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<< WoR I. 14: Taravangian / WoR Ch. 77: Trust >>
WoR Ch76


They will come you cannot stop their oaths look for those who survive when they should not that pattern will be your clue.

–From the Diagram, Coda of the Northwest Bottom Corner: paragraph 3


Point of view: Kaladin, Dalinar, Sadeas
Setting: The warcamps, the Shattered Plains

Progression of the Chapter:

Kaladin rejects his own surgical advice; his boyhood fantasy is fulfilled; Sebarial unexpectedly joins the expedition - and brings Palona with him; all are flabbergasted by the arrival of Aladar; Sadeas and Ialai explore and scheme; Dalinar finally understands Aladar; Kaladin watches Adolin and Shallan ride by, then salutes Dalinar; an apology is due; Dalinar has a new Shardblade; the erstwhile head of the Knights Radiant is dismissed from his position; Sadeas writes off his former ally and begins planning for new associates.

Quote of the Chapter:

Aladar met his eyes. "I think the things you say about Alethkar are naive at best, and undoubtedly impossible. Those delusions of yours aren’t a sign of madness, as Sadeas wants us to think - they’re just the dreams of a man who wants desperately to believe in something, something foolish. 'Honor' is a word applied to the actions of men from the past who have had their lives scrubbed clean by historians." He hesitated. "But ... storm me for a fool, Dalinar, I wish they could be true. I came for myself, not Sadeas. I won’t betray you. Even if Alethkar can’t ever be what you want, we can at least crush the Parshendi and avenge old Gavilar. It’s just the right thing to do."

Aladar is more honorable than he thinks he is, and this entire conversation proves it. Just a few paragraphs before this, Dalinar suddenly realized that, all the time Aladar was arguing against him, he was only trying to convince himself that Dalinar was wrong. Because this is what he wanted all along, but couldn’t quite believe in it. He’d spent the last several years torn between idealism and realism, and allowed himself to be pulled closer to the pragmatic side of his nature. Now, when it comes right down to a decisive action, he throws his cynicism to the wind and chooses his longed-for ideals.

Development of the Chapter:

This chapter hops points of view repeatedly, as it juxtaposes Kaladin struggling, Dalinar coordinating, and Sadeas scheming.

Sadeas and Ialai display their contempt for Dalinar’s summons by going for a ride in the opposite direction, which not coincidentally takes them out through the area where Sebarial has begun his farming operations. Ialai, frustrated by the failure of her assassin, is proposing a coup to take down Elhokar while Dalinar is gone. Sadeas, however, surprised by Dalinar’s actual commitment to the expedition, is confident that, with him dead on the Plains, no coup will actually be needed. Angered by Aladar’s decision to join Dalinar, he dismisses them all, and begins a new round of scheming. Irony must be served, however:

"I was merely thinking," she said, seeming distant. "About the future. And what it is going to bring. For us."

Dalinar is on the giving and receiving end of multiple surprises. It was looking like just the Kholin and Roion armies going out to confront the Parshendi, and then Sebarial turns up, with a fashionably-garbed Palona, in a carriage, looking for all the world like they’re going on a picnic excursion. With an entire army. But then there is this:

"I’ve got a feeling about you, Dalinar old man. I think it’s wise to stay close to you. Something’s going to happen out there on the Plains, and opportunity rises like the dawn."

There's more to Sebarial and his "feeling" than rising opportunity.

Dalinar’s other surprise: Aladar.

Aladar extended his hand, but hesitated. "You realize that I’m stained through and through. I’ve got blood on these hands, Dalinar. I’m not some perfect, honorable knight as you seem to want to pretend."

"I know you’re not," Dalinar said, taking the hand. "I’m not either. We will have to do."

Dalinar certainly has blood on his own hands. Neither of them is clean and perfect… but they’ll have to do. There’s no one else.

Kaladin seems to be having a "do as I say, not as I do" day. Knowing full well that he should stay off his injured leg, he drags himself off to the parade ground to watch the armies march. His men give him fetch for doing it, but they are glad to see him. There’s an uncomfortable moment when he registers one decision that was made without him:

"Brightlord Dalinar asked me leave our best man behind with a team of his own selection. They’ll watch the king."

Their best man ...

Coldness. Moash. Moash had been left in charge of the king’s safety, and had a team of his own choosing.

Storms.

That’s all he does with it for now, though. Then the Dalinar-arc and the Kaladin-arc overlap for a bit of pure excellence, as Dalinar forces Amaram to meet Kaladin face to face.

"Brightlord," Amaram said, taking Dalinar by the arm, "I don’t know if the lad is touched in the head or merely starved for attention. Perhaps he served in my army, as he claims - he certainly bears the correct slave brand. But his allegations regarding me are obviously preposterous."

Dalinar nodded to himself, as if this were all expected. "I believe an apology is due."

Kaladin struggled to remain upright, his leg feeling weak. So this would be his final punishment. Apologizing to Amaram in public. A humiliation above all others.

"I -" Kaladin began.

"Not you, son," Dalinar said softly.

Despite not wanting to believe such a thing of Amaram, Dalinar set up his test. Whether that’s because Sadeas destroyed his trust, or whether he’d have done it anyway, he played the long game here, and it paid off. Amaram proved himself to be a liar and a thief, and he remains completely unrepentant. Son of Honor indeed.

