Thu
Apr 3 2014 12:00pm

The Way of Kings Reread: Chapters 64 and 65

Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings Stormlight Archive reread Welcome back to The Way of Kings reread here on Tor.com. Last week we witnessed Kaladin change things up for the better, even if he put himself in even greater danger, which is saying something considering how much he risks his own life at every turn to save his men. This week we cover two (mostly) Dalinar focused chapters following all this Sadeas joint assault business. Let’s just say not everything’s coming up Dalinar.

Things will never be the same for Dalinar after this, and by extension Kaladin and perhaps even Alethi society itself. Well, hopefully Alethi society will change because if it doesn’t nothing but Damnation brought by the Voidbringers awaits them all. Odium would have nothing less.

Note: Commentary is combined for these chapters due to their intertwined-ness and length.

Chapter 64: Man of Extremes
Points of View:
Dalinar / Kaladin / Adolin
Setting: The Shattered Plains

What Happens: Dalinar and Navani are strolling around Elhokar’s palace with both their attendants in tow. No one knows that Dalinar and Navani are basically courting one another, but people have started to talk about all the time they seem to be spending together. Neither seems overly concerned that people are talking about them.

They discuss their history. Navani thought that Dalinar hated her ever since she and Gavilar were courting. He tell her he never hated her, just that he knew he couldn’t be with her and so he couldn’t stand to be around her much. Apparently, Dalinar always got out of the way so Gavilar could succeed. He vowed to himself that he would never sit on the throne after briefly contemplating killing Gavilar in the heat of a moment.

Navani brings up Dalinar’s wife and when she speaks her name all Dalinar hears is a sound of soft blowing air; he has no direct memories of her, not even her name. Navani had tried to hate her since she was with Dalinar, but she was too nice. She apparently wasn’t considered a great mind, but was well loved by many and fit Dalinar’s personality well.

Dalinar still seems guilty about the burgeoning relationship with Navani. She know it’s too much for her to ask him to release himself from that guilt, but asks him to “bend” a little for both their sakes. Dalinar is reluctant and tells her that living by the Codes since Gavilar had made him a different man, and he doesn’t want to be who he once was. He says he’ll find a way, but to leave it to him instead of worrying herself about it. Nothing in the Codes forbids them from being with one another. Navani worries more about how her son Elhokar will take the news. Dalinar doesn’t believe he’ll notice given his distractions with the Parshendi and the shadowy people Elhokar believes are trying to kill him. Navani, however, worries Elhokar might see some conspiracy behind their relationship.

Horns sound signaling a chasmfiend has been seen on the infamous Tower plateau. Sadeas had been hoping for a run against the Parshendi there. It would mean much to the other Highprinces if they were to win as no Alethi group have ever won against the Parshendi on the Tower. She tells him he was right about working with Sadeas and “We do need him for our cause. But keep him at arm’s length.” He seems elated at the “we” part of the statement; whatever they are into now they are in it together.

Kaladin hears the horns. A call to the Tower, where he and Bride Four had wreaked havoc to Sadeas battle plans causing the death of many and the reason Kaladin was strung up during a high storm.

Kaladin’s men, all thirty-five including himself, gather in their orange carapace armor along with shields adorned with Parshendi bones in spiral shapes. Over the last ten days Bridge Four went on six bridge runs with the new equipment and perfected their techniques, but this is the first time all of the men have the armor. None had died from the team during this time. As they pick up the bridge to begin their march across the plains the other bridge crews cheer them loudly.

His father is not going mad. As Adolin gets suited-up with his Shardplate he is truly happy. When ready he takes the reins of his Ryshadium and leads him to Dalinar who is conferring with some of his men. They are soon met by Sadeas, who should have been leading his own men to the Tower.

Sadeas tells Dalinar they have to talk. An assault on the Tower is just the chance they were looking for to decimate the forces of the Parshendi. The Parshendi have been known to field up to 10,000 warriors on the Plateau given it is so large. He asks Dalinar to field as many troops as he can. Dalinar says he can commit 8,000 along with Sadeas’s 7,000 that would be a force that could fracture the Parshendi in two so they can destroy all that show their faces today.

Dalinar said he still won’t cross the chasms with Sadeas’s bridges at the same time—even with some bridgemen wearing armor he couldn’t accept the loss of life on his conscience. Sadeas agrees to create a foothold for them to cross unmolested per their normal agreement.

