It’s week 6 of the epic Way of Kings read-along, hosted by Nrlymrtl from Dab of Darkness and Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings! Every week has covered a different section of this massive (no really, it’s massive) book, and this week we’ve finally officially passed the halfway point!
This week was also my turn to come up with questions for the latest section, chapters 33-42. Which was just in the nick of time, because I have been a failure at participating so far… :( But this week I’ve gotten my butt in gear, and I’m so excited to discuss this section!
Additionally, at the end of this post is a massive Way of Kings/Words of Radiance giveaway! 10 copies of The Way of Kings and 10 copies of Words of Radiance for US/Canada residents, plus 2 copies of each book for international readers (via TBD). Check it out!!
But as usual, if you haven’t read through chapter 42 of Way of Kings, huge spoilers below…
So, on to the questions!
1. Both Kabsal and Jasnah have spoken to Shallan about stealing the Soulcaster, and both have done so in a pretty lighthearted manner, considering how serious it would actually be to steal it. Do you think Kabsal was telling the truth when he brushed off Shallan’s questions about his plan to steal the Soulcaster? Is he still interested in stealing it? Does he have other, deeper motives??
This whole situation seems really suspect to me. As much as I adore Shallan and Kabsal (I love their banter and general adorableness!!), I’m starting to think that both Jasnah’s and Kabsal’s “let’s make light of this” attitude might be concealing something deeper. I have no idea what Kabsal’s motives might be, but I’m just dreading SOMETHING happening. Okay, admittedly, my fears have more to do with splitting up the adorableness of him and Shallan, but still. I’m worried that there’s something pretty important going on just beneath the surface and it’s bugging me that I have no idea what it is. D: Whether or not Kabsal is still interested in stealing the Soulcaster or not… Gah, I just don’t know! I’m nervous!
2. By the end of the section, Shallan has found out that she’ll be able to return home in one week, but she’s torn between wanting to continue her studies, and being able to take the stolen Soulcaster home. So far it looks like her theft hasn’t been detected, but do you think she’ll be found out before that time? Do you think she should leave, or might decide on her own to stay? Could something else happen to make her stay?
After all the “philosophizing” in this section, I’m seriously starting to wonder whether Shallan will just decide herself to stay. But I’m still not sure if she would ever do that, realistically, since her family is pretty much screwed if she doesn’t go home with the Soulcaster. I also think it might be possible that Shallan would tell Jasnah the truth about everything (if Jasnah hasn’t already figured some of it out herself). I have no idea what Jasnah would do if Shallan told her, I just think maybe it’s a possibility…? Regardless, she’s in a really bad position and I do not envy her upcoming decisions. No matter what happens, or what she chooses to do, it’s going to be very tough.
3. How much do you think Jasnah actually knows about the theft of her Soulcaster? Is it even remotely possible that Jasnah is still in the dark about it? If she knows, did she in fact dupe Shallan with a fake, as Shallan theorizes? Or did Jasnah let her steal it? Why??
My theory is that Jasnah knows everything. Shallan originally saw Jasnah using the Soulcaster to do pretty mundane things, like burning unwanted notes, and turning wine into a paperweight, so if Jasnah used the Soulcaster for such silly things, is it really, really, possible that Jasnah hasn’t tried to use it since Shallan stole it, and noticed something? I think not. And I really think that Jasnah probably knew it was stolen right away, either immediately after, or maybe she even knew Shallan was going to steal it before. I just don’t think there’s any realistic way Jasnah could still be in the dark about it, and remain calm and collected, especially since we now know what a HUGE deal it is for Shallan to have stolen it (thanks to Kabsal’s explanation earlier in this section).
4. During the Highstorm, Kaladin experiences a lull during which the wind and rain stop, he feels no more pain, and he sees an enormous “face of blackness, yet faintly traced in the dark”. The face is described as, “Inhuman. Smiling.” Was Kaladin just hallucinating? If not, do you think this being had something to do with recharging the sphere? With Kaladin somehow feeling better before the storm kicked up again? Or could this being be malevolent? Thoughts/theories??
Okay, so… The sphere is recharged by Stormlight, right? But the being is made of darkness… like a void…? Maybe it has something to do with the Voidbringers?? I don’t know, I could be way off and forgetting something important about Voidbringers… =S But it just struck me that, an inhuman face smiling at Kaladin as he’s getting beat up by the storm? Maybe that being isn’t exactly nice… Other than that, I have no theories. It was creepy. Definitely not a hallucination. But I’m stumped.
5. Before Kaladin is forced to endure the Highstorm, he tells his men to come out after the storm is over; he says he’ll open his eyes and look back at them, and they’ll know that he survived. Kaladin obviously survives, and everyone in Bridge Four is really glad about that. But we haven’t yet seen a reaction from anyone other than Kal’s men. Do you think Kaladin’s survival could have a wider impact than just giving his own group of bridgemen hope?
I’m drawing parallels here between Kaladin’s proclamation, and Kelsier from Mistborn. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but Kelsier is a pretty similar character to Kaladin – he brings a group of people together and gives them hope when there’s very little hope to be found; and he also made a proclamation very similar to Kaladin’s, about surviving to give people hope. For Kelsier, that proclamation ended up becoming a huge deal, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Kaladin’s own words have a much, much larger impact than just his group of bridgemen, or even just the army in general. Not sure what it is yet, but I’m pretty sure it will happen.
