Thu
Jun 12 2014 12:00pm

Words of Radiance Reread: Prologue

Brandon Sanderson Words of Radiance reread Welcome back to the Stormlight Archive Reread on Tor.com! It’s good to be back, everyone. The Way of Kings lies complete behind us, and Words of Radiance stretches out before us, ripe with unexplored potential. We’re beginning the reread in the most logical way: with the Prologue! Hopefully you’re all ready for our one and only Jasnah Kholin point of view chapter.

In case you missed our introduction post, Alice Arneson and I have changed up a number of things about the reread format. This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that become relevant. Enjoy!

Prologue: To Question

Point of View: Jasnah Kholin
Setting: Kholinar, Six Years Ago
Symbology: Shadesmar Icon, Battar

 

IN WHICH a princess prefers the company of assassins, despite her father’s recommendations; shadows prove troublesome; a palace disintegrates in favor of another world entirely; hostile diplomacy is opened with spren; an appointment is kept; a killer is hired, but not for killing; strangers pass by unrecognized, discussing lordly blades; screams replace drumbeats; magic is witnessed; His Majesty Gavilar Kholin, King of Alethkar, First of his Name, is killed; and an expected peace gives way to war.

 

Quote of the Week:

He glanced at her. “Ah, Jasnah. Retiring so early?”

“It’s hardly early,” Jasnah said, gliding forward. It seemed obvious to her that Gavilar and Amaram had ducked out to find privacy for their discussion. “This is the tiresome part of the feast, where the conversation grows louder but no smarter, and the company drunken.”

“Many people consider that sort of thing enjoyable.”

“Many people, unfortunately, are idiots.”

Her father smiled. “Is it terribly difficult for you?” he asked softly. “Living with the rest of us, suffering our average wits and simple thoughts? Is it lonely to be so singular in your brilliance, Jasnah?”

What a fascinating snapshot this is. We see here almost everything we need to know to understand Gavilar Kholin’s parenting style, at least as far as Jasnah is concerned. I suspect he interacted differently with Elhokar. It seems to me like Jasnah models her interactions with Shallan on how her father treated her, up to and including the matchmaking. Thoughts?

 

Commentary: I admire the extent to which this prologue mirrors the prologue of The Way of Kings, starting with their names. TWoK opened with “To Kill,” WoR with “To Question.” Are these two actions emblematic in some way of the plot of their respective books? While Words of Radiance is driven forward by Shallan’s curiosity, I’m not sure how much the purpose of TWoK was “to kill.” Perhaps the purpose of these chapters is to establish Szeth and Jasnah. Both are enigmatic figures with more access to the world’s magic who we don’t get to spend much time with.

I wonder if Sanderson plans to revisit the assassination of Gavilar again in later books. There are still a few interesting perspectives from which to view that event. Consider the possibility of seeing that night through Amaram’s eyes, or Sadeas’s, or Elhokar’s. If Sanderson keeps returning to this well, I would expect the fifth book to explore the assassination from Gavilar’s perspective. I’d find that really interesting.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Jasnah would work as a spymaster for house Kholin. She’s the cannier of her father’s children, if not quite the more suspicious, and her drive to ferret out the truth dovetails with the skillset necessary for the role. Of course, this is Alethkar, and everything is too dysfunctional for her to be asked to do that job. Instead she’s spying on her sister-in-law, with an option on future killings. She hasn’t got any official support, and that’s crucial to the action of this chapter. Jasnah is juggling a few too many unknowns; the sense of the scene is that if Jasnah could have devoted her full attention to Szeth, or to the strangers in the hallway, or to Gavilar and Amaram, she might have solved one of these mysteries. As it is, they all slip through her fingers.

 

Sprenspotting: These inky-black sword-having shadowspren have some serious style. We haven’t confirmed what kind of spren Jasnah is bonded to, but I am relatively confident that the swordsman who bows to her is indeed Ivory. That challenge giving way to respect strikes me as the formation of what will become her nahel bond.

It seems like the preferred method of testing the worthiness of a potential Elsecaller is to just drop her in the ocean and see if she drowns. Unlike when Shallan first visited the Shadesmar, none of these spren communicate to Jasnah what she has to do to survive. Presumably, a Surgebinder with the capacity to become a primary liaison to the Shadesmar will figure it out.

 

Ars Arcanum: Jasnah’s intuitive understanding of the Shadesmar is much better than Shallan’s. She understands immediately that each sphere is a plan for an object in the real world, and that she can use one to form a structure out of others. She doesn’t yet understand the Stormlight exchange, but we see the light go dark and she feels the energy leaving her as she shapes the Shadesmar to her will.

She also sees Szeth do his best Windrunner impression, running down the walls after murdering her father. Her defensive obsession with his Surgebinding drives years of research. However, we’re already seeing hints that what she’s seeing is different from what she did. The mysterious strangers mention Szeth using “[their lord’s] own Blade,” and by the end of the book we’ll know what they mean.

 

Heraldic Symbolism: Battar, the Herald of Wisdom, is the patron of the Elsecallers, Jasnah’s order of the Knights Radiant. I assume that’s why she gets special attention in this chapter, to the exclusion of either of the Heralds who appear in the flesh. We can say with certainty that the man with the scar is Nale, and I’m fairly certain that his companion is Kalak. He isn’t Jezrien, who they discuss, or Talenel, who is still chillin’ in Damnation. The only other male Herald this could be is Ishar, who is depicted as an old man with a long beard. I don’t think this youngish-looking, nervous man fits as Ishar nearly as well as the man we saw in the Prelude to The Way of Kings.

The two of them are discussing Shalash, who they call “Ash,” the Herald of Beauty. Seems like they’re pretty concerned that one of their own is going around destroying images of her own face. And, I mean, if you walked into your friend’s house and found out that she’d cut her face out of all her family photos… wouldn’t you be concerned too?

 

Shipping Wars: Turns out Gavilar shipped Jasnah x Amaram. Oh, bless his poor dead heart. I know it would’ve been good for your politics, but JasnAmaram is leaking every which way. Even if he weren’t an awful evil hypocrite who Jasnah would rip to tiny shreds, I’m pretty sure neither of them is interested.

But, uh, if that’s the ship you’re into, don’t let me dissuade you. Bonus points to the first cogent defense in the comments.

 

Well, that’s our new format! I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Next week the inestimable Alice Arneson will take the first step in her reread career by covering Chapter 1. Be kind to her, reread fans! In the meantime you can read Brandon Sanderson’s answers to your insightful Stormlight questions.


Carl Engle-Laird is an editorial assistant at Tor.com, where he acquires and edits fiction both for the Tor.com Originals program and for Tor.com: The Imprint. You can follow him on Twitter here. If you ask nicely he might even tell you how to find his Brooklyn Nine-Nine podcast.

126 comments
Glen V
1. Ways
Woo-hoo!!!

First post.

Three things stood out for me as I read the Prologue again.
1) Jasnah had no inkling she was a surgebinder until 6 years ago (1167-1168) at the earliest--about the same time as when Kal and Tien were conscripted. I had assumed that she’d been soulcasting for much longer than that while I was reading WoK.
2) Liss either has a Shardblade or is also a surgebinder/on the path the KR-dom. For now I’m guessing she just picked up a Blade somewhere and isn’t a surgebinder. She doesn’t seem the type, from this limited exchange, to end up becoming a KR, nor does she exhibit any of the other attributes we’ve seen to date. I don’t recall if Blades formed from live spren also cause burned-out eyes, which would answer the question.
3) Regarding the mysterious pair in the hallway: the shorter, Alethi-looking man, mentions Ash and says “We weren’t supposed to get worse (emphasis mine).” And there’s the bit about “that creature” carrying my lord’s own blade. Ash is the original name of the herald also known as Shallash (Jezrien’s daughter, IIRC). It easy to jump to the conclusion that the speaker and his companion are also heralds, and not Jezrien.

Poking around on the 1/8/14 excerpt release thread resulted in finding a bit of discussion about my point 3. Wetlandernw (go ask Alice) speculates that the pair are some combination of Nalan, Kalak and Ishar, and eventually agrees (@105) with CarlEngle-Laird that the Alethi-looking one is Kalak. Sounds good to me. I personally don’t imagine either one of them being Ishar. Of course this might all be a clever bit of misdirection by Brandon.

I much enjoyed reading a different POV on the banquet/Gavilar’s death scene. Hope the rumors are correct in that we will get more of those in future books.
Paul Rando
2. SerDragonReborn
Yay, so glad this is beginning!

"Seems like they’re pretty concerned that one of their own is going around destroying images of her own face."

I had forgotten about this little detail...is it just me, or does it sound somewhat similar to the wife of a certain Highprince being erased from that Highprince's memory so much that he can't even remember her name? It seems a bit unlikely that Dalinar was married to a Herald but, boy, that'd make his backstory even more interesting that I've been expecting. Thoughts, anyone?

On 'To Kill' and 'To Question,' I think the titles mostly refer to the chapters themselves, as Szeth and Jasnah are killing and questioning machines, respectively. But I supposed you could say TWoK fits 'To Kill' in that there were many, many battles featured? And Szeth's Murder Tour of Roshar. 'To Question' obviously fits WoR much better!
Tricia Irish
3. Tektonica
Oh, this is great!

I like the format, but I could use more of a summary. Since I came to the WoK late and missed the reread, I have a lot to catch up on and the new format really helps with that. Forward!
TBGH
4. TBGH
Not the ship I'm into, but just for the bonus points - they both have roughly the same style of conflict resolution?

Anyway, you've hit all the tidbits I could find in this intro. I'll have to wait for someone with a new interpretation before theorizing anything beyond what you have.
Andrew Berenson
5. AndrewHB
Carl, one thing in your commentary about the quoted conversation between Jasnah and Gavilar. Were you implying that Gavilar has a cool, distant relationship with Jasnah and that the conversation was a hidden insult?

If so, I disagree. To me it felt like a parent who was proud of his daughter but that they have a relationship wherein they kiddingly make fun of each other. IMO, there was no true malice by Jasnah or Gavilar. I apologize if you did not mean to imply that they did not like each other. To me, it was unclear from your commentary which way you thought on that matter.

Nevertheless, I do agree with you that his parenting style with probably was different with respect to Elhokar. Likewise, I think that Navani's parenting style differed for each of her children.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Carl Engle-Laird
6. CarlEngle-Laird
@5 Not at all what I was trying to imply. I probably treated that quotation a tad too abruptly; I saw in that scene a loving father of a precocious but unruly daughter, who nevertheless felt the need to reign her back a little for decorum's sake. That's why I see a similarity between how Gavilar treats Jasnah and how Jasnah treats Shallan.
TBGH
7. hammerlock
I think BS has explicitly stated that each WoK book--at least for the first 5 volumes--will revisit the banquet and assassination from a different POV. Gavilar is a likely candidate for the last one, since that would complete the reveal of what he knew (which was apparently A Lot).

