just seems like it should have gotten his attention enough to remember both what it felt like to lose the stormlight, and what Syl said about it, when something similar happened again. Since it clearly didn't, I get mad at him. (I do the same with real people...)

Also - thanks for the affirmation on Brightlord Davar. Glad I'm not standing (quite...) alone there. :)

Isilel @240 - You're quite right, in that if there is/has been any real explanation of why they were to leave their parshmen behind, it's almost certain that someone would decide they need to be killed. I'm not sure how much explanation was given. If it was understood by any of the highprinces, I'd expect somewhere early in the next book to find out that someone has been "taking care" of that. For narrative flow, I don't think it belonged at the end of this book, though.

I do hope Thude & his contingent of non-conformists made it somewhere safe, and didn't get caught by the Everstorm. I'd like to see them (and Rlain!!) come up with some way to help the parshmen avoid being turned into Voidbringers (or associated forms). I really want Eshonai to get her real self back... but I won't be at all surprised if that doesn't happen for a long time, and she remains the adversary for the time being.
Sean Dowell
242. qbe_64
I'm going to start with this so when I get vilified, at least I know they read my mitigating point. I thought WoR was an entirely acceptable novel and while I disliked substantial parts, on the whole I'd still rank it in the top 10% of fantasy that I've read (when considered as part of the series as a whole).

I haven't read all the comments, but after a few words searches it appears that I'm the only one (willing to post it anyway) with this opinion (to the extent that it covers the whole book, not just aspects of characters or sections of story).

I was very disappointed with this book. This is likely due to a combination of factors.
1. Coming off of AMoL and WoK as well as the amount of spoilers and reviews saying it was amazing, I think my expectations were unmeetably high. (I believe Carl was the only one who mentioned things he didn't like about the book, characters not talking to each other).

2. I read it the entire book in less than 24 hours. Perhaps too quickly.

However, while reading I kept waiting for it to get to the "good part".
The climaxes didn't strike me as hard as WoK, the 3rd oath seemed very subject to the morality of the bondee, (which in turn got me thinking about the subjectivity of the 2nd oath, which I guess is why it's good that spren are discerning in their choices of Radiants, but it still didn't have the impact that the 2nd ideal had).

Kaladin and Shallan had what was probably the most touching moment in the book (she was broken and she still managed to smile), but 90% of their interaction was just annoying. Like I know they don't need to be friends and they're still young, but MAN are the childish.

I love how the stage is set for future events at the end of the book (Destination), but getting there (journey) just wasn't that exciting. And you know what the radiants say.
Destination: Knights refounded Kaladin and Dalinar heading up their orders, Shallan/Veil in the Ghostbloods, SO MANY SECRET SOCIETIES with their own agendas (although I find it shocking that Dalinar hasn't been made privvy to whatever the Sons of Honor have been doing), Urithiru found, Voidbringers re-animating.
Journey: But the entire book I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed. To even bother setting up Eshonai as a character only to have captive in her own for the majority of the book, it may pay off later but it didn't work for me in this book.

(Interesting tidbit that I haven't seen discussed, the scholarform verse in the song of listing kind of reveals that Scholars eventually turn into douches and try to bring back the gods:
"Scholarform shown for patience and thought. / Beware its ambitions innate. / Though study and diligence bring the reward, / Loss of innocence may be one’s fate.") but I digress.

I know books aren't blockbusters but for every 4 on 1 shard battle there seemed to be 300 pages of lull.

Shallan's back story bordered on irrelevant, it was essentially summed up in current time at the end of the book. We knew her family was broken and her dad was a douche already.
And her not realizing that it was her brothers Shards that Amaram stole from Kaladin? C'mon. I think it would have warranted a follow up question, "how did you get the shard that Amaram stole?"

Kaladin's second fight with Szeth was the only point in the book that made me go tingly. "Oh right, I guess you'd rather I'd be a spear?" Was the only point in the book that I got really excited about.

Even now, going back to re-read the "good parts", I only find myself flipping to a couple chapters, and nothing in the first half. I usually start a more measured read immediately after my first time through the book, but I just haven't found the motivation to do so with this book yet.

Sorry for the length of the post, but taking a contrarian viewpoint I feel should at least be supported to some extent.

In conclusion: Good book, not great, was expecting more. Hoping my viewpoint changes on my second read through.


*Edited after rereading some comments and realizing there are several more people with similar issues regarding specific characters and their actions in the novel
Jon _
243. Chasmfriend
242. qbe_64
I don't disagree with anything you said. I felt the same way about much of it, just to a lesser degree.

To that, I'd add that WoK was a better book because a) it was new; b) it's main character (Kaladin) was my favorite character and his arc was more interesting; c) WoR ruins Kaladin a bit for me; and most importantly d) the scenes at the end of WoK (Bridge 4 turning back, Kaladin overcoming his lighteye hatred, Navani painting the justice glyph, and Dalinar trading his shardblade for the bridgemen) were far more powerful for me than anything in WoR.

That said, I still enjoyed WoR. Just less than WoK.
Anneke van Staden
244. QueenofDreams
@127 i think it's not just about the narrow mandate, I think it's about core motivation. Kaladin claims he's trying to do what's right. Syl disagrees with him. She's right. The event that triggered his decision to allow the king to die was finding out that Elkohar was responsible for sending Roshone to Hearthstone. Up until that point he was against helping the assassins, even after finding out about Moash's family. He only decided to join their plot once Dalinar told him about Roshone's involvement. Thus, his decision was about revenge, not justice and certainly not because it's the right thing to do.
Ross Newberry
245. rossnewberry
qbe_64 @242: I think that makes Hoid's monologue to a critter in the epilogue quite interesting. If that didn't break the 4th wall, it was at best severely cracked and leaking Stormlight.
Jennifer B
246. JennB
@243 (edited to reference the right post, oops)
Kaladin did not overcome his hatred of Lighteyes in WoK. In fact even after Daliner gives up his Shardblade to save the bridge men, Kaladin still won't accept that his reputation is not a trick. He refuses to believe that Dalinar could be honorable because he is a Lighteyes. Kaladin's main arc in this book was to let go of his predjudice and start seeing the Lighteyes as individuals. Dalinar, Adolin, and Shallan all play very important roles in his development. This arc was, in my opinion, one of the best in the series. Unfortunately, if you start the book thinking he has already let go of his predjudice, the entire arc would likely feel repetitive and boring.

I do agree that Shallan's backstory was underwhelming. For me, it was because the only actual reveal was that her mother tried to kill her. Everything else was all stuff we already knew.

Even though I had hoped for more from the flashbacks, I still really enjoyed the book. My main complaint is that I felt like there were too many little things tacked on to the end. I feel that many of the things that happened after the battle should have happened before the battle or been held over for the next book. Shallon could have been threatened by the Ghostbloods at the beginning of the next book. Pattern could have confronted Shallan before the Battle. Adolin could have confronted Sadeas in the next book. Wit could have left to find Jasnah before the battle so the audience knows she is alive, but her actual return could have been saved for the next book. The evacuation of the war camps could have happened between books. That way the ending is much cleaner. Kaladin arrives in Urithru with Bridge 4 via Oathgate and then Dalinar bonds the Stormfather and refounds the Knights Radiant. In the epilogue, Szeth is brought back and given Nightblood.

Of course then we would have less to talk about between books. ;-)
Nadine L.
247. travyl
@173 RobM / 177 BraiddTug
The two Orders with access to the Healing surge are Edgedancers (Lift) and most likely Truthwatcher (Renarin). My first reaction was to place Ym with the Edgedancers (divine attributes of loving-healing) but on second thought Learned/Giving might fit as well.

@209 McflyCahill90
Yes I still agree with Wetlander about the surges and the placement of the Radiant Orders:
Willshapers fit better to Kalak (transportation surge helping them to visit Shadesmar) and the resolute attribute fits with the “love of adventure.”
Renarin’s ability to see the future is much better explained by Illumination surge than Tension/Adhesion, which would place him with Palah. That leaves Bondsmith Dalinar with Ishi, which fits the “divine duties” clue.

Re Jasnah's death
I'd like to emphasize how cleverly the plot was ... "plotted out" IMO.
Yes the missing body gave me hope, but the sightless eyes combined with Navani's grieve in the epigraph pretty much destroyed the hope. With the "let's kill Elhokar" plot I had some hope for Jasnah throughout the book but never enough to really believe it would happen. And since she came back in the same book I don't mind. (I wouldn't have minded I she had come back even later, but I prefer it this way).
Jennifer B
248. JennB
Wetlandernw or Peter
Is there a list of errors that need to be corrected for the second edition? I'm sure that I am not the only one that noticed Kaladin thinking about falling off a chasm (instead of a plateau) on page 821, but just in case it hasn't been brought up yet I figured that I would mention it.

We're just to the north of the chasm we fell from, he thought.
Maiane Bakroeva
249. Isilel
Huh, I liked WoR a lot more than WoK, to be honest.
In WoK, Kaladin seemed like such a stereotypical fantasy hero to me, while Shallan looked like a generic "spunky princess" (TM). Dalinar and Jasnah were the only ones who where truly interesting, IMHO.
Also, there were certain things about the worldbuilding that seemed jarring to me, but which have been satisfactorily explained in WoR.
I also really enjoyed how the heroes aren't constantly flying by the seat of their pants in WoR, how research, planning, persistence, prior knowledge, teamwork, all play into success.
I also thought that the take on Shallan's leadership not being based on personal combat ability, yet very effective and believable even so was quite interesting, and I liked how she vitally contributed to a largely military problem. And was only able to do so because she figuratively stood on Jasnah's shoulders. Frankly, Shallan is quite a fresh and original character, IMHO.
Kaladin, too, was more interesting for me in WoR, because he plausibly went off the generic hero script enough for there be some real tension. And I can really empathize with his struggles.
Dalinar - too little of him, alas, but what was there was good.
Adolin became far more fleshed out and a goof character in his own right.
Jasnah was largely MIA, but on the other hand very present and crucial through her research, without which nothing could have been accomplished. And we saw some _very_ tantalizing hints of who she is and what she has been up to.
Eshonai - soo poignant and heartbreaking...
The Interludes were intriguing/great as well. All these secret societies and conflicting interests, dancing at the edge of the abyss...

So, yea. I largely read WoK because of Sanderson's prior work and because I liked it's re-read, but I have enjoyed WoR on it's own merits.
250. Lord Bezoar
Did anyone else notice that the Storm Father called Dalinar "Child of Honor"?

I had assumed that the "Child of ..." designation was something that had to do with the specific spren one was bonded with. Though, we have a relatively small sample of people that the Storm Father have spoken to: Kaladin, Dalinar and Eshonai--and probably Shallan, though we don't have a record of it. I had assumed that it meant Dalinar might be able to bond an Honor Spren, but that obviously didn't happen. I kind of doubt that "Child of Honor" would be a general term for Humans, as so many are not honorable, but I suppose that could be a reason. Thoughts?
Leeland Woodard
251. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers

In a way, the Stormfather is an honorspren. He's just a larger splinter than other spren are.
252. QuothAbeLincoln
Did I miss something in the books? What is Nightblood and who is V? Was this in a different Brandon book?! I need to know so I can read it!!!
Paul Keelan
253. noblehunter
@ 252

Warbreaker is the book you are looking for.
Jon _
254. Chasmfriend
252. QuothAbeLincoln

Nightblood is the name of the sword given to Szeth at the very end of the book. It's a "character" from Warbreaker (and one of my favorite characters in any Sanderson novel). Vasher is the guy who carries around Nightblood throughout Warbreaker. To tell you more would get into spoilers.
Ryan Day
255. LordBezoar

Indeed, reading Warbreaker is a must if you have not.
Leeland Woodard
256. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
I might have to start telling people to read Warbreaker before they read Words of Radiance. The surprise is THAT good, if you know it.
Ali Coenen
257. QuothAbeLincoln
@253 - 255 Thank you! I will begin reading immediately :)
Jon _
258. Chasmfriend
@256. smintitule
Agreed. However, one caveat if you normally do audiobooks: the Recorded Books Warbreaker audiobook is possibly the worst I've ever made it all the way through. The narrator turns one of the main characters (Lightsong) into a California surfer dude with the IQ of a gerbil. The Graphic Audio version might be better.
Alice Arneson
259. Wetlandernw
Heh. I was dropping hints way back when, that people should read Warbreaker while they were waiting for WoR.... Only one person did so, that I know of. Maybe the hints were too subtle.
Rob Munnelly
260. RobMRobM
@259 - perhaps you needed to use more colorful language.
andrew smith
262. sillyslovene
@260 if she would have, I would have Awakened to the need, and would have done so, and then really held my Breath in anticipation of coming across any references in WoR. Alas, I did not have Heightened Awareness and did not follow the Command to Return to Nalthis. As it stands, my hair turned white with the shock of seeing Nightblood on Roshar (metaphorically speaking, of course).
263. AirSick_Lowlander
I feel I should re-read all of Brandon's work before each Stormlight book. Which is not a bad feeling.
Michael Church
264. Airsicklowlander
I hope Jasnah shows up in the next Mistborn Adventure book. Even if it is for just a couple lines of dialogue.
265. Skunks71
I haven't seen this anywhere yet but I'm stuck on Gavilar:

1. The Listeners speak of Gavilar doing "something" that would bring back their old gods which is why they had him killed...

2. Gavilar telling Taravingian about his VISIONS and (assumption) Taravingian visits the Nightwatcher for a way to stop the Desolation.

3. Amaram thinking to himself that Gavilar would be pleased with him because he infers they are of the same group when he goes to get Taln from the Ardents when the Alethi abandon the war camps.

What did Gavilar do? He tells Dalinar to follow the codes the night he is killed, but he is part of a shadow group due to the same visions that Dalinar is now receiving? I think I broke my brain...
Elizabeth King
266. littlebit_liz
I fully intended to reread all the cosmere books before WOR, but ran out of time, so I just reread WOK instead. It worked out though, because I'm going to reread them all now (except for WOK), which should give me just the right amount of time to get some distance for WOR before rereading it too.

(Except I may not reread Elantris. I just... can't get excited for it :/)
267. Nakafre
OK, I don't think we've touched on this yet. In the Prelude to the Stormlight Archive in WOK, we see the Honorblades for the 9 surviving Heralds being left in stone. The implication here is that Taln's blade is with him, or at least not with these 9. And so, all 10 are accounted for. Later in Taravangian (I-14, WOR) where Szeth confronts Mr. T after fighting with Kal, Mr. T counters that Kal has stolen an Honorblade from the Shamanate.
"No, no," Taravangian said. "I have learned this only recently. YEs, it makes sense now. ONe of the Honorblades has vanished."

Szeth blinked, and he focused on Taravangian, as if returning from a distant place. "One of the other seven?"
(emphasis mine)

Szeth's statement implies that the Shamanate were only in possession 8 Honorblades. Assuming Taln's Honorblade is in fact the one he shows up with at the end of WOK and that I've not missed one (which of course is very possible), that leaves one Honorblade unaccounted for. Any ideas as to the whereabouts of the 10th Honorblade? It's been floated that Nightblood may be an Honorblade.

Via Words of Brandon on 17th Shard, BWS has said that magic from one world could work on another if the individual is capable of making it happen but only through great investiture (i.e. Breaths on Nalthis, Stormlight on Roshar). Also, in response to a question asking how long Z has been on Roshar, his response was "For quite a long time, on this planet he can get something quite easily that is much harder to get where he came from". From what we've seen of Roshar, Stormlight seems the obvious choice for that "something" and it does seem to open the posiblity that Vasher/Zahel took an Honorblade to Nalthis (even if he is not actually a Herald and I'm inclined to believe that he is not) and that Nightblood could be powered via Stormlight.
268. Nakafre
Also, anyone else notice that the beams coming off of the bead/sun on the colored map of Roshar makeup 16 divisions?
Alice Arneson
269. Wetlandernw
Nightblood is not an Honorblade. WoB: Nightblood is "essentially a mis-created Shardblade, made on the wrong planet with the wrong magic system."

(And no, there's no reason you should have known that.)
270. McKay B
I'm surprised that some people are aghast at the non-honorable actions of Nalan'Elin and the Stormfather. I thought it was clear that they're mentally just as broken as Talenel'Elin. Just in different ways. Mentally incapable of exercising their conscience correctly. Kalak says in the Prelude to WoK that he and Jezrien are both "broken." I fully expect that all of the Heralds (plus the Stormfather) are nutcases. Shalash didn't exactly seem stable in her Interlude in WoK. (That said, while Taln has more severe symptoms, I also think he's the one that will be easiest to heal.)

I sympathize with the folks who are saying WoR seemed a little less emotionally powerful and awesome than WoK, but I'm reserving final judgment on that score until I re-read both of them. (I think I'll understand a lot more little hints in WoK now that I've read WoR!)

LOL @245. I agree completely: Hoid doesn't break the fourth wall, but it's cracked and leaking stormlight. The same was basically true of his harassment of guards while he waited for Taln to show up in the WoK Epilogue.

I'm quite certain that Ym is a Truthwatcher, not an Edgedancer. His asking for stories from his beneficiaries just fits so well with the "Honesty" aspect of the Illumination surge. I can practically imagine Pattern saying Ym's lines.
271. Shard_Rookie
First time poster here but boy these comments are so good I could not help it.

@265 I am stuck on Gavilar too. Did he want to provoke the voidbringers into coming back because he believed the Heralds would follow? That puts him in line with Amaram but it also puts him in line with Restares who Gavilar thought might be behind his assassination.

But I wonder if Dalinar will be in for a rude awakening finding that maybe he and Gavilar were not on the same side after all.

@267 Regarding the missing honor blade, I assumed Nalan had reclaimed his.
272. Freelancer
qbe_64 @242

The architecture and construction method of a story certainly impacts how it is received by the reader. Brandon, being an admitted Outliner, puts great care into the pacing, staging, and distribution of information in his works. I understand how that can be perceived as less organic to the content of the story itself, lending it a mildly technical aspect. Some readers are more comfortable with a stream-of-consciousness style of delivery. Being primarily technical and analytical to start with, I find this method eminently readable and captivating. Bottom line, to each his own, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. None can gainsay your reaction to a work of art. Apologies if that isn't vitriolic enough.

rossnewberry @245

Hoid tells Kaladin during their first encounter:
“I began life as a thought, a concept, words on a page. That was another thing I stole. Myself."
I do not read this as breaking the Fourth Wall, but as literal. If bones may be Awakended with Breath, Color and Command on Nalthis, then perhaps in the place where the Shards originated, words may become Real.

sillyslovene @262

Rather Lifeless metaphors, don't you think? ::hides::
John Massey
273. subwoofer
@242 well, I hear ya. Having an extremely low bs threshold, when I started reading the Shallan flashback chapters I thought to myself, "self, this is going to take all day", then promptly skipped them to read them again on my next pass through the book. The thing is like 1200+ pages. Does Brandon get paid by the word or something? A bonus if he gets all the words in the dictionary? I dunno, but yeah, I skipped a bit because I wanted to get to the "good stuff".

On a side note, wailing through a book this honking big in less than a day? Wow. My head would explode. And I have too many nagging things in my life that would not allow that.

One thing that really burns my a$$ about the whole war sequences was that so much emphasis was on bridges and engineers and stuff, why couldn't they build permanent bridges? Post some guard houses at the sensative ones and just go forth on shard runs. If they can build all this other funky stuff, a bridge that doesn't go south in a highstorm shouldn't be so hard. It would save a lot of grief and aggravation.

Gerd K
274. Kah-thurak
A highly mobile enemy like the parshendi would just destroy your bridges and kill your guards all the time.
Ed Freshwater
275. nakafre
@ 273

That bothered me about the bridges as well, along with the Alethi choice to setup so far from their target. The alethi use soulcasters to make buildings, why couldn't they use them to make stone flooring to cover the chasms? That would have enabled them to set up their bases and defenses over multiple plateaus anywhere in the shattered plains. It just seemed far fetched to me with the means at their disposal that at the beginning of the war, their first choice would be to take these nice empty spots at the edge of the shattered plains as far away from their enemy as they could possibly be to set up their base of operations. Their "games" and profit from harvesting gemhearts developed during the course of the war, not at the beginning. So I do not believe that greed is a sufficient explanation.
Alice Arneson
276. Wetlandernw
@273 & @275 - It's actually all answered in TWoK, IIRC. There are permanent bridges connecting the plateaus nearer the warcamps, but after a certain point, they're too vulnerable; as Kah-thurak said @274, the Parshendi just come when you're not looking, kill the guards, and destroy the bridges.

Why not soulcast them? Limitations of the magic system and limitations of the people using it and limitations of physics.

Why not move the warcamps out onto the plains? Because for one thing, they'd have to all agree to do so; otherwise, the Parshendi could surround any one army and take them out. (And have you ever seen all the highprinces agree on anything other than the war itself?) For another thing, they'd have to soulcast an awful lot of stuff (again) to create shelter out there on the plateaus. At least in the former domes, there's some level of shelter. And having done it all once, why do it again? There on the edge of the Plains, they have all the material resources of the Unclaimed Hills at their backs; out on the plateaus, every single thing they need would have to be soulcast if they were cut off (whether by the Parshendi or by another highprince). And soulcasting isn't free. (Back to limitations of magic.)

Basically, until they were willing to completely change the rules of the game, there wasn't any compelling reason to do it differently.
Jennifer B
277. JennB
My husband wondered why the Alethi didn't build permanent bridges and then Soulcast them into stone. Of course then we wouldn't have Kaladin's story as a Bridgeman. I like it the way it is. :-) I think my husband does too.
278. McKay B
I agree that there are good reasons for them to set up camp in the existing campsites, rather than closer to their target. But I think @275 has a point: how, exactly, are the permanent bridges in danger of being easily destroyed by the Parshendi? That made sense when I was thinking of the permanent bridges as being wood/rope. But Soulcast bridges of stone would be pretty tough (unless the Parshendi used their soulcasters, too, for demolition duty -- which still might be a winning battle economically for the Alethi, depending how abundant their topaz supply is, compared to the Parshendi overall gem supply).

Considering the Alethi are already mass-producing barracks with soulcasting, what is the limitation on the magic system that would prevent the creation of permanent stone bridges?
Gerd K
279. Kah-thurak
@278 McKay
Unless you would make truly massive brigdes, which would probably be to much effort even with soulcasters, Shardblades (which the Parshendi have) could easily destroy bridges no matter what material they are made of.
280. D Cutrera 0410
Spoiler alert !!!!!
Questions/Speculations - my thoughts
1. I found it more than odd that Kaladin would agree with Moash about assassinating the king. Considering the words he'd said the gain his first steps as a Radiant? This was completely out of character IMO.
2. Lopen - OK, so Lopen gets his arm back thru stormlight, but Kaladin still has the shash brand on his forehead? Somethings off there.
3. Jasnah - I knew she wasn't dead. Brandon went to great lenths to show how Shallan could project illusions. And then too she didn't see Jasnah's body in the hallway when she left. I think the assassin probably stabbed an illlusion thru the chest and she escaped in Shallan's illusion.
4. Adolin, yes Sadeas is really dead. His Shardblade appeared. As for the "bridgeboy" comments, at first he didn't trust Kaladin at all and it was meant as a slight. But one the 4 Shardbearers against Adolin thing happened and he went into prison with Kaladin, I think it's a form of endearment, sort-of. He does respect Kaladin and I think the whole being imprisoned thing was his admission that he'd been wrong about him.
5. Dalinar and the blade. I haven't thought about this too much yet so I don't have an opinion of it yet. But the Shin are now missing 4 Honorblades not just the 1 that was mentioned to Szeth (Shallan's sword).
6. Szeth, isn't it funny (not funny haha, but funny strange) that Szeth's circumstances match that of the story Wit told Kaladin on the Shattered Plains that night about the king in the tower and the town who murdered in his name? Szeth was wronged, he should not have been truthless, I believe he'll be one of the Radiants that Dalinar is gathering.
7. I'm still considering about the Parshendi and the Everstorm, gotta think about it some more. But I do think that Rlain did come back to Dalinar because he had treated him with respect, him and Kaladin.
282. Freelancer
D Cutrera 410 @280

1. Kaladin is, at this point of the story, still damaged goods. His repeated betrayal at the hands of lighteyes muddies his vision to the point that he continually misses Syl's advice and warnings. He has seen how Elhokar's poor leadership and bad judgement have harmed and killed. So his logic is that removing the source of such grief is serving the people. It's coldly, lawlessly rational, but not in keeping with the Ideals he has not yet spoken.
2. Plenty of room for speculation on this. Wetlandernw has posited that Kaladin does not feel the need to be "healed" of his slave and shash brand yet, so they remain.

3. Shallan is a Lightweaver, Jasnah does not possess the Surge of Illusion. The practical theory is that she transported herself to Shadesmar while using Stormlight to keep herself healed enough to remain alive in spite of her dire injuries.

7. Keep in mind that there is a difference between a Parshendi who takes on Dullform, and a parshman. Dullform allowed Rlain(Shen) to masquerade as a parshman and spy. The stormspren within the Everstorm are aimed at the parshmen who are otherwise sprenless, and possess them. The Parshendi discovered a way to forcibly bond the stormspren through their Transformation, which is voluntary. Rlain is in no danger of becoming one of them if he does not wish it. And yes, he was key to the Alethi surviving that conflict, because he was treated well by Kaladin and by Dalinar, and honorably warned them of the Storm-Parshendi attack.
Leeland Woodard
283. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@280, 282
#2: I still say that Kaladin's slave brands aren't healed because the stormlight restores you to the image of yourself associated with your cognitive identity. Kaladin identifies as a person with a slave brand, and so the slave brand remains.
Count me among those who were less impressed with the 2nd installment of the Stormlight Archives than the first - at least after an initial reading. Much happens after the battle at the center of the Shattered Plains with little accounting. Urithiru appears to be invoked as a 'deus ex machina' refuge. Can you see the bulk of humanity on Roshar wending their way there in time and being accomodated? If only a small part of humanity is to be saved then the underground caverns of the Mistborn series could have been a model rather than the Valinor of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The best part of the book for me was the recounting of the honest revelations about prior life between Kaladin and Shallan after they finished sniping at one another, so that they were in a position to become close friends and helpmates. The recounting of the killing of her father by poisoning and strangulation in order to save her brother's life is one of the most dramatic literary experiences that I can recall. Shallan, the leading figure, is shatteringly portrayed as having the self-control to be able to strangle her father in order to save her brother, using his necklace present while singing his lullaby. The elder Davar, after all, is portrayed as loving and protecting his daughter even as he becomes murderously violent towards the rest of the family. The amazing resilience of Shallan towards this tragedy and the earlier one where she killed her mother in self-defense was what elicited such admiration from Kaladin who had hitherto been absorbed by his own bitter experiences. Here, a 'lighteyed' woman had experienced a past more horrible than his own, yet could still smile. That heartfelt smile was the most beautiful thing that Kaladin had ever seen. Fittingly, at the end, Kaladin himself becomes what he had previously held in contempt - a 'lighteye'.

I will probably reread the book if only to try to solve some word and number puzzles left by Sanderson in the chapter prologues. Those poems, however, were school-girlish and not very informative. On the other hand, that Lift interlude was sheer brilliance. Sanderson is extremely talented. I just wish he could devote himself more to this major writing project.
Leeland Woodard
285. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
The code for the epigraph of chapter 84 has been broken by Darmad on the 17th Shard forum. It reads as follows:
Hold the secret that broke the Knights Radiant. You may need it to destroy the new orders when they return.
The solution is as follows:
The epigraph for chapter 83 is the following:

Obviously they are fools The Desolation needs no usher It can and will sit where it wishes and the signs are obvious that the spren anticipate it doing so soon The Ancient of Stones must finally begin to crack It is a wonder that upon his will rested the prosperity and peace of a world for over four millennia
—From the Diagram, Book of the 2nd Ceiling Rotation pattern 1

For each letter, find the first occurrence of that letter in that epigraph. For instance O = 1, H = 11
Use that as a substitution into the Chapter 84 epigraph:
—From the Diagram, Book of the 2nd Ceiling Rotation: pattern 15
You'll then get the message above.
286. D Cutrera 0410
FREELANCES & smintitule
I hadn't thought of it that way, thanks...that makes sense. It bothered me alot that Kaladin still had the brand and Lopen got his arm back.
287. Afterthought
@282 - I really want to know what 4, 5 , and 6 are! ;)

As regards stone bridges - remember that the bridges can't be supported from below because any time a highstorm came through, the supports would be destroyed into little itty bits. Also, with the sheer vastness of the Shattered Plains, they couldn't possibly have enough men to protect each bridge. Not to mention that if they can't agree to share men to patrol the camps, and keep away bandits, could they really agree to share men to protect the bridges?

@270 I'm not sure 'aghast' is the right word, but I do find it odd that the Stormfather should act (as I see it) dishonourably. If he's a piece of honour, then presumably he's acting against his own nature. And, I may be wrong, from what we know about Spren that can't happen. Which makes me wonder if something else is going on here.

(Or it may just be that my moral system and concept of honour is different from the one used in the books - as it is clearly different to some of the people who post here as regards pacifism etc. that's a definite possibility.)
288. D Cutrera 0410

Where is the 17th shard forum?
Nadine L.
290. travyl
It really irked me, when Adolin called Kaladin Brigdeboy, right after the duel. Kaladin just safed his life, and I'd have prefered if he'd called him by his real name or Captain or something (out of respect), even if he'd later gone back to Bridgeboy (as others proposed in a sense of endearment).

I agree about the forehead scar: Kaladin subconsciously doesn't want it gone. He is quite capable of healing himself without the special re-growing sure: Healing a shard-blade-wound-dead arm is quite impressive.

I love Words of Radiance (even if I have some criticism) and don't understand the sentiment that it's not as good as WoK. I already know much of the rosharan world-building and so I could enjoy it from the start with all its great action and emotional conflict whereas I still remeber, that I had a hard time reading WoK for the first time (due to the slightly overwhelming strange new world). Thankfully it grew on me with every re-read - it's really worth rereading, because you miss so much on a first read. I fully expect it to be so with WoR as well, and I'm totally committed to this series and not the least bit disappointed.

(I previously said the Shallan backstory was anti-climatic for me, but this is only true concerning the early flash-back scenes, which felt a bit repetitive. The big revelations at the end, her consciously killing her father and the truth about her mother I found equally shocking as others said.)
Jeremy Guebert
291. jeremyguebert
smintitule @285 - Wow, that's intense, props to Darmad for the excellent work, and thanks to you for sharing. Initial thought is that maybe this refers to Gavilar's sphere from the first book?
Ed Freshwater
292. nakafre
@ 277
Let me start off by saying that I love Kal's story arc and everything about his journey through Bridge 4. I believe that, above all else, makes this series so far and sets up the magic as a whole in terms of spren-human interaction. However,

@ 276, 278, 279 - I'm still not buying the "limitations of the magic system". I just word searched WoK for every use of "soulcaster" and re-read the surrounding passages. I did not come across any hint of limitations of the magic in regards to soulcasting. There is mention of smaller gemstones cracking in both WoK and WoR, however nothing in terms of the size of what could be soulcast. There is actually precident in WoK , Ch. 15 The Decoy, where Dalinar and Sedeas maneuvered Highprince Vamah. Here, they want the Highprinces using the king's soulcasters as the usage tax is as a way of keeping the Highprinces in check. Taking the armies further out onto the Shattered Plains would only reinforce this.

The Alethi use pole jumpers to span Chasms and the bridges are, IIRC, about 40' total. Accounting for overhang so that the bridges do not fall into the Chasms, the typical Chasm shouldn't be more than around 20-25'. A standard span bridge with minimal abutment at points of contact with the walls would be more than enough to support that type of distance.

The way I initially envisioned it was not 1 large Alethi army but as 10 individual Highprince armies in a line similar to naval blockades. This keeps to the political landscape of the time where each army views itself as seperate from the whole. In this manner each army would only need to connect the plateaus that their armies occupied. The Chasms between these plateaus could be completely covered and used as roads with the buildings over the plateaus themselves or merely highly interconnected. Each subsequent army could take an adjoining set of plateaus and they would maintain the line of armies that they currently have on the rim of the Shattered Plains. The armies then would only need to build fortifications (via soulcasters) on 2 sides.

Also, the reasoning given for not pushing into the plains (relying on fragile bridges, need to camp on the plains, whether highstomrs) in deference to a seige did not seem as dire as they did during my first readthrough. Besides, a seige requires the beseiging army to surround or at the very least know where the other army is. The Alethi have no clue where the Parshendi run off to following their skirmishes. The Alethi have no way of knowing what resources the Parshendi have at their disposal and, therefor, no way of knowing if a seige would even work.

Again, I love the use of bridges and both books. Once the paramters of the conflict were set and the story is moving, I am fully in my suspension of disbelief. However, when stepping back and looking at things, I don't buy the reasoning and the whole approach to the war seems off.
Maiane Bakroeva
293. Isilel
Wow! Major props to Darmad!
Hold the secret that broke the Knights Radiant. You may need it to destroy the new orders when they return.
But how on earth can Taravangian protect the humanity from Desolation without the KR?!! I mean, we have seen thunderclasts, midnight essences, the Parshendi stormshape, and there are likely many more horrors in store. I genuinely can't imagine how a merely very smart, even genius-level person can deal with all that stuff.
Particularly since he only learned about it the danger 6-7 years ago, so is very unlikely to posess some gamechanger technology like cannon or firearms.
Even acquiring Jah Keved was extremely wasteful as far as various resources destroyed in the civil war are concerned, how does he plan to deal with something like that?

Oh, and I imagine that he is in for a surprise concerning the secret that broke the KR in the past. Dalinar already knows that the Almighty is dead and I don't see him being all that fazed if he hears about the desertion of the Heralds, for instance. Not to mention that now that he is able to converse with the Stormfather, he is likely to learn the secret before Taravangian brings it into play.
But this can only mean that attempts at Dalinar's life will continue, so I really hope that he "bonds" (or whatever term applies) Jezrien's honorblade ASAP.
Alice Arneson
294. Wetlandernw
I'm beginning to wonder if the result of the Diagram would be a "survival" of humanity by submitting to Odium.

If Taravangian were to succeed at destroying all semblance of defense against Odium, particularly the Knights Radiant and all vestiges of Surgebinding, and were to succeed at getting himself named King of Everything, he might have both the authority and the power to basically hand over the planet. Humanity as a species might then be allowed to survive... after a fashion.
Alice Arneson
295. Wetlandernw

Thank you. I feel better now.
Leeland Woodard
296. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@Wetlander 294
That thought occurred to me as well. It's possible that Taravangian, in his super-intelligent but completely uncompassionate state thought that the best way to survive is to side with Odium.
Rob Munnelly
297. RobMRobM
See my comment at 221. "King Taravangian in the Jah Kaved chapter implying that he did in fact seek a boon that was (essentially) the "capacity" to stop the desolation." Imprecise wording strikes again. "Capacity" to survive might well be to get rid of all opposing forces and submit to Odium.
Gerd K
298. Kah-thurak
And what would stop the parshendi from destroying the bridges?
Alice Arneson
299. Wetlandernw
FWIW, "the secret that broke the Knights Radiant" is most likely whatever "Words of Radiance, Chapter 38" (the in-book book, not our book) refers to as "some wicked thing of eminence." I suspect it may be related to the Unmade, but I certainly can't prove it. If it is, that would explain Taravangian's interest in them.
300. Jarle
One thing baffles me.

Basically he straight out tells us that every day his intellect is opposed to his empathy. And he knows that if he is too smart, he doesn't understand people, so he won't be allowed to make laws (like asking stupid people to kill themselves in order to raise the average intelligence of the citizens).

And knowing this, and everyone knows this ...

They still blindly follow a plan conceived on a day when he was 100, or 1 000 times, as intelligent as normal.

Guess what? That means he had no empathy at all: he couldn't care less if the world burned and everyone in it died. Given that he couldn't possibly care less about anyone else - he came up with a plan ...

And that plan they decide to follow ...

I really don't understand it ... it doesn't make any sense. It is like saying "the devil is 100 times smarter than me, so even though I have no idea what he is planning, I'll follow his cryptic instructions to the best of my abilities because he is smarter than me. That he is evil doesn't matter".
I note that there is still discussion about the absence of permanent bridges except in the rear plateaus. This was probably pointed out some time ago, but permanent bridges are 2-way affairs. While they would make it easiier for the Alethi forces to advance, they would do the same for their enemy. Besides, having shardblades would ensure that such stone or steel bridges would have a short lifetime. The blades could cut through such a bridge at support points and the span would collapse into the ravine.

The 'portable' wood bridges used by Sadeas and later, Dalinar, on the other hand, are useful only in spanning narrow chasms. They are 30 ft. long and would require that the center of gravity of the bridge always be on the near side - else the bridge would fall as it is being shoved across the span. That consideration could limit the bridgeable chasm span to about 15 ft. - assuming that the weight was uniformly distributed. If, however, the bridge was weighted on one side then the bridgeable gap could be increased . In addition, a brigeable gap would require that the 2 sides of the ravine be of equal height ( the far side can be a bit lower).
Jeremy Guebert
302. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @299 - "the in-book book, not our book" - The fact that this clarification is necessary made me chuckle. This is what happens when you name your novels after in-world literature. :)

Jarle @300 - I agree wholeheartedly. Glad I'm not the only one worried about that.
Alice Arneson
303. Wetlandernw
I got a really, really bad feeling when I read this bit:
Taravangian worshipped only one god now. It was the man he had been on that day.
That just reads like a recipe for disaster. And the more we discuss these things, the more convinced I am.
Ed Freshwater
304. nakafre
Keep in mind that my position in the bridge discussion is based on how the war could have played out if a different strategy was used. This isn't meant as a criticism of the writing or the story arc which I think makes a much better story than one where the Parshendi are wiped out early on.

Kah-thurak @ 298
Under my premise in 292, the only permanent bridges of import would be those inside of their camps where the entire army would be located. In terms of engagement, the Alethi armies could still use mobile bridges. My whole reasoning in quesioning the strategy is why are they laying seige to an enemy when the location of their base of operations is unkown.

STBLST @ 301
The bridges are theoretically 2-way affairs, this is not an impediment to the Parshendi who can leap the Chasms. Actually, do we have even one reference in either book of Parshendi using bridges? IIRC, the only instances we have of them touching a bridge is to push one into a Chasm. True, Parshendi Shardbearers could cut through bridges, however as stated in the paragraph above, this would not be an issue with bridges inside of camp. These would be the only bridges that would need to be maintained to allow movement within camps. With gemstones and readily accessable stormlight, the armies would be just as self sufficient in such camps as those in the books.
Gerd K
305. Kah-thurak
Nobody is besieging anyone. The idea of the Alethi was to engage the Parshendi in a war of attrition, by fighting them for the gem hearts. And as we know from the parshendi POVs in WoR this actually worked, even though the Highprinces got distracted along the way.
Ed Freshwater
306. nakafre
I disagree. WoK, Ch. 15 The Decoy:
"Alethkar had been at war for nearly six years, engaging in an extended siege. The siege strategy had been suggested by Dalinar himsself-stiking at the Parshendi base would have required camping on the Plains, weathering highstorms, and relying on a large number of fragile bridges. One failed battle, and the Alethi could have found themselves trapped and surrou7nded, without any way back to fortified positions.
(emphasis mine)
So, yes they were engaged in a siege. Part of a siege is attrition due to battle or lack of supplies. Yes, the Alethi are winning in that the numbers of Parshendi are decreasing. However, this is a guess by the Alethi. We are only privy to the Parshendi situation vis Eshonai's POV. There is no forseeable end to the seige. This is indeed what Dalinar bristles against and decides that a change in tactics is needed. This is how the seige actually played out.

As Dalinar stated above, the Alethi fortified positions were the craters on the edge of the Shattered Plains. My whole point, when thinking of the initial choice of strategem, is that they should have made fortified positions out on the Shattered Plains through use of soulcasters. Plateaus could be fortified on their boundaries and joined by stone bridges via soulcasters. The interior of these fortifications would be protected by the armies from within.
307. Palpie
nakafre @ 304: the seige strategy was addressed in WoK. Apparently the war camps are the only exit from the shattered plains, because of inpassable mountians to north and south and the heavier errosion to the east. Those may not have been barriers to the listeners, but the idea was the Alethi had them trapped and could whittle them down with out risking exposing themselves on the plateaus. Then the gem hearts and games began. As for bridges, even if the parshendi didn't come destroy them i'm not sure how well stone bridges would survive highstorms that hurl boulders around. And there was definately references in WoK to the wooden bridges having to be rebuilt. I think a better question is why did they never try attacking the center during the weeping before. there's been 2 pervious years w/o the lightday highstorm already.
Skip Ives
308. Skip
I have two points to add to all the great discussion here:

1) I don’t get why everyone was surprised that Shallan killed her mother. From Chapter 10:
Father gathered her into his arms, and she felt her skin squirming. No. No, this affection wasn’t right. A monster should not be held in love. A monster who killed, who murdered. No.
And further on in the chapter,
Mother lay facedown so Shallan couldn’t see the eyes. The horrible eyes.
If her father had killed her mother, the first quote would have been “A monster should not hold (her) in love.” As it is, the “monster” was being held, and the killings were clearly with a shardblade. So it seemed clear to me that is was Shallan in the bedroom with the shardblade.

Also, as damaging as watching your father kill your mother would be to a child, a cynical part of my brain said that it would be much worse if you killed your mother and watched your father go insane watching you like a ticking time bomb. The “lover” also seemed out of place and didn’t fit into the story being told, and coupled with the obvious avoidance of the actual event, I had to assume it was something other than what it was purported to be.

2) Just my opinion, but I don’t think that Syl is deciding about Kaladin’s adherence to his oaths, Kaladin is. She doesn’t pull away her powers, he refuses them by turning away from his oaths. When Kaladin gives in to his fear and hate, he knows he is doing the wrong thing. Syl points this out to him in the jail, even as she begins to lose her sentience. By the time we see her in Chapter 68, she is very much like she was when Kaladin first met her. She doesn’t abandon him, she lacks the cognizance to constantly help him, and even then it is limited.

This is also why Kaladin can go kill people without seeming to cause him any similar issue, until he feels that it does cause an issue. Kaladin’s ability to access his powers are dependent on him feeling that he is obeying his oaths. It also explains why there are so many oaths to follow Honor. Each adds a layer of complexity and duty, so that the initiate need only worry about what is directly in front of him, while a full KR would have to consider the much wider impacts of his actions.
309. Palpie
Speaking of oaths, does anyone else feel that the oaths might be different for each person? We know the Lightweavers require personal truths rather than oaths. I think the windrunners need oaths to protect, but of a personal nature. The reasons i feel this way are 1) Syl doesn't (can't?) tell Kal what the other oaths are and 2) the stormfather says "the words are accepted" for both Kal and Dalinar. It just seems that it makes sense for the oaths to be personal, though aligned with the focus of the order. So Kal can't just tell someone to say "I will protect those who can't protect themselves" and they get a level in windrunner. it has to be an oath that they personally embrace that is about protection. Kal's second oath just seems to specific to his circumstances to be something every windrunner swears.

Ohh and i forgot before, but squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! Nightblood on Roshar in crazy pants Sezth's hands. This will end well i'm sure.
310. Freelancer
We're #1! We're #1! We're #1!

Well, OK, not us, so much. But Words of Radiance has debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list.

Now that's a little bit of awesome.
311. Confutus
I'm never going to hear the word "awesome" again without thinking of Lift. Brandon had ruined me.
Jennifer B
313. JennB
Wow. Thanks for copying that over for us. I am impressed that someone cracked the code.
F Shelley
314. FSS
I got it!

Adolin = Gawayn

i knew he reminded me of someone!
John Massey
315. subwoofer
Every time I see the word "debute" I hear "de but". It always looked like a weird word to me.

Um, the bridge thing. Sure the Parsh dudes can jump, but they also seem not that interested in a prolonged battle. Let them come and fight over a bridge. That would have ended the war quicker, or at least let it be a war as opposed to these random skirmishes over gemhearts. I just think it would be better bringing the Parhdudes to them as opposed to these campaigns. Also, these campaigns played more to Sadeas and the other Highprinces way of things rather than Dalinar's real unified front.

As for the book thing, just to be clear, I am not saying that I preferred WoK to WoR, I just want to get to the good stuff and be done with the filler. Perhaps when I win the lottery and have a whack of time on my hands I can settle down and deal with minutiae, but that is not the path I am walking right now. Hey, we all do what we can.

Speaking of Oaths and words, I'm going back and seeing what else we can expect before Kaladin gets a shiny new car.Standing on one foot, playing hopscotch, while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, juggling geese. More and more this is feeling like the extended version of "The Price is Right".

Ryan Henrie
316. Coldmist
I haven't seen anyone mention this yet (but I haven't read every response). In Mistborn, a person had to be broken physically to expose the misting from within. And, the Envisagers were just basically trying something like this. But on Roshar, you have to be emotionally/psychologically broken. Not physically broken. Similar, but different.

Some people were lamenting all these 'broken' people and their problems, but that is who starts the Nahel bond. So, deal with it. Might not be optimal, but it's the way it is.

No wonder some of Bridge 4 were glowing. They are all broken. Probably most of the bridge crews are broken as well, hence they will form the initial ranks and numbers of Knights. Kind of like the Fremen on Dune.
317. tuary
Please, can someone explain to me why Sly never noticed Pattern (vice versa); why these bonding sprens don't see one another? This has been bugging me ever since Shallen first met Kaladin. Thanks in advance.
Ben Johnston
318. AlcairNovall
re@300, As far as the others following Taravangian's malevolent Diagram, I'd say part of it is we don't know /all/ of what is in it, while they do for the most part. If they decided that the end result was good enough then they would be willing to pay the blood price for it (talk about destination before journey dptullos ;)).

re@280 4) Shallan doesn't have an Honorblade. Her Blade is formed from Pattern.

On the subject of the siege, to push too far onto the Shattered Plains would stretch the supply lines. Not quite /everything/ can be made from soulcasting. You can't make fresh gems so far as we know, and you can't make fresh troops and support staff for all the armies as they grow. The Parshendi, once the highprinces' base camp was established on the plains, could drop down into the chasms just after a highstorm and sneak under the camps, leaving the Alethi to wonder where their enemies slipped off to while the Parshendi hole up somewhere where they can begin reestablishing their population and hope that the Alethi don't find them.
In addition, the farther into the plains they are, the greater the risk of a chasmfiend crawling out of a chasm into the camps in the middle of the night to cause Adonlasium only knows how much chaos. If nothing else, that threat alone, would be sufficient to keep most people from placing the armies on the plains, soulcast fortfications/bridges/stormwalls or no.

Lastly, the limitations of magic - While there may not be a physical limitation to what can be made through Soulcasting - Jasnah turned that huge storming cave-in into smoke after all and it was 15000 Kavals which sounds sufficiently large enough to provide us with plenty of room on the scale of things that can be Soulcasted - but there is a legitamate cost, just like the rest of Brandon's magics. In this case, they are limited by how much Stormlight they have access to.
Ben Johnston
319. AlcairNovall
@317 Tuary Syl did notice Pattern during the 4v1 Shard Duel, but that was really the only time that they were close to each other up until the big Radiant Reveal in the final chapters. The only other chance was when Syl had already started slipping back to non-sentience while they were going to see the chasmfiend corpse. As soon as Kaladin and Shallan fell into the chasm, Kaladin lost touch with Syl (probably from trying to draw too much Stormlight through a bond that had whithered from Kaladin's betrayal of his personal honor). She had gone back to being a windspren, and simply wasn't around to notice or be noticed from then until the Third Oath, though Kaladin almost stumbled across Shallan and Pattern chatting as they rounded the plateau when she was checking its circumference. (Chapter citations... I need them... but flipping through a physical copy is soooooo tedious....)
320. Sera
hmmm. just that, i'm waiting for shallan and kaladin to get together.....
321. Freelancer
Coldmist @316

The event in a person's life on Scadrial which activates(reveals?) their ability to burn metal(s) for powers is "snapping", and it is definitely emotional. It is true that the stress required is often created or acommpanied by physical trauma, but the snapping itself is not directly due to a "broken" body. The noble houses would carefully torture their children in the attempt to induce the snapping in a controlled environment, but the physical aspect of it was simply a means to an end; generating the necessary emotional strain to unlock the Allomancy.

While I have no doubt that there is some relationship between those Scadrians, and the types of individuals on Roshar who draw spren-bonds, it isn't the same. Using the relatively small sample set currently available, it seems that the spren intent upon a Nahel bond with a human are drawn to those who have learned a certain form of humility through trauma. We could attempt to consider it from the spren's point of view. They leave the Cognitive Realm in search of a proper candidate, and are drawn to . . . what? I would say the powerful sensations radiated by someone who has experienced exceptional events. So it might not necessarily be that one must be emotionally "broken" to gain a Nahel bond, but that such people are more likely to attract such a spren.
Gerd K
322. Kah-thurak
If we consider when Kaladin and Shallan first attracted their spren, Kaladin while still fighting in Amaram's army, Shallan well before she killed her mother, the theory that they were "emotionally broken" or anything in that direction becomes dubious. And for Jasnah, Renarin and Dalinar even more so....

Well if the books call it a "siege" it is stretching the word a little I guess. Because that is not in classical sense what is happening. The Alethi moved in position that allowed them to wear down their enemy, without offering them a possibillity to escape them - which they could have done, had the Alethi actually moved onto the shattered plains.

If you build dozens or hundreds of bridges and defend them lightly a mobile enemy can easily pick them off one at a time, achieving superior numbers in each of these small battles.
323. birgit
The problem with building fortifications nearer the Parshendi base is that they have to go a long way and are in danger from the highstorms. If they send a small group of soulcasters to build shelters first the Parshendi could easily wipe them out. If they send a large army to protect the soulcasters there will be too many to build shelters for them all between highstorms. If they are supposed to advance slowly enough that they don't have that problem they have to gradually turn the whole Shattered Plains into a soulcast city. That would take a lot of time and resources.

If the gems for soulcasting come mainly from gemhearts, how do they get different kinds of gems? Are there different species of chasmfiends with different kinds of gemhearts?
John Massey
324. subwoofer
@Kah- you are taking my words and extrapolating them. I never said anything about building hundreds of bridges, I just said build bridges to get the Parhidudes to come out and fight them for it. It could be 1 bridge or 10 bridges, whatever it takes to lure the baddies out and have a protracted war, the goal is the long protracted, wipe out all the baddies war. Even if it is more than 10 bridges, consider it "bait". Set out the box, prop it with a stick, put the Tweety Bird under the box, and wait for the "I tought I taw a putty tat".

John Massey
325. subwoofer
Um... Parshdudes? Parshidudes? P-dudes? Those guys that get the red glowing eyes, have gems in their beards and sing funny tunes.

F Shelley
326. FSS
So, the Alethi Thrill is caused by a giant, evil spren call Nergauol? Weird...
Gerd K
327. Kah-thurak
I dont see many reasons for the Parshendi to fall for such an obvious trap. Besides, it is unnecessary. The exact opportunity you want to create with the bridges exists with the gem hearts - with the benefit that the Parshendi actually want those and can therefore be made to fight.
328. Afterthought
As regards snapping, or otherwise, I tend to agree with @322 Kah-thurak.

I wonder if - rather than snapping - it is the way they react to adversity that matters. It's easy enough to follow a code of conduct when there isn't much riding on it, but with Kaladin, Jasnah (probably), and Dalinar, you could argue all of them have held to the code in the face of real adversity and then bound to their respective spren. (As long as we assume that Kal's instinctive ability with the staff wasn't down to Syl - which seems reasonable). Renarin, we don't really know enough about.

Shallan still seems the odd one out though, as Pattern was attracted - and bonded - to her before she killed her mother (and father). Is the fact that Cultivation has some ability to see the future too convenient? Could the Cryptics have known Shallan would survive the horrors of her childhood?
Rob Munnelly
329. RobMRobM
Miscellaneous additional points on re-read.

1. One minor mystery deepens. In WoK, Kal twice refers to Tarah as a woman who helped him survive after the loss of Tien, and he says he failed her as well. In WoR, when he is with Shallan in a safety hole during the high storm, he mentions thaat Shallan is as close to him as any woman has been since Tarah. OK, now I want to meet her and learn her story. Is Tarah alive and what is she like? How did Kal fail her (other than by being captured and sold into slavery following the shardholder win)? What type of person would Kal pick as a presumed girlfriend when previously he cared only about the lighteyed girl from home and no one since he joined the bridge crew.

