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Words of Radiance: Chapter 22

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<< WoR Ch. 21: Ashes / WoR Ch. 23: Assassin >>
WoR Ch22


Stormform is said to cause
A tempest of winds and showers,
Beware its powers, beware its powers.
Though its coming brings the gods their night,
It obliges a bloodred spren.
Beware its end, beware its end.

–From the Listener Song of Winds, 4th Stanza


Point of view: Kaladin
Setting: Elhokar's palace, Dalinar's warcamp

Progression of the Chapter:

A storm rages outside the safety of the palace; Kaladin glimpses red eyes; a loose shutter annoys a king; a king annoys everyone else; Adolin yearns for fashion; Renarin explains heating fabrials to Kaladin; Kaladin’s necessity is challenged, upheld; Dalinar emerges from seclusion, saying that there have been no new visions; strategy for duels is discussed, to combat flagging progress; Amaram's name enters the fray, leaving Kaladin unsettled; Moash is dismissed, but Kaladin stays behind to speak with Dalinar; Amaram’s crimes are brought to light, but Dalinar requires more evidence; Kaladin, frustrated, considers seeking his own justice; back among Bridge Four, stew is served; a new Herdazian is revealed; Shen lays out the truth: without a spear, he’s Bridge Four’s slave; an assassin strikes.

Quote of the Chapter:

Kaladin knocked his head back against the stone behind him, staring up at the sky. Storming man. He had a good life, for a parshman. Certainly more freedom than any other of his kind.

And were you satisfied with that? a voice inside him asked. Were you happy to be a well-treated slave? Or did you try to run, fight your way to freedom?

Commentary:

Every single plot involved is partway done, and none of them get more done by the end. Kaladin talks about catching the numbers phantom, but makes no progress. The dueling is discussed, but the duels have been making no progress. Elhokar’s paranoia is brought up again, but we get no closer to the cause or effects. Dalinar’s visions are stalled out. The red spren are still hanging around doing basically nothing. Dalinar’s still angry about Amaram, but his emotional state regarding that barely changes. The big exception is that we enter the period in which Dalinar is actively considering Amaram’s virtue.

Kaladin reads Dalinar’s response as a flat rejection, because Kaladin is most impatient, but that’s not at all what’s happening. Dalinar’s thought processes have always functioned as slow accumulations that eventually topple over and become avalanches of action. He just now heard that there’s something bad Amaram might've done, and Kaladin is disappointed that he’s not already calling for a court-martial and execution.

Kaladin has been given a hard time and we do understand where he’s coming from. The wounds Amaram gave him never closed. We saw him refuse to tattoo over his unfreedom, saw him keep that scar declaring his grievances. We know he’s never let anyone else share this dreadful past. Dalinar is the first person he trusted with his history, and it seems exactly like he’s being put aside.

Dalinar and Kaladin share a weird mental limitation. They both tend towards moral essentialism, judging people to be all one thing or all another, vicious or virtuous, completely trustworthy or totally shiftless. Dalinar sees Amaram, and knows all the good things he’s done. He can’t treat him cautiously until he clicks all the way over into accepting Kaladin’s story.

Also compounding bad reactions, Kaladin has already been wound tight by spending hours in a locked room with Adolin, Renarin, and Elhokar, three lighteyed men who he currently has no reason to respect, all of whom grate on his nerves. Elhokar’s pacing, Renarin’s clicking a box open and closed, and Adolin’s browsing popular fashions. There’s a palpable desire for cathartic action. Adolin must not appreciate Kaladin feeding Elhokar’s paranoia, either, though. Kaladin doesn’t realize what an unstable powder keg Elhokar’s twisty mind is, and the royal cousin would prefer that the bridgeboy not get in the way. It must be hard to see both of the ranking Kholin men praise Kaladin over him.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Interesting Heralds in this chapter. Nalan is obvious; Kaladin is acting more like a Skybreaker than a Windrunner, and Nalan just loves that noise. Chanarach throws a wrench in the works. Chach represents Bravery and Obedience, and Kaladin is not being obedient. This is a chapter full to the brim with insubordination. It doesn’t have a ton of bravery either.

Ars Arcanum:

Syl names the Skybreakers for the first time, bemoaning Kaladin, acting like he’s playing for another team. The Skybreakers seem like tools. This is an important moment for those tracking Syl’s discomfort and Kaladin’s downward slide.

Ars Mechanica:

“Kaladin stooped down, inspecting the ruby in the hearth, which was held in place by a wire enclosure. Its strong heat made his face prickle with sweat; storms that ruby was so large that the Light infusing it should have blinded him.”

Invented by Navani, heating fabrials trap either flamespren or heatspren in rubies, then energize them with Stormlight and make them radiate their essential nature. This ruby is enormous and worth a fortune.

Sprenspotting:

Stormspren are hanging out in a storm, being stormy, glowing red. Somehow, they seem to be entrancing Kaladin.

- Paraphrased from Carl Engle-Laird[1]

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