Amaram and Jasnah? Amarnah? Jasnaram? Doesn't really work. They'd probably figure each other out in a few minutes and then either kill each other or come to an understanding. They're both very sneaky so that could be tough to call from that angle, but given that Jasnah can soulcast, Amaram's odds don't look too good there if it's a straight fight.
If they team up, not even the Diagram could stop them.
Carl Engle-Laird
8. CarlEngle-Laird
@7 Amasnah? Jasnam? Meridanah?

All ship names unwieldy. True love impossible.
andrew smith
10. sillyslovene
This makes me happy. :)

Now, if I only had the time to read and comment...I can squeeze in just one chapter a week, right?

I like the format in general, but like Tek@3, could like a slightly more detailed summary (especially for those weeks I will not be able to re-read).

As for the viewpoints from the Prologue - I believe there is a Word of Brandon that yes, each book in the first Five will present this event from a different point of view. (I swear I remember reading something about that...but now I can't find a reference...There is a thread that takes it as a given though:
http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/7261-to-action-cool-yet-unimportant/?hl=%2Bprologues+%2Bpov
)

Another speculation - anyone think Brandon will build a ketek with the names of the prologues?
To Kill - Szeth
To Question - Jasnah,
To Plan? Eshonai or other Listener?/To Fail-Dalinar?, (To Exist- Stick? :P)
To Answer? - Sadeas? Dalinar? Eshonai? Amaram?
To Die- Gavilar?
Too little info to really speculate properly, but too much to not speculate properly :)
Gary Singer
11. AhoyMatey
I like the new format too.

Gavilar and Amaram both belonged to the faction (can't remember the name) that wanted to bring back Desolations. On the belief that would somehow cause the return of the Knights Radiant. The Parshendi were quite wrong in believing that killing him would prevent the return of the Desolations.
TBGH
12. JJ Hall
Jasnah passes Szeth's replacement as Liss's servant in the hall, "a Veden brute with red speckling his beard," -- Helaran?

"I'm pretty sure neither of them are interested." I agree, especially if this sentence means what I think it does:
"Long dark hair, worn loose, and a plump, attractive figure made her distinctive in all the right ways."
TBGH
13. J Town
Ah, Words of Radiance reread! Excellent. Put me down on the side of those who really like the new format, but need a bit more of a summary. Brandon has a LOT of stuff happening in his chapters, which makes it very difficult to summarize, I know.
Philip Thomann
14. normalphil
Challenge accepted.

Jasnah is lethally arogant in a cause she believes in, rather classist, and Amaram takes her personal cause seriously, is a born scholar straining against cultural limits and getting them to bulge against his effort, and is in urgent need of better information.
Lauren Hartman
15. naupathia
Yay, reread! Reminds me that I should probably reread the book myself.

Great commentary too!
Jeremy Guebert
16. jeremyguebert
I seem to recall Brandon saying Somewhere(sorry, I'm horrible with references) that the prologues for all five books in the first arc will be different perspectives of the assassination. To see it from Gavilar's perspective would be fascinating. And slightly terrifying - can you imagine someone just suddenly deciding to walk on the walls? Plus, we could get confirmation on what the "most important words a man could say".

I'm definitely on board with the idea of this spren being Ivory. I didn't really pick up it at first, but now that you mention it, Jasnah really does have a much better initial understanding of Shadesmar than Shallan did. Interesting.

Quick question on spoiler policy: I'm assuming that since this is a re-read, anything from within WoR (and WoK, obviously) is fair game. What about other Cosmere works? Should we be concerned about those? Because that's definitely going to come up at certain points.

Given what we see of Kholinar in Lhan's interlude, the nation would be better off without the influence of Elhokar's wife. I wonder what would have happened if Jasnah had exercised her assassination option...
Carl Engle-Laird
17. CarlEngle-Laird
@16 We will sometimes talk about other Cosmere books, as they become relevant in our minds. I'll try to mark my spoilers for really major plot events beforehand, though.

As for those calling for more summary -- I, at least, can try to be less coy about what's going on in the book, but we're not planning to go back to multiple long paragraphs of summation.
Leeland Woodard
18. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Love the new format!

And @10, I REALLY like your hypothetical outline of Prologue titles for the first 5 books. That would be sneaky and awesome.
Jordan Hibbits
19. rhandric
Love the new format, though the summary is a bit terse. Of course, that could just be you trying to make us actually, ya know, reread the chapter, instead of just read the summary.

ETA: I also recall Brandon stating that the first 5 books will be the night of Gavilar's murder, from various perspectives.
@10: It'd be hard to form it into a ketek, as now you're looking at:
"To kill to question -- question to kill to", which doesn't really work (if not for that initial "to" in "to kill", it'd be possible).
Heim Kirin Grewal
20. kei_rin
I somehow didn’t think there was going to be a re-read this week. So color me pleasantly surprised. Yay, for a new re-read. I followed the last one and I’m looking forward to this one as well.

Over all I like the new format that’s being tried. I like the way the summery is set up now. It looks like it'll give more time to commentary and quotes, which is nice. I also like the inclusion of Ars Arcanum and the Heraldic Symbols and what those mean for the chapter.

The only thing that raises an eyebrow with me is calling a section Shipping Wars. I've been on the sidelines of fandoms with Shipping Wars; it's not pretty. I'm just waiting for the first call of "Shots Fired” between ships that people actually care about. Sorry Jasnah-Amaram, so far it’s seems fairly small ship sailing this flag.

Having said that, I have to agree with others in that I don't think that either Jasnah or Amaram where interested in each other. I also don't think that Jasnah would approve of Amaram and her father's plan that they are working on. Makes sense from her father's perspective. Ally meet Smart Daughter. Smart Daughter meet Ally. Do you like each other? I maybe projecting a little when I say; just all my nope.

It didn't occur to me the symmetry between Jasnah-Shallan's interactions and Gavilar-Jasnah's interactions. Possibly because so much happened in the prologue that I didn't look to closely. But it's a good thing that Jasnah's matching of Smart Ally/Adorable Cousin workout a bit better.

Edit: Oh I almost forgot.

In regards actually to the prologue title for WoK: I think that “To Kill” actually works out good over reaching theme for the whole book. Much the same way as “To Question” works for WoR. In WoK Kaladin is struggling with desire to save people and the fact that as solider he has to kill people for much of his life. That and there was lot of death and killing throughout the book, in the way that Sadeas kills off bridgemen by the fistfuls. Even Shallan’s story arch in WoK centered around killings; first the killing of her father and then at the end the attempted killing of Jasnah. Then in WoR finding the answers to questions is a major theme here. Shallan is questioning and trying to find the answers to questions about the Knights Radiant and the Desolations. Kaladin is questioning how much he can really trust Lighteyes. Questions everywhere.
Kimani Rogers
21. KiManiak
Thanks Carl.

Book 2 begins! First, let me say that I do like the new format. One minor quibble: I wish the summary were a bit longer/more detailed. I was amused by the short-yet-clever summary, but it seems rather… glossed over, maybe? The other topics do address some of the details, but I do like to read the events summarized from the rereader’s perspective for a number of reasons (details they choose to highlight; perspectives they may have that are different than mine; etc.).

It’s just minor feedback on my part; take it or leave it however you’d like! :-)

Interesting observation regarding Jasnah’s interactions with Shallan being modeled after Gavilar’s interactions with Jasnah; I hadn’t noticed that before but it kind of fits.

I believe that Sanderson has mentioned that he would have each prologue focus on Gavilar’s death, but from a different character’s perspective each time. I don’t believe you are alone in projecting that the final point of view of that day would be from Gavilar himself. (Edit: I see that Hammerlock@7 and others mentioned this as well.)

Good observations and points in the other units/topics. I look forward to Alice/Wetlander’s post next time!


Ways@1 – Nice observation about Liss. As for the burned out eyes, when Syl cuts through Szeth at the end of WoR, his eyes burn out. Also, Shallan’s mom (apparently) had burned out eyes after Shallan killed her.

Tek@3, sillyslovene@10 and others – I’m with you. More summary would be helpful.

sillyslovene@10 – I like the Prologue ketek idea! That would be rather clever. One nitpick, don’t proper keteks need to have a certain number of syllables or some other rule? I forget off the top of my head…

AhoyMatey@11 – I believe they were both part of “The Sons of Honor.” Slightly pretentious name…

Carl@17 - As stated above, I also would appreciate more summary, but I will gladly take what you give us. Just providing you with feedback, is all.
Adam S.
22. MDNY
@1 Yes, blades formed from living spren also cause burned-out eyes- remember Shallan's memories of her dead mother, whose eyes were burned out.
Jasnah and Amaram....well, one is a heretic, and one is a kind of religious nutjob who wants to bring back the Heralds (even though they're all around him). But hey, opposites attract! They're both intelligent, though obviously it's hard to find a true intellectual equal to Jasnah, who apparently was a child genius that continued to remain way above the curve for intellect throughout her life so far. But Amaram's not an idiot, and maybe his dedication to his religious beliefs and devotion to committing fully to what he believes in, plus his frienship with her father, could help overcome those differences. Let's go, Jasnaram!!!
I like this new format, but I too could use a bit more summary, especially as we get into later chapters where a lot is happening in the plot.
andrew smith
23. sillyslovene
@19 Rhandric -
It's specifically noted (I believe in the endnote to WoK?) that there is allowance for shift in verb forms - thus, with those all considered the infinitive form, they could shift in some way to allow for it - maybe to a gerund (Dying - Gavilar? or Questioning - Amaram/Sadeas/Eshonai?).

I'm probably stretching too much by having the category opposite To Question as To Answer - maybe I'm allowing for too much of a chiastic equivalence or antithetical parallelism based on thought. (really, hadn't thought too much through it...jotted it down in a couple minutes). But given that the titles of the Parts for both WoK and WoR form Keteks, it seems plausible that Brandon would do the same here.

ETA: of course the middle title is a complete speculation without even the form of the Ketek as guidance. BWS could name it any number of things, if this is what he is going for, that could fit in any number of ways.

