Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Read-Along: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Part 4

It's time for the fourth post about Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings. Questions this week were provided by Lunar Rainbows, and cover up through chapter 27.  Keep in mind that there are spoilers of the book through chapter 27 below!

1.  We seem to be getting more and more proof that there is some ''luck'' or magic at play when it comes to Kaladin's safety,  survival and his skills - especially during those battle scenes.  Even when performing that Kata in the Chasm, there was something  incredible about his movements according to the rest of the crew. Initially the blade seemed to be the source of his skills (to me at least) , what do you think might be fueling his powers?  Do you think they're getting stronger?

I am not sure what’s fueling his power, though my best guess is the “Radiant Reborn” idea.  I think they’ve always been pretty much this strong, from what we’ve heard.  He felt the ‘magic’ the first time he picked up a staff, and he was far more amazing and unkillable as a soldier than someone with his training was expected to be. 

Also, I could be misreading it, but I think Kaladin is implying he killed a Shardbearer, which is a remarkable feat for an ordinary soldier.  My theory from what we currently know of his situation is that he killed the Shardbearer we last saw in his first chapter, but then Amaram sold him into slavery instead of letting him keep the Shards and become a lighteyes.  We’re slowly working our way through Kaladin’s life, so I hope we get to that chapter soon!

2. We were introduced to Navani, King Gavilar's widow and the current King Elhokar's mother.  What was your initial impression of her?  There seems to be some complicated history between her and Dalinar,  do you think she might end up being an ally or an eventual hindrance?

My first impression is that she is probably going to be Dalinar’s love interest.  Dalinar clearly still has a thing for her, though he might be conflicted by the fact that she’s his brother’s widow.  In their history, he comments that they both always knew she’d pick Gavilar (I assume because he was the heir).  I can’t help but wonder if that love triangle existed because she wanted to pick Dalinar, and just felt she couldn’t.  Things might be different now.  In short, I think she’ll be an ally.

3. What did you make of Sadeas' maneuver against Dalinar to gain the King's favor by being named the High Prince of Information?  How do you reconcile his actions with the advice Dalinar received ''to trust'' Sadeas?

That was a clever twist, and it was really frustrating to see that Elhokar didn’t even notice. He can’t even recognize maneuvering when it happens right in front of him, but he obsesses over a broken strap.  He is such a rubbish king.  Anyway, I still think (hope!) Sadeas is trying to assassinate Elhokar, and the advice is aimed at getting Dalinar the throne.

4. Where you surprised when Rock admitted to Kaladin that he was seemingly born being able to see the Spren and therefore could see Syl following Kaladin around? That led to a pivotal point for Kaladin, gaining Rock's favor and then Teft's.  What were your thoughts on that whole scene? Can you speculate as to why some people are able to see the spren when others can not?

It was very nice to get to know some of the bridgemen!  I wasn’t especially surprised when Rock said he could see the spren.  We know this world has some wide diversity, since the Alethi and Parshendi seem so biologically different, so it makes sense that other races have different ways of seeing the world.

It was great seeing Kaladin slowly winning the group over, not through intimidation but through making their lives worth living.  I kind of dread the next bridge run, because now that they’re actually becoming a team, the next wave of deaths is going to hit them hard.  I’m hoping that Sadeas decides they’re a ‘problem crew’ and gifts them to Dalinar, to teach him how to use these bridges.

5.  We got to see Adolin confront his father Dalinar because of his visions and lay all his cards on the table. Clearly Adolin thinks his father is losing it and his words seemed to shake Dalinar's own convictions as well.  Do you think this will have a lasting effect on Dalinar's belief in his visions? Not to mention his acting on them?  Moreover, do you think Adolin will ever be convinced that there is more to Dalinar's visions any time soon?

I think Adolin is wrong, but I can’t fault him for his perspective.  He really should have talked to his dad more privately, but I think Dalinar was the one who was preventing that from happening.  I respect that he cares enough about his dad to talk to him that way, rather than just quietly scheming to get him out of power.  I think Adolin will believe him when the Desolation starts to come, but maybe not before.

I don’t know if the outburst shook Dalinar’s faith in his visions, but I think he did bring an important point to his attention.  The war might be a stupid trophy-winning game, but no one will listen to Dalinar unless he has his own stack of trophies.  He has no hope of uniting the highprinces unless he works within the framework of the things they value.

6.  As if in further indication of Dalinar and Kaladin's collision course towards one another, Dalinar has agreed to train a bridge crew - without putting them directly into assault or harm's way (of course, love these two!!) do you think their joined efforts might be enough to change the way the the other High Princes  go about things during battle?  Especially Sadeas?