2. Color me now very interested in Shallan's brother Heleran. In the Taravangian interlude, they mention the possibility than Shallan is a surgebinder and that she may have been trained by her brother. Really? Also, why would Heleran's forces be fighting with Amaran's in the first place - that's an issue that is of increased importance given the role of both in various cliques. And I'll predict at this point that Heleran is not dead. Something is up with that.

3. So, sequence is that Gavillar had visions of future, talked to Taravangian in detail about them, Taravangian has his one perfect brilliant day and created the Diagram, and Taravangian has a cabal around him to implement the plan and save at least a portion of humanity from destruction, even if it requires them to kill many others. Do I have that right?
John Massey
330. subwoofer
They could put pink ribbons on the bridge.

Gerd K
331. Kah-thurak
You forget the Highstorms :P
Jon _
332. Chasmfriend
Why did Kaladin's bond with Syl break when it did?
Kaladin tries to save Dalinar, falls into the chasm, tries unsuccessfully to draw in stormlight , Syl screams and he gets a breath of stormlight, then hits the ground. When he comes to, his bond is broken.

My theory is that the bond had weakened to the point that Syl could no longer help him, yet she chose to do so anyway. That action caused the bond to snap.
June Williams
333. Windspren
was it just me, I didn't find satisfaction in Sandersons description of places, I came away feeling like I must have missed reading it. I like to feel that I am in the scene watching, can't do that with Sandersons books.

some above mentioned favorite charactor death , then a comeback. Perhaps more confusion around the death, to make the reader less sure of a death, leaving room for author to bring back charactor .

I had been very disappointed in the King Elokar, he was no body, but now we have acharactor that we can watch grow. Perhaps his spren will come back, and he will be able to build grand safe places for his people and others.
Jennifer B
334. JennB
I was thinking maybe the Stormfather did something to break the bond. It had gotten weak enough that he could forcibly break it. I'm not sure why he did it it when he did. Maybe he was hoping Kaladin would die from the fall.

Re Tarvangian's boon
It would be odd if the Nightwatcher told Tarvangian that he should surrender to Odium. I think the Nightwatcher is a large Splinter of Cultivation. If Odium wins, he would splinter Cultivation and kill its holder. It doesn't make sense for the Nightwatcher to encourage a win for Odium, unless she is crazy like the Stormfather is.
June Williams
335. Windspren
Does anyone think Adolin will miss becoming a Radiant, because of the guilt he has for the murder of Sedeas?
Greg Prince
336. Palpie
@334, his boon was the capacity to defend against the desolation. it takes the form of variable intelligence. his curse might be the variable compassion. It's just on that one super smart, super sociopathic day he created his plan. So it's entirely possible that a guy who when he's mearly very smart thinks it's ok to ask ppl to kill themselve for being stupid would decide surrendering to Odium/voidbringers is the best way for humanity to 'survive'.
Lauren Hartman
337. naupathia
Back for more comments! Took forever to read the new ones...

Re: Love triangle: I wouldn't mind if it happens. I'm actually all for Adolin/Shallan (not a fan of Kal/Shallan really) but I don't think I well-done love traingle would be remiss. If it allows all 3 characters to grow and learn something, then I think it could work. And hopefully Shallan will choose Adolin, not because of a causal, and not just because he's cute, but because she realizes that they WORK. It would also let Adolin grow from a womanizing lecher into realizing true feelings for a woman and to care about her needs over his own. I also think it would end with Kal being good friends with both but realizing he would need something else. At least that's my version of it.

I also hope, that if Sanderson does do the triangle, that Shallan doesn't "choose" Adolin after he becomes a KR or something, because then it might seem like she only accepts him once he's her equal... I also really hope Adolin doesn't die just to make room for Kal. That would be the ultimate copout.

Re: Gaz. A few people have touched on this saying they don't like how he was "redeemed" in this book but honestly I thought it made sense. The small POV of Gaz we got in WoK totally set him up as a "not so bad just stuck in shitty circumstances" guy. So I wasn't at all surprised how quickly he took to Shallan.

@280 as far as Kaladin agreeing to kill the king, I thought it was in character. Keep in mind Kal was slowly wrestling with the choice, but he only really accepts it as "necessary" after the king "betrays" him and Kal's rage is starting to get the better of him. Basically once revenge is his only motivation (just like Moash) does Kaladin agree. I think it fit pretty well.

@300 As far as Taravangian and blindly following the Diagram, I think it does make a weird kind of sense. I think he's blindly putting faith in the idea that, since he asked for the capacity to save humanity, he trusts that that is what the Diagram will do. And he's definitely in the "destination before journey" camp.

So he doesn't want to rule when he's in his intelligent state because he knows that the choices he makes lack empathy, which would make him seem crazy and thus cause him to lose his power. Power he needs to keep ruling, so he can keep following the Diagram. I don't think his choice not to rule is because he thinks his decisions are bad. I don't have quotes, but the couple times he thinks of the choices he made, like killing people who can't pass an intelligence test - he doesn't actually seem to think it's a bad idea, only that enforcing it would get him lynched. So yea, I think it makes a frightening amount of sense as to why he blindly follows the Diagram.
338. Freelancer
Kah-thurak @322

I agree with you. My previous comments on the topic were meant to distinguish that Allomantic snapping on Scadrial could not be analagous to whatever moves a spren to be attracted to a potential Radiant on Roshar. It isn't at all about being "broken", although there might be a consistent correlation among likely candidates to internalize the struggles of those around them with great passion.

birgit @323

One of the questions I've had all along, which Brandon has given no information about. There must be some amazing mining activities going on around the planet, for diamond chips to be chump change. Or, there are (were) a very few (perhaps one?) Soulcasters capable of turning another substance into gemstones.

RE: Kaladin's bond with Syl

He damaged it by accepting Moash's intention. But I think that this is more significant than to be overlooked:
He breathed in Stormlight to reassure himself. Only it didn't come. He stood, dumbfounded, while soldiers marched across one of Dalinar's enormous mechanical bridges. He tried again. Nothing.
He fished a sphere from his pouch. The firemark glowed with its customary light, tinting his fingers red. Something was wrong. Kaladin couldn't feel the Stormlight inside as he once had.
Then, Syl comes by flying amongst other windspren. She isn't quite herself, but he is able to draw in the Stormlight when she's close. He hides the firemark sphere tightly in his hand while he inhales the Stormlight, to not be obvious. And...
She landed on his wrist and took the form of a young woman. she peered at hishand, cocking her head. "What's inside?" she asked with a conspiratorial whisper.
"You know what this is, Syl," Kaladin said, feeling chilled, as if he'd been hit by a wave of stormwater. "A sphere. Didn't you see it just now?"
She looked at him, face innocent. "You are making bad choices. Naughty." Her features mimicked his for a moment and she jumped forward, as if to startle him. She laughed and zipped away.
Bad choices. Naughty. So, this was because of his promise to Moash that he'd help assassinate the king. Kaladin sighed, continuing forward.
He's right that the promise to Moash is a bad choice, and has affected his honorspren. That's proven when he ends up making a second promise which is contradictory to the first. But, right here, right now, she's admonishing him for drawing in red Stormlight.

BTW, it is in an immediately following passage that the seed concept for brokenness being a pre-requisite of a Knight Radiant is presented:
"You want too much of me," he snapped at her as he readched the other side of the chasm. "I'm not some glorious knight of ancient days. I'm a broken man. Do you hear me, Syl? I'm broken."
She zipped up to him and whispered, "That's what they all were, silly." She streaked away.
So, there's that.

Windspren @335

Sad to say, Adolin will become a Knight Radiant when Mat becomes a Hero of the Horn.
339. Afterthought
@338 -

For that to be the case about 'red' stormlight, you'd have to assume that every single time Kaladin draws in stormlight from his or his brigemen's spheres, from soldiers, the walls, or the Parshendi, none of it was drawn in from rubies. When you consider that a fire chip is only worth 10 diamond chips, the chances of that being the case would seem astronomically low. (Maybe even astrologically low!)

Way too much of a stretch for me to go along with I'm afraid.

Also - I'm virtually certain that the different gems only change the colour of the light escaping from the gems, and not the colour of the stormlight itself. Just like the light coming through a stained glass window will reflect the colour of the glass it comes through, but the light source (sun) remains the same colour.

As a literary device demonstrating that something bad is about to happen, I could perhaps buy into it, but not as a cause of Kaladin's bond snapping. Far more likely to be a coincidence.
340. DavidL
Diamond chips would be chump change on our world too if it weren't for the cultural cachet the gems have.
Jennifer B
341. JennB
Ah, yes. You are right. The Nightwatcher gave him the capacity, not the actual idea.
Jennifer B
342. JennB
I think gems are much more common on Roshar because they grow inside of animals. We know that Greatshells such as chulls and chasmfiends have gemhearts. Chulls are very common. Smaller crustaceans such as axehounds and cremlings may even have gemhearts, though the ones from cremlings would be tiny.
Stephen Ogden
343. azrael
@179 rossnewberry
As far as I can tell, Szeth believed that the Surgebinding powers or the Radiants were on the verge of returning, and his adherence to that belief caused the rulers of the Shin (Stone Shamanate?) to cast him from society, and into slavery with his Oathstone. What I can't figure out is why they gave him one of the Honorblades when they did it.
Perhaps Szeth was starting a relationship with a spren and was becoming a radiant? This could be what made him believe radiants were returning. How to stop this happening? Mask those powers by giving him an honourblade? Make the spren desert him by sending him off to do dastardly things that the spren would hate?
Mark Tisdale
344. Shinowa
@343 What if, because of the diagram, Taravangian approached Szeth's people with a plan that would leave them as the only surgebinders remaining? It only cost them one assassin in white and an honorblade.
345. VladZ

I was in the middle of my first re-read when I found these comments so I thought I'd contribute a few things that came to mind:

1) About shardblades and shardplate - What if blades (weapons) are of Honor and plate (armor) of Cultivation. I know we saw Syl become a shield but a) a shield is not a full suit of armor and b) that would explain the two surges that form a knight (one Honor - mind and one Cultivation - nature). Which is also in line with Jasnah’s briefing to Shallan

2) About the orders and vows - If I remember correctly (at work = no book) in WoK Theft tells Kalladin that only the first vow was common among all Radiants, all the rest were order specific. So it makes perfect sense for Kalladin (as a Windrunner) to have vows he must respect (tied into the honor of respecting the vows are honorspren) and Shallan (as a Lightweaver ) to have to speak personal truths (tied into the liespren). We can also hear Dalinar's vow in the first book when he quotes the "Way of Kings". We can only assume that other orders will have their own progression path. It also begs the question when and why / how has Shallan spoken the vow (she must've done it really young).

3) About the Diagram, and I'll digress a little. It makes perfect sense that with greater intelligence comes less and less compassion. It's actually quite a common trope in movies and literature. It also makes sense in the book and, if you're completely dispassionate about it, in the real world. If intelligence / beauty / strength (i.e. physical prowess) are genetic by killing the weak (in any of the aspects) you ensure a better human race. A better race would equal better chance of survival against anything. Of course it can be argued that they'd lose what makes them "human", but ethics and morality are a matter of perception while IQ is measurable. So from Taravangian's perspective all his decisions are "good" as they will help survival. He's also smart enough to realize that he needs some popular support though and he tones down his decrees. As to whether or not his "godlike" intellect considered that surender to Odium is the best option I actually don't think it did. I think he was a good man, who trusted Gavilar an believed that something is coming, went to the Nightwatcher and got a solution. It's not by any means perfect but it makes a much more interesting reading when villains are just pure evil but they actually use evil means for a good outcome. It also contrasts quite nicely with the Radiant vow "Journey before destination" as opposed to "Survival by any means". Personally I also like the morality question it raises since it's one of the most common and debatable ones: "If you can save 10 people by killing one, would you?". Kalladin says no, Taravangian says Yes.
Leeland Woodard
346. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Wow, that's a fantastic theory.

One thing that I've been thinking about--in one of the flashbacks, Helaran says that he's been looking for the Skybreakers. I think it's possible that the group purporting to be Skybreakers are the Ghostbloods themselves. I still don't believe that the Skybreakers are still around (I'm of the opinion that the Shin are descendents of the Stonewardens), but I think that the Ghostbloods think they're Skybreakers.
Michael Arnett
347. Darmad
{Looks both ways and delurks...}

@ 329 RobMRobM
That is how I initially read the sequence as well, but one of the Diagram quotes was essentially "can we make a Truthless? Can we make a weapon?", which implies that the day of brilliance was before Galivar was killed. A bit confusing there.

@ 344 Shinowa
The Shin hold warriors as the lowest of the low. I suspect that is partly driven by the fact that they are the holders of most of the Honorblades, and wanted their people to avoid the temptation to take up the blades. They would be strongly inclined to discredit surgebinding for the same reason, something like "my friend is a surgebinder, I want to be one too, hey I can use an honorblade and become one!"
348. Rybal
First - Does anyone else see a similarity between Lightweaving and Soul Forging? I saw Shallan's Lightweaving as improving on the potential that others (such as Gaz) had to be good and in changing aspects of herself.

Regarding 10 Heartbeats and Shallan

Personally, I see two possibilities as to why Shallan seemed to think that she needed 10 heartbeats in WoK: (1) That's the way it worked for everyone else, so of course that's how it would work for her; or (2) Pattern hadn't crossed over yet (manifested), so it took time to actually summon the Blade at the time.

And Adolin/Shallan/Kaladin

I see this trio mirroring that of Gavilar/Navani/Dalinar, with Kaladin and Shallan ultimately being like siblings.

On Windrunner Oaths (and probably some of the others)

I figure that there is a general pattern to the oaths, though the wording may vary slightly from person to person. When Kaladin gives his third oath, Stormfather essentially says "good enough."
Mike I
349. MikeyRocks
Just finished the book. My first thought is Sadeas better not somehow miraculously come back to life.
David Foster
350. ZenBossanova
Unless one level of Voidbinding is good at animating corpses, then probably not.

But I could live with Zombie Sadeas.
Eric McCabe
351. Zizoz
I'm wondering if it's the bond to the Honorblade that causes someone to be sent to Damnation when they die. This would explain why Szeth was given the Honorblade and why he can't be orded to give it up -- it's a punishment. This also fits with Szeth's belief that he will be tortured after he dies, unless he renounces Stone Shamanism (and gives up his Blade?), in which case he'll cease to exist completely. On the other hand, supposedly the Shin would recover Szeth's blade when he died, presumably unbonding it from him. Now that we know it's an Honorblade, I'm even more confused as to how that's done.

Rybal @348: In regards to the Shardblade taking ten heartbeats, Shallan thinks, "No. It must be. Time, I need time!" I think this means she needs time before she's willing to admit that her Shardblade is not an ordinary one.

As for the love triangle, you're suggesting that Shallan will die and Adolin will end up with Kaladin -- am I interpreting that right?
Eric McCabe
352. Zizoz
Also, @347, it's "Can we make to use a Truthless?" (or rather, "CanwemaketouseaTruthless"), which isn't the same thing necessarily.

(The page wouldn't load when I tried to edit.)
Alice Arneson
353. Wetlandernw
Zen @350 - In the beta, Karen Ahlstrom insisted that she expects to see voidbringer zombies one day - and that perhaps that's why the Parshendi don't touch their dead.
354. Rybal

BS has stated that you don't really bond an Honorblade - it is given to you. That's one of the main reasons that he can't give away the Blade. It isn't his to give.

In this book, she didn't need the time once Pattern was around, IIRC.

And no, to your last point. Adolin=Gavilar, Shallan=Navani, Kaladin=Dalinar. I was not necessarily referring to the fact that Gavilar died so much as Adolin would be with Shallan, but Kaladin would always have some degree of feelings for her.
David Foster
355. ZenBossanova
Animating the dead would be in line with my theory of Voidbinding making something out of nothing. I will keep an eye out.

As for love triangles, if Alloy of Law is any indication, don't expect it to be either simple or to have easy solutions. I expect Kaladin is going to develop some genuine feelings, and not be able to act on them. We really don't get everything we want in life.

I still want to hear more about Jasnah and her bandolier. Are we going to see the introduction of gunpowder against the Voidbringers? That is a development that could throw even Taravangian's plans completely off track.
356. Thrilliam
Forgive me if this has already been mentioned; I skipped most of this page.

I don't think that Adolin's murder of Sadeas will lead him to a book-long internal struggle in the next installment. While reading it, I was reminded of Dalinar's beat-down of Elhokar. I imagine, I was supposed to be. I also think Sanderson wants to move way from Alethi domestic politics in the next book. This was simply an easy and well-accepted solution.
357. Porphyrogenitus
@332 Chasmfriend:

My impression was that the bond with Syl was stretch almost to the breaking point, and so when Kaladin gave it a metaphysical "tug" it snapped. They must have had still a lingering connection of some kind, since apparently Syl was still watching him and hoping he'd heal the bond and say the next set of words, but for all practical purposes the bond was broken under the strain of his attempting to yank power through it when it was too thin and weak to sustain it.
Ali Coenen
358. QuothAbeLincoln
This may have been addressed in the 17th shard or on another Tor thread, but does anyone know if parshmen can procreate? Or how long is their lifespan? I've never heard mention of children /parhsmen/ and I think the dullform parshendi only just started to work as spies once Gavilar discovered them. Am I missing something? Unless the parshmen could procreate or had a very long lifespan, they wouldn't have been able to serve the Alethi as long as they have.
359. KelseyP
I haven't read through all the comments on here yet so I don't know if these questions have all been discussed or not, but i had a couple thoughts.

1. Although it was only mentioned briefly, I think there is something special going on in the Horneater Mountains. Someone (I don't remember for sure if it was Sigzil or Rock) talked about how there are pools at the top of the peaks in the mountains there and through them Rock spoke to God. This strikes me as very familiar. Raoden, if i remember correctly as it's been a while since i've read Elantris, spoke to a God in a pool of water. Also, there is the Well of Ascension where Vin first takes in the power of Preservation. It seems the Shards' power often finds its way to pools of water. The ones in the Horneater Mountains weren't talked about much, but it seems to me they must be important.

2. I wonder how long has Vasher been on Roshar? How much Breath does he have in him right now? As a Returned, he uses up one Breath each week, and if he's been on Roshar since Adolin was young to train him, then he's been there long enough to use up quite a bit of that. Has he had enough Breath to last him that long or has he travelled back to Nalthis to get more?
F Shelley
360. FSS
@358 - words of radiance spends a lot of time discussing the forms, and mateform is one, and even has a member on the Five. Also, Rlain worries about older parashendi and children when Dalinar is about to attack...
Jennifer B
361. JennB
Yes. Sadeas's death felt very similar to Faile killing Masema. Blink and you missed it, but at least it's done and over with.
Jennifer B
362. JennB
1. If you read that part closely, you may be able to recognize the person Rock is describing coming out of the Shardpool. His disguise on Roshar has black hair instead of his natural white, but the description was good enough that Sigzil recognized him.

That makes me wonder how much Sigzil knows about Shardpools, Worldhopping, and all the Realmatic Theory stuff.

2. There has been speculation that Stormlight can be used instead of Breaths.
363. WoozleMom

358 is asking about *parshmen*, the sprenless slaveform, not about Parshendi. You're right that Parshendi must go into mateform in order to have a child. But, parshmen don't know about the forms. They *can't* go into mateform to have a child. So it's a valid question, I think: Can parshmen procreate, and how?
Ali Coenen
364. QuothAbeLincoln
@363 I'm going to Brandon's book signing in Milwaukee on March 22nd. If someone hasn't come up with plausible theory before then, I'll ask him. =)
Greg Prince
365. Palpie
@361, the only reason i think Sadeas' death might be an issue is his wife. WoR made it clear she's as ambitionous and probably the smarter of the two. If she learns that Adolin killed Sadeas she could seriously undermine Dalinar and the proto-radiant's authority.
366. Erinzard
Here's a crazy idea - what if the Stormfather calls Dalinar and Kaladin Children of Honor because humans were brought from some other planet in the Cosmere by Tanavast? It's shaky I know, but on no other planet so far have we seen such physical diversity among the inhabitants. Maybe the whole "Tranquiline Halls" myth exists because humans were transplanted. I just read the decoded numbers from chapter 84 and wondered if the recreance happened becuase the knights found out that they were fighting creatures on a planet they didn't belong to for people who didn't appreciate them.

Probably way off, but I can't shake the feeling that Brandon is going to drop some wild Cosmere bombs on us...in about 10 to 15 years :(
367. KelseyP
362. JennB: I see what you're saying :) This makes me wonder now, if Rock saw him coming out of the Shardpool, is this perhaps a clue into how they worldhop?
368. Freelancer
VladZ @345
ethics and morality are a matter of perception
369. Geordielass
One thought about the epilogue. Hoid/Wit says he can't be hurt by a shardblade - shardblades cut away the soul, correct? Does that mean that Hoid has no soul/sold his soul or something similar?
Greg Prince
370. Palpie
No, I belive Sanderson has said that heavy investiture can protect from the effects of the magic systems, and it's likely that hoid has hundreds of breaths and allomancy at a minimum. That would probably protect him from the shardblade soul cutting.
F Shelley
371. FSS
@363 - you're right. My mistake.
372. Rybal
Just because the Parshendi go into a specific form to mate does not mean that the Parshmen need to do so. Though nimbleform would not be very good at fighting, they would still be mildly capable of doing so. I'd expect that the Parshmen could still mate, they just wouldn't be as focused on it as those in mateform.
Jennifer B
373. JennB
I have wondered if the Shardpools have something to do with Worldhopping. I can't find any information about a connection on the Coppermind. The pools seem to be collections of raw power. What can be done with that power seems to vary from world to world.
Rob Munnelly
374. RobMRobM
New topic - on re-read noticed all of the interesting trophies in the Ghostblood room visited by Shallan in her disguise as Veil. Really strange things - vial of sand, skeleton head that looks like one of those giant creatures she saw on the ship, etc. Any theories about them? Bet some groundwork is being laid that will pay off later.
Leeland Woodard
375. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@373, 367, everyone talknig about worldhopping

I thought that WoB was that every magic system had a built-in way to worldhop. Basically you just have to get to Shadesmar, travel in Shadesmar to where you want to go, then pop back into the physical realm. We know, for instance, that Shadesmar in Roshar has land where sea is and sea where land is--I'm guessing that all other worlds have a similar system, and they can just kind of pop around.

We know that Shallan and Jasnah can both get to Shadesmar, and we've seen Kaladin almost get there, too (it's when for the first time he lashes himself to a wall. He sees the ocean of beads, and I'm pretty sure that with some effort he could somehow change his gravity to end up in Shadesmar).
Jeremy Guebert
376. jeremyguebert
Rob @374 - my theory is that those are all bits and pieces from various other worlds within the cosmere, meaning that at least some of the members of the Ghostbloods are worldhoppers. iirc, there's an unpublished book called White Sand, for instance, which I'm guessing is where the vial of sand is from, brilliant flower(s?) that are probably from Nalthis, etc. I didn't recognize everything in there, but there was enough to make me suspicious.
Rob Munnelly
377. RobMRobM
Jeremy - that makes sense. I'll have to work on my Cosmere-ology to be able to make educated guesses.
Jordan Hibbits
378. rhandric
@374, 376 In addition to jeremy's list, I think the "thick hairpins" are spikes from Scadrial
John Hatteberg
379. Oronis
I went to the Brandon signing in Houston the other day and Brandon is saying he's going to be working on a few other books between now and Stormlight #3. Ugh, I don't want to wait!

We need to start a petition to ask Brnadon to turn his focus to finishing this arc of 5 books for Stormlight archives!
Jordan Hibbits
380. rhandric
@379 He prevents himself from getting burnt out writing, by writing something else. It's a good thing - it means he writes more, and we get more to read (whether it be Cosmere or non, his books are always great).
Rob Munnelly
381. RobMRobM
He's almost done with Book 2 in Steelheart teen series (3rd draft) and is halfway through writing the second Legion novella. At some point he'll pick up the Alloy of Law sequel. Not sure what else is in line.
Nathaniel Drew
382. headsmashedinbuffalojump
@379 Oronis. You can go to his website brandonsanderson.com and you can follow where he is at with writing his books. As what RobMRobM said above, it looks like he is almost done Firefight (Steelheart 2) and a short Legion Novella, after that I think he is going to write a sequal to Alloy of Law, and then hopefully he will start SA 2. So that will probably in the summer or fall.
383. VladZ
I still half believe that Steelheart is part of the Cosmere. I can easily see a shard be responsible for the super powers.
Cory S.
384. Hungry_For_Hands
@374 - the lock of golden hair has a few possibilities. A quick search of some of the books turned up several references to golden hair.

Emperor Ashravan
Shaor's Wig
Vasher (in his Returned form)
Lightsong's Niece
Allrianne Cett

That's all I could find.
Leeland Woodard
385. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Nah, Steelheart takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth. Earth isn't in the Cosmere.
Nathaniel Drew
386. headsmashedinbuffalojump

Someone earlier on the page thought the lock of golden hair could be a lock of royal hair from Warbreaker. You know, the stuff that changes colours.
Cory S.
387. Hungry_For_Hands
@386 - that would certainly make more sense, importance wise, than the other ones I listed. A souvenir of the famous royal hair.
Nadine L.
388. travyl
At the release party (yes I watched youtube video), BWS said that Tom Doherty asked Brandon to write the next stormlight book before the Wax and Wayne sequel (at min 23).

@338, 339: Re Syl snapped bond
I agree with Afterthought, that Kaladin inhaling red stormlight from the firemark hasn't anything to do with the snapping of the bond. Kaladin breath in stormlight of different gems before (in an early WoR chapter it was a violet gem, and he hand't any difficulty).

What I keep asking myself is, wheter the Stormfather intervened and deliberatly kept Syl away from Kaladin. The text just before Syl returns to Kaladin (chapter 84) seems to imply as much:
The Words, Kaladin.That was Syl’s voice. You have to speak the Words!
Rob Munnelly
389. RobMRobM
@386 - I like that.

So, why in particular are they hunting for Amaram. Assume they are aware his is gathering info and want to grab it.

I do need someone to break out the major cliques and purported goals of each and how they differ.

