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WoR Ch66


Is not the destruction we have wrought enough? The worlds you now tread bear the touch and design of Adonalsium. Our interference so far has brought nothing but pain.


Point of view: Kaladin
Setting: Kholin warcamp prison

Progression of the Chapter:

Kaladin continues to spiral down in depression until he is suddenly released from prison; on his way out, he discovers that Adolin has insisted on sharing the incarceration; the two seem to reach a mutual understanding; Kaladin is rewarded for his part in the duel by being given a full set of Shards - both Blade and Plate, which he gives to Moash; Adolin reluctantly agrees to this disposal; Kaladin and Adolin, accompanied by Bridge Four, leave the prison to the sound of cheers from the soldiers and other bridgemen; as they prepare to return to the barracks for the celebration, Kaladin returns to help Moash with his Plate; Kaladin asserts his judgement that Alethkar will be better off if King Elhokar is assassinated, and Moash is delighted with the whole thing.

Quote of the Chapter:

Kaladin jogged up to the man. "Why?"

"Didn’t seem right, you in here," Adolin said, eyes forward.

"I ruined your chance to duel Sadeas."

"I’d be crippled or dead without you," Adolin said. "So I wouldn’t have had the chance to fight Sadeas anyway." The prince stopped in the hallway, and looked at Kaladin. "Besides. You saved Renarin."

"It’s my job," Kaladin said.

"Then we need to pay you more, bridgeboy," Adolin said. "Because I don’t know if I’ve ever met another man who would jump, unarmored, into a fight among six Shardbearers."

Kaladin frowned. "Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?"

"Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated."

"Storms, you’re spoiled," Kaladin said, smiling.

"I’m refined, you insolent farmer," Adolin said. Then he grinned. "Besides, I’ll have you know that I had to use cold water for my baths while here."

"Poor boy."

"I know." Adolin hesitated, then held out a hand.

Commentary:

This chapter is an exercise in whiplash. It picks up with Kaladin continuing his depression death spiral, starting to believe all sorts of things that are totally not true. Then ... the door opens, he’s free, and all the depression starts to fall away.

The next scene is like a breath of fresh air, in the context of what has felt like so many pages of gloom. Adolin's imprisoning of himself, and Kaladin’s reaction to it, were rather humorous. It was a delightful scene, with Adolin totally owning the high ground over everyone.

"I’m sorry," he said. "For ruining the plan."

"Bah, you didn’t ruin it," Adolin said. "Elhokar did that. You think he couldn’t have simply ignored your request and proceeded, letting me expand on my challenge to Sadeas? He threw a tantrum instead of taking control of the crowd and pushing forward. Storming man."

According to Adolin, Elhokar bears the primary responsibility for screwing things up.

"The things you said about Amaram," Adolin said. "Were they true?"

"Every one."

Adolin nodded. "I’ve always wondered what that man was hiding." He continued walking.

"Wait,"'! Kaladin said, jogging to catch up, "you believe me?"

"My father," Adolin said, "is the best man I know, perhaps the best man alive. Even he loses his temper, makes bad judgment calls, and has a troubled past. Amaram never seems to do anything wrong. If you listen to the stories about him, it’s like everyone expects him to glow in the dark and piss nectar. That stinks, to me, of someone who works too hard to maintain his reputation."

Someone taught Adolin to think, because that’s downright insightful. He’s way smarter than he admits. The thing that hurts is that this should have done SO much to restore Kaladin’s faith that something could and would be done, but he doesn’t even think about it.

"Your father says I shouldn’t have tried to duel him."

"Yeah," Adolin said, reaching the door at the end of the hallway. "Dueling is formalized in a way I suspect you just don’t get. A darkeyes can’t challenge a man like Amaram, and you certainly shouldn’t have done it like you did. It embarrassed the king, like spitting on a gift he’d given you."