Quote of the Chapter:

As always, when the name of his wife was spoken, it came to him as the sound of softly rushing air, then slipped from his mind immediately. He could not hear, or remember, the name.

“She changed everything,” Navani said. “You truly seemed to love her.”

“I did,” Dalinar said. Surely he had loved her. Hadn’t he? He could remember nothing.

What must it be like to have the memory of someone who was so close to you completely wiped away? I still can’t see this removal as the boon Dalinar would seek from the Nightwatcher. We also haven’t learned the timeline of when Dalinar went to the Nightwatcher or when his wife died. Was it before or after Gavilar’s death? Somehow I think this will remain a mystery until we get to Dalinar’s flashback focused book.

 

Chapter 65: The Tower
Point of View:
Dalinar / Kaladin
Setting: The Shattered Plains: The Tower Plateau

What Happens: Sadeas’s and Dalinar’s forces arrive across from the Tower after a tiring journey. They can see the Parshendi still don’t have the gemheart out so they can still engage them. The only way onto the Tower is by the west and northwestern sides. The other sides are too wide to traverse. It appears the Parshendi are in full force with, as expected, at least 10,000 strong. This will be a huge battle and if the Alethi win it will change the tide of the war. Sadeas’s scouts are crossing to set up on a neighboring plateaus to watch for more Parshendi forces should they happen to try to join the fight and outflank them.

Sadeas again entreats Dalinar to cross and attack at the same time, but Dalinar will not because of the bridgemen. Telling Sadeas: “I’m sorry, old friend. It’s not a judgment of you. It is what I must do.”

Sadeas rides off to venture across the chasm to take the fight to the Parshendi via the northern end. Once the path is cleared Dalinar will cross nearby that point. The plan is to push the Parshendi towards the southeast portion of the plateau in order to divide their forces and leave them with no exit point along with being separated from any supporting forces that could show up.

Dalinar looks on at the one crew of bridgemen that wear strange orange armor and wonders why none of the other men are allowed them. Dalinar and Adolin prepare to cross as Sadeas’s forces near the crossing-point.

Kaladin runs along the chasm trying to distract the Parshendi all while they shoot arrows at him. He has four more of his men out there with him, but the Parshendi focus on him. They’ve lost five bridges already, but the force firing on them is one of the largest he’s encountered. Kaladin’s body, full of Stormlight, spins away from the volleys of arrows while knocking others down with his shield. He hears the Parshendi chanting their song in unison.

Sadeas’s forces make it across and the Parshendi have to engage them even though many still want to go for Kaladin with a few making gestures at him. Kaladin finally releases the storm within. He had never drawn in too much so as not to broadcast to everyone what he could do, but the Parshendi seem to know he’s different.

There is a call for Kaladin which means he has men to attend to. Skar was injured from an arrow in the foot. Moash then brings Teft over who had taken an arrow as well. Kaladin confirms no one else from his group is injured. He has pressure put on Skar’s foot while he works on Teft. Kaladin hesitates before using the fire-hot knife on Teft’s wound as he would inhibit his training with the spear, but he knows it’s for the best.

Dalinar waits for an opening for his men to cross the chasm. Seeing Sadeas’s forces already losing men he orders a bridge into place and crosses along with his Cobalt Guard. They are just in time as Sadeas’s men are beginning to break. Dalinar crashes into the Parshendi with his Shardblade.

Dalinar takes the fight to the Parshendi after his forces arrive on the Tower. He wades through their lines with abandon loosing the Blackthorn from within. Dalinar looks around for a Parshendi Shardbearer to attack to no avail. He feels his armor being hit by something heavy and looks around seeing a group of Parshendi with rock slings from afar aiming at Dalinar. Dalinar runs to their ledge and cuts down those closest with Oathbringer. Once atop he grabs some boulders and hurls them at the slingmen crushing them. He looks out to the battlefield and notes happily that Adolin is doing well. They are winning.

Dalinar rejoins the fight and tells his men to press the Parshendi on all sides. He slams into their lines killing many, but when he comes across a very young Parshendi he hesitates. He tries to stop one of his soldiers from cutting the man down, but isn’t heard above the din.

Dalinar feels sick looking around at the loss of life listening to the Parshendi war chant and even considers if the Parshendi should be part of uniting everyone. Could these visions be caused by the Nightwatcher or some other force? Above anything Dalinar questions his reason for this path of death. Adolin runs up asking what to do. Dalinar, confused, looks across the plateau and sees a large force of Parshendi crossing the chasm. Dalinar looks to where Sadeas forces were and sees that they are retreating along their bridges and taking them along behind, stranding Dalinar’s forces on the Tower between two Parshendi armies.

