Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Way of Kings Read-Along, Week 6 + Giveaway!

Welcome to week 6 of our Way of Kings Read-Along! Before I get to the discussion questions, I need to mention our giveaway! Because our read-along is so big (10 blogs) and in honor of the imminent release of book 2, Words of Radiance, Tor has sponsored an epic giveaway: 10 copies each of The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. Keep in mind that per Tor's policy, no P.O. Boxes are allowed and the Words of Radiance copies won't be shipped until the book releases on March 4th.
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The Tor giveaway is only for the U.S. and Canada, but not wanting to leave our international readers, several of the bloggers have chipped in two copies of each book for international readers as well. As long as The Book Depository ships to you, you can enter, though we ask that US/Canada residents refrain from this giveaway since you have a lot of books in the previous one that you could win. Winners have 48 hours to respond otherwise we will be forced to pick a new winner. We can’t be responsible for books lost in the mail.
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Okay, on to the discussion questions. This week we read chapters 33-42. 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. Both Kabsal and Jasnah have spoken to Shallan about stealing the Soulcaster, and both have done so in a pretty lighthearted manner, considering how serious it would actually be to steal it. Do you think Kabsal was telling the truth when he brushed off Shallan’s questions about his plan to steal the Soulcaster? Is he still interested in stealing it? Does he have other, deeper motives?

I can't decide what to think about Kabsal. It seems a bit odd that people would keep mentioning stealing the Soulcaster in passing, and yet for two weeks, Jasnah doesn't seem to have "realized" it's been swiped. I really want to like Kabsal, but I can't help but think his weekly visits may really be checking up on Shallan, picking her brain. Maybe trying to figure out where her head is. It would be really interesting if Jasnah and Kabsal are actually working together. That would mean their cold interactions were all rehearsed. Even if that were the case, though, it doesn't tell us why. In short, I think there's more going on here than Shallan realizes, but I have no idea what it is, yet. I kind of think she'll find out the minute she tries to leave.


2. By the end of the section, Shallan has found out that she'll be able to return home in one week, but she's torn between wanting to continue her studies, and being able to take the stolen Soulcaster home. So far it looks like her theft hasn't been detected, but do you think she’ll be found out before that time? Do you think she should leave, or might decide on her own to stay? Could something else happen to make her stay? 

I don't think I'd leave if I was her. I get that her family needs her--and don't get me wrong, I'm worried about them. I'm afraid these dangerous men who want her father's fabrial back might slaughter her family before she gets home--but she's worried about Jasnah realizing it's gone and thinking it was Shallan. She doesn't know if Jasnah knows about the switch or not. And she can't make the Soulcaster work for her. How is that going to help her family situation? I just think there are too many variables she can't control and probably a few she hasn't even thought of. (She thinks if she's caught trying to steal the Soulcaster, she'll be banished, but I tend to think it might be worse than that.) Especially because she doesn't know how to make it work to help her family, I think I'd wait and hold onto my apprenticeship as long as possible. Leaving probably won't be as simple as she thinks. 

3. How much do you think Jasnah actually knows about the theft of her Soulcaster? Is it even remotely possible that Jasnah is still in the dark about it? If she knows, did she in fact dupe Shallan with a fake, as Shallan theorizes? Or did Jasnah let her steal it? Why??

I have a couple of theories about this. First of all, I don't think there's any way Jasnah doesn't know. If she really doesn't, my respect for her shrewdness goes seriously down. I think either 1) she knows but has some reason not to admit it, yet, or 2) Maybe Soulcasting is an ability and isn't as tied up in the actual devices as everyone thinks. If it's #1, then maybe the fabrial was switched out, or maybe Jasnah is doing something to keep it from working. But...Kabsal told Shallan the way it should work, but it doesn't, which means either he was lying, the fabrial she has isn't real, or Soulcasting doesn't work the way people think. He mentioned there's a lot of mystery around Soulcasters, so maybe it has nothing to do with the devices, but for some reason they don't want anyone to know about it. I have no idea on the whys of anything.

4. During the Highstorm, Kaladin experiences a lull during which the wind and rain stop, he feels no more pain, and he sees an enormous “face of blackness, yet faintly traced in the dark”. The face is described as, “Inhuman. Smiling.” Was Kaladin just hallucinating? If not, do you think this being had something to do with recharging the sphere? With Kaladin somehow feeling better before the storm kicked up again? Or could this being be malevolent? Thoughts/theories?

This made me think of three things: 1) The picture of the chasmfiend in the storm that is labelled as a Void Bringer, 2) The dark figures Shallan drew by accident, and 3) the voice in Dalinar's visions. With the exception of the figures Shallan drew, all these things seem to happen during high storms. I have no idea how they could all be related, but I think they are. There must be unifying thread running through all these things. At some point, Sanderson will cinch it, and all these stories will collide. Can't wait!

5. Before Kaladin is forced to endure the Highstorm, he tells his men to come out after the storm is over; he says he’ll open his eyes and look back at them, and they’ll know that he survived. Kaladin obviously survives, and everyone in Bridge Four is really glad about that. But we haven’t yet seen a reaction from anyone other than Kal’s men. Do you think Kaladin’s survival could have a wider impact than just giving his own group of bridgemen hope?

