Thu
Mar 20 2014 11:00am

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 60 and 61

Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on Tor.com. We’re back after a short break so that all of you could dip into Words of Radiance, which hit #1 on the New York Times best-seller list during its first week of release! This is, I believe, Brandon’s first appearance at #1 for a non-Wheel of Time novel in the Adult category. Steelheart also hit #1 for the Young Adult category last year so he’s definitely on a roll. It is safe to say that there are plenty of Sanderson and Stormlight fans out there.

Currently, I still have not officially started Words of Radiance, but I’m going to crack before long. My plan of waiting until the reread is done just seems too far away and the closer we get to the end the more I NEED to know what happens next. So with that in mind I’m tackling two short chapters this week that both center on Dalinar. “That Which We Cannot Have” is an infuriating chapter where so much is teased but little is given in concrete answers, while in “Right For Wrong” Dalinar finally gets something to smile about: a girlfriend. Also, academia may be Dalinar’s savior. Isn’t that nice.

Chapter 60: That Which We Cannot Have
Point of View
: Dalinar
Setting: The Shattered Plains

What Happens: Dalinar and Adolin are conferring about abdication with Renarin and Navani looking on. Adolin flatly refuses to let Dalinar leave his position, which Dalinar agrees to. Dalinar isn’t ready to “leave this fight now.” Dalinar’s only caveat is that if he displays marks of being too unstable, Adolin has the right to depose him.

Adolin voices his distrust of Sadeas, but again Dalinar tries to mitigate his fears though even Navani says she has never cared for Sadeas, even when he was young friends with Gavilar. Elhokar’s fears of assassination are brought up and Navani wonders if Sadeas could be behind it yet Dalinar says it is impossible as Sadeas prefers to be close to the power, but far enough away that he couldn’t take the blame for anything large that goes awry. Still Dalinar sees enough to be concerned about that he orders only guards they can trust be close to Elhokar.

Renarin turns the conversation to the curious looking fabrial Navani has—it turns out to be a pain relieving fabrial. She demonstrates on Adolin, who agrees it works well although it doesn’t heal injuries but just diminishes the pain. Navani alludes to even greater devices in the works though she won’t comment further, but Navani thinks the ancients had even better fabrial technology. Dalinar disagrees, as during all his visions he has yet to see anything like the fabrials they have nowadays and things were very primitive though he says he has not yet seen a Dawncity. Shardblades certainly existed, but he felt they seem out of place in the past.

Suddenly Dalinar finds himself in the past again. He is with a regal man and whomever’s body Dalinar has taken, he and this man were clearly in the middle of an important conversation. On the man’s head are gold threads woven in the shape of the symbol of the Knights Radiant.

The regal man is talking about the Desolations and how they “are never ready” for them even though they have gone through so many. He also mentions a Surgebinder named Alakavish that has clearly done something wrong. The man refers to Dalinar as Karm and alludes to the fact that Karm has Surgebinders of his own.

Dalinar asks what they should do with the Surgebinders. The regal man hopes that they can be better. Use the responsibility they’ve been given with the Nahel bond to make everyone better. Dalinar looks out over the balcony and notices for the first time the horror on the ground. Corpses fill the streets along with strange looking rocks that might once have been live creatures. Dalinar also realizes that this city is ancient Kholinar and he stands where the palace would one day stand.

This was the result of a Desolation. A fresh one. The regal man says it was eleven years of war and that 9 out of 10 people he ruled over were now deceased. Cities are in ruin and whole kingdoms have been destroyed. Alakavish had caused the war before the Desolation weakening their society.

Dalinar thinks he is in a time before the Knights Radiant were known by that name. He also realizes the regal man could be none other than Nohadon. To test the man Dalinar quotes from The Way of Kings, which the man finishes for him confirming they are his words.

Nohadon says he is giving up the throne as there are other who can lead, but Dalinar implores him not to as there are surely other leaders yet none as good as he has been. This is clearly a much younger Nohadon than the one who eventually wrote The Way of Kings. Nohadon asks what he is to do if he keeps the throne. He wants to know how to protect his people so that something like this never happens again.

Dalinar suggests he write a book to “give people hope, to explain your philosophy on leadership and how lives should be lived!”

