Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Introducing the Words of Radiance Reread


In which details will be discussed, quotes will be quoted and our insatiable hunger for all things Stormlight will be mitigated, if not ever fully sated.

The time has come; the Everstorm approaches. The Way of Kings has been reread, questions have been asked and destroyed by answers, and much unfocussed discussion has taken place in the spoiler thread for Words of Radiance. Now we eagerly await news from Brandon Sanderson regarding the third book of his Stormlight Archive, which he plans to start writing late this summer. To satisfy the hunger that only Stormlight can satisfy, we turn our attention to a detailed reread of Words of Radiance.

This reread will be a collaborative effort between Tor.com’s own editorial assistant Carl Engle-Laird and long-time Tor.com commenter and Sanderson beta-reader Alice Arneson. This new partnership promises to be as potent as that between spren and Radiant. We are excited to dig deeply into the events on Roshar with this community, hanging out in the Storm Cellar to evaluate, discuss, question, and generally kibitz our way through this 1087-page WMD.

To that end, we are making some changes to the reread.  We’ll begin each chapter entry with the chapter icon from the book, to enable discussion of the various graphic clues therein. The summary, as demonstrated at the very beginning of this post, will be much shorter, giving us more time to dig in to the commentary. We’ve shamelessly cribbed the summary style from beloved bear-creator A. A. Milne, since that guy seemed to know what was up. We’ll continue to make note of the POV character(s) and setting(s), adding a few more quick items to the heading to point out the character and Heraldic icons before the commentary begins.

The current plan is to cover one chapter per week, though that may be adjusted occasionally if there are two chapters that really, really need to be together. We expect this to apply to the Interludes as well; they’re much beefier now than they were in The Way of Kings. We’ll discuss the epigraphs for each part at the end of each part, though in some cases they’ll also be discussed in the chapters where they appear.

Finally, there are a number of recurring themes we’ll be watching as we wade through this behemoth. We’re implementing a modular system, similar to that employed by the Star Trek Rewatch. Here’s our current list of units, with more to be added as they spring to mind:

Quote of the Week:  As in Tor.com’s reread of The Way of Kings, we will take the time each week to pick out a piece of wisdom or dialogue that we found especially interesting. This section will recur every week.

Stormwatch:  We’ll be tracking the countdown here whenever a new glyph scratching is found, as well as whenever we have sufficient clues from the text to determine exactly when we are. We’ll also make note of the dates of highstorms as they occur.

Sprenspotting: Carl’s Complete Spren Catalogue is no longer complete; we’ll note each occurrence of a new kind of spren, or a new individual spren. We’ll also use this to note anything new and cool that we see a spren do on its (his? her?) own.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered: Anything with hide, too, for that matter. We’ll be tracing the flora (which mostly seems to be shelled!) and fauna of Roshar as they show up on the pages. Any sketches of plants or animals will also go here

Ars Arcanum: Discussions of magic involving humans, Parshendi, Aimians, or other humanoid races, with or without spren involvement. Any examples of the Nightwatcher’s Old Magic will also be discussed here.

Ars Mechanica: Discussions of fabrials—the magical/mechanical engineering of Roshar. If you take Clarke’s third law, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” turn it inside out and backwards, and squint a little, it makes sense that fabrial construction on Roshar is the technology of Investiture. Mechanical engineering is also magic.

Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before?: Notes about worldhoppers or other off-world connections. If you are concerned about spoilers for other books, this might be a section to avoid, although most of these Easter-eggs aren’t really very spoilery; they’re just fun things to note together.

Heraldic Symbolism: While we’ll be identifying the Heralds on the chapter arch each time, this section will contain any thoughts we may have as to why those Heralds are particularly relevant.

Shipping Wars: The romantic situation gets positively fraught in Words of Radiance. In this space we will track the development of the various romantic entanglements and rivalries, and attempt to lash our community into a frothy furor of shipping factions. (Carl still ships ShallaSyl, and is dying of alliteration.)

Well, that’s the plan. Are you ready? Then let’s dive right in with the Prologue.


Alice Arneson is a long-time Tor.com commenter and Sanderson beta-reader. She has been a fantasy lover since the age of eight, when her third-grade teacher loaned her his copy of The Hobbit. (Thanks, Mr. Hamilton!)

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.


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