 

Quote of the Chapter:

Roshar had been united, once. Had that included the Parshendi?

My answer is: HELL NO! Admittedly this isn’t based on anything specific, but evidence is certainly mounting that the Parshendi are the Voidbringers. This sort of statement shows just how much Dalinar is still trying to find answers after being confronted with more and more questions with each succeeding vision. The one thing Dalinar doesn’t consider is that the Parshendi are the very enemy he is supposed to united against, but he is caught in a moment of weakness. Clearly, Dalinar needs an ancient history book and Kaladin deserves a vacation, but neither is likely to happen.

Commentary: Awwhhh, aren’t Dalinar and Navani a cute couple. Somehow I don’t see an easy road for their relationship in the long term, but hopefully they’ll have some time to enjoy one another. Navani seems so genuine and forthright in these moments that it is hard to think she has ulterior motives, but everyone has their own back story and she is sure to have some skeletons hidden in hers. It was interesting to see that the jealousy flowed both ways with Dalinar and Navani in the past. They may even be a better match than Navani believed Dalinar and his wife were.

Navani spills the most beans to date about Dalinar’s wife “Shshshsh” and we still know precious little except she wasn’t an intellect, but was well liked by all. That’s probably where Adolin got his likeability from, because he certainly didn’t pick up his friendly manners and easy way with people from Dalinar.

It was a interesting narrative choice to divide chapter 64 into three points of view with Dalinar, Adolin, and Kaladin each contributing. Doing so definitely made me appreciate the scope and importance of this battle along with the importance of planning properly even if those plans weren’t made with the best of intentions on a certain Highprince’s part. Plus these chapters are the first true linking of Dalinar and Kaladin we see. Their relationship will only become more entwined from here on out.

Dalinar continues to be rocked deeply with each chapter. His being a “man of extremes” spills out the deeper and longer this war goes on. Hopefully, Navani and Kaladin will be the ones to keep him grounded. Dalinar briefly brings up his own worst moment: contemplating killing his brother Gavilar and taking his crown.

A man who had contemplated murdering his own brother for the throne—and for the woman who had married that brother. But he couldn’t explain that, didn’t dare let Navani know what his desire for her had once almost driven him to do. On that day, Dalinar had sworn that he would never hold the throne himself.

Knowing Dalinar as well as we do now that is so hard pill to swallow. He does so much to tread the “right” path and take care of his family as best he can. But an estranged love can bring out the worst of us. It wasn’t until Gavilar died that Dalinar dedicated himself to the Codes.

During the battle Dalinar falls into the lust of the Thrill, but he soon losses it when confronted with a youthful Parshendi. Instantly the Thrill leaves him when he hesitates with Oathbringer. He doesn’t see something to hate in the boy at that moment. Only the loss of life. Is it perhaps the Shardblade that strengthens his ties to the Thrill? The Thrill is in many of the Alethi warriors, but with Shard wielders it seems magnified. Soon after Dalinar falters is when Sadeas’s plans coalesce.

Damn you Sadeas! Damn you to Oblivion! He planned this so well. Weeks into many plateau assaults he pulls the trigger after getting Dalinar to commit so many of the Kholin troops. I fall in the camp that Sadeas planned this from the beginning instead of just seeing an opportunity. He wanted to leave Dalinar and his men to die to gain more influence and remove a rook that could complicate his life in the future.

Though devastating this loss for Dalinar will have to change him into the man who will help transform the Alethi into the force they need to be.

The Desolation is here whether they realize it or not.


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.

45 comments
S Barlow
1. Lizzibabe
I don't think the removal of Dalinar's memories of his wife was the boon. I think the removal was the *consequence*. However that means that we still don't know what his boon was.
Adam S.
2. MDNY
I still think that both Dalinar's curse and his boon relate to his lost memory of his wife (e.g. loss of pain was the boon, loss of memory was the curse). Can't know for certain till we get our Dalinar-flashback book.
Wow, did Dalinar just walk right up and let Sadeas put a noose around his neck.
Joel Salomon
3. jcsalomon
Do we know that the loss of his memories wasn’t the curse?
Sean Dowell
4. qbe_64
Quote of the chapter: I will need to amend once I have my book in hand but:

"A cheer went up as Bridge 4 emerged on the staging ground"
"That's new, I guess they finally realized what we are"
"what's that?"
"Their Champions., Bridges up!"

