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This week we read up to the end of Chapter 57.
1. Shallan and Adolin meet up for a nice glass of wine and a pleasant chat!! What did you make of Shallan’s winning conversational tactics and what do you think will eventually come of this ‘relationship’. Narvani doesn’t seem to be warming to Shallan - do you think this will cause problems between Shallan and Adolin? Also, Shallan seemed to be almost drawn to the storm and mentioned being able to see something in it? Any guesses as to why and what?
It seems pretty obvious that both Shallan and Adolin are smitten, which is rather sweet. I like the way that they are each trying to present themselves in the best light but end up being very open and honest, which is a very good way to begin a long-term partnership. I suspect that they will end up married unless something very strange happens, but I am a little worried that Kal is struggling with Shallan for some reason. I hope that this is simply because he can intuitively detect her surgebinding capabilities.
I think Navani’s coldness is very understandable at this point. Shallan is not only a walking reminder that Jasnah is dead but also must cause her to wonder why this slip of a girl could survive the attack. Navani might very well suspect that Shallan had something to do with the plot, which would certainly explain why she is the only survivor. However, I think that Shallan’s open personality will eventually win her over, especially when the two start to discuss Jasnah’s research and conclusions.
It makes sense that a surgebinder would have a rather different perception of an approaching storm from normal people. However, I do not think that we have had an eyewitness account of a stormfront before, so perhaps everyone could see these things if they were looking. It sounded a little like the face that Kal saw, but I also wonder if it could be the stormspren that the Parshendi have just been able to capture.
2. So much intrigue. Shallan found out about her brother (or at least the evidence points that way) - and what an awful way to find out such a thing! She found out a bit more about the Ghostbloods and she also uncovered some of Amaram’s secrets - what do you make of it all and what are the bigger connections here?
Poor Shallan: this was a truly awful way to learn about her brother’s death, and I was very impressed with the way that she handled the situation. I wonder what she will think of Kal when she learns the real truth about what happened. Somehow, I think that she will be able to get past his involvement because it happened during a battle and had no personal aspect to it.
The fact that Shallan’s brother was trying to kill Amaram suggests that he is certainly someone who we can put into the ‘Bad Guys’ category. However, it seems that he is not a Ghostblood, so there must be several groups working towards a similar goal of undermining the present hierarchy. I wonder if he is working alone, or is part of a larger group. It just makes me think that Odium has been very busy . . .
3. What did you make of Dalinar giving Amaram an elite role in his latest scheme to bring back the Radiants. Do you think it’s a test of some sort of has he simply ignored Kaladin’s story? Kaladin does seem to be becoming a little bit obsessed by Amaram and Syl seems to be struggling with him at the moment. Do you see a difference in their relationship has Kaladin develops his abilities?
I sincerely hope that Dalinar has not ignored Kal’s revelation, but it could be that he is giving Amaram the opportunity to prove his trustworthiness. I was amazed that Amaram was revealed as a Radiant, mainly because we know that he has no surgebinding ability. Of course, Dalinar is not aware of the ‘new’ Radiants who are beginning to arise, so it makes sense for him to chose someone that he thinks might embody the Radiant ideals to refound the Orders. He is unaware of how someone actually became a Radiant, and so he does not realize that Amaram is an unsuitable candidate.
I can understand why Kal is more than a little obsessive about Amaram. However, I agree with Syl that it is dangerous and worrying: as we see at the end of the reading, it leads him to behave very rashly.
It seems to me that Kal and Syl are getting closer, which adds weight to my belief that they will finally merge into a single entity. Kal is definitely beginning to revel in his abilities, and I am pretty sure that Syl shares his feeling of how ‘right’ that is. I get a real sense of them growing into their true potential, which is as surprising to Syl as it is to Kal because of her cloudy memory. I loved the sequence of him learning to use his lashings: the sense of ‘rightness’ and freedom was wonderfully conveyed and had all the stunning visual imagery that I expect from Mr Sanderson.
4. Shallan and Kaladin seem to be rapidly developing their own abilities with Kaladin finally finding his feet in rather spectacular fashion. Shallan seems to have the most extraordinary abilities - she’s almost perfectly set up to become a spy! What did you make of her latest encounter and ‘near thing’ with the Ghostbloods. Do you think she’ll meet them again?? Can you guess at what other talents she might pull out of the hat?
I love Shallan’s unintended stupidity! :D
She is so dreadfully honest that she regularly says far too much without thinking of the consequences. This is very familiar to me because I am often found with one or both of my feet in my mouth feeling like a fool! However, I do not think that I have ever put my life in danger, so she is even worse than I am. I suspect that she is very lucky that her suspicions led her to hide from them, but I am not sure what she should do now. I have to wonder if they will move against her again if she goes to another meeting or if they will be impressed enough with her ability to disappear that they let her live. I am not sure that I would rush to meet them again, if I were her.
It is difficult to predict what other talents she might discover, but all forms of camouflage and distraction seem like a good guess. I love the way that she is using Pattern to imitate peoples’ voices, especially as she begins to impersonate real people.
5. Wit - it appears he did meet Shallan after all - and, is it just me or is anybody developing a little bit of a Wit crush? Why do you think he’s reappeared. He’s always giving out cryptic messages and disappearing again mysteriously but I’m in a quandary as to know what his meaning really is most of the time! What is his role in all of this. Does he really have a side as such?
Ha! It is so nice to be proved right! Wit is such fun, and I loved the way that he was totally dumbfounded by Shallan’s hug! :D
Yet again he hinted that he has a mysterious agenda that is highly important to the whole world. It is so frustrating to have no real idea of what that is, but it is certainly entertaining to speculate. I assume that he has left Taln because the poor guy is being treated like a drooling idiot, but I have no idea what he plans to do back on the Shattered Plains. He referred to a female equivalent, and I immediately assumed that he was referring to Cultivation. I am increasingly convinced that Wit / Hoid is actually God, but at the very least we know that he opposes Odium, which is enough for me.
6. Finally, can we just discuss that duel. I think that was one of the most exciting things I’ve read so far. I literally gasped out loud at one point. What did you make of it all - the scheming, the conspiring, the fight itself, Kaladin’s heroics - and, finally and importantly, the conclusion!
I think I can summarize my reactions thus:
“Oh . . . My . . . God! You, Sir, are a total cheating bastard! Arggghhhhh!!!! No, Renarin, don’t do it! Oh no, there goes Kal! Please, Shallan, don’t jump in and summon your Shardblade! Sadeas totally needs a good stabbing in the face! Arghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! I can’t look! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!”
Now that I have that out of my system, back to the questions.
I was seriously impressed with all three of our heroes, but most especially with Renarin. I could not believe that he went into the ring to protect his big brother with no armor at all! I loved Pattern’s diversion technique and the fact that he attracted Syl’s attention, but Kal doing the Catching the Blade maneuver was way too scary for my taste. Then everything was going really well until Kal had to go and open his big mouth.
I was not all that surprised by Sadeas’ sneaky maneuver, but I was seriously disappointed by the judge’s behavior. It seems like very few Alethi can remain honorable and withstand the temptation of personal gain. I was surprised by Elhokar’s decisiveness, but ultimately disappointed that the situation was beyond his ability to protect his family members.