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WoR Ch30


Tis said it was warm in the land far away
When Voidbringers entered our songs.
We brought them home to stay
And then those homes became their own,
It happened gradually.
And years ahead 'twil still be said 'tis how it has to be.

–From the Listener Song of Histories, 12th stanza


Point of view: Shallan
Setting: A sheltered lait in the Frostlands

Progression of the Chapter:

Shallan spots color in the Frostlands; sketches are made of nature and of Gaz; Memories are taken; Shallan ponders the many people she could be; Shallan discovers a talent for sketching speculation; Tyn gives her a fright, makes her blush; Shallan is accused of being naïve and unbroken, which is really only half true; Shallan successfully lies to the liar, once again; Tyn helps Shallan plan her "betrothal con"; Adolin is revealed to be a terrible flirt, causing no small amount of concern in his bride-to-be; Shallan determines to figure out a way to deal with Tyn, but not before one more sketch.

Quote of the Chapter:

Tyn grinned, reaching Shallan’s stone. "Always fast with a quip. I like that. I need to introduce you to some friends of mine once we reach the Shattered Plains. They’ll spoil you right quick."

"That doesn’t sound very pleasant."

"Nonsense," Tyn said, hopping up onto a dry part of the next rock over. "You’d still be yourself. Your jokes would merely be dirtier."

"Lovely," Shallan said, blushing.

Commentary:

In this chapter, a progression of the uses of Shallan’s artistic talent is in evidence. First, she sketches the wildlife around her, in as accurate a rendering as she can. These sketches are intended to be instructive, academically useful, scientifically categorized, and so she attempts to apply no interpretive lens to them. She, of course, fails. There is no representation of life through words or image that isn’t filtered through a heavy lens, and in this case her perception is colored by her longing for her father's estates, where the gardens were beautiful and safe. Here she has to worry about potential whitespines, and she’ll have to leave the safety of the lait for the Frostlands. That being said, this is her most "realistic" set of drawings.

Next she draws Gaz, as she’s been drawing all the deserters by request. This she intentionally embellishes.

She tidied up his uniform, smoothing out his paunch, taking liberties with his chin. Most of the difference, however, had to do with his expression. Looking up, into the distance. With the right expression, that eye patch became noble, that scarred face became wise, that uniform became a mark of pride. She filled it with some light details reminiscent of that night beside the fires, when the people of the caravan had thanked Gaz and the others for their rescue.

This better-than-life portraiture is deeply entangled with Shallan’s capacity for lightweaving. As Pattern indicates, and she confirms, the drawing is both a lie and a truth. It’s Gaz as someone sees him, as he wants to be seen, but not as he would appear in an unaltered photograph. The thing about this sketch, and about combat-Lightweaving, is that the lie makes itself more true by being told. Gaz is more like the picture now than he was before. His paunch is probably less pronounced, even, considering that confidence leads to better posture.

Last are the sketches Shallan makes without thinking about them:

She paused, noticing what she’d drawn: a rocky shore near the ocean, with distinctive cliffs rising behind. The perspective was distant; on the rocky shore, several shadowy figures helped one another out of the water. She swore one of them was Yalb.

And then:

She turned the page and drew what came to her. A sketch of a woman kneeling over a body, raising a hammer and chisel, as if to slam it down into the person’s face. The one beneath her was stiff, wooden ... maybe even stone?

Just how is Shallan drawing Shalash on (apparently) her statue-smashing spree? She’s not one of the Orders of Knights Radiant that gets to see the future, is she? Has she ever seen Shalash? Maybe she’s recalling something she saw subconsciously, but which is blocked from her conscious mind, like with the liespren, but that doesn’t explain her potential vision of Yalb.

What’s crazy is that these are most speculative, but they might be literally prophetic/clairvoyant.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

There’s a gorgeous description of the lait in this chapter, full of all kinds of mobile plants and feral critters, which can be found here.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Palah, who represents Learned and Giving, approves of Shallan’s scholarship and her generosity with her talents re: Gaz. Shalash is probably here because, dude, Shalash is here, on the page, getting herself drawn somehow. Might she come and rip up Shallan's sketchbook?

Shipping Wars:

"Which one is it, by the way? The older one or the younger one?"

"Adolin," Shallan said.

"Hmmm ... Not sure if that’s better or worse than Renarin. Adolin Kholin is a flirt by reputation, so I can see why his father wants him married off. It will be tough to keep his attention, though."'$

"Really?" Shallan asked, feeling a spike of real concern.

This section is cute because Shallan fretting about her potentially flighty oath-husband is adorable, and hilarious.

- Paraphrased from Carl Engle-Laird[1]

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