So understated and so powerful. Absolutely loved the line and the casual nature with which it was thrown into the sentence. Like Kaladin's always known (or at least known for a while) and finally everyone else is catching on.
TBGH
5. TBGH
I'm still in the camp that the loss of memory was the boon to lessen the pain of losing his wife. It's so very Sanderson to carefully avoid speaking either way on what would be an obvious conclusion, loss of memory=curse, and then subvert expectations.

I still can't help conflating Navani with Lwaxana Troi in my own mind. Widower with powerful personality that ignores or abuses social conventions and keeps chasing a man that has clearly indicated he doesn't want to be chased.

Sadeas comes across as so . . . earnest in the beginning of this battle. It's really a subtle bit of transformation that should have hinted he was concluding a big plot as he's usually so reserved and non-committal.
Deana Whitney
6. Braid_Tug
@4; good call on the quote.

Michael, I'm with you. The whole "working together" was a set up from day one. Dalinar just couldn't see it anymore.

I wonder, would the young Dalinar had done the same thing given the chance? The Dalinar we know could not even think it was a possibility. But what about young Dalinar?
Jason Wesbrooks
7. jwesbrooks
"I still can’t see this removal as the boon Dalinar would seek from the Nightwatcher."

I agree but I think it would be an interesting twist. It would also do much to deepen his regret. Maybe he was devastated at her loss and wanted to remove her memory to ease his pain?
Leeland Woodard
8. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Chapter 64 is titled "A Man of Extremes." This is how Dalinar describes himself, and is the reason that Dalinar fears allowing his love for Navani to take him over.

The herald icons for chapter 64 are Tanat/Chach. The divine attributes associated with Tanat are dependable/resourceful. The attributes associated wi th Chach are brave/obedient.

I would say that Tanat is in this chapter largely because of Dalinar. He discusses the fact that he stepped aside on Navani because of Gavilar. In addition, we have scenes of him trying to stay the dependable man despite his new relationship with Navani. Add that to the decision (which was, by the way, mostly Sadeas' doing) to take their whole army to the Tower to crush the Parshendi. I attribute Chach mostly to the short Kaladin section. The attribute "brave" can be applied to both Dalinar and Kaladin here, but I would say that the "obedience" is mostly Kaladin's. In addition, there's some Tanat in him as well, seeing as we are shown that he has become a resource for all bridge crews--he's seen as a hero to them.

Chapter 65 is titled "The Tower." This title is pretty on-the-nose. It's where the battle takes place.

The herald icons for chapter 65 are Chach/Nan. The attributes associated with Chach are, as discussed, brave/obedient. The attributes associated with Nan are just/confident.

Chach I attribute mainly to the battle itself. We see Kaladin drawing the fire of the Parshendi arrows, we see Dalinar rushing into battle. Nan is more interesting to talk about. Often, when Nan appears, it's not because something particularly "just" is taking place--rather, it's the opposite. Here, I attribute Nan to Sadeas' desertion.
Leeland Woodard
9. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Also, is anyone else suspicious of Dalinar's wife?

Navani describes her as being more or less the perfect match for Dalinar, she talks of how everyone loved her, but she also says that she wasn't exactly the most clever person on Roshar, but lists that as part of the woman's charm. Does anyone else smell a spy here? Someone who was sent to get close to Dalinar and his family by becoming the perfect woman for Dalinar?

I'm wondering whether Dalinar's boon and curse were more or less one in the same. Maybe he found out what she was doing, and wanted to forget what had happened. The curse would be that he also forgot why he wanted to forget her.
Nadine L.
10. travyl
Count me with the fraction who believes that Sadeas set it up from the beginning. It's even more clear now, how devious he is: proposing to take as many troops as possible on the plateau run to destroy him as thoroughly as possible.

@8. Thanks for the lisiting & interpretation of chapter title and icons.
Christopher Smith
11. nerdalert
I'm in the camp with MDNY, I think the boon was the removal of the pain and the curse was the removal of the memory. I bet there's a big twist coming about here, that she turned out to be something bad, the pain of the discovery was too much for Dalinar (add to dictionary, thank you). A convenient fact that Dalinar can't even hear her name.....hmmmm. Looking forward to that enlightenment.
Roberto Burtoni
12. MadCardigan
I always thought it was pretty clear that Dalinar sought the Nightwatcher because of his grief over his wife's death. His most likely request was that he wanted to no longer deal with the grief/burden of her death. The boon was granted, but at the cost of his no longer remembering her existence. The curse is that he truly lost, to the utmost extent, his love.

Seems like the simplest answer, and balances well with the boon/curse being tied together intimately.
Andrew Berenson
13. AndrewHB
I think one of the two things caused Dalinar to start drinking as heavily as he had been when Szeth killed Gavilar: a) the death of Dalinar's wife; or b) the fact that Dalinar seriously contemplated killing Gavilar and taking the crown.

I am inclined to believe that it was the contemplating the killing of his brother that led to Dalinar's drinking. I am also certain that it was the fact that he contemplated killing Gavliar but did not do so, that allowed Dalinar to be the Stormfather's choice to receive his visions.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Adam S.
14. MDNY
@13 That's a very interesting point. Without getting too into spoilers from WOR, it seems that everyone the spren choose to bond has suffered deeply in the past. Kaladin, Shallan, and Jasnah all fit this (we don't know much about Jasnah's past, other than her being Gavilar's daughter, but there are hints in Shallan's thoughts, especially when Jasnah kills the thieves/murderers in the alley).
T C
15. Freelancer
Given that the jacket text speaks to the brokenness of those who are headed for becoming Knights Radiant, I'd say that there's a solid connection between the experiences of the nascent Surgebinders, and them attracting the key spren.
Leeland Woodard
16. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@ the "broken people" concept

That's actually a cosmere thing. People who have cracks in their souls (meaning, the spiritual realm counterpart of themselves) get those cracks filled with something else--magic.
Eric McCabe
17. Zizoz
On the title of Chapter 65, we learned earlier (and I mentioned in the comments there as well) that the tower is the worst throw in breakneck, being an outright loss; the name is thus appropriate for the plateau where the Alethi have yet to win a battle, as well as for the chapter where Dalinar will suffer his greatest defeat. There's also a connection to be made to the tarot card The Tower, which is often associated with catastrophe. It also can indicate that the truth does not match up with expectation, as indeed it does not here (for Dalinar anyway; the reader is another matter), as Sadeas turns out not to be a true ally.
Don Barkauskas
18. bad_platypus
Re Sadeas' plans: I'm frankly amazed that anyone would think that Sadeas didn't have this planned from the beginning. Yes, he took this opportunity, but given his character it seems pretty clear to me that his plan all along was to wait for the perfect opportunity to betray Dalinar.
Alice Arneson
19. Wetlandernw
TheKingOfCarrotFlowers @8 - Unless they changed it in later printings, my hardcover and ebook both have Talenel & Battar as the Heralds for chapter 64. Battar is associated with the attributes of Wise/Careful.

FWIW, I've noticed a rather frequent association of Chach with chapters in which Adolin is being obedient to (or cooperative with) Dalinar.
Adam Bodestyne
20. thanners
I think when trying to guess what Dalinar asked of the Nightwatcher, this statement from the character Av in I-7 should be kept in mind:
"The Nightwatcher doesn't trick you or twist your words. You ask a boon. She gives what she feels you deserve, then gives you a curse to go along with it. Sometimes related, sometimes not."
TBGH
21. Neocadet
This may seem cold hearted, but Navani's description of Dalinar's marriage doesn't seem like the kind of 'great passion' or 'everlasting love' I would expect to send someone to the Nightwatcher.
Sure, grief over a loved one can be all consuming and traumatic etc., but everything we've read about the Nightwatcher so far kind of indicates to me 'life altering reasons' or 'crazy person'.
The impression I get from Navani is that the wife was lovely and the marriage was nice. So I wonder if maybe Dalinar did something he regrets in relation to his wife?
Nadine L.
22. travyl
Zizoz @17
Your additional information about the tower is very interesting, especially because, as far as I remember they named the platform after the tower-like spire standing on it.
Any additional metaphorical meaning would be coincidence. ---
meaning, Brandon Sanderson did really well by shaping the Tower as he did - or letting the battle take place on exactly that plateau.
Leeland Woodard
23. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@19 Wetlander