Diagram people - Taravangian, Moash/Graves - following game plan to avoid destruction of human race.

Ghostbloods - what in particular?

Amaram - what in particular?
Leeland Woodard
390. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
I really think that the Ghostbloods think they're the Skybreakers. Whether they actually are or not is up for debate (I personally think not).

Evidence would be that Helaren is involved with the Ghostbloods, and in one of the flashbacks his father talks about him trying to join the Skybreakers.
Rob Munnelly
391. RobMRobM
So - then they would also be affiliated with the Herald who just gave Szeth his new blade and mentioned the Skybreakers? Interesting.
Leeland Woodard
392. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers

In my opinion, with the "Herald" that just gave Nightblood to Szeth. He purports to be Nalan, but I think it's doubtful that he is, especially since he basically says that Szeth is going to be a Skybreaker, but if he were a herald, he should know that Szeth would need to attract a spren, he can't just use Nightblood as a facsimile.
Alice Arneson
393. Wetlandernw
What makes you think Helaran was involved with the Ghostbloods?
Ricol Musil
394. Tricolux
is awesome!! i am not finish to read but i love them.....
395. Afterthought
@393 In chapter 51 of WoK, when talking about the Shardbearer who tried to kill Amaram:
"... why Thaidakar would risj 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."
Of course, just because the Ghostbloods were the only people Amaram could think of that might try to kill him doesn't mean it actually was the Ghostbloods.

@388 I could definitely buy the Stormfather keeping Syl away from Kaladin. Especially because that scene shows Syl wasn't revived by Kaladin's vows, merely being kept away.
Rob Munnelly
396. RobMRobM
Shallan's father was recruited to the Ghostbloods and the Ghostbloods claimed that Helaran signed up with the Skybreakers. Given that, I have no idea what Amaram was up to.
397. Darmad
So we have:
Taravangian - humanity's survival is only priority
Ghostbloods - ???
Nalan/Skybreakers - eliminate surgebinding. Why isn't clear.
Dalinar/Knights - Survive, but means to the end does matter
Jasnah - same as above? Not sure she is would agree.
Amaram - ???
Hoid - ??? (There aren't enough question marks in the world for this)

Who am I missing? It feels like there are more.
David Foster
398. ZenBossanova
I have never heard it verified, but my strong opinion, is that Hoid/Wit is trying to reassemble Adolusium.

But for completeness, we really should include the 17th Shard, though I really don't know what they want, besides interferring with Hoid.
399. Freelancer
We also do not know to whom The Letter is addressed. That's an entity I wish to know more about.

Hoid presents this person as the one guiding the 17th Shard members, and as an "old friend", though one with whom he has specific disagreements. It seems reasonable to presume that the three who interview Ishikk during their hunt for Hoid, are under the direction of this mysterious one, and in the attempt to prevent, or at least dissuade, Hoid from actively opposing Rayse/Odium.
400. Freelancer
Ahh, I just recall that a conversation at the bookstore on Release Day considered that this might be Sazed to whom Hoid wrote The Letter, but I did not agree with that theory. The argument in favor was because Sazed is now immortal, where he previously was not, and this is something spoken of in The Letter. But I have a very hard time imagining Hoid being pleased to have Sazed angry with him, or finding such dissatisfaction a point of pleasure. Also, Sazed is a very sincere character, and if he'd known more about the Shards, many of his questions and actions during the Mistborn series would have made no sense.
Alice Arneson
401. Wetlandernw
I think the idea of Sazed was pretty thoroughly wiped out by Hoid addressing the letter to "you old reptile" and Brandon confirming that the recipient was indeed a dragon at some point. Of course, I can't find that confirmation right now, so... there's no proof. However, I did find documentation the the recipient of the WoK letter (and writer of the WoR letter) is also in Dragonsteel, so... I don't think it's Sazed.

@395 & 396 - I never put much credence in Amaram's assumptiont that the Shardbearer was sent by the Ghostbloods - and even less, having gotten a hint at how many secret societies there are. I'm... working on that.
402. smintitule
@freelancer and wetlander

Yeah, I've read Dragonsteel, and once you've read it it becomes pretty obvious who the recipient of the letter from WoK and the sender of the one I'm WoR is.
Patrick Mosbacker
403. Patillian
Rereading chap. 74, when Kaladin and Shallan are hiding in the carved hole during the highstorm in the chasms. Before he talks to the Stormfather and they both share their pasts, Kaladin sees glowing figures on the plateau above. I thought they were stormform Parshendi during my first read just barreling through, but I don't now. He says they're "enormous," and "alien and sleek. And I can't quite picture what the rest means: "Striding the storm. Leg after leg, until the glow passed." They sound bigger and weirder than a Parshendi. Thunderclasts? But I can't make sense of why/how if so? This is a regular Stormfather highstorm.

And while I fear for Adolin, I agree with those who have stated that Sadeas' death was good for the plot. It was time to move onto bigger, better, more complex antagonists now that the Everstorm, probably various Parshedi forms/voidbringers, and various secret groups are revealed. Sadeas' wife will bring a different and interesting internal strife rather than the same old with Sadeas.
Morgan Crawford
405. Jenesis
Freelancer @200
Bless you! I agree with just about everything you said. I've been thinking about this for a while, but you can articulate it better than I could. Now I have to catch up on the rest of the comments.
406. Geordielass
I got rather confused towards the end. We have been told that Jezrien is the Stormfather, yet the Stormfather says he is not a Herald but a spren and a god. Caught up in the moment of reading that was fine, thinking on it later, though, I realised that Brandon is very good at using words to disguise - so just because he is not a Herald doesn't mean he never was one.

Also, at this point we've already learned from Syl that the Heralds started out as humans who were given the extremely powerful honourblades which imbued them with their powers. Presumably on giving up the blades they then lost their powers so were no longer Heralds - even if I'm wrong about that, becoming a giant spren/god splinter probably cancels out being a Herald anyway. Anyone have a definitive answer on whether Jezrien really is/became the Stormfather for real?

The other aspect of this section is what are the theories about the blade that is supposedly Taln's that Dalinar had bonded - it clearly wasn't an honour blade, just a shard blade. I was wondering if Hoid had somehow made the switch just after Taln collapses. After all Hoid is collecting magic from every world in the Cosmere, it seems, and since "proper" magic hasn't been lying around here to pick up it seems likely that he might have bonded a shard blade as the nearest thing to it, and simply did a switch shard to honour blade - giving him access to real magical powers from Roshar.

Lastly if the Heralds were just men given the blades to give them power would it kind of follow that Szeth was, sort-of a Herald for those years. Well maybe not, but I guess since they have the Blade and the Stormfather won't become a Blade for Dalinar he could bond Szeth's old Honourblade and become a hybrid Bondsmith/Windrunner.

Well that's some of my speculations, sorry if I'm repeating other's
ideas, after over 400 comments I've got a bit lost about what has
already been said, or not.
Nadine L.
407. travyl
Geordielass @406:
I think current theory is that when Honor (the Shard, held by Tanavast) was splintered by Odium a part/splinter of it became the Stormfather - spren. That why he refers to himself as being a god.
Jezrien was the King of the Heralds. He isn't the Stormfather, but rosharian legend might have called him that. They also think that the last Desolation has been won ... and nobody knows that the Heralds (except Taln) abandoned their duty to wait for the next Desolations in hell.
408. Boardgirl
Here are some of my thoughts after reading WoR.

I have been wondering if the colour of the parshmen will make any difference in whether or not they bond odiumspren. In WoK, there was mention that some parshmen are black and white coloured.

I'm sure Eshonai will be back. She will be one of the protaganists for awhile before finally finding a way to return to her true self.

I'm also pretty sure Adolin will kick the bucket. After all, he was never originally a character in the series, and was added later by Brandon. So I wonder if he may become a failed KR. I'm sure he'll die nobley though, asking Kal to take care of Shallan. I'm pretty sure they were always intended to be a couple, but that it won't occur until much later in the series.

I wonder if the shard pools are like portals, but you have to traverse Shadesmar between them.

I am also seeing Jasnah being somewhat similar to Vivenne.

I also think that most of our blossoming KR's may end up with a Ryshadium. There has to be a future chapter where a bunch of the characters go to the field to see if any of them will be picked. After all, they were the steeds of the KR back in history.
Julian Augustus
409. Alisonwonderland
I have some difficulty with the thought that Dalinor has at his disposal any honorblade to which he can bond. As we can see from Szeth, bonding to an honorblade confers a measure of herald-level powers on the bonder - we don't know how closely the spren were able to duplicate with the KR the powers Honor conferred on the Heralds. So, Dalinar bonding to Jezrien's blade will give him the same Windrunner capabilities to which Szeth had access. But, Dalinar has already bonded the Stormfather and is becoming a Bondsmith, which would confer on him a completely different set of Herald-level capabilities. I don't know if that is even possible, but it seems pretty unlikely to me.
Alice Arneson
410. Wetlandernw
Yeah, I'm not big on the idea of Dalinar using an Honorblade - unless it's Ishar's, maybe. Let's not forget that his Surges give him some very interesting abilities - like the ability to make a piece of cloth absolutely rigid, for example. I'm looking forward to seeing how that gets used.
Dixon Davis
411. KadesSwordElanor
With the disclaimer that this could change; If my daughters marry a man like Shallan's Father, after I rape and slowly torture him, I will put a bullet in his head. Emotions high right now.
Julian Augustus
412. Alisonwonderland
I only just finished WoR during the week, so I haven't had time to fully organize my thoughts on some of the issues discussed here. But let me attempt to, off the top of my head, to compile a listing of the different secret societies we have met so far, as far as I remember.

The Diagramists
Taravangian and his followers who, apparently, want to assume control of the world, ostensibly to save as many people as possible from the coming Desolation. There are hints that their actions based on the predictions of the Diagram are the remote cause of the new Desolation in the first place.

The Ghostbloods
Led by the mysterious Thaidakar, but whose motives are currently unclear. Members include potential worldhoppers like Iyatil and Mraize, and previously included Shallan's father and his steward, as well as the fake ardent, Kabsal, all three deceased. We've mostly only seen the Ghostbloods seeking information on Urithiru, engaging in attempted assassinations directed at Jasnah, perhaps to gain her knowledge, and at Amaram, perhaps because he belongs to an organization with opposing objectives. Could Helaran have been a member of this group? It is possible, but unlikely, as we know his father was a Ghostblood and thought Helaran was in a different secret society.

The Honorsons
Led by the equally mysterious Restares, and call themselves the Sons of Honor. Members include Amaram and possibly the late King Gavilar. Their objective appears to be to bring back the Knights Radiant, by means of reviving the Voidbringers (how sick is that?). The Ghostbloods, apparently, are opposed to the Honorsons and have tried to assassinate Amaram once (Iyatil blowing poisoned darts at him) or perhaps twice (Helaran).

The Skybreakers
Distinct from the KR order. This one is an organization known to the Ghostbloods, though we know very little about them. Shallan's father thought Helaran had joined the Skybreakers, which may be information provided through Ghostblood sources. If that is true, then we know the Skybreakers are also violently opposed to the Honorsons, though the two organizations do not seem to be allies. At the end of the book, the sopposed ex-Herald Nalan claims that he was inducting Szeth into the Skybreakers. It is unclear whether Nalan's Skybreakers is the same as organization Helaran is supposed to have joined.

The Nalanists
I am using Nalanists for want of a better name, though perhaps they are more accurately described as Darknessites (ugh!). I am using this name to refer to Darkness (supposed to be the ex-Herald Nalan) and the small band he has gathered around him to murder proto-Radiants. They appear to possess some very arcane knowledge, such as a living creature that can suck stormlight from Radiants. This group may broaden to include the Skybreakers.

The Shin Shamans
A group among the Shin people, perhaps part of the Priesthood, who appear to have been guarding most, if not all of the Honorblades abandoned by the Heralds. We do know they declared Szeth Truthless and exiled him from Shinovar because he claimed to have knowledge of the return of the Knights Radiant (information perhaps provided to him by the Diagramists?). It is unclear why they allowed Szeth to go into exile with Jezrien's Honorblade, but Szeth is sure they will come back to retrieve the blade when he dies (Kaladin better be prepared).

Comments, additions, and corrections are welcome.
413. Confutus
@405 Lift's interlude gives a little information about this. The Azish revere the Kadasixes, which Darkness interpets as the Heralds, and the especially revere Yaezir, which is easily a variation of Jezrien. Darkness mocks the viziers and scions as he leaves, saying "Praise Yaezir, Herald of Kings. May he lead in wisdom. If he ever stops drooling." So, Jezrien isn't and never was the real Stormfather, although he may have been given that title anciently before the breaking of the Oathpact.
Patrick Mosbacker
414. Patillian
@401 Wetlander: I don't know which chapter, but I am 90% sure that question to Brandon about the dragon came in a Reread thread in the Fall. Someone asked Brandon at a Steelheart tour stop and shared it on a thread.

@412 Re: The arcane knowledge of Nalan = that stormlight sucking creature. I'm fairly certain that the description of that creature matches the description of the very valuable creature that bonds with Rysn, and that her babsk had come to trade for merely a dead one.

Here's my new wildly speculative theory: Axies the Collector is obviously going to come into play at some point. While I can't even theorize what exactly is the deal with Aimia, wouldn't it make sense for him to somehow have the knowledge of an important spren that ends up helping the anti-Odium cause? Maybe a spren that can drive out Odium spren and restore a Parshendi to an autonomous form? And his interest in the souls of the giant island beasts will probably also reveal something important...though I again can't even start to figure out what.
Morgan Crawford
415. Jenesis
Just finished comment 300 and am taking a break before again trying to catch up.

Rysn. I like her a lot and am heartbroken that she may not walk again, but deeply relieved she did not die outright. I am furious with her babsk. (sp?)
Speaking of babsk, I think its interesting that Mraize called the masked woman his babsk. Does this mean that one or both is Thaylen and disguising it? I thought a babsk was a Thaylen concept. He seems awfully casual with her considering she owns him.

I do not trust the Ghostbloods. They ARE bad guys. The first strike against them was Shallan's father was a ghostblood. The second strike was they sent multiple agents to try to assassinate Jasnah. Jasnah is my favorite. Therefore Ghostbloods = bad guys.

I am relieved by my absolute certainty that Mraize was wrong about Veil. There is no indication that Shallan's Veil persona is her main personality or anything but a useful disguise. Shallan is Shallan's main and defining personality so I hold out hope she won't choose the dark side.

I agree with those above that Kal should have been explicit about the danger Elhokar is still in. Danlan? Dalinar's scribe? Please stop hiding these things Kal.

One thought I wanted to add to the Kal/Shallan/Adolin convo. There is an unsubtle similarity between Shallan's reaction to Kal and Navani's reaction to Dalinar. :breathless: ooo. . . he's so intense.
I ship Kal/Shallan. She knocks him out of his depression just like Tien. I think that support is too important to let slide.
416. McKay B
On a first read, I thought the Skybreakers just called themselves after a KR order out of hubris (the hubris of Nalan, the mad Herald that leads them), but now I'm finding hints that they do in fact have magical powers (such as the thunder Cenn hears just as Helaran appears, in spite of the sky being clear).

If that's true, then there are three possibilities: (1) the Skybreakers, not the Stonewardens, are the KR order that never truly dissolved. I doubt this, as there are too many good things about the Stonewarden theory. (2) Only one of the Skybreakers at a time has actual KR powers, thanks to use of Nalan's Honorblade. (3) Nalan has convinced some spren, somehow, to bond and create Knights Radiant without following the KRs' traditional Oaths; so there is a re-founded order of KRs that is operating completely separately from Dalinar's movement.

I favor (2) right now (even though it means Helaran must have been supported by another Skybreaker who kept his presence a secret).

In any case, I'm also becoming more and more convinced that the "Skybreakers" under "Darkness" are the same "Skybreakers" that Helaran sought out. I'll be looking for some clear evidence ...

So, I currently see eight major sides to the conflict over Roshar:
1) Odium/Venli
2) Honor/Dalinar
3) The Diagram/Taravangian
4) Skybreakers/Nalan
5) Ghostbloods/Iyatil
6) Sons of Honor/Restares
7) Stone Shamanate
8) Hoid, He Of The Mysterious Agenda

I like the theory that the Stone Shamanate is descended (distorted?) from the Stonewarden KR order, but I don't think we have enough evidence to be sure of that yet. In any case, if they have 7 or 8 of the 10 Honorblades, it seems safe to assume that they're a major faction in this conflict, even though they seem to be hiding from the conflict so far except for unleashing Szeth on the world.

The 17th Shard could be a major faction in the conflict, except that they have a nonintervention policy that's keeping them from affecting it except through limited persuasion of Hoid.

Cultivation/the Nightwatcher could be a major faction as well, if their interests are sufficiently different from those listed.

@412: We don't know whether Thaidakar is even one of the Ghostbloods, let alone their leader. We just know he/she is connected to assassins, opposes the Sons of Honor, and is mentioned in an adjacent sentance to the Ghostbloods. Iyatil seems to think she is the leader of the Ghostbloods, and if she is a worldhopper, that seems likely to be true. But ... yeah, their motivations are pretty mysterious still overall.
David Foster
417. ZenBossanova
Someone mentioned Dalinar bonding an honor blade.... but I don't recall that happening. The blade he had he thought was Taln's but it was shaped quite differently.

Also, if you get abilities from a blade, do you get to keep those abilities? Szeth no longer has Windrunning abilities, does he?
418. birgit
they do in fact have magical powers (such as the thunder Cenn hears just as Helaran appears, in spite of the sky being clear).

That was simply a horse, not anything supernatural.
419. Wiseone
A thought on Bondsmiths and the epigraph about their small number (3):

Some people have read the text to mean all of these radiants shared one single spren (Stormfather). I was wondering about an alternative explanation: each is bonded to a different High Spren, each the spren representing one of the three shards (as Stormfather does for Honor)?

I'm not sure I actually subscribe to this theory, and the most uncomfortable part is that one of the three would by necessity be bonded to the spren representing Odium. However, what if the Nightwatcher isn't the spren form of humanity's perception of Cultivation, but of Odium? Doesn't tally well with the Lift interlude, but kind of fits into her(?) perverse magic. And humans don't seem to be as aware of Odium, so perhaps the spren isn't as shaped by Odium's 'evil' as you'd expect?

Some crazy, crazy thoughts
Julian Augustus
420. Alisonwonderland
After WoK I created a chart to help me associate the KR orders with the right surges and Heralds. I found the chart in the end pages of WoR (the double-eye of the almighty) a bit too cluttered for my taste. While the association of each patron Herald and associated orders is not always directly confirmed by Brandon, the associations I created make sense to me, and I think they are right. With the additional information provided in WoR (and some name changes for the surges) I have updated my chart, and I think I might as well share it with the board. I hope this works:

Alice Arneson
421. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @420 - That's pretty much what I came up with, too. I have to point out that we don't know for sure which orders are associated with Palah, Kalak, and Ishar. That said, the inbook evidence that Palah and Ishar have the Truthwatchers and Bondsmiths is pretty hard to argue against, meaning Kalak must have the Willshapers. Logical interpretation of the information about the Surges, the Orders and the Heralds pretty much convinces me, anyway, that Palah = Truthwatchers and Ishar = Bondsmiths, IMO.

Maybe we'll get a Grimoire post in a few weeks where we can collect everything we know about all of the Orders/Heralds and document our sources and arguments. :)
Jennifer B
422. JennB
Hey wonderful moderators. I have a favor to ask. Can you break up the code on comment 285 so it fits the screen. I would really appreciate it if everything on this page wasn't so tiny.
Tricia Irish
423. Tektonica

I'd love to see your chart but it won't load. Do I need to sign into something?
Andrew Berenson
424. AndrewHB
I intend to read all the comments in this thread. However, it will take me a while to get through them all. As such, I apologize if any of my comments have been analyzed to death and/or my questions have been answered.

(In no particular order)

1. How much time elapses between the beginning of the main part of the story of WoK (i.e. the non-flashback scenes) and the end? If it is more than 6 months, then there is a timing issue in WoR. The flashback scenses in WoR are based on a time period starting 6 years between the start of the main storyline in WoR. However, 6 years is the time between the death of Gavilar and the start of WoK. The flashbacks on WoR are either x years or x.5 years from the time period of the main story.

2. I wonder if Brandon has written out the Diagram, War of Radiance (the book that Shallon reads from). I would love to read those "documents"

3. Is Moelach (the entity that Taravangian mentions in his interlude) supposed to be similar in concept to Moloch (the ancient Ammonite God and whom (IIRC) is mentioned in the Bible)?

4. Why does the bonding of a shardblade (e.g. Moash) or the completion of the Radiant/Nahann bond between a Radiant and a spren (e.g. Kaladin) change a person's eyes from light to dark? I am positive that this will be signnificant, but I do not have any theories.

5. I wonder/hope that Dalan's participation in the plot to kill Elhokar will be revealed and that she will be punished. That said, I would not be surprised to learn that Dalan was a member of the Diagram (rather than a simple patriot recruited by Graves).

6. What, if any, is the connection/relationship between the Diagram (Taravangian's organization) and the Ghostbloods? If they are not connected, what does Taravangian think of the Ghostbloods? (I have no doubt that he knows about them.) Do the Ghostbloods know of the Diagram?

7. Who are the Sons of Honor (the group to which Amaram belongs ? Are they related to the Diagram? Does the Diagram know about them?

8. Was Helaran part of the Diagram? He was not part of the Ghostbloods. Mraize said as much (WoR, 1056). He said that Helaran sought out the Skybreakers. Based on the quotes at the start of Chapters 54 and 55, I am not sure if this one of the 10 orders of the Knights Radiants or a special division of the Windracers.

I just realized that the Skybreakers are the order that Nin (one of the Heralds) oversees. I guess the question to ask is did Helaran seek out Nin or the other way around. Probably the latter.

9. My prediction for Book 3 -- Dalinar will learn that Adolin killed Sadeas in cold blood. He will strip Adolin of his Shardblade and Sharedplate, as well as stipping Adolin of his inheritance and status of heir of the Kholin house. His betrothal with Shallan will be ended.

Adolin will start to drink heavily. However, something will happen (probably concerning the Ghostbloods threatning Shallan) which will cause Adolin to come out of his drunken state. It will be when Adolin stops drinking that he starts the process to bond a spren. By the end of WoR, Adolin was loosing the Thrill. I think that the Thrill acts in such a way a to prevent the Radiant spren bond.

Although there will be pressure for Shallan to marry Renarin, she will remain loyal to Adolin. At the end of the 3rd book, Adolin will find himself on his way to be a Knight Radiant (including bonding a spren). Adolin will be restored to his status as heir of House Kholin and he will get new Shardplate.

10. I think Shallan will surprise us all in a future book. She will not turn on Kaladin for murdering Helaran. She will come to realize that Kaladin was defending those who could not and that Kaladin was not at fault.

11. I think that Jasnah will be a PoV character in the next book. However, she will not make her presence known to the other characters (except for Wit). Also, Jasnah knows that Wit is not just King Elhokar's wit. She knows that he is much, much more -- possible not even from Roshar.

12. I think that whatever Pattern said to Relis as a means of distracting him when he fought Renarin caused Relis to go made when Kaladin used a hand clap.

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Julian Augustus
425. Alisonwonderland
Tek, I created the link to share with no conditions. You don't have to sign anything. If clicking it does not open for you, then I have no idea what is wrong... perhaps some firewall or other security feature on your computer is blocking it? I think Alice opened it without any problems.
Julian Augustus
426. Alisonwonderland
Andrew, I posted a very brief outline of the various secret societies in #412 above.
Dylan Tullos
427. dptullos

Sadeas had just clearly and directly informed Adolin that he intended to destroy Dalinar by any means necessary, including lies, assassination (which he had already attempted), and war. A war in which tens of thousands of peasants like Tien would die horribly for the terrible crime of being born in the wrong place.

Adolin decided that, instead of killing tens of thousands of innocent people on a nice, pretty field, he would kill one guilty person in a cave. His father is supposed to disinherit him for this. If Adolin had let Sadeas live, fought in the civil war, and killed all of those terrified children, everyone would have applauded.

I think that you are unconditionally accepting Dalinar's code of morality as the "right" code. You are doing this despite the fact that Dalinar has been wrong many times in the past, and has publicly admitted his mistakes. If Dalinar says so- if the spren say so- then it must be right, even though both Dalinar and the spren have a very mixed record.

Right and wrong are not determined by the protagonists; as readers, we don't need to let the characters or the author dictate what the correct course of action is. Kaladin himself repeatedly questions Syl's judgement, and I personally think that he is often more right than he gives himself credit for. We should stop judging actions based on the effect they have on named characters, and start considering the welfare of the countless millions of unnamed, unimportant people whom protagonists are allowed to slaughter without readers so much as batting an eye.
Alice Arneson
428. Wetlandernw
dptullos @427 – May I cautiously suggest that you are letting your personal beliefs interfere with your reading of other people’s comments? Andrew @424 did not say what he thought was “right” or “wrong” about Adolin’s actions; he was merely predicting what he thought would happen in the next book, and how he thought Dalinar would respond. Whatever Andrew’s personal beliefs about the justice (or not) of Sadeas’s death, he didn’t actually say any of the things you just put in his mouth.
Morgan Crawford
429. Jenesis
@412 I wanted to add that The Honorsons, Amaran, apparently tried to return the voidbringers so not only the Knights Radiant but specifically the Heralds would return and make Vorinism/The Church the ultimate power again. This is bizarre to me.

About the Shin Shamans I think they exiled Szeth because he argued the voidbringers were returning and everyone knows the voidbringers were defeated and the last desolation was won.
Andrew Berenson
430. AndrewHB
Comments on comments 1-100

Birgit @4: I too am curious about why the shadows that Elhokar saw left him when Kaladin started to guard Elhokar.

Kah-thurak @5 -- I did not ever see Syl as dead. IIRC Pattern mentions to Shallon that spren cannot die like humans. Rather, they would loose their sentinence and/or cannot remain on the phyiscal realm (i.e. Roshar). I always beleived that she would come back to Kaladin when he re-found his "path" (or could we say Calling -- to be a Knight Radiant)

I also agree with you that we have not seen the last of Eshonai in the main series. I do not think she will be the dead character for whom we will see flashback scenes in an upcoming book,

@ multiple -- why do you think that Jasna was brought back to life? I beleive that she faked her death. Somehow, she was able to shift herself to Shademar and replace herself with another person. I thought it suspicious that when Shallon saw her earlier in the evening, she was "different". The worries and stress of Jasnah work showed. Maybe I am naive, but I do not think Jasnah would ever show doubts.

