Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Way of Kings Read-Along, Week 8



Welcome to week 8 of our Way of Kings Read-Along. This week we read chapters 51-57. 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. What do you think of Dalinar's latest vision concerning the Radiants? Can you make sense of them? Do you think Jasnah will prove or disprove Dalinar's visions? And what did you think of Dalinar and Navani's almost moment? ;)

That vision was kinda crazy! Very sad that the Radiants just threw down their weapons and gave up. In a way, with each vision, what Dalinar is expected to do is becoming more clear, to us if not to him. It seems to me the Radiants are about to return, and there will probably be some kind of penance for the way they abandoned mankind all those years ago. I don't know what Jasnah will say, but I'm super excited to have her weigh in.

I thought the almost moment between Dalinar and Navani was kind of sad. For Dalinar anyway. He genuinely has feelings for her, and one serious case of self control to keep such a tight reign on himself. I just hope that she truly feels the same way and isn't just manipulating or seducing him. Dalinar has too much on his plate to deal with a broken heart too.

2. Dalinar proposes a military alliance with Sadeas. Given what we've read of their relationship and of Sadeas' character, did Dalinar make the right move? How long do you think this alliance will last? Has Dalinar finally gotten Sadeas on his side by using Sadeas' interests (gemhearts, the Shardblade, etc.) as incentive or does Dalinar have something else up his sleeve?

It seems counter-intuitive to root for Sadeas, but that's because we've only ever heard negative thing about him from Dalinar's POV. Assuming he's telling the truth with what he's presented to the king so far in his investigation--and I think he is; anything else would really be too big and twisted a manipulation--I was actually quite impressed with him. Even though he doesn't fully support or believe Dalinar, he went out of his way to make sure Dalinar was treated with fairness. Not many people would take such a high road. And the visions told Dalinar to trust Sadeas. Perhaps now we can see why.

As for how long it will last, it's hard to say. I don't think Sadeas would betray Dalinar out of something like greed or spite, but if Dalinar's visions lead him to do things that Sadeas may see as crazy, Dalinar might lose his support then. Guess we'll see!

3. This is the first time we've read in detail what it's like to be a Shardbearer fighting with Shardblades in battle through Dalinar. What did you think of it?

Yeah that was cool. We've seen that it can definitely be broken, which was interesting, and repaired, though apparently that's not easy. Or cheap. Overall, though, it's basically armor that makes you Clark Kent in a battle. I think it's safe to say we all want to get us some of that! :D

4.  We get a big reveal about what's happening with Kaladin this week regarding the Stormlight as well as a revelation regarding Syl's nature. What did you think of it? Given what we know now, what else do you think he is capable of?

If Kaladin truly is a returned or reborn Radiant, he's probably only seen a small percentage of what he's actually capable of. I'm super excited to see what else he can do. I'm also hoping that, through him, we'll eventually find out more about the ancient Radiant's motivations and why they did as they did. And it's all kinds of interesting that one of only a few people--Teft--who might actually recognize him for who he is, ended up in his bridge crew. 

I think, like Kaladin, we've all suspected for some time that Syl isn't an ordinary windspren, so that wasn't a huge shock. I did want to slap Kaladin upside the head for hurting her feelings, though. As with Kaladin's story, I'm looking forward to finding out more about who/what she is, and what her purpose in Kaladin's life will turn out to be.

5. Kaladin initially blames his curse as the reason why people around him keep dying. Is there some truth to his claims, that this binding ability has some correlation with the casualty count around him, or is Kaladin simply grieving over recent losses? If the former, do you think this might have any connection to what the Radiants are and whatever happened to them?

Interesting question. I think it could go either way. Perhaps because Kaladin absorbs Stormlight, there's some kind of cosmic backlash that ends of harming the people around him? On the other hand, he's in the middle of a war in a land that hasn't been at peace in years. So it could just be life. Anyone who loses a lot of loved ones in a relatively short time will eventually begin to think they're cursed.

Something else I thought about with this was Szeth. I wonder if this "Binding" ability is at all like Szeth's ability to lash himself to various surfaces while fighting. If it is the same or similar, it suggests that Szeth--and by extension, the other minor characters we see in the interludes--might all have similar abilities to Kaladin's. Might they all be returned Radiants? What about Shallan? Shallan and Kaladin side by side as Radiants would be awesome! 

6. Wit/Hoid is turning out to be more than just the life of the party and a thorn on the sides of the other highprinces. As we've seen, he's not very playful with Dalinar and is quite sober, even ominous, with Kaladin. What did you think of his conversations with Dalinar and with Kaladin? What do you think he's up to? How does he factor in with everything else that's going on at the moment (or what's to come)?

Hooray for characters that traverse the universes of more than one book and defy definition! I loved this whole part with Hoid, especially where he spoke with Kaladin. Someone mentioned weeks ago that Wit might really be this character, but having never read a Sanderson book before, I just had to take your word for it.

Hoid is definitely filling the role of the Shakespearean fool. He's actually very wise (and sober) where most people think him foolish. He dispenses wisdom that helps our main character reach a certain truth about themselves. And he even gives some commentary about the art of storytelling. ("A story doesn't live until it is imagined in someone's mind...The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon...pg. 806)

I don't know how he'll factor in what's to come, but because he has more than one book universe to deal with, I doubt he'll be a major part of the story. He'll probably act as something of a prophet or portend, popping up at opportune moments to help our Radiants--er, characters--when they need it. I look forward to more of his wisdom and other "foolish" behavior.

Extras: 

Did anyone else love the fact that Dalinar's horse, Gallant, came when Dalinar called? Just pulled away from his handlers and went to his master's aid? That put a huge grin on my face. In The Wheel of Time everyone loves Bela, the shaggy mare. I gotta say, I think I found her a male counterpart. I'm envisioning a horsey wedding, here. Anyone else? Loving Gallant! :D




What did everyone else think of this section?

1 comment :

  1. That would be interesting to see Shallan as a Radiant, too! I wonder if in the later books, we'll end up with a team of them gathered together. It's also becoming apparent that Kaladin's bridge crew has some really extraordinary people in it, such as Sigzil as Hoid's apprentice, Teft who knows about the returned Radiants. I'm wondering if there are more surprises in store in that group.

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