Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Read-Along: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Part 8

It's week 8 of the read-along of Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings. We're closing in on the end of the book!  This week's questions cover chapters 51-57, and they were provided by My Caffeinated Life. As usual, beware of spoilers below!

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? ;)

I’m wondering if that latest vision was to show him more directly what Alethkar had become.  The Radiants were intimidating, disciplined and powerful.  When they discarded their Shard plate/blades, the people who took them up immediately started squabbling with each other for power, with no regard for their common enemy.  As for why the Radiants left, I have no idea yet.  I think Jasnah will prove that his visions may be true, but perhaps not beyond doubt.  

About Dalinar and Navani, I think she probably understands why he rejected her, and that it was because of propriety (and not because he didn’t want her).  I don’t think she’ll betray him over it or anything, but I don’t think this is the end of it.

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?

I think they’d been friends for years, so it’s not so much of a manipulation to have Sadeas on his side. After this section, it sort of seems like the recent hatred between Sadeas and Dalinar was one-sided. Sadeas seemed angry that Dalinar always assumed the worst of him, and quite happy that Dalinar seemed like he wanted to renew their friendship.  I’m starting to wonder if it was only Dalinar’s guilt that stood between them, and Dalinar was just projecting his own resentment onto Sadeas.

I have to admit, I shared Dalinar’s poor opinion of Sadeas, so I was really surprised when we found out that the goal of his investigation was to put to rest any suspicion of Dalinar, once and for all. I’m still not a Sadeas fan, though, because of the bridge crews.

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?

It reminded me of a description I read once of how things go in battles involving wealthy knights and many less wealthy footsoldiers.  One of those two groups tends to do most of the dying. Even so, it was really exciting to read of Dalinar going to Sadeas’s rescue.

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?

So Syl is not a windspren at all!  It seems like she is a Radiantspren.  It sounds to me like she is a kind of spren that partners with Radiants, and that she has been dormant for a long time, while the Radiants did not exist.  I think Kaladin is capable of quite a lot more than he knows, but I'm not completely clear yet on all the powers of the Radiants.

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?

I think that his ‘curse’ was simply that he instinctively used his powers to protect himself.  Since he was unaware of what he was doing, he didn’t know how to extend his abilities to also protect others.  I think he is getting stronger, as we’ve seen that he has been able to protect the bridge crew, at least a little, without knowing it.

This section addressed something about Kaladin that always bothered me, but which I wasn’t going to mention.  He had this habit of assuming everything was about him.  A large group of people would die, and it was like he thought their deaths were primarily important because of how they affected him.  Early in the novel, I hoped someone would point out that not everything is about him, but then it seemed cruel to comment on it, given his difficult circumstances.  I am really happy that he came to the realization of how he’d been framing everyone’s deaths in terms of himself, and I like the way he is maturing here.

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)?

I think someone mentioned he’s part of a larger Sanderson universe?  I didn’t expect Wit to be Hoid, but I don’t really get the significance of it right now.  I’m not sure what he was trying to warn Dalinar of, since Sadeas ended up being on his side.  For Kaladin, I thought that was a very interesting story, and exactly what Kaladin needed to move forward. I have no idea what Wit’s up to, though.


  1. Ooh, Radiantspren! I really like your whole Syl theory here! Hope we find out more about her soon! :D

    1. Thanks! I hope we get to learn more about her during book 1!

  2. Radiantspren is a really cool theory! I love it.
    I was really surprised about Sadeas' motives for the investigation and it made me think I've perhaps judged him too hastily. I'm never going to really like him, like you say - the bridgecrews - but he certainly doesn't come across as though he dislikes Dalinar, more that he's just been maybe a bit miffed by what he thinks is his superiority.
    Wit - he feels to me like a character who has premonitions (I think I'm just guessing that because he reminds me a little of the Fool out of the Assassins Apprentice.) It's a little as though he knows what's going to happen and how to manipulate people - for example appearing just when Kaladin seemed to need him most??
    I agree with your point about Kaladin - even though I really like him as a character - why must he always assume responsibility for everyone. I know he wants to help but he needs to curb the personal guilt he seems to feel when somebody dies. After all - a lot more of the bridgecrew were dying before he took charge!
    Lynn :D

    1. It was pretty convenient, Wit appearing just when Kaladin needed his wisdom. I wonder how much he knows about Kaladin, and how he knows it! Also, I quite like Kaladin as a character, too :). I think it will be much healthier for him emotionally when he accepts that he doesn't carry responsibility for everything that happens around him! Because yeah, the bridgemen he loses aren't dying because of some horrible Kaladin Curse, they're just dying because Sadeas's system is (and always has been) designed to get them killed :(.