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Nadine L.
432. travyl
Alison @420.
I keep my own extended ARS arcanum as well, so I compared notes.
Two comments:
I notice you used the Heralds heraldic-epoc name (where we know them). In this case, you could exchange Vedeledev to Vedel (as he is named in WoR I-7).
Also I'm really no good with colors of gemstones, but shouldn't the colors for Vedel(edev)(Diamond) and Battar (zircon) be exchanged?

edited because I tried to included a picture of my "version", but it showed as really annoying text.
433. Staizer
Hey ya'll! Good to see you again!

i just finished WoR last night and i loved every bit. I had some thoughts though reading some of your posts. I havent had time to go through all 400+ posts though so i apologize if i repeat something.

1. While Nightblood is terrifying, it should not particularly worry us.
A. Nalan waited for Szeth to die beyond all doubt so that his bonds would be broken. It broke the bond to his Honor Blade, but it also broke the bond to his Oath Stone. He is no longer bound to do what he is told, but he has also been guven the chance at redeeming himself. Nalan could not allow Szeth to live, being essentially justice itself if Szeth had not already been, or was being punished for his crimes.
I. Random theory! What if yes, nalan is killing would be knights radiant, then brining them back from the dead to join his cause? We dont know the cost to use the "fabrial" and we dont know the side effects, but it could mean nalan isnt really evil.... Just super duper crazy.

B. nightblood is most certainly not evil. It is not a thing of Odium or Ruin, or any other evil process. It is simply ignorant... Innocent? Naive? It has not been human so it does not know how to be human. It is basically the spren of justice trapped in a sword. What does this mean? Kaladin has commited no crimes and is in no way evil, at least as far as we have been shown. Nightblood will make him nauseous but it will not hurt him, adolin and dalinar are different stories however. Even shallan could potentially be injured, depending on whether the redemption of bonding with a spren and speaking the oaths is a calid redemption or not.

2. I cried when shallan's father died. If he told the truth, if anyone believed him, his daughter would be taken and she had only been defending herself. He must have considered turning himself in but who would have watched his family when he was gone. It was his duty to sacrifice for his family, and so too should his children. As time went on the truth and the lie got harder and harder to separate and bear, the lines blurred and he went mad from the circumstances.

3. While i felt kaladin was being dumb, and i could have wished he spent more time as an awesome sky soaring hero, i understand why it took him so long. I have to say, i was actually afraid that kaladin was never going to get syl back.

4. The characterizations in this book were spot on/top notch pieces of art. Shallan's choices are choices i could see myself making, kaladin's, adolin's, renadin's, amaram's. sadeas is the only one that i had a hard time agreeing with and i dont think i was supposed to, yet. This book is so much about change, but it is also about acceptance. We see people and judge them, but the greatest Radiants are the most broken, and if what has been foreshadowed is true, i would guess there is really no such thing as a non-radiant, just an unbonded one. Meaning all humans could be radiants if they had a spren to swear the oaths to. The nahel bond probably rewrites the sDNA of whomever speaks the oaths, but the spren could bond anyone no matter what their pDNA

5. Which brings me to my last thoughts. This book is the Words of Radiance, all humans are broken but each and every one of us has the anility to take our pain, weakness, our lies and our truths, our amarams and tiens and use them to make us Radiant. That is what this book is about. Risinig above ourselves to become more than we were, more whole as a part of another, whether it be spren or family and friends.
Nadine L.
434. travyl
Tek @423: the picture wasn't visible for me eighter, but I could still download it, and the downloaded version looked just fine.
Andrew Berenson
435. AndrewHB
Rainer3 @114 -- I agree 100% with your Jasnah "faking death" theory.

Rakugal @117 -- I agree 100%

I hope we see Jenet in future books

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Andrew Berenson
436. AndrewHB
A Kaladin / Shallan romantic pairing would be the equivalent of in Harry Potter had JKR paired Harry and Hermione together. The two brightest, smartest, etc young protagonists getting together would seem forced. The same with Kaladin and Shallan.

Thanks for reading my musings
(Aka the musespren)
Sent from my smartphnone; ignore any typos
437. KelseyP
One of the first comments on here says that they think maybe Hoid swallowed some metal powder, presumably to burn. I went back and read that bit and I would completely agree, which leads me to wonder how Hoid got Allomantic powers. Should we would be looking for a Hemalurgic spike on him somewhere? What was he burning that day and what was the purpose of burning that specific metal? Was he burning bronze and looking for another world hopper Allomancer in the area?
Alice Arneson
438. Wetlandernw
KelseyP @437 - I've seen speculation that by burning bronze, he's also able to find spren-bonded humans... or perhaps those who have it in them to become so. No proof, but... speculation.
439. KelseyP
@ 438. Wetlandernw that would actually make a lot of sence. Vin could always sense Ruin and Preservation when they were around her even though they weren't actually burning anything. So maybe bronze actually allows the burner to sense the shard itself in a way rather than just someone burning metal. That would also explain how he knew to ask Shallan if she noticed anything with Stormlight. And also how he knew to talk to Kaladin even though he was just a bridgeman.
Ben Johnston
440. AlcairNovall
@438 That would also neatly wrap up what Hoid had done with that bead of Lerasium that he took. He was using it to help him find people that could use shard magics, which would then give him an easier way to find the Adonalsium chunks that he would seem to be gathering.
Julian Augustus
441. Alisonwonderland
Travyl @432,
To get the colors associated with each Herald, I searched for the color hex code for his or her gemstone. In several cases the gemstone had a wide range of colors, and I picked the color I considered the most obvious. But it is quite possible I may have mixed up the gemstones. I'll re-check.
Julian Augustus
442. Alisonwonderland
Zen @417,
No. Nalan pretty much said outright that Szeth's link with Jezrien's Honorblade is broken, and that he waited for Szeth to actually die so that the link would be broken, before reviving him.

It appears Nalan is sending Szeth to Shinova to "execute justice" on the leaders who declared him Truthless.That means, Szeth would be going up against "monks" armed with 6 or 7 Honorblades, yet Nalan seems to think Nightblood should be enough against all those blades. Really? Is Nighblood that powerful?
Rhonda Malblanc
443. rmalblanc
I've been lurking here and in TWOK reread for some time, and really enjoy reading all the comments. You folks really add depth to my reading, as you catch on to so many hints and clues that I would miss on my own!

I am going to Brandon's signing in Lexington on Tuesday, and would love to ask a question, but can't think of an intelligent one that hasn't already been answered (and that isn't likely to get RAFOd). Any suggesions?
Julian Augustus
444. Alisonwonderland
I am not not quite up to date on my internetspeak, but I am noticing as I read the comments that the noun "ship" is being used by posters as a verb describing a couple getting together. As in: I ship Kaladin/Shallan to mean I believe Kaladin and Shallan would become a romantic couple. Where in tarnation did that come from?
Jennifer B
445. JennB

Ship is short for relationship. I first heard it in reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender.
446. KelseyP
443. rmalblanc I don't know if this is a good question or not, but I've always wanted to ask this question: In The Hero of Ages, when Vin is in Fadrex talking to Cett's sources, one of them is Hoid, but she decides not to go talk to him becuase she gets a really bad feeling about the area. What would have happened if she had gone to talk to him? Would she have seen something she shouldn't? I dont know if that's a question that will get us anything real useful, but it's something I've always wondered.
Alice Arneson
447. Wetlandernw
rmalblanc @443 - I have a collection of questions...

1) Some have suggested that ShardPlate is formed by the “dumb” spren associated with the Order's spren – e.g. a Windrunner’s Plate is formed by windspren, etc. Is there any truth to this one?
(Probable RAFO, because I don't think he really wants us to know yet. But if it's right on the money, he may tell you.)

2) Are the beings named in the Diagram (Moelach) and Taravangian's Interlude (Nergaoul) of the Unmade? Are they related to Odium in a way similar to the Stormfather's relationship to Honor?

3) Is the Nightwatcher related to Cultivation in a way similar to the Stormfather/Honor?

4) Have we met (or had a POV from) anyone who is lined up to become a Willshaper?

5) Is the Lopen going to become an Edgedancer?

You never know... he might answer something...

Seriously, you probably won't have time to ask all those questions unless you stay until the very end of the signing. Pick the one most interesting to you, from this list or any other ideas you get, and go from there. Sometimes you'll get a little more answer if you tell him you're "from the Tor rereaders." :) Of course, sometimes that makes him more suspicious, too.

Main thing? Have fun!
448. rainer3
If spren lose their memories when they cross over, why does Lift's spren know/remember so much?
449. MostGratuitous
@437 KelseyP

I don't remember where I saw it but I remember reading that BWS had implied that Hoid had a bead of Lerasium. Swallowing that would give him the allomantic abilities of a Mistborn.
450. KelseyP
@449. MostGratuitous I hadn't read that, thanks for the info. I wonder where he got it then.
Ben Johnston
451. AlcairNovall
On the subject of a Warbreaker reread, I'm not sure if this has been noticed by the forums at large on 17th shard (need to really delve into that) but it isn't in the annotations. There's a neat parallel in Warbreaker to the glyph system used by Alethi men where the glyphs represent a specific sound and can be stylized into a particular image eg. the Kholin family glyphs being made into the shape of a tower. There's an artisan's script that was mentioned in the first Lightsong chapter where they used colors to symbolize the sounds of the Hallendren language. He's musing about a poem, and thinks.
True poets would use more elaborate symbols, continuous lines that changed color or colorful glyphs that formed pictures. A lot could be done with symbols that could change shape without losing their meaning.
The wonders of rereading when you know more about the cosmere, eh?
452. Freelancer
rmalblanc @443

Try to get in a question during the main Q&A session, then when you get to him in the signing line, tell him you're a Tor re-reader, and that you have a few questions from the group. He'll likely let you get in two or three quickly without it seeming to hold up the line.

Oh, and make sure there's one you know he won't answer, it'll get you a RAFO card (if he has any left by then).

Quick story: At the San Diego tour stop, I showed him that I had four questions (two from someone who would unfortunately be missing him in her hometown visit), and the gentleman from the bookstore who was monitoring the line tried to step in. Brandon said, "It's ok, he's a friend and he's asking for a larger group". Yeah, he's that awesome.

rainier3 @448

Lift and Wyndle are a unique pair. Lift is actually partially present in the Cognitive Realm, thanks to a visit to the Nightwatcher. It allows her greater physical contact with her spren, and also resulted in her ability to metabolize food into Stormlight. It is therefore likely that Wyndle has not ever completely left Shadesmar, offering him the ability to retain his Cognitive sentience.

MostGratuitous @449

It is more than hinted at through The Letter (Part II epigrams of TWoK):
Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe. I have found a good home for it. I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say.
It has since been confirmed by Brandon (aka Word of Brandon or WoB) that Hoid had a bead of Lerasium (possibly the last bead).
Gerd K
453. Kah-thurak
@443 rmalblanc
I still find it interesting that Honorblades take 10 heartbeats to summon even though they are not "dead" spren... if it still takes time to "synchronize" them with the bearer, what are they?
Jennifer B
454. JennB
It's been a while since I read Mistborn, but I assume that Vin was wearing her ear ring in that scene. I would guess that Ruin did not want her to talk to Hoid. It was probably his influence that caused her to leave before talking to Hoid.
Jennifer B
455. JennB
I think you're right. I just finished a reread of Warbreaker and I noticed that Warbreaker has a letter Shash. Way of Kings has a Shash glyph and a month called Shash. Either Sanderson really likes the word Shash, or there is some common root there.
Andrew Berenson
456. AndrewHB
I believe that there is a signifcance to a person's eye's turning light when he/she bonds an existing Shardblade and/or receives the Nahal bond. The characters beleive that if a Darkeye obtains a Shardblade and and bonds it as his/her own, then his/her eyes will turn light. We see this occur with Moash. We also see that Kaladin's eyes turned light after he completed the Nahal bond. Although it is only two characters, given that there is the myth about darkeyes changing the color of their eyes in such a situation, I do not beleive this is a coincidence.

My theory is that when a spren connects with a human (either by the Nahal Bond or when a human bonds an existing Shardblade ), the spren sees through the human's eyes. For some reason (which I cannot determine at this time), this requires a human's eyes to be light rather than dark).

Any thoughts on this theory. I intend to ask Brandon at the Philadelphia book signing this Friday the following question:
when a spren connects with a human (either by the Nahal Bond or when a human bonds an existing Shardblade), does the spren see through the human's eyes?

It is possible that Brandon may give me a RAFO. However, if I were to ask the question as an open ended question (such as what is the connection between bonding a spren (either by a Shardblade or through the Nahal bond) and that person's eyes turning light)?), I am much more likely to get a RAFO.

If anybody has a different question regarding this topic (eye changing color), then I would be willing to ask it -- especially, if I thought Brandon would be more likely to answer the question.

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
457. VladZ
I was re-reading the Eshonai POV segments and I noticed how she said humans were the first to capture Spren in gemstones. Then I was reading the Navani segment when she raises the archery platform as a test and she mentions it also. This raised quite a few questions:

1) Do different spren do different things while captured or is it tied to te gemstone you use? If they do different things, how does that relate to the nature of the spren before its capture?

2) How does one capture a spren? I think an Eshonai segment later one sort of goes around it (when she transforms into the Storm voidbringer) but we're never actually shown the process.

3) Do you think THIS was actually the betrayal of the spren? Capturing them and forcing to serve? Since many different orders have different reuirements from their spren I can see this being a much likely scenario than 10 differnt groups of people doing 10 different things to break their otahs (unless they somehow broke the core one they all share).

4) The last order, then one who didn't quite disband, any chnace they used captive spren to continue?

5) Does the gem added to the shardblade for control also contains a spren (that would be so wrong, adding a live one to a "dead" one - even more of an abomination)
458. eric1
I just had a fun (but lengthy!) time reading through the comments. A few assorted musings:

Skybreaker motto: "We ar the Knights who say NIN!" (sorry, had to go there :-) )

Re: honor spren and honor. I got the impression that Syl isnt particularly specific in determining what is "right" in Kaladin's actions beyond a certain basic level, but relies a lot upon his own sense of what is right. He knew deep down when his actions were wrong and thus so did Syl.

Re: Honorblades and 10 heartbeats: Perhaps the dead spren are fairly similar to honorblades, at least cognitively. Since neither are alive, they take 10 heartbeats to align to a person.

Re: the term "ship": I first noticed it about 10 years ago in Stargate SG:1 fanfiction.

Re: Szeth, surgebinder training and the honorblade. My impression was that he was made truthless, then given the blade and trained in its use *as* a truthless, but there isnt really any textev to support that.

Re: the 17th shard in book: I'm guessing that the 17th shard folks are looking for Hoid to stop him from interfering, the way Hoid's letter correspondent (dragon) ask of him. The organization may even work for the dragon.
Jeremy Guebert
459. jeremyguebert
Re: Szeth - while he no longer has Windrunner abilities, he is being courted by the supposed Skybreakers. Since the two share a Surge (Gravitation), he'll still be able to get a lot of practical value from his previous training.

Something I noticed while re-reading the Eshonai interludes: it seems that the listeners see spren earlier than humans do. There are several references to spren coming in from a distance, and then "arriving" at the source of the emotion, wheras the parallel description from human POV only starts describing the spren when they're already there. I'm not sure exactly what the significance of this is, but is does seem noteworthy to me.
Jennifer B
460. JennB
I think that captured Spren are important. Gavilar's sphere may have been a captured Spren, and all fabrials use captured Spren. I don't think the betrayal was capturing Spren though. The Oathgates are fabrials and we have seen the Knights Radiant use fabrials in Dalinar's visions. They seemed quite common long before the betrayal occurred.
Alice Arneson
461. Wetlandernw
VladZ @457 - If you go back and read the "Navani's Notebook" translations from TWoK, you find things like this:
The cut and type of the gem determines what kind of spren are attracted to it and can be imprisoned in it.
There must be thousands of possible combinations.
Once a spren is captured and the gem infused with Stormlight the fabrial can be used in machines.
She mentions flamespren trapped in emerald, and a diagram of cut stones with (what I assume are) types of spren they attract: cold, gravity, pain, heat, wind. On the other notebook page, she has certain emotions associated with certain gemstones on a bracelet: anticipation, anger, disgust, sadness, love, hate, joy, trust, fear, surprise. Again, I assume that these labels apply not only to the emotions, but the type of spren trapped in the gem.

I get the impression that you use trapped flamespren to make heating fabrials, coldspren to make cooling devices, etc. In other words, you use the trapped spren to either manipulate or reflect the force (for lack of a better word this morning) associated with that spren. So you can't use a painspren to create a warming fabrial, for example; you need a flamespren for that.

I could, of course, be wrong about all this, but it makes sense.

I don't think The Betrayal had to do with captured spren, primarily because the KR Dalinar saw in the Midnight Essence vision used a Regrowth fabrial, indicating that the use of fabrials was not a new thing shortly before the Recreance. It's possible, though, if "that discovery of some wicked thing of eminence" was the rest of the KR finally discovering that the artifabrians had been using captured spren all that time and they just didn't know it...

There's a good question for someone to ask: "Was the use of captive spren in fabrials a factor in the Recreance?"

ETA: Too slow!
Greg Prince
462. Palpie
@456, that doesn't make sense. we know from syl and pattern that the spren can see and hear things in places that their human isn't. They are physically in Roshar to some degree. I think the light eyes has something to do with stormlight. Moash's eyes changed slowly, perhaps because he has only a connection to a dead spren and no ability to surgebind, while Kal's eyes changed immediately to a very pale blue because he has the true radiant bond.
Greg Prince
463. Palpie
@457, i don't think the gem added to blades has a captive spren since that is a recent discovery and the gems have been added to the blades for much longer than that.

@461, do we know that the ancient fabrials used captive spren like modern ones do?
Alice Arneson
464. Wetlandernw
Another question someone could ask Brandon: Are the Unmade the same as the Parshendi's "old gods"? If not, are they related? How?

And another, if no one has asked already: Does Hoid have Taln's Honorblade? (I sort of assume that someone, somewhere, has already asked that, but I haven't had the opportunity to follow all the signing reports.)
Sanderson does use Hebrew names and words on occasion, with or without some emendation. Thus Shash is Hebrew for the numeral six and is used that way as well as for the 6th month and in a glyph signifying 'dangerous'. The latter association may be related to the association of blood with the Shash 'essence'. Moelach and Nergaoul appear to be alterations of the Hebrew Moloch and Nergal. These are Mideastern deities associated with death - appropriate for their apparent evil connotation in the Taravangian 'bible' (Diagram). On the other hand, the Herald Shalash (also called Ash, for short) after whom Shallan is named (presumably short for Shalash-elin) does not appear to be associated with the Hebrew numeral 'shalosh'.
Andrew Berenson
466. AndrewHB
Palpie @462. If you are correct and "the light eyes has something to do with stormlight" then there must be some connection between stormlight and an existing Shardblade. Otherwise, there would be no need for Moash's eyes to change. I do not recall having seen any connection between stormlight and the use of a Shardblade. Also, if a connection exists between stormlight and light eyes, it means that those with dark eyes cannot make use of stormlight.

Nevetheless, you may be correct that my theory @456 may not make any sense.

Are the weapons Pattern, Syl and any other Nahal Bonded spren can become correctly referred to as a "Shardblade". Or are those weapons that somebody can bond and needs to summon after 10 heartbeats only what should be referred to as a Shardblade?

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
467. Wetlandernw
Palpie @463 - "do we know that the ancient fabrials used captive spren like modern ones do?"

Well... not for sure, come to think of it. We know they used fabrials, I think, but it may be that their fabrials used volunteer spren who were willing to come along with a KR of a different order and use their powers in that way. We know that the Alethi have very recently discovered that they were wrong about Shardblades being fabrials, so maybe the ancient technologies functioned differently.

Perhaps that "wicked thing of eminence" business came when someone figured out how to bind the spren into the fabrials against their will. I have to admit that the idea of capturing spren in gemstones gives me the chills, a bit; the fact that Navani, who is one of my favorites, doesn't have any problem with it makes me wonder if I'm overreacting or if she's missing something.
Jennifer B
468. JennB
I don't think that the people of present day Roshar think of Spren as alive and sentient. I don't think they would have any more moral problem with it than we have with trapping our ideas inside a computer hard drive.

They are only now learning that there are sentient Spren. I wonder if that would be similar to the difference between a lap top computer and a sentient android with human emotions and feelings?
Andrew Berenson
469. AndrewHB
I admit I did not read Warbreaker. As I understand from the comments it is the majority opinion that Zahel is Vasher. Vasher had Nightblood in Warbreaker. However, the comments seem to make clear that the Herald Nalan know posseses Nightblood? How did the Herald of Justice get this weapon?

Also, people speculate that a number of characters in the Stormlight Archives have appeared in other Sanderson Worlds. If that is so and they are the same characters, why are they all coming to Roshar?

Thanks for reading my musings,
470. db_325
I want to know more about Wit. Obviously there's more to him than it would seem, what with him saying he knew the almighty and all. One thing that really caught my attention was during one of his stories, he mentioned something about a man finding a coin on the ground. It struck me as really out of place. Have there been any other mentions of coins in the books so far?
Maiane Bakroeva
471. Isilel
Re: questions, I have a few:

If a Surgebinder went to another world, would their spren be able to accompany them or would it be forced back into the Cognitive Realm? And if yes, would they be able to use something other than Stormlight to power their surge-binding? Like electricity on Scadrial, for example?

How does the dahn/nahn system work? Does military service raise a person's dahn/nahn? Does a woman's dahn/nahn automatically get adjusted to that of her husband upon marriage? If not, how is the rank of mutual children decided?

And now on to something completely different - I have re-read the Taravangian Interlude and he definitely says that:

"Visions Gavilar had confided in him six years ago, the night of Alethi king's death."

and how Gavilar insisted that world needed to be united to withstand the upcoming Desolation, pushed him towards his present course.
It seems that Gavilar was confiding in a lot of problematic characters that night, but, strangely, kept his family in complete ignorance. Hm...

So, intriguing as the Diagram's tidbits considering "The Truthless" are, there is no way that Taravangian could have manipulated Szeth into becoming one.
On the contrary, it was that night that put Taravangian on the path that eventually led to the Diagram. Szeth and the Stone Shamans have a lot to answer for!
OTOH, during the years since then, the Diagramists could have learned about the nature of the assassin and that likely gave the "supergenius-T" the idea to use Szeth as his weapon.

Re: "Diagram-T" intending to hand Roshar over to Odium, it would be a very chilling possibility indeed!

I am not sure, though. I have the same reservations as Birgit - would Nightwatcher really hand him a tool to destroy Cultivation? Even if Cultivation is suicidal these days, I still don't see her willingly handing her world and her spren (which, unlike humans, she seems to still care about, according to Wyndle) over to Odium.

And also, I'd imagine that Odium's very nature precludes realistic possibility of him keeping any "sweet deals" and a super-genius would know it.

"Diagram T's" plan could have been to amass as much magical power as possible, make himself very long-lived or immortal, like the worldhoppers seem able to do and leave Roshar, though.
Morgan Crawford
472. Jenesis
@448 Wyndle has been with Lift for months. When he first crossed over he had the same memory problems as other spren. It's possible that the Wyndle/Lift bond is stronger than most and he regained his memory faster than other spren. As of the Lift interlude he still has some holes in his memory.

@471 I agree that the Diagram gave T the idea to use Szeth as a weapon.
Jeremy Guebert
473. jeremyguebert
@471 - there was mention in WoK, when young Kaladin was still thinking of the possibility of marrying Laral, that their kids could out-rank him, depending on their eye color. That implies to me that each person keeps their own rank, but that might be specific to when lighteyes and darkeyes intermarry.
Ed Freshwater
474. nakafre
@ AndrewHB, Palpie

Very interesting thoughts guys and I love this discussion! Some of my thoughts relating to this:

1. We know that the Alethi have over time developed a hierarchy based on eye color, lighter > darker. IIRC, through Dalinar's visions, we only see lighteyes on KRs and all of the non-KRs had darkeyes. Granted, this is a limited look into the past, but it is what is.

2. Spren are fragments of the Adonalsium, mostly from the essence of Honor and Cultivation with voidspren presumed to be of Odium (per Pattern in WoR, Ch. 24, TYN).

3. Kaladin is repeatedly referenced as "Son of Honor" and "Son of Tanavast" by the Stormfather.

4. Once Kal progresses far enough through his KR ideals, we see his eyes lighten far more so than a typical Alethi lighteyes.

My thoughts are that the spren and humans are both parts of Adonalsium; spren being the essence of a Shard and humans possibly being created by the Shards (see point 3). If they are intimately connected in some manner as this, it would go a long way in explaining why Shardblades (spren) when cutting through the spinal chord burn out the eyes of living things (i.e. severing the soul from the body). There are numerous references connecting spren and soul thoughout the books from both human and Parshendi POV. I believe the power of the bond between spren and KR (once they've progressed far enough) is what causes the lightening of the eyes. For one who bonds a Shardblade, I believe the somewhat subdued lightening of the eyes (when compared to KR-Kal) is this latent power that comes from the "dead" spren that "live again a little when someone summons them, syncing a heartbeat to their essence." (WoR, Ch. 87, The Riddens). There isn't the formal bond like Kal-Syl, but some transference from the "dead" spren living again that causes the lightening of the eyes. I further believe that since KR were held in such high esteem prior to the Recreance and that thier eyecolor were so much different than non-KRs, that this is why eye color has become the basis for which Alethi now determine social hierarchy.

@ Wetlander - Just realized I hadn't thanked you for such a wonderful job here. So... Thank You! :) I really do enjoy the discussion and ALL of the varying ideas put forth.
Nadine L.
475. travyl
Wit / Hoid isn't native to Roshar but travelling around through all of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere books. He knows of coins and talking to an ... insect... obviously he doesn't feel the need to adapt his vocabulary. Notice that he earlier (chapter 59) told Kaladin a metaphor about a rabbit - and then changed it to a "disgusting crab thing" when Kaladin didn't understand him.
Mark Tisdale
476. Shinowa
I'm guessing that if anyone wants a RAFO card, they can ask why Hoid insists on the flute.
John Hill
477. Jwh891
So I just finished the book...loved IT, sad its over.

