Sunday, June 1, 2014

Words of Radiance 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 81.

1. What did you think of Dalinar's tactics, proving Kaladin correct by catching Amaram in a lie? What will happen, do you think, when they attempt to "try" him?

Just when I think that Dalinar cannot possibly get any more perfect . . . he does! I almost cheered at this moment, but that is because I am easily manipulated by cynical authors who like to play with my expectations and emotions! :D

As well as keeping me massively entertained, one thing that Mr Sanderson seems very good at doing is letting his characters change and develop. I love the way that Dalinar has gradually become much more thoughtful and less trusting of his old judgments. Of course, he has had some fairly harsh lessons in this area, but it is great to see him learning from his mistakes and modifying his behavior: something that is heavily mirrored by Adolin. These two men are slowly becoming more admirable and heroic, but it has cost them dearly. Perhaps I am strange, but I like my heroes to have to work for their successes!

It felt wrong for Dalinar to dismiss Kal’s story out of hand, and not just because we knew that it was the truth. Dalinar has started to follow his instincts and Kal has done nothing to prove them wrong, so he should have been very concerned by the account of Amaram’s betrayal. However, I can understand why he would want some form of confirmation before creating a political mess. I am just pleased that it is now out in the open, even though I imagine that it would be almost impossible to take Amaram to trial: he is Sadeas’ man and it could even lead to war between the two Highprinces.

2. Navani offers her services to Shallan with her mission to find the Oathgate. What do you think Navani's intentions are? Will she help or hinder Shallan's mission?

It was good to see Navani begin to emerge from her grief and take more notice of her final link to Jasnah’s genius. It makes perfect sense that she would have had a lot of difficulty with Shallan and found it hard to see the woman who survived when her beloved daughter perished. However, it also makes sense that Shallan could help her in the healing process, once Navani had moved past that initial period of pain and anger.

I loved their discussion about Jasnah: especially the comment about her being born at thirty years old and having to grow into her age! :D

I do not detect any deception from Navani: I think that she is honestly trying to fulfill Jasnah’s wishes by helping Shallan in her research. Her subdued reaction to the revelation about Jasnah being a Soulcaster makes me wonder if Navani had already suspected this. She would be the perfect person to fabricate a fake fabrial, so it makes sense that Jasnah would have confided in her. Perhaps this explains why she has been so supportive of Dalinar: she already had an inkling that the Radiants were returning. She is a very capable woman, with a great deal of resources at her disposal, so I expect her to be an enormous help to Shallan.

3. Moash's group is still planning to assassinate Elhokar. Do you think Kaladin will allow him to go through with it? 

I certainly hope not. I think we all agree that Elhokar is a bit of a prat, but that does not mean that he should be assassinated. Whenever I think of how bad he COULD be . . . *cough* Joffrey *cough* . . . I feel a certain amount of hope that he could develop into a half decent king. However, he suffers from a massive problem with his self-esteem and is very negative about his abilities. I am not sure how to work around this, but being treated like an idiot by everyone is not helping: and Dalinar is as guilty of this as anyone else.

However, Elhokar’s suitability as king is not really the issue in this case. I strongly suspect that Syl will vanish forever if Kal allows this dishonorable act to go ahead. I am already worried sick because she is holding herself away from him and letting him suffer, especially as we know that Szeth is on his way back to the Shattered Plains and the Parshendi are trying to unleash a Highstorm on Dalinar’s army . . . arghhhhh!!!!!

4. The king approached Kal and asked Kal to teach him to be a hero? Do you see Kaladin attempting this? Does this change your opinion of the king? How?

I am not sure that you can actually learn to be heroic, but Kal could certainly help to improve Elhokar’s self-esteem by showing him how to relate to his men. We have seen Renarin becoming accepted by Bridge Four, and he is even stranger than the king. I am not sure if Kal is mature enough to see this as a possibility, but it certainly something that could happen in the future.

This exchange did make me a little more sympathetic towards Elhokar, who is a decent bloke trying to make the best of a terrible situation. Just like Adolin he was forced to accept greater responsibility much earlier than expected: I hope that we can see him begin to mature in a similar way to his cousin. The very fact that he realizes that he is inadequate gives me hope for his future improvement.

I was intrigued by his comment about the Cryptics leaving him alone now that Kal is in the warcamp. Is this because Pattern revealed himself to Shallan or because they found Elhokar inadequate in some way? Or is it because Syl’s presence is abhorrent to them because of the Cryptic-Honorspren ‘war’?

5. Dalinar tells Shallan to find the Oathgate, and that he might need to use the pathway as a retreat for the army. (No pressure or anything, though.) Do you think Shallan will find it? Do you think Dalinar will need to make use of it. Where do you think it will lead?

I have a horrible feeling that she will need to get the gate open and lead the army through to safety. However, I accept that this will not be an easy task, what with the Parshendi calling a storm and everything else going on. I am quite certain that Jasnah was right to think that it will lead to Urithiru. Of course, we do not know what will be waiting for them . . .

6. The battle action is very high where we left off. What do you think will happen when the Parshendi song ends? Will the high storm show up in full force and destroy the Alethi army? Will Dalinar's troops manage to interrupt the song? Other predictions?

The end of the song will trigger a Highstorm, I am pretty sure of that. At the moment it seems that the Alethi cannot disrupt the singing so I hope that everyone is ready to jump through the Oathgate as soon as possible. I suspect that we will be chewing our fingernails away before our heroes get to safety.

However, the Parshendi in stormform do not seem to be quite as deadly as we might expect. This might give the Alethi a tiny chance of survival.

Other Thoughts

How epic is Shallan now and how epic is it that Dalinar just accepts her as a Radiant?

Aww . . . Gaz is all cute now that he is helping Shallan and not trying to kill Kal.

Dalinar finds his new Shardblade distasteful for some reason. Is this because it is associated with a ‘dead’ spren? Does this mean that he is a potential Radiant and so should have a blade created a different way?

What has happened to the ‘good’ Parshendi? How many more spies like Shen were there in the warcamps and would they have ‘activated’ during the expedition?

It seems that the Shin hold some important artifacts that they give to those named as Truthless . . . it seems likely that these are the Shardblades left behind by the Heralds. This would explain why Szeth and Kal seem to use stormlight in different ways and why the Assassin does not have a spren.

What is Venli up to and why is she so familiar with the abilities of the stormform? Could she have been getting visitations from Odium?


  1. It's interesting that we discussed the parshendi in earlier chapters (maybe even book 1) - I think we were all thinking that the Alethi were harbouring potential enemies with their parsh men - it didn't occur to me that that would also give the Parshendi to hide in plain sight.
    Gaz has kind of grown on me too - a bit like fungus - but, yeah, growing on me!
    Lynn :D

  2. Yeah I'm definitely liking Gaz more and more, and Moash less and less. Hmmmm...

  3. Totally agree with you about heroes having to work for their successes. Dalinar started out an honorable, if somewhat gullible, character. Over two books he has grown because of these betrayals and hard knocks. Kaladin has also grown - going from a person who completely distrusts most people to starting to put his trust in those with power over him.

    It hadn't occurred to me that Navani might have been the one to create the fake fabrial for Jasnah.

    Elhokar talks of dark figures, which makes me think of the dark figures Shallan saw around Taravangian. So I wonder if we have spren who are working against spren we know and love (like Syl and Pattern). We probably also have some spren that are neutral observers.

    You are right about Gaz. It did take me nearly 2 books to warm up to him.

    I think you might be right about the Shin. They probably hold key information that we won't be privy to until the next book....or later.


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