Let’s Read The Way of Kings ch.1-2

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

 1: Stormblessed

So this chapter also begins with a little quote that’s supposed to have been collected from a “specimen” at some point in the past. I’m assuming all of the chapters will follow suit and will quite the whole thing just to give you an idea of what they’re like, but I won’t mention them from here on out unless they seem particularly important:

“You’ve killed me. Bastards, you’ve killed me! While the sun is still hot, I die!”
—Collected on the fifth day of the week Chach of the month Betab of the year 1171, ten seconds before death. Subject was a darkeyed soldier thirty-one years of age. Sample is considered questionable.

Also it’s five years later. I’m not sure whether that means five years after the quote was collected or five years after what’s his face killed the king of Spoondybop. Probably the latter.

Anyway, there’s a battle going on and a young lad named Cenn is convinced he’s going to die.

It was hard to recall anything while watching that other army form lines across the rocky battlefield. That lining up seemed so civil. Neat, organized. Shortspears in the front ranks, longspears and javelins next, archers at the sides.

Anyone knowledgeable about pre-firearm warfare feel free to critique the accuracy of this.

What if Cenn had to fight [a Shardbearer]? Ordinary men didn’t kill Shardbearers. It had happened so infrequently that each occurrence was now legendary.

Guess what’s going to happen by the end of the chapter!

The grizzled old veteran beside Cenn reassures him that he’ll be fine, since he’s in the squad (did they have “squads” in pre-firearm days?) of Kaladin Stormblessed, who I guess is something of a badass. If I know my war tropes Cenn will either unlock the soldier within himself and kick ass or die tragically so the vets can tenderly close his eyes and lament the pointlessness of war.

It turns out Kaladin Badassblessed is only about eighteen and he paid money to get Cenn (who only joined the army three months ago and has never fought in a battle) transferred to his squad. I guess we’ve transitioned seamlessly from epic fantasy to anime in the last page or so. Although actually Szeth was pretty anime as well.

Kaladin is “Stormblessed”, which the soldiers describe as him being “lucky”, so his squad always has the least casualties despite fighting right at the front.

Those who can fight well end up getting sent to the Shattered Plains to battle the Parshendi.

I guess everything went to shit after that assassination, huh? Also we now have our white (so far) main characters fighting black people, even if they are fantasy-black people with red bits.

What follows is one of the driest and dullest battle scenes I think I’ve ever seen, utterly lacking in tension. Notably at no point do Cenn or any of the other soldiers in Mr. Anime’s squad feel like they’re in real danger at all, even when they get injured, which really shouldn’t be the case for a gigantic battle. I guess Branderson can only write good fight scenes when they’re full of video game special powers.

The enemies used their spears like skewers, killing men on the ground like cremlings.

“Cremling” sounds like something from a Dr, Seuss novel, so this sentence is giving me weird mental images.

Cenn panics and runs off, then gets a spear through the leg for his trouble. He’s about to be killed when Anime Commander shows up and starts kicking ass, killing six dudes at once. I’m having trouble taking all of this seriously as a work of epic fantasy, I have to say. It feels more like Dragonball Z by way of Assassin’s Creed at the moment.

After saving Cenn a lighteyed “Brightlord” (this is going to kill me) shows up and Anime is all gung-ho about taking him down because he hates lighteyes. Or Brightlords. Or maybe just guys on white horses, I don’t know. He hates the dude for some reason, anyway. He’s hoping this will get them recognized enough to be sent to the Shattered Plains.

“Imagine it, Dallet. Real soldiers. A warcamp with discipline and lighteyes with integrity. A place where our fighting will mean something.”

I’ve admittedly never been within a thousand miles of anywhere that could be referred to as a battlefield, nor have I ever knowingly exchanged words with a real soldier, but it was my understanding bigger, more violent wars are the sorts of things they tend to try to avoid.

One of those—a thin man with black Alethi hair speckled with a handful of blond hairs, marking some foreign blood

What the fuck? Is he a chimera or something? Is that how genetics works in this world?

Anyway he’s calling for runners to come take the wounded away before three turns pass and they become unusable in later battles.

Fina_Sellers

(Everyone played Valkyria Chronicles and knows what I’m talking about, right?)

Normally the runners would only take lighteyes, but Anime General bribed them to take his men as well.