I also think it’s interesting that the world of Mistborn and the world in The Way of Kings exist within the same universe, with these seemingly parallel leaders on their respective worlds. I’m not any sort of expert on Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere… but I know there are links (umm… a certain character, specifically) between Scadrial (the planet where Mistborn takes place) and Roshar in Way of Kings. I’m not one to go researching the little minute details of this super-intense worldbuilding, as I like to see it all play out in the books, but… I just find it interesting. *shrugs*
6. We learn quite a bit about Teft in this section… kind of. But pretty much everything we learn just leads to more questions. What do you think about these “Envisagers” Teft mentions? How much do you think Teft knows about Kaladin’s ability to use Stormlight? It seemed like Teft became wary of Kaladin after he recovered – why? Do you think he’ll tell Kaladin about what he knows?
I have no idea, that’s why I included this question!! ;) No seriously, my head is just full of question marks about Teft. I’m obviously super glad that Teft knew to give Kaladin the spheres to help him heal. I think it’s pretty obvious that the Envisagers have something to do with the Knights Radiant… and that Teft was surprised, but also expecting, someone like Kaladin (with his ability to use the spheres) to show up, just not “on his watch” so to speak… I’m really excited to learn more of what he knows. Though I’m not sure that he’ll tell Kaladin right away… maybe ever? Gah I just don’t know! I hope we get more glimpses from Teft’s POV, that’s all. Super intriguing stuff going on.
Other than my discussion questions above, I also made a few notes in this section… These are really vague theories/brainstorms that just didn’t make it into my questions above, but that I’m really curious about.
Dawnsingers, Stormlight, and Shallan…
- Is there a relationship between the Dawnsingers, and sound waves/vibrations shaping the earth/the sand on the plate, like Kabsal demonstrated?
- Is there any kind of relationship between Stormlight and actual light? What we see when we look at something is its reflected light. So Shallan blinks in order to preserve an image in her mind (the light…?)… and then she releases the image (the light?) back onto the paper when she draws… I don’t even know, this was a really random thought and probably not even close, but whatever, lol.
- Shallan has another episode of drawing something she didn’t mean to – this time a whole scene, of a man lying on the floor in a pool of blood, in a room she apparently didn’t recognize. !!!! I have no idea what’s going on here. It’s making me nervous.
- Shallan hears a mysterious voice in her room – or in her head? – saying “What are you?” I don’t even have any clue what this is but wow.
- Could Shallan’s drawings and hearing voices somehow be something similar to what Dalinar experiences in his own visions during Highstorms? They’re obviously not dependent on there being a Highstorm happening, but it seems almost possibly like the same thing…??
These chapters also bring up a LOT of morality-based issues:
- Jasnah going looking for the men who had been attacking people, and killing them in “self-defense”
- Shallan finally stealing the Soulcaster, and dealing with whether that was right or wrong, since she stole it out of anger.
- Kaladin’s father stealing those spheres, though he probably would’ve been given them in the first place anyway.
- Kaladin in the aftermath of Roshone and Rillir’s ill-fated whitespine hunt. Kaladin questions whether it would have been okay to let Roshone die. He doesn’t really come to a conclusion about that specifically, but he does conclude that he would be capable of killing, if it meant removing a person who “needed to be removed”.
- Bridgemen and the reason they’re not given any weapons or protection. (This is leftover from previously, but Kaladin finally realizes the reason, and my heart hurts so much!!! Gah, the end of present-day Kaladin’s last chapter in this section?? Heartbreaking!)
Though many of the end-results would be the same, these situations all have to do with intent — and more specifically, I think, with doing the honorable thing. I just thought that was interesting that this section was so full of things like that.
This Week’s Discussion Posts:
Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings
Lianne @ Caffeinated Life
Liesel @ Musings on Fantasia
Nrlymrtl @ Dab of Darkness
Sue @ Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
Allie @ Tethyan Books
Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow
Bookvulture @ Bookvulture’s Perch
Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows
Shannon @ Novel Reflection
Link up your Week 6 discussion posts in the comments, or just answer this week’s questions below! I’m so excited to talk about all of this stuff with everyone. I adore Shallan and Kaladin and really enjoyed this section. :D
And be sure to stop by On Starships & Dragonwings for Anya’s questions next Wednesday, which will cover chapters 43-50. I’m dying to find out what happens next!
In celebration of our read-along for The Way of Kings and the upcoming release of Words of Radiance, Tor has sponsored an AWESOME giveaway of 10 copies of Way of Kings AND Words of Radiance! This portion of the giveaway is US and Canada only, but our lovely read-along hosts didn’t want our international friends left out, so they are chipping in 2 copies of each for an international giveaway!
So to start, we have the US/Canada only giveaway sponsored by Tor for 10 copies of each book. There will be 20 winners!
Rules: No PO boxes as per Tor’s policy. The winners have 48 hours to respond, so make sure your email in Rafflecopter is one you check often! The hosts cannot be responsible for anything lost in the mail, etc.
This giveaway is open internationally, and is for two copies of The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance for four winners. As long as The Book Depository ships to you, you can enter, though if you’re in the US/Canada, please refrain from this giveaway since you have a lot of books in the previous one that you could win! (Winners have 48 hours to respond. We are not responsible for books lost in the mail.)