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Progression of the Chapter:
Szeth sits on the top of Urithiru and contemplates the things he has done; having fought someone who held and used Stormlight, he faces the possibility that the past eight years have been based on a lie; he departs Urithiru, falling toward a place he hopes to find answers.
Quote of the Chapter:
|“|| "What does it mean if the Shamanate are wrong? What does it mean if they banished me in error?"
It meant the End of All Things. The end of truth. It would mean that nothing made sense, and that his oath was meaningless.
It would mean he had killed for no reason.
Szeth was trying so hard to obey the rules no matter the cost. The cost was high, but he’s not the one who paid it. In his head ...
The screamers deserved their deaths, of course. They should have killed Szeth.
Even as he murders more and more people, he seems to increasingly think of himself as the victim.
On a lighter note, this short interlude provides eye-opening snippets of information. This is a first actual glimpse of Urithiru; a hundred terraced stories high, with an odd, flat, windowed, eastern wall. Whatever it may once have been, and whatever it will become, at this point Szeth seems to be the only person who knows exactly where it is and has the capability to get there.
However, given that he considers it "the only place in the East where the stones were not cursed, where walking on them was allowed," it seems probable that the Stone Shamans know of it. It’s even possible that they know exactly where it is, and that he found it based on existing maps. So, do Stone Shamans train with Honorblades? Are there traditionally one or more individuals amongst them who practice the Surgebinding that comes with the eight Honorblades they’ve been "protecting" for the last few millennia? Have they had them that whole time? If not, when did they acquire them? Which one do they not have, beside that of Taln? Who does have that one?
Nevertheless, for the first time is stated the "crime" for which Szeth was named Truthless; a claim that either the Voidbringers or the Radiants (or both, or one implying the other) were returning. The Stone Shamans insisted that it was a false alarm, that the Voidbringers are no more, the powers of old (Surgebinding via spren?) are no more, the Knights Radiant are fallen, the Stone Shamans are all that remain. Which is ... manifestly false. Did they know it was false? Were they deceiving themselves? Did they really believe Surgebinding was gone forever? Did they know the truth, but perpetrated a lie to maintain control? Obviously, they were committed to a set of beliefs that were flat-out wrong.
Yet, off Szeth went to obey the rules for being Truthless. Then he met up with Kaladin, who clearly could do at least some of the stuff that was supposed to be impossible in this day and age ... and suddenly his perception ran head-on into the brick wall of reality. Suddenly the all-knowing Stone Shamans turned out to be completely wrong, meaning that despite all their declarations, he was not, in fact, Truthless ... and there was no justification for the rules he followed after all.
Just what kind of special irrationality does it take to give someone an Honorblade, which not only can’t be beaten, but also bestows Surgebinding skills on the holder ... and then send him out with a rock in his hand, bound to give the rock to anyone that wants it, and then to obey whatever orders they choose to give him - good, bad, or indifferent?
Szeth did the deeds, and he is guilty no matter whose rules he was following. But the Stone Shamans are every bit as guilty as Szeth, since they gave him the power to do those deeds. Likewise guilty are the masters he’s obeyed, because they used the tool at hand to commit evil deeds. Perception be damned; the reality is that a whole host of people were murdered with no justification whatsoever.
This interlude takes place somewhere along the line of the past two Rosharan weeks, or roughly during the timespan of Part Three: Deadly.
"Glories within." Is this a Shin idiom? No one else seems to say it. It certainly serves as a reminder that there’s a a great deal of information about the people, culture, and religion of Shinovar that remains - as yet - unknown.
- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson