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WoR Ch7


I was unprepared for the grief my loss brought - like an unexpected rain - breaking from a clear sky and crashing down upon me. Gavilar's death years ago was overwhelming, but this ... this nearly crushed me.

–From the journal of Navani Kholin, Jesesach 1174


Point of view: Shallan
Setting: Aboard the Wind's Pleasure, off the coast of the Frostlands near the Shallow Crypts

Progression of the Chapter:

Screams, shouts, and smoke abound; assassins are revealed; Jasnah is stabbed through the heart; Shallan panics, refuses to use her Shardblade, and sends a bright Illusion; Jasnah's body goes missing; desperate to give the sailors a chance other than execution, Shallan enters Shadesmar and soulcasts the ship; and, she is pulled into the deep.

Quote of the Chapter:

"Sword," a voice said. Pattern, hanging on the wall beside her. "Mmmm ... The sword ... "

"No!" Shallan screamed, hands to the sides of her head, fingers in her hair. Stormfather! She was trembling.

Nightmare. It was a nightmare! It couldn’t be -

"Mmmm ... Fight ... "'

"No!" Shallan found herself hyperventilating as the men outside continued to ram their shoulders against her door. She was not ready for this. She was not prepared.

"Mmmm ... " Pattern said, sounding dissatisfied. "Lies."

"I don’t know how to use the lies!" Shallan said. "I haven’t practiced."

"Yes. Yes ... remember ... the time before ... "

The door crunched. Dared she remember? Could she remember? A child, playing with a shimmering pattern of light ... .

It seems odd that Shallan could, at a time like this, so fervently reject the idea of using her Blade. From the literary angle, she couldn’t use it yet. But from the immersive angle, it’s odd that in such desperation she would turn to Illusion and Soulcasting, which she barely knows, rather than summon her Shardblade. However, Shallan is blocking memory of the Blade for all she’s worth, and even doing it consciously sometimes. There’s also some remarkable insight into Shallan’s early Lightweaving days.

Development of the Chapter:

This is the second time that the epigraph is directly related to something that happens in the chapter, although it doesn’t take as much rereading to figure it out as the one preceding Chapter 4. Navani loved her daughter immensely, yet wasn't allowed - by her daughter - to be as close as a mother should be. To lose her so suddenly and unexpectedly was heart wrenching.

Was the 'new kid' a nasty foreshadowing in the previous chapter? Tozbek had already mentioned in passing the need to take on extra crew in Amydlatn. It was disguised well, slipped in during Chapter 1 as an opportunity to show Shallan a santhid shell since they’d have to stop there anyway. Maybe it should have triggered a reader-warning, but it seemed like part of the world-building at the time.

So, the 'new kid' came aboard. Presumably, he just did his job as crew until they got to this particular area, where there were no ports to shelter them at night, and then let his associates on board under cover of darkness. Perhaps the reason Jasnah wasn’t more guarded was simply that this guy had been on board for well over a week, and nothing had happened, so she went back to focusing on her work. Did the 'new kid' find an opportunity to tamper with the latch on Jasnah’s door?

A body in a thin nightgown, eyes staring sightlessly, blood blossoming from the breast. Jasnah.

"Be sure," one of the men said.

The other one knelt and rammed a long, thin knife right into Jasnah’s chest. Shallan heard it hit the wood of the floor beneath the body.

Shallan’s intervention here was definitely required; the assassins were going to murder all the crew, the captain, and his wife; there would be no one left alive to tell the story. It’s entirely likely that the assassins would also have sunk or burned the ship to make sure there was no evidence left of their crimes, after going through everything that might have the kind of information they were seeking.

Sprenspotting:

Aside from the flamespren accompanying the titular open flame which should never be on board a ship, there are two views of Pattern. There’s the version, where he mostly slithers around on surfaces; then there's the cognitive realm version, which is the symbolhead form that freaked Shallan out in the previous book. How long will it take before Shallan can communicate directly with forms in Shadesmar?

Ars Arcanum:

Shallan's first major Illusion was created in a chilling context. A "vague, upright shape," an "illuminated blur," with "appendages that could have been arms." Fortunately, the movement and the light (presumably it looked sufficiently like a white nightgown) drew the eyes of the assassins. It took all her Stormlight and left her crouching in the shadows.

Soulcasting the whole ship? Was there something else she could have done, other than turning the whole ship to water in the middle of the ocean? For the Wind’s Pleasure, this was an unfortunate demise ... but it likely would have met worse had the assassins been left to further their dirty work.

In both cases, Pattern’s coaching was clearly the only thing that made it possible for Shallan to do the magics. Its a curious feature of the Rosharan magic system that the spren makes it possible for the human to do things, and can even tell her how to do them, but can’t do them himself. It’s also worth noting that, just before she goes to Shadesmar, Shallan says that she needs a truth; Pattern replies, "You have given enough."

Heraldic Symbolism:

Chanarach is associated with the Heraldic Attributes of Brave/Obedient, and with the role of Guard. Why Chana? It could be Shallan’s act of (sort of) guarding the crew by giving them a chance to escape. It could also be a reverse image, possibly with Assassin as the negative of Guard.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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