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WoR Ch51


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 Shattered Plains

Progression of the Chapter: Adolin makes decisions; an expedition is planned; Adolin wins an argument; as a result, he rides out on his father's Ryshadium, Gallant, wearing his brother's armor; he and his escort meet Eshonai and her escort, with uneasiness on both sides; Adolin takes a scribe with him to speak with Eshonai between the two groups; pretending to be Dalinar, he opens by suggesting that they discuss her surrender; she seems much different than last time they met, and no longer wishes to parley; she tells him that there will be peace when one side is dead; Adolin returns to the warcamp to find Dalinar already planning a different, much larger expedition - one which will take the battle to the Parshendi and an ending.

Quote of the Chapter:

"Father!" Adolin snapped. "This is not subject to discussion!"

The room fell silent. Dalinar lowered his hand from the map. Adolin stuck out his jaw, meeting his father’s eyes. Storms, it was difficult to deny Dalinar Kholin. Did his father realize the presence he had, the way he moved people about by sheer force of expectation?

Nobody contradicted him. Dalinar did what he wanted. Fortunately, these days those motives had a noble purpose. But in many ways he was the same man he had been twenty years ago, when he’d conquered a kingdom. He was the Blackthorn, and he got what he wanted.

Commentary:

Adolin has made his decision not to worry about Dalinar’s "disconcerting behavior" during highstorms; he’s already concluded that his father’s sanity is just fine, there’s really nothing he might do, and so he pragmatically moves past it.

From there, things go steadily downhill. His worry about the assassin's return is always hovering; his worry about Dalinar’s survival is stepped up by the emphasis on how much they all need him. Everything is weird about Adolin’s departure, but to him it centers around the difference between riding his father’s Ryshadium and his own.

Gallant was a large black animal, bulkier and squatter than Sureblood, Adolin’s horse. Gallant looked like a warhorse even when compared to other Ryshadium. So far as Adolin knew, no man had ever ridden him but Dalinar. Ryshadium were finicky that way. It had taken a lengthy explanation from Dalinar to even get the horse to allow Adolin to hold the reins, let alone climb into the saddle.

It had eventually worked, but Adolin wouldn’t dare ride Gallant into battle; he was pretty sure the beast would throw him off and run away, looking to protect Dalinar. It did feel odd climbing on a horse that wasn’t Sureblood. He kept expecting Gallant to move differently than he did, turn his head at the wrong times. When Adolin patted his neck, the horse’s mane felt off to him in ways he couldn’t explain. He and his Ryshadium were more than simply rider and horse, and he found himself oddly melancholy to be out on a ride without Sureblood.

Then things get more ominous, as Eshonai repudiates everything she had said earlier to set up this meeting, and further states that it will be over when one side is dead, because they’ve just changed the rules. As Adolin tries to get more understanding of the situation, there’s this:

"King Gavilar," Eshonai said, as if mulling over the name. "He should not have revealed his plans to us that night. Poor fool. He did not know. He bragged, thinking we would welcome the return of our gods."

Just what was Gavilar planning and how much did he unleash without their knowledge?

When Adolin finally reaches the warcamp after this abortive negotiation, Dalinar is well into a plan to assault the Parshendi - too well into it for this to be a new idea. He’s clearly been working on it for some time, and now that they have the negative response from Eshonai, he’s working out the details with his generals. There’s going to be a real war soon, and it’s going to put them out in the middle of the Shattered Plains just as the countdown finishes.

Stormwatch:

Thirty-one days to go; this takes place on the day after the Highstorm of the previous chapter.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

The Ryshadium are definitely not mere horses. Aside from their stature, they’re connected with their riders in a significant way. To quote or paraphrase Brandon, "Investiture is involved."

Heraldic Symbolism:

Here are Chach and Ishar within a chapter that primarily involves Adolin and Dalinar. (This combination was frequent in The Way of Kings.) For a more obvious association, though, once again Adolin is guarding his father and Dalinar is guiding his nation.

Words of Radiants:

Just who was Kazilah? With whom/what was he fraternizing? Why was he executed?

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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