Nohadon doesn’t take to the idea well. There is too much to do. Every family has lost someone, many of their best people are dead, and food is in short supply. All Nohadon’s wordsmen are dead at the hands of something called Yelignar. Dalinar offers to write for him, but Nohadon brought up that Karm only had one arm though through Dalinar’s eyes he still sees and feels two.

Nohadon says they have to rebuild, but that he hopes he can bring all the kings together instead of see them squabbling and fighting one another. It is a time for action a time for the sword by Nohadon’s estimation. Dalinar is taken aback that the man he looked up to in a fashion was rallying behind a sword rather than other means given all that was in The Way of Kings. Though he says he wishes for peace over power. Nohadon then walks away leaving Dalinar alone.

Dalinar starts speaking expecting to hear the voice he had encountered on these visions in the past. He asks what Nohadon decides to do, but no one answers. Dalinar then returns to the Shattered Plains back where he started. He complains he didn’t learn anything, but Navani asks what he said before the vision ended. Navani says it sounded like a phrase from a very old book in a language no one currently understood and that with the notes she had taken and knowing what Dalinar had truly meant to say could lead to deciphering this language now. Dalinar always assumed the sounds he made while in the middle of a vision was just gibberish, but it seems he was speaking whatever language the ancient spoke at the time. Navani says the words he spoke were part of a very old chant that some claim was written in Dawnchant by the Heralds. They still have the songs, but the meaning to them is lost. Dalinar may have been speaking Dawnchant!

Quote of the Chapter:

“They say that each time it is the same,” the man said. “We are never ready for the Desolations. We should be getting better at resisting, but each time we step closer to destruction instead.”

Gosh, that was said thousands of years before current events on Roshar and things are going exactly the same way again. Now that is some recursion for you. The Alethi are clearly not ready for a Desolation. They are not united and are still a bickering bunch of “Thrill” filled-warriors. Plus they are being weakened just like Nohadon’s people were before the start of a Desolation. All too eerily familiar, but things have to change somehow. Is Kaladin the catalyst that is needed to break the cycle? For that we will have to wait and see.

Also, it is interesting to see the moment Dalinar decides he can’t give up his position followed by Nohadon considering leaving his own. This time Dalinar had to convince someone to keep authority.

Commentary: Fabrial tech is getting better and better. Though it is interesting to see that Dalinar seems confident the ancients didn’t have fabrials or at least any like they have nowadays. Even greater change is coming in terms of technology infused fabrials. Navani is holding out on everyone.

The Nahel bond gets mentioned, which we know precious little about other than that seems to be the relationship that is developing between Syl and Kaladin. Interesting choice of words saying “not all spren are as discerning as honorspren,” which to me sounds like more than one type of spren can bond with a person besides honorspen. The likely answer seems to be that each sect of Knights Radiant has a different type of spren that is attracted them.

This Surgebinder Alakavish seems like a pivotal character in Roshar’s past. It is almost like he could be one of the people that lead at least one group of the Knights Radiant astray causing people to mistrust all Knights Radiant in the future.

The cyclical nature of the story again comes to the fore with Nohadon asks when the Heralds return again if everyone will have forgotten them again. Well, one thing is clear that Roshar hasn’t forgotten the Heralds this time around, but clearly the Alethi are being weakened in a similar way as they were during Nohadon’s time before a Desolation.

But all these visions beg the question is Dalinar merely seeing the past in some fashion or is he actually affecting the past somehow? Dalinar’s suggestion to Nohadon about writing a book could be the seed which will fruit The Way of Kings later in Nohadon’s life.

Those aren’t stones. They’re creatures. Massive creatures, easily five or six times the size of a person, their skin dull and grey like granite. They had long limbs and skeletal bodies, the forelegs—or were they arms?—set into wide shoulders. The faces were lean, narrow. Arrowlike.

Are we reading a description of the Parshendi/Parshmen transformed to their Desolation state of being? When I first read this section I just thought they were the thunderclasts from the Prelude, but the finer description makes it sound like they were closer to men shape than something actually hewn from rocks.

Lastly, what the heck is a Yelignar? This is the second time Yelignar has been mention. Back in an epigraph from chapter 45 it mentions Yelignar was also called Blightwind and seems to be part of something called The Unmade. Yelignar apparently eats people too. Nasty sounding creature that has to be one of Odium’s foot soldiers. Perhaps even the opposite of the Heralds. Or one of the Ten Deaths we’ve discussed before. I can only imagine the giant concordance the Stormlight Archive will someday necessitate.

