Alice: Greetings and hallucinations, oh ye Edgedancer rereaders! Welcome back, as Lyn and I take aim at the next two chapters—did you realize we’re halfway through?—with our profound wisdom and insight! Ummmm… well, profound something, I’m sure.
Lyn: Profound appetite. Definitely appetite.
A: Anyway, there aren’t so many shenanigans to consider this week, but plenty of typical-Lift-style snark and some not-so-typical contemplation and deduction.
Chapter 11: Lift reveals that her real plan is to keep Darkness from killing his target in the city. She reasons that all she needs to do to find this proto-Radiant is look for records of strange occurrences, and discovers that there’s a repository for knowledge known as the Grand Indicium deeper in the city.
Chapter 12: She heads up onto the topside and observes some farmers for a time, trying to Listen. She takes note of the layout of the land, then determines that the best way to find the information she needs out of the thousands of books within is to be smart and devious about it…
Kadasixes and Stars
“There are Words. They’re more… ideas. Living ideas, with power. You have to let them into your soul. Let me into your soul.”
L: In a world in which emotions are personified as spren, the idea that certain ideas live and have power isn’t such a huge leap to make.
A: It’s an interesting angle, though; I’d never thought about the Ideals as actual living ideas themselves. I guess I’d always considered them as simply words which enable the spren to enhance the bond and therefore give the human more powers, but … it’s like the words are a part of the spren, so that when they are spoken and internalized by the human, they bring the spren deeper into themselves. This is a bit boggling.
L: I also have to say that the second half of this is deeply touching. Lift is starting to warm to Wyndle, for certain—she’s learning more about him and his peculiarities and has a strange (but charming) ambivalence towards him which I think betrays a true yearning for friendship. But as we’ve seen, allowing anyone in to see the real her is hard for Lift. I feel for Wyndle here, trying to break open this pig-headed kid’s shell in order to cultivate the connection that both of them so desperately need.
The confused farmers worked with their shiquas pulled up to their waists. Lift passed, and she tried to listen. To hear.
A: I’m struck, finally, by just how much focus there is on listening in this novella. I didn’t really notice it the first time through, of course, but I think there’s something in just about every chapter about listening. I commented on it once, early on, when the street urchin asked Lift if she was listening. Now I’m starting to realize just what a truckload of foreshadowing there is here, leading up to Lift saying the next set of Words.
L: Shame she’s not Listening to Wyndle as much as she is to everything else, because he’s dropping her hints with alarming regularity. (This said, we have no guarantee that she’s not just playing deaf on these things. There’s that pesky unreliable narrator thing again…)
A: Oh, SO true. That bit at the beginning, where he’s talking about the Skybreakers, and “when… you know… they get a Shardblade…” Hello, Lift?! We’re talking about Shardblades here!! Poor Wyndle.
“…as your tutors said in the palace. You weren’t there. I went to listen in your place.”
L: Of course you did, Wyndle. This is just so… him.
A: I’m baffled by this, though. If they were supposed to be her tutors, who were they teaching if she didn’t go? Were they able to see Wyndle, or know that he was there, so that they talked to him? Or did they have classes to which Lift was invited, and Wyndle went to class in her stead? (If that’s the case, I know some eighth-graders who want a Wyndle of their own…)
L: That’s… a good point. I didn’t even think of that. I was too busy having mental images of Wyndle perched on a classroom desk, nodding, like some kind of weird flower.
“There will be hundreds of thousands of reports and ledgers. And to state it explicitly, yes, that’s a number more than ten, so you can’t count to it.”
L: Ooooooh Wyndle bringin’ the SASS.
A: I love it when Wyndle gives as good as he gets—which seems to be more often these days! Is it just that he’s learning, or is there a certain amount of personality bleed as their bond deepens?
L: If there’s a personality bleed, it isn’t carrying over to the other orders, or Syl would be way moodier than she is.
Journey before Pancakes
L: For lack of anything else, let’s talk a bit about Rosharian agriculture.
“…paste that would grow to tiny polyps, which would eventually grow to the size of large rocks and fill to bursting with grain. Mash that grain […] and it made new paste.”
L: Jeez, Roshar’s weird.
A: It is. But it’s a fairly well-built world, you know?
L: Oh, VERY well-constructed, for certain. I love the attention to detail that Sanderson puts into all of his world-building. Doesn’t make it any less weird of a place to live, though, from our perspective.
This was supposed to be their one time of year where they didn’t have to work. Sure, they planted some treb to grow in cracks, as it could survive flooding. But they weren’t supposed to have to plant lavis, tallew, or clema: much more labor-intensive—but also more profitable—crops to cultivate.
A: Growing up on a farm, I really appreciate these little touches, because that’s pretty much the way farming works. You have some things that are easy to grow at certain times, but the really profitable crops are the ones that need particular conditions, and a lot more work.
Friends and Strangers
“Ol’ Whitehair said you can’t be crass, so long as you’re talkin’ ‘bout art. Then you’re being elegant.”
“Mistress, wasn’t this the man who got himself intentionally swallowed by a Marabethian greatshell?”
“Yup. Crazy as a box full of drunk minks, that one. I miss him.”
L: Well hey there Hoid, wasn’t expecting to see you in this little novella! Interesting that when she met him, he had white hair, instead of the black he usually sports while on Roshar. This begs the question… when did they meet? And how? It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that he’d wink at her before jumping into a greatshell’s maw…
A: It’s worth quoting from Words of Radiance here, too, because I suspect this refers to the same event:
“Tell me what you know, Wit.”
