Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 5

Banner courtesy of Anya at On Starships And Dragonwings!Banner courtesy of Anya at On Starships And Dragonwings!

Today is week 5 of our readalong of Way of Kings and I have to chuck out there that I love this book (and found it difficult not to just read on this week)  – but I’ve held firm!  This week’s host and provider of questions is Tethyan Books.  The schedule is here and it’s still not too late to join if you want to get in on the blogging fun.  Beware of spoilers below (as Dab of Darkness likes to say) they’re having a party below!

1.Dalinar made a very dramatic decision at the beginning of this section.  Do you think it was the right one? What do you think will happen to him, Adolin and (and the not-united Alethi) if he follows through?

To an extent I’m not surprised by his decision, only because if everyone keeps telling you there’s something wrong or different about you then eventually you may start to believe it.  Also, his endeavours to get the other High Princes all failed and on top of that he’s starting to compare himself to Gavilar.  I wonder if he stays whether his house will fall into shame – or at least I think he believes that.  Also, if he stays might he eventually have the same realisation as Gavilar and end up falling foul of an assassination.  Speaking of which I wonder who is on Szeth’s list?  I think he’s coming to the conclusion that the battles and glory they seek is wrong and using the shardblades for this reason is wrong.  It was very interesting to read the thoughts he was having inbetween pounding rocks.  He could almost have been describing Kaladin – ‘never fight other men except when forced to in war, let your actions defend you not your words, expect honour from those you meet, and give them the chance to live up to it. Whether it’s the right decision or not I don’t really know although I suspect his visions of a peaceful life at the homestead with his slippers and pipe will be far from the reality.

2.We’ve gotten to see a little more of Shinovar with Rysn the apprentice merchant.  In terms of plants and animals, it seems to be pretty much like our world.  How do you think it happened that there’s such an ‘ordinary’ place, or what do you think might have happened to turn the rest of the world so unusual?  Given this and the chapter on Szeth, do you have any more ideas on what the meaning of his “Truthless” title might be?

No, I’m confounded by this.  I suppose if you take our own natural world you could choose a place with a blazing hot desert or thick ice and glaciers and then almost anything in between the two.  Things evolve and adapt to their climate after all.  Still, for a moment there I was scratching my head – it was like one minute I was walking through Middle Earth and the next I was walking through Middlesbrough (well not quite, but,).  Quite bizarre. As to the ‘Truthless’ title I’ve been scratching my head over that.  It does seem like Szeth is being punished, and he also seems incredibly talented, but then, the scratching of the head continues (quite furiously) and… nothing further comes to mind!

3.  Shallan and Jasnah’s story has returned!  Based on Jasnah’s words to Dalinar, and the clues Shallan is picking up, what do you think Jasnah’s project is about?  What do you think she hopes to accomplish? 

I think she’s trying to find out more about the motive behind Gavilar’s assassination and more about what he seemed to have discovered.  Without this knowledge they’re all just warring against each other with no real meaning to it.  I think that somebody has to try and find out more about the Parshendi and what they feared enough from Gavilar to have him killed.

4. Concerning Shallan, it’s starting to seem that her drawing ability is a supernatural gift. Do you have any theories on the bizarre figures Shallan accidentally drew behind the king?

That was a bit freaky wasn’t it.  I have no idea what the figures were.  Except they seemed to be standing almost like bodyguards – a bit like guardian angels.  I really don’t know.  Perhaps she should try that same tactic when she’s drawing others, for example, Jasnah, to see what it reveals in her picture – maybe it somehow pertains to the character and their own behaviour – so, Sadeas, for example – could have a huge rat with big sharp teeth stood behind him – skulking in the shadows LOL.

5. Back to the bridge crews, now that we’ve seen a bit more into Gaz’s perspective, does he seem any more sympathetic?  Why do you think he owes Lamaril money?

No, I still don’t like Gaz, even with his perspective.  He was torn between just wanting Kaladin dead and wanting his spheres!  As to Lamaril – he said it was blackmail so I assume Gaz was caught somewhere he shouldn’t have been or was doing something he shouldn’t.  Unless that was just a slip up – perhaps Gaz has to pay Lamaril money in a sort of protection deal??

6. Kaladin has won over his bridge crew, and enacted a brilliant plan to protect them—which utterly ruined the military strategy. Do you think his plan was a good one, or should he have seen the chaos coming? What do you think will happen to him next?  Also, what do you think he’ll do if he figures out the real reason why bridgemen aren’t allowed shields?

What a disaster!  I’m not surprised he didn’t see what would happen – he was so intent on his own crew he was no longer looking at the bigger military picture.  When you think back to the beginning when we were first introduced he also worked similarly, in an almost lonesome way to protect his men.  Of course, he immediately realised what was happening and what he’d done.   It’s not going to be pretty for him after that – obviously a lot of men died and the battle was lost so there’s going to be one hell of a grumpy Sadeas wanting retribution – he doesn’t care a fig for the bridgemen in the first place and now this has happened, well, eek.  I presume he’s going to realise why they’re not allowed shields after this – sitting ducks and all.  On the flip side maybe this will turn things around, after all, there aren’t many bridgemen left after this affair so perhaps there’ll have to be a rethink!

