Let’s Read The Way of Kings ch. 11

[Blog-o-note: So there have been a lot of delays lately because of my back. That’s now fixed, but tomorrow I’m going on an adventure to Poland and when I get back it’s exam time, so. More delays! By the end of January everything should be back to normal again, I swear]

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

11: Droplets

Just like our old pal Rothfuss, Branderson seems to be having some real trouble coming up with chapter names. This is perhaps an argument against using them for fantasy epics that are a million pages long.

Kaladin is back to moping at the bridge-carrier camp.

There were no beds, just one thin blanket per bridgeman. One had to choose whether to use it for cushioning or warmth. You could freeze or you could ache.

This whole set-up with the bridge crews only makes sense if you assume their only purpose is to be miserable, but that’s not the case. They have a vitally important function. You’d think it would be desirable to make sure they’re in good shape and that they don’t drop like flies. This camp is in the middle of nowhere and it took Kaladin’s party weeks and weeks to get there, there’s no way they could keep replacing people at the rate we’ve been told they get killed off. And then what would happen? The soldiers would have to carry the bridges. That would be a really good incentive to try to keep them alive.

Kaladin goes for a sad-walk and encounters Gaz.

Ah. Gaz had fastened a small metal basket on the leeward wall of one of the barracks, and a soft glowing light came from within. He left his spheres out in the storm, then had come out early to retrieve them.

I am now interpreting “spheres” as a euphemism for testicles, and I suggest you all do so as well.

Kaladin had known more than one man who had been wounded sneaking around during full storm, looking for spheres.

Maybe this is an argument against using your currency as a lighting source. How long do you think public lighting would last if coins came spilling out when you knocked down a lamp-post?

There were safer ways to infuse spheres. Moneychangers would exchange dun spheres for infused ones, or you could pay them to infuse yours in one of their safely guarded nests.

I must reiterate that this is part of the book, and not something I copy-pasted from a videogame walkthrough.

Kaladin decides to go throw himself off a cliff. The bridge carriers are in no way prevented from doing this- there’s even “deference payed to men who chose that path”- which also makes no sense since that would just increase the number you have to replace.

Kaladin sits on the edge of the cliff and looks back over his life, regretting….. something, I don’t know. This section seems to have been written by someone who didn’t read the earlier chapters.

“Kaladin!”

He froze at the soft but piercing voice. A translucent form bobbed in the air, approaching through the weakening rain.

Oh god it’s Syl

Quick Kaladin jump

Syl gives him a blackbane leaf, which is the poison leaf he kept hidden back in the slave cages until he accidentally crushed them.

“They would have died more quickly without you. You made it so they had a family in the army. I remember their gratitude. It’s what drew me in the first place. You helped them.”

“No,” he said, clutching the blackbane in his fingers. “Everything I touch withers and dies.”

There are ways to successfully portray extreme emotional turmoil and self-loathing. This is not one of those ways.

Anyway, Syl manages to convince him to give the whole “not dying” thing one more try. Kaladin tosses the leaf down the chasm and strides back to camp. He tackles Gaz to the ground and starts choking him.

“The world just changed, Gaz,” Kaladin said, leaning in close. “I died down at that chasm. Now you’ve got my vengeful spirit to deal with.”

God damn, finally. This is more like it.

Kaladin tells Gaz to make him bridgeleader and says he’ll give him part of his meager wages to stay out of his way.

Kaladin Stormblessed was dead, but Kaladin Bridgeman was of the same blood. A descendant with potential.

Sounds like Kaladin has been playing some Rogue Legacy.

Now that he’s become a Man of The People Kaladin strides forth some more until he reaches the Bridge Four barracks and introduces himself as the new leader. He gets all of their names, because Good Leaders remember people’s names.

He would find a way to protect them.

This better actually be genuine and not an excuse for more CRAWWWWWLING IN MY HIGHSTOOOOOOORM

THE END OF

Part One

What is the deal with fantasy authors obsessively sub-dividing their stories? Do they think it makes them seem distinguished or something? This isn’t the Bible you’re writing, Branderson.

So I was going to do the next chapter but it’s the first of three “interludes”, itself one of an unetermined number of interlude sections according to the chapter headings, two of which deal with characters we’ve never seen before and I don’t think I can handle more of this shit right now.

