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WoR Ch29


Artform for colors beyond our ken;
For its grand songs we yearn.
We must attract creation spren;
These songs suffice 'til we learn.

–From the Listener Song of Revision, 279th stanza


Point of view: Sadeas
Setting: The Shattered Plains, dueling arena

Progression of the Chapter:

The Thrill fades too soon; Amaram retrieves the gemheart and fails to convince Sadeas that there might be more important things than his personal squabbles; Sadeas envies Hatham his Ryshadium and wonders how he could get one; his thoughts reveal his fears and weaknesses; Adolin duels Erraniv, while Sadeas and Ialai prove their mutual suitability; Ialai reveals the details of the failed assassination attempt, and Sadeas ponders the possible means and necessity of Elhokar's eventual untimely death; they speculate on who commissioned the attempt, and Ialai discourages Sadeas from using his position as Highprince of Information to find out; Sadeas finally recognizes Adolin’s mastery of dueling, and decides to change his position on discouraging other Shardbearers from challenging Adolin; he acknowledges, if only to himself, that he’d have tried to kill Dalinar even without the issue of the Codes as an excuse.

Quote of the Chapter:

"You mistake me," Sadeas said. "You assume I still care about deniability." The last Parshendi died with enraged screams; Sadeas felt proud of that. Others said Parshendi warriors on the field never surrendered, but he’d seen them try it once, long ago, in the first year of the war. They’d laid down their weapons. He’d slaughtered them all personally, with Shardhammer and Plate, beneath the eyes of their retreating companions watching from a nearby plateau.

Never again had any Parshendi denied him or his men their right to finish a battle the proper way.

Getting to know the Parshendi and learning what they had given up to avoid being used by their gods again, vastly increases the reader's sympathy toward them. They’re still "the enemy" in a sense, but they’re no longer just there for target practice; they’re people now. Perception is a funny thing.

Commentary:

This chapter begins with a plateau run which Sadeas essentially stole from Hatham and Roion by means of his faster slave-destroying bridges. His main motivation is apparently to be seen thumbing his nose at Dalinar - and Elhokar - by whatever means comes to hand. His plan seems to involve tearing Alethkar apart completely, so that he can put it back together the way he wants it. The only positive thing that can be said about Amaram is that he actually attempts to warn Sadeas that there are bigger things afoot; Sadeas, of course, is too egocentric to believe it.

Egocentric, but not stupid. He gets a few things right, such as this shot at Amaram:

"Don’t give me that noble talk. It works fine for others, but I know you for the ruthless bastard you really are."

It’s just like looking in a mirror, isn't it?

Sadeas’s conversation with Ialai is revolting and fascinating at the same time. They’re both clever, in a reptilian fashion, looking at their machinations. Their chat confirms that they are indeed behind the difficulty Adolin has had in getting duels, as well as dropping some clues as to what they’ll do next to undermine Dalinar. Ialai’s spy network has learned by now that the "disturbance" two weeks ago was an assassination attempt. Not that Sadeas would have cared if it had succeeded; the only emotion it stirs in him seems to be a faint regret that he’s going to have to kill Elhokar himself, "out of respect for old Gavilar." However, for all the efficacy of her spies, they’ve come up empty-handed on figuring out who was behind the attempt. Perhaps that’s not the fault of the spies; they’re looking for political motivations from within Alethkar, not mysterious, global, secret organizations with delusions of infallibility.

But Sadeas is not stupid. (He might be less hateful if he were.)

Adolin Kholin was cleverer than Sadeas had given him credit for.

Better at dueling as well. It took skill to win a bout — but it took true mastery to win while making it look the whole time that you were behind.

On the premise that praise from one's enemy is at least sincere praise, this has some value. It was interesting to see this duel through Sadeas’s hostile eyes. Then he goes and spoils whatever shred of goodwill he might have garnered by deciding he can use Adolin’s skill and passion against Dalinar.

Stormwatch:

This is eight days after Adolin was out on the battlefield, when Jakamav - despite his slimy, fake friendship - gave Adolin a 'helpful suggestion' for getting someone else to duel him. Apparently it worked, as Adolin is in the arena with Eranniv in this chapter.

Sprenspotting:

The only spren in the chapter are those found in the epigraph. Eshonai sought to attract creationspren to develop artform, but Venli sought something far, far different.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

The only non-human creature of note (besides Sadeas) is Hatham’s Ryshadium, which Sadeas envies and wishes he could have. It’s typical, though, that even though Sadeas must know about how the Ryshadium choose their riders, he still thinks about how he could get one. He’d probably try to steal one if he had half a chance.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Should any Herald be associated with Sadeas? Shalash was tagged here to reflect Adolin’s artistry in making himself look less skilled than he really is. Perhaps Taln is here in his role as Soldier, since the chapter opens with battle? Or, maybe Peter and Brandon are randomly associating Heralds with Adolin just to confuse readers?

Shipping Wars:

Sadeas and Ialai were totally made for each other, like two weasels. Typical, that the first thing about her that intrigued him was the "tiny bit of blasphemy" inherent in her parents giving her a perfectly symmetrical name, implying perfect holiness. Of course, it’s the blasphemy that drew him, not the holiness. It's also highly amusing that Sadeas hates his own body and the fact that it has the temerity to actually age and be unattractive now. He firmly believes that most everyone used to lust for him - or his power, which he seems to think are the same thing - and that the loss of his youthfulness is why people look at him now differently.

He was dying, step by step. Like every man, true, but he felt that death looming. Decades away, hopefully, but it cast a long, long shadow. The only path to immortality was through conquest.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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