Couple of random thoughts, sorry if some are repeated.

I just KNEW Jasnah couldn't be dead, though I've been wrong many, many times before :/

I, like several others, had to go back and re-read the chapter a couple of times to make sure I hadn't missed something because I couldn't figure out where Jasnah's body had gone.

Also, the way the dagger went through her body and into the wood so easily, made me jump to the conclusion that Jasnah was fading into something else. I think she was heavily injured, but she was in a "between" false kind of thing.

Second, I did NOT catch the Nightblood/V cameo...but now that it's been pointed out, I am excited beyond words. There is something about this whole Cosmere/interconnectedness I find so fascinating. I really need to go re-read all of his other works.

I, for one, enjoyed Kal's descent into despair and loss of Syl. I know, I'm maniacal. I also think that pain is the touchstone of all growth and I like to see characters really grow in that way. It's one reason I love Epic Fantasy as we get to see these characters grow and change.

As for Odium's nature, I see this tying in closely with the name of the Shard, Sanderson seems to really take into account the name of the Shard giving it it's "powers"...err..."abilities"..."whatever makes em tick"... AND the dictionary definition of Odium is basically hatred or disgust caused by another's actions. I see this with the Parshendi in that they adopt stormform in order to destroy the Alethi and save themselves from destruction; who are in turn attacking because the Parshendi slayed Dalinar. A bit of self-fulfilling prophecy? Odium acting through Esohondi's sister?

Also, Kal's actions during his break with Syl and his feelings towards lighteyes seems to be odiumious odiumical odiumable? (Since dishonor is a synonym of odium, I'll go with the -able suffix here) in nature. I think it has a lot to do with why Syl left him so quickly and why he seemed to breathe in red stormlight.

As for the running discussion on killing being justified and how the KR (especially Windrunners) handle killing on the battlefield vs killing Elokar (or some other lighteyed scum) I think has a lot to do with odium (the word and the shard).

Kal killing, or allowing Moash, to kill the King would have been odiumable to a degree. He was doing so out of a disgust and hatred for lighteyes like Elokar and Amaram. It was his primary motivation.

It's why Syl was so upset with his quest for vengeance with Amaram. Because Odium is literally the opposite Honor.

When Kal was fighting as a solider, or fighting as a bridgeman, or as a bodyguard, he wasn't killing out of hatred or disguest. Doesn't mean killing was right in the big picture moral sense but his *personal* motivation wasn’t hatred or disgust.

I think for the honorspren and Windrunners, it is not so much the *what* as it is the *why*. He “killed” Syl when the *why* became hatred and disgust (even rightful hatred and disgust).

This is why Odium is so more than just plain ol’ Hatred (or Ruin). It can be disguised as good intentions and retribution for the evils or misdeeds of another class/race/species.

It is righteous anger run riot and that can be a scary thing indeed.

Which is why I Adolin’s killing of Sadeas at the end of the book scares me. That killing was a result of the hatred and disgust caused by someone’s (Sadeas’) actions. And it makes me sad for Adolin, because I really like him (more than most apparently) and because I think he may be bonding with a spren…just not of the nice quality.

Anyways, thanks for letting me ramble. I love reading the thread on here! It makes my mind go crazy with all the speculations and things I missed. I /faceplam A LOT while reading here, and for that I thank you!
Dylan Tullos
478. dptullos
@428 & @424

You're absolutely right. I shouldn't make assumptions about other people's beliefs, and I'm sorry.
David Foster
479. ZenBossanova
I think it is worth pointing out that Odium is only evil because it is out of context of the Almighty's other attributes, much like Ruin and Preservation. It would be possible, (once Rayse is out of the picture) to have a good Odium, eg disgust at the hypocrasy in Althei society or in the misuse of shards, while tempered properly by Honor and other attributes, like mercy and loyalty.
Rhonda Malblanc
480. rmalblanc
Thanks Wetlander, Freelancer, Islel, and others for the great question suggestions and advice! You all are just wonderful! I'm going to prioritize my list of questions, drop the name of the Tor re-readers, and ask as many as I can get away with. I'm excited that I will be able to do more than just gush and squeal this time through the line! I'll post the answers I get on Wednesday.
Tricia Irish
481. Tektonica
Quick question: Where did Taravangian get his "genius" powers that day? And why does his intelligence vary day to day? Is he under someones influence?
Alice Arneson
483. Wetlandernw
To fill that out... he went to the Nightwatcher and asked for the capacity to save humankind. She gave him variable intelligence and inversely proportional compassion; it seems to function on roughly a bell curve. Mostly average, down to a very few imbecilic days and a very few genius days. And that one day of "brilliance" when he came up with the Diagram.
484. birgit
Wyndle said that the spren took some kind of precautions when he crossed over but he still had problems.

Kaladin has to go home next book because he has to deal with Roshone without breaking his oaths again.

Questions for Brandon:
How does bonding a Honorblade work if it isn't a spren?
Could a Radiant with a Honorblade use four surges?
Does Renarin's box have something to do with his spren?
If gems come from gemhearts, are there different species of chasmfiends with different kinds of gems?
Michael Arnett
485. Darmad
@484 birgit: Good questions. The first 2 have (sort of) been answered:

From the San Diego signing:
Q: Can someone bond more than one honorblade?
A: Honorblade? You can't bond an honorblade, though it can be given to you. Shardblades, however, come from a spren bond and it is possible to bond more than one.
From the Houston signing:
Q: if a non-Windrunner picked up jezrien's honorblade, would they gain Windrunning powers as well?
A: Yes.
I'm looking forward to finding out what Brandon answered yesterday.
Dylan Tullos
486. dptullos

That is the best explanation I have heard for why Syl rejected Kaladin. Whether or not his actions are justifiable, his motives are not, and she is concerned primarily with his choices rather than their consequences. No matter how much pain and death he inflicts on a battlefield, he does not rejoice in that suffering, and he would avoid it if he could. Since Odium is about the enjoyment of another's pain, his actions there don't bring him closer to it. However, any action taken out of revenge or hatred brings him closer to Odium, so planning Elkohar's death as a form of revenge cuts him off from Syl.

You're also right about Adolin. By killing Sadeas in a moment of rage, he is surrendering to Odium. It's not about Sadeas, but about the exultation, the Thrill of destruction that he feels when he kills his most hated enemy.

Your post answers the question of why Syl breaks with Kaladin, and the question of why Adolin's action was so wrong. At the same time, it raises another, equally important question. If spren are concerned primarily with motives, rather than actions, why is Taravangian unable to bond a spren of his own? He never acts out of hatred or revenge, and he is utterly immune to the Thrill that influences so many lighteyes. His purpose is the protection of humanity, and all of his actions are directed towards this goal.

Of course, his actions are horrible. He drains people of their blood to receive glimpses of the future, uses a slave assassin to murder his enemies, and manipulates entire kingdoms into civil wars that lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. But as we've seen from Syl, spren don't care how many people you kill; Kaladin could kill a hundred Parshendi, a thousand, or a million, and Syl would still stand by him as long as he sought to protect. The words "journey before destination" apparently don't prohibit murder, provided that it is done for the right reasons.

Out of every character in Words of Radiance, it is Taravangian who is most resistant to the terrible power of Odium. When his gift is strongest, he is cold and detached, as empty of hatred as he is of love. When his gift is weakest, he feels compassion for those he destroys, and he seeks to heal whenever he can do so without compromising his larger purpose. Surely there is some order of the Knights Radiant that values relentless, detached pursuit of a goal by any means necessary?
Jon _
487. Chasmfriend
@483. Wetlandernw
"She gave him variable intelligence and inversely proportional compassion"

Do we know that the inversely proportional compassion is his curse, or could it be part of what is required in order to save humankind?
488. eric1
Another tidbit: At a signing, I asked Brandon what Odium's edge was in combat with other shards. Vin and Ati killed each other but Rayse has survived killing three shards. I asked if it was an edge in ability, skill, numbers (he may have had help), or un-dispe
rsed power. All he would say is that it was a combination.

Dragon-Letter-Writer speculates that Rayse being now stuck on the planet Braise might have been Tanavast's intention, which brings up some interesting possibilities. I'm wondering if Tanavast didnt provoke the fight under conditions that would restrict Rayse even if Tanavast didnt survive. If infusing the planet Braize was necessary for Rayse to win the fight then Tanavast might have effectively sacrificed himself in order to nail Rayse's foot to the floor.
489. a.m.e.d
Hello all. I've been lurking here for a while and loving the discussion and finally decided to jump in because I have a couple questions nagging me and I haven't seen them answered here (though I haven't read every single post so maybe it was discussed and I missed it). Anyway, here goes:

In chapter 30 as Shallan is subconsciously drawing she draws a picture of Yalb and other sailors on shore after the shipwreck. She then draws a second pic of a woman chiseling something in the shape of a person. Who was this woman? Shallan appears disturbed by this drawing because she doesn't understand it. When I first read it, my first thought was that it might be Jasnah and used it as further evidence that Jasnah was still alive. But then again Jasnah is not a sculptor so why would she be chiseling something? Any thoughts on the significance of this picture Shallan drew?

I'm also curious about the epilogue when Wit/Hoid describes Jasnah as having burns on her face. Why would she have burns? Wouldn't stormlight heal that? Did she get those burns from spren in Shadesmar, and if she did can we then assume that attacks from spren cannot be healed? Or am I missing something with both of these questions?

I'd love to hear what everyone thinks about these things as you all seem so much better at forming ideas/theories than I am.
490. eric1
Re: Jasnah being "dead" for most of the book. For this to truly be Shallan's book, her "coming of age" as it were, from a story telling perspective Jasnah had to be removed from the picture. The mentor must fall by the wayside or else the protege wont grow into the role. Gandalf had to fall in moria or else Aragorn and Frodo would not fully mature. Shallan could not grow up with Jasnah to rely upon. I wondered if she was truly dead, but understood the storytelling imperative.
Alice Arneson
491. Wetlandernw
Wall of Text warning... not that you should need that....

Jwh891 @477 and dptullos @486 – I think @477 is an excellent explanation about how honorspren function; I’m not sure it applies so fully to other types of spren. We could postulate that the spren generally associated with Honor (highspren? etc.), might behave in a similar fashion… but I’m not sure we can ascribe the same attitudes to Cultivation & her spren. Our understanding is not very well balanced yet – partly because we’ve mostly gotten to know Sylphrena, and her ideas seem to mesh fairly well with our own cultural understanding of honor; partly because we’ve only sort of got to know Pattern, and we (or at least I) don’t entirely understand what makes him tick yet (buzz? whatever…); partly because we don’t know anything about most of the other types of spren – not even their designations.

What kind of a spren is Wyndle? He’s pretty obviously associated with Cultivation, and his “dumb” spren equivalent would probably be something to do with vines or growth, but… we know very little about what he considers important. We know he grants the Surges of Progression and Abrasion, giving Lift the ability to make any part of her body frictionless, as well as the ability to heal/regrow people even from the point of death. We know the Edgedancers as an order were considered very deadly, as well as being articulate and refined, and were associated with Vedel. We know that one of their Ideals is “I will remember those who have been forgotten.” We don’t know whether Wyndle & co. are at all concerned with the same motivational issues as Sylphrena.

That makes it very hard for me, personally, to automatically exclude Adolin from the Radiants. For one thing, there’s no evidence at all that he felt any thrill of destruction. He felt fury at a man who was so willing to lie, cheat, steal to undermine his father, who clearly enjoyed taunting someone he didn’t think could (or would) do anything to stop him. I agree that it was murder, but I don’t necessarily agree that it was in any way connected to Odium, or that it precludes his bonding a spren. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to believe he’s headed toward the Dustbringers; the Herald Chana shows up on his chapters a lot, and the order seems (from the little we know) to have a certain amount of destructive anger associated with them. That would also fit with the idea that Cultivation’s spren have different priorities than Honor’s.

Surely there is some order of the Knights Radiant that values relentless, detached pursuit of a goal by any means necessary?” Skybreakers. Take a look at what Darkness has been doing.

And then I went and looked at the signing reports on 17th Shard:
Q: Are there radiant orders that would take someone like Adolin even after what he does at the end of Words of Radiant?
A: I am not going to say whether or not Adolin will become a Knight Radiant, but yes, there are several orders that would be very happy with what he did.
Q: Like the Skybreakers or Dustbringers?
A: The Skybreakers would probably not want him because he broke a law, but there are other orders that would think he completely did the right thing and be very happy with him.
Q: Like the Dustbringers?
A: (Didn't say anything but looked up, smiled and half nodded)
Chasmfriend @487 – Honestly, I don’t know what his curse was. I assume it to be the variability of his intelligence; I’m not sure what to think of the inverse relationship of intelligence and compassion. It might be another aspect of the curse, or… not. Dunno.

birgit @484 – from the Seattle signing:
Q: Can Glys, Renarin’s spren, be a box?
A: The box is not his spren.
Note that he didn’t say whether or not there was a connection of some sort; just that the box and the spren aren’t one and the same.

Other miscellaneous bits that I picked up from scanning the WoB thread on 17th Shard, relevant to some discussions we’ve had here:
Q: At the very end of WoR, Dalinar touches a Shardblade and it screams at him. Should that particular Blade have been safe?
A: No it should not have. It's a clue that something has happened. There are other clues that something is wrong with what the story you've been told is.
Q: Did Hoid switch out the blades?
A: Hoid did not switch out the blades, but good question.
Q: Is the Nightwatcher a spren of Cultivation in a similar way that the Stormfather is to Honor?
A: The Nightwatcher is not Cultivation but is related. You're on the right track.
492. eric1
@491 I suspect Brandon may be being sly on the word "switch". I suspect Taln still has his blade, so if Hoid made the fake appear at his side technically it's not a "switch" in that Hoid didnt retrieve the honorblade, it just vanished as normal.
Ben Johnston
493. AlcairNovall
Speaking of Hoid, Brandon confirmed that Rock's bar story was about him in the interview below.

Edited to remove the word linked since my computer wouldn't let me post a proper link...
Jeremy Guebert
494. jeremyguebert
@492 - He also said that Hoid did not switch the blades, which means that someone else could have, in theory.

@489 - I haven't gotten back to that chapter in my reread yet, so take this with a grain of salt, but my interpretation of that is that the sculptor and the sculpture are both Shallan - she is molding herselft into the person she needs to be. If anyone else has a better or more thought-out interpretation, I'd be interested to hear it.

As far as Jasnah's burns - I don't think we can say that wounds caused by spren can't be healed, given that Kaladin healed his arm with Stormlight after being cut Szeth. Except, now that I think of it, that was an Honorblade, which is not the same as a Shardblade (aka a spren manifested as a weapon)... Hmmm, not sure. Could also just be that she was in Shadesmar the whole time and didn't want to expend any Stormlight for healing in order to conserve it and spend more time there (assuming she can even control that).
Mark Tisdale
495. Shinowa
WOOT! I just won a Szeth! (Contest)
Leeland Woodard
496. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Make sure to enter the code on the card to the Words of Radiance shardhunt!
Eric McCabe
497. Zizoz
@477 I think the word you're looking for is "odious".

Also, has anyone asked Brandon how big the continent of Roshar is? I think that would be a good question, if not.
498. KelseyP
@497. Zizoz
I've often wondered about how large each of the worlds are. I know he said in one of his interviews once that Roshar is a super continent and Pangea. He's also said something about maybe one day writing a book/story that takes place on the southern continent of Scadrial. Apparently when the planet was too close to the sun, the land around the equator was too hot and dangerous for anyone to go through. So the southern hemisphere wasn't affected by the Lord Ruler. It makes me wonder if the metalic arts are in the south as well or if they're just a Northern Hemisphere ability.
Mo -
499. Astus
Just finished the book the night before last and I really liked it. I was pretty ambivalent towards Shallan during WoK but was very into her tale this time around. I just found the book more engaging than the first for the most part and read it at a much faster pace. Not to say I didn't like WoK, I did, but I just wasn't invested into the world the same way I was in Randland after EotW. Now I'm firmly invested into Roshar and the Cosmere, haha. To the extent that I'm even going to back and read the rest of Brandon's books to get the world hopping references (only have read the Mistborn trilogy thus far).

I'm certainly anticipating Book 3! Lucky that Brandon seems to pump out these books! So to speak, of course.

Didn't buy Jasnah's death although I got more unsure as the book went on, ha. Was expecting her to show up at the end to assist Our Heroes. So, I was pretty surprised when she appeared in the Epilogue.
Was a bit less happy at Szeth respawning especially given who initiated it. The whole 'resurrection' thing doesn't really bother me as it might in other series because isn't it a thing in the world? At least as far as The Heralds were concerned.

The spren/shardblade connection was a big "Aha" moment for me. So many things clicked. It made made feel extra bad for the dead spren attached to Adolin's shardblade though, given his nervous tick of summoning and dismissing it multiple times during his warm ups.

Great review!
500. KelseyP
So apparently i should have read through what I wrote last time. I meant to say "like Pangea" not "and Pangea"
Dylan Tullos
501. dptullos

One of the biggest mistakes I have been making is the assumption you mentioned, that all spren are like honorspren. We have good reason to believe that all honorspren are not alike, let alone the spren of Cultivation. Our main experience with honorspren comes from Syl, who belongs with the order of the Windrunners. I think we can safely say that the Windrunners are very much the "white hats" of the Knights Radiant, with a clear focus on protection instead of justice or revenge.

I went back and reread the chapter where Adolin murders Sadeas. You're right that he doesn't feel the Thrill of Odium, but I suspect that any vengeful or hateful killing edges over into Odium's area of influence. Kaladin doesn't feel the Thrill when he plots to murder Elkohar, yet Syl leaves him becauses his motive is vengeance, which is of Odium in itself. Giving themselves to the Thrill, as Sadeas does, isn't the only way for people to open the door to Odium.

One theory I've developed is that some orders of the Knights Radiant are in more danger from Odium than others. Those who seek to enforce the law, like the Skybreakers, may lose sight of the difference between the love of justice and the pursuit of revenge against lawbreakers. The Dustbringers in particular seem to constantly walk the line between Odium and Honor, and the Sanderson interview you provided suggests that they would not only strongly approve of Adolin's actions, but might actually approve of Taravangian.
Andrew Berenson
502. AndrewHB
Is it the case that each Knight Radiant order has its own specific spren associated with it (Winderunner - honorspren; Lightweaver - Cryptic)?

Also, is there some forum where I can see what people think the different surges associated with the orders of Knights Radiant?

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
503. Freelancer
AndrewHB @502


Plenty of reference material there, including a table aligning order/surges/essences/etc.

And yes, I believe that the "order" and the brand of spren are fixed. But that's an opinion so far, not proven/disproven yet.
504. birgit
She then draws a second pic of a woman chiseling something in the shape of a person. Who was this woman?

When I rearead that I thought it was proof that the assassins stabbed a soulcast double of Jasnah.

Kaladin thinks the reason his bond to Syl broke is conflicting oaths. He promised Dalinar to protect Elhokar, then promised Moash to help kill him. That sounds like conflicting Oaths on the Oath Rod in WoT.

The Kholinar Oathgate is described in interlude I-12. They call it Circle of Memories.
505. Runeshard
When Shallan is sketching, the first was of the shadowy picture likely depicting Yalb.

The second was described as:
“A sketch of a woman kneeling over a body, raising a hammer and chisel, as if to slam it down into the person’s face. The one beneath her was stiff, wooden . . . maybe even stone?”

What woman slams chisels into statues faces?
The Herald Shalsh. WoK Interlude I-7 Baxil
Shallan's kinda named for her.
506. Rybal
@437/438 - KelseyP/Wetlandernw - My guess for that is that Hoid's ability to recognize surgebinders is probably a result of the First Heightening, rather than allomancy. I tend to think this because of Zahel's recognition of Kaladin and "that spren that was always hanging around him".

@424/456 - AndrewHB - My theory on this is that their eyes become lighter due to the higher investiture that they have. Kaladin's eyes become lighter as he is able to use Stormlight more efficiently and as he progresses. The fact that that becomes hereditary afterwards is interesting. I can't remember if Kaladin's eyes are light or dark at the very end of the book, so am not sure if his eyes were still light. Shardbearers probably get it as a result of bonding because there is a certain level of investiture inherant with the bonding process.

@452 - Freelancer - remember that Wyndle wasn't very smart just a few months earlier.

(Side note - I HATE these Captchas)
Rob Munnelly
507. RobMRobM
@507 - register and go gray - then no more captchas!
Jennifer B
508. JennB
I think you are right.

Lighteyes on Roshar = Royal Locks on Nalthis. I do hope there will eventually be an explanation as to why these traits are genetic.
Leeland Woodard
509. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Don't forget that being a Mistborn/Misting-capable person is also genetic.
Rhonda Malblanc
510. rmalblanc
Sorry, this is kind of long... Report from the Lexington signing:

I didn't get to ask a question during the Q&A, but there was some interesting information that I thought I'd share. (This is probably not news to the hardcore/knowledgeable fans, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you're one of those.) Brandon said he hopes to have the rest of the Stormlight Archive books spaced about 18 months apart, with a longer break separating the first five and the last five books. He said that The Stormlight Archive is not the series that will tie the whole Cosmere together, but that there is another planned series that will do that. He also mentioned that the third planned Mistborn trilogy will involve space travel, and it will have a greater involvement with the entire Cosmere, though it is not the series that will tell the whole story. Also, in answering a question about what inspires him to write, he mentioned that he is now financially independent and doesn't have to write any more books to make a living for the rest of his life. Now, that wasn't AT ALL the point of his story - his point was that he lives in "Magic Christmas Land" where he gets paid to do what he loves and that he doesn't foresee a time where he will ever stop writing (thank the Light!) - but it just made me really happy for him. I can't think of another author who deserves it more, so go Brandon! Below are the questions I asked in the line:

Q: Is the Nightwatcher related to Cultivation in the same way that the Stormfather is related to Honor?
A: Brandon grinned evilly as he RAFOd that, but he told me to tell you that it was an EXCELLENT question.

Q: Is The Lopen going to become an Edgedancer?
A: The Lopen is currently a squire for the Windrunners, but I got a second RAFO about his future status.

Q: Does Hoid have Taln's Honorblade?
A: As I expected, I got RAFOd on this one, though I see @491 that this question has been sort of addressed elsewhere.

I was going to stop there, but since he RAFOd all my questions, he said he wanted to answer ONE at least, so he prompted me to ask another. I am always touched by how extremely nice he is!

Q: Have we met or had a point of view (POV) from anyone who will become a Willshaper?
A: Yes, and he said he was pretty sure it had been a POV. He wouldn't say any more about it, though.

I didn't get a RAFO card, but he did give me a Seth card because he noticed that I was wearing a T-shirt from his website. Next, I'm off to find the shardhunt website and enter my code.

Thanks for all the questions! I am very fortunate that Brandon almost always comes to a location within driving distance for me (Cincinnati/Lexington/Dayton) on his tours, so I have saved the questions I didn't get to ask last night for the Firefight tour.
andrew smith
511. sillyslovene
@505 - and all the others on Shallan's vision - WoB seems to confirm that Shallan sees the Mistress destroying a statue in her vision:
Q: Did the mistress from the interlude in book 1 destroy the Shalash statue on the night of Gavilar's death?

A: Yes, and also all the other ones that we've seen, including the one in Shallan's vision in Words of Radiance.
From Lexington signing, tganchero reporting
Jennifer B
512. JennB
Thank you for your wall of text.
513. a.m.e.d
@511 Thanks! My second thought was that it might be the mistress. Glad that it was confirmed.

@510 I'm happy the other books will be spaced 18 months apart. I just can't wait another 4 years for the 3rd book lol.
Maiane Bakroeva
514. Isilel
Thanks, Rmalblanc! Looking through the signing reports, it seems that Stormlight self-healing depends on a person's self-image. So, yea, Kaladin subconsciously chooses to keep these slave-scars, apparently. And Lopen doesn't have to have a Growth surge to regrow his arm.
Though I'd have to say that this kinda puts regeneration of the Radiants in a seriously overpowered category, if you ask me. Hopefully, they can't regenerate a head after decapitation ;).
So, does being a Radiant squire mean that you can consiously inhale Stormlight without even initial stages of spren-bonding? This is more than I imagined - I thought that weak glowing when in battle/extreme danger and accelerated healing in these circumstances would be the limit of squire benefits. And Kaladin didn't even have to be close for Lopen to do it. Wow!

a.m.e.d. @489:
I'm also curious about the epilogue when Wit/Hoid describes Jasnah as having burns on her face. Why would she have burns? Wouldn't stormlight heal that?
I was under impression that Jasnah was out of Stormlight, which is why she had to hike to the nearest town for a week, rather than teleported directly to Urithiru and/or the camps/Oathgate.
She couldn't have left with a lot of Stormlight, after all - most of her gems seemed to be still in the chest and still infused when Shallan got into her cabin. And she gave gems that she normally kept on her person to Shallan, IIRC.
For this reason, I thought that she might actually be dead - because why wouldn't she have used her Stormlight to heal and then dealt with the assassins with extreme prejudice, if she could? Why would she have abandoned her extremely important work, her books and Shallan? She must have reflexively teleported out when half-conscious and then been unable to return, for some reason. Maybe because it was on a ship and she didn't know it's exact location?

BTW, it occured to me that Sigzil should be able to read and write "women's script". He is Azish, isn't he, and they are all about papework, so he should be literate in his native tongue and from there it is only a short step to being literate in other languages one can speak. Not to mention that he was Hoid's apprentice, apparently.
Maybe he should stop pretending and read accounts of Dalinar's visions to the bridgemen, since it could be very important for them to be prepared for what is coming.
I am already pre-emptively annoyed that Kaladin is going to leave without having learned about them in detail.
Not to mention that unless he finds a woman whom he can trust completely, he'd only be able to send very simple messages back, via glyphs. _If_ he finds a spanreed or somebody thinks to give him one for his journey. What a mess!
Christopher Ballew
515. Rybal
@507 - Thanks - I never even realized that you COULD register (I usually skip the upper-right hand corner).

@514 - re:
Hopefully, they can't regenerate a head after decapitation ;).
I think that's just Hoid, for now.
516. apg
So... I've never posted here before, and since I've only managed to read through 100 of the comments, someone may have said these things before, but I just can't resist joining the conversation any longer!

