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WoR Ch64


Yes, I'm disappointed. Perpetually, as you put it.


Point of view: Kaladin, Shallan
Setting: Kholin warcamp, prison and monastery

Progression of the Chapter:

Kaladin is giving into depression as he finds himself not eating, not caring, not thinking; desperate, he reaches for Stormlight, praying to not go back into the darkness; the Light resists, but finally comes to him; Syl is worried that he’s becoming darker; he says it’s only the cage; she begins to argue, but then goes off to giggle at a little cremling, while Kaladin thinks how childlike she is. Meanwhile, trying not to panic as Amaram approaches Taln's cell, Shallan wraps herself in Stormlight, turns herself black, and hides in the darkest corner; as always, she’s angry at the sight of him, but reason tempers her anger; Amaram speaks to Taln, who merely continues his repetitions; Bordin reiterates his earlier report of a cache of Shardblades, which Amaram assumes to be the Honorblades; he tries to get Taln to speak of them again, but Taln's litany remains the same; Bordin acts nervous, and Amaram finally agrees to leave, to seek out this treasure of Blades. Shallan finally breathes, feeling that she is very much out of her depth, but replaces her Veil illusion and returns to Iyatil; as she prepares to leave, she slips Iyatil the paper transcribing Taln’s ramblings and promises a full report later; Iyatil questions who she really is, but Shallan, though thrilled by the respect shown her, says only that she seeks the truth. Later, having sent the promised report, she receives a message from Mraize, informing her of her change of status and welcoming her to the Ghostbloods.

Quote of the Chapter:

Shallan breathed out a long, deep breath, slumping down to the floor. "It’s like that sea of spheres."

"Shallan?" Pattern asked.

"I’ve fallen in," she said, "and it isn’t that the water is over my head - it’s that the stuff isn’t even water, and I have no idea how to swim in it."

An excellent simile!

Commentary:

Here's Kaladin, demonstrating classic signs of depression: lack of appetite, lack of energy, lack of interest. Is he bipolar? A list of symptoms for the "manic" aspect of bipolar disorder includes " ... feeling extremely irritable, aggressive, and 'wired'; thinking of yourself as overly important, gifted, or special; making poor judgments, such as with money, relationships, or gambling; engaging in risky behavior or taking more risks than you ordinarily would." That sounds pretty much like Kaladin during/after the duel. It certainly isn't seasonal, as has been described by Brandon. Is it coincidence that Kaladin is written this way at this time?

Regardless, depression just isn't fun. At all. No matter what the cause. Kaladin's desperate reaching for Stormlight, praying to the Almighty that the darkness would not take him again, hoping that his prayer will be heard despite the lack of someone to write and burn the prayer for him, all make him seem on the brink of the kind of despair that previously led him to the Honor Chasm in The Way of Kings. Why does the Stormlight initially resist him, and then give in? He thinks of it as straining against him, trying to escape once he’s got it. And, his attitude toward Syl is just bizarre, and her behavior reflects that. He doesn’t even notice that there’s anything wrong with her.

Shallan, despite her own desperate situation, is actually a breath of fresh air after this. How much is quick thinking, and how much just a lucky instinct, isn't known but she immediately does the only thing likely to work: she turns everything about herself black and stands quietly in the darkest corner where no one expects her to be, so no one notices her.

In typical Shallan fashion, reason again informs - or at least tempers - emotion: though Amaram is "still a bastard," she recognizes that he was probably just defending himself when "he" killed Helaran. Apparently, there is a certain amount of mostly-true information readily available regarding the event; she’s put together enough information to know that when Helaran left Jah Keved - and left his siblings to their father's mercies - it was to kill Amaram.

Regarding Taln, Amaram is immediately convinced that he is indeed one of the Heralds, and his reaction is to say, "Gavilar, we have done it. We have finally done it." "It" is presumably the Sons of Honor's goal of bringing the Heralds back. Just what had they done before to try to reach their goal? Certainly, nothing they did had anything to do with Taln’s return, though Amaram clearly thinks it did. Just what might Amaram's reaction be when he learns that whatever the Sons did was a complete waste, and that Taln has only returned because he finally broke under four-and-a-half millennia of torture?