It would also be easy to note that Alethi, as a language, probably doesn't have a separated, 2-word form for the infinitive. Most languages actually don't - usually having simply a one-word form of the verb as its infinitive form. Thus, Alethi - the 'to' might not actually be there. It might exist only in English translation. Thus, from that point of view, it could hypothetically form a complete Ketek, even though it might look wierd in English. :)
Kimani Rogers
24. KiManiak
Another thought:

This prologue is actually full of information that could lead to a bunch of other questions. Carl mentions Jasnah’s first exposure to Shadesmar (I like the “just drop her in the ocean and see if she drowns” line), but some weird stuff happens to Jasnah before that, which is focused upon just briefly here.

Jasnah’s shadow points in the wrong direction at least several minutes before she even walked down the hallway that drops her into Shadesmar. She reflects on the fact that it has happened before (“Not again. She searched for another light source,” and “What did these episodes of hers mean?”).

We do see when she’s first plunged into Shadesmar, but we have no idea how long these other things have been happening to her, and how often. Or if they all were linked to Ivory/Shadesmar.

I think Sanderson has given us more than enough reason (based on previous books) to not assume that Jasnah’s “episodes,” the reverse-shadow, and the shadows becoming figures are all answered by her being dropped into Shadesmar and being placed on the path of becoming an Elsecaller.

The experience is too reminiscent of what we have seen occur with Axies (and in which we are told is a sign of both Aimians and Voidbringers) to not question whether something else is going on.
Merchanter Pride
25. MerchanterPride
Whoa whoa whoa @1 and everybody else, we know that Ash is Jezrein's daughter?! I am pretty deeply read in Cosmere stuff but that is a fact I did not know!
TBGH
26. Moogle
One thing this reread missed which was very important is a huge timeline discrepancy. Gavilar leaves the feast before Jasnah leaves, but Szeth waits hours after Gavilar has retired to assassinate him.

So Jasnah walked to her meeting with Liss, had Shadesmar adventures, spoke with Nalan + unknown possible Herald, and then ran up to see her father die... and it took her a few hours.

There's something up.
Carl Engle-Laird
27. CarlEngle-Laird
*blink blink*

Ooooooooooh.

Time in Shadesmar: How does it even work?
Jordan Hibbits
28. rhandric
@23 Good point, I neglected to include "to" in changing verbage; it only comes to mind as part of the verb when I think in terms of foreign languages, which is almost never ;) With that in mind, the potential does exist.

@26 Do we know how long her adventure in Neve-Shadesmar lasted?
Mooglefrooglian
29. Mooglefrooglian
To clarify my previous comment with actual quotes:

Jasnah leaves the feast at about the mid-way point. She notices that Dalinar is yelling boisterously. She finds Gavilar, who had slipped out to talk to Amaram.

Jasnah talks to Gavilar. Gavilar finishes off with this: “I should return to the celebration,” Gavilar said, motioning to Tearim.

He returned to the feast evidently (though he may have been lying to Jasnah), and in any case he hadn't slipped out too much before Jasnah did.

In TWoK, we get this from Szeth's intro: "Szeth stood and began to pick his way through the room. The revelry had lasted long; even the king had retired hours ago."

Szeth notices that Dalinar is slumped over from the drink and is basically falling asleep.

So yeah, Jasnah heads to her meeting with Liss, talks to Nalan and his friend, has a Shadesmar adventure, and runs up to see her father die - before anyone else got there, in fact, which shows she wasn't too far away. Based on this, her meeting with Liss couldn't have taken her more than a few minutes to walk to.

This all apparently took her hours, though, because that's how long Szeth waited.

Of all her actions, it does seem like going to Shadesmar is the obvious candidate for what caused the time discrepancy. This may explain why the worldhoppers we see (who should be thousands of years old) are alive in modern times: if you spend a minute in Shadesmar, an hour goes by in the "real" world, or something similarly ridiculous.
Tricia Irish
30. Tektonica
MDNY@22:

Jasnah is a huge intellect, as you say, and on her way to being a KR. I just can't see her getting along with Amaram at all, given the actions he's taken to bring back the Heralds, even with Gavilars blessing. I'm looking forward to her meeting Kal, at some point. He is no mental midget either, thanks to his father's training, and both will be KR. This could be interesting. They have different skill sets, but I think they're philosophically more aligned.
Adam S.
31. MDNY
@30 Tektonica- Oh, I don't actually see it happening! I was just playing along with the Shipping Wars section. I want those bonus points Carl offered.
Carl Engle-Laird
32. CarlEngle-Laird
@14 Use of "bulge" suspect. 26 points. See me after class.

@22 Good analysis, but overstates opinion of father. 132 points. Shows improvement.

Points can be redeemed for value and/or prestige at approved vendors.
Nick Hlavacek
33. Nick31
Yea reread! I'll go against the trend here and say that I like the new style of summary. But that might be because the material is somewhat fresh in my mind having just read WOR last month. If it had been longer I might appreciate a better reminder of what happened. So I guess I see it both ways.
The Shipping Wars haven't ever really interested me, but I have teenage daughters who get VERY SERIOUS about who is or should be shipped in the series they enjoy. But Jasnah and Amaram? As if. :)
I'm really looking forward to the "Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before?" sections. I'm guessing that no one here counts as a world hopper (yet)?
Carl Engle-Laird
34. CarlEngle-Laird
@33 It's possible that there are some worldhopper at this dinner that I missed, but to the best of my knowledge no one here is from anywhere except Roshar. We've decided to keep Heralds in the Heraldic Symbolism section.
TBGH
35. STBLST
C0ngratulations Carl and Alice on your new Tor assignment. The reread should make the wait for the 3rd installment in the series go by faster. To begin, I don't believe that Gavilar's parenting style vis-a-vis Jasnah is reflected in Jasnah's mentoring of Shallan - at least, not initially. Gavilar is more tolerant of his daughter's attitude, than Jasnah is of Shallan. Even his criticism of his daughter is offered in a mild fashion. Jasnah, however, is too arrogant to temper her criticism of others. Her attitude towards religious belief is such that there is no way that she would consider the Vorin enthusiast (Sons of Honor), Amaram, as a potential spouse - even if she would be interested in a man. Their similar brutal reaction to resolution of some conflicts does not make for compatibility in a relationship. Jasnah appears as an unsympathetic character who is willing to stoop to assassination to eliminate potential threats or obstacles to the would-be Kholin dynasty, regardless of cost or hurt. Nor does she have an expressed rationale of thereby saving the world. We'll have to wait for the 3rd book to find out if she tempers her ways, based on new experiences. Her attitude towards Hoid (Dust) at the epilogue doesn't lend too much hope there.
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
AndrewHB @5 - FWIW, in the sentence immediately after Carl's quote, it says "She too it as the rebuke it was, and found herself blushing." So while it wasn't exactly a veiled insult, it was a rebuke that (in context) only she and Gavilar would recognize as such. It implies a close relationship, and one in which his opinion really matters to her - but also one in which they both acknowledge his ability and authority to correct her when she gets her nose too high in the air. I also really love the way he corrects her in such a way that other observers (in this case, Amaram) don't even know he did it. For all the things (I think) he did wrong, he had some good parenting skills. At least with his daughter; not so sure about the son...

sillyslovene @10 & 23 - It's a lovely chiasm, but I don't think the ketek form allows for antithesis. It has to "read the same forward and backward (allowing for alteration of verb forms)..." and I don't see any way we can pretend that "To Kill" and "To Die" are altered verb forms - much less "To Question" and "To Answer". Which is not to say that Brandon won't make use of either the chiasm or the ketek structure, of course; he's really big on symmetry and palindromes for the SA, so it seems reasonable that he'd do one or the other. Since we have all of zero information about who the next three Prologue POVs will come from, it's a bit hard to guess. I do hope the fifth is Gavilar, though...

@many - Re: summaries... Well, Carl just gave you way more summary than I was going to give you, so... I guess we'll try to find a balance. The thing is, I hate to expend most of my creative energies on summarizing something that Brandon already wrote much better than I could, and then have no energy left for commentary.

That said, I can certainly see the point that reading the events summarized from the rereader’s perspective can be very helpful. On the other hand, since we're mostly doing one chapter a week, it's not like y'all would have too much rereading/skimming to do... Of course, it's awful for anyone who doesn't actually have physical possession of a book.

Well, we'll try to find a balance. In any case, the feedback is greatly appreciated!
TBGH
39. flyleaffan
Brandon did say that each prologue in the first five books are a different POV for the night of the assassination. I think the next one may be in the view of Eshonai, since the past stories I think are of her as well, at least that's what Brandon was planning.
Andrew Berenson
40. AndrewHB
@ 36 on this re-read should we refer to you as WetlanderNW or Alice? (Of course, if we are mad at you then we might have some more colorful names :) )

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
Andrew @40 - Wetlander, Alice, Royal Highness, Your Majesty... Whatever. :)

::ducks for the Storm Cellar, just in case other names are forthcoming::
Jeremy Guebert
42. jeremyguebert
Wetlander @ 41 - All this, and humble too ;)
Leeland Woodard
43. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@41
Probably should combine them all somehow. Her Royal High-Majesty-ness Alice Wetlandernw Arneson, The First of Her Name, Queen of the Words of Radiance Re-read
TBGH
44. Jasuni
@20 WoK also asks "can you kill to protect" as a theme

@21 A ketek has to be split into 5 distinct phrases (specifically into "5 distinct smaller sections, each of which makes a complete thought"). Also, with the 3 other keteks we have seen, the divisions were given.

@39 Brandon Sanderson's last blog post placed the next book's title as "Stones Unhallowed," which would make it Szeth's book.

@ Summary - I think the summary was perfect (it hit every point and nothing more - details are what the other sections are for)
TBGH
45. Confutus
I'm glad to see that others have taken up the task of attempting to interpret the Herald icons. I started doing that on the Way of Kings reread, but it wore on me.

I haven't seen any mention of the target of Jasnah's contemplated assassination, who as I read it, is Elhokar's wife Aesudan, or why she was contemplating it. It is evident that Jasnah decided against going through with the assassination, since Aesudan survives to mismanage the affairs of the kingdom while the menfolk are off playing capture-the-gemhearts on the Shattered Plains. We already know, from her treatment of the thieves in Kharbranth, that Jasnah has a ruthless streak and few qualms about acting outside the law if she sees a need, but now I wonder if she knew something more about them that gave her a deeper motive than she ever told Shallan about. This careful weighing of the pros and cons of an assassination and the decision here not to take an irrevocable action in haste suggest that there may have been something more going on than we have yet been told. Jasnah is a woman of many deep secrets.