 

Chapter 61: Right for Wrong
Point of View
: Dalinar
Setting: The Shattered Plains

What Happens: Hours after the vision has ended, Dalinar is still discussing its contents with Navani while Renarin watches on for decorum’s sake. Navani is most concerned with why Dalinar believes the man in the vision was Nohadon. Dalinar basically feels it was him due to his personal presence, “an aura of command about him.”

The conversation turns to the Desolations and that Dalinar believes he witnessed the aftermath of one. He also claims to have seen dead Voidbringers. He thinks this should be proof enough, especially if historical sources on the Desolations could corroborate them. Navani though feels the linguistics would actually be what swayed people and be proof enough that Dalinar’s visions are true. Others will believe him if he goes public with the knowledge he has gained through them.

Dalinar is taken aback that Navani plans to tell others of his visions. Navani believes it is important to tell people since so many already know of his “episodes” causing bad feelings directed at Dalinar. He makes people uncomfortable and many believe his mind is diseased. Dalinar doesn’t want to be made into a mystic and prophecy is not looked well upon by Alethi since the Hierocracy. Renarin thought if they were messages from the Almighty people would accept them yet Dalinar said they spoke to ardents who said the visions likely did not come from the Almighty so others might not accept them as readily as Navani.

Navani asks about Dalinar seeking the Old Magic, but he brushes that aside saying he knows what his boon and curse are and they are not related to the visions at all. Inwardly, Dalinar regrets the day he sought the Old Magic and lost all memories of his wife.

Dalinar says that the Almighty isn’t necessarily behind the visions. All he knows is that someone or something wants him to know about the Desolations and the Knights Radiant.

Renarin asks Navani about the Desolations, what were they really. She says no true accounts exist and everything has passed into folklore, but she tells the story of Parasaphi and Nadris. Parasaphi searched out the seedstones, which repopulated her people lost during a Desolation. She climbed the mountains of Dara to find stones that the Heralds had supposedly touched. She found the seeds and brought them to Nadris who was dying. Together they used the seeds to bring about ten children who restarted Parasaphi’s nation that would be called Marnah, which was the forerunner civilization of what is now called Makabaki. The story also tells of the Desolation at the beginning citing it as the reason all Parasaphi’s people died.

Dalinar wonders when the Knights Radiant were founded, but Navani doesn’t know. Dalinar doesn’t believe that the Knights Radiant were bad, at least not always. In his visions they acted in a generally good manner. Dalinar has a lot to think about and asks to be left alone. Renarin steps out, but Navani lingers. She tells him the visions are a blessing and he should be happy to know he is not mad after all. Dalinar doesn’t seem calmed by this all and is all the more worried.

She asks if it was true that he trusted her. He seems confused at first, but he had said as much earlier when he asked for her opinion as he didn’t know which of his clerks to trust in recording his visions. She is holding his arm and closes the door.

Dalinar at first protests being alone with her, but she says it has been six years since her husband, his brother died and though she misses him. She isn’t needed or really wanted anywhere else, which is why she came to him and the Shattered Plains. She starts to cry and Dalinar kisses her. He knows it is a mistake, but he can’t stop himself. He breaks off the kiss and starts to speak but she stops him.

Navani says she is concerned about the world and that the king of Jah Keved was assassinated by a Shin Shardbearer in white. And the fact that many who died spouted odd things right before they died. Highstorms are also getting stronger according to the stormwardens. She also says she needs him and has for a long time.

Dalinar is worried what will happen to them if they develop a deeper relationship, but she feels it won’t matter as they already talk about him now and ignore her. Dalinar asks for time to think, but Navani is firm that they should be together, especially since he started this with a kiss. She then leaves him alone with his thoughts.

Quote of the Chapter:

Would that day never stop haunting him? Was not losing all memory of his wife enough?

The wording is still a bit ambiguous as to whether Dalinar’s Old Magic curse was losing the memories of his deceased wife or if that was the boon he sought, but it suggests to me that it was the curse since he considers it a great personal loss. So what the heck is his boon? Seems likely it also has to do with family or at least “honor’ in the eyes of Dalinar.

