Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson Read Along: Week 9

You can head over to Musings on Fantasia to see what everyone else thinks.

This week we read up to the end of Chapter 65.

1. Andolin has a change of heart, not only about his father, but about how he views the war. How do you think this will affect the story going forward?

I feel as though Adolin has shown quite a lot of maturity in his thinking. Rather than simply throwing his rattle out of the pram and behaving like a spoilt child, he has spent considerable time examining the situation and has come to some the conclusion that his father is probably right. I had thought that his Calling as a Duelist could have been due to a shallow understanding of warfare, but I see that is not true. Obviously he is being influenced by his father, but Renarin seems like a level-headed chap and even Adolin’s friends are not as fixated on excitement as I might have feared.

I am glad that House Kholin will present a united front to the other Highprinces and that we will not be subjected to the depressing father-son conflict that seemed to be brewing. Somehow I think that Dalinar will have enough trouble with the other Houses.

2. Elhokar reveals that he sees figures with symbol heads, which sound suspiciously like the ones Shallan keeps drawing. What do you make of this?

That was my first thought: these figures sound an awful lot like the ones that Shallan has been drawing. It is interesting to note that he only sees them in reflections, and not directly. For some reason these figures are not normally seen, so what makes these two people special? Of course, seeing figures that are invisible to everyone else would make anyone paranoid, so I wonder if these are responsible for all the people that he thinks are trying to assassinate him.

I actually find it heartening that Elhokar might have some interesting talent that we had not previously suspected. So far he has been fairly ineffectual and weak, but the rest of his family is rather extraordinary, and we know that Jasnah can Soulcast without a fabrial . . .

3. What do you make of Dalivar's most recent vision? Was the king he talked to really Nohadon, author of The Way of Kings? If so, what do you think the timeline is? What happened before and after what Dalinar saw? Were the strange, rock-like corpses really Voidbringers?

Each of these visions is so tantalizing and yet so frustrating! It would seem that the name Desolation is very fitting for an event that can kill almost all of the people as we see here. I sincerely hope that this is the very end of the Desolation, as I cannot begin to imagine how the people will continue to fight in their weakened state. However, I am intrigued by Nohadon’s comments about mankind being weakened by each Desolation rather than strengthened and his frustration about the infighting that preoccupies his men. This seems like a very good reason to write the Way of Kings once he has them time, and also mirrors Dalinar’s frustration in the present. It makes me even more curious to learn why the Radiants stopped fighting.

It would seem that this vision came before the last one, when Dalinar saw the Knights Radiant laying down their shards. However, that is about as close to a guess as I can come. As for the corpses being Voidbringers: it is entirely possible, as they certainly seem unlike anything else we have heard described so far.

4. Dalivar and Navani finally share a passionate kiss, and then start conducting a covert romance. What are your impressions of the relationship? Has your opinion of Navani changed at all?

I find the Romance element here more distracting than anything else, but it does seem to be progressing in a sensible fashion, so I can forgive Mr Sanderson for including it! :D

One thing that I do like about their relationship is all the back-story. There is no doubt in my mind that these two would have married if Dalinar had not stepped back to allow Gavilar to claim Navani. This has led Dalinar to cut her out of his heart in order to live with that choice and still continue to interact with her. For Navani, I can see how she might have been very disappointed that Dalinar did not choose to fight for her: as she says, he appeared somewhat fickle to her. The weight of their previous lives is very obvious in everything that has happened between them so far and yet they seem destined to be together. Can they just get married so that we can ignore all this Romance twaddle from now on?

I think that I have come to understand Navani a lot more as we have learnt more of her past with Dalinar. There has to be some awkwardness in trying to resume a relationship that has been so strained for so many years. I think that her initial approaches were somewhat misguided, driven by her own feelings of loneliness and the hope that he would simply revert to his boyhood character if she showed some interest. She quickly learnt that he could not do that, but modified her behavior to win his approval, which shows not only that she has very deep feelings for him, but also that she is a thoughtful and emotionally controlled character.

5. Kaladin's decoy plan works almost miraculously well. How do you see this affecting the story going forward, and in what way? Address the issue both for Kaladin and his men, and for the war at large.

We have seen Kal and Bridge Four surviving more runs than anyone would think possible, especially now that they all have the armor. However, this was counteracted pretty quickly by them being placed on permanent run duty, so I am not sure that they will stick around for long. Whilst it seems like a very good way to protect the bridgemen, it drastically affects the Parshendi battle strategy. If this proves to be beneficial to the overall battle plan then I cannot see any good reason to stop using the armor. However, anything that sensible seems beyond the Alethi Highprinces . . .

6. So Moash wants to kill someone out of vengeance. Any guesses who or why?

I do not think that he has mentioned anyone specifically. I would imagine that it could be the person responsible for selling him into slavery, but I could be mistaken. Whoever it is must be outside the Warcamps, because it is only now that he has some chance of leaving that he has decided to exact his revenge.

7. Why do you think Sadeas abandoned Dalivar as he did? Was this done intentionally? Was it planned in advance? What are your thoughts?

I knew that Sadeas was Evil! :(

This was most certainly planned, because Sadeas really pushed Dalinar to leave all his own bridges in camp and take all his force with him. This allows Sadeas to destroy the entire force in one easy move by leaving them to the Parshendi and withdrawing his bridges. By taking all his forces, Dalinar has left himself with no forces to mount a rescue mission.

Although it seems that all is lost, I believe that we have now reached the critical moment that we have all been waiting for: Kal is going to save Dalinar by taking his bridge back to the Tower plateau. No doubt Sadeas will be a touch upset about this, but we will finally see the two Heroes joining forces.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sadeas! :P

Other Notes

In Dalinar’s vision it is clear that men can read and write! Shock, horror! I still want to know where this silly idea came from, but at least we know that it is fairly recent.

Poor Shen: how is he going to cope with everyone wearing bits of dead Parshendi?

Just when you think you have something worked out, Mr Sanderson smacks you in the face: what is Dalinar is correct that the Parshendi are part of the people that he is supposed to unite?


1 comment:

  1. That's what I hope, too--that Kaladin will save Dalinar somehow. Yea! I always laugh when they are scandalized about men reading and writing too. I think this is very tongue-in-cheek on Sanderson's part because he's a male who makes his living by reading and writing. And of course it turns traditional gender roles regarding education on their heads. :D


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