Well, yes. This is kind of like last week when we discussed whether he'd be in trouble for what happened on the battlefield or not. On the one hand, because not much has happened yet, we can almost imagine things can just go back to how they were before. Yet...that would be a little too easy. I think whatever happens will be bigger than just him surviving the high storm, though. The fact that Kaladin absorbs the stormlight and uses it without knowing it shows that he's much more than he seems. This is part of the next question, but I think Kaladin will definitely affect many more lives than just his own and that of his bridge crew.


6. We learn quite a bit about Teft in this section… kind of. But pretty much everything we learn just leads to more questions. What do you think about these “Envisagers” Teft mentions? How much do you think Teft knows about Kaladin’s ability to use Stormlight? It seemed like Teft became wary of Kaladin after he recovered – why? Do you think he'll tell Kaladin about what he knows?

At first, it seemed to me that Teft was a man who knew something of some prophecy Kaladin might be the subject of. But then he said the Envisagers were all dead. Because of him. Maybe these Envisagers told his future somehow, and then for some reason he killed them or got them killed, and now he doesn't know what do with his knowledge of Kaladin. In my mind, the major question is what else does he know? What was prophesied--or whatever it was--about Kaladin? I hope we get to ride around in Teft's head some more and learn more.

Extras:

I liked that we got to see more of Kaladin's past. I feel like we're getting closer to finding out why he ended up in the army. I think it must have everything to do with Roshone and the death of his son. I liked that Kaladin decided for himself to defy the Lighteyes by becoming a surgeon rather than a soldier. I think his reason for joining the army might have something to do with what happens next. Maybe Roshone will have his father and/or family killed, and that spurs Kaladin to fight. 

I also wonder whatever happened to Laral and where she is now. Obviously her marriage to Rillir didn't ever come to fruition. Any guesses?

What other blogger's thought:

5 comments :

  1. WOAH, you blew my mind with this: "It would be really interesting if Jasnah and Kabsal are actually working together." I hadn't even thought of that!! That would be crazy if it turns out to be true.

    Completely agree about your thoughts on Shallan leaving. There is way too much up in the air right now for her to leave in just 7 days! She knows so little of what's going on, and she's just realized how huge of a deal it is to steal the Soulcaster... really bad things could happen if she leaves so early! =S

    And I totally thought the same thing about Soulcasting - it might be an innate ability rather than reliant upon the Soulcaster. Maybe the Soulcasters just focus the power, or allow it to be channeled in different ways...

    I loved the flashbacks to Kaladin's past (well, "loved"... they were rather emotionally jarring, weren't they?). I also keep forgetting how YOUNG Kaladin is. What is he, 21ish? Gahhhhh.

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    1. I think he's still 19 (so young!), but maybe he's getting near twenty while on the bridge crew?

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  2. Wow, that would be really cool if Jasnah and Kabsal were working together! Then she could afford to not confront Shallan about the soulcaster, because she has another pair of eyes making sure she doesn't run off. Also, I like your thoughts on the soulcaster. I had just assumed her information was bad, but that would be something if it were just an innate ability some had and others didn't. Then there would be no reason for her to even steal the soulcaster, because she and her family couldn't use it.

    I also really liked that Kaladin chose to be a surgeon. We know he ends up in the army, but I was really hoping there was a better reason than that young Kaladin wanted glory, and didn't care if it hurt his family in the process. It looks like there will be!

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  3. 1. I doubt that Kabsal and Jasnah are working together. I think it is much more likely that he has switched his attention to Shallan because he sees her as easier to manipulate. All this flirting and the jokey way he talked about stealing the fabrial are too suspicious for me: I don't trust him and I suspect Jasnah will be very unhappy when she discovers what he has been up to.

    2. I don't see any point in her leaving yet because the fabrial doesn't work. Unless the dangerous men can be paid off with a broken object, which I somehow doubt, she might as well stay and try to get it working. I am also not sure how much of her brothers' words I believe. The whole torturing of small animals thing made me a little wary of Nan Balat! :(

    3. I am pretty sure that Jasnah's fabrial is a dud and just holds the infused spheres that she draws power from. That explains why she can cast at a distance and also why she hasn't noticed that it no longer works. Of course, this doesn't solve Shallan's problems, but it does explain what we've seen.

    4. This face seems connected to the Stormlight somehow, but I am not sure how. Of course, Mr Sanderson is so good at misdirecting is, that I try not to make too many guesses!

    5. I am still a little worried that he will become depressed again, but I think that his greatest danger is of a jealous Lighteyes 'accidentally' shooting him in the back.

    6. Interesting idea about the Envisagers foreseeing the future. We know that prophecy is seen as very evil, so that would lead to them being killed if someone ratted them out . . . possibly that is how Teft got them all killed?

    After Laral's behavior towards Kal I am quietly hoping that she is stuck in a horrible marriage.

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  4. Yes, I too think that Shallan's odd drawings, Dalinar's voice of wisdom, and Kaladin's vision in the storm are all related. Sanderson has done a great job so far of showing us these individual pieces. And I VERY much look forward to seeing how he brings it all together.

    In some ways, Teft is an even bigger mystery than Shallan, Kaladin, Dalinar, etc. Even though I have read this before, I want to know more about Teft, what he knows, and why he knows it.

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