Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 7

Welcome to week 7 of the Way of Kings readalong, this week being hosted by the fabulous Sue at Coffee, Cookies and Chilli Peppers who has come up with some excellent questions.  I must admit that this week’s instalment had some great revealing moments!  I actually could have just continued and read to the end and I did read an extra chapter (by mistake – don’t judge me!).

Anyway, okay, I admit it, you might be a little late to join the readalong at this point but, that being said, you’re still very welcome, we don’t beat latecomers with a big stick, no sirree!  If you can’t face up to the catch up but still want to read this – and remember No.2 is due out very soon with a great giveaway already announced (details here) – then I really do encourage you to read this book – it’s fantastic.  Really, I kid you not.

Enough chit chat!  Q&A (with plenty of spoilers contained within):

1. What did you think of the replacement for the delightful Lamaril, or rather, what did you make of his wife, who seems to do all his work? She assumes that chasm duty is the worst punishment that she can throw at the bridge crew, so were you surprised that Kaladin saw an opportunity in it so quickly?

What a storming bitch!  Actually, all the duties sound a little bit rank and I would be hard pressed to choose between this and latrine duty. Although, chasm duty does involve robbing dead and decaying bodies – which is really rather awful!  Both, duties just have so many levels of badness.  It doesn’t surprise me that Kaladin would think of a plan like this – he’s already made a number of escape attempts anyway.  I suppose the biggest surprise is that this is so large scale.

2. Please use this opportunity to list all the imaginative ways that you would like Roshone to suffer for forcing poor little Tien into the army. 😦

That was so horrible and unjust.  I couldn’t help thinking, no matter how wrong, that it would have been so much better if Kaladin’s father had just let him die!  Well, I think Kaladin should take him captive and then – TO THE PAIN:

Kaladin: To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles.  Then your hands at the wrists.  Next your nose.
Roshone: And then my tongue I suppose.
Kaladin: I wasn’t finished.  The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.
Roshone: And then my ears, I understand, let’s get on with it.
Kaladin: Wrong! Your ears you keep, and I’ll tell you why, so that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness    will be yours to cherish.  Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, “Dear God! What is that thing,” will echo in your perfect ears.  That is what to the pain means.  It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish    misery forever.
(I’ve changed the names in the above quote - in case you haven’t guessed which book it's from!)

Or maybe Rock could go and cook him some inventive food using plenty of spices and faecal matter!

Maybe Jasnah could turn him into a gigantic gemstone!


3. Finally, somebody is asking questions about the inconstancy of the Parshendi artifacts and how Gavilar changed in the months leading up to his death. What do you make of the accounts that Shallan is reading? Also, what do you think about Shen, the Parshman added to the bridge crew?

To be honest I still don’t really understand what’s going on with the Parshendi.  They clearly showed themselves willingly to Gavilar – either they let him know too much about their culture, etc, than they ever intended and then thought it was too dangerous to let him live, or, they deliberately planned it all from the very beginning – why they would want to bring a war down upon themselves I really don’t know – the only thing I can think of is misdirection.  Keep everyone busy over on the chasm fields while planning and putting into effect some fiendish plot elsewhere.  So little is known about them and I seriously hope we’re going to find out more – can’t help thinking that Kaladins plans to escape through the chasms might bring us some more information about them – perhaps he’s going to discover their mysterious city.   Shen is going to be interesting to watch.  I’m not quite sure why all the Parshmen are so submissive and subservient – it’s almost like the difference between a wild horse and a tamed pony.  They seem to be very similar in some aspects but then so different in others.  It will be interesting to see what happens if Shen has to go on a bridge carrying mission.

4. Shallan has some seriously bizarre visions or hallucinations. Do you have any new ideas about the nature of the symbol-headed figures: are they good or evil? What about the alternative world and the beads: could that really have been the soul or essence of the goblet that she spoke to before it changed into blood?

Somehow, I don’t think the symbol headed figures are evil.  Even though Shallan was scared of them and they seemed to be following her I just wanted her to stop and try and find out if there was a message.  Now, I know that’s very easy for me to come across so blaze when I’m sat in the comfort of my living room but, they’re clearly around her all the time and they haven’t harmed her so far – maybe they can’t harm her.  I think they’re trying to give her a message in the same way that Kaladin and Dalinar seem to be receiving messages and visions.  It feels like the three of them have been chosen for something.  The voice she heard was strange – didn’t Dalinar (or was it Kaladin) hear exactly the same thing or have I just imagined that?  Maybe the symbol headed figures appear like that because it’s impossible to catch their true face for some reason – like, if an image is moving too fast for example?  Interesting point about the goblet and whether or not it has a soul – I’m trying to remember now, I’m sure that in Sanderson’s The Emperor’s Soul there was a similar principle used there??

5. Does Kaladin’s dream / vision seem similar to those that Dalinar has been having? He is called the ‘Child of Tanavast, Child of Honor’ and there is mention of an entity called Odium, who appears to be rather bad. Do you have any speculation about these two beings, how they fit into the world that we have seen so far and why the name Odium makes Syl hiss and fly off?

I got a different feel from Kaladin’s vision.  Dalinar’s clearest vision took him back into the past where he actually became an active party in the scene,  Kaladin’s almost felt as though he was being carried on the storm to look at future visions or see little glimpses.  I don’t really know why it felt like that to me and it’s probably totally wrong but at the time I just had a feeling that he was being carried into actual scenes that were taking part in the here and now or near future.  Child of Honor clearly seems to run along the lines of Kaladin becoming a hero doesn’t it!  Odium – the name sounds a little ominous doesn’t it?  Presumably some sort of entity who brings evil (not terribly perceptive of me!)

