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WoR Ch11

But, understandably, we were focused on Sadeas. His betrayal was still fresh, and I saw its signs each day as I passed empty barracks and grieving widows. We knew that Sadeas would not simply rest upon his slaughters in pride. More was coming.

–From the journal of Navani Kholin, Jesesach 1174

Point of view: Shallan
Setting: The Frostlands, near the Shallow Crypts

Progression of the Chapter:

Shallan finds herself not dead; the santhid disappears over the horizon; Shallan unwillingly faces facts; Pattern finds Jasnah's waterproofed trunk as the only other survivor nearby; Shadesmar is precariously accessed; a stick is exceedingly contented; Shallan is exceptionally tenacious (also exceptionally cold); a slaver is opportunely located; Jasnah is successfully emulated; and the trek to the Shattered Plains continues.

Quote of the Chapter:

"The santhid. It rescued me." How had it known what to do? Were they intelligent? Could she have somehow communicated with it? Had she missed an opportunity to -

She almost started laughing as she realized the direction her thoughts were going. She’d nearly drowned, Jasnah was dead, the crew of the Wind’s Pleasure likely murdered or swallowed by the sea! Instead of mourning them or marveling at her survival, Shallan was engaging in scholarly speculation?

That’s what you do, a deeply buried part of herself accused her. You distract yourself. You refuse to think about things that bother you.

But that was how she survived.

Development of the Chapter:

Shallan is washed up on a rock after she thought she was going to drown. It’s fortunate that Jasnah’s trunk washed up nearby; it contains a great deal of information that she’s going to need once she reaches the Shattered Plains, as well as the money and Stormlight she’s going to need in her immediate future.

Shallan used only one sphere in her Soulcasting of the ship, thereby enabling her escape. The use of more spheres might've reduced her injuries and exhaustion, and perhaps let her think more clearly. However, she doesn’t know enough yet to have thought of that.

Even so, if she hadn’t needed Stormlight to Soulcast, she probably never would've drawn it in. However, if she had drawn it in and not entered Shadesmar, it would've gone farther toward healing her. If she’d succeeded in making a fire, she wouldn’t have been in such danger of hypothermia, but she also wouldn’t have kept moving and looking for another fire.

Shallan kept moving and found the slaver, Tvlakv, along with a dilemma: trust these clearly-untrustworthy men, or freeze/starve to death in the middle of nowhere? This is an instance where class distinction is convenient for her because a slaver would hesitate to abuse or enslave a lighteyed woman. For the slaver, there's the chance of good money to be had by delivering her safe and sound to her desired destination. Additionally, a slaver caught with a captive lighteyes would likely be enslaved himself (or condemned to a bridge crew). With slavery out of the question, Tvlakv and his cohorts could either rape and murder her, or help her. For a "merchant" worth his salt, helping was clearly the more lucrative option.

For Shallan, the illusion of perception worked, because she intuited just how to make people accept her authority; by imitating Jasnah. Jasnah had previously explained to her power as a matter of perception. Shallan tried it then, in a minor incident: she wanted to see the santhid underwater, so she imitated Jasnah and induced Tozbek to let her do so, even though he’d refused earlier. Her success there made it possible for her to use the same technique here, with enough confidence that she actually pulled it off.


Pattern is oddly hesitant in Shadesmar; he doesn’t seem to know much, and doesn’t give Shallan much help other than translating and urging her to hurry. He comments, "I am from here, yet I remember so little ... ".

Incidentally, when Pattern takes his natural form in Shadesmar, he casts a shadow the wrong way, toward the "sun."

Another instance of spren taking vastly different forms in the Physical vs. Cognitive Realms is with the exhaustionspren that circle Shallan. In the Cognitive Realm, they're described as large, birdlike, dark grey, seeming to have no specific shape, their forms blurry. In the Physical Realm, they're described as swirls or jets of dust, dizzy-looking, rising from the ground and spinning about a human.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

The santhid made distinct eye contact with Shallan the first time she encountered it, which proved the stories that santhidyn sometimes stay with a ship for days. It brought her safely to shore. It might or might not have been responsible for bringing Jasnah’s trunk to the same place, but the trunk did end up nearby. Just how intelligent are such creatures?

Ars Arcanum:

"Sticks need Stormlight. For ... things ... "

Shallan stared at that pile of sticks, feeling utterly useless. What was it Jasnah had said? Control is the basis of all true power? Authority and strength are matters of perception? Well, this was a direct refutation of that. Shallan could imagine herself as grand, could act like a queen, but that didn’t change a thing out here in the wilderness.

Shallan pleaded with the stick, offered it the "opportunity" to be fire, tried to convince it that it wanted to burn - and it sat there complacently being a stick. Just why would a stick need Stormlight?

Instead of assuming authority over the stick, Shallan tried to manipulate it; persuading the stick to want to be fire was never going to work, and her failure is not a refutation of Jasnah’s explanation.

Heraldic Symbolism:

For the first time, the white-on-black Pattern icon (which graces Shallan's current-time PoV chapters) is revealed. FYI: the flashback icons in both The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance are negative images of the real-time icons.

The Herald is Battar, associated with the attributes of Wise/Careful, the Elsecallers, and the role of Counsellor. Likely, she’s present due to Shallan’s efforts to emulate Jasnah’s way of dealing with people, and, perhaps, with her failure to emulate Jasnah’s approach to Soulcasting that stubborn stick.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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