“Why, Dallet?” Cenn repeated, feeling urgent. “Why bring me into his squad? Why me?”
Dallet shook his head. “It’s just how he is. Hates the thought of young kids like you, barely trained, going to battle. Every now and again, he grabs one and brings him into his squad. A good half dozen of our men were once like you.” Dallet’s eyes got a far-off look. “I think you all remind him of someone.”

God, this all feels so rote and predictable. I wonder when this obvious Checkov’s gun is going to fire? Golly I’m so excited, yes sir.

Anyway a Shardbearer shows up and Cenn passes out or dies from blood loss.

2: Honour is Dead

I wonder how that battle is going.

EIGHT MONTHS LATER

God fucking damn it.

We’re now riding with Kaladin, who has become a slave presumably after being captured in the battle last chapter. I think all of the other soldiers are dead or imprisoned so I’m not sure what the point of all of that was.

Kaladin is in a wagon with some other slaves, heading to parts unknown. One of the other slaves notices the marks tattooed on his forehead declaring him dangerous (because he’s a badass do you see) and strikes up a conversation.

Kaladin has tried to escape ten times and failed, and the man wants to go with him on the next attempt.

As he spoke, he attracted a few hungerspren. They looked like brown flies that flitted around the man’s head, almost too small to see.

I haven’t been mentioning it, but there are spren more or less everywhere in this world, randomly appearing and sprenning up the place (Kaladin has seen the same windspren repeatedly and speculates that it’s following him). I guess this is nice in that it’s a fairly original method of making the world feel distinct from our own, but I don’t really see what the point is.

It seems after all the failed escape attempts Kaladin has totally given up.

And now, here he was, in an even worse situation than where he’d begun. It was better not to resist. This was his lot, and he was resigned to it

Oh well, no point reading further I guess.

recycle

Seriously though, I’m fine with a character who starts off hopeless and regains their confidence, but that moment better not take too long coming. If this turns into Kaladin repeatedly leading his fellow slaves in rebellion or other noble acts despite insisting that he’s too old for this shit, no really, then I’m going to lose my patience very quickly.

The wagons continued to roll, fields of green extending in all directions. The area around the rattling wagons was bare, however. When they approached, the grass pulled away, each individual stalk withdrawing into a pinprick hole in the stone. After the wagons moved on, the grass timidly poked back out and stretched its blades toward the air. And so, the cages moved along what appeared to be an open rock highway, cleared just for them.

That’s actually kind of cool.

Men who had no honor. Were there men who had honor?
No, Kaladin thought. Honor died eight months ago.

For fuck’s sake man, you lost one battle. I know being a slave sucks, but did he never realize that was going on before? How did he think it was going to go if they lost?

That slave who’d been coughing earlier was at it again. A ragged, wet cough. Once, Kaladin would have been quick to go help, but something within him had changed. So many people he’d tried to help were now dead. It seemed to him—irrationally—that the man would be better off without his interference.

I’m super glad that Kaladin’s character development isn’t going to be handled with subtlety or anything. Dodged a bullet there.

I believe I’ve written before about how I hate the way so many fantasy worlds just feel like Ye Olde Europe with magic. The world of this book seems to be trying to alleviate this somewhat- there are multiple moons, there’s a large belt of red stars visible in the night sky, the wagons are pulled by giant crabs. For all that though, it still mostly just feels like Earth, or someone playing a Skyrim mod.

Kaladin has some poisonous leaves he swiped earlier and briefly contemplates using them to kill himself. In the middle of all of this brutal slavery and depression, a Disney fairy shows up.

“Oh!” a soft, feminine voice said. “What’s that?”
A translucent figure—just a handspan tall—peeked up from over the edge of the floor near Kaladin. She climbed up and into the wagon, as if scaling some high plateau.

It’s the Windspren, here to facilitate some severe mood whiplash. This is our first woman to have an actual speaking role, so let’s see how Branderson does with that.

She—Kaladin couldn’t help but think of the windspren as a she—was formed of pale blues and whites and wore a simple, flowing white dress of a girlish cut that came down to midcalf. Like the hair, it faded to mist at the very bottom.

Wow, there are a whole boatload of personal bugbears that paragraph could prompt a digression on, but I think I’ll stick to the weird tendency for male fantasy authors to infantalize women in their books. Rothfuss was a real champ at this, you may recall.

Now to be fair there’s no sign Kaladin is going to want to have sex with the Windpsren so it’s not quite as skeevy, but I still don’t get the tendency to introduce a woman and then describe them as “girlish” or in childish terms, as if you’re defusing a bomb by rendering the character sexually inert.

Her feet, hands, and face were crisply distinct, and she had the hips and bust of a slender woman.

But she’s still hot, guys! Relax!

She bent down, looking at his hand from different angles, like a child expecting to find a hidden piece of candy. “What is it?” Her voice was like a whisper. “You can show me. I won’t tell anyone. Is it a treasure? Have you cut off a piece of the night’s cloak and tucked it away? Is it the heart of a beetle, so tiny yet powerful?”

Oh God it’s Moon fey-chan all over again

I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS

He said nothing, causing the spren to pout.

AAAAAHHHHHHHH

Windspren-chan reveals that she knows Kaladin’s name, then shoots off impishly into the night. Somehow none of the other slaves heard Kaladin talking to her even though they’re all crammed into a tiny wagon together.

“Storm you!” Kaladin said, leaping to his feet.

Dear genre writers, pleases stop coming up with your own swear words. It always sounds fucking stupid.

Spren didn’t use people’s names. Spren weren’t intelligent. The larger ones—like windspren or riverspren—could mimic voices and expressions, but they didn’t actually think. They didn’t…

Clearly a mystery is afoot. Interesting, I guess. I do like that things are happening.

Then Windspren-chan comes back.

“How do you know my name?” he whispered.
“How do you know it?”

Brandon Sanderson this character is not as funny and adorable as you think she is, please stop.

Windspren-chan’s questioning about why he doesn’t fight prompts him to have a good mope.

They were all dead. Cenn and Dallet, and before that Tukks and the Takers. Before that, Tien. Before that, blood on his hands and the corpse of a young girl with pale skin.

We’re not doing that “daughter/ little sister/ random girl/ love interest/ wife gets killed for manpain” thing are we? I hate manpain.

This life—the casual buying and selling of human flesh—seemed to have an effect on men. It wearied the soul, even if it did fill one’s money pouch.

The poor dears.

The slaveowner notices that one of the slaves has “the grindings”- a disease that causes a cough- and seems to be about to order an underling to kill him.

The windspren took the form of a white ribbon, then zipped over toward the sick man. She spun and twisted a few times before landing on the floor, becoming a girl again. She leaned in to inspect the man. Like a curious child.

Okay, yes. We get it. You can stop now.

The slaveowner and his cronies are all terrified of Kaladin so he manages to convince them not to kill the sick guy. I don’t get why they wouldn’t just kill him. He has brands marking him as both a repeated escapee and dangerous; who’s going to pay for him?

But then the croney kills the sick slave anyway. Oh the humanity. Kaladin is sad because everyone he tries to help ends up dead. Maybe you should stop trying to help people, then.

Kaladin is filled with man-rage and makes plans to poison the slave-master with his magic leaves, but he accidentally crushed them when he saw the slave being killed OH THE HUMANITY. Kaladin, I have a walkthrough for this part of the game and it says you should get Windspren-chan to collect more magic leaves for you. Just a tip.

What always surprises me about Branderson is how amateurish his books feel. The prose, the shallow characters, the video gamey elements, the incredibly inept forced bathos as we see here. But Branderson is patently not an amateur, the dude’s written tons of books. Maybe the speed with which he cranks these things out is to blame.

 

 

 

 

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36 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Way of Kings ch.1-2

  1. Poliorcetes

    > did they have “squads” in pre-firearm days?)

    I don’t think they did. Formations, sure, but not squads. The battle itself doesn’t really play out very realistically either.

    Reply
  2. Zenobious

    “I’ve admittedly never been within a thousand miles of anywhere that could be referred to as a battlefield, nor have I ever knowingly exchanged words with a real soldier, but it was my understanding bigger, more violent wars are the sorts of things they tend to try to avoid.”

    Not particularly, soldiers are usually going to be inculcalted with the sort of martial attitude that makes them want to go into battles and get into combat. This is even more true of pre-industrial societies of this sort; where martial ability and service is tied into social class and standing, and where military service and fighting (and especially winning) is idolized to a degree that would seem almost fascistic to most modern people.

    That is not to say that it comes with no regret or displeasure after the fact, of course. But people can simultaneously mourn dead friends and hate foolish unproductive wars, and still want to go back into combat again — whether it’s because they’re addicted to the adrenaline rush of fighting or because they just don’t know anything else in life.