Commentary: Go Dalinar! Finally going after something he wants consequences be damned. But really what would the consequences be for Dalinar and Navani? Certainly some rumor mongering by the ”proper" Alethi who would look askance upon the couple. Yet Dalinar is already out of favor with most of Alethi high society and from what Navani shares she is ignored by most. So why not have a good time and be with the one you love?

Dalinar meets his idol of sorts. The man who wrote the book that lead Dalinar on the path his life has taken. Only he wasn’t yet the man Dalinar had envisioned, but a younger version who had just witnessed and partook in a Desolation losing countless people he commanded and cared about. Maybe showing Dalinar this part of Nohadon’s life was supposed to show him that the road to being honorable is often being faced with terrible experiences and rising above them.

Renarin asked for readings on the Old Magic so it seems he has an interest in the subject. Perhaps he will seek to be healed by the Nightwatcher at some point. One thing seems clear: we’ll have an encounter with the Nightwatcher during the course of The Stormlight Archive. Also, it is interesting that Renarin is the one to ask his father about his boon and curse. It is made clear early on that Renarin suffers from blood weakness which basically means he cannot be physical for too long. Renarin could be the very reason Dalinar went in search of the Old Magic in the first place to be a warrior, but through the Nightwatcher’s own twisted ways it was never specified he’d be very good or last long in a fight.

Navani comes a bit out of her shell this chapter and for someone who is supposedly ignored by most she seems awfully well informed about the state of the world including how the death quotes are coming more often. Overall, it was quite nice to have a somewhat uplifting chapter for Dalinar. Though one of the worst experiences of his life is coming very, very soon....

 


Michael Pye (aka The Mad Hatter) runs The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review where he shares his views on genre books. He can also be found nattering on Twitter or in search of the perfect piece of bacon.

49 comments
Carl Engle-Laird
1. CarlEngle-Laird
Hey everybody, Carl here.

We've decided to bring back the Way of Kings reread, now that Words of Radiance has been out for a couple of weeks. I'm sure you're all still totally jazzed about that book, and the idea of reading Way of Kings with the added perspective is very exciting. That being said, we aren't sure how many regular readers of this series are still waiting to read the sequel. We'll be testing the waters going forward on how spoilery the correct amount of spoilery discussion is, so please be patient and sensitive to your fellow commenters' desires to be spared spoilers. If it turns out that everyone who's reading this has read the sequel, we will open the floodgates more.

Having said that, welcome back to the Way of Kings reread!
Adam S.
2. MDNY
Oh yeah, there was a book before Words of Radiance....
And I find myself unable to say much without spoilers. Let's see...
I always read it that Dalinar's curse was to lose all memory of his wife, not even being able to hear her name. Since we've heard that her curse often (but not always) relates to the boon she grants, I assumed that Dalinar was consumed with grief after his wife died, and sought the old magic as a last resort, asking the NW to cure his grief, so that his boon was to lose grief over shshshshshhsh 's death, and his curse was to lose all memory of her. Guess we'll have to wait for the Dalinar flashback book to know for sure.
The creatures seen in the vision definitely sound like Thunderclasts to me. In both this vision and the prologue, we see what sounds like dead parshendi/parshmen littering the battlefield along with dead humans and dead thunderclasts.
Can't discuss any of my thoughts on Alakavish as I had no theories on him until I read WOR, but it sounds like he started massive wars just before the desolation, kind of like Taravangian is doing now...
Deana Whitney
3. Braid_Tug
My take on it is that he lost his wife to some type of illness.
Fearing Renarin had the same thing, he sought the old magic to cure his son so he didn't lose him too.
In exchange NW said "You will have to forget the mother, to save your son."

But part of what drove him to the NW as guilt over Galinar's death. Guessing grief for the wife turned him into the drunk. He didn't want to be a drunk anymore.

Guess its a RAFO...

Okay, Carl & Michael, we will try to be good. :-)
Which Spoiler thread should be the "official" one for ideas we hit upon here?
Andrew Berenson
4. AndrewHB
MDNY @2. I agree with you that Dalinar's boon was to remove the grief he suffered over his wife's death. I wonder how she died?

I find that Navani's statement of wanting to Dalinar to go public with the contents of his visions to be interesting -- especially post WoR.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
ajh
5. ajh
Regarding spoilers: I've read the Words of Radiance, and I'm inclined to think that most others will have too.

In my opinion, I think that having the context of the sequel adds quite a bit to the analysis of the re-read.

