Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Way of Kings Read-Along, Week 5

Way of Kings questions below. But first...

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Welcome to week 5 of The Way of Kings Read-Along! This week we read chapters 28-32. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!

1. Dalinar made a very dramatic decision at the beginning of this section.  Do you think it was the right one? What do you think will happen to him, Adolin and (and the not-united Alethi) if he follows through?

Yeah that was surprising, wasn't it? I was kind of hoping he and Kaladin could eventually work together on the battlefield in some capacity, but if Dalinar steps down, that doesn't seem likely. Maybe it will lead to him meeting Kaladin in some other way, though. And in a way, it does make a certain kind of sense. This way, he may be able to work behind the scenes and duck those who have designs on him for political power, and try to do as the visions ask without being as hindered. Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems, so I'm sure he'll run into other kinds of obstacles.

2.We’ve gotten to see a little more of Shinovar with Rysn the apprentice merchant.  In terms of plants and animals, it seems to be pretty much like our world.  How do you think it happened that there’s such an ‘ordinary’ place, or what do you think might have happened to turn the rest of the world so unusual?  Given this and the chapter on Szeth, do you have any more ideas on what the meaning of his "Truthless" title might be?

It seems to me that it might be a place without magic. The magic of the shardeblades and the spren and everything else doesn't affect it. Don't know why, though. It's still largely unclear. It sounds to me like it was something specific he did that was at odds with his dogma. It also seems to me that killing Gavilar was some kind of catalyst for this new life of strange slavery. Can't wait to learn more about Szeth, though, and see what working for this new master brings. (Incidentally, I wasn't sorry his current master (can't remember his name) ended up with his head on a plate. He was super annoying.

3.  Shallan and Jasnah’s story has returned!  Based on Jasnah’s words to Dalinar, and the clues Shallan is picking up, what do you think Jasnah’s project is about?  What do you think she hopes to accomplish? 

I don't know what she's up to, but it feels really epic. Jasnah's not someone who would follow some random project on a whim. It seems to me that everything she does has purpose. I get the feeling that when we learn what her project is about, it just might change the world. Dalinar wants her to come back to the front, and obviously her project is more important than that, so maybe it will change the tide of the war? We've already established that there's more going on with that war than most people realize, so maybe Jasnah realizes what's going on and is either working for or against it? Guess we'll find out. 

4. Concerning Shallan, it’s starting to seem that her drawing ability is a supernatural gift. Do you have any theories on the bizarre figures Shallan accidentally drew behind the king?

Yeah, that was all kinds of creepy. It it were me, I think I would have screamed. I totally want to know more about who they were and what they wanted. It occurred to me that maybe they're good, like the Shard Bearers in Dalinar's vision trying to come back or something, but they seem awfully creep-in-the-shadows for something like that. There were only three people in that room--Jasnah, Shallan, and the king. It seems to me that the king was pretty harmless, bumbling, and a bit past his prime. So were the beings there to observe Jasnah, or Shallan?

5. Back to the bridge crews, now that we’ve seen a bit more into Gaz’s perspective, does he seem any more sympathetic?  Why do you think he owes Lamaril money?

Yes and no. He obviously has his own kind of stress and his own motivations, which of course makes him more relatable, but it doesn't make him a saint, either. I'm not particularly more partial to him than I was before.

6. Kaladin has won over his bridge crew, and enacted a brilliant plan to protect them—which utterly ruined the military strategy. Do you think his plan was a good one, or should he have seen the chaos coming? What do you think will happen to him next?  Also, what do you think he’ll do if he figures out the real reason why bridgemen aren't allowed shields?

I can't say that the plan was bad. He set out to keep his crew alive, and that's exactly what he did. No, he didn't take the bigger picture into mind, but how could he? With how barbarically the bridgemen are already treated, the army can't expect them to take every possible path to save their own lives. I can't decide what I think will happen. In this circumstance, I think it's just as likely that nothing at all will happen as that something will. The big boys will try to figure out what went wrong, but Sadeas especially is too arrogant to point a finger at one measly bridgeman. On the other hand, that would be boring and now Kaladin has both Gaz and Gaz's superior ticked off at him. If Kaladin every discovers the real reason they don't get shields, I think that would just serve to piss him off more and make him that much more determined.

Still loving this book, but have more questions than ever. We're halfway through, now, so I hope we start getting some answers soon. :D

What other blogger's thought:

How did everyone else like this section?


  1. I don't know what to make of those strange figures that appeared while Shallan was sketching the king...I hope we get to find out more about them soon enough (as creepy as they are).

    Same here re: Gaz. I must've tuned out the first time I had read the book re: Gaz's motivations and backstory but despite reading it now, I'm still not feeling sympathetic towards the character *shrugs* We'll see.

    - Lianne @

  2. 4. Interesting about the figures - now you mention about the king being a little bit vacant it makes me wonder if they're actually manipulating him? Perhaps he's also having visions - didn't he mention something about being less popular with his people. Maybe he's started to say things that are out of character in the way Dalinar has. I would like to see Shallan draw a picture of Dalinar I think.
    Lynn :D

  3. 1. In a way, I guess it would be easier for Dalinar if he doesn't have to put on a show of what the other nobles expect (capturing gemhearts, etc.), but he does need political influence, which he might not get as a retired leader.

    2. That is an interesting thought! Maybe in Shinovar, soldiers are the lowest, and those with magic are just unspeakable? Szeth is Shin, and he has both magic and a Shardblade, so now I'm wondering if his ability to use magic made him "Truthless".

    6. I hadn't thought of Sadeas's pride as being something to protect Kaladin, but I think you're right. Sadeas would look totally incompetent if he publicly said, "This bridgeman single-handedly destroyed my assault!"

  4. 1. I feel as if we are coming to a climax of sorts, although I am not sure how Kal and Dalinar are going to collide. However, it seems like the most logical way for the overall series storyline to play out, because they are so obviously Significant People.

    2. As the Highstorms seem to drop storm light in a similar way to raincloads dropping water it makes sense that if the area is protected front he storms it will get very little magic dropped on it. How does Mr Sanderson manage to write such complex stories without his brain exploding??? :D

    3. I think Jasnah is concerned about the present war and why it is happening. The Parchesndi provoked it in a very deliberate way, but why??

    4. I agree: I was very impressed with Shallan's self-control and lack of gibbering and screaming. Of course, you are quite right: they may not be evil, just a bit creepy the first time you see them.

    5. All I can say is that I now hate Lamaril more . . .

    6. I predict major depression for Kal in the near future because of all the extra death he caused. Poor Kal :(

  5. While Szeth seemed dismayed that his master was dead and he had a new one, I thought it was only time before someone killed that idiot. But this new master seems to have some idea of Szeth's worth, at least as an assassin. This could be bad for a whole list of people.

    I had the feeling that the beings in Shallan's drawings were there to influence the king, but on what, I am not sure. Still, I didn't feel that they were merely harmless observers, but that could be me being all creeped out because Shallan was creeped out.

    Yep, Kaladin kept his men alive, which is noble. But even he was dismayed at the cost to other bridgecrews and soldiers. What a fustercluck! But it's not like he had a lot of time to consider his side carry before they were thrown into another run.