I have to say that I have been Brandon's fan since Elantris came out and this book didn't fail to amaze me like any other publication he has made since. The man truly has an amazing imagination. I do have to confess that I struggle with all these world hopping characters, but I guess in the end they make the cosmere so much more rich and complex. I just hope at some point he publishes a guide as to identities/timelines for thos of us who are not so good at keeping track.

About Jasnah, yeah, I was quite upset when she
died (she was actually one of my favorite characters) but I processed it
and was done with it, and found that the story worked quite well
without her. And if she can just teleport into Shadesmar and come back out in a
completely different location, then why didn't she just use this ability
to find Urithiru in the first place? And here is the question I have:
She is not a lightweaver like Shallan, so how was she able to pretend to
be dead if she really wasn't? Or does this mean that the Knights
Radiant are immortal as long as they are invested with stormlight unless
I don't know, their head is completely separated from their body? It
seems stormlight is capable of healing everything, even a shard severed
limb, so presumablyshe did get stabbed but the stormlight began healing Jasnah as soon as the knife pierced
her, and therefore we can establish that she was never really dead?
Kind of like Szeth , as long as the brain is alive, then
life can be restored? And most important, does this mean that the
Radiants were the same people throughout the ages until they broke their
bonds? No new radiants? No wonder the knights got to the point where
they renounced their oaths, I mean, I can imagine immortality becoming
quite tiresome after a while.

Since we are on the subject of Szeth, was I the only one who felt
that his descent into madness was too quick, I mean while upset at what
was required of him, he still seemed quite sane at the end of last book,
and by the beginning of this one he's already bonkers. And last book he
spends the whole time thinking he wants someone to kill him, but then
this book that train of thought is no longer existing... I would've
thought he'd welcomed the fact that Kaladin could right from the start.
So if all the heralds are still alive and
remained on Roshar for all those millenia even though they are no longer
bonded to their Honorblades - because they left them sticking in the
ground back there (no, I don't know why the Shin have them, but I have a
theory they are like the Aiel/traveling people idea, some sort of
designated keepers- there has to be a reason why they are the only
people in Roshar who do not have parshmen, and it has to be related to
them having these blades) does this mean that
Nalan has either rebonded his Honorblade
and regained all his powers OR kept all his powers even though he no
longer possessed the blade - so what made him and all the other Heralds
roaming around immortal then? And if we are being told they had powers
because of the blades, then why didn't they lose them when they unbonded
them? Was the bond never truly broken? And how, just how is Taln going
to react if he EVER snaps out of it and remembers that all the other
heralds betrayed him? Will they be the bad guys now, like Nalan? I mean
why is he trying to eliminate all the potential radiants? He knows what
the desolations are like, why wouldn't he want them around? Please tell
me that he cannot command spren to bond with people and that Szeth will
not bond a justice-spren whatever it is. The fact that Nalan gave him
Nightblood gives me hope that this won't happen. More on nightblood

On the subject of honorblades, will Dalinar bond the
Honorblade that Kaladin recover from Szeth instead (since he cannot use
the stormfather as a blade the same way that all the other ones can with
their spren). It is not a dead spren, so the stormfather's prohibition does not hold. And also, since the Heralds betrayed their Oath, will new
heralds be appointed? Is this possible if the Almighty is dead? There
will never be a new Almighty since his shard is shattered, but I guess
Cultivation could potentially annoint the new heralds? And how come
Dalinar is shackled with the one insane spren who is not actually
invested in the survival of mankind? How is he supposed to get any
guidance from him then?

What I really want to talk about is Adolin. Did you realize
that everyone in his immediate family (his father, his brother and his
betrothed) is a Radiant now, except for him? I really like him and am
really afraid that he will be one of the characters to either a) die or
b) be taken over by Odium, after that whole last scene where he kills
Sadeas. We saw the foreshadowing with the duel, and it makes me very
worried. Add to that that now Kaladin is a radiant too (and all the
tension that is building between him and Shallan) and it's enough to
drive him crazy. Although someone pointed out that all Radiants seem to
have been broken at some point (how was Jasnah broken?) and perhaps this
is Sanderson's device to break him and bring out that dark part that
all of them seem to need before they can bond a spren?
Don Barkauskas
517. bad_platypus
Isilel @514:
BTW, it occured to me that Sigzil should be able to read and write "women's script". He is Azish, isn't he, and they are all about papework, so he should be literate in his native tongue and from there it is only a short step to being literate in other languages one can speak.
Not necessarily. If the languages share an alphabet, then definitely. If they both have alphabets (e.g., English and Russian), then it requires a little more work but still should be relatively easy. But Alethi strikes me as more like traditional Chinese writing, and if that's true, then being able to speak it would not enable one to read it without a lot of training.
Dixon Davis
518. KadesSwordElanor
Someone may have already mentioned this, but being that I am still not finished and avoiding spoilers, I love this.

Kaladin frowned. “Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?”
“Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated.

That is so Adolin.:)
John Hill
519. Jwh891
dptullos @ 486 and wetlander @ 491

I was really thinking about Syl and the rest of the honorspren. From what I've seen, each Spren holds to its own "code".

My ramblings were more on the nature of Odium and how Syl, being an honorspren, seems to stand diamertically opposed to Odium.

And if Honor has honorspren, would Odium have "odiumspren"? And if there are something of that type would they be attracted to actions like Adolin? Or does Odium operate without the interaction of spren?

Zizoz - Thank you! I knew it would be something simple (and a word I’ve even used before). Like I said earlier…/facepalm

Something else I meant to post on earlier was Hoid's rather cryptic comment on the makeup of the word 'axehound'. It brought to the forefront one of those mental itches. Namely, that other than humans and horses (and parts of Shinovar), EVERYTHING is so darn foreign to Roshar. It just seems that if humans were native to Roshar they would be a little better evolved (like everything else) for highstorms…unless something happened that transformed the flora and fauna into something that COULD survive the new, stormy climate on Roshar.

I thought maybe this was creative license but Hoid's comment made me think that perhaps humans really are foreign to Roshar and brought certain word origins with them...who knows how FAR those Oathgates can REALLY teleport someone...
Leeland Woodard
520. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Branching off from @519 Jwh981's comments about etymology of words and the origin of man...I wonder whether it's possible (and maybe Brandon has commented on this, but I've forgotten) that all men come from Yolen, and were somehow scattered around the Cosmere from there.
Alice Arneson
521. Wetlandernw
smintitule @520 - I've conjectured along those lines, too. It makes a lot of sense to me. I never remember to ask, though. Maybe someone on the 17th Shard knows...

Jwh891 @519 - I don't think the Oathgates were created until after humans had come to Roshar (on the assumption that they did come from elsewhere). My best guess is that the Shardbearers brought humans with them when they first traveled to the various planets, however they got there, along with a supply of critters they thought they'd need. Sort of a "space pioneers" approach, I guess. Maybe we notice it more on Roshar because the native species are so very different.

But there's a logical issue there. If the humans came with the Shardbearers, why is the native life so much better adapted to the highstorms? Unless the storms were already happening, and Honor just added his powers to them...

Going in circles again.
522. a.m.e.d
@514 I think you may be right that Jasnah was simply out of stormlight and therefore couldn't heal at that moment.

@516 I never saw it as Jasnah pretending to be dead. I think she was really stabbed but was kept alive by whatever stormlight she had on her person. She was probably seriously injured and used her remaining strength to transport to Shadesmar or wherever she was. I really don't see Jasnah as the type to abandon Shallan in a ship with assassins if she were strong enough to help.

I'm also scared for Adolin. I fell in love with him in this book but I hate how his story ended with him murdering Sadeas. I could totally see him going down a dark road and eventually being killed. I sincerely hope I'm wrong because I love his personality and 100% ship Adolin/Shallan.
Jennifer B
523. JennB
Re humans in the Cosmere
I think Ruin and Preservation made the humans on Scadrial, but that does not mean that Honor and Cultivation made the humans on Roshar. It seems like they were imported because they just don't fit in.

That said, I have always seen the extreme adaptation of the life on Roshar as a product of Cultivation's influence. To me, an important part of cultivating something is breeding and hybridizing it so that it becomes stronger and better adapted. Even if many of the plants and animals were present before the Shardholders came to Roshar, the Greatshells had to evolve after Cultivation arrived because they cannot grow to their great size without a Spren.

I currently believe that when Honor and Cultivation arrived, they may have introduced life, or not, but once they set up shop, Roshar was very Earth like. When Odium arrived, Honor somehow trapped him. The Highstorms were a tool that Honor used to keep Odium at bay. Cultivation then adapted life to survive the Highstorms.
Alice Arneson
524. Wetlandernw
But do we know that there were no spren before Honor and Cultivation arrived? Also, if Cultivation is messing with some things to enable them to survive Highstorms, why not the things familiar to us as well? The horses, the chickens, the humans...

(I don't actually have answers for any of this. I'm fishing.)
525. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @521

Accepting evolutionary theory for a moment...
why is the native life so much better adapted to the highstorms?
Elementary. Humans, with the capacity to reason, and an instinct for self-preservation, know how to evade the worst effects of highstorms. A species will not adapt to that to which it is not exposed.

Regarding Jasnah, my best guess for the playout of the scenario is that she was stabbed, pulled in what Stormlight she could to keep herself from dying, and transitioned to Shadesmar as quicly as possible. Once there, she carefully monitored her Stormlight as she recovered, then returned herself to Roshar. Having left Roshar with a ship around her, she couldn't return to the same location, and how she arrived where she did remains the subject of rank conjecture for the moment. Perhaps a good question if anyone has yet to attend a signing on this tour (but only asked quietly, face-to-face):

Q. Did Jasnah choose to end up where Hoid met her in the Epilogue, or was it random?

Also, who in blazes is Nazh?!?
Jennifer B
526. JennB
The Spren are Splinters. I think we know that there are only three Shards influencing events on Roshar. Honor and Cultivation came together and Odium came later. I cannot think of why there would be Splinters on Roshar before the Shards they are part of arrived.

Nazh is the person collecting drawings from various places on Roshar and making notes on them for someone. Some examples include clothing catalogue pages and maps.
F Shelley
527. FSS
Loony theory time!

at the end of the series, someone from Roshar will take the bead from Hoid and become Mistborn as well as a Knight Radiant, and will also gain the power of Aons (and whatever magic is from Warbreaker - I wasn't gonna read that, but maybe I should), and be the Champion to save all the Shards from Odium.

further, since Kaladin would be the obvious choice, I'm thinking Shallan will be the one to do it...
Alice Arneson
528. Wetlandernw
Jenn @526 - I know that's the assumption... I'm just not entirely sure it's 100% correct. I can't currently find the quote that makes me think there's more to it, though; I think it may be something he said at the Steelheart signing, in which case it may not be documented.

Re: Nazh - At the Houston signing, there was this:
Q: Is Hoid the most knowledgeable about what's going on in the cosmere?
A: No, Khriss is the most aware by a long shot. Nazh knows a lot as well. Hoid might know more than Nazh but he is pretty in the know as well so it's close.
I think we saw him in Chapter 31, trying to draw pictures of the bridgemen and getting chased off, but it's not 100%. Anyway, that doesn't exactly answer who he is, but... he's somebody very cosmere-aware.
Adam Bodestyne
529. thanners
Whew, I've finally caught up. Again, rather. I keep reaching the end of the comment list and then being too exhausted to formulate my own comment, and then come back the next day to a whole slew of new ones.

Thanks, Wetlandernw, for your review (and the other reflections and reflections revealed post), both for their content and providing a location on which to hang these wonderful comment threads.

I have so many thoughts, but I think I'll try to get them clearer in my head and make sure I'm not replicating anything before I post those. For now, though:

Freelancer @ 525: I'm curious as to how much time Jasnah experienced while she was away. To Shallan, Jasnah has been 'dead' for .. what, 60ish days? How long was spent in Shadesmar? Did she return to Roshar as soon as she could after escaping her assassination, and then proceed to go on other adventures, or did she basically stay off Roshar from that moment until we meet her again in the epilogue?

I don't really think there's enough in there yet for us to make any good guesses about what Jasnah's been up to, but it's just one of the things that's got me really curious right now. (c:
Eric McCabe
530. Zizoz
@517: People have transliterated the Alethi writing in Navani's notebook, and Pattern also refers to these letters in Chapter 42 when he figures out Tyn's code, so we know the Alethi use an alphabet. Moreover, even the glyphs appear to be phonetic, based on this thread. (This seems odd to me, because it would imply that men who know glyphs basically know an alphabetic script but just avoid using it, and also that the stormwardens' glyph-based writing system is needlessly complicated.)

@527: Hoid's letter in TWoK implies he's already swallowed the lerasium -- "Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe. . . . I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say."
Alice Arneson
531. Wetlandernw
Aha! The most excellent Shardlet recorded everything and transcribed it all on the 17th Shard. This is from the 14 October 2013 Steelheart signing in Seattle:
Wetlander: Please explain what you will about shards and splintering and slivers.

A: An event happened long ago which destroyed something called Adonalsium into 16 pieces. And 16 people took up that power.

Q: People?

A: I call all intelligent species people. If someone takes up the power and lets go of it, it has the effect much like a balloon that’s been stretched and then the air is let out. I call that a sliver; based off of TLR calling himself the Sliver of Infinity. TLR is someone who held the power and then released it. And so, current slivers are TLR, Kelsier, and there may be others around who at one point held the power and let go of it. A splinter is a term used by certain people in the cosmere for power of Adonalsium which has no person caring for it, no…no person holding it, which has attained self-awareness.

Wetlander: So is that like the mists and the Well? Are they…

A: They are not, because they have not attained self-awareness. But, the Seons are self-aware. So, any piece, for instance there were some spren on Roshar before Honor and Cultivation got there. Those were already splinters of Adonalsium where he had left power which attained sentience on its own. So, it can be intentional is what I am saying, does that make sense? You have seen other splinters.

Wetlander: Are the highstorms related to the splintering of Honor? (Brandon spoke over the word Honor in starting his response)

A: The highstorms are more related to the mist from Mistborn which terminology we have not discussed yet. (also affirmed the well as being similar). You have seen splinters quite a bit on various planets.
(emphasis mine)
532. birgit
Is the Old Magic and the Nightwatcher related to the old spren that were there before Honor and Cultivation came?
533. Freelancer
JennB @526

Yes, thank you, that's what we do know about Nazh, obviously. And it's not enough. As just one item, his note on the drawing recovered from the sunken Wind's Pleasure, he mentions the trouble he went to in recovering it. Who's favor is he seeking? For whom is he gathering intelligence, and why?

Hoid is not so hard to understand. I place him as the equivalent of an archangel, and Adonalsium was his Boss. He's trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. How's that for a non-segue-itor?
Julian Augustus
534. Alisonwonderland
I am curious about the relative powers of the Heralds and the Knights Radiant.

First, here's what I think we do know. Honor and Cultivation formed the Heralds and gave them certain powers which, I originally thought, were invested in their blades. The prologue of tWoK states outright that the Honorblades are more powerful than the shardblades. We know each Herald was associated with two of the ten Surges, which are the basic forces that power the universe. Once the Heralds abandoned their blades, we are told that any person who bonds to one of those blades would have the same ability to manipulate the two Surges that the Herald who originally held that blade had. If that is the case, and a very big IF there, then Szeth, for example, would be presumed to have the same Windrunner capabilities Jezrien had. Or would he?

We are also told that the spren looked at how Honor and Cultivation had powered the Honorblades and copied it, imbuing the Knight Radiant to which each is bonded with the ability to also manipulate two of the Surges. Finally, we know the Knights Radiant were organized into ten groups based on the two Surges each could manipulate, with the Heralds as their "patron gods", so to speak.

All this will lead one to the reasonable expectation that if a Knight Radiant faced off against one of the pseudo-Heralds, the result should be a foregone conclusion, with the large advantage going to the holder of the Honorblade. That is, until the fight to the death between Szeth and Kaladin in WoR.

Consider this... Szeth is armed with Jezrien's Honorblade, and supposedly should have the same Windrunner abilities that Jezrien himself had. Facing him is Kaladin, who is not even a full Radiant; he is only at level 3 of 5, On the face of it, Szeth should have been able to finish off Kaladin without even breaking ionto a sweat.

Yet, what actually happened? Syl was able to instantaneously transform into a shield, a spear, a sword, a knife, and a hammer, each time at the exact moment Kaladin needed that weapon, while the Honorblade remained basically a sword. Of course, Szeth was defeated and killed. How can that be?

I can think of two possible explanations. First, the spren not only copied the power the Shards had given to the Heralds, they seriously surpassed it. Or, the Heralds, in and of themselves, had personal power that magnified their blades, so that a Herald holding his blade could still be more powerful that even a level 5 Radiant. Which of these explanations is more likely to be correct? Personally, I am inclined to lean towards the latter, as we are also told that the Heralds were immortal and had the capability to survive the periods between Desolations trapped in Odium's torture chambers. Which is why we see the ex-Heralds, thousands of years after they abandoned the Oathpact, still running around (and in the case of Nalan, actively interfering in events).

Other possible explanations are welcome.
Adam S.
535. MDNY
@534 Totally agree with you that the second possibility seems most likely. I'm developing the feeling that both may hold some truth, however. It seems like a letdown to discover that honorblades make any normal person a radiant (I don't think they make you a windrunner, I suspect that it depends on which honrorblade you have to determine which Surges are granted). Clearly the Heralds are immortal (or at least live thousands of years), and have some power beyond what was granted by their blades. I seem to recall the prologue in Way of Kings, when the power of the honorblades was discussed, and how they were m0re powerful than "common" shardblades. The question is, how many of the factions out there in the world now are run or manipulated by Heralds? Are the ghostbloods run by one? It seems unlikely that Amaram's group is, since they are looking to return the Heralds (what a dumbass), but could one be secretly involved in the Diagram, as well? Then there is Nalan, who is very confusing (how the hell did he get hold of Nightblood?)
Gerd K
536. Kah-thurak
I think that there is more to the nature of Honorblades than we know right now. What ARE they? Brandon allways has strict rules in his magic, so if spren "power" the Shardblades what powers the Honorblades? In the end we do not even no whether Szeth was able to use the full potential of his blade.
Mark Tisdale
537. Shinowa
Szeth was dominated by laws and rules. He had to think about what he was doing. Kaladin reacted instinctively, and also had Syl supplementing his thought processes by anticipating what he would need. I suspect the Heralds had at least that level of cooperation with their blades, as well as their own power. Remember, also, that Szeth was doubting himself at that point. It was a fairly even fight for much of it.
Jeremy Guebert
538. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @ 528 - Wait, who is Khriss? Is that a name I should recognize? And here I thought I was fairly well-versed in the Cosmere... Hoid's pen-pal, perhaps, or someone from something unpublished?
Gerd K
540. Kah-thurak
@538 jeremyguebert
Apparantly there is an unpublished novel called "White Sand", of which Khriss is the protagonist.
Jeremy Guebert
541. jeremyguebert
Ah, I see. I knew that White Sand existed, but not much else. Thanks for the info!
Alice Arneson
542. Wetlandernw
I personally have suspicions that Nazh and Khriss both go back to the same thing as Hoid when it comes to the whole Splintering Adonalsium etc. I wonder if Khriss might be Hoid's pen-pal, but have nothing whatsoever to base that on. I keep debating whether or not to ask for White Sand...
Jennifer B
543. JennB
Wetlandernw @531
So there were little Splinters of Andolasium that were scattered throughout the Cosmere when it shattered? That means there are Spren on Roshar that do not share intent with any of the three Shards present in the system. Having wild cards like that will throw a wrench into everybody's hypotheses on how everything fits together. That kind of discourages me. Oh well...
544. Freelancer
Alisonwonderland @534

It seems inappropriate to refer to Szeth as a radiant (lowercase intentional). Having the Honorblade conferred surges, and nothing more. As we have witnessed the growth of several Nahel bonded characters, we see the symbiotic influence of the spren.

Now that we know that Pattern has been with Shallan for much longer than previously supposed, it can be surmised that he is largely responsible for her paranormal artistic ability, if not the skill as well. At those times when she drops her guard, and just draws "whatever", something new emerges: Most notably the sketches of women to which she then added her own face, rendering them Illumination-surge patterns. Pattern also guides her soulcasting, even stepping in where she either doesn't know enough, or as Pattern says, isn't ready.

We see similar with Kaladin and Syl (similar only in that the spren is a very powerful influence over the Surgebinder). The specifics of the bond are distinct to each form of spren, so the interactions vary broadly. Pattern doesn't cajole or admonish Shallan, because he isn't devoted to honor, where Syl makes demands upon Kaladin ("Don't lie to me, ever"), and requires strict compliance with the honor which is her very nature.

We know of Jasnah and Ivory, but little more than that they have been together around six years, but even Lift and Wyndle show us the collaborative nature of the bond.

Szeth is void of this. His Blade lets him use Stormlight, and he has learned the surges related to that weapon. That's it. Radiants all had spren, and Heralds, whether or not they had any spren connection, had something far more than a normal human. To be a true radiant, Szeth would need a spren. My first thought was that no spren would go near Szeth while he possesses that Breath-eating, amoral, other-worldly black sword. Then I realized that we haven't seen even half of the spectrum of spren capable of the Nahel bond. I'm not sure I'd want to meet the kind of spren that would be pleased by a bond with the holder of Nightblood, but I expect that is exactly what Brandon has planned. Poor Szeth, he wants so badly to do right.
Nadine L.
545. travyl
Wetlander @531:
A: ... TLR is someone who held the power and then released it. And so, current slivers are TLR, Kelsier, and there may be others around who at one point held the power and let go of it...
When did Kelsier ever hold any power? I know it's a recorded transcription, but shouldn't that be Vin instead of Kelsier?
If not, I clearly need to reread Mistborn.
546. birgit
Brandon allways has strict rules in his magic, so if spren "power" the Shardblades what powers the Honorblades?

Szeth needs more Stormlight that Kaladin, probably because the Honorblade needs extra Stormlight.
Alice Arneson
547. Wetlandernw
JennB - I'm not sure that's a correct reading. I have the impression that perhaps Adonalsium Itself (him? her?) was actually on Roshar at some point. Unfortunately, I can't defend that impression very well, so it's just ... there. IIRC, at one point Brandon said that "all the Shards have been on Roshar sometime" or something weird on that order; without the direct quote, it's not much to base anything on. But I think that may be why I thought Adonalsium had been on Roshar before it was Splintered; He/She/It was noodling around the Cosmere, visiting various worlds, and doing... stuff. Maybe leaving Splinters behind in a few places. I dunno. But it makes a good theory, and it would explain why not all magic on Roshar seems to fit neatly with Honor/Cultivation/Odium. I'd say there's a better-than-even chance that this is the source of the "Old Magic" as well - quite possibly, Nightwatcher is more reflective of Adonalsium as a whole than of any one Shard. It's a good theory, anyway. :)
Julian Augustus
548. Alisonwonderland

I have re-read my post and I don't see anywhere I even implied that Szeth was a radiant (small r or therwise). On the contrary, my whole point was that a level 3 Radiant (Kaladin) should not have been able to kill a holder of Jezrien's Honorblade, unless there was something going on more than we have been told so far.
Gerd K
549. Kah-thurak
That is a very difficult assumption. It is not as if the stronger fighter wins every time. Szeth was conflicted and more than a little insanse at this point. He also never really wanted to survive from the start - so he might allways try to win, but in every form of contest wanting or needing to win is a decisive factor. And luck is another one... So, there may well be a lot going on that we dont know about, but it is not necessarily so.
550. Runeshard
I hope this doesn't double post. I had an internet hiccup when tried to submit earlier.

I'm surprised that I haven't seen more discussion about the Ym interlude in this thread.

I felt Brandon did a very cool job describing Andolasium in Ym's belief system. We are/were once all One. We split to many to experience everything on the Long Trail and are now in the Fourth Land. We will become One again in the Seventh Land.

There is more to it but I think it is definitely worth a re-read while thinking about it in the context of Shards and Andolasium.
Jennifer B
551. JennB
Wetlandernw @547
Ahh... You're right. I misread that. So Andolasium purposely made Splinters on Roshar before it was shattered. Now that could be interesting. If the Old Magic is of Andolasium then it is extremely old. I can't wait until we have enough info for a good timeline. The one the Coppermind is severely lacking.
552. philanor
@534 Alisonwonderland

A fight between a Knight Radiant and a Herald going largely in favor of the Herald is rather incorrect, I'd say. It is more a contest of personal skills than powers within that person. Your assumption is largely based on the fact that honorblades were more powerful than shardblades, as mentioned by Kalak in the Prologue of WoK.

The honorblades are certainly more powerful than shardblades, but not the person, whether he or she is a Herald, or Szeth or any other.

What I mean is that when Jezrien/Szeth's honorblade is given to any random person, that person becomes a Windrunner with all the powers associated with a Knight Radiant of that order. However, if the Shardblade of a Knight Radiant is given or lend to a random person, that person does not receive the powers or surges associated with it.

This is indicated by the fact that when Shallan gave her living Shardblade (aka Pattern) to Kaladin, he did not receive any powers nor surges associated with Shallan. But if that had been an honorblade, then despite Kaladin's broken bond with Syl at the time, he would immediately become a "Knight Radiant". And as we saw from his fight with the Chasmfiend, his own innate skills allowed him to survive and eventually killed it with the help of Shallan. If for example, that had been Sigzil, who is more a scholar than a solider, even having Shallan's shardblade might not have afforded him much survivability.

And this is why, in my opinion, a fight between Szeth & Kaladin went in Kaladin's favor. With both powers being equal, as in both being Windrunners, it is all about individual skills. Which is why I would even suggest that a fight between the Herald Jezrien and Kaladin, the fight would still favor Kaladin.
Patrick Mosbacker
553. Patillian
I love this thread everyone. I had never really thought about how/why people arrived on Roshar or any of the Sanderson worlds until now. It's one of those preconditions to the story that I just accept to enjoy it.