    “Anyone knowledgeable about pre-firearm warfare feel free to critique the accuracy of this.”

    Most historical warfare done by formal groups had a lot of structure and organization to it — we just have more sparse records of the earliest forms it took. From roughly 500 BCE and on we have lots of examples of formalized units and careful troop deployments in the field, though… one might quibble over Branderson’s exact presentation of the fighting but there’s nothing wrong with the concept in general, or having units as small as squads in a pre-modern army.

    Reply
    1. somatophylakes

      This. The biggest issue here is that, from what I hazily recall of this chapter, this speech isn’t quite consistent with Branderson’s prior characterisation of Kaladin, rather than there being anything wrong with the idea itself.

      Reply
    2. Grumpus

      Yeah, I’ve definitely seen references to squad-sized groupings in pre-gunpowder armies, and AFAIK most of those types of formations aren’t unheard of. (Although I haven’t heard of mixed spear types in the same formation – has anyone else?)

      Reply
      1. Zenobious

        Well, the manipular legion’s triplex acies formation would be a case of varying types of weapons in different lines of the formation, although usually with more overall depth than Sanderson suggests here. Perhaps a better example would be late medieval and renaissance pike blocks, where pikes, swords, halberds, and other polearms were all carried in mixed formations, often with crossbows or muskets integrated into the grouping too.

        If I were to nitpick something about Sanderson’s presentation, it would be the choice of short spears in the front and long ones in the back, since historically the Swiss (originators of late medieval pike formations) adopted longer and longer polearms to carry in the *front* rows, while placing weapons with shorter hafts in the middle ranks where they wouldn’t be disadvantaged in the initial press of pike. Carrying javelins anywhere but the front ranks or flanks seems odd as well, since it’s going to be pretty hard to throw it properly anywhere else.

        Reply
      2. Grumpus

        I think I’ve heard of anglo-saxons of the Norman conquest era throwing missile weapons from behind a shieldwall and the Romans having ranks behind the front line throwing pila, but OFC those Romans weren’t dedicated pilum carriers and I don’t that those Anglo-Saxon troops were dedicated javelin wielders either..? And yeah the short weapons in front of the pikes seem wacky to me as well.

        Reply
    3. Austin H. Williams

      Aside from issues already mentioned (especially regarding putting the short spears in the front, and why are we dealing with javelins if we have something that ostensibly resembles a pike formation?), this whole question of the accuracy of these military formations also shows an example of just plain shoddy worldbuilding. Reading the description of this battle, I can’t tell if the technology level is supposed to be late Medieval or Early Bronze Age. Where are the cavalry? Are they separated by heavy infantry, light infantry, etc? Are there skirmishers?

      Also frustrating: Why on Eru’s green Earth would you put light infantry/archers in the flanks?! That’s a unit’s most vulnerable area, and typically a place where heavy infantry or heavy cavalry was placed in order to protect the advancing formation.

      The worst part of it is, you could fix most of these oversights by just fucking googling it.

      Reply
      1. Austin H. Williams

        And I took my own advice and just fucking googled it, and I was able to find examples of archers being put on the flanks, but it was always in situations where some other natural obstacle had the flanks covered. On a formation in an open plain (like what Branderson specifies), this was typically not the way to go.

        Reply
  3. lampwick

    >>”She—Kaladin couldn’t help but think of the windspren as a she…”

    You know what would be interesting? If the windspren turned out not to be a she, or to not have any gender at all. HAHAHA who am I kidding.

    Reply
    1. braak

      I like “couldn’t help but think of the windspren as a she” followed by, “she definitely had tits, though”.

      Well, I guess that explains it?

      Reply
  4. Signatus

    I’m actually kind of liking the book (which must be proof that I like some pretty bad books). The writing is not bad, aside from the abuse of complex sentences and certain annoying metaphors and comparisons, and so.
    It seems to have something closely resembling a plot, So, overall, I’m a bit intrigued about how things are going to develop as the book progresses, which is more than Rothfuss can claim.

    What I’m not liking is how predictable it is. It was obvious from the moment Cenn mentioned it that we would be getting one of those super special knights. It was obvious Cenn and the whole “lucky” company would be dead before the chapter ended.
    I was not expecting the chapter to end just like that, without giving us the most tension filled part (when people start dying, you know things are going badly). That was, again, a lazy move from Sanderson’s part, just like the part with Seth. He opened a certain plotline he didn’t know how to finish, so he shortenned it and called it a day.
    It kind of reminds me how yesterday I was stuck in this certain part and I said, “screw this” and deleted those three paragraphs to take a different approach. It worked, the chapter is “done” until revision and the results are appealing.