Come on Sadeas, give Dalinar Bridge Four!  That’s what I hope will happen, anyway.  I think it would be great if Dalinar can find a decently moral way to up his speed, based on the previous idea of gaining the respect of the other highprinces.  If he ends up taking Kaladin on as a soldier, and giving him Shardplate and blade, I think that might be enough to turn the tides in favor of his house.

Other Notes:

What has happened to Shallan and Jasnah?  It seems like we haven't seen their storyline for a few hundred pages, and I miss the break from all the war stories.

At least we're starting to get a tiny bit of information about the Parshendi.  Apparently they grow their own armor exoskeletons!


  1. I said the same thing about Shallan! I miss her. Hope we see some more of her in this coming section. What we learned of the Parshendi was something I forgot to mention in my post, but that was interesting wasn't it. Not only do they grow their own armor, but Kaladin noted that they were supposed to be brute beasts, yet they obviously have their own culture and beliefs. Perhaps, even thinking that the war is just a trophy contest, is wrong, and the true reasons for fighting the Parshendi are actually being kept from the soldiers. The war is being portrayed as ridiculous--and I'm not saying it's not--but it seems to me that there's a lot more going on there than meets the eye. And it'd be awesome of Kaladin eventually gets Shardplate from Dalinar. I hadn't thought that far ahead, but yeah. That'd be cool. :D

    My WoK Post

    1. I guess the assassination that kicked off the war still doesn't make sense, so there's clearly more for us to learn! Maybe the Parshendi are the way some other vision-giver is trying to stop the other one from meddling with the Alethi through Dalinar/Gavilar. If so, it isn't working too well.

  2. 1. - yes, I picked up on Kaladin killing a shardbearer - it seems that Amaram must have wanted the blade and so betrayed Kaladin. In fact this rings true for the remarks Kaladin made previously when he was discussing how Rock came to be a slave - he said you couldn't trust a light eyes and even in you beat a shardbearer you probably wouldn't become a light eyes or be allowed to keep the blade - well, he didn't use those words but I seem to remember something along those lines.
    2. That's exactly what I was thinking.
    3. Agreed - he is a bit of a useless King to be sure!
    4. The Chapters with Kaladin are such a pleasure to read. I love his storyline - and his background story.
    I was also wondering how come Shallan and Jasnah have disappeared - I want to know what's going on - plus Szeth has also taken a back seat.
    Lynn :D

    1. On Kaladin killing a Shardbearer, that's exactly what I was thinking about, it might be that those comments were from experience. And that's true, we've had no Szeth for a while now, too. He's bound to have some major role to play, right?

  3. I really hope we get the backstory on him facing the Shardbearer soon! It's hinted at time and again but I wonder what exactly happened between that and Kaladin becoming a slave...

    I love how the presence of Navani gets Dalinar all tense and stuff--she seems to be the only one who can wind him up that way! I don't remember much about that storyline but Navani certainly seems like a character to watch out for, she seems very well attuned to the politiking that's going on...

    - Lianne @

    1. Yeah, we started Kaladin's backstory with him so young, and I'm impatient! I hope it is only a few more chapters until they fast forward to the incident that ended with him enslaved.

      I get the feeling Navani is going to be a lot better at politiking than Elhokar is :D.

  4. What is that saying? Don't push a loyal person beyond the point of caring. I think this suits Kaladin quite well. I think he was loyal to Amaram and then he was betrayed (and your guess is a very good one). Now, he is probably one of the most dangerous things out there to the lighteye rulership.

    Speaking of rulership...there is Elhokar. Sigh. No, he didn't even see Sadeas maneuvering, did he? And against his uncle, his most loyal subject!

    That is so true. Dalinar can't make changes, can't lead, unless those around him respect him. And one must have a stack of gemhearts to be respected. Poor Dalinar.

    I love the Parshendi exoskeletons. Makes me wonder about them versus the Parshmen. And the Parshendi singing and orchestrated battles. Hive mind?

    1. Yeah, I think Kaladin's betrayed trust makes him a more dangerous enemy than if he had just never been loyal to begin with. I really hope we learn more about the Parshendi vs. Parshmen soon!

  5. Sorry I am so horribly late: sometimes my life is just far too complicated! :D 

    1. I agree with your deductions about Kal and the Shardbearer. It would explain so many of his comments about Lighteyes being untrustworthy, etc.

    2. I wish I could trust her to be an ally, but there is something about her that I don't like at the moment.

    3. Yep: Elhokar = rubbish! :D

    4. & 6. I don't think that Kal's crew will be sent over to Dalinar - that would be far too neat and easy for Mr Sanderson.

    I believe at the beginning of Part 2 it listed the POVs as Dalinar, Kal and Adolin, so we won't see Shallan until at least Part 3.

    1. I get the feeling Navani is going to be around for a while, so maybe we'll get more to go on for her character soon :). Also, yes, I suppose it would be too easy if Kaladin were just assigned to Dalinar. I want to see them meet up, finally, though!