With that being said, if others pipe up to state that they're holding out on the sequel while engaging here, then I think that should be respected. There are other places for spoilery discussion to take place.
Cody
6. Tarcanus
I, for one, would like all spoilers to be avoided. Not all of us can drop the money for the hardback and have to wait for the MMPB, which take months to eventually be released.
Carl Engle-Laird
7. CarlEngle-Laird
Right now the bulk of the conversation has been taking place in the comments thread of the WoR spoiler review, located here:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/03/book-review-words-of-radiance-spoiler-brandon-sanderson
Aaron Moss
8. bruceiv
My read on this was that forgetting his wife was both the boon and the curse, much along the lines of what MDNY said @2. It seems in line with how they pair up in that one interlude that describes them.
Jeremy Guebert
9. jeremyguebert
I think it's incredibly cool that Dalinar is actually speaking in ancient languages - it's like having a living Rosetta Stone. Very interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of that particular discovery and the translation effort. Imagine how much useful information could have been recorded by the ancients and stored in Dawnchant, for example!

Also, really interesting chapter title - "That Which We Cannot Have". Taken from an earlier statement that "To be human is to want that which we cannot have", except that now, he is taking something which he wants but previously believed he couldn't have.

ETA: Now I know how Carl and Alice felt, trying to provide useful information/discussion without spoiling anything...
Kelly LeBourveau
10. Kikuo
Yay! You're back! Hi! ::waves:: We missed you, Way of Kings reread!

First: Go Navani, screw convention! Navani loves Dalinar. Awww, how sweet! Power Couple.

@4 If they shared Dalinar's visions, people might think he was insane/senile or whatever. But if his visions could possibly help SAVE THE WORLD, then sharing them could be a good thing? Get more people on their side before the apocalypse happens, and all that. Trying to figure out the visions was intriguing, especially the vision with the dark figures he was fighting when he was a farmer (I kept picturing like, a puma for some reason, deadly, catlike, etc) and the monster/thing they fought during the vision he saw at the lake. Can't say much more because anything else I have would be spoiling WoR.
ajh
11. Rancho Unicorno
Regarding spoilers, I'm halfway through WoR, will proably finish over the weekend (I can only do 50-100 pages on a weeknight).

Do we know when Dalinar went to the NW? Without knowing the timing, my guess would have been that he went with guilt over the death of his brother, asking a boon to "get beyond the drink", "put his dishonor behind him" or something that that effect. The curse is that he also had to put his wife behind him. That would tie the boon and curse, make his forgetting his wife a reasonable outcome, and relate to his honor. Additionally, it seems like he spends a lot of time regretting his drunkeness on the night in question.
T C
12. Freelancer
The Words of Radiance spoiler thread can certainly be used to "bump" thoughts from Way of Kings and engage fresh discussion, without risking spoilers here yet.

But there would have to be a reasonable limit. I'd suggest that two months following WoR release date, the header of new posts here warn that all currently available Stormlight Archive material is fair game for the discussion. After a time it becomes pointless and counterproductive to continue speaking of a subject as though later-received canonical information were not available. This was the sort of pattern followed by The Wheel of Time re-read, and it worked quite well.
ajh
13. BenW
Any chance of a Mistborn read/reread in the future?
Carl Engle-Laird
14. CarlEngle-Laird
@13 There aren't any current plans for a Mistborn reread.
Ben Wilder
15. BenW
@14 Well let us know if that changes, OK?
Adam S.
17. MDNY
I'll add my support for a Mistborn reread, still my favorite BWS works to date (too much downer Kaladin time in both Stormlight books for my taste).
Nadine L.
18. travyl
It's great that he meets his idol - when he hasn't done the thing Dalinar idolizes him for. I'm strongly opposed to time-travel because of the paradox of cause and effect. I'm not sure if we have evidence, or if I just am convinced because of my inclination, but I think that Dalinar "only" has visions, and isn't affecting the past (prompting N. to write Way of Kings).

@re Spoilers: we have to wait at least until Michael finishes WoR.
@spoiler thread. The current spoiler thread already has >540 entries, so I'm not sure if we shouldn't start a new one, to place comments that are sparked by the current WoK discussion. I guess it depends on how long we'll hold to the non-spoiler policy.