    Anyways, second chapter. Really? Why do our heros have to go mopping about?
    I have to say Sanderson’s characters are more… fleshed out, to say something, than Rothfuss (who simply didn’t bother). The seem more human.
    However, they are cardboard cutouts from every other man hero out there, with a dark past, and crying because he’s so powerful, or because everyone around him dies (if you were Joe the dude who brings me my mail, instead of Batman, that probably wouldn’t happen, but alas, you’re a superhero in a storybook. Shit happens). It gets annoying after a while.
    Not to mention everything looks unrealistic. This super captain or whatever, Kaladin, is little more than a boy. There have been some historical exception like Francisco Franco Bahamonde, youngest general in the army due to war merits in Aiun, or something along the lines. But they are mainly an exception.
    This dude is little more than a kid, he’s a runaway slave, has more money than Bill Gates (unless bribes are super cheap), and is the biggest badass ever invented. i kind of like baddasses, but baddasses who go about mopping, that I can’t bear.
    Now there is some girl involved… oh, come on! Really? Men are not stone statues, they can suffer, but they can feel for something other than a young, beautiful woman. Why is it always a woman, or a brother? Why not a best friend? Why do we actually need to have them cry around the corners anyways? Being enslaved is bad enough to put you in a fowl mood, don’t think you need a super dramatic past.
    It is so overdone, I just can’t feel sorry for them. Joe, the Mailman’s story might not be as awesome as a runaway slave with a dark past, but it’d be refreshing to see how he lives epic events while crossing Skyrim to deliver the letters. (I think I have a theme XD).

    You know the tricky thing about fantasy? If you do white vs black people, it is racist. If you do black, tribal people against the technologically evolved white colonists, it’s been so overdone it’s not funny any more. I just can’t imagine any possible way such a conflict can be done without falling in a cliché some way or the other.

    Reply
    1. ghosthelwig

      I actually agree with you; I liked this book. At first. There were issues, but it was obvious the writer was trying to be original, and at least he was telling a story. But by the middle of this book the repetition of every single plot point (I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s just say Kaladin spends forever moping pointlessly, and once he’s done, a different male main character is brought in to mope and go over the same few thoughts again and again), and the fact that the story slowed down tremendously, made it impossible to finish. When we get there in this review I may try to read along from where I left off, but until then, I can’t force myself to pick the book up again. It was too frustrating.

      As for the black versus white thing – maybe the white people could be tribal, and the black people be technologically advanced? I don’t know if that’s been done a lot or not. Or even better, have race not be the defining characteristic of a group of people. Maybe they define themselves more by the type of work they do, or by religion. Anything but the usual white rich people and dark-skinned (because it’s less racist if you just admit they’re black?) tribal folk.

      Reply
      1. ronanwills Post author

        “As for the black versus white thing – maybe the white people could be tribal, and the black people be technologically advanced?”

        I’ve often had the idea that it would be cool to have a story set in generic medieval Europlandia and then reveal that there’s another culture or race that’s at a higher stage of technological development. Anything to break out of the morass of fantasy white people with swords fighting dark-skinned barbarians.

        Reply
      2. Signatus

        That would be kind of new, yeah (black advanced, white tribal), but in the end, it is either a western (the tribal are the bad and the technologically advanced are the good), or your typical good savage myth, as seen in Avatar and Dancing With Wolves. Writers tend to be that simple.

        Reply
      3. Bob Loblaw

        Richard Morgan’s Steel Remains has a bit of race bending like that. Specifically, the very very dark skinned peoples are incredibly technologically advanced…like, sci-fi advanced compared to the white fantasy Europeans. Out of the three POV characters, one is a gay white guy and another is a black lesbian.

        Reply
      4. welltemperedwriter

        This is more or less what Steven Barnes did with “Lion’s Blood”–an alternate history where Africa is the center of technological progress and Europe is a barbaric backwater (which was actually the case for awhile there but pointing this out makes people tense for some reason–Barnes extends Islamic Africa’s dominance into the 19th century, basically). It’s pretty good, though I haven’t read the sequel.

