Howdy folks. Another weekend has come and gone. For us involved in the group read of The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson it is time for our discussion on Part 4.
As always, there will be spoilers in this discussion and probably in the comments.
Here we go:
1. One thing that I have thinking about during the course of this book is what Brandon Sanderson is trying to say about religion. Jasnah is an atheist. Shallan believes, but is still trying to find herself. Dalinar believes strongly in the ‘Old Ways’. What do you think of this idea?
I’m not too surprised by the inclusion of so many different beliefs in Sanderson’s novel. Many Americans pride themselves on the fact that religious freedom is part of our rights. Now this doesn’t mean that some religions or beliefs aren’t attacked here but it doesn’t deny the fact that freedom of religion is part of the bill of rights. And since the author is American and has, from what I can see, liberal views on women it makes sense to me that he has liberal views on religion.
What I like about his commentary on religion is that not only does he have liberal views but he is realistic. During most times of strife, many people look to other explanations to figure stuff out. I feel that Sanderson is allowing his characters to look for other explanations. So you have Jasnah who is looking into facts and history. Shallan is questioning what she believes and is incorporating beliefs to fit her thoughts. Yet, she still has her beliefs. And Dalinar is looking to his visions for guidance. This has happened throughout history and I like the way he is including it in his story.
2. The relationship between siblings is an important part of this book. Adolin has always been at the forefront of Dalinar’s two sons, but Renarin is important, too. What did you think of the two brothers? Going back a generation, what do think of Dalinar and our glimpses of his brother? Then there is Kaladin who joins the war to protect his brother and fails. And Jasnah whose brother is King. Or Shallan who puts herself in a dangerous situation to help her brothers out following her fathers’ death. What do you think of these relationships? Did any stick out for you?
Well as the baby of my family, I’m not too happy that the younger siblings like Renarin and Tien are not as “strong” as their older brothers. However, I don’t see this as Sanderson’s goal. Renarin has not had a lot of play in the first book so far, but I sense his intellect may play a larger role later on in the series. What I appreciate about the families in the novel is that all of them have their own personalities. I marvel at his character development, even for the bit players. And since they all have their personalities it is easy to keep track of everyone.
The relationship that sticks out the most is Shallan and her family. I really don’t like her brothers and she is putting herself in grave danger to help out her family. It is refreshing to have a writer who is bold enough to place the sister of the family as the savior for the brothers and she doesn’t have to sleep with someone or marry some dude from a powerful family. Instead, she has to use her brains. But her brothers are jerks. They are looking to her to find an “easy” way to save their money and power. I have a hard time respecting them.
I enjoyed reading about Kaladin and Tien. Tien is that wonderful little boy who you can’t help but love. He is sensitive and sees things differently than most around him. I loved when he gave the carving to Kaladin. And how he collects rocks and each rock has significance for him. He’s a sensitive soul. All of us can learn from these sensitive souls.
3. Kaladin has been included in every section. Why do you think this was? Did you wish to have a break from him, or did you enjoy knowing he would be explored with every section?
I see Kaladin as the one character that is pivotal to story. He’s like the glue. For some time you could see that Dalinar, Adolin, and Kaladin were on a path to meet. They were on the same front of the war. I didn’t tire of his story at all. And I think his flashbacks helped me to understand the larger picture.
4. One of my favourite characters in the book is Syl. What do you think of her and her development throughout the course of this book?
Syl has also been one of my favorite characters. I’ve enjoyed watching her evolution. And I really like the mystery surrounding her. She has slowly figured things out about herself, but not everything is explained. Her strengths and powers aren’t completely explained. I love how Sanderson keeps me guessing about her. And she is such a part of Kaladin’s life and his realization of his role to play in the war.
5. And, the big question, what do you think is going to happen in the last section? Any predictions?
I actually couldn’t put the book down last week so I finished it. Given that, I won’t answer this question. But I am excited for everyone to finish the book so we can all discuss the whole novel. This book was an exciting read. I will be late to next week’s discussion since I will be out of town until Tuesday. I’ll have to wait an extra day to find out what everyone thought.