@reRead: There could be another one, other than Mistborn. Hint, hint ;)
Alice Arneson
19. Wetlandernw
jeremy @9 - Yup. Now you know! :)

I think it's only fair to try to keep spoilers out of the reread for a reasonable time, but... it does make things awkward. As others have noted, the additional insight from having read the next book really triggers thoughts on what we're reading here! My only concern is that not allowing spoilers may squash the comments here, and everything will be taken to a different thread for more open discussion. I'd hate to see that happen.

Re: Dalinar's visit to the Nightwatcher - I had a theory, but research has shot it down. So I'm still at square one, not really knowing anything about why he went. I have a strong suspicion as to when, but I can't prove it. Yet.

I really hope we learn a LOT more about the actual founding of the Knights Radiant at some point. We've got bits and pieces here and there, but I'm still a little unclear as to whether all Surgebinders have always been bound by the Ideals, or if the Ideals were a later development intended to curb the most egotistical of their behaviors once people started realizing just what could be done with that kind of power.
Jim Crumley
20. crumley
I vote for holding off on the spoilers.

I am only an ocassional poster here, though an avid reder of this and a couple of other Tor re-reads. I haven't started WoR yet, other than the pre-release chapters printed here. I am in the middle of reading another door stop, and I am actually re-reading WoK along with. So I don't think that I am going to start for a month, and it will be another month after that till I finish.

I was going to suggest waiting two or three months after the original release to allow spoilers, but then I realized that is probably about the same time that this re-read will finish WoK. So I am going to suggest just making the policy to leave this re-read completely clean of WoR spoilers. It would be a simple and consistent policy throughout the entire book's worth of posts.

Plus, while I obviously don't have stats on it, my guess is that there are many more lurkers here than frequent posters. It seems likely that it will take us longer to get through WoR.
Nick Hlavacek
21. Nick31
I haven't had a chance to read WOR yet (newborn twins are taking a wee bit of my time these days) so I personally think avoiding spoilers would be great.

Chalk me up as another reader who thinks Dalinar's boon and curse are one and the same. He gets to overcome his grief but loses his memories. Not much of a boon if you ask me, but I suppose it depends on how much his grief was ruling his life.
Jeremy Guebert
22. jeremyguebert
I'm strongly of the opinion that Dalinar isn't actually timetraveling during his visions. This is somewhat supported by the fact that they eventually start to cycle (in at least one instance, I forget if it becomes a loop or if it was just the one at the end of Way of Kings that he'd seen before) - they wouldn't be exactly the same every go-round if he was able to immediately affect things. I've said it before, but I see the visions as the fantasy equivalent of the holodeck - the overall narrative and major sequence of events are "programmed" by the Almighty, with some small-scale adaptation/improvisation by the individual "actors" that Dalinar interacts with while in the visions.

Wetlander @ 19 - count me as another who would like to see the actual founding of the KR. Taln's flashback sequence, possibly?
Julian Augustus
23. Alisonwonderland
MDNY @17
I'll add my support for a Mistborn reread, still my favorite BWS works to date (too much downer Kaladin time in both Stormlight books for my taste)
spoiler:
Really? I found Mistborn 3 relentlessly depressing with only a little bit, a teensy little bit, of light at the end! Tastes do really differ!
Maiane Bakroeva
24. Isilel
What is slightly weird in Nahadon sequence IMHO, is that Dalinar offers to write down the "Way of Kings" for him. But Dalinar, like all conventional Vorin men, is illiterate! He only knows glyphs, but they can't convey complex ideas or continuous narratives.

And yea, Radiants as such didn't yet exist at that point, only surgebinders. And it doesn't look like they were bound by Ideals. Maybe Nahadon and/or his followers somehow convinced the spren to change the bonds, so that the Ideals became a requirement?

It is somewhat surprising and refreshing that Adolin and Renarin took a developping relationship between their father and their aunt in a stride. I wonder how Jasnah is going to react when she learns about it, heh.
ajh
25. WoozleMom
@24

In the vision when Dalinar suggests that Nohadon write a book, Nohadon says (paraphrased), "Who would scribe it for me? . . . You're the only man of letters I know of who's still alive." So Dalinar, surprised by the strangeness of this cultural difference, plays along with the vision and says, "I could write it, then." He was speaking as the man that Nohadon was comversing with, not as himself.
Deana Whitney
26. Braid_Tug
@ 24: To me this vision acted as proof that the gender roles were not set, like they are currently.
Much like the safehand sleeve grew out of a concept that was taken to an extreme.

