Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson Read Along: Week 8

You can head over to Dab of Darkness to see what everyone else thinks.

This week we read up to the end of Chapter 74.

1) What did you think of Adolin voluntarily being locked up while Kaladin was locked up? Then Adolin's little reveal of trust later while marching on the plateaus. Do these two have a chance at friendship?

I am very pleased to see that Adolin is maturing quite spectacularly. When we first met him, he came across as a spoilt brat with a wandering eye, but now he is starting to show some really good character qualities. He has developed an ability to think beyond his immediate emotional response, and that bodes very well for the future books in the series.

At the beginning of this week I would have said that they have an excellent chance of becoming firm friends. However, the hints being dropped about Kal’s feelings for Shallan make me very uneasy, but more of that later on . . .

2) Kaladin turns down the Shards, instead giving them to Moash. How do you see this affecting his friendship with Moash in the future?

This is tricky to predict. In theory, it should bind Moash to Kal much more closely because of the gratitude he feels about receiving such an unimaginable gift. However, we have already heard that Moash is starting to treat the other Bridgemen slightly differently and I see that as a bad sign. I fear that he will finally ‘forget’ his origins and reject Kal as well.

Another potential problem is Moash’s proximity to Elhokar. Given that he is now a Shardbearer, he is in an excellent position to assassinate the king with relative ease. I sincerely hope that Kal does not allow this to happen because I am not sure that Elhokar should die. We know that he can see the Cryptics, so I am inclined to think that he is a potential Radiant and I think that the world will need every one of them that it can find.

3) Amaram tries to discredit and embarrass Dalinar by releasing modified versions of his visions. Do you think Dalinar handled it well? Do you think a religious sect will arise from this? And what did you make of Dalinar's conversation with Wit?

I totally missed Amaram as the source of the leak, but I guess it just adds to our impression of him as a total jerk. I thought Dalinar handled the situation with dignity and grace, making the best out of a potentially disastrous situation. However, I am not sure if the other Alethi will read and understand his visions in a way that is useful. They will still find it much easier to dismiss him as a lunatic than to act as if he really is receiving important information from the Almighty.

I love Wit! He is so rude and hilarious that I want to be him! However, we know that he is not simply a court jester and that he is waging his own quiet war against Odium, so his praise for Dalinar was very welcome. I love the way that he and Shallan are so similar in their sense of humor.

4) Kaladin starts noticing some issues with his Stormlight abilities. Then Syl points out that he made promises to both Dalinar and Moash that conflict with each other. How do you see this resolving? Will Syl be OK?

I am seriously worried about Syl. Where has she gone and why is she unwilling or unable to answer Kal’s calls for help? What did the Stormfather mean when he said that Kal had killed her???? Argh!!!!!!

Whilst I am very concerned about Syl’s disappearance, this has certainly shown that Kal’s surgebinding abilities are completely related to her and her presence. Without her he is helpless. I hope that Kal can choose the right path and persuade Syl to rejoin him, assuming that she can even do that at this point.

5) We got to see Shallan on a field trip: moss, bugs, chasm fiend, etc. What do you think of how she handled herself both on the plateau march and later in the chasms?

As a professional Biologist, I see a lot of myself in Shallan. She reacts to the wonders of nature in a way that I find totally understandable, even though it seems crazy to other people! :D

She is also very practical and not bound by societal norms, which I can also relate to. As with Adolin, we have seen her mature quite significantly so far in the series and she has the potential to be an even more impressive woman than Jasnah. I am particularly impressed by her ability to react calmly when confronted by a massive man-eating monster!

6) We learn some very interesting bits about Teft's childhood. What do you think of the punishment meted out to the Envisagers? Too harsh? Correct? Do you think some of the Envisagers survived?

As Teft says, it does seem a little bizarre to execute people for trying to put their own lives in danger. However, I can understand perfectly why their society wanted to prevent the spread of such crazy ideas into the general populace.

Unfortunately, we have not yet seen a potential Radiant manifest because of danger. They have all attracted their spren in a gentle way by showing certain aptitudes or character traits. This suggests that, even if they were potentials, the Envisagers were unlikely to spontaneously attract and bond with a spren rapidly enough to save their lives. What a waste!

7) Shallan and Kaladin learn several things about each other during their time in the chasms. What was the most interesting to you? How do you see their relationship evolving after this?

Assuming that Mr Sanderson does not pull the old “they were actually twins separated at birth” trick, I have to say that I suspect a romantic relationship is in their future. Their banter has certainly read like the love/hate bickering that is so common in Romantic comedies and Kal is most definitely beginning to notice Shallan’s feminine charms. As I said earlier, this could cause a massive problem with Adolin and I really, really hope that we do not go down the love triangle route with these three.

I think that the way their relationship develops will depend a great deal on whether or not they admit their abilities to each other. It seems like they are both suspicious of the other’s miraculous survival, but that they automatically assume that they are fairly unique. I would expect Shallan to be more open to the idea of meeting another Radiant because she has already met Jasnah.

Other Thoughts

We all knew it was coming, but I found Shallan’s father’s death very, very sad. Not for him, because he deserved it all twice over, but for her. We saw how his behavior broke her and drove her to behavior that could be considered psychopathic.

We still do not know where Shallan’s Blade comes from!

Were the spren that left the chasm fiend the same ones that the Parshendi are capturing to create stormform? Does that confirm the chasm fiend as a Voidbringer?

Was the chasm fiend glowing because it was converting the food into stormlight in a similar way to Lift?


  1. This week's chapters were so great! I wanted to just keep on to the end. And yet, I also don't want this to finish!!!! CONFLICTED
    I'm with you - I really don't want a love triangle but I can definitely see Shallan ending up liking Kaladin more. And, I will then feel so bad for Adolin because his character is really shaping up now.
    Moash - I think he's going to go off the rails somehow. I hope I'm wrong about that.
    I think the Envisagers way of thinking came about because the Radiants always manifest during danger - but that's not really the case - they're already radiants by that stage. I do wonder if all the radiants shared something of a difficult past though - Kaladin and Shallan certainly have experienced their share of difficulties.
    Can't wait to see how this all concludes but I'm really not looking forward to the wait for the next book!!
    Lynn :D

  2. I agree about Elhokar! Most peoplesee him of a whiny, brat of a king, but I think he'll end up being important down the line. I hope nobody manages to kill him. I hope Syl is okay, too. And I agree with you. They might not be there yet, but these chapters were practically proof in my mind that Kaladin and Syl will end up together at some point. I hope they can manage to remain friends with Andolin, though. You bring up some great questions about the Spren, the chasmfiend, the Parshendi, etc. I hope we get at least some answers before the book ends! My WoR Post

  3. Good point about Elhokar being able to see the Cryptics, or others much like them. I wonder what it will take for Elhokar to rise to the occasion and become worthy of bonding a special spren.

    I too am worried about Syl. I think Kaladin will have to do something big to revive her, something sacrificial perhaps.

    Very true about Envisagers and attracting Spren. And for Shallan and Kaladin, they were both trying to help others in some way and that seems to be key in attracting spren. The Envisagers seemed to be focused on personal glory wrapped in the guise of becoming guardians of humanity.

    I too felt great sadness for Shallan when she finally broke and felt that her father must die. She approached it very coldly - which shows a lot of thought went into it. But it also showed me that Shallan has breaking points.


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