pmj812

Epigraphs (Spoilers!)

37 posts in this topic

All three Mistborn novels had wonderful mysteries and hints in the epigraphs. Way of Kings does too. I think it will be fun to discuss all of the chapter epigraphs in one place: what their significance is, what they might mean or predict, etc. Much has been made of The Letter just about everywhere so I'd like to focus on some of the death quotes.

chapter 3:

“A man stood on a cliffside and watched his homeland fall into dust. The waters surged beneath, so far beneath. And he heard a child crying. They were his own tears.”

Chapter 59:

“Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before. The feast I must drink clings to their faces, and the words I must speak spark in my mind. The old oaths will be spoken anew.”

Chapter 61: “In the storm I awaken, falling, spinning, grieving.”

These are my absolute favorite (I swear 59 gives me chills every time I read it) and they clearly prefigure scenes in Way of Kings. One is Dalinar seeing the last vision, the next is Kaladin leaping across the chasm in the climactic battle, and the third is his trial by storm.

Prologue:

“The love of men is a frigid thing, a mountain stream only three steps from the ice. We are his. Oh Stormfather…we are his. It is but a thousand days, and the Everstorm comes.”

chapter 5:

“I have seen the end, and have heard it named. The Night of Sorrows, the True Desolation. The Everstorm.”

These are interesting. I think there's reason to believe that the storms are preserving Roshar - bringing life and stormlight to a dying world. But the reference to the True Desolation as the Everstorm suggests that the storms are of evil, not good.

Chapter 53:

“He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!”

The "fallen title" is Knight Radiant, the tower and crown is house Kholin, whose Khokh-linil glyph pair is stylized so it looks like a tower and crown, and the spear is... Well here's the confusion. Either "he" is Kaladin, and the spear's meaning is obvious, or Kaladin is the spear, and "he" is Dalinar or one of Dalinar's sons.

Chapter 55:

“A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal.”

The smart money is on Baxil's mistress being the herald Shalash, and this referring to her. She defaces statues of herself (both "vandal" and "scratches out her own eyes,") but I think there's a small chance it refers to Jasnah as well. She "sits" and does research, which is based on a flawed premise (her skepticism and belief in mundane natural causes are in this setting completely incorrect). In doing so she leads herself away from the truth - she "scratches out her own eyes." We know that she is the daughter of a king, and a potential Radiant (daughter of kings and winds) but the "vandal" doesn't quite fit.

Playing off of this theory, two quotes lead me to believe that the Parshendi are not Voidbringers:

(52) “I’m standing over the body of a brother. I’m weeping. Is that his blood or mine? What have we done?” (until the last question it seems to be Kaladin over Tien, but "what have we done?" doesn't fit that scenario as it wasn't their fault)

(59 again) “Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before..." (recall the "friends before" were parshendi)

and these lead me to believe that the Voidbringers are not Parshendi

(7) “They are aflame. They burn. They bring the darkness when they come, and so all you can see is that their skin is aflame. Burn, burn, burn….”

(8) “Victory! We stand atop the mount! We scatter them before us! Their homes become our dens, their lands are now our farms! And they shall burn, as we once did, in a place that is hollow and forlorn.”

(65) “I see them. They are the rocks. They are the vengeful spirits. Eyes of red.”

(66) “That chanting, that singing, those rasping voices.”

(in 71, not an epigraph) “The day was ours, but they took it,” the boy cried. “Stormfather! You cannot have it. The day is ours. They come, rasping, and the lights fail. Oh, Stormfather!”

notes: these make it sound like the voidbringers are (a.) stone, (b.) literally aflame, not just red, (c.) capable of literally sucking the light out of the space around them, and (d.) raspy, which descriptor I don't believe was ever applied to the Parshendi singing.

Though one supposes that Talanel can say definitively if the parshmen are voidbringers just as soon as he wakes up.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Though one supposes that Talanel can say definitively if the parshmen are voidbringers just as soon as he wakes up.

Just a year or so more.

Perhaps the Voidbringers are corrupted Pashmen/Pashendi? Like kandra could be controlled against their will by Ruin, could they be controlled by Odium or whoever is responsible?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a year or so more.

Perhaps the Voidbringers are corrupted Pashmen/Pashendi? Like kandra could be controlled against their will by Ruin, could they be controlled by Odium or whoever is responsible?

I just had a related idea. Several, even:

First, it's possible that the darkness-making, stone-skin, and flames all come when they are "activated" by odium.

Second, what if the Parshmen were the Voidbringers, but the Parshendi were a rogue tribe that fights against Odium? And Honor granted them their increased intelligence as a reward? What if they know that the Desolation is coming and they assassinated the king just to bring the Alethi army out to the shattered plains so that it will be there when the real war starts and it will by and large avoid the mass surprise slaughter when the Parshmen rise up? That allows the Parshendi to be friends AND the Parshmen to be voidbringers!