        Reply
      5. Seamus Scanlon (@SeamusScanlon)

        There a trilogy that just finished this year that is kinda like that called spiritwaler series (a Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency fantasy).

        The back story was the ice age is still ongoing so England is joined to France and some magicans in the Empire of Mali did some magic that caused everyone to leg it to Carthage who they allied with and moved to France/England, married into the noble houses there and established a magic noble group who are called cold mages (there are also fire mages but there are mostly found in the Carribean where Europe didn’t conquer so the Taino kingdoms still rule). Also featuring the intelligent descendants of trodoons.

        The series is good but the authors previous trilogy (Crossroads) I liked more and the only white person in it was seen as weird/possibly a demon. The society is nothing like medieval europe nothing in the way of feudalism or kings – I have no idea what it was based on

        Reply
  5. Satu

    ” “Storm you!” Kaladin said, leaping to his feet.

    Dear genre writers, pleases stop coming up with your own swear words. It always sounds fucking stupid.”

    I for one think it´s appropriate to create unique swears. If Kaladin had just said “To hell with you” for example, that would require the people there to have a religion which has a concept of hell. If they do, it would be soooo much like our world. If they don´t and he just said so anyway, it´d be just a stupid mistake ruining immersion. So I kinda like it that he´s come up with Highstorms and the people believing in a Stormfather who creates them and the using that in a curse.

    Reply
    1. welltemperedwriter

      I agree to some extent–the characters in the novel I’m working on currently don’t say “hell” because they have no concept of it–but it also needs to be something that makes for a really satisfying curse, you know? For all his other failings, Robert Jordan was actually pretty good at this.

      Reply
      1. Grumpus

        You could always go the body-function/part-as-cuss-word route – a lot of the ancient or medieval profanity of that type IMO feels similar enough to have weight haha.

        Reply
      2. ronanwills Post author

        Jordan’s were actually pretty good, yeah. They sounded fairly natural. Although just like the braid-tugging and chin-pointing he repeated them to the point where they got really annoying.

        Reply
      3. braak

        Though it is peculiar that you don’t see people say “fuck” very often. It’s a perfectly irreligious swear word, and it seems a little weird that a book that’s going to have people getting violently slaughtered left and right is going to balk at a dirty word.

        Reply
      4. Austin H. Williams

        On the same token, you have had societies (like, say, present-day America) where militarism and violence are seen as a celebrated way of life, but using coarse language is still seen as an awful faux-pas.

        But then again, that’s on the civvy side of things. I don’t know anyone in the military, no matter how civil they might be when they’re out of uniform, who doesn’t use proper military language when they’re in uniform.

        Reply
      5. braak

        It’d be one thing if the character was balking at the word, but he’s clearly meant to be cursing. It’s the narrator who doesn’t want to say “fuck.”

        Reply
  6. braak

    I would like there to be more epic fantasy novels in which the main character was not a noble or a secret king or something. Also, I would like it if people talked about “honor” like it was a complex set of regulatory social customs, and not, like, Klingon Honor which I guess is just about fighting.

    I HAVE MANY DEMANDS, FANTASY NOVELS.

    Reply
  7. tanglefox

    it was my understanding bigger, more violent wars are the sorts of things they tend to try to avoid.

    I’ve talked to a vet who said that when he was first drafted and sent to Vietnam, he tried to get assigned to the super-dangerous high casualty unit, because of glory and excitement and such. He got turned down, because all the other special forces guys also wanted to be in that unit, so the more experienced guys got priority. So I think some soldiers do like being sent to the bigger and more violent wars, possibly because it’s a chance to show that they are bigger and more violent than anyone else, and because there aren’t many places where you can go around killing with near-impunity and be rewarded for it. Or possibly because they’ve never actually fought before and are still just thinking in terms of glory and heroism.

    So loath as I am to give Branderson any credit, that is probably a reasonable sentiment for a soldier to express, though none of the soldiers I’ve ever known would have ever expressed it like that guy did.

    Reply
    1. Andrea Harris (@SpinsterAndCat)

      I’ve talked to quite a few military and ex-military people (because I live in Virginia, where joining the military is a tradition). Basically the way it is is when you join you’re gung ho, because you’re young and dumb, and the military tends to knock that out of you right quick. Most soldiers hate war, because it’s where you have the most chances of being killed. (Why anyone would join an organization where one of the job requirements is being okay with being killed is a whole other can of worms, but see “tradition” above.)

      Reply

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