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They blame our people
–From the Listener Song of Wars, 55th stanza
Progression of the Chapter:
Adolin and his strike team assist other Highprinces on a plateau run; he and his friend Jakamav launch a daring assault on a multi-tiered rock formation; friendship (and unbelievably powerful magical weapons and armor) prove more than a match for the enemy Parshendi; Eshonai delivers a message asking for parley; a gemheart is lost, but at least there’s wine; Renarin freezes up during combat; Adolin asks his good friend Jakamav for advice on dueling; Jakamav provides advice on dueling, also women; Adolin wonders whether it wouldn’t just be better to let himself get arranged married; Jakamav proves to be a "tool" who sucks and is bad; a horsey prances; Adolin talks to Renarin, who says that he didn’t have a fit and they don't have much time.
Quote of the Chapter:
|“|| "Being seen with you isn’t good for one’s reputation these days, Adolin," Jakamav said. "Your father and the king aren’t particularly popular."
"It will all blow over."
"I’m sure it will," Jakamav said, "So let’s ... wait until then, shall we?"
Adolin blinked, the words hitting him harder than any blow on the battlefield. "Sure," Adolin forced himself to say.
"Good man." Jakamav actually had the audacity to smile at him and lift his cup of wine.
Adolin set aside his own cup untouched and stalked off.
This chapter is mostly dominated by a pretty sweet combat sequence on an outrageous battlefield. The Alethi and the Parshendi are fighting over a chrysalis on the top of a three-tiered mountain that’s been bisected, somehow. (The epilogue to this chapter takes the opportunity to point out that it wasn’t their gods who shattered the Shattered Plains.) Adolin, who doesn’t have the opportunity to read the epilogues because he is both illiterate and fictional, immediately puts aside his passing thought that the three-step pyramid - which even seems to have ramps - might not be naturally occurring.
Adolin’s assault plan is both cool and cinematic, but he doesn’t so much have success in mind as camaraderie. He wants to lure Jakamav into fighting alongside him, forming a bond of friendship that will eventually tie the armies together. He and Dalinar are looking for emotional connections to unite Alethkar that don’t rely on loyalty, since they know none of the Highprinces care about that. And having the Shardbearers fighting alongside each other has good optics, makes for pretty good bonding stories, and certainly makes it seem like cooperation is happening. Unfortunately, as is evident in the quote of the week, Jakamav is a heartless toolbag, and he’s one of Adolin’s better friends. Friendship among the Alethi of Adolin’s generation is far more about being seen to be in a popular faction than actually creating bonds on which one can rely.
Adolin didn’t understand how little his friendships meant, or how quickly they would evaporate once he made himself politically unpopular. It doesn’t seem like he’s met any non-dumpster humans in his years among the nobility. It’s not fair to say he has no friends, though. He has his brother and his horse, both of whom have his back. Sureblood is prancing all over the place, happy not to have to share his attention with the other horses from last chapter.
Kalak and Paliah! Kalak (Resolute, Builder) may represent Adolin’s steadfast efforts to build a unity between the Highprinces. Paliah (Learned, Giving) is likely here because she’s the patron of the Truthwatchers.
At this stage in the book it is unclear why Renarin froze up in this combat. Its likely that has something magical going on: he talks about the Stormwatch as if he has extra perception, and somehow he doesn’t need glasses anymore. Why would Adolin think his brother is acting tough by not wearing glasses? Shardplate has to be totally glasses-friendly.
Adolin is so excited about his causal with Shallan that he might actually be warming to the idea. Go figure how a political marriage is exactly the spark these two need to get together without ever even having met.
- Paraphrased from Carl Engle-Laird