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WoR Ch50


And now, if there was an uncut gem among the Radiants, it was the Willshapers; for though enterprising, they were erratic, and Invia wrote of them, "capricious, frustrating, unreliable," as taking it for granted that others would agree; this may have been an intolerant view, as often Invia expressed, for this order was said to be most varied, inconsistent in temperament save for a general love of adventure, novelty or oddity.

–From Words of Radiance, chapter 7, page 1


Point of view: Adolin
Setting: The Kholin warcamp on the Shattered Plains


Progression of the Chapter:

Adolin waits out the highstorm in the men’s bunker of the storm cellar; he speaks briefly to Elit about their upcoming duel and is snarled at for his pains; Sadeas strolls over to taunt him, and it very nearly works; Adolin’s response earns the approval of his bridgeman guard; he wanders through the markets, idly considering the earlier events of the day and the future event of tomorrow’s meeting with the Parshendi. He returns to the Kholin domicile, he finds the bridgemen - guards in a bit of a turmoil over a new set of glyphs scratched into the sitting-room floor; Dalinar assumes responsibility for them, presumably part of his vision-trance, and Navani seems to agree; the end date of the countdown is duly noted.

Quote of the Chapter:

Sadeas smiled again. "Do you think me an evil man, Adolin?"

"That’s too simple a term," Adolin snapped. "You’re not just evil, you’re a selfish, crem-crusted eel who is trying to strangle this kingdom with his bulbous, bastard hand."

"Eloquent," Sadeas said. "You realize I created this kingdom."

"You only helped my father and uncle."

"Men who are both gone," Sadeas said. "The Blackthorn is as dead as old Gavilar. Instead, two idiots rule this kingdom, and each one is - in a way - a shadow of a man I loved."

A selfish, crem-crusted eel. Nice. Accurate as well as eloquent.

Commentary:

This chapter gets inside Adolin's head in the aftermath of his date with Shallan. He’s very pleased that "this thing with Shallan" seems to be working, because she’s marvelous, exotic, witty, and not smothered in Alethi propriety. Also, he thinks that she’s smarter than he is, but she doesn’t make him feel stupid – and it’s implied that it’s rather an Alethi thing for the women to make sure the men know how much "smarter" they are.

Vorin tradition can be irritating. Adolin is not at all sure the betrothal will continue to work, since his relationships always work at first and fall apart later. Add to that, "she doesn't make him feel stupid": any man who is reasonably intelligent but has a limited education because "it’s not manly" would have to be frustrated by all the well-educated women who confuse "uneducated" with "unintelligent" and correspondingly treat men like idiots. Even if it’s a subconscious irritation, it’s got to be there.

So here sits Adolin. For once in his life, he’s had a conversation with a woman who assumes that he’s intelligent enough to understand what she’s talking about. Even when she was being witty at his expense, she invited him into the fun rather than making him the butt of it for others. He was complimented by both of those, and it’s probably the first time in his life that’s happened. No wonder his relationships never last beyond a week or two.

The chapter actually opens with Adolin tossing a mild taunt or two at Elit about the seven-day wait for their upcoming duel; this is followed almost immediately by Sadeas throwing a couple of veiled taunts at Adolin about his overt flouting of the king’s - and Dalinar’s - authority. Elit has a legitimate means of getting back at Adolin: they’re dueling in two more days, and it was Elit’s choice to set the uncommonly long delay in the timing. Sadeas, on the other hand, is goading Adolin deliberately, knowing perfectly well there’s nothing Adolin can do about it without both undermining Dalinar and getting himself in horrible trouble.

A small part of him wished for Sadeas to provoke him, push away his inhibitions, drive him to do something stupid. Killing the man right here, right now, would likely earn Adolin an execution, or at least an exile. To Adolin, it might be worth either punishment.

Sadeas does his best to provoke: pointing out the uncut gemstones on his ring and his coat, gained by doing an unauthorized plateau run in open contempt of Dalinar’s orders; making smart remarks about his "former property" who are now patrolling the markets; renouncing Elhokar's appointment of him as Highprince of Information - and clearly indicating that no-one else will accept any similar appointments from Elhokar; sneering at both Dalinar and Elhokar; hinting that neither of them will survive when Sadeas makes his move; and outright telling Adolin that "you’ll understand and agree with me eventually."

Adolin managed to keep himself under control. He refrained from doing any physical violence that could get him in trouble, but at the same time he made it eminently clear that he was opposed to Sadeas in every way. Which of those gained him Skar's nod of respect?

A couple of odd notes: Adolin realizes that there is a parshman among the bridgemen, wearing a guardsman uniform and holding a spear. When he points it out to Dalinar, the response is "Yeah, it’s cool. I was curious what would happen."

Also, Adolin's Blade:

Adolin summoned his Blade, then dismissed it, then summoned it again. A nervous habit. The white fog appeared - manifesting as little vines sprouting in the air - before snapping into the form of a Shardblade, which suddenly weighed down his hand.

Brandon has confirmed that the "little vines" are because the Blade was originally an Edgedancer's spren. This might be the only time that someone’s Blade-summoning is described in this much detail, Still, the process itself might not be significantly different than anyone else’s. It’s generally described as mist coalescing into the silvery Blade.

Stormwatch:

True Stormwatch event in this chapter:

Thirty-two days. Seek the center.

"Seek the center." Dalinar, the soldier and Highprince with the authority, is getting magically-delivered instructions to seek the center of the Shattered Plains. Shallan, the growing magic wielder, is getting instructions from research and old stories to search out the ancient city of Stormseat that used to be in the center of Natanatan.

Also, Navani has counted out the countdown, and the end date is in the middle of the Weeping, rather than being the date of a Highstorm as Dalinar hoped. It is also two days before the end of the year, and there just doesn’t seem to be any significance to the date at all.

Ars Arcanum:

Dalinar takes the blame for the glyphs scratched into the floor, but he doesn’t remember doing it. This is totally inconsistent with his previous experience in the visions, where he could remember everything that happened. As he says himself, this is an awkward way for him to get the information. If it’s coming to him from the Stormfather, why could it not be included in the visions? Why would it be sent to his subconscious for him to scratch it into the ground, or upon the wall? The most logical answer, despite his assumption, is that it’s not coming to him - and certainly not from the same source as the visions. Honor even told him, in so many words, that he wasn’t much good at seeing the future. Cultivation, on the other hand, is ... .

Heraldic Symbolism:

Palah - scholar, learned/giving, Truthwatchers, emerald, pulp, wood/plants/moss, hair - is on this chapter arch twice. Once might be for Sadeas and his uncut emerald gems, but the other seems to be for the Truthwatchers.

Words of Radiants:

Willshapers. Their Surges are Transportation (motion, Realmatic transition) and Cohesion (strong axial interconnection); one can guess a fair bit about the first one, but little explanation has been voiced on the second. In any case, they appear to be the adventurers – but they also are associated with the Builder (Kalak). The epithets of "erratic, capricious, frustrating, and unreliable" are likely the artifacts of people who really, really don’t understand what drives them as an Order.

Shipping Wars:

The previous chapter's wars were really something!

Just Sayin':

"Shalashian temperament" as an excuse to renounce your post as Highprince of Information? What’s that supposed to mean?

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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