6. We have learnt some more about the events following Cenn’s chapter way back at the beginning of the book. Were you surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer almost singlehandedly? This still does not explain why he is a slave, but does it bring us closer to guessing?

I think I may have read on a chapter too far to be honest – mistakenly – so I won’t guess at this.  I wasn’t surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer because he’d already claimed to have done so and there was no reason to doubt him.  Little Kaladin crush developing perhaps? 

7. I think I made it quite clear last week that I did not trust Kabsal, so I am now feeling rather smug. However, I did not guess at the poison in the bread: did it surprise you as well? Can you see any way that Shallan can reconcile with Jasnah now that the theft has been revealed?

I really didn’t suspect Kabsal at all!  I literally just thought he was sweet on Shallan.  I was gobsmacked by the whole thing.  I’m not sure that Jasnah could trust Shallan again.  I wish that she’d given her at least a chance to explain and maybe to tell her some of the other odd things that had been happening – because I think they would be enlightening to Jasnah – but, I would probably have reacted in a similar way as Jasnah.  I never liked Shallan’s scheme.  In fact it put me off her as a character to be honest.  I’ve got over that a little bit now and I did feel sorry for her at the end of this section but I still think she behaved very badly to seek to work for someone, earn their trust and then take their most valued possession.  I still think that Shallan has a bigger part to play however – at least her gift seems to make me feel that way.

This week’s chapters were really gripping.  I highlighted a couple of points that I found curious:

During the weeping, this about Kaladin ‘He actually missed the high storms, with their rage and vitality.  These days were dreary, and he found it difficult to get anything productive done.  As if the lack of storms left him without strength’ – yet more fuel to the fire about Kaladin taking some form of power or energy from the storms, almost sounds like not only do they charge the spheres but they also give him energy – also Dalinar always had his visions during the storms.

‘During Kaladin’s vision ‘A man stood over two corpses.  His pale head shaved, his clothing white.  He looked up from his victims and almost seemed to see Kaladin’ – I think it was this sentence that made me think that Kaladin was looking at either current or future events in his vision rather than in his past – I don’t know why but I wondered if the vision was showing us Szeth who has started to kill the victims on his list – bit of a HUGE leap of imagination but….

  1. Dab of Darkness
  2. Tethyan Books
  3. Lunar Rainbows
  4. Musings on Fantasia
  5. Over the Effing Rainbow
  6. There Were Books Involved
  7. Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
  8. The Caffeinated Life
  9. On Starships and Dragonwings
  10. Doing Dewey Decimal
  11. Book Vulture
  12. Novel Reflection

4 Responses to “Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 7”

  1. nrlymrtl

    I think most of the men had chasm duty because of the very detailed search they receive when they come back up with their bounty. That said, i do find myself feeling a bit for the guards who have to do the orifice peek and poke.

    Haha! Love the Princess Bride reference. Roshone would die from The Pain, out of shear embarrassment. He is incapable of adjusting to what life throws him.

    I like your idea of misdirection. So far, I am not sure we have met anyone/ruler/country that wants Alethkar busy on the Shattered Plains while they set up to do something nasty elsewhere. But perhaps we have some highprinces that are not very happy to be ‘high princes’ of Alethkar when they were once kings of a much smaller nation.

    I also think Szeth saw Kaladin in the storm. This is exciting and frightening at the same time. What is Szeth comes knocking on Kaladin’s door?

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I did wonder who else was actually on Szeth’s list but I was thinking it wouldn’t be Kaladin because he’s not known (phew!). Dalinar might be one there??
      The thing is with Kaladin he doesn’t seem to be a killer naturally – he’s killing people who he’s ordered to kill as part of his belonging to somebody – hopefully he doesn’t want to kill people of his own volition – hopefully???
      Lynn 😀

  2. suecccp

    1. I was surprised that Kal got over his depression so quickly, but not that he has come up with a plan to keep his men optimistic.

    2. Princess Bride FTW! 😀

    3. I simply cannot understand why nobody in the Alethi nobility has worried about this. It didn’t make any sense all the way back in Szeth’s first chapter and we have seen nothing to provoke the Parshendi into the assassination. It HAS to be a distraction, otherwise nothing makes sense, which seems highly unlikely to me. Yep, I wonder if Shen will be effected by proximity to the Parshendi . .

    4. I agree: I don’t know why, but I also think they are simply trying to communicate.

    5. Some people suggested that Kal might be a Radiant reincarnated and he could deb a Child of Honor either literally or metaphorically. Whichever it is we know that he is the Hero of this series (or one of them).

    6. Just wait until we get him half naked and dripping wet . . . sigh . . . I’m not sure that it will ever happen, but I can dream . . . and ignore the fact that I am old enough to be his mother! 😀

    7. Mr Sanderson is so good at giving us dodgy characters that we almost like in spite of ourselves, isn’t he?

    • lynnsbooks

      I just don’t understand what’s going on with the Parshendi and the Parshmen – perhaps that’s another distraction – perhaps the Parshmen are also just living amongst their enemy! Actually I just don’t get it!
      I think the symbolheads are just another strange entity out there that are trying to deliver messages. I think that Dalinar, Kaladin and Shallan are all slightly different and all of them are receiving messages for some reason.
      I only hope that Kaladin isn’t the hero in the same way that Kel was in Mistborn (gulp)
      What, what – is he really going to get half naked and dripping wet?? OMG quickly picks up book and continues reading!
      Lynn 😀

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