“I once spent the better part of a year inside of a large stomach, being digested.”
A: Which doesn’t even address, much less answer, the question of when they met, but we can make a couple of deductions. Hoid visited Shallan at Middlefest in Jah Keved three and a half years ago (WoR Ch. 45), when Lift would have been 9 years old. If she knew Hoid before that, it would have to have been at least a year earlier. When we first see him on Roshar, though, Hoid had been the King’s Wit for “some months” in TWoK Ch. 12; from then on in the current timeline, he shows up in both books off and on, and then meets Jasnah in the Epilogue to WoR. There hasn’t been time in there for him to spend “the better part of a year” being digested, so the swallowing bit would have to have been at least a year and a half ago. So: he knew Lift either a year or so before the Middlefest episode—so four and a half years ago, with Lift at age 8—or after leaving Jah Keved and before going to Alethkar. I’m betting on this last one, which could have been any time from 1.5 to 3.5 years ago. That would put Lift in the 9 to 12 age range, which seems more probable given that she still misses him. Also, Wyndle either remembers him, or Lift remembered him well and fondly enough to tell Wyndle about the swallowening.
L: I mean… it is possible that he was exaggerating with the “better part of a year” thing, but that doesn’t change any of your other points.
A: Oh, and since I’m waxing pedantic, I have to also point out that Marabethia is the place Sigzil was telling Kaladin about back in TWoK Chapter 40, where condemned criminals are given the choice of execution or being bait for greatshells. Do you suppose Hoid did something to get himself condemned to death, and rather than being dangled over the cliff, he just jumped in? Go out with a flourish and all that? (Though of course he knew he wasn’t “going out” per se, just leaving the current location.) It’s a very Hoid thing to do.
L: What? Hoid, do something to get himself condemned to death? NEVER.
Storming Mother of the World and Father of Storms Above
A: I got nuthin’ here. Lyn? Anyone? Bueller?
L: Yeah, I got nothin’ either.
Darkness & Co.
L: Alas, this section must remain empty for today. Apparently we temporarily exhausted our Skybreaker intel quota with last week’s reread…
“There’s only one thing I know how to do, and that’s steal Darkness’s lunch.”
“And, um, didn’t we do that already?”
“Not his food. His lunch.”
Ah… the person he’s planning to execute. We’re going to snatch them away from him.”
L: I have to point out again how well Sanderson is handling the unreliable narrator—she keeps us guessing as to her true intent, even though we’re in her POV. Lift is an enigma wrapped in a riddle hidden in Schrodinger’s box. Aside from that, it’s somewhat amusing that Lift thinks of Darkness’s target as his Lunch. Only she would put it into these terms…
A: I really think he outdid every previous effort at the unreliable narrator with Lift. Half the time, she doesn’t even tell herself what she’s thinking.
“Oh, calm your tentacles.”
L: I feel like this is the Lift-ian equivalent of “calm your tits” and I just adore it.
A: Nah, it’s more the Wyndle-targeted version. For anyone else, she wouldn’t bother changing it to tentacles.
L: Good point. And while we’re on the subject of irreverent pseudo-sexual metaphors…
“Kinda looks like the tip of some guy’s dangly bits. Like some fellow had such a short sword, everyone felt so sorry for him they said, ‘Hey, we’ll make a huge statue to it, and even though it’s tiny, it’ll look real big!’”
L: ::hand to heart:: As a denizen of the gutter, I’m glad to have a neighbor like Lift.
A: Like Wyndle, I sigh…
L: You know you love us.
A: Yes, I know. *sigh*
He smiled at her, the expression appearing in successive patterns of his growing vines along the wall as they chased her. Each image of the smile was slightly different, grown one after another beside her, like a hundred paintings. They made a smile, and yet none of them was the smile. It was, somehow, all of them together. Or perhaps the smile somehow existed in the spaces between the images in the succession.
A: I don’t even have anything significant to say about this. I just love the poetry of the image.
A: Oh, and one more, because it made me laugh so much! When Lift got that brilliant notion about figuring out where they would keep all their notes and things, she looked around the garden for a likely target, and my mind immediately jumped to “sympathetic.” Not Lift, naturally. She picks the woman with the good makeup and styled hair, sits next to her, and acts as revolting as possible, because here, they trade for everything:
“Don’t want money,” Lift said. “I’ve got a deal to make. For information.”
“I want nothing from you.”
“I can give you nothing,” Lift said, relaxing. “I’m good at that. I’ll go away, and give you nothing. You just gotta answer a question for me.”
Considering what the woman was probably afraid of getting from Lift, “nothing” and “away” is a pretty fair bargain!
L: Join us next week for the continuing adventures of Lift the Devious and Wyndle the Long-suffering, in which plans shall be revealed, food shall be eaten (maybe) and a great many scribes shall be inconvenienced…
Lyndsey wants to remind you that the Unite Them Contest is currently live on Reddit! You’ve got a little under a week to submit something awesome and possibly win some storming cool prizes—or just go and vote for your favorites. She invites you to follow her writing or cosplay work on her website or follow her on facebook or twitter.
Alice used to describe herself as a stay-at-home-mom (sahm) but has recently realized that “staying home” is merely a euphemism for “running your kids all over hell’s half-acre and only sitting still if there’s actually a competition going on.” The only relevance “home” has is that it serves as the base for all the running around, instead of peacefully sitting in an office… Also, she loves it, even if it is exhausting.