As far as concern with the affaris of the kingdom, the events surrounding Gavilar's death, her adventures in Shadesmar, and her researches into the Parshmen/Parshendi seem to have turned her concerns in entirely different directions.
Leeland Woodard
46. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Confutus @45

Yeah, after you stopped doing the herald icons, a month or so passed and I missed them, so I picked it up. I'm glad it's going into the summary though--it'll be interesting to get someone else's thoughts on it.
TBGH
47. flyleaffan
@44 yes, that's right. But I still think the POV will be Eshonai for the prologue.
Sean Tabor
48. wingracer
Amarnah. Where have I heard that before? I swear there is a book or movie or TV show with an Amarnah in it (though I think it's a place instead of a couple) but I can't figure out where.

Edit, Just figured it out. It's from Egyptian history. The Armana (no h on the end unfortunately) period.
John Brown
49. Seerow
Saw a couple people mention the summary was a bit too short, I want to agree with them. It doesn't need to be more than half the review like it was in WoK, but at least 2-3 paragraphs and giving names for the people interacting would be nice.


Otherwise loving the new format.
TBGH
50. Confutus
@12 Not Helaran. Talak is his name.
Glen V
51. Ways
I certainly wouldn't object to a tad bit more summary.

We're ducking into the Storm Cellar now, when the situation demands a hidey-hole...but does the Cellar have a corner for Alice's Restaurant and Carl's, I dunno, help me out here. Gun shop? Witty comebacks shop? I would definitely be great to be able to grab a bite to eat and some "ammo" while we're lying low.

Another interesting observation about Battar's order of Elsecallers is that Battar's body focus is oils. The Spren that Jashan encountered:
"...took the shape of a man of midnight blackness, though he had a certain reflective cast, as if he were made of oil. No… of some other liquid with a coating of oil floating on the outside, giving him a dark, prismatic quality."
JJ Hall @12
Helaran hasn't been killed yet, by you-know-who, at the time of this flashback. I believe we know he wandered around a bit before joining the skirmish against Amaram's army, so maybe it is him. Liss called him Talak, but I suppose his real name could be known well enough in noble circles that he might use an alias. I don't get where you are going with this. Are you suggesting he is gay? I couldn't find the quote "I'm pretty sure neither of them are interested" in the online excerpt on Tor, maybe it's different than the print edition.

Ki @21 and MDNY @22
Thanks for refreshing my crappy memory. So we still don't know for sure if Liss just picked up a Shardblade or is an incipient KR.

MerchanterPride @25
Yes, Ash is Jezrien's daughter. WoB from the Sept. 2013 Miyabi interview. You'll find it if you search Shalash on Coppermind and check ref. 4.
TBGH
52. still no name
Jasnah/Amaram shortens to Jam, so they're clearly doomed.
Kathryn Huff
53. Woozle_Mom
@52 In my opinion, you deserve points for that, even though you were arguing against the Ship. Too funny.

@51 Interesting thoughts regarding Jasnah's spren and the oils essence associated with the Herald who headed the Elsecallers. I hadn't noticed that. This is probably a stupid thought, but I wonder if there are similar correlations in the other orders? (I didn't look it up to see, yet.)
Deana Whitney
54. Braid_Tug
Welcome back everyone!
Looking forward to this journey.

And I'm impressed, as of right now, this thread has more posts than Leigh's Read of ASoIaF. Normally that one is way ahead on post #s. Let's keep that up.

Re: time in Shadesmar....wow! Great catch. So how long did J spend there after her boat trip?

Want to say more, but typing on my phone for this stinks.
Carl Engle-Laird
55. CarlEngle-Laird
@51 No guns here, but plenty of witty comebacks.

Saying swear words is witty, right?

(You guys can just call me Carl.)
Glen V
56. Ways
Woozle_Mom
I don't see such a clear-cut connection to a Herald's body focus for other spren, but maybe I'm missing something. The Battar/Ivory oil connection may just be random.

ETA
Carl's Curse Concourse?
Rob Campbell
57. rccampbe
So excited! I finished my second reading yesterday and came back for the first time since WoR came out, expecting to fill my SA need by finishing the WoK reread. But I can start the WoR reread! You guys are on the ball. Thank you, Carl and Alice.

I like the new format. I'd ask for a few more details in the summary, but not much. I definitely like it being much shorter than the commentary.

I wanted to go for points on the Jamaram ship, but I can't do it. I was seriously disappointed that Jasnah was so absent this book and I'm still waiting to see how Jasladin? Kalnah? could begin. Kal needs somebody to smack sense into him sometimes.

2 things from the post and comments that struck me. The thought that Dalinar's 'dead' wife could have been/is a Herald threw me for a loop. But we just know so little about her that I can't argue against it.

And along those lines, we should be confused by Aesudan. In the prologue she seems a threat because Jasnah considers her assassination. But in an interlude she seems self-indulgent (by reputation). I would trust Jasnah and assume that she has a larger role to play. Could she be a Herald with associations that make Jasnah suspicious and with some deteriorating characteristic which leads to self-indulgence? I've never analyzed the ars arcanum but I might have to to speculate further.
TBGH
58. Confutus
If the two men conversing are indeed Kalak and Nale, Kalak is very much a worrier. One would hardly call him resolute, which is what he was once known for. More evidence, if you will, that Something Is Wrong With The Heralds.
Jennifer B
59. JennB
The summary is a bit skimpy, but maybe we will get used to it. I wonder if I could actually reread with this reread. It would be difficult to read one chapter and stop. So far, I have only read WoR once, which would probably make it even harder. Either way, I will be looking forward to this every week.

Jasnah may have had an easier time in Shadesmar simply because Sanderson didn't need to teach his audience the basics. Shallon's difficulties may have been mostly for the sake of exposition.
Eric McCabe
60. Zizoz
The possibility of Shalash being Dalinar's wife was discussed at 17th Shard, but I believe the conclusion was that she had the wrong hair color. Dalinar's wife must have been at least partially blonde. Baxil's mistress, assumed to be Shalash, is described as follows: "she had dark skin and long, beautiful black hair. She had eyes like a Shin, but she was tall and lean, like an Alethi."

On the connection between spren and body focus, there doesn't seem to be a ton of that, but if you look at the essence and (especially) soulcasting properties in the table as well there is some connection to be found:

Windrunners: Zephyr/Inhalation/Translucent gas, air: Honorspren appear similar to windspren

Edgedancers: Lucentia/The Eyes/Quartz, glass, crystal: Wyndle is described as vinelike, but note: "Here and there, bits of clear crystal peeked out of the vines, like sections of quartz in otherwise dark stone. Those weren't sharp, but smooth like polished glass, and didn't glow with Stormlight." and "The vines hardened after a few moments of sitting, as if briefly becoming solid crystal, then they crumbled to dust." (Emphasis added)

Truthwatchers: Pulp/The Hair/Wood, plants, moss: Ym is generally agreed to be a Truthwatcher. His spren is unlike Wyndle, and tells him "Light!" at the end of the chapter, which may be a hint to use Illumination to escape. Ym's spren is described thusly: "specks of light, like those from a piece of crystal suspended in a sunbeam. ... When it stopped, light crept upward from it, like small plants growing or climbing from their burrows." So there is a plant connection, though light is more prevalent, and crystals are invoked.

Lightweavers: Blood/The Blood/Blood, all non-oil liquid: Not really much connection to cryptics here.

Elsecallers: Tallow/Oil/All kinds of oil: Covered already

Willshapers: Foil/The Nails/Metal: I've seen it suggested that the spren Eshonai sees at the beginning of I-11 is the Willshapers' spren. The description -- "It danced around her head, shedding rings of light from its cometlike form." -- doesn't seem to relate too strongly to foil, nails or metal, though.

Bondsmiths: Sinew/Flesh/Meat, flesh: Stormfather doesn't seem to fit this too well. Suppose he's a bit of a special case, though.

So there's some sort of connection in four out of six or seven cases.

Something interesting to note is the duality between the Edgedancer and Truthwatcher spren: the Edgedancer spren is plantlike, with crystalline aspects, while the Truthwatcher spren is light with plantlike aspects. I wonder what significance this has.
Birgit
61. birgit
"To Kill" fits Szeth's purpose while "To Question" fits Jasnah the heretic scholar. The titles apply to the POV characters, not the books, which have different focus characters.

No… of some other liquid with a coating of oil floating on the outside

That reminds me of tainted saidin. I saw the shadow pointing in the wrong direction as actually being the shadow spren. It is strange that a black spren is called Ivory (and now hear the song Ebony and Ivory).

Amarna is an old Egyptian town that was built by the heretic pharao Akhenaten. That would at least fit Jasnah, and maybe Amaram, too.

Her father smiled. “Is it terribly difficult for you?” he asked softly. “Living with the rest of us, suffering our average wits and simple thoughts? Is it lonely to be so singular in your brilliance, Jasnah?”

Taravangian later says something similar, that a gear that is too big fits as little as one that is too small with ordinary gears and that is why he makes no decisions when he is too smart and when he is too stupid. Brandon seems to be exploring the topic of how different intelligence levels make interactions with "normal" people difficult in this book.
TBGH
62. JJ Hall
Ways @51

Sorry if I was unclear. I was making two comments, the first being that "Talak" might be Helaran. The second part was unrelated to him -- rather, I meant to underline my agreement with Carl that Jasnah wouldn't be interested in Amaram with a quote that, to me, suggests Jasnah might be gay.
Carl Engle-Laird
63. CarlEngle-Laird
@62 My personal headcanon is that Jasnah is either a lesbian or asexual, yeah. I don't see the Alethi construction of masculinity having much to offer her romantically, basically.
Jordan Hibbits
64. rhandric
@52 That would be pronounced 'Yam', no?
Carl Engle-Laird
65. CarlEngle-Laird
@64 Oh no oh storms no it's Revenge of the Jam THE JAM KABSAL I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEEEAAAAD
Nadine L.
66. travyl
Defying Carl's logic, I started my WoR reread with a read of the Acknowledgements ;)
I'd like to point out two things:
- “Mi’chelle Walker acted as Alethi handwriting consultant” - (made me chuckle)
- the mention about Elise Warren giving notes to "the psychology of a key character" - I'm guessing that would be Renarin, fitting with the fact that is illness isn't somatic (as reavealed by Peter A.)