The silvery Blade Dalinar summoned is described as follows:

White mist coalesced in Dalinar's fingers, and a Shardblade appeared, tip to Amaram's throat. Wider than most, it was almost cleaverlike in appearance.

(Further, Dalinar had bonded this Blade before he'd had it hidden away in effort to out Amaram.)

This is not the same Blade from the The Way of Kings: Epilogue, which was described as:

... long, narrow, and straight, shaped like an enormous spike.

So ... Dalinar bonded Taln's Blade, but it wasn't Taln's Honorblade ... yet another dead-spren Shardblade? So ... just where is Taln's Honorblade?

Amaram's attitude is bewildering. He totally sees himself as the hero of the piece, bizarre as that seems.

Amaram looked Kaladin in the eyes. "I am sorry for what I did to you and yours. Sometimes, good men must die so that greater goals may be accomplished."

Kaladin felt a gathering chill, a numbness that spread from his heart outward.

He’s telling the truth, he thought. He ... honestly believes that he did the right thing.

...

"We all know that sometimes lives must be spent for the greater good."

–Amaram to Dalinar

Sadeas is a jerk, and he knows it, and he doesn’t care; for him, the highest standard is his own power and wealth. Amaram, though ... he really thinks he’s doing the hard things that need to be done, because they’re the right thing ... in his mind. He figures he’s qualified to determine that good men must die so that greater goals may be accomplished ... and the men who die shouldn’t need any explanation or rationale from him. However, those who joined for the sake of the Vengeance Pact deserved better than to be sacrificed for the dubious goals of the Sons of Honor.

Stormwatch:

This scene takes place on the same day as Chapter 75 - which is to say, day 61 of the book, day T-8 of the countdown, or day 1 of the expedition.

Sprenspotting:

No actual spren were observed in this chapter, however ...

"I’ve lost the ability, Lopen," he said softly. "Syl has left me."

The lean Herdazian fell unusually silent. "Well," he finally said, "maybe you should buy her something nice."

"Buy something nice? For a spren?"

"Yeah. Like ... I don’t know. A nice plant, maybe, or a new hat. Yes, a hat. Might be cheap. She’s small. If a tailor tries to charge you full price for a hat that small, you thump him real good."

"That’s the most ridiculous piece of advice I’ve ever been given."

"You should rub yourself with curry and go prancing through the camp singing Horneater lullabies."

Kaladin looked at Lopen, incredulous. "What?"

"See? Now the bit about the hat is only the second most ridiculous piece of advice you’ve ever been given, so you should try it. Women like hats. I have this cousin who makes them. I can ask her. You might not even need the actual hat. Just the spren of the hat. That’ll make it even cheaper."

Lopen is awesome!

Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before?

Well, he’s not a Worldhopper in the usual sense, but ... there's Isaac Stewart! A.k.a. Isasik, the royal cartographer, who is seen here in a snit because everyone is praising Shallan’s map.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Talenel the Soldier is understandable, especially when dependable/resourceful are added; those are well-represented in this chapter. But Shalash? Shallan is hardly seen in this chapter. However ... and speculatively, Dalinar kind of destroys Amaram’s face here. He rips away the illusion of the responsible Brightlord, the head of the Knights Radiant, the great Amaram. Given - specutively - that Shalash is destroying depictions of herself because they are inaccurate or show her as something she’s not ... this is mirrored in what Dalinar does?

Shipping Wars:

Kaladin found himself standing up amid the bridgemen, despite the pain of his leg, as he noticed Adolin and Shallan riding past. He followed the pair with his eyes. Adolin, astride his thick-hooved Ryshadium, and Shallan on a more modestly sized brown animal.

She looked gorgeous. Kaladin was willing to admit it, if only to himself. Brilliant red hair, ready smile. She said something clever; Kaladin could almost hear the words. He waited, hoping that she’d look toward him, meet his eyes across the short distance.

She didn’t. She rode on, and Kaladin felt like an utter fool. A part of him wanted to hate Adolin for holding her attention, but he found that he couldn’t. The truth was, he liked Adolin. And those two were good for one another. They fit.

Perhaps Kaladin could hate that.

It's not love, but there is a certain interest displayed here. Even so, it makes the reader hope that Shallan and Adolin stay together. Kaladin seems quite right when he observes that " ... those two were good for one another. They fit." Likely, he will leave it at that, though it’s sad that he feels a need to hate something when he doesn’t get the girl.

Words of Diagram:

This chapter’s epigraph is the same passage as was quoted in Interlude 14, which Taravangian now understands to be a reference to the Knights Radiant. While it provides another bit of confirmation of the accuracy of the Diagram, it seems like a very clear-in-hindsight-only piece of information. It’s difficult to say without the context, but should he have figured this out sooner? Or did he, and just thought that having identified Jasnah and (perhaps) Shallan, he had it covered? It's a mistake any deranged halfwit could have made.

This selection also gives us an early hint as to the structure - or lack thereof - in the original writing: punctuation is entirely missing, because obviously any intelligent person can figure it out, right? Except when they can’t ... which may come into play.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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