There's some more information on the Coppermind, but it’s a field mind of spoilers right now. So best to avoid until after WoR is read.

If the book acted as the foundation for the KR, then it leads me to think that the Vorin Church is not set yet when Dalinar has this vision.
Adam S.
27. MDNY
@26 The Vorin church in the visions (if there was one) was clearly not the same church that exists in Dalinar's day. I have long suspected that we are going to learn more about the Heirocracy, when the church tried to take control, and the reassertion of secular rule in the Vorin kingdoms that followed. Much of what was previously known was lost during the Heirocracy, and I suspect that the church still has hidden scrolls from the past that are not widely known.
Jeremy Guebert
28. jeremyguebert
MDNY @27 - I would be surprised if the Vorin church still has hidden ancient scrolls, to be honest. I mean, they were trying to destroy knowledge and eliminate any possible negative implications associated with that timeframe, after all. Making a special effort to preserve the very texts they spent so much effort to suppress seems counter-intuitive to me.
Mike I
29. MikeyRocks
Random thought. is the Nightwatcher able to bring someone back from the dead? if so, do you think Kaladin might go seek "it" out to bring back his little brother?
David Foster
30. ZenBossanova
I don't think we have a time-travel situation here. Partly, I say this because often in the vision, Honor will just start talking through one of the people there, as if Time is on hold.

Visions is what they are, not actual travel to different times or places. Dalinar never leaves when he is having a Vision. He is with Navani the whole time.
Karen Fox
31. thepupxpert
@2 - I think Dalinar's boon was to help his people prepare for the Desolation. How he received his boon - having visions during highstorms - was clearly not what he was expecting.

Also, I'm only halfway through WOR so it would be great to try to avoid spoilers.

EDITED - to complete my thought and typos.
Deana Whitney
32. Braid_Tug
@31: Was Dalinar even aware the Desolation might be comming?

Or had they "faded into myth" because "humans won" the last one?
Nadine L.
33. travyl
I don't think Dalinar had any inkling of the impending Desolation. In the discussed chapters he clearly is puzzled about them, so I don't think this can be the reason he sought out the Nightwatcher.

And if you'd have read WoR... (just teasing, no real comment in mind).
Karen Fox
34. thepupxpert
haha, juggling too many things in real life right now but it's high on my priority list...
Jeremy Guebert
35. jeremyguebert
Mike @ 29 - I don't think we know one way or another whether resurrection is part of the Nightwatcher's skillset. I do think that if it were possible, Tien would be pretty high on Kaladin's list of people to bring back (although I'm still curious about this Terah woman that he mentions having failed in one of his flashbacks).
Maiane Bakroeva
36. Isilel
Thanks, WoozleMom @25,
I have forgotten that Dalinar was put into the role of a "man of letters" in this vision.
But isn't it also curious that Nohadon himself appears to be illiterate despite being a king and, apparently, a surgebinder? I guess, that's what his headress with surge-glyphs is supposed to symbolise...
I mean, he intended to abdicate, so it isn't like he wouldn't have had the leisure to write it down himself. He just couldn't, oddly enough.
Adam S.
37. MDNY
@29 I doubt resurrection is possible. A spoiler for the Mistborn series is my best evidence:
Sazed, at the end of Hero of Ages, holds 2 shards and yet he wrote that there is a barrier at death beyond which even he could not reach.
(highlight to read)
Nadine L.
38. travyl
@35. jeremyguebert
I don't think the "Tarah woman" is necessarily dead.
I was reading ahead, but it's WoK knowledge - fair game:

in chapter 63 Kaladin indicates that she is someone from his time in Amaram's army.
in chapter 62 he names her with his failures, the people who died, but he also thinks "His failure with her had been different from the others, but a failure it was nonetheless." - maybe they just broke apart, but she didn't die, that's why the failure is different...
Pirmin Schanne
39. Torvald Nom
@37: You might want to reread that passage in the Hero of Ages; in fact, he seems to be able to contact them.
Additionally, keep Vasher and his ilk in mind - death does not seem to stop the Endowment.
Leeland Woodard
40. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
A bit late to this one.

The herald icons for chapter 60 are Jez/Palah.

