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WoR Ch58


So Melishi retired to his tent, and resolved to destroy the Voidbringers upon the next day, but that night did present a different stratagem, related to the unique abilities of the Bondsmiths; and being hurried, he could make no specific account of his process; it was related to the very nature of the Heralds and their divine duties, and attribute the Bondsmiths alone could address.

–From Words of Radiance, chapter 30, page 18


Point of view: Kaladin, Sadeas
Setting: Dalinar's warcamp, Sadeas's warcamp, the Shattered Plains

Progression of the Chapter:

Dalinar and Elhokar argue about Kaladin; Kaladin says stupid things that prove he’s way out of his depth; he gets yelled at by Elhokar for it; Dalinar and Elhokar argue some more; Elhokar stomps out; Kaladin says more stupid things; he gets yelled at by Dalinar for it; Sadeas wigs out about the close call he just had, and begins making plans to get rid of Dalinar before Dalinar can get rid of him; Kaladin goes to prison and says yet more stupid things; Syl does not yell at him for it.

Quote of the Chapter:

"You’re going to let the king put me in prison."

"Yes," Dalinar said, rising. "Elhokar has a temper. Once he cools down, I’ll get you free. For now, it might be best if you had some time to think."

"They’ll have a tough time forcing me to go to prison," Kaladin said softly.

"Have you even been listening?" Dalinar suddenly roared.

Kaladin sat back, eyes widening, as Dalinar leaned down, red-faced, taking Kaladin by the shoulders as if to shake him. "Have you not felt what is coming? Have you not seen how this kingdom squabbles? We don’t have time for this! We don’t have time for games! Stop being a child, and start being a soldier! You’ll go to prison, and you’ll go happily. That’s an order. Do you listen to orders anymore?"

"I ... " Kaladin found himself stammering.

Dalinar stood up, rubbing his hands on his temples. "I thought we had Sadeas cornered, there. I thought maybe we’d be able to cut his feet out from under him and save this kingdom. Now I don’t know what to do." He turned and walked to the door. "Thank you for saving my sons."

If it weren’t for Kaladin stepping in, Adolin would never have survived this duel to challenge Sadeas. And if it weren’t for Kaladin stepping in, Sadeas could have been pinned down to an immediate duel. Dalinar is caught between gratitude and fury.

Commentary:

Elhokar doesn’t seem to comprehend, even after all these years, that kingship is not about getting to be the biggest bully on the playground – it’s supposed to involve leadership, self-discipline, even self-sacrifice; whatever it takes to do what’s best for your country. He seems to think that because he’s king, he gets to tell everyone what to do because he's the last word and everyone is supposed to bow to his every whim. He has no concept at all of putting the needs of his people ahead of his own impulsive desires.

Elhokar should never have let his temper control him so that he lost the opportunity to tie Sadeas down on the duel. He could have perfectly well ignored Kaladin (or told him to wait) while he dealt with Adolin’s boon first. But he didn’t, so now he’s threatening to execute the man who saved the lives of his cousins just moments earlier. There was a time when he was an unwitting tool for those who used him for their own advancement and wealth. That’s not quite as likely to happen anymore, but his current disposition isn’t much better: now he’s a tool for his own emotions, and he doesn’t even realize how stupid it is to make major decisions solely on the basis of how he feels about it at the moment.

Speaking of being "a tool for his own emotions" ... Kaladin is just as bad. He did this amazing thing by using the powers he gained from his bond with Syl, and then threw it all away on a perceived opportunity to further his own personal grudge against Amaram.

While Amaram remains despicable, Kaladin was incredibly egocentric in thinking that he had every right to expect the same reward as Adolin, and (worse) in forgetting that boons are granted, not demanded. He's been focusing on protecting/leading the bridgemen, guarding the Kholin family members, and becoming a Windrunner. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention to what Dalinar was trying to accomplish, and subconsciously regarded it as lighteyed politics. That’s not much of an excuse, though; Syl has been going nuts about the red-eyed spren, and there’s the whole Assassin in White thing going down, to say nothing of the countdown. These are events of world-shaping import, and if he doesn’t realize the significance of removing a major threat to Dalinar’s ability to deal with them, he’s been paying attention to the wrong things.

Stormwatch:

Same day; there are twenty-eight short days left in the countdown, as Dalinar knows all too well - and as Elhokar and Kaladin also know, but seem to have somehow forgotten while they’re busy being petty.

Sprenspotting:

The only identified spren in this chapter is a very subdued Sylphrena. The last time she was seen, she was spinning with joy as the judge awarded the day to Adolin. In her one appearance in this chapter, she finally drifts into the room after Kaladin is locked in prison, and he appears to blame her for the events of the day.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Nalan. Judge. Herald of Justice. There seems to be a bad case of "poor judgement" going around.

Words of RadiantsEdit

If Shallan and Jasnah are correct and the Parshendi themselves are the Voidbringers, this could be interpreted as Melishi figuring out a way to bring down an entire race. Are the real Voidbringers instead those spren which place Listeners in the forms which enslave them to Odium? In that case, perhaps his connection to the Stormfather, combined with the way the Listeners need a Highstorm to transform, gave him some way to control which spren could form bonds. Maybe?

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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