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WoR Ch33

But it is not impossible to blend
Their Surges to ours in the end.
It has been promised and it can come.
Or do we understand the sum?
We question not if they can have us then,
But if we dare to have them again.

–From the Listener Song of Spren, 10th stanza

Point of view: Kaladin, Adolin
Setting: The Pinnacle

Progression of the Chapter:

Kaladin falls with the rain and survives a fall of at least a hundred feet; is awed by Szeth's control of the powers they both have; is horrified at the loss of his hand, and the consequent loss of everything he’s ever learned to be. Szeth is surprised at Kaladin’s survival. As he considers it, Kaladin heals his own hand; Szeth is shocked and horror-stricken at the implication, and flees the scene; Kaladin returns, exhausted, to the Pinnacle; the Kholins are all alive, and uninjured except for Dalinar's and Adolin’s wounds from the fight. Kaladin can’t bring himself to tell Dalinar why he’s alive in front of Elhokar and Adolin; Adolin is troubled by Kaladin’s behavior and lack of wounds. A new Stormwatch glyph is discovered; Beld is dead; Syl is sure Kaladin can do what Szeth does, with practice; she is also sure there is something different about Szeth’s Blade, but she doesn’t know what; Hobber is discovered alive, but with both legs soul-severed by Szeth’s Blade.

Quote of the Chapter:

The assassin scrambled backward, eyes as wide as if Kaladin had turned into a chasmfiend. "They told me I was a liar!" the assassin screamed. "They told me I was wrong! Szeth-son-son-Vallano ... Truthless. They named me Truthless!"

This is the moment that the reader discovers just why Szeth is the Assassin: he had, apparently, claimed that the Radiants were returning (though the details of his original claim remain unknown), was told he was a liar, and was named Truthless for his heresy. Is Szeth worthy of the reader's pity for this? He’s spent the past seven years living a nightmare punishment for his 'false' claim. Now he finds out that his claim was true, and those who named him Truthless were false, and all the havoc he’s wreaked was completely unjustified. His whole foundation has just been shattered.


So, here the reader finds herself/himself watching Kaladin and Szeth, nowhere near halfway through the book, and Szeth only kills one person before he wigs out and flies away. One too many, but still – only one, and that not the one he was sent to kill. He was supposed to be brutal, and though they mounted a somewhat better defense than he’d expected, he’d likely have gone back up and finished the job, had Kaladin not completely blown his mind by demonstrating an unmistakable Surgebinding.

Given the changes Brandon's made to the ending of the book ...

"The question this raises is about Szeth being stabbed by a Shardblade, then being resuscitated. I’m sad to lose this sequence, as it’s an important plot point for the series that dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, while living ones can. I’m going to have to work this into a later book, though I think it’s something we can sacrifice here for the stronger scene of character for Kaladin and Szeth.

... something here may be significant.

A moment of surprise. A moment to live. Perhaps ... Kaladin felt the Light working, the tempest within straining and pushing. He gritted his teeth and heaved somehow. The color returned to his hand, and feeling - cold pain - suddenly flooded his arm, hand, fingers. Light began to stream from his hand.

"No ... " the assassin said. "No!"

There's a parallel between each man having his arm sliced through with the other’s Blade in these two fights. However, there's a difference: Brandon's statement, " ... dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, while living ones can.", tells all. From the Prologue to The Way of Kings:

Szeth danced out of range as the Shardbearer swung in anger, trying to cut at Szeth’s knees. The tempest within Szeth gave him many advantages – including the ability to quickly recover from small wounds. But it would not restore limbs killed by a Shardblade.

Kaladin was able to heal a soul-severed arm, and Szeth did not know that could be done at all – or rather, he knew (presumably from the experience of others, not his own) that it could not be done. Not with an Honorblade, anyway. Pretty cool parallel.

This was frustrating:

I am a Surgebinder, Kaladin thought as Dalinar looked over at him. I used Stormlight. He wanted to say the words, but they wouldn’t come out. Not in front of Elhokar and Adolin.

Storms. I’m a coward.

Yes, Kaladin, you are. This is the time to tell them. They’ve just seen you do something completely impossible; tell them the truth now, and they’d believe you. They’d be grateful, and awestruck, and delighted, and you would never have to hide it again. Right here, in this small group of (reasonably) trustworthy leaders, you could make things so much simpler for everyone. But no – you’re afraid they could and would somehow take it from you, so you just pretend it was sheer dumb luck.

Adolin, of course, gets even more suspicious because he was sure he saw Kaladin’s arm cut by the assassin’s blade. Pile that on top of the irritation at Kaladin’s failure to be appropriately subordinate in his behavior, and the incredibly weird fact that he stood firmly with the Kholins against a Shardbearing assassin, and the result is a very frustrated and confused Adolin. And he’s now extra wary of Kaladin, even as he tries not to be as paranoid as the king.

Also, as the only Shardbearer of the three facing the assassin, Adolin got stuck to the ceiling, while Dalinar did that awesome 'last-clap' and Kaladin tackled the assassin out through the hole in the wall. How embarrassing is that?


"Thirty-eight days," Renarin read. "The end of all nations."

Twenty-four days have passed since the first countdown writing was discovered. Considering the apparent lack of progress, that’s got to be a bit disturbing for Dalinar and company. With Renarin’s already-formed bond (his Shardblade screams at him from the get-go) and ... later developments, he might actually be the one who has done the glyph-writing.

(Same day as Chapter 31 and Chapter 32.)


Syl discovers that she knows several new things in this chapter: that Kaladin can heal himself from a Shardblade-severed arm; that he is not ready for more Words, but that with practice he could do all the things Szeth does; and that there’s something wrong with the amount of Light Szeth consumes when he uses his Blade. She approves of Beld’s willingness to die protecting, and of all the bridgemen's choice to protect. She also seriously disapproves of Kaladin’s failure to acknowledge that it was her warning he heeded, and that he is a developing Surgebinder.

Most significantly, she confirms that Szeth is using Windrunner powers, but that he has no honorspren. Readers knew that already (Syl may have stated as much in the previous chapter), but she is absolutely positive, here.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Nalan and Jezrien. Jezrien is pretty obvious: with all that chatter about protecting, plus both Kaladin and Szeth using the Windrunner skillset, and Kaladin healing himself with Stormlight, Jezrien pretty much had to be here. Readers might have expected Vedel rather than Nalan, given the healing, but Nalan it is ... probably for the false judgement of "Truthless" against him.

Just Sayin’:

"By the Almighty’s tenth name."

Is the tenth name the holiest? The way Dalinar says it, perhaps there's not the tiniest bit of profanity involved.

Warning Book Spoiler: Significant plot details follow.
Warning Book Spoiler: Significant plot details follow.
Warning Book Spoiler: Significant plot details follow.

Might there be another parallel between the death and resuscitation of Jasnah and Szeth? Jasnah was stabbed through the heart, and should have been dead, but her living Blade was able to heal her; Szeth (in the original) was cut through the spinal column with a Blade, and was ... just ... dead. He was only not-dead by the intervention of a Herald with a Regrowth fabrial. Is the difference between how they died, or how they were saved?

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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