The divine attributes associated with Jez are protecting/leading. I attribute this in part to the abdication discussion, but in a larger part to Nohadon's presence. Jezrien is the king of the heralds, and it only makes sense that Jez would be associated with him.

The divine attributes associated with Palah are learned/giving. I would say that it's probably here for Navani, and her revelations regarding the Dawnchant.

The herald icons for chapter 61 are Tanat and Kak.

The divine attributes associated with Tanat are dependable/resourceful. The divine attributes associated with Kak are resolute/builder. Honestly, I'm not super certain why these particular icons were chosen this chapter. It could have to do with Dalinar still being suspicious of the visions. It could have to do with the old magic somehow. Really, other people will have to weigh in on this.

Regarding the spoiler policy, I'd prefer it if we opened it up for WoR spoilers, but I understand that some people might not want that. I'd suggest that those of us that want to use spoilers just white-out our spoilery comments.
Jeremy Guebert
41. jeremyguebert
travyl @ 38 - Hmm, good point. I'd still like to find out who she was to Kaladin, and what exactly happened to her.
Leeland Woodard
42. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@38,41

I think we'll probably have to wait until the 2nd Kaladin focused book to find that one out.
ajh
43. orazor1324
@31, 32, 33:

Maybe I'm missing something here, but isn't it at all possible that upon receiving Gavilar's death message, Dalinar hightailed it to the NW and asked her for help? She gave him the visions, but took away his memories of his wife... who could have been tied in some significant way to his previous life as "the Blackthorn," an identity that he needed to shed in order to unite Alethkar (and possibly the rest of Roshar?).

I suggest this, since at least at the point where I am in WoR (about 65% through), it seems that the various Brightlords' wives are rather instrumental in forging and maintaining their public personae, as sort of a PR agent, or brains behind the operation. I would imagine this is a theme that Sanderson enjoys upholding, perhaps as a carryover from WoT.

So, to recap, Dalinar sees his dead brother, reads the message, gets the heebie-jeebies big time, decides it's time to tear himself down and completely rebuild from the stat -- incidentally he does the same thing to Alethkar -- and asks the NW for help. NW says sure, no problem: for guidance I give you visions, and to make sure you follow through with them and your new life, I remove all memories of your wife.

Plausible?
Jordan Hibbits
44. rhandric
@42 I highly doubt there'll be a second Kaladin focused book; we know (WoB) that the next three are Szeth, Eshonai, and Dalinar respectively; and the back 5 are going to put the currently minor characters (Renarin and Lift were confirmed) as focus characters.
ajh
45. Jasuni
@40 The chapter icons for chapter 61 could also be related to Dalinar breaking one of the "walls" around himself when he kissed Navani.

@42 There will likely be more clues in future books. Tarah is bound to come up again in Kaladin's thoughts, regardless of whether she ever makes an appearance.

@43 I don't think that the Nightwatcher has anything to do with the visions. Renarin and Dalinar both consider it very unlikely. Also, Dalinar said that it had been many years since he sought her (ch.52). I suspect that this means years before Gavilar's death.
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
In WoR Chapter 62, when Dalinar explains the Roshone/Elhokar connection to Kaladin, he says, "Elhokar was crown prince then, commanded to rule over Kholinar and watch the kingdom while his father organized our first camps here in the Shattered Plains. I was . . . away at the time."

That jumped out to me as being (probably) the time during which he was seeking the Nightwatcher, and now I find myself evaluating any relevant theories with that time constraint. What do y'all think? How likely is this? (And if someone is going to see Brandon any time soon, would said someone please ask him?)

The biggest effect this has on the speculation is that it precludes his boon from being anything involving Gavilar's death. Kind of a pity, really, because that seems to be such a very good reason to seek the Nightwatcher...

Gah! I forgot which thread I was on!! Sorry...
Leeland Woodard
47. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@46

I wish we had a timeline for Dalinar's wife's death. I thought that the boon was likely associated with his grief over her, but that would put Gavilar's death pretty close to the death of Dalinar's wife. I'm not sure if that's true or not.
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
We know from WoK Ch. 22 that Dalinar's wife died ten years ago - which would make it about 4 years before Gavilar's death.
Kelly LeBourveau
49. Kikuo
@13-14-15 ... Want to hire me to do the Mistborn reread? I am actually rereading them at the moment and I just have to say I LOVE THEM. :)

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