Carl, why did you choose to name the Herald Nale?
As far as I have (compusively gathered) in WoK he was named "Nalan'Elin" (Chapter 18/27, illustration 20) and named himself "Nin" in WoR chapter 88. "Nale" was only given once, spoken by Szeth.
Carl Engle-Laird
67. CarlEngle-Laird
@66 That's the name I got from the wiki where I go to look up the symbols. I mostly think of him as Nalan, but when a guy has that many names he's going to have to deal with people using the wrong one sometimes.
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
travyl @66 - I assumed the "psychology of a key character" referred to Shallan's voluntary amnesia. Not sure why, other than that somewhere along the line I remember Brandon or Peter saying that they'd gotten confirmation from experts that it was psychologically accurate.

Also - I'll have to go searching for the reference, but IIRC, somewhere someone got a list of the Heralds' original names, and Nale was among them, along with Vedel, Chanarach, and Paliah.
Jeremy Guebert
69. jeremyguebert
Herald naming @66, 68 - If Nale is considered to be his "original name", and the only place he's referred to that way in the text is when Szeth refers to him, then this implies that either the Shin in general or the Stone Shamans in particular have a much fuller / more accurate knowledge/understanding of the Heralds than the rest of Roshar. Expecting lots of fireworks between them and Szeth in book 3...
Jordan Hibbits
70. rhandric
@69 WoB is that the Shin think they know more about things (such as the Recreance, perhaps more) than others do. How much of what they know is accurate, and how they know more, is yet to be answered.
Kimani Rogers
71. KiManiak
Re: Herald Names -

For what it's worth, a transcript of the WoR March 22nd Chicago signing posted on 17th Shard has Brandon stating the Heralds names as:
"Jezrien, Nale, Chanarach (nickname: Chana), Vedel, Paliah (nickname: Pali), Shalash (nickname: Ash), Battar, Kalak, Talenel (nickname: Taln), Ishar."
(Click on the above link or insert below in browser: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/7058-words-of-radiance-tour-chicago-signing-mar-22/page-2#entry116818
(It's comment #31 of the topic; look under "Signing and Personalization Line," 2 of 2, at the 29.22 minute mark))

Personally, I have no problem calling him Nalan, Nale or Nin.

ETA: Spoilers for the rest of the cosmere can be found there as well, so read the rest of that transcript at your own risk :-)
Christopher Smith
72. nerdalert
I've got a fever, and the only cure is a reread!

I've been through the book twice, so third times a charm with the reread bonus. I will second third or whatever that motion that more summary would be great.

Onward!!!
Andrew Berenson
73. AndrewHB
I think the picture of Shallan on the inside cover of WoR looks a lot like a young Nicole Kidman. Does anybody else see that similarity?

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
(aka the musespren)
Nadine L.
74. travyl
Re Heralds Names
“Nin,” he whispered. “The one they call Nalan, or Nale, here. Herald of Justice.” (WoR, Ch88, Szeth)
From that I gather, that Nin would be the Heraldic-epoch name.

Taken purely from the published book text (WoK and WoR) I so far gathered / deduced for the Herald's names:
- "Original Names": Jezrien, Nalan/Nin, ???, Vedel, ???,
Ash, ???, Kalak, Taln/Talenel, Ishi
- "Vorin Names": Jezerezeh, Nalan, Chanaranach, Vedeledev, Pailiah,
Shalash, Battar/Battah, Kelek, Talenelat, Ishi

@68, Oh I forgot Shallan, she of course makes sense as well.
Glen V
75. Ways
rccampbe @57 and others
Just my opinion...the Heralds (ex. Taln at the end of WoR, who is a special case anyway) are flying below the radar and wouldn't want high-profile exposure like being Dalinar's or Elhokar's wife. Especially if something is wrong with them and they might blow their cover at any time.

Zizoz @60
I'd noticed some associations to soulcasting properties also. You did a very thorough job of fleshing it out. The Elsecallers/body focus connection may well be a coincidence.

JJ Hall @62
Got it. I was mixing your metaphors. We can't rule out Helaran being Talak.

Edit for typos
Maiane Bakroeva
76. Isilel
Surely, if Talak had been a lighteyes, Jasnah would have commented on it? I mean, it would have been highly unusual to have one as an assassin's servant.
Nadine L.
77. travyl
When Jasnah is in Shadesmar she pours stormlight into the beads of the palace and Taln's statue as is evidenced by the afterwards dark corridor. So why didn't she accidentaly soulcast those two objects, which "accepted" the stormlight? (At least we don't see any evidence that anything happend outside Shadesmar).
TBGH
78. Confutus
@62, @75 Talak is described as a "brute", which doesn't sound to me like Helaran. I'd have to do a review of Shallan's flashback chapters to look for a description of him.

@68 Featherwriter (Alyx) on the 17th Shard credits her friend Elise with supplying Brandon with notes for his characterization of Renarin. She recorded her reactions/impressions of her first read of Words of Radiance (Splintercast Reads Words of Radiance) for the benefit and entertainment of listeners. That series is just now concluding.

@77 I would think the palace would require a great deal of stormlight to change, and so would the statue. Perhaps they didn't especially want to change. Shallan's goblet was practically suicidal and begged her to change it.
Nadine L.
79. travyl
Confutus, you mean the suicidal goblet didn't want to stick around?
TBGH
80. Confutus
Not that I'm an expert on the psychology of the inanimate (or anything else), but I wouldn't judge the goblet to be as comfortably secure in its own identity as others I could name.
Andrew Hamilton
81. SirJerric
@7, 10, 21, 39 and others, on Prologue POVs:
A number of people are referencing the five prologues from the same night, and I notice no one seems to have a reference on that. To at least partially rectify that lack, I'm going to take a moment to plug my own audio from the WoR tour that has an answer to this very question. Sadly, my audio does not have the best quality, but it is all that's available from that signing.

The audio file is linked to here: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/6777-questions-for-omaha-signing-3-13-2014/
The question begins at 2 minutes 11 seconds into the file.
And this is my current attempt at a transcript of it:
Q: . . .
A: Yes, uh-huh.
Q: And . . . Dalinar . . .
A: During that period before? Both the—You'll see a lot of the Dalinar flashbacks . . . he doesn't know what's going on. You should be able to read between the lines to see what's going on with him. And I think Jasnah might go back that far, but I'd have to go look at my notes. I'm not sure I can't remember off the top of my head where the flashback sequence is. . . . You may eventually see a viewpoint from Gavilar (himself), because every prologue is the same night.
Q: Is that going to . . .
A: And that's through the first five. Yeah. And then the second five will use . . . inciting incident.
Q: Thank you very much.
Brandon appears to have been asked about whether Dalinar's flashback sequence (Book 5) would give insight into something around Galivar's death, and the rest was volunteered as to where said information might come up.
Julian Augustus
82. Alisonwonderland
King @46,

As Confutus always posted in red, I had assumed since you started posting weekly about the herald icons (and we didn't hear any more from Confutus) that you were, indeed, Confutus who had decided to register and post under a new name!
TBGH
83. Confutus
@82 Heh. His observations were at least as good as mine would have been, when they weren't better.
T C
84. Freelancer
And so it begins. This promises to be an exquisite ride.

RE: Jasnah's understand of, and response to, Gavilar's comments.

Wetlandernw has it @36, but I'd like to expound a tad, having a strongly similar relationship with a brilliant, headstrong daughter. She has a remarkable knack for evaluating people, which I prefer to name discernment. However, she lets tact remain in her pocket all too often, and my usual method of reminding her would look to an outside observer very much like an insult, or at least a strong put-down. She knows better, and takes it as intended. I was always just a little bit tough on her, because she was always up to the task, and she got it early on that it meant I cared.

Jasnah could take it, and Gavilar was a wise and eloquent man, who provided the guidance his children could both understand and to which they would correctly respond. Certainly, he would not have dealt with Elhokar in the same manner.


Confutus @45

A very strong argument could be made that Jasnah did not act outside the law in Kharbranth, but protected herself and her walking companion from brigands intent on at least robbing them, possibly doing them great bodily harm (as inferred from Jasnah's research into the crimes of that area). I know that, in most cases in our day, it is considered perfectly legal to employ deadly force to save your own life, and that it is not permitted to do so once an assailant chooses to flee. But law in a place here and now means nothing to the law on Roshar in that time (as has been discussed ad nauseam in the spoiler reread regarding the last death recorded in WoR).

I know that a counter argument could be made that Jasnah maliciously entrapped those brigands with the intent of destroying them, which could be considered pre-meditated murder. But can any valid rationale state that she committed a crime via the presumption that they would commit a crime? A sticky wicket indeed. They bad guys acted on their own free will to do what Jasnah predicted. This in no way alleviates their culpability for their actions. Yes, it introduces a question regarding Jasnah's ethics, but Shallan takes care of raising those points quite well in the text.


Carl @55

No, actually. Employing vulgarities or profanity in place of normal forms of speech is in truth quite the opposite of witty.

Some think cursing smart;
Some see it all but sublime;
It's just potty-mouth.
Leeland Woodard
85. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@82, 83
Aww, shucks guys. That was pretty flattering.

Honestly, I had no idea about the herald icons thing until Confutus started describing some of the significance, and I got fascinated by it pretty quickly.
TBGH
86. Kilo
@1: About (though not, if I remember from my check, exactly) the same time of the Hearthstone conscription - and also about the same time that Shallan lost her mother. I wonder; given full communication, would Jasnah still think of herself as Shallan's senior in Surgebinding?
TBGH
87. STBLST
I'm surprised at the relative lack of discussion about the morality of Jasnah's use of assassins to ostensibly protect the Kholin family and throne. In the case of Liss, the instructions were changed to one of spying on her sister-in-law, out of caution. However, Jasnah had commissioned numerous other assassins. Is this the kind of behavior expected from someone later claiming to save humanity on Roshar from the impending desolation? After all, Taravangian also claims such a goal which is supposedly furthered by his draconian methods. Does she also exemplify Taravangian's observation that the more intelligence he exhibits on a given day, the less sympathy he has for others? For me, Jasnah is a very unsympathetic character to this point, and I felt little loss at her ostensible slaying in Chapter 7 of the book once she had imparted the theory that the Parshmen would become Voidbringers, and had given Shallan her mission of finding Urithiru in the Shattered Plains.
Kunal Garg
88. Invoker
I had totally missed that conversation between the strangers Jasnah sees. Totally overlooked it.

And i could do with a summary too. Although for a different reason. I have noticed that even in the way people summarise, there is something new to be found. I like finding new stuff!
Leeland Woodard
89. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@87
The thing is, she has a network of assassins to prevent any of her family from being assassinated. She's just paying the assassin for the name of the person who is trying to get her family killed, if the assassin is offered a contract to do so. Presumably to try them under the law. Or to use the knowledge that they want you dead for political reasons.

Sure, Jasnah could probably turn the assassins in, but they're more useful to her when they're acting as spies that she only has to pay if someone's trying to kill a member of her family.
Jeremy Guebert
90. jeremyguebert
travyl @ 79 - That's awful. I groaned and snickered at the same time...

Freelancer @ 84 - Excellent word choice. I see what you did there (long-time lurker on the WoT re-read, here).
TBGH
91. ElendsSecondCousin
@89
I don't think we can reasonably believe Jasnah's hands are clean. In fact, the Ghostblood captain (blowgun guy, I'm spacing his name at the moment) claims that Jasnah assassinated a number of their members. He may well have been lying to Shallan, but add in the fact that Jasnah comes really close to actually ordering the murder of Elhokar's wife makes me think she's done it before, despite it being 'distasteful.' Especially since the reason she changes her mind isn't due to any sort of morality qualm, it's just that she thinks the murder may not be needed yet.
Patrick Mosbacker
92. Patillian
I think Jasnah definitely makes decisions that are ruthless both in employing the assassinations and in killing the murderers in the city. I also think Jasnah is extremely interesting and am excited to learn about how and what she learned in the 6 years between the prologue and WoK. Her return will definitely alter the dynamics of the Dalinar-led band of Knights Radiant. I still think Adolin is going to fall somehow, but maybe she will be a sort of guide for him as part of the orders with less stringent spren...

About the brief interaction between father and daughter, I cannot read Gavilar's comment to Jasnah as anything other than a stinging rebuke. I couldn't read enough into it to know if their relationship is otherwise close or if this is an ongoing conflict, but from the antogonistic nature of Alethi politics, the comment was extra embarassing in front of another highly ranked person, even if he was a political ally.

I LOVE the extra sections of thematic commentary you have added. However, while no one has to do work they don't want to, I think that most of us appreciate a more detailed summary. I have reread WoR completely once, and select parts a few times, but I don't reread exactly along with the posts here. I know some do, but I bet most don't. I know the commentary is the meat that keeps us coming back to the rereads, but it is not as meaningful if I am not reminded of what happened in that chapter. It doesn't have to be as long as Leigh's excellent summaries of Wheel of Time, but the summary paragraph here was the one part I didn't enjoy. That said, if you decide to continue in the same fashion, I will keep reading and enjoying the excellent posts regardless.
Christopher Smith
93. nerdalert
Freelancer@ 84

I think you are right on about Jasnah’s skill at evaluating people. Hence her habits of wearing make-up and dressing alluringly modest (Jasnah wears the Havah which covers but hugs the body). She speaks respectfully but carries an air with her that commands attention, respect, and obedience. She could easily use her authority as the king’s sister to be a shrewish leader aboard their vessel, but she doesn’t . Instead of “I need a chair, here, now, make it happn’ Capn’” she’s like what I envision Lady Mary from Downton Abby saying, “I should like a seat…” and everyone jumps to her command…and will jump again and again. Well played all around.

(Please don't pull my man-card, I watch Downtown Abby with my wife, at her command, else I get the hose again)

I have a son who is very much a people person, but he has his mother’s knack for not realizing how he sounds to other people. It’s difficult to correct him in public, so I’ve gone to using a hidden shock collar so I can just use my little corrective remote (that’s not true).

I really hated that Jasnah makes an exit so soon. When I read it for the first time, I couldn’t believe that Bran San was taking out such a rich character. I was looking forward to getting to know her more in this book. There was a little gleam of hope in the back of my mind that even though the exit seemed VERY final, maybe…just maybe….

On the debate about Jasnah’s morality, (@87, et al), this is a world that requires such tactics as use of assassins. Just as we can’t apply some of the physics in our current world to the Bran San’s Cosmere, we shouldn’t push our morality onto it either (I reject your morality and substitute my own). If Jasnah assassinated members of the Ghostbloods, how do we know they weren’t in the evil camp, whether the Ghostbloods reside there as well? I guess that is a RAFO.
TBGH
94. Confutus
Now that Nalan and Kalak are not quite so anonymous, I thought I remembered them putting in an appearance in the treaty banquet from Szeth's point of view in the Prologue to Way of Kings and went back to check. While Jasnah was off conversing with Liss, (which answers Szeth's question about where she was), he saw them at the high table talking with Ehokar, although he didn't overhear anything informative.
Maiane Bakroeva
95. Isilel
@94:

Why were they talking to Elokhar, I wonder? Did Nalan suspect that Gavilar was an incipient surgebinder, or, for some reason, expected Nahel bomds to appear among the Kholins? If the Parshendi didn't kill him, would Nalan have done the honors himself? Did he influence their decision in some way?
Interesting, that he frowned looking at Jasnah - did he somehow know what was happening to her? Yet, he didn't folow up with extermination in the later years. Could Jasnah's soulcaster subtrefuge have fooled him?

As to Jasnah's misbehaving shadow, I thought that it was she was being drawn close to Shadesmar and her shadow reacted to the overworldly sun/sources of light. And that Aimians are probably connected to it too. The prejudice that such a phenomenon makes one "cursed" could stem from the Recreance and villification of Knights Radiant and/or from it's association with the Aimians.

Jasnah's meddling with assassins shouldn't be all that surprising - it has been mentioned that women of the family are supposed to be in charge of spy nets and assassinations. Gavilar and Dalinar used to be bloodthirsty warlords, so it isn't like Jasnah didn't fit in. Theirs is a ruthless, violent society.
And, frankly, the Kholin family seems to be that much worse off because of Jasnah turning her attention to other matters, Navani being unable/unwilling to take on this role and Elokhar's wife being a total waste of space.

Her scene with Gavilar is rather sad, particularly in the view of all that we already know of her. She clearly worshipped her father, but drifted to the opposite side of ideological spectrum from him, and because of that, he didn't trust her with the critically important things he was discovering. To the detriment of them both and the world in general, particularly since Gavilar chose to confide in some very dubious people instead, like Amaram and Teravangian. Who we know was at the feast also, but isn't mentioned in this chapter.

And yea, I love Jasnah too and was flabbergasted by her "demise", which seemed very "tropy". I am normally not in favor of "dead" characters coming back to life or fake deaths, but I was glad to have her back. Here is to hoping that she gets to do things of importance in the future books, and that we will see much more of her.
TBGH
96. STBLST
I see that Jasnah has her fans. That's fine with me. After all, if we all thought and reacted the same, the world would become rather dull. I may even come to empathize more with the character if she loses some of her harshness and arrogance as the series progresses (she hasn't at this book's end). As to her earlier self-assigned role of intelligence chief and assassin master for the royal family, I suppose that her bank of 13 assassins could have been formed primarily as a defensive posture, and that her arrangement with Liss about divulging assassination proposals directed at her family may have been her general modus operandi. Still, that's a big stable of assassins to employ and occupy, nor do I question Mraisi's later statement about Jasnah having killed some Ghostbloods. As to the role of women in such matters, there is the precedent of Ialai, Sadeas' wife, who is in charge of spying and assassinations for her husband. Women also have a greater role in Alethi society than was once customary in our world. They are the only literate ones and also serve as engineers and techocrats. Still, Jasnah appears to me to be too brutal about such matters, considering that she intended to kill her brother's wife and the mother of the next-in-line heir to the throne.
TBGH
97. Confutus
@95 I hadn't quite picked up on Gavilar and Jasnah being at opposite ends of the spectrum, but now that you mention it, yes. Szeth mentioned that Gavilar was devout in his Vorinism and some thought he was too devout, while Jasnah had just publicly outed herself as a heretic. No wonder he didn't want to confide his discussions with Amaram with her.
TBGH
98. STBLST
@95 and 97. While it's true that Jasnah as a non-believer and Gavilar as a new 'true believer' are religiously incompatible, there is more to their very different outlooks. Gavilar appears to wish to invoke the Voidbringers and desolation as a means of forcing the return of the Radiants and the dominance of the Vorin church. He is allied in such efforts with Amaram and the Sons of Honor - if not actually a member of that group. Jasnah, in contrast, sees the re-emergence of the Voidbringers as a true disaster for humanity. Of course, Gavilar would not divulge his intentions to his daughter.
TBGH
99. Confutus
It's not clear to me that Jasnah was so concerned about the Voidbringers at that point. It appears to me that her concern about that evolved as a result of her researches into the Parshendi and Parshmen, following her father's assassination. But he and she were already going in opposite directions. It occurs to me that Gavilar may have thought that Jasnah's heresy stemmed from her intellectual arrogance, and if so, his comment to her about it may have carried even more bite than it sounds. It may also be that we as readers know more about the gap between the pretensions and the conduct of Taravangian and Amaram than Gavilar did.
Leeland Woodard
100. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
I just remembered a passage that I think is...interesting. Just after Jasnah leaves Shadesmar, on her way to her appointment with Liss, we have this interesting tidbit:
The music's complexity had always surprised her, suggesting that the Parshendi were not the uncultured savages many took them for. This far away, the music sounded disturbingly like the beads from the dark place, rattling against one another.
Pg. 22.
Knowing that the Parshendi are so intimately connected with spren in general, and knowing what we do about the "moods" that they attune to, I kind of wonder if these "moods" are actually somehow tied to the rattling of beads in Shadesmar, and what that means.
TBGH
101. STBLST
Confutus, the existential danger represented by the Voidbringers is very much part of the human culture in Roshar. It is only a question of when and if they return. Gavilar apparently wished to induce the return of those creatures as is intimated later by Amaram who exults upon learning of their return. Such an ambition would have been a great shock to Jasnah who was well aware of the potential danger. She would certainly have attempted to thwart her father's goal. That is why he was keeping secrets from her. What means she would have used had she known is, of course, purely speculative. It may be, however, that Gavilar would have had to fear from her reaction as much as from the unexpected Parshendi reaction.
TBGH
102. Confutus
Vorin teaching has been that following Aharietiam, the Desolations had ended and the Voidbringers defeated permanently. It was Jasnah herself who began attempting to discover the truth behind over four thousand years of confused and partial myths and legends and her impetus must have been the discovery that Shadesmar was real and perilous and no mere children's story. As a newly declared heretic, she certainly would have objected to an attempt bring back the Hierocracy, but at the time of this banquet, I doubt that she was aware of any greater danger than the conventionally political.
Alice Arneson
103. Wetlandernw
As I understand it, at the time of the Prologues, the Voidbringers were regarded as either legend or superstition. The ardentia taught that they were real but had been destroyed. The uneducated peasants blamed every form of bad luck on Voidbringers; parents told their children the Voidbringers would get them if they were bad. In either case, serious scholars dismissed their existence.

What Jasnah's reaction might have been at the time, had she learned of Gavilar's intention, is in doubt. My guess is that she would have been mildly disturbed that her father actually believed in them as a reality, and would have thought an attempt to return them foolishness and futility. It was only when she began her search for answers to her father's murder that she began to take the legends of the Voidbringers seriously.

In TWoK, Shallan was deeply puzzled by Jasnah's apparent interest in children's folktales, which shows her "educated" opinion of the Voidbringers. For someone (like Jasnah) skeptical of the Vorin church, it would be logical to assume the legends to be a complete fabrication - or at best, a lie based on some natural phenomenon with a rational explanation.

Anyway, I think that at this point, "returning the Voidbringers" would not have been a point of agreement between father and daughter, and Gavilar probably knew Jasnah would scoff at the whole thing, so he didn't talk to her about it or try to get her help in researching things. It may even be that he was advised/urged away from talking to her...

Incidentally, I have to assume that even at this point, Jasnah had made at least some use of her assassin associates. The comment about repeat customers being more valuable than one-offs is pretty telling, IMO. That said, as has been pointed out repeatedly, it's a fairly well-accepted if "unmentionable" fact that assassinations and spying are a part of life among the Alethi nobility. It's a very different culture from our own, and applying our laws and social mores is dicey at best. The really neat trick, if you can do it, is to figure out where the lines of basic right-and-wrong match up and where the practices... don't.

And... I hope that made some sort of sense. I'm sleep-deprived.

Also, congratulations to TheKingOfCarrotFlowers on the very first hunny-pot of the WoR reread! :) I'm still pondering on the potential implications of the Parshendi minds being closer to to realm of the spren. It's another of those elusive concepts that Brandon has hinted at but not given enough information to get a solid grip. I really like the idea that the music is actually tied to the sounds of Shadesmar; it makes sense, but only on a reread.
Leeland Woodard
104. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@wetlandernw
:) Thanks!

Well, what do we know about the Cognitive realm? We know that it's primarily concerned with the way that a soul views itself and is viewed by other souls. It can have some effect on the physical world because if your Cognitive ideal changes, then potentially you change in reality (at least, this is how I believe that soulcasting works). I'm wondering if being close to the Cognitive realm only affords you greater control over your own physical manifestation.

I think it's possible that the only result of the Parshendi being closer to the Cognitive realm is the fact that they're able to use spren and their moods to change forms.

Similarly, someone suggested that the reverse-shadow effect is due to the Aimian race possibly being another race that is closer to the Cognitive realm. They're another race that we've seen have some ability at changing their physical form to suit their circumstances (by writing on their skin).
Birgit
105. birgit
Why is it a big problem that Adolin killed Sadeas, but it is acceptable that Jasnah and other women use assassins? Are women allowed to kill indirectly but men may only kill openly in battle?
T C
106. Freelancer
An assassin's work cannot necessarily be traced to the employer. If the assassin is sloppy enough to get caught, his judgement is on his own head, but those who wielded him as a weapon remain anonymous. A death in combat is never considered murder by any civilized society, no criminal prosecution ensues. Adolin's slaying of Sadeas is a murder by his own POV's thoughts. While I have no qualms with justifying his actions, Adolin will almost certainly confess before very much time passes.
Therein lies the difference. It isn't "acceptable" for a woman to hire an assassin, it remains a high crime. Yet, it is both known and common among Alethi nobility.
TBGH
107. STBLST
Wetlandernw, while I am away from home where I keep the Stormlight books and Kindle, I do recall some mention of Voidbringers in a non-legendary context. For one, Lift mentions shardblades such as those borne by 'Darkness' and his associate as being crafted to contend with Voidbringers. If a totally uneducated 13 year old girl (she can only count on her fingers) accepts the reality of Voidbringers (since shardblades are clearly 'real'), then such a connection between shardblades and Voidbringers must also have filtered to the intellectuals such as Jasnah. Another instance is the conversation between the Aimian, Axies, and the alley denizen. Are you a Herald or Voidbringer, the alley man asks. While the man is clearly abnormal in believing various pieces of alleyway trash to be buildings, his citation of Voidbringers suggests a more general belief in their former existence. A search on "Voidbringers" should be sufficient to provide the various itations in The Way of Kings to either confirm or dispute my contention. Of course, their former existence doesn't, ipso facto, suggest an expectation of their return. However, a serious attempt at producing such a catastrophe would be regarded as dangerous dabbling by people such as Jasnah - much like the attitude of 'Darkness' (Nale) to the use of Stormlight by individuals such as Lift and Ym.
Alice Arneson
108. Wetlandernw
STBLST@107 - Funny, I did exactly that. When I did a search through TWoK on "Voidbringers" last night, what I found was... what I posted last night. (And I'm tired of typing Voidbringers, so I'm going to start referring to them as the VB.)

The religious people have to believe in them because their entire religious structure depends on their existence, but they also generally believe the VB were vanquished from Roshar, never to return. Clearly there are some exceptions, or Gavilar/Amaram/etc. wouldn't be trying to bring them back - but even they don't believe the VB are currently on Roshar. As near as I can tell, the Sons of Honor are trying to recall the VB from the Tranquiline Halls so that the Vorin Church (to which of course the Knights Radiant and Heralds will be sujbect!) will be needed to fight them, thus rising to power again. But in the broader context, those who follow Vorinism give a token acknowledgement to VB without really believing in their presence on Roshar.

There are a number of references by those with much less education, which I also cited - the kind of 'bogeyman' understanding, which blames everything bad on the VB. "Who else could be blamed when things went missing in the night, or when a crop got infested with digger-worms?"

According to Shallan's thoughts in Ch. 42, her tutors explained the rural folktales of "monsters in the dark" as superstitions & fabrications of the Lost Radiants to justify their domination of mankind. The ardentia taught that the VB were real, and the Radiants only fell after they had defeated the VB. In either case, both agreed that the VB were gone. "Fabrications or long-dead enemies, the result was the same."

As Jasnah says later, "Most scholars consider them, like Urithiru, mere myths, while theologians accept them as counterparts of the Almighty - monsters that dwelled in the hearts of men, much as the Almighty once lived there." At the time of Gavilar's assassination, Jasnah was most likely in that first group - one who considered them a myth - without having done any serious research on them herself. It was only as she began to dig into the circumstances surrounding that night, that she began to take the VB seriously, and consider what the source of the myths and legends might be.

There are certainly enough legends and myths around for someone to occasionally note that the Shardblades were invented for a larger purpose than humans killing humans, and it happens several times in both books. But, IMO, it's not something Jasnah would have had reason to spend much time on prior to these events. If she'd heard then about an attempt to bring the VB back, it would more likely have triggered scorn than alarm. She would have (probably) acknowledged that the myths were based on something, but until she started researching the VB for herself, I doubt she'd have been seriously alarmed by the notion. Now, of course.... now she knows that the reality behind the legends is far worse than anyone realized.
Deana Whitney
109. Braid_Tug
@108, Wet: Go right ahead with the VB! We can become like the Rothfuss reread. it always has a list of abbreviations before the main discussions, because of exactly what you were talking about.

Great points.

As for why El's wife was a target - maybe Jasnah was worried about the heir. Worried the heir would be too stupid, or too influenced by its mother. What little we know about her is not very encouraging. And she could be from a powerful family - a possible rival for the clan in the future. So the marriage was made to seal certain alliances that are more questionable now.
My guess is that if the kill order had been made, the blame would fall on other political rivals.

I’m hoping we find out more about the situation in book 3.
TBGH
110. STBLST
Wetlandernw, I find your latest argument about Jasnah's presumed unconcern with Voidbringers to be non-persuasive. As you stated, she associated the Voidbringer mythology with the lost city of Urithiru. There is an implication in the prologue that she believed scholars were searching in the wrong place for that city, and that the newly created treaty with the Parshendi will allow her the opportunity to search their land (presumably, the Shattered Plains). She believed, then, in that part of the myth. I am not arguing that she believed in the current existence of Voidbringers, but that they once existed and had threatened Roshar with destruction. Why, then, would she be expected to take Gavilar's revelation (had he given it to her) of possessing a captured Storm or Voidsprem that could create Voidbringers, with equanimity? Furthermore, Lift clearly associates shardblades with weapons crafted against Voidbringers (as does the author in the To Kill chapter of WOK). She even is wont to call her spren, Wyndle, "Voidbringer" (to his consternation). She appears to believe that they currently exist. She is street smart and beyond the bogeyman stage of life (if she ever was). Nor does she use the Voidbringer term for other dangerous characters such as 'Darkness', whom Wyndle had termed a monster. Voidbringer in her mind is associated with special power - more than 'awesomeness'. Hence my conclusion that Jasnah would have been aghast at her father's intention to return or recreate the Voidbringers as a mechanism to force the return of the Radiants and the power of the Vorin church. While she clearly didn't believe that the one called 'Almighty' in Vorin theology was a deity, that doesn't mean that she rejected all aspects of their theology and myth as fanciful.
David Foster
111. ZenBossanova
We might think of their use of VoidBringer as similar to how we think of Ghosts. Most of us don't believe in them... at least officially, but if we saw something really, really spooky, we might decide otherwise.
Alice Arneson
112. Wetlandernw
STBLST @110 – “There is an implication in the prologue that she believed scholars were searching in the wrong place for that city (Urithiru), and that the newly created treaty with the Parshendi will allow her the opportunity to search their land (presumably, the Shattered Plains).
Wow, that’s a stretch. Certainly she was interested in studying the Parshendi history and traditions – she specifically thinks about that – but there’s no evidence that she’s doing it in hopes of finding Urithiru in the process. The thought that scholars may have been searching in the wrong ruins is not very specific, as she doesn’t mention what they were seeking. Her thoughts, IMO, are more consistent with an interest in the Parshendi culture as something that has had very little study. You may choose to understand it differently, but there’s no textual proof here.

Why, then, would she be expected to take Gavilar's revelation (had he given it to her) of possessing a captured Storm or Voidsprem that could create Voidbringers, with equanimity?”
That’s another stretch. I can only guess that you are assuming that the sphere Gavilar gave to Szeth in the first Prologue contains a Voidspren. It’s possible, I suppose, but certainly not proven, and there are other equally-likely possibilities. Aside from that, though, I don’t see any evidence that six-years-ago Jasnah would have been alarmed by a plan to return the VB; I personally think it more likely that she’d find it odd, possibly stupid, and probably futile, but hardly alarming. (Other than the possibility that her father was going off the deep end, which would be alarming in a different way.) It’s not like men – especially kings and nobles – are generally lauded for their scholarship. That’s the province of women and ardents, so what would Gavilar be likely to know that a scholar like Jasnah would find convincing?

