|<< WoR Ch. 46: Patriots / WoR Ch. 48: No More Weakness >>|
|“||Yet, were the orders not disheartened by so great a defeat, for the Lightweavers provided spiritual sustenance; they were enticed by those glorious creations to venture on a second assault.||”|
–From Words of Radiance, chapter 21, page 10
Progression of the Chapter:
There are maps showing Urithiru in different places; Pattern reads Dawnchant; Vorin name games are weird; connections between the Urithiru legends begin to take shape; Shallan takes a bath; Pattern is disconcertingly curious about human anatomy. Shallan realizes that she will probably never return to Jah Keved, considers her efforts to communicate with her brothers, and begins to develop plans to bring them to join her instead; she hurriedly prepares to meet her betrothed, wondering how to go about wooing him; on her way out, she wonders about Sebarial and Palona, and how such a smart man could have such chaotic ledgers. Getting into the carriage, she checks with her soldiers and slaves to see how they are doing, then proceeds to spend the ride playing with Stormlight; after some consideration, she decides not to use illusion as makeup when she meets Adolin.
Quote of the Chapter:
|“|| "How do you reach a city if not by roads?" Shallan asked. "Nohadon could walk there, or so he claimed. But others do not speak of riding, or walking, to Urithiru." True, there were few accounts of people visiting the city. It was a legend. Most modern scholars considered it a myth.
She needed more information. She scrambled over to Jasnah’s trunk, digging out one of her notebooks. "She said that Urithiru wasn’t on the Shattered Plains," Shallan said, "but what if the pathway to it is here? Not an ordinary pathway, though. Urithiru was the city of Surgebinders. Of ancient wonders, like Shardblades."
"Mm ... " Pattern said softly. "Shardblades are no wonder ... "
Shallan found the reference she was searching for. It wasn’t the quote she found curious, but Jasnah’s annotation of it. Another folktale, this one recorded in Among the Darkeyed, by Calinam. Page 102. Stories of instantaneous travel and the Oathgates pervade these tales.
Instantaneous travel. Oathgates.
"That’s what she was coming here for," Shallan whispered. "She thought she could find a passageway here, on the Plains. But they’re barren stormlands, just stone, crem, and greatshells." She looked up at Pattern. "We really need to get out there, onto the Shattered Plains."
Research into the location of Urithiru now begins in earnest, as Shallan gets out every map she’s been able to acquire. The antics of cartographers are understandable, if annoying: most of them apparently consider their own land to be the most important, and therefore draw it at a larger scale than the rest of the world. Everything else gets misshapen, though none seem to claim that Urithiru is within their borders; it’s always just outside. That still places it all over the place, with no two maps agreeing.
However, Pattern’s way of looking at things - of seeing patterns but not metaphors - is the correct approach to "the pathway to Urithiru."
Brandon stuck inconsistencies and general weirdness into the linguistics of this chapter. Poor Pattern; not only do people have too many names (in this case, Nohadon), but the honorific name the Ardents came up with to meet the need for symmetry isn’t symmetrical unless one understands the quirk about the 'h' sound. So apparently, Nohadon would actually be written Nodadon or something like that. So a Vorin speaker would see Nodadon, which is symmetry, and say Nohadon, which is by definition (and by definition only!) symmetrical. Poor Pattern. At least he gets her back by recognizing the way in which the various scripts derive from the Dawnchant.
Shallan has set in motion the means to reconnect with her brothers after the loss of her half of their original spanreed, and plans to try to persuade them to leave the family estates and join her instead. Presumably, all this was done with the stipend Sebarial is indeed paying her, along with buying replacements for as many of the lost books as she could find.
Her slaves and soldiers seem to be doing well; the slave En even smiles at her, as he begins to get used to a much more pleasant mistress than he’s had for a long, long time. Vathah is grumpy, as is his habit. Gaz is - surprisingly - a sympathetic character, given the way he was presented in The Way of Kings.
This is the next day, after Kaladin's meet-up with the self-styled "patriots."
Shallan's bath is entertaining by virtue of her efforts to convince herself that there’s no need to be embarrassed by Pattern’s presence despite his masculine voice and identification. After all, the tub and the walls had spren, and that wasn’t a problem ... .
This is a breakthrough chapter for Shallan. Not only does she begin to piece together the Urithiru puzzle, she makes progress on her Lightweaving and even figures out how to withdraw the Stormlight from an Illusion and make it go away. Short of draining every sphere in range, anyway, which is pretty much what always happened before.
She does have a block, though; she needs to sketch something in order to create an Illusion. Pattern indicates that it shouldn’t be necessary, which also answers an earlier debate about how someone like Shalash said.
|“|| But we first ...
She stopped listening until he was done.
Paliah probably reflects the Scholar, as Shallan digs through all the maps and other information she has available, returning to the search for the way to Urithiru. Shalash, presumably, is the Artist and Lightweaver, as Shallan does a fair amount of both sketching and practicing.
Words of Radiants:
A single word can make such a difference in the tone of a sentence. "Enticed" in this passage invites skepticism. Or maybe it’s just that the writer didn’t approve of the second assault ... or trust the Lightweavers. Perhaps, the author of the in-book book is not the most reliable of narrators.
Shallan's thoughts at the end of the chapter are thoroughly endearing; she’s been comparing herself to the other women in the vicinity, and comes up short - both literally and figuratively - in her own estimation. It’s only reasonable that she would consider using her Lightweaving to just ... augment things a little, here and there. Wisely, even though she calls herself foolish for it, she chooses to refrain and meet Adolin unenhanced. Also, this:
|“|| ''She’d have to rely, instead, upon her feminine wiles.
She wished she knew if she had any.
- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson