Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Way of Kings Read-Along, Week 10 (Final Week!)

Welcome to the final week of our Way of Kings Read-Along! We've reached the end, and it was epic! This week we read the final hundred pages which comprised chapters 66 through the end. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!

1. Syl's true nature as an honorspren has been revealed! She once again asks the interesting question: are spren attracted to their element or do they create that element? What do you think? Do you think there are more honorspren or is Syl unique?

Hmm. I don't think it's one or the other, or perhaps it's just a combination of the two. I don't think spren create their element, but I'm not sure 'drawn' to it is exactly right either. Maybe they're something that shows evidence of that element, but neither effect or are effected by it. I think there may be other honorspren, but that they're very rare. The fact that more people don't have Syl-type experiences is surely proof of that, but I can't imagine she's entirely unique in the universe either. Interesting question.
2. The Parshendi had a whole host of reactions to Kaladin's power, mostly including fear and awe, though they also seemed to recognize him or his power. Why do you think that is? How do you think the Parshendi hiring Szeth plays into it?

I think the Parshendi, in their own way, are more in the know about magic and the truth of the universe at large than the Alethi are. They probably have some kind of legend or belief that made them recognize and respect Kaladin's power. Kaladin expected his men to be disturbed, but the Parshendi were almost reverenced by it.
3. Dalinar makes some pretty intense decisions towards the end of this book, including trading his Shardblade to free the bridgemen and completely changing how he wants to deal with the highprinces. Do you think these were good decisions?

I definitely think they were good. I'm positive they'll cause him trouble down the line as well, but he went into it with open eyes. What was nice was to see his confidence and determination to move forward. The entire book he's known what he wants to do, but not how to do it. Now he has a definite plan of action. Maybe it will work, maybe not, but if he wants any shot at all of uniting the highprinces, I think he's moving in the right direction.
4. A lot of mysteries surrounding Jasnah are finally revealed! Do you think that she is right and that most Soulcasters do work? Why do you think Shallan and Jasnah both happen to have this soulcasting power? What is Shadesmar really?

I kind of want her to be right about the soulcasters--that would make her and Shallan's abilities more unique--but I also think it unlikely. If fabrials used for soulcasting is the common belief, then even most soulcasters may believe it, which means there may be others, who knows how many, with Jasnah's abilities.

As to why they both have the ability, I don't know. We talked about Shallan and Kaladin as Radiants, but how Jasnah plays a part is hard to guess at this point. Perhaps Shallan always had the ability, but needed the proximity or influence of someone else using it to unlock it?

I don't know what Shadesmar really is. I tend to think it's like the World of Dreams in the WoT series--a parallel world, perhaps a skewed reflection of reality, that is very dangerous to traverse without knowing what you're doing. I think it's powered by magic and that it will be key to both Jasnah and Shallan's abilities. The true nature of it was only hinted at here.
5. Szeth is once again on a mission, but this time we really don't want him to succeed! What do you think is going to happen with him and Dalinar in the next book? Do you think Szeth and Kaladin will recognize each other's power?

Well, Kaladin and his men are going to become bodyguards for Dalinar and his family, so a confrontation between these three is a very real possibility. I think it'll either happen at the very beginning or very end of book 2. I kind of doubt that Szeth will actually succeed in assassinating Dalinar, but it seems to me this will be like Luke and Vader crossing lightsabers--a fight of epic proportion and consequence. Can't wait! :D

It was also interesting to learn the true origin of the quotations at the chapter beginnings. I had assumed they were taken from Jasnah's research. The fact that they were being taken down by Szeth's "true master" who is killing people just to record their last words opens a whole new can of worms, doesn't it?

One of the most intriguing exchanges:

"You're a monster."
"Yes," Taravangian said. "But I am the monster who will save this world."

6. We finally have a better idea where the Parshmen and Parshendi came from! What do you think the real history is there? How did people possibly enslave the Voidbringers and why are the Parshendi now changing?

They must have found something that compelled the Parshmen, something that was able to bend them to their will. It also makes me wonder why exactly the Knights Radiant freaked out and left. Was it before or after the enslavement? Was it because of the enslavement, or was it a catalyst for it? So hard to say, but I think we still have a lot to learn before we can see the big picture.
7. The last chapter with the Almighty was pretty crazy. What do you think about this vision? What do you think this means for Dalinar's future and the world's (universe's??) future? What is Odium really?

Okay, I read the info at that link someone posted several weeks ago. Odium, Honor, and Cultivation are three of the sixteen shards, which are named after ideals, but according to the wikia page, must also be controlled by people. So, I tend to think Odium is a real person, but that's probably not his real name. Just the ideal he embodies, and it doesn't sound like he's a particularly pleasant person. Remember, too, that when Kaladin asked Syl if she'd heard the name before, she hissed and flew away, obviously distressed. I would suggest everyone read the info at this link, now that we've finished. It gives a better idea of what's going on at large, but still leaves plenty of questions to be answered.

I really loved the idea that the man in the vision was leaving his interactive journal for someone to read. He knew somehow that someone would find it and make use of it, but not who or how. I really loved that idea. So haunting.
Since this was the last section, there was obviously A LOT else going on! I didn't want to include too many questions, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on everything else as well. Also, how did you end up enjoying this read-along??

It's also interesting that Shallan's father may have been part of the group trying to assassinate Jasnah. We finally got some answers about the people threatening her family. In a way, I think it must all be connected. She didn't zero in on Jasnah as the answer to her problems by chance. She was probably led to it, even if she didn't realize it, by things her father did before he died.

Also interesting that she confessed to being her father's murderer. I'm assuming we'll hear more of that in later books.

I loved Wit's final chapter. Sitting around, strumming his instrument and philosophizing about the human condition. Just classic. And that last part where the guy was pounding on the city gates was downright chilling. Great ending. I'm just glad we don't have to wait four years for book 2!

Overall, I really loved this book and this read-along. Anyone planning on reading book 2?
What other blogger's thought:


  1. That exchange between Szeth and Taravangian was very eerie, definitely sets up a new player in the story for the next issue. Same goes for Jasnah and Shallan talking about that sect that Kabsal was a part of. The last few chapters were just mind-blowing; I'm so glad that I got around to re-reading this book. I can't wait to read book 2! Dunno when that will be exactly, but I am looking forward to it :)

    My WoK RAL

    1. I agree! Such a great ending. I'm very much looking forward to book 2 as well. :D

  2. That's an interesting idea, about the Radiants. I could see that being really depressing, if you've dedicated your life to protecting humanity from the Voidbringers, and then all of a sudden humans are enslaving them! I'm definitely planning on reading book 2, but I'm not sure when, yet.

  3. I agree with you that all the decisions Dalinar made at the end there had my full support - he may be setting himself up for some challenges along the way but he still did the right thing far and wide there! And yes his confidence there was so inspiring ♥

    I'm also still wondering what cause the Knights Radiant to abandon their posts...and what made the people thin enslaving the Parshendi was a good idea...I mean if the Parshendi and the Voidbringers are one and the same, they have a pretty HUGE advantage over humanity at this point o.O

    Anyways, I adored this book through and through. Hoping to get my hands on book 2 asap so I can jump in while it's still fresh :D I loved participating in this read-along too and chatting with you all about such an amazing book!!

  4. Yes, I think you are right - the Parshendi probably have some myth or cultural story that explains Kaladin's abilities. And I very much look forward to finding out what it is!

    Yes - what if Shallan's father was part of a group trying to assassinate Jasnah...and perhaps others in her family? I bet that will lead to some interesting chat over tea once more is revealed.

    And yes, there is a plan being hatched to read-along Book 2. Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and I are plotting. Will reveal more soon!