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13 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Way of Kings ch. 11

  1. shyshy

    Now I’m really curious about the translation. Gotta check it someday, for research purposes.

    Around 15 years ago when I first read Witcher books, I almost hated it. It was cool, and fun to read sure, but the whole grimdarkness and main hero being an emo-asshole, grated on my nerves. I was shocked picking the book last years, that compared to most recent fantasy books I’ve read, Geralt is actually quite a nice and even at times – when he works for it – charming guy, and the world is not that bad. I guess it shows how both the grimdark scale and my tolernace for it was upped in recent years. 😦

    Reply
    1. Signatus

      I read book one and two, and I actually think they’re pretty good. Couldn’t go on reading them because I happened to pick them up in a time I was going through depression and the books just killed me. Maybe I’ll give them a chance again someday, but I keep remembering my emotional state and it throws me back.

      Reply
  2. Reveen

    Are you sure you’re not just going to Poland to get away from Goodkind? Doesn’t seem far enough if you ask me, if I had to read that shit I’d be hauling ass to the Himalayas.

    Speaking of, would you be interested in checking out the Witcher novels? I mean, this is something that actually has a video game tie-in like Sanderson is trying so hard to get so it’d be pretty amusing if the books turned out to be nonsense.

    I am now interpreting “spheres” as a euphemism for testicles, and I suggest you all do so as well.

    I’m sure if you do this to any mantasy book things would start to make ten times more sense, and be more entertaining.

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      “Are you sure you’re not just going to Poland to get away from Goodkind? Doesn’t seem far enough if you ask me, if I had to read that shit I’d be hauling ass to the Himalayas.”

      Or the moon.

      I actually have the first Witcher book/ collection of short stories. Years and years ago I made an attempt to read it but thought the prose was really wooden and clunky, only I’m not sure if that’s due to the actual writing or the translation. I might take another stab at it some day, but my limited experience with the games hasn’t endeared me to those characters or that setting.

      Reply
      1. Reveen

        Considering that the main character spends the entire game being suckered by people smarter than him, a satire interpretation doesn’t seem too out there.

        Reply
      2. shyshy

        This might be the translation issue. I’ve read all the Witcher books, and while there were several – if not many – things I didn’t like about them, style and writing wasn’t one of those. Sapkowski prose is in polish very pleasant to read. But then, the books are so meta that at the time of publishing in the magazine, they were more “postmodern” than “fantasy”. The amount of puns and references to both the real life happenings that were going around, political figures, and to many essays about sci-fi&fantasy published in the very same magazine Witcher was running, could probably be understand only by polish people living in the late 80’s.

        Reply
      3. Reveen

        The amount of puns and references to both the real life happenings that were going around, political figures, and to many essays about sci-fi&fantasy published in the very same magazine Witcher was running, could probably be understand only by polish people living in the late 80′s.

        That sounds really cool actually. A lot more so than American/Western fantasy authors who in their hot and bothered rush to create super-duper-special worlds in which they are gods end up writing books utterly devoid of cultural context.

        Which explains what happened in the translation I guess. I’d totally read a fantasy book crammed with references to things I have no insight in simply to feel like I’m reading a book written by someone who doesn’t live like a morlock.

        Reply
        1. JM

          >cultural context
          I’d disagree with you. A fantasy book crammed with cultural context is satirical. You wouldn’t want to read a medieval story where there are waffles or whatnot. Read a book with a protagonist named Harry Potter but the book’s name isn’t Harry Potter, or an antagonist named Gold D Roger — I’ve read one and I always take down the book with each mention of them. It sounds cool but in practice, it’s not good for fantasy.

          Reply
  3. Signatus

    I don’t know. Wasn’t impressed by this chapter. I’m getting the same vibe that Sanderson doesn’t have a clue about his character’s personality as I got with Kahlan, Shallan, or whatever her name was. It seems that, instead of the story being influenced by the character’s personality, the personality is influenced by the story. They seem to develop one for certain parts, and quickly change when the story needs it.
    Now we need MachoMan Rogue Warrior archetype, so Kaladin is going to become a barbaric brute with a mesiah complex. Just moments before he had been a depressive drama queen, and before he has been a brave but caring warrior captain, and then he’s been someone who despises death, and then… come on!!!!

    Get your shit together before you start writing!

    Reply

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