That’s it for this week.

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10 Responses to “Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 5”

  1. Liesel Hill

    Great point about Dalinar maybe being at risk for assassination. Makes me wonder where exactly Gavilar’s head was at. We’ve all kind of come to the conclusions that maybe he had these visions, too, and the book has said that many thought he had gone soft. So, was he killed for wanting to change the way the war was fought, or was he, too, planning to step down? And you know, I didn’t think of this until reading your thoughts on Jasnah, but if she’s trying to figure out something about the war and/or the Parshendi, and Dalinar is seeing the entire war differently, maybe they ought to work together. Maybe when he steps down, he’ll go see her. He’s been practically begging her to come see him. We’ve all wanted him to meet Kaladin, but it would be interesting if he met Shallan instead. Hmm…

    My WoK Post

    • lynnsbooks

      I agree – I think it could be quite revealing if Dalinar and Jasnah started to swap theories – she may also have some ideas about the visions he’s having?
      Lynn 😀

  2. Lianne @ caffeinatedlife.net

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who still doesn’t like Gaz despite of the perspective!

    I agree, we need to know more about the Parshendi and the reason behind Galivar’s assassination. Right now they just seem to be fighting because…well, because of the assassination, but there must be some elaborate motive behind the Parshendi. I think Dalinar was already thinking about it before he made his decision (at least, I think it was him–there’s so much going on in the book that I tend to forget the details along the way!)

    • lynnsbooks

      Yes, we definitely need more info on the Parshendi. I know they’re fighting because of the assassination but most of them have almost forgotten it now – or at least no longer feel passionately about it. They’re more interested in the battle for the gems aren’t they. And, really, there isn’t a war in the traditional sense is there – they just sort of meet up to fight over gems and then go their own way. It’s odd. I really want to know what’s behind it all.
      Lynn 😀

  3. tethyanbooks

    1. I was wondering about Szeth’s list, too. It may be that Elhokar is on it.
    2. That’s a good description of why Shinovar had me scratching my head, too! I was looking forward to seeing what theories people came up with :).
    4. That’s a neat idea. In that case, maybe the figures weren’t separate creatures, but part of the king?
    6. I guess Kaladin’s team may be the only one mostly alive, so maybe that will help them get out of the worst of Sadeas retribution for the ruined battle.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yes – the list of Szeth, Elhokar may have reason to be paranoid.
      2. I didn’t have much of a theory there I’m afraid – quite liked Susan’s idea that the closer the world to the shattered plains the worse the storms, etc.
      4. – Again, a bit clueless with this one – I think I’ve had about 4 theories already (talk about jumping around!).
      6. – Well, it certainly doesn’t make sense for Sadeas to kill any more bridgemen at the moment – he’s a bit short at the moment after all. Perhaps he’ll have to revised his ‘no shields’ policy.
      Lynn 😀

  4. suecccp

    1. I suspect that if he stayed any longer his house could run the risk of being attacked by some of the other High Princes because of his perceived weakness. Whilst I don’t think that they would necessarily win, it would certainly go against his ideal of uniting them.

    2. Yeah, the Truthless title seems to suggest that he is a heretic or something similar and is being punished. So many questions, Mr Sanderson!!!!

    3. I agree: Gavilar’s assassination is like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to address. Yes, it’s all fun and games having this sort-of-war in the name of vengeance, but why did the Parshendi start this whole mess in the first place? They must have had a really good reason, so why is nobody worrying about what it is?

    4. It was more than a little creepy, and while I can understand your suggestion that she try to see them again, I would be terrified of confirming their existence if I were her.

    5. Perhaps Kal’s prejudice is infecting me, but I feel more sympathetic towards Gaz than Lamaril . . .

    6. Somehow I doubt that this will persuade Sadeas to be more careful with his bridge crews . . . and I can’t work out how Kal will survive the inevitable punishment, but he has to because he IS the Hero, isn’t he? 😦

    • lynnsbooks

      So many questions – and nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. I do find that my love of Sanderson is growing the more I read this novel!
      Lynn 😀

  5. nrlymrtl

    If you keep scratching your head over Szeth and Shinovar, you may get a bald spot.

    That would be great is Shallan approached her odd pictures with a scientific eye. Are these figures just her imagination? Are they real? If real, are they good or bad or indifferent? Yep, it would be nice if she turned her intellect loose on them.

    It must have been tough for Kaladin to watch the battle falling to pieces and having to explain it to his men. What a mess! And I am sure everyone above Kaladin will be sure to tell Sadeas that it was his fault.

    • lynnsbooks

      Okay, will stop scratching right now!!
      I really hope that Shallan does try to see if her sketches reveal anything else. Now I think about it I wonder if there’s any similarity between the creatures she drew and the face that Kaladin saw during the storm??
      Lynn 😀

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