Instead of writing at lunch today, I read an exchange between Shallan Davar and Adolin Kholin in Words of Radiance that’s likely to make taking Shardbearers seriously a herculean endeavor. I’m sure Sanderson was drawing on history, but the notion of people wearing Shardplate shitting themselves on the battlefield because there’s no way to call a time-out in the middle of a battle so that everybody can use the latrine is absolutely hilarious to my inner problem child, who also has a thing for sharp objects and high explosives. That five-year-old living in the back of my head keeps asking, “Is it Shardplate, or Shartplate?”
If my wife Catherine ever decides to use her Audible account credits to check out the Stormlight Archive for herself, I am going to have to refrain from making such jokes. I’m just going to have to hold it in. Hopefully it won’t leak out.
Sorry about that. I had to get that out of my system.
I think I understand why Sanderson took the dialogue in that direction. The Alethi nobility use Shartplate and Shardblades as an excuse to lord it over not only darkeyed people, but light-eyed people who don’t have Shards of their own. He appears to intend to show that possessing this gear doesn’t make people special, or something other than the men they would be without it. They still shit — in their Shartplate.
In the meantime, I’m getting to like this new, more devious Shallan. I still don’t like what happened to Jasnah earlier on, but the results forced Shallan to grow, become her own person, and explore her own abilities. She’s proving to be a delightful young spy, and the flashbacks to her past offer interesting insights into the young woman she’s become.
She reminds me a bit of Claire Ashecroft from my own series. They’re both audacious, sassy young women. They’re both skilled in the use of subterfuge and social engineering in the pursuit of their goals.
Kaladin, on the other hand, is a demon-ridden idiot. Syl kept warning him, but did he listen? Nah.