|<< WoR Ch. 45: Middlefest / WoR Ch. 47: Feminine Wiles >>|
|“||When Simol was informed of the arrival of the Edgedancers, a concealed consternation and terror, as is common in such cases, fell upon him; although they were not the most demanding of orders, their graceful, limber movements hid a deadliness that was, by this time, quite renowned; also, they were the most articulate and refined of the Radiants.||”|
–From Words of Radiance, chapter 20, page 12
Progression of the Chapter:
Kaladin reviews bridge crews, with mixed results; Hobber serves dinner while Renarin washes the dishes; Lopen has cousins; Kaladin gives Shen a spear and apologizes for earlier fear; Shen starts to speak but is forestalled by the appearance of Moash; Kaladin reluctantly goes out drinking with the guys; chouta is eaten in differing forms; Kaladin is confronted by the imminent possibility of married soldiers; Rock tells of the Horneater Peaks and how his people came there; Moash has arranged a meeting with his associates, and Syl warns Kaladin to be careful; Kaladin is unconvinced, but admits to himself that their arguments are almost too good; he tells Moash to stop meeting with them.
Quote of the Chapter:
|“|| "If a king is destroying his country," the mercenary said, "is it not the right - the duty - of the people to see him removed?"
"If he were removed," Moash said, "what would happen? Ask yourself that, Kaladin."
"Dalinar would probably take the throne," Kaladin said. Elhokar had a son back in Kholinar, a child, barely a few years old. Even if Dalinar only proclaimed himself regent in the name of the rightful heir, he would rule.
"The kingdom would be far better off with him at the head," Graves said.
"He practically rules the place anyway," Kaladin said.
"No," Danlan said. "Dalinar holds himself back. He knows he should take the throne, but hesitates out of love for his dead brother. The other highprinces interpret this as weakness."
"We need the Blackthorn," Graves said, pounding the table. "This kingdom is going to fall otherwise. The death of Elhokar would spur Dalinar to action. We would get back the man we had twenty years ago, the man who unified the highprinces in the first place."
There are two completely different revelations in this chapter, but they’re unrelated.
Kaladin's training routines are not universally successful. Bridge Seventeen has come together as a unit; while they’re still a bit sloppy as soldiers, they have developed a team identity, and they’re good enough to advance to another level of training: limited patrols. Nineteen looks to be not far behind, which is good, but Eighteen, not so much; they're still a bunch of sloppy, defensive, discordant individuals.
Within Bridge Four, Hobber is serving dinner under Rock’s proud watch, while Renarin is quietly washing dishes; apparently the rest have accepted his presence and this service, finally. Lopen has yet more cousins joining Bridge Four.
Perhaps the single best moment in this chapter is the one where Kaladin finds Shen stacking sacks of tallew grain in the storage room.
|“||"At ease, soldier," Kaladin said softly, stepping up to him. "I spoke to Dalinar Kholin earlier today and asked if I could arm you. He asked if I trusted you. I told him the truth." Kaladin held out his spear to the parshman. "I do."||”|
Shen clearly wants to talk to Kaladin about something, but they’re interrupted by Moash, who wants to drag Kaladin off to meet with his 'associates'.
Kaladin decides to act more human than he feels for the sake of his men, and out with the guys he traipses. He meets Graves, and Danlan, and a couple of mercenaries who all think they’re doing this for the good of Alethkar. They’re convinced that if King Elhokar was killed – preferably in an "accident" – Dalinar would take the throne and be a real king. The Blackthorn would return, the man who united Alethkar twenty years ago, and everything would be all better.
In a way, the mercenaries can't be blamed; to some extent, they can be justified as patriots in wanting something better for their country than what they’ve got. (Elhokar is acting terribly as King, even though some of his worst excesses have been reined in lately.) Danlan ought to have a little better insight; she’s been in fairly close contact with Dalinar, and it seems she should realize that he’s not the storied Blackthorn of twenty years ago. She can’t know about his vow to never take the throne, so maybe she can be forgiven for thinking that he is merely hesitant because of his love for his dead brother. Still, she doesn’t seem to be thinking for herself very much. Or she’s lying.
Whatever his thoughts on the matter, Graves is lying about ... pretty much everything.
Fortunately, Kaladin doesn't like him and so he says he’ll consider the prospect, hoping that he’ll be able to walk away alive. Unfortunately, and probably due to Moash’s information, Graves knew all the right lines. Despite his orders to Moash to stop meeting them and stop talking about it, Kaladin is more than halfway to thinking they might be right even as he knows what they’re doing is wrong.
This is three days after the events of Kaladin’s previous chapter, when he confirmed that Moash had had something to do with the assassination attempt and agreed to meet with Moash’s "friends." Thirty-three days remain in the countdown.
Flamespren are mostly insignificant. Kaladin is exhausted, and he just wants to sit and eat and watch them dance.
Syl, certainly not small in effect, no matter that at one point she goes completely invisible. She’s become rather motherly in this chapter, although, she’s been like that a lot as she developed the capacity to understand Kaladin. She scolds him for not taking care of himself, and urges him to be human for a while and go out with the guys. She might have regretted that one, though, because when he goes to meet with Moash’s "patriots" she warns him to be careful, and even he can’t see her.
Then there are the spren Rock calls gods in this story, although, he seems to consider all spren (or at least the sentient ones) to be gods.
|“||These are gods, yes, Rock said, following Kaladin’s gaze. Yes. Some gods, though, they are more powerful than others.||”|
Given what is known know of the Cosmere, and what little is known of Roshar's ancient history, perhaps Rock’s story is, at its bones, the truth. With help from the greater spren ... ? There may also have been help - either disguised as coming from the spren, or directly - from Honor and/or Cultivation. It’s fairly clear that Lunu’anaki was coming out of a Shardpool, and it’s possible that there is more than one up there.
Its entirely possible that the Unkalaki had Shard assistance to either find or create a habitable space on the peaks; perhaps they were originally intended to be "gatekeepers"of a sort. They’re well-positioned to keep anyone from accidentally falling into the Shardpool(s), as well as to either obstruct or assist those coming from elsewhere.
Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before?
Well, well. Lunu-anaki. A Hoid by any other name is still Hoid.
The description of Lunu-anaki as a young man with white hair questions whether he might be an Elantrian, but too many other things fit specifically with Hoid. For one thing, Rock describes him as "Maybe Alethi, though skin was lighter." An Elantrian (unless he was disguised) would have silvery skin, not merely lighter than a typical Alethi. Then there’s, "Lunu-anaki cannot hurt man. Is forbidden by other gods." In both Elantris and Warbreaker, as well as in the previous "Middlefest" chapter, for some reason Hoid is constitutionally unable to hurt anyone – physically, anyway. Then there’s Sigzil's reaction to his description, making it fairly clear that he believes this just might be his former tutor.
The clincher just might be the fact that he mocked Rock’s beard and thought his name was funny. That’s a very Hoid thing to do.
Talenel and Nalan are readily understandable choices for this chapter’s Heralds. Talenel, the Soldier, is what Kaladin is all about on this particular evening. Nalan clearly reflects the "justice" that Moash is seeking, and that the others at least pretend to.
Words of Radiants:
- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson