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WoR Ch9

I wish to think that had I not been under sorrow's thumb, I would have seen earlier the approaching dangers. Yet in all honesty, I'm not certain anything could have been done.

–From the journal of Navani Kholin, Jesesach 1174

Point of view: Kaladin
Setting: A chasm on the Shattered Plains near Dalinar's warcamp

Progression of the Chapter:

A group of bridgemen re-enter the chasms as an unofficial initiation; an exceedingly messy grave is observed and insanity is poked about; many spren are discussed; Kaladin’s irrational fears are addressed but not solved; hints are dropped; and, theories are triggered.

Quote of the Chapter:

"You," Syl said. "You’re going to need to become what Dalinar Kholin is looking for. Don’t let him search in vain."

"They’ll take it from me, Syl," Kaladin whispered. "They’ll find a way to take you from me."

"That’s foolishness. You know that it is."

"I know it is, but I feel it isn’t. They broke me, Syl. I’m not what you think I am. I’m no Radiant."

"That’s not what I saw," Syl said. "On the battlefield after Sadeas’s betrayal, when men were trapped , abandoned. That day I saw a hero."

This is the core of most of Kaladin’s conflict in Words of Radiance. He doesn’t quite believe he’s becoming a Radiant; he doesn’t believe he can be a hero. Further, he not only can’t bring himself to trust a lighteyes, he’s convinced - against all evidence and logic - that if they see him becoming a Windrunner, there will be a way it can be taken away from him.

Development of the Chapter:

There is progress with the bridgemen; Teft has apparently set up the twenty crews, with two potential leaders for each. Unfortunately, they don’t see themselves as leaders yet. Storms, they don’t even see themselves as soldiers yet! They’re still just bridgemen, and not even special Bridge Four men; just plain, ordinary, beat-down, run-down, lowest-of-the-low bridgemen.

About the chasms, is Sadeas the only one salvaging in them? Or only those who follow his lead in bridge-running? Granted, there’s a lot of debris through which to sort (making it a perfect job for grinding people down and a lousy one for treating people well). It seems like there are a lot of valuable spheres down there, and a fair pile of weaponry that could be recovered. Dalinar seems to have made no effort at all to reclaim any of it.

(If this is where all the bodies from all the battles wash up after a highstorm, doesn’t it stink down there? And doesn’t that smell rise? Why don't the warcamps reek of decay?)

Syl's frustration with not knowing what she knows is painful for her. She knows about cryptics, but she doesn’t know what she knows about them. She knows it’s vital that the Radiants be refounded, but she doesn’t quite know why.

"There are others like you," Syl whispered. "I do not know them, but I know that other spren are trying, in their own way, to reclaim what was lost."


The list of spren in this chapter is impressive: gloryspren, dangerous stormspren like red lightning, cryptics, rotspren, lifespren, spren like living lights in the air, windspren, honorspren, other Radiant-making spren, Stormfather. There are questions, too. Why can’t spren attract spren? Could a spren have made the Stormwatch glyphs? Where did Syl (and the rest of the spren) come from before entering the Physical Realm?

"Has it ever struck you as unfair that spren cannot attract spren? I should really have had some gloryspren of my own there."

Whatever it is that attracts spren - whether a feeling of accomplishment, a definite accomplishment, the adulation of others, or something other - they are rightly called gloryspren because that’s what Rosharans call them.

Kaladin gets gloryspren because Teft has become a real leader, and poor Syl gets none because she’s a spren. Might this change as she and Kaladin develop their Radiance? She seems to be gaining mass, becoming more strongly a part of the Physical Realm. Will she someday be so physically present that she can attract spren, too?

This is a first glimpse, albeit secondhand, of stormspren:

"Spren like red lightning. Dangerous spren. Spren I haven’t seen before. I catch them in the distance, on occasion. Stormspren? Something dangerous is coming ... ."

This is also a glimpse of how Syl views the physical realm:

She nodded, alighting in the air and settling down, her legs crossed at the knees as if she were primly seating herself in an invisible chair. She continued to hover there, moving exactly in step with him.

"Giving up all pretense of obeying natural laws again, I see," he said.

"Natural laws?" Syl said, finding the concept amusing. "Laws are of men, Kaladin. Nature doesn’t have them!"

"If I toss something upward, it comes back down."

"Except when it doesn’t."

"It’s a law."

"No," Syl said, looking upward. "It’s more like ... more like an agreement among friends."

This implies that from Sylphrena’s perspective, physics on Roshar is subject to the spren. Does this mean that the Surges are always controlled by the spren, or is it merely that the spren can affect them whenever they want? Which is cause, and which is effect?

Syl landed on the side of the pool, looking like a woman standing on an ocean’s shore. Kaladin frowned, leaning down to inspect her more closely. She seemed ... different. Had her face changed shape?

A fleeting change so subtle he wasn’t sure if he’d imagined it, which seems to indicate that he obviously hadn’t imagined it, and it’s significant somehow.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Nalan: Just/Confident. Judge. Why is he here?

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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