Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Read-Along: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Part 3

Now it’s time for week 3 of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings !  Questions this week were provided by Lynn’s Books, and the questions this time cover the content through chapter 19.  Keep in mind that there will be spoilers up through this section!

1.After the Chasmfiend attack there were a number of altercations.  Two of these that particularly drew my interest were: the little scene where Wit ridiculed Sadeas - which seems to be a dangerous thing to do given that this could result in a dual or assassination - any ideas about why Wit seems to enjoy provoking Sadeas so much and: during the discussion with the King, Dalinar and Adolin - it seemed that the King became fleetingly suspicious - and later in the story the same look of suspicion crossed his features again during conversation with Dalinar.  What do you think is going on in the King’s head in relation to Dalinar?

I am not sure why the Wit keeps provoking Sadeas, other than the fact that he thinks Sadeas is a bit stupid.  So far, I think Dalinar just hates him out of guilt for having been unconscious and drunk while Sadeas was trying to save his brother’s life.  

As for Elhokar, he seems like an awful king, but his personality seems to reflect the culture of his nation. To be fair, Elhokar’s father was assassinated, so I don’t think it is too unreasonable for him to fear dying in a similar way. Also, his suspicion of Dalinar might be coming indirectly from his belief that encouraging his nobles to fight and plot against one another is a good royal strategy.  Maybe Dalinar seems too honest, like he’s laying it on too thick, or maybe one of those scheming nobles is telling the king that Dalinar’s up to no good. 

2.We seemed to get a little more insight about why the bridgemen are not given shields of protection - what did you think of the reasoning behind this and what do you make of Sadeas - is he trustworthy or not?

I really appreciated their explanations of the war, because it made no sense to me before.  I still don’t understand the Parshendi half of it, but the Alethi side seems a lot clearer.  Alethi people seem to value wealth, power and loss of life in the pursuit of both above everything else.  This war started in order to seek vengeance, and now it’s a war of who can get the most loot.  I think Dalinar is right to be trying to find a way to end it.  I don’t really think Sadeas is trustworthy, but I don’t really think anyone in that plotline is trustworthy, with the possible exception of Dalinar.

3.Elhokar has suspicions about attempts on his life - is he paranoid or not and, if not, who do you suspect might be responsible?

Well, in a general sense, people probably are out to get him.  He's the king, that’s just kind of what the Alethi are like, and he even encourages the infighting.  It would be an interesting twist if Sadeas was plotting to kill him.  The voice may have told Dalinar to trust him, because it knew Sadeas would get rid of the king.  Then, Dalinar would be next in line for the throne (I’m guessing women can’t inherit, in this world), and he would have a shot at uniting the high princes.

4.Kaladin is a very intriguing character, what did you make of the latest bridge scene where he put himself at the front of the bridge and then his actions following that?  Did you think it revealed anything more about him?

He seems to be un-killable, so it was pretty nice of him to take lead.  He’s clearly trying to get them to respect him, but I like that he’s doing so through protecting and healing them.  He is a very unusual Alethi, but I like him more for it.  I’m thinking we have his father’s unconventional upbringing to thank for that! Also, it may just be that darkeyes Alethi culture is very different (better) than lighteyes culture.

One interesting thing to note is how his money started mysteriously losing stormlight.  I think he’s using it unconsciously, in some way.  Can the Radiants use stormlight without a fabrial?  That might be one more mark for the theory of Kaladin as a Radiant reborn.

5.During Elhokar and Dalinar’s later discussion the king said that Dalinar was becoming more like Gavilar near to his end ‘When he began to act … erratically”  It seems like Dalinar is becoming more like his brother.  Do you think this is significant??

Probably, yes. I wonder if Gavilar had begun to have those visions, too, or was in some way similarly contacted about the future.  That could explain his obsession with the Codes and history, near the end.  If this is true, it supports my speculation that these mysterious powers want to kill Elhokar. After Gavilar was murdered, maybe the mysterious voice realized that Elhokar wasn’t going to listen, so they’d need to get a different guy in charge.

6.We finally witness one of Dalinar’s visions.  Do you think there is any significance about the visions always taking place during a storm and what were your feelings about this particular vision?

I’m not sure what the storms really are yet.  I assumed at first that they were natural, but evidence against that assumption is piling up. For instance, ‘stormlight’ seems equivalent to magic, and it comes from these storms.  Also, they all come from a single place, an origin of storms, which doesn’t sound like normal storm behavior.  I wonder if the storms represent a crack between our realm and another, or something like that.  If that’s the case, then that might be why the storms are the only time when the voice can reach Dalinar.