If she knew then what she knows now, it would be a different story; at the time, though, she had no reason to connect the Parshendi with… anything. Not with spren, not with Urithiru, not with Voidbringing, not with anything but some previously-unknown history and traditions.

Furthermore, Lift clearly associates shardblades with weapons crafted against Voidbringers (as does the author in the To Kill chapter of WOK).”
Obviously. Equally obvious, neither of those two are Alethi, or even from one of the Vorin kingdoms. Their background, both religious and educational (or lack thereof), is very, very different from Jasnah’s. I suspect the Shin know a lot more about Voidbringers than the Alethi, and people from the non-Vorin lands would have plenty of reason to have a different perspective on most of the legends. World-wide, I would think there are multiple perspectives; Jasnah’s will be unique to her own situation and cannot be based on what the Shin or the Reshi believe.

As to her understanding of Vorin theology, I wouldn’t say she thinks of all its aspects as fanciful. She merely thinks that “…religion – in its essence – seeks to take natural events and ascribe supernatural causes to them. I, however, seek to take supernatural events and find the natural meanings behind them.” At this point in time, I believe she’d have found Gavilar’s intention odd, but not alarming.
Adam S.
113. MDNY
STBLST- LOL, did you really just use something that Lift said as part of your argument? I'm not saying that what you said is false, but Lift is so uneducated that her use of the term "Voidbringer" cannot be taken to mean anything beyond that she think they're evil but she believes she captured one who she can control and is therefore not a danger. She even calls Wyndle her "pet Voidbringer". And now I, too, am sick of typing voidbringer, so thanks to Wetlander for the VB go-ahead!
Alice Arneson
114. Wetlandernw
Addenedum to previous (112) - At the time of the Prologues, the Parshendi were not living on (or associated with) the Shattered Plains. They were found in a forest where Gavilar & Dalinar were exploring a tributary of the Deathbend River in the south of Alethkar, or possibly outside the Alethi boundary in the Frostlands. They retreated to the Shattered Plains as a place from which to defend themselves, settled in the ancient ruins there, and named it Narak, meaning "exile."
TBGH
115. Confutus
Mythical VBs? Delusion. Restoring the Hierocracy and giving political power back to ardents who historically manipulated the people with lies and fables? No, no, and NO!
TBGH
116. cyddenid
We don't actually know that it was Elhokar's wife Jasnah was going to have assassinated.Having Lyss watch Aausdan was a 'back up plan' to another plan she had to have one 'of the guests killed" . It seems odd to call a person who is a close relation to theking and probably lives in the Palace where the feast is being thrown a 'guest', and frankly Aausdan doen't seem like a big enough threat to have killed off, so Jasnah could have wanted her watched just because she didn't trust her, not because she wanted her dead at some point in the future. (She does imply that she might eventually want Lyss to kill her sister in law off, but that could just have been so that Lyss didn't protest at being used as a spy whhen she could be off making more money killing other people).
Leeland Woodard
117. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@114

Is that certain? I seem to recall that the craters the warcamps are set up in were the homes of the Parshendi, and that the Parshendi were found when Gavilar was hunting Chasmfiend
Alice Arneson
118. Wetlandernw
King @117 - Excerpts from TWoK, Ch. 28, Dalinar talking to Jasnah via spanreed:
“The first meeting happened when we were exploring a forest that wasn’t on the maps. This was south of the Shattered Plains, in a valley about two weeks’ march from the Drying Sea….”

“I was leading scouts up a tributary of the Deathbend River while your father scouted downstream. We found the Parshendi camped on the other side….”

They’d always wondered why Gavilar had wanted a treaty with the Parshendi. They wouldn’t have needed one just to harvest the greatshells on the Shattered Plains; the Parshendi hadn’t lived on the Plains then.
Those are all direct quotes from the book.

About the warcamps, it’s quite true that the Parshendi had lived there at one point; we just don’t know when or for how long. We have no textual clues other than that Eshonai recalls living there "before abandoning them for the security of the Shattered Plains, with its chasms the humans couldn't jump."

ETA: Yes, they were hunting for a "legendary chasmfiend" but they apparently hadn't gone as far as the Plains yet.
Leeland Woodard
119. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
@118

Ah, see I had taken the Eshonai quote taht they had lived there "before abandoning them for the security of the Shattered Plains" as a confirmation that they lived there until they assassinated Gavilar, and had to flee.
Alice Arneson
120. Wetlandernw
Yeah, we just don't really know when or how long. Or where else they had lived.
TBGH
121. STBLST
wetlandernw, I see that we're unlikely to convince one another of our view in this matter. So be it. I was a bit sloppy in language and didn't mean to convey the impression that the Parshendi originally lived in the Shattered Plains. They lived near it, however, and the Parsendi group that Dalinar discovered was Eshonai leading an exploratory party - as I recall. However, Jasnah is certain that Urithiru (or at least an entrance) is to be found in the Shattered Plains. That implies clearly that she believes it exists. She also clearly believes that the Voidbringers are an impending menace to Roshar. The only question is when she started to believe in such matters - at least as possibilities. I opted for an early belief (at or before the time of her father's assassination). You take the later option. The former existence of Voidbringers as an existential menace is indicated by the author in the To Kill prologue of WOK as a common belief of the Alethi. "Here in Alethkar, men often spoke of the legends-of mankind's hard won victory over the Voidbringers". Jasnah is known to consider even children's stories as containing a germ of truth. Why would she not be concerned about the possible reincarnation of the legendary VBs (as you dubbed them)? The stone that her father possessed is similar to, but more sinister (it produces a black light), than that of Venli, Eshonai's sister (the instigator of the later Stormform transformation of Eshonai and the Parshendi). I assume that it is even more potent; you don't. My contention is that Gavilar believed it to be potent and therefore hid its existence and his plans from his daughter. We'll just have to see how it plays out later in the series.

As to the Alethi culture vs. the other human societies, the existential threat once posed by the VBs was common to all societies. Why should the Alethi exhibit less of a fear of them than other humans? If they can be said to be more influenced by the Vorin religion, which discounted any further threat of the VBs, than others - that would not account for Jasnah's likely attitude.

No one (except possibly Shin Shamans) apparently knew the possible forms that the VBs could take at the time of the assassination - including Lift. She was left apparently with the impression that anything exhibiting unusual powers (greater than hers) could be a VB. She's a simple, good-hearted girl who is reduced to stealing in order to survive. Jasnah is a very well read grown woman of high intelligence who is naturally suspicious and determined to protect her family at whatever cost. As a historian, why would she disregard the lessons (or even legends) of the past as to possible future dangers?
Alice Arneson
122. Wetlandernw
“It’s true,” she said. “You’re right. The Voidbringers are the parshmen. I can see no other conclusion.”
Jasnah smiled, looking oddly pleased with herself, considering that she’d only convinced one person.
“So what next?” Shallan asked.
“That has to do with your previous studies.”
“My studies? You mean your father’s death?”
“Indeed.”
“The Parshendi attacked him,” Shallan said. “Killed him suddenly, without warning.” She focused on the other woman. “That’s what made you begin studying all of this, isn’t it?”
Jasnah nodded. “Those wild parshmen – the Parshendi of the Shattered Plains – are the key.”
(The Way of Kings, Ch. 74)

There is nothing in the text (yet) that gives undeniable proof of when Jasnah started her various avenues of research, other than the one quoted above. I think the evidence best supports the idea that her scholarly interest in the Voidbringers began as a result of her father’s death, and that her interest in Urithiru is a result of her research into the Voidbringers.

YMMV, I guess.
TBGH
123. Confutus
We also have this:
Shadesmar, she thought. That is what it is called in the nursery tales. Shadesmar, the mythological kingdom of the spren. Mythology she'd never believed. Surely she could find something if she searched the histories well enough.
The indication is that Jasnah's studies into the possible historical basis of mythology began after, not before, her last conversation with her father.
Adam S.
124. MDNY
Remember, too, that Jasnah visited Shadesmar (and met her spren, and apparently soulcast) just after her father's death. So she had something personal driving her toward specific knowledge and conclusions, and her resulting knowledge of VB could have resulted from that, in addition to her investigation into her father's death.
Deana Whitney
125. Braid_Tug
So, does anyone else wonder what her main focus of study was before her father's death?
TBGH
126. harry31j97
Has anyone noticed this at the beginning of prologue, "
Jasnah Kholin pretended to enjoy the party, giving no indication that she intended to have one of the guests killed."? We all assume she must have been talking about Aesudan, but key word here is Guest, Aesudan would come under lable of hosts. So unless this is a typo, who else did she intend to assassinate?
Heather LaCroix
127. Bellaberry
I found a direct quote that is helpful for the discussion of where the Parshendi lived. This is from King Gavilar's account in chapter 45 of TWoK:

“Their favored instrument is the drum. They are crudely made, with handprints of paint marking the sides. This matches their simple buildings, which they construct of crem and stone. They build them in the craterlike rock formations here at the edge of the Shattered Plains. I ask Klade if they worry about highstorms, but he just laughs. “Why worry? If the buildings blow down, we can build them again, can we not?”

It seems pretty clear from this that the craters were their main home before going to the center of the plains, exile.
TBGH
128. cyddenid
@126. Auesdan could be considered a guest if she and Elhokar didn't live at the palace all the time, but I find that scenario unlikely. So...who did she intend to kill? considering the focus on Ialai in WoR, when she was mentioned all of once in WoK, I thought that maybe she might have been Jasnah's target : the death of the wife of Gavilar's left hand - I assume Dalinar was the right hand- man, would certainly have caused a stir. Also, Sadeas was one of the people Gavilar suspected would try to kill him- what if the Sadeas family were planning some sort of seizure of power even before Gavilar was killed and Dalinar began 'going mad' ?
TBGH
129. Geordielass
I'm extrememly late commenting here, I just happen to be re-reading the book now.

One thing I will say is that I took Gavilar's comment to Jasnah as a bitingly sarcastic reprimand both the first time I read it and during this re-read. I think I assume that because we know she had announced her heresy just that evening and I assumed that her father, as a devout Voran, was likely to be extremely annoyed and possibly quite distressed at this turn of affairs (even if he was already well aware that she had heretical tendencies, I doubt he'd be happy that she's announced it to the whole court). It's interesting that most people take it as a much milder rebuke, though.

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