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WoR Ch13


Warform is worn for battle and reign,
Claimed by the gods, given to kill.
Unknown, unseen, but vital to gain.
It comes to those with the will.''

–From the Listener Song of Listing, 15th stanza


Point of view: Shallan
Setting: The Frostlands

Progression of the Chapter:

Wagons roll; stupidity is explored; a slave wagon is converted to a lady’s carriage; feet are cleaned; hints of spren purposes are revealed; memories are avoided; grief is accepted; human motivations are considered and found wanting.

Quote of the Chapter:

"You came to me because of the Voidbringers," Shallan said, moving closer to the trunk, bloodied rag forgotten in her hand.

"Yes. Patterns ... we ... us ... Worry. One was sent. Me."

"Why to me?"

"Because of lies."

She shook her head. "I don’t understand."

He buzzed in dissatisfaction. "You. Your family."

"You watched me with my family? That long ago?"

"Shallan. Remember ... "

Again those memories. This time, not a garden seat, but a sterile white room. Her father’s lullaby. Blood on the floor.

No.

She turned away and began cleaning her feet again.

"I know ... little of humans," Pattern said. "They break. Their minds break. You did not break. Only cracked."

She continued her washing.

"It is the lies that save you," Pattern said. "The lies that drew me."

Is there something hidden in this conversation? Cryptics, as a group, sent one representative to the physical realm because of the imminent return of the Voidbringers. Pattern chose Shallan because of lies ... but what lies? Something to do with her family, that long ago? It has to have been at least seven years ago, about the time that Dalinar and Gavilar found the Parshendi; about the time that the death rattles began; about the time Szeth was named Truthless; about the time Kaladin tried and failed to save a child’s life; about the time Adolin inherited his Shardplate. What was going on in Shallan’s family that drew Pattern to this young daughter of a relatively obscure family in rural Jah Keved? Seven years ago was momentous, for some reason.

Commentary:

With this chapter begins Part Two, "Winds’ Approach," which focuses on Shallan, Kaladin, Adolin, and Sadeas. Likely, the title refers to the way the plot and character development are building through this section; the storm is coming, but it’s not here yet. That's also true of Shallan’s character growth, as well as that of Kaladin.

This chapter is a transition; it’s the first stirrings of the approach of the wind. The next phase of the journey begins. Might the title refer to the drawing Shallan finds in the trunk?

The epigraph, (the first of the Listener Songs represented), is very interesting.

The chat between Shallan and Bluth nicely sets up their future relationship. That she only thought it instead of saying it shows a certain amount of growth on her part, as well as good fortune. Her flippant commentary on how "stupidity is a function of one’s surroundings" may have been slightly incomprehensible to Bluth, but it was also intriguing enough to draw him into actual conversation for a few sentences.

A couple of times in this chapter, there are more blatant examples of just how Shallan shuts out the intrusion of unpleasant memories. There are also hints herein that Pattern won't let her get away with it forever.

Speaking of Pattern, it was only a short time ago that he was bumbling about, bumping into everything and spinning uselessly around in the middle of the room. Now, perhaps due to the shocks of the past few days, he seems to be regaining both his memories and his sense of purpose. He also gains serious insight into character: spren, nature, and human ... .

"I will not stop vibrating. The wind will not stop blowing. You will not stop drawing."

The chapter finally leaves the following question still hanging: why would anyone choose to murder the one person who has the single best chance of figuring out how and why the Voidbringers are returning? Shallan’s answer may be true (to control knowledge and profit from the coming apocalypse), but there might still more to it.

Sprenspotting:

Painspren appear several times, considering the state of Shallan’s feet. But at least there aren’t any rotspren. The really significant note in this chapter is Pattern’s rather chilling statement at the end:

"Spren ... spren of him. They come."

Clearly, spren of Odium. Could it be that the spren of Odium were becoming more plentiful already seven years ago?

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

Shallan observes and considers the flora - and lack thereof - of the Frostlands. Not all of Roshar is as inhospitable as the Shattered Plains, even though their barrenness is the strongest impression given of the planet. The way Shallan thinks of the limited vegetation in the Frostlands, which yet appears to be much more prolific than in the Plains, implies that the bits of the world she’s seen are far more lush and verdant than what she sees here.

While the Plains certainly don’t seem a pleasant place to live or grow food, the rest of the planet seems to be quite hospitable, and there are indications that the Plains were not always as barren as they are now, having been Shattered in some cataclysmic event. Whatever happened when humans showed up, it seems a leap to assume that they a) attempted to terraform the planet and b) failed. Either or both are possible, but neither is a given.

Heraldic Symbolism:

The character icon is Pattern. Shalash presides over the chapter, with her idealized penchant for creativity, honesty, Lightweavers, and blood. (Not sure blood has anything to do with it, though there certainly is plenty to be seen here.) Perhaps she reflects Shallan’s drawing skills, or perhaps she represents the destruction of all Shallan’s past drawings: all the collected Memories of her life up to this point.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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