Blast! I grew overconfident. Ch. 64 is Tanat/Betab. I'd put the wise/careful in with Dalinar's conversation with Navani. That makes a whole lot more sense than brave/obedient for the chapter.
TBGH
24. STBLST
Those who believe that Sadeas had definitely planned to betray Dalinar from the outset, need to account for Sadeas' offer to have both of them attack the Tower plateau together. Had Dalinar agreed, there would have been no opportunity for abandoning Dalinar's army. Of course, he realized that such agreement was unlikely given Dalinar's prior comment about not using the swifter but more sacraficial man-carried bridges. Why even offer it as a possibility, if he was definitely planning an abandonment? After all, it was obvious to anyone in the field that Sadeas had deliberately abandoned Dalinar's army to the combined Parshendi forces. Nor did Sadeas know beforehand that the Parshendi would marshall 2 armies to oppose the 2 Alethi armies at the plateau. He could only conjecture. If not for the 2nd Parshendi force, Dalinar's army would not have been trapped. In sum, the rationale offered by Sadeas after Dalinar escaped with remnants of his army, that he had contingency plans for a possible abandonment, but not definite ones, appears to me to be immoral, unworthy, but honest.
TBGH
25. Mike G.
It's amazing how these rereads change once you've read WOR...

It's almost like reading the SOIAF "Read", going "must.... not.... post.... spoilers...." :)
TBGH
26. WoozleMom
@25, Agreed! Everything is so much more clear. I started a re-reread last week using the posts in this series, and it is amusing and enlightening to read the comments from the early chapters. Some theories have been proven correct, some have been debunked, and some we might habe just a few more clues about. It's quite fun.

@8 Re: herald icons for Ch. 65. It is interesting that, as you pointed out, Nan often shows up when something particularly unjust is happening, especially given (WARNING, slight WOR spoilers!) what we now know about the goals and activities of those certain people who associate themselves with Nan/Nalan. They strike me as quite far removed from that original intent of Just/Obedient.
T C
27. Freelancer
Woozlemom @26

Consider that the purpose of one dedicated to justice, is the opposition of injustice. It would be directly in Nan's area of concern when particularly unjust events happen.
TBGH
28. WoozleMom
I don't mean to say that isn't true, it just strikes me as a possible hint/clue that all is not always as it should be with the heralds, these days. But maybe I read too much into things sometimes. :-)
TBGH
29. Jasuni
@24 If Dalinar had agreed, his army would have been farther up the side of the tower when Sadeas retreated. Would have made Sadeas's betrayal even easier. The Parshendi had been sending two armies for several battles by this point, so a second Parshendi army would not be a suprise.

WoR spoilers **roll over to read**
Chapter 64's epigraph refers to chapter 75 in WoR (title is True Glory) The epigraph of Chapter 65 seems to refer to the Stormspren.

*****************************************************
*****************************************************
Adam S.
30. MDNY
@28 You think not all is right with the Heralds "these days"? What gave it away, the start of the series (4,500 years ago) when 9 of 10 heralds gave up their assigned task and left their blades behind to wander Roshar anonymously?
TBGH
31. WoozleMom
1) Sarcasm isn't necessary, or kind.

2) You don't have to agree with me. That's fine. But I don't think I've communicated what I meant very effectively. I'm going to try one more time. If someone reading this is avoiding WOR spoilers, go ahead and skip the rest of this post.

When we see Jes as a herald icon, it is because someone *is* being a good leader. When we see Vev, it is because someone *is* practicing the healing art. It is my perception (and I could be forgetting something) that this is typical for all the icons *except* Nan. And Nalan is the only herald we have seen, so far at least, who is actively working against Our Heroes, i.e. the New Radiants. That's all I'm saying. It might not be significant. It might be that I am seeing something that isn't there. I just found it interesting. I am not such an idiot that I didn't see that all the Heralds "broke" and abandoned humanity 4500 years ago.

3) I probably still haven't clarified sufficiently, but I'm done trying. I've followed the reread for the last year but only recently commented for the first time. I doubt I'll make that mistake again. :-)
Alice Arneson
32. Wetlandernw
WoozleMom @31 - That's a very interesting idea. It was clear in some instances that the icon Herald's attributes were reflected in the chapter, so I sort of assumed that they were all "true reflections." Now I'm going to have to go back and look through both books to see how often the Nalan icon shows up when justice is being perverted, instead...

(Oh, my. that's a lot of reviewing. But it's exactly the sort of sneaky thing Brandon & Peter would toss in, just to see how long it took us to catch on...)