Just how do you go about learning that what you don’t know can kill you, when you don’t even know how much there is you don’t know? Kaladin is finally having to realize that he just doesn’t know everything. For all his big ideas, there really are things about the rest of the world that can’t be understood from the perspective of his own life experience. What he did was incredibly presumptuous, but it never even occurred to him that he didn’t know all the rules.

There's more to be mentioned in this chapter: Kaladin had a gut-wrenching reaction to the Shards, the echo of his earlier attempt when he assigned them to Moash; there was the distinctly different reaction of Adolin from the way Amaram had responded; Kaladin's reasoning to persuade Adolin that it would be a good thing. And more: Teft's confidence that things would be fine, his leadership in Kaladin’s absence, the curiosity about Amaram and Kaladin’s past.

When they finally leave the building and go outside:

Adolin moved to join his father, but Dalinar watched Kaladin. What did that look mean? So pensive.

If only they had talked right here. Dalinar has given Amaram four days to find that Blade they hid, retrieve it, and then come talk to him about it ... and clearly he’s heard nothing from Amaram about that subject at all.

Would it have mattered at this point anyway? Kaladin had already made up his mind that Elhokar was a bad king and ought to be removed from his position.

Stormwatch:

This was Kaladin’s fifteenth day in prison; there are fourteen days left on the countdown.

Sprenspotting:

There are two notable spren incidents in this chapter. One is the appearance of a veritable cloud of gloryspren around Moash when he picks up his new Blade:

The tall bridgeman walked to the side of the room, reaching out a hand to rest his fingers on the Shardblade. He ran those fingers all the way down to the hilt, then seized it, lifting the Blade in awe. Like most, it was enormous, but Moash held it easily in one hand. The heliodor set into the pommel flashed with a burst of light.

Moash looked to the others of Bridge Four, a sea of wide eyes and speechless mouths. Gloryspren rose around him, a spinning mass of at least two dozen spheres of light.

There has been a lot of debate about the terminology of gloryspren. It makes use of a less-familiar sense of “glory” but one that really works.

Anyway. The other incident is more the absence of a spren:

"I had a lot of time to think, in there," Kaladin said.

"I can imagine."

"The time led me to a few decisions," Kaladin said as the section of Plate locked into place. "One is that your friends are right."

Moash turned to him sharply. "So ... "

"So tell them I agree with their plan," Kaladin said. "I’ll do what they want me to in order to help them ... accomplish their task."

The room grew strangely still.

Something happened then and it might've been the Nahel bond being stretched nearly to the breaking point.

Ars Mechanica:

At this point, no one in-story really knows for sure whether or not a darkeyed man will become lighteyed if he bonds a Blade, but one thing happens immediately: he becomes fourth dahn. While it doesn’t sound like much on the surface - fourth dahn, out of ten - as Adolin points out, it ranks one above roughly ninety percent of Alethkar ... and the number is actually higher. If only the king, queen, and the heir apparent are in the first dahn, and the second is made up of the Highprinces and (presumably) their wives and heirs, that makes a total of at most 33 people in the top two ranks. The third dahn would be made up of the rest of the Highprinces’ children, along with their spouses and children, plus an assortment of other landholders. Maybe a few hundred people? Anyway, that leaves Moash ranked equal to or higher than all but a few hundred people in Alethkar.

Just for reference, the Blade itself:

... a shimmering silvery Blade. Edged on both sides, a pattern of twisting vines ran up its center.

Might it be another Edgedancer Blade?

Heraldic Symbolism:

Talenel, the Soldier, the Herald of War; Nalan, the Judge, the Herald of Justice. Perhaps Talenel is here due to the new solidarity of two soldiers or the making of a new Shardbearer. Nalan, on the other hand, is here to "honor" Kaladin’s judgement that the king should be killed for the good of Alethkar and maybe the world.

Shipping Wars:

They’re somewhat like brothers now, or maybe cousins. Friends and comrades-in-arms or they would be if Kaladin weren’t secretly conspiring to assassinate Adolin’s real cousin.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson.[1]

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