I really appreciated this particular vision, but for maybe slightly weird reasons.  Through this section, I came to really despise Alethkar and most of the people in it (save Dalinar).  Even Adolin made dueling his life’s Calling, which seems to follow the Alethi fondness of killing people for trivial reasons.  Also, they all seemed to believe that being a soldier was the highest Calling, but being a soldier in Alethkar mostly seems to involve killing people to get loot.  I liked that the vision showed that modern day Alethkar is a warped and debased version of their nation’s original purpose, which was to protect all the lands from horrible void creatures.  Maybe Dalinar can pull them back up there!

Other Notes:

I thought it was sweet that Dalinar promised to give his younger son the next set of shardplate and shardblade they take in battle, even though I think the trophy-war is horrible. 

Do you think we'll get to have a female character wielding a Shardblade sometime soon (I'm thinking back to the female Radiant in the vision)?  It would be pretty neat if Jasnah or somebody ended up with one.


  1. Interesting theory about the voice telling him to trust Sadeas because Sadeas might get rid of the king, giving Dalinar the opening he needs. Never thought of it that way before. You also make a good point about the storms perhaps not being natural. Obviously there's a magical element to them, but perhaps that's all there is. It will be interesting to find out. :D

    My WoK Post

    1. It seems like every time something is revealed, there are even more questions! I'm probably wrong about Sadeas, but it's my favorite theory at the moment :D.

  2. 1. I like the Wit so I keep thinking he's provoking Sadeas, in particular (because he does provoke quite a few people) because he doesn't like him - I just want to be accompanied is all in my dislike! I did enjoy that Wit took Sadeas down a couple of notches.
    2. I still don't really understand the Parshendi side of things but perhaps there will be more explanation as the story unfolds - well, there's bound to be really!
    3. You know I'd forgotten about the voice telling Dalinar to trust Sadeas - I was wracking my brains for a way around that so I like your theory here.
    4. Exactly the thoughts I was having :D
    5. Interesting. Perhaps Elhokar was also 'contacted' but chose to ignore the voices.
    6. Spot on - they've definitely moved a good deal away from the original concept!
    I like Renarin (not sure I've remembered the name properly - he's only had a small role so far so I hope he gets more time.
    Lynn :D

    1. 1. That was pretty nice to see, I agree. I'm right there with you in disliking Sadeas, too.
      2. Yeah, right now, not even the characters understand the Parshendi side, I think!
      3. Trying to find a way around that voice's claim that he was trustworthy was pretty much where the theory came from :).
      5. Now that is an interesting thought. Maybe that's why he's so suspicious of Dalinar lately? If he knows he's stopped having the visions, and Dalinar's started...

    2. Haha, we keep coming up with answers that generate more questions!! Love it.
      Lynn :D

  3. 1. While I can see that keeping your nobles fighting each other stops them having time to rebel, I also think it could lead the kingdom into civil war quite easily. But I agree: he is a rubbish king!

    2. I think the anti-Sadeas line is getting longer . . . there is something about his casual brutality that makes him difficult to like, isn't there?

    3. I guess that all the high princes remember a time when Gavilar wasn't yet the king of the whole area, so they have that niggling thought that if he could do it, so could they.

    4. I like that there seems to be a reason for his ability to run screaming at the enemy without getting hit, rather than it just being 'hero's luck'.

    5. While I am not sure that Elhokar is being targeted, I have to admit that I wouldn't miss him very much.

    6. Good point about the nature of the storms. I imagined that they were like pulses of magical energy spreading from the Origin and out across the world, but the idea of a rift between worlds would explain the communication aspect of the visions very neatly.

    I agree with you about the current state of Alethkar society. I hope Jasnah best some shard plate and shows them that things have to change.

    1. I think Sadeas is very easy to hate, especially since we see the world from Kaladin's point of view! And I think Gavilar was the first king, so it probably makes sense that the monarchy is not very firmly established. ...I don't think I would much miss Elhokar, either, though. Maybe Dalinar and Jasnah together can get Alethkar back on track!

  4. I like your comment about the scheming nobles. One way to keep their eye off the throne is to keep the competing with one another. After all, his father united them to create a kingdom and then set them to competing. So maybe Elhokar sees Dalinar's talk of uniting as a possible scheme for his throne.

    I wouldn't mind seeing Renarin in a full set of Shardplate with a blade. He could ride in and save his father, and have a good time doing it too.

    1. That's true, maybe Elhokar sees the absence of scheming against the other highprinces as the presence of something much more sinister. And I think that would make Renarin so happy :).