::mind blown::

::again::
TBGH
33. AmericanBugbear
@28 Shalash would be another example of a Herald who isn't "quite right," if she is indeed the lighteyed woman who is destroying the artwork depicting Shalash. We still don't know much about her but something strange is going on there, too....
Adam S.
34. MDNY
@WoozleMom- I'm sorry if I offended you, sarcasm just comes naturally to me. Your point is a good one, though difficult to discuss without spoilers. I'll just say that while Nalan may be working against some of our heroes, I also think that he may be working for what he sees as the most important greater goal (preventing a desolation), just doing it in a way that we don't like or agree with. Shalash destroying artwork is much more confusing for me, it's difficult to see how anyone who was once a great leader like the heralds could stoop to that.
In general, I think the herald icons reflect something in the chapters, but our ideas of their ideals may not be those of the Heralds themselves (I can confidently say that my concept of justice is not the same as Nalan's).
TBGH
35. WoozleMom
@MDNY, it's all good. I'm horrible at debating things, and I've known that for >15 years (I often have panic attacks due to debates, and sarcasm sometimes triggers that). I'm afraid I don't have a very thick skin in those situations, but I'm working on it. My husband tells me that sometimes my fight-or-flight reponse is triggered even when it actually isn't a debate, so that's probably what happened here.

I had thought about what you said about how N thinks he is doing the right thing, and we just happen to disagree with him. It's kind of like Taravangian. And Shalash is confusing, too, if it's really her (I can't remember if we've had that confirmed or not). Those things are why I said I might be reading too much into it. :-)
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
(I can confidently say that my concept of justice is not the same as Nalan's).

Ain't that the truth...

I think that sometimes the Heralds simply reflect the POV character (Shallash often shows up on Shallan's chapters, for example); other times, it's more the actions that are happening (Vedel showing up on chapters where Kaladin or Lirin are involved in healing efforts). Other times, it's less evident - which is why it's so much fun to discuss. As soon as I get over this horrible flu (or whatever it is), I'm going to spend some serious time digging through the chapters that are less-than-obvious, just to see what it shows. Especially about Nalan and Shalash, because those are the two we've actually observed doing things that seem directly counter to their attributes - or aligned in a very weird way. (I'm assuming that Baxil's "mistress" is Shalash, though I don't know that we have proof/WoB on that yet, so take that assumption for what it's worth!)

And... I just got blackholed by the 17th Shard... If I come up with anything else, I'll add it later. :)
Leeland Woodard
37. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@many
Well, I'm pretty sure that I decided that my next "favorite question to ask Brandon" is going to be:
The herald icons tend to be displayed at the headings of chapters where their associated divine attributes are featured somehow, but Nan tends to be displayed during a chapter where a perversion of justice is featured. Is there a reason for this?
TBGH
38. WoozleMom
It's an interesting coincidence, at the very least. :-)
Nadine L.
39. travyl
@37. You don't really need to ask Brandon. As far as I know, Peter Ahlstrom choses which Herald-icons go with which chapter ;)
Leeland Woodard
40. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@39
True. And he does tend to lurk on here at times.

What about it, Peter--is this a question you can answer?
Karen Fox
41. thepupxpert
@31 Don't let one post scare you away, most comments are well received and not all of us are as good at communicating our thoughts as others. I appreciate everyone's postings on this re-read. It's way over my head but that's what makes it so fun.
Karen Fox
42. thepupxpert
@34 & 35 - I also not convinced that was really Shalash, it seems like smashing artwork would be beneath her notice. I'm 95% of the way through WOR - finally - and am now starting to appreciate all the spoiler comments. I'm assuming we still don't know what the point was of all that artwork-smashing?
TBGH
43. orazor1324
@nerdalert 11:

Maybe Dalinar's wife was a ghostblood?
David Foster
44. ZenBossanova
When I see Shallash, I see the kind of woman who really hates having her picture taken. Really hates it.

If one of her primary virtues was creativity, then like the rest of the heralds, she is corrupted and is destroying creativity.
Anneke van Staden
45. QueenofDreams
Ok, late to the party here but it's my belief that each of the heralds has had their primary drive/virtue corrupted by their betrayal of mankind. So Shallash is now destroying art, Nalan has deviated from Justice to Judgement. I also believe that their leader, Jezrien was the drunk man at the feast at the very beginning. There's a quote in WOR which backs me up slightly on this, when Nalan says 'if he ever stops drooling' (or something like that, I'm not looking at it right now)

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