Bordin has planted the rumor about a cache of Shardblades, making sure it went straight to Amaram’s ears. Amaram, for reasons only he knows, leaps to the conclusion that they must be the Honorblades. He promises Bordin a "reward" for helping him find this cache. Clearly, he doesn’t understand Bordin, or anything about the loyalty of an affiliate of House Kholin.

And then Shallan - as Veil - becomes a full-fledged Ghostblood.

Stormwatch:

This is the same day as the previous chapter, one day after Kaladin’s last chapter; it is his 11th day in prison, counting the day of the duel.

Sprenspotting:

Agonizing as it to observe, Syl regresses and Kaladin doesn't even register the change.

"I’m worried about you." Syl’s voice. "You’re growing dark."

Kaladin opened his eyes and finally found her, sitting between two of the bars as if on a swing.

"I’ll be all right," Kaladin said, letting Stormlight rise from his lips like smoke. "I just need to get out of this cage."

"It’s worse than that. It’s the darkness ... the darkness ... ." She looked to the side, then giggled suddenly, streaking off to inspect something on the floor. A little cremling that was creeping along the edge of the room. She stood over it, eyes widening at the stark red and violet color of its shell.

Kaladin smiled. She was still a spren. Childlike. The world was a place of wonder to Syl. What would that be like?

Rather patronizing an attitude.

However, Kaladin's depression may well have twisted his perception. Even so, the difference between Syl two weeks ago and Syl now should be totally obvious; he’s just too self-absorbed to realize it. (And yes, self-absorption is a notable aspect of depression.)

Just how much of the effect he has on her does he realize? By now he and Syl have had enough conversations that he knows her increasing "maturity" - or understanding - is an artifact of their bond. But does he have any real concept that his mindset can affect that bond, and through it affect her mental state?

Also, is " ... the darkness ... the darkness ... " referring to the mental/emotional darkness of his depression, or is there something else here, too?

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

Is there anything unusual about a little cremling with a shell colored " ... stark red and violet ... ?"

Ars Arcanum:

When Kaladin attempts to draw in Stormlight from the lamp, it seems to resist him. Is this a result of the damage that his drive for revenge is doing to his bond with Syl? Why then does it suddenly relent? Unfortunately, his reaction is like an addict getting a fix.

Shallan’s Surgebinding, on the other hand, is at her command and useful; she can stand silently in a dark corner and not be seen, plus the Illusion uses up the Stormlight that would normally escape and give her away.

She uses Illusion twice in this chapter - to turn black, and to turn back into Veil - and neither time does Taln react like he did previously, when he scared the living daylights out of her. Having previously identified her as " ... one of Ishar's Knights," he has a niche for her, and her Surgebinding is an accepted part of that.

Haven't We Met Somewhere Before?

Iyatil comments on her own and Mraize’s past experience:

"You caught me in stealth spying upon you, and you can lose me in the streets. This is not easily accomplished. Your clever drawings fascinate Mraize, another near-impossible task, considering all that he has seen. Now what you have done today."

Shallan's response is elation:

Shallan felt a thrill. Why should she feel so excited to have the respect of these people? They were murderers.

But storms take her, she had earned that respect.

Just what is the real purpose of the Ghostbloods and where do they originate? Why would they have been working through a relatively obscure rural Veden lord, and what were they going to use him to accomplish? Why were they trying to kill Jasnah? Who are these people?

Heraldic Symbolism:

Ishar and Shalash stand watch over this chapter. Ishar the Priest, pious and guiding, reflects Kaladin’s desperate prayer against the darkness. Shalash is there for Shallan the Lightweaver with her several uses of Illusion.

Just Sayin':

"Almighty above, ten names, all true." Sounds pretty emphatic ... .

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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