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WoR Ch4


The next clue came on the walls. I did not ignore this sign, but neither did I grasp its full implications.

–From the journal of Navani Kholin, Jeseses 1174

Point of view: Dalinar
Setting: The Purelake-that-was, Dalinar's chambers, the Shattered Plains


Progression of the Chapter:

Dalinar has a vision of running through water, a squad hunting spren on the Purelake, and a Radiant in glowing armor attacking a fortress. Sja-anat is invoked and the face of the spy of Sja-anat is seen in the water. A Thunderclast (which appears to be a spren that can control a body of earth) rises! The Almighty expresses befuddlement regarding Radiants and Dalinar vows to refound the lost Orders.

Upon waking from the vision, Dalinar discusses it with Navani, who takes notes. Later, an ominous message is found on the wall of his rooms: "Sixty-two days," the glyphs read. "Death follows." Theology and morality are brought into question when Navani considers whether she can begin to pursue Dalinar in earnest.

Dalinar now understands that he must both unite the Highprinces as well as reunite the Knights Radiant. Later, Kaladin accepts blame for failing to protect Dalinar, assuming an intruder is responsible for the message on the wall, which reminds all that the Everstorm comes.

Quote of the Chapter:

The Knights Radiant, the Almighty said, standing up beside Dalinar, watching the knight attack the nightmare beast. They were a solution, a way to offset the destruction of the Desolations. Ten orders of knights, founded with the purpose of helping men fight, then rebuild.

Dalinar repeated it, word for word, focused on catching every one and not on thinking about what they meant.

The Almighty turned to him. I was surprised when these orders arrived. I did not teach my Heralds this. It was the spren - wishing to imitate what I had given men - who made it possible. You will need to refound them. This is your task. Unite them. Create a fortress that can weather the storm. Vex Odium, convince him that he can lose, and appoint a champion. He will take that chance instead of risking defeat again, as he has suffered so often. This is the best advice I can give you.

Development of the Chapter:

In this chapter, Dalinar reconstructs his faith, given the knowledge that the Almighty is dead. While he approaches the whole situation with stoicism, he’s actually scrambling. He decides that, because the Almighty is dead, and because He failed to foresee the coming of the Knights Radiant, the Almighty could not have been God. God, as Dalinar constructs Him, must be omniscient and omnipotent. However, this realignment of faith is rapidly approaching heresy. Dalinar believes the Almighty is dead, because the Almighty said such was so, but he still believes in God, so he is now constructing a new divinity to take the place of his fallen center of worship. In the midst of his process, Dalinar is rapidly moving towards a morality that is not grounded in divinity. “Something is either right or it’s wrong,” he insists. “The Almighty doesn’t come into it.”

  • Those especially well-versed in Realmatic Theory will know that Dalinar happens to be mostly right. The Almighty was never God. Adonalsium was. Unfortunately, that god is also dead.

Sprenspotting:

The face of the spy of Sja-anat (about neither of whom we know anything) is likely a converted riverspren and probably not actually a character on the level of the face that Kaladin saw in the highstorm in The Way of Kings. However, there is a lot of spren-related information in this chapter. First, there’s some terrible thing called Sja-anat that can make spren act strange. Is this one of the Unmade? One of the names of Odium? We just don’t know, but the effects of its touch include erratic behavior and an affinity for Thunderclasts.

Thunderclasts seem to be giant rock monsters animated by spren for the purposes of combat. Dalinar speculates that Shardblades were created to fight Thunderclasts. (They’re so good at cutting rocks.)

Ars Arcanum:

Dalinar gets a chance to study a Radiant in full Plate during this vision, and notes the glowing red light coming from her joints. Likely, the Order to which this Radiant belonged were the Edgedancers.

She raised her Shardblade and charged, stepping through the water with uncanny ease, as if it had no purchase on her. Perhaps it was the strength of Shardplate.

Like Lift, this Radiant could ignore friction, letting the water pass right over her without being slowed.

Meanwhile, further evidence shows that Radiants shared some degree of their power with the soldiers who fought alongside them. (The Edgedancer isn’t the only one who starts glowing when the Thunderclast rises.)

Heraldic Symbolism:

Ishar is the Herald of Luck, and is associated with Pious and Guiding. Dalinar is definitely being guided in this chapter.

- Paraphrased from Carl Engle-Laird[1]

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