But with the thread in the back of my mind, I had a thought from today's Way of Kings Reread thread. (Chap. 61) I had not remembered the story Navani told about a lady going up some mountains to get "seedstones" to regrow the population after a desolation. Does that seem like a time-warped version of regrowing the population by immigration from other worlds via the warp pools at the top of the Horneater Peaks? I could see other similar pools being in the Urithuru mountains or other locations too.
David Foster
554. ZenBossanova
547. Wetlandernw
I have been wondering if we would see an astronomical element to all of this. Perhaps Adolusium shattering ripped a planet apart, with the Tranquelline Halls being a building on the original planet.

Also, Brandon mentioned that the ending to the StormLight Archive was hidden in books 1 or 2. I am going to keep an eye on Ym's story, in case that means more than just the rabblings of a old shoemaker.
David Foster
555. ZenBossanova
552. philanor
Keep in mind that way Nightblood was created, involved magic from the Shard Endowment. In other words, when it works, it is pure skill, unfettered by reason or restraint. I have heard some conflicting things about how Nightblood will work, but it may be even orders of magnitude more powerful than a proper shardblade.
Jane Smyth
556. Kaboom
I have been in the Wheel of time reread for several years now, but this is the first time that I have gone online with discussions about Sanderson’s own books. The WoK and WoR are the only books of his that I have read, but after reading this discussion I will very soon jump into Warbreaker. After years of reading Wetlanders really thoughtful comments on the WoT reread, I was extremely happy to see that this blog was from her!! I would very much like to see a reread of Warbreaker by you!!!!!

Now for comments and questions. I really liked the flashbacks of Shallan, but I don’t feel they explained everything. As other people have mentioned here, it’s not clear what attracted Pattern. He mentioned at some point that it was her lies that did it, but I thought her major lies (killing her mother and father) happened after he started to bind with her. Did it have anything to do with her drawings? I think there was evidence that she was doing that before the death of her mother. Does Pattern perceive imagined drawings as he does figures of speech? ie. as a lie?
Also at what point did she start to do “Memories” drawing? This is more like the opposite of lying as it is the absolute truth, the perfect representation of something that happened. Is this skill an effect of her bond with Pattern? I’m also confused with how she started to see Pattern. To really see him properly she had to draw him out with a Memory and only then did he truly become “alive”. But in the flashbacks we saw that he had become a blade for her, so obviously she had seen him before. Is it because of her block memories that they had to rebond? It seems that for her, the equivalent of the third oath was to accept her past and reclaim her block memories, to admit the lies.

I thought that Jasnah “death” was well done. It was completely unexpected and shocking as she was my favorite character. At the beginning I refused to believe it, but that I gradually accepted it as it was clear that Shallan did and because it seem obvious that it was what Shallan required to progress further. But I always had this little seed of doubt because of the body problem, however a doubt that I managed to push to ignorance by the end. So her return was indeed a surprise, but one that was “explainable” so I had no problem with it. I also now understand why Navani could not accept Shallan. She probably believed that Shallan murdered her daughter by putting the fire to the ship. I wonder now that her secret is out if Shallan explained to Navani what really happened on the ship.

I don’t know if it was because of the wheel of time, but when at the end of Kaladin’s fight in the 4-1 duel he ended up in prison, I had a very strong feeling that I’d seen this before. To the point that I stop reading for a while, disappointed. I’m not sure now why that feeling was so strong and after reading the rest I now think that it fitted very well in the story.
557. jta068
I guess this is what happens when you lurk for weeks before participating, sorry for the long post.

I would like to chime in on the Radiant/Herald, Shardblade/Honorblade topic.

I think it is too difficult to use a simple one-to-one comparison. It is well laid out that those wielding Honorblades (Honorbearers...?) need to consume more Stormlight, and they expend it at a faster rate. The blades themselves bestow ability on their holders as the Nahel bond does. So, what is the connection? Connection to the cognitive realm perhaps? And since the spren are living creatures in the cognitive realm, they provide a better connection to living creatures in the physical. The Honorblades could possibly be items that were constructed in the cognitive realm, but are items none the less, giving them the connection, and making them less powerful in the physical realm?

Where do the blades go when they are dismissed? Now that we know that the Shardblades are the remnants of dead spren, do they go back to the cognitive realm? I find that difficult to accept. I would guess then that they are possibly attached to the spiritual realm? Perhaps this explains the difference between immediate summoning and ten heart beats? But, by this way of thinking, the Honorblades, if they are of the cognitive realm, should then summon immediately. Perhaps the Heralds then are the connection to the cognitive realm, not the blades.

It has been hinted at that some, if not all, of the Heralds can world jump. It has laso been assumed that worldhopping is accomplished via the cognitive realm. SO the Heralds must have some sort of connection to Shadesmar that we have not seen and/or simply do not understand.

All of that is a lot of specualtion to say, I do not think it is odd that Kalladin as a Radiant (Level 3, or no) was better with Syl than Szeth was. I don't buy the "He was better trained" argument, as Taravangian had already stated that Szeth had received training, and he was already a force to be reckoned as KAlladin was just beginning his trainning.

I think Szeth is going to be the most powerful combatant out there now that he has joined with Nightblood. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being the Sazed of this story. I'm rereading Warbreaker now to see if I can glean anything as to how Szeth will react to holding Nightblood. I have little memory of the specifics of that book

Since this post is already long, I saw mention early on in this thread about Jasnah's clothing having changed from when she was on the boat. I have not seen more discussionof this. Is it wrong to assume that the length of her disappearance is due to the fact that she has been off of Roshar? If not, where could she have gone?
Julian Augustus
558. Alisonwonderland
@552 Philanor. You state:
And this is why, in my opinion, a fight between Szeth & Kaladin went in Kaladin's favor. With both powers being equal, as in both being Windrunners, it is all about individual skills.
I don't think the reason Kaladin won was because of his superior skill as a fighter. I would argue that Szeth had superior Windrunner abilities simply because he had had far more experienced using them in fighting than Kaladin had. Indeed, Szeth correctly identified Kaladin's inexpierence and told Kaladin that he was new to his abilities.

No, as far as I can see, the sole reason Kaladin won and Szeth lost was because Syl was able to turn into various offensive and defensive weapons exactly as needed to help Kaladin win, while the Honorblade could do nothing of the sort for Szeth. If that is the case, why does the prelude to tWoK state of Honorblades:
These Blades were weapons of power beyond even Shardblades.
That statement directly contradicts your belief that:
Which is why I would even suggest that a fight between the Herald Jezrien and Kaladin, the fight would still favor Kaladin.
I think it clearly contradicts what we see in WoR, and I would expect that we will understand better the reasons for this in future books.
Julian Augustus
559. Alisonwonderland
Wetlander @547:
My interpretation is that perhaps the spren pre-dating Honor and Cultivation's arrival on Roshar resulted from the original splintering of Adonalsium itself. In the same way that when a pane of glass shatters it leaves several big pieces, along with a lot of particle-sized pieces, I think it is reasonable to suppose that Adonalsium splintered into 16 large pieces and a whole bunch of particle-sized peices, some of which are the indigenous spren on Roshar.
Jeremy Guebert
560. jeremyguebert
Alisonwonderland @ 558 - Keep in mind that greater power is not the same thing as greater versatility, and one can be more handy in a fight than the other.

The fact that Honorblades actively grant Surgebinding abilities to their bearer seems like a pretty substantial power boost to me (whereas Shardblades are only usable by people who already have access to Surgebinding through their Nahel bond).

Another (possibly loony) theory - perhaps the Shardblades referred to in the prelude work differently than they do now. Something along the lines of being actual physical items crafted by the Heralds and then given to ordinary people, as opposed to spren taking on the forms of weapons. The biggest hole I see in that possibility is that it adds in an additional layer of complexity. Just thinking "out loud", as it were.

jtao68 @ 557 - I don't think it's unreasonable to think that Jasnah could have been world-hopping during WoR, considering her Transportation surge and familiarity with Shadesmar. However, I also don't think that it's necessary - there are certainly other places on Roshar where she could have picked up new clothes, and I can't recall anything in her POVs or conversations with Shallan that indicated knowledge of other worlds (although it's always possible I've missed something).
Julian Augustus
561. Alisonwonderland
Zen @554:
My first thought when I read the comment from Brandon that we have seen the end of the Stormlight in the first two books was of Dalinar's "non-vision" of light and warmth, simply because it didn't fit anything else we have seen in the story so far.
Eric McCabe
562. Zizoz
@558: I'd guess that the prologue was referring to 'dead' Shardblades, the type familiar to people on Roshar, rather than living spren-Shardblades like Syl.
Leeland Woodard
563. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
In the past, Brandon has mentioned the existance of three types of blades on Roshar--do we have any sort of confirmation as to how many types we've seen? We know there are honorblades, shardblades with living spren, and shardblades with dead spren. Are the latter two types really the same type? Does Nightblood count as a "type" of shardblade? I don't think it would, but I can't be absolutely certain.

Possibly there's a whole other type of supernatural blade that's native to Roshar out there.
564. WoozleMom
@ 552, 558, 560

Maybe an Honorblade is more powerful in the hands of its true bearer than in the hands of someone else, kind of like how Kaladin's Syl-Shardblade is more powerful (capable of changing shape, etc) than a dead-spren-Shardblade like those held by Adonlin et al. I'm guessing that those Blades were more powerful pre-Recreance than they are now, and probably could shapeshift like Syl-blade. But they can't do this anymore because the Nahel bond was broken and they are currently "bonded" to someone else. So maybe Jezrien's Honorblade, held by Szeth, while still capable of granting Windrunner abilities, is not nearly as powerful as it was back in the day when it was wielded by Jezrien himself. If so, it could be true that Honorblades are much more powerful than Shardblades, while also being true that Syl's ability to change shape tipped the fight in Kaladin's favor. I'm not sure if this theory explains all the nuances in the Szeth-vs-Kaladin fight, but it was the thought I had when reading your discussion.
Julian Augustus
565. Alisonwonderland
@560, 562,
The prelude to the Stormlight Archive happened before the Recreance, so the Shardblades in the comparison must have been the true original shardblades, living spren.

That was one of my two alternative explanations (and my preferred one), though we can't say definitively that it is true without further information.
566. McKay B
@545: Kelsier took up Preservation's power after Leras died, then gave it up when Vin claimed it. So Kelsier only held it for a couple weeks or something, but that's enough to make him a Sliver.

Kelsier is a stubborn guy -- his spirit has refused to move beyond the Spiritual Realm to the true afterlife. He's still kicking around in a sort of limbo. He's giving Spook instructions, being a continued ally (albeit sometimes a troublesome one) to Sazed, and (according to one of Brandon's interviews) cultivating a VERY antagonistic relationship with Hoid.
Ben Johnston
567. AlcairNovall
@Kaladin v Szeth - I went back to read Kaladin's fight with Szeth and I think one thing we need to consider is that Szeth was better than or even with Kaladin at first. It wasn't until Kalladin 'let himself be' that Kaladin started laying out a serious butt-kicking. In other words, comparing how Kaladin was fighting during that scene, fully in an innate instinctive Windrunner mindset, to how Szeth has been shown to fight pretty much every time, thinking about what he was doing and what his next move needed to be, Kaladin would have the edge because he'd react instinctively rather than letting his brain get in the way. Of course that's not to mention the fact that Szeth just wanted it all to end at that point and - meeting a Radiant - knew that he could without being Truthless.

On a side note, we know that even squires have some pretty epic healing abilities, else Lopen's arm wouldn't be growing back. Soooo... anyone else think that the Bridge 4 crew that lost limbs to Szeth's attack on Dalinar might be able to get their arms or legs to work again?
Andrew Berenson
568. AndrewHB
I went to the Brandon signing in Philadelphia (actually Collegeville, which is a suburb of Philadelphia).

Picked up some interesting tidbits at the signing.

1) Brandon said that he planned the Stormlight Archive as two series of 5 books each. Each set of 5 would have its own arc. The first 5 would concentrate on a small number of main characters, with numerous side characters. The second 5 books would focus on some of the minor characters from the first arc (thus becoming central core characters). Some of the main core characters from the 1st arc will appear in the 2nd arc as side characters.

2) Renarin will be one of the core characters in the 2nd arc (at least that is what I beleive I heard Brandon say).

Based on what Brandon has said in the past (just because a book will have flashback scenes from a character, does not mean that the character has to be alive during the main timeline in the book), it is my opinion that Brandon's statement about Renarin does not mean he will survive the 1st arc. Brandon could have Renarin a type of ghost/spirit that is present during the 2nd arc.

3) Rock will never be anything more than a side character. He will never be a main core character.

4) Brandon beleives that the 3rd book in the Stormlight Archive will be published about 18 months from the publication of WoR. He also expects there to be about 18 months between Books 3 and 4 and Books 4 and 5. Brandon said that it would be unrealistic (given the size and depth of these books) to be published in less time.

5) Brandon intends to that the title of each book in the Stormlight Archives will be the title of a "in-world book".

In addition to the above tidbits, I asked Brandon the following questions when he signed my book.

a) Q: Is it hte power of the Bond between a spren and human (be it from the Nahel Bond or when a human bonds an existing Shardblade) that causes a person's eyes to lighten?
A: Yes

(Thank you to Nakafire @474 for this question. I had posted a theory about why a person's eyes lighten when he/she bonds with a spen (be it through the Nahel bond or when a person bonds an existing Shardblade). Nakafire came up what I thought was a better theory. So I decided to ask it.)

b. Q: Does each Knight Radiant order have its own specific type of spren that bonds with a perspective Knight Radiant? (For example, do honorspren only bond somebody who could be a Windrunner; do Cryptics only bond a Lightweaver?)
A: Yes

I understand that Brandon may have previously revealed some of the above information at prior signings. However, as I have not seen reports of information revealed and/or questions asked from all signings on this tour, the information was new to me.

(And because I am the center of the universe, I will treat this information as new to everybody else :) )

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
569. Freelancer

Apologies. It seemed, when I first read it, that your reference in the final paragraph to a level 5 radiant, amidst a comparison with a Herald, was aimed at Szeth.

But there is definitely far more to a Herald than what is given via the Blade. We are certain from the total available text that Heralds continue to be something more than tthe normal human, with or without their Blades. So there are attributes to the Heralds which Szeth cannot attain simply by bonding that Honorblade. Also, Syl had previously indicated that she believed Kaladin was able (with only two of the Ideals spoken) to do all that Szeth could, Surge-wise.

On the face of it then, Szeth has the advantage of much greater experience with those same Surges, while Kaladin has the advantage of a symbiotic Nahel bond. A bond which was greatly enhanced by him speaking the third Windrunner Ideal. Add to that his passion to protect, balanced against Szeth's wish to be beaten and his uncertainty about the honor of remaining "true" to his status as Truthless, and Kaladin wins.
Julian Augustus
570. Alisonwonderland

No apologies necessary or required.

I guess we have all pretty much come to a consensus that the power of the Heralds was more (perhaps much more) than the Honorblade itsef conferred to a non-Herald holding it. But then, that makes the statement in the Prelude to the Stormlight Archive inaccurate as it stands now, it seems to me. Perhaps a qualifier would cover the confrontation we saw in WoR and future such confrontations as more of the Honorblades come into play, something like:
These Blades were weapons of power beyond even Shardblades.
Of course, all this is mere supposition, and we'll probably know better as the series progresses.
Mark Tisdale
571. Meerletalis
Who says Szeth knew everything about using the honorblade? They still could be more powerful. Nothing says the knowledge to use them correctly has been passed to this generation.
Nadine L.
572. travyl
@ 566. McKay B
I never heard that about Kelsier, thanks for sharing.
It troubles me though that Hoid and ghost-Kelsier might be on opposite sides...
(Curious, that Kelsier didn't die the final death, which I'd believed until now. I don't really see how what you said could have happend.)
Maiane Bakroeva
573. Isilel
Ugh, I hate this new info that Kelsier is still knocking around, somehow. Are "cool" dudes, who are also important characters, constitutionally unable to die a final death in Sanderson's works? I don't want a Jordan 2.0...
John Massey
574. subwoofer
Duke lost. What was that all about?

Julian Augustus
575. Alisonwonderland
Travyl @432:
Your comment about Vedel is noted.

I also re-checked the colors of the gemstones for Vedel (diamond) and Battar (zircon). I think what I have in my chart are reasonable approximations of those colors. Here's what I got from google. For diamond, http://colors.findthebest.com/q/68/10857/What-are-the-RGB-values-of-Diamond
... and for zircon, http://colrd.com/color/0xfff4f8ff/?download=css
576. Freelancer

Buffet paid off Coach K. Less expensive than paying me that $1B.
Alice Arneson
577. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @570 - At that point, Kalak has no reason to consider what happened when someone other than a Herald held one of the Honorblades, really. Why would the Heralds loan their Blades to a "lesser" person during a Desolation anyway? So in Kalak's thoughts, at the time of the Prelude, that addition wouldn't really make sense. Perhaps in a later book when we hear Heralds speaking again, or else by Word of Brandon, we'll get clarification.

subwoofer @574 - Dunno, but it engendered lots of whooping and hollering... :p

Andrew @568 - Thanks for the report! Some I had heard, some I'd inferred, and some was new. So... it's all cool. Especially the bit about Renarin... it really makes me wonder what the second arc is about. Oh, and that he's actually still thinking 18 months for the third book! (Makes me wonder if he's already got some of it written, because that only allows six months for writing it if he really wants the full year from first draft to publication...)

A couple of miscellaneous comments:

Re: the "three types of Blades" - I would assume he meant Honorblades, the existing dead-spren Shardblades, and true living Blades like Pattern and Syl. (I wonder if Jasnah has used Ivory as a Blade yet... If she hadn't by the beginning of the book, I'll bet she has now!) It would be worth asking for confirmation, though.

Re: Szeth & Kaladin - First, I can't believe that simply holding an Honorblade really raises one to the level of a Herald; as many have stated, there was more to the individuals than simply what was conferred by holding the Blade. Second, I'm convinced that the spren bond gives a much more instinctive control of the Surges than the Honorblade can give. It's a bit like working with a partner, except that your partner knows what you're thinking or needing as you think/need, without intervening speech. As opposed to having had to learn how to use the Surges and consciously doing it every time. Even when it gets so familiar that you don't think about it much more than you would think about writing, it's still not quite the same as breathing. (Probably bad analogy, but I'm only sort of awake...)
578. philanor
@577 Wetlandernw

Regarding your assessment of the "three types of blades" being Honorblades, dead-spren Shardblades, and true living Blades, I'd like to mention that the Shardeblades, living or dead, should be a category unto themselves.

With the revelation of Nightblood at the end of WoR, I would say that clearly places it into the third type of Blade since the introdcution of Honorblades and Shardblades in WoK.

My reasoning is this, to say that a dead-spren Shardblade and a true living Blade as two distinctive categories is akin to saying an unloaded shotgun and a loaded shotgun being two different types of guns.

What do you think?
Nadine L.
579. travyl
575. Alisonwonderland
I appologize then. As I said, I'm not good with gemstones.
The colors of the symbols in the two endsheets seemed different.
580. McKay B
@572: Remember, there are three Realms in the Cosmere: Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. We haven't learned much about the Spiritual in any of the Cosmere books yet. Shadesmar, "the place where the Dor is built up," have been revealed a lot more.

But it seems that when people die, their spirits have to transition through the Spiritual Realm on their way to being completely "dead" (moved on). So ... no, we don't know the mechanics that allowed Kelsier to pause along the way, if that's what you mean.

The specific comment about Hoid came from a question to Brandon about which five of his characters would he have over for a dinner party if he could; Hoid and Kelsier were mentioned as possibilities, and Brandon copped out of a complete answer by picking up the tangent, saying that if Hoid and Kelsier both came over, there would probably be blood spilled before dessert. I'm guessing he revealed this *because* he knew it would bother us. I'm not sure whether this mutual hatred means that either character isn't really a good guy, though.

@573: Well, I don't think Brandon is in danger of becoming Jordan 2.0 as long as he keeps pumping out major books that advance the plot every 18 months. ;-)

But I also don't think we're in danger of cool characters never actually dying. I don't know if Vin and Elend are fully "moved on" or if they're still in the Spiritual Realm, but either way I don't think they're going to get involved in the story any more.

Also, just because Kelsier is still in the Cosmere doesn't mean he's able to come "back to life" like Szeth. At least, not without direct intervention of Sazed to that effect ... which I doubt Sazed will do. In the meantime, Kelsier's power to influence the world is pretty subtle, like occasionally whispering to Spook (while Spook was still alive).
Alice Arneson
581. Wetlandernw
philanor @578 - One of my problems with your theory is the wording of Brandon's statement:
Q: Is there any ramifications to the holder of a shard blade for using a blade in a manner that it wasn't intended?
A: Depends on the type of Shardblade. (You have seen three different kinds in TWoK.) For most, no. For some, most certainly.
(Emphasis mine, because it's what we're talking about.) I don't know that he'd say we'd "seen" Nightblood in TWoK. IIRC, we only even saw Nalan in the Prologue, in one sentence, with no mention of his sword. So I have to discount Nightblood as one of the "three kinds" for that statement. There is the fact that we didn't actually see Shallan, Kaladin or Jasnah using a living Shardblade; however, I take this to be Brandon being tricky, since we did see Sylphrena herself, as well as Pattern-before-we-knew-who-he-was. (We also had good info that Shallan had a Blade, which we now know to be Pattern, so you could sort of count that, too.)

The fact that Nightblood is yet another kind of "Shardblade" doesn't have any effect on the statement that we'd seen three kinds in TWoK; he certainly didn't say that there were only three kinds in existence. Yet another example of Brandon having got very good at giving Aes Sedai answers.

(Do you suppose the Cryptics gained any of their personality from Brandon writing the Aes Sedai...?)
Leeland Woodard
582. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@wetlander, 581
Thanks for the clarification. It's been a while since I read his actual words about the three types of shardblades. I'd say you're probably right, he's talking about honorblades, living shardblades, and dead ones.
Tom Murray
583. Hadrian
Something that’s along the same lines --

Teramar, free pdf of the short story:

David Foster
584. ZenBossanova
577. Wetlandernw

Jasnah has her own blade. Remember her threatening Hoid at the very end of the book?
Alice Arneson
585. Wetlandernw
That's right, we saw it in the epilogue. What I was really wondering was if she had used/known about the spren/Blade thing before Chapter 7, or if she figured it out while she was gone. I did forget that we now have proof that she definitely, not just probably knows about it now.
James Tyrrell
586. skinnylipid
Has anyone else noticed the glaring difference between Kaladin's Shardblade and the other 'living' blades seen?

Shallan, Jasnah & Renarin's are all described as silver... So are the blades in the Dalinar's visions (except for the on on the Recreance, where they are described as glowing).

Kaladin's... Bright shining blue with swirling glyphs. Kinda stands out as something else entirely.
Pirmin Schanne
587. Torvald Nom
@586: At least Shallan's blade came with glowing garnet lights, so that's not entirely unique to Kaladin - the brightness might have been different, but that might well be due to use of stormlight.
Jonathan Bryson
588. Staizer
Shallan's blade also had writing on the side of the blade that Kaladin noticed that he had not seen on any other swords.

Maybe they are the truths that Shallan has spoken?
Mark Tisdale
589. Meerletalis
Could the writing Kaladin noticed be a "pattern"? After all, they use glyphs and he can apparently only read some sets of them. They might be an alphabet that looks familiar, but humans do not currently use.
Dixon Davis
590. KadesSwordElanor
OMG, OMG, OMG (never used that before and won't again). Did Kaladin & Syl just create a blade? OMG(well, I lied). Almost done and ready to join the conversation.:)
Andrew Berenson
591. AndrewHB
KadesSword Elanor @590. Kaladin and Syl did not create a Shardblade? Rather, Syl is the Blade. As was Pattern for Shallon.

Thanks for reading my musings,
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
592. Wetlandernw
skinnylipid @586 - I don't think there's any difference at all, except that the patterns along the blades glow different colors, according to the different Orders. Kaladin's is described thus: "Glowing, brilliant, a Shardblade emerged from the mist, vivid blue light shining from swirling patterns along its length." You apparently read that as the Blade itself being blue; I read it as the patterns giving out a blue light, but the sword itself is probably silvery. Shallan's likewise is described this way: "It glowed softly the color of garnet along several faint lines down its length." Both sound very reminiscent of the armor with glowing glyphs on the Radiants in Dalinar's vision.

As for Jasnah's and Renarin's Blades... Jasnah's is only described as "a long, thin sword" and we haven't seen Renarin's true Blade at all - only the dead Blade Adolin won for him. Not much to draw from that.

So no, I don't think Kaladin's is glaringly different. Sorry.
Julian Augustus
593. Alisonwonderland
WetlanderNW @577

You are right, of course, that since these are Kalak's thoughts the qualifier I added would not have occured to him. I am looking forward to Brandon clarifying this in a later book, even if it is to show that we (and Kalak) are wrong and that the spren have created copies superior to the originals!
Julian Augustus
594. Alisonwonderland
Travyl @579,

Please, no apologies necessary or required. After all, we are all here to exchange ideas and, hopefully, each of us gain a better understanding and appreciation of the story. Your comment about my name for Vedel in the chart being a case in point, and very welcome.
James Tyrrell
595. skinnylipid
Wetlandernw @ 592 Must admit, I missed the bit about Shallan's blade softly glowing with garnet lines.

I still think there's a difference between 'softly glowing' and 'vivid' & 'brilliant' though... Unless it's simply the amount of storm light the bearers were holding and maybe Jasnah was holding none?

seems odd to me that Dalinar picked none of this up in his visions considering how close he come to those wielding living shard blades (aside from the vision about the recreance where he notes a 'glowing' leaving the blade when discarded)...

I'm wondering if this particular feature migrates to the shard plate when you've spoken enough oaths to reach that level.
596. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @581

The third kind of Shardblade isn't simply hinted at nor presumed. It is seen in Starfalls (Ch. 19), during Dalinar's highstorm vision where he is Heb, and ends up fighting alongside a Windrunner and (my presumption) a Stoneward. Their Shards, both Blade and Plate, are likely "alive", as suggested by their helms appearing/disappearing.

I note that the Windrunner has blue eyes and his Plate glows sapphire blue, while the other Radiant has tan eyes and amber Plate. She uses some form of fabrial, composed of a Topaz (bone) and a Heliodor (flesh), to heal the wounds of Heb and his wife, Taffa.

I am currently of the opinion that once a Nahel bond is fully matured (whatever that might mean for any given Order or type of spren), it will no longer be necessary for the Knight to carry Stormlight in the form of spher