Third, I owe a great deal of thanks to whoever put together the Coppermind page with all the epigraphs:

http://coppermind.17thshard.com/wiki/The_Way_of_Kings/Epigraphs

So thanks whoever did that!

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Second, what if the Parshmen were the Voidbringers, but the Parshendi were a rogue tribe that fights against Odium? And Honor granted them their increased intelligence as a reward? What if they know that the Desolation is coming and they assassinated the king just to bring the Alethi army out to the shattered plains so that it will be there when the real war starts and it will by and large avoid the mass surprise slaughter when the Parshmen rise up? That allows the Parshendi to be friends AND the Parshmen to be voidbringers!

Perhaps a Kolos/Kamdrs thing?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Similar. The Parshendi really do seem honorable.

I'm also not convinced death is final for them. I think if their corpses are undisturbed they can be raised. Why else would corpse-disturbing be offensive to parshmen, who have no culture to begin with and therefore no cultural taboos?

I'm really curious what chapter 69's epigraph refers to:

“All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds.”

I think it's Shallan, but it just might be Szeth.

Shallan stands by Jasnah, who "killed her promises" to her brothers to steal a soulcaster and save the family. If in the next book she stands against her brothers or the ghost bloods, it's conceivable that this is her.

On the other hand, we know Szeth's sanity hangs by a thread to the idea that he is only doing as his oaths and his honor demand. If somehow the re-establishment of the Knights Radiant releases him from his oaths, then he may wind up protecting Dalinar from King Crazypants Von Mengele. That one is entirely conjecture.

I'm also curious about 49: “Radiant / of birthplace / the announcer comes / to come announce / the birthplace of Radiants.”

announcer: synonym for Herald?

Possibility: announcer = herald, Talanel will tell them where Urithiru is and help them re-found the Radiants.

In this case I believe that Urithiru will be on one of the moons - isn't there reference to there being what might be forests on the green one?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really curious what chapter 69's epigraph refers to:

“All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds.”

I think it has something to do with the info on the back cover of the book:

There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar's mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.

The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key.

One of them may redeem us.

And one of them will destroy us.

Feels like it could apply to almost any of the four, if we give the characters enough time. So far, Kaladin and Dalinar have saved each other's lives, and Shallan has saved Jasnah's life. I have no doubt someone will soon both save Szeth's life and stop him from fulfilling his duty to kill Dalinar.

All the quotes starting at the "ReShephir, the Midnight Mother" one are more a thousand days after the first one, if you bother to look at the dates. So if that first one is accurate, the Everstorm has already come at that point. Makes me wonder if the Everstorm is more of a metaphor than Honor made it out to be in Dalinar's vision of it.

“A man stood on a cliffside and watched his homeland fall into dust. The waters surged beneath, so far beneath. And he heard a child crying. They were his own tears.”—Collected on the 4th of Tanates, year 1171, thirty seconds before death. Subject was a cobbler of some renown. (404) [9-1-4]

I think that might be about Dalinar's vision as well, except there's no "child crying", "waters", or "his own tears". Unless the water is a metaphor, and Dalinar starts crying to himself after he wakes from that vision. Then it's perfect.

I'm not going to take the darkness and flame descriptions of Parshendi literally, metaphorically works fine for me. The Midnight Essence things that Dalinar fights in one of his flashbacks are a bit closer to being literal darkness, Knight Radiants say that aren't Voidbringers, but they might be somehow related.

“The burdens of nine become mine. Why must I carry the madness of them all? Oh, Almighty, release me.”—Dated Palaheses, 1173, unknown seconds pre-death. Subject: a wealthy lighteyes. Sample collected secondhand. (201) [5-1-1]

Obviously Taln, I feel pretty bad for the guy. I wonder how messed up he is mentally at this point. If he has heavy PTSD, his viewpoint chapters might not be very revealing about the series' mysteries.

“They come from the pit, two dead men, a heart in their hands, and I know that I have seen true glory.”—Kakashah 1173, 13 seconds pre-death. A rickshaw puller. (380) [8-6-5]
I have a slightly convoluted theory about this. The only pits we have at this point is the dueling pits, so I'm going to assume that in this instance, "pit" means chasm. If anyone falls into the chasms on the Shattered Plains, they're assumed dead, but if Kaladin works on his Windrunners abilities a bit, he should be able to keep himself and another guy alive if they fall in. And if they come out with a "heart" (gemheart) I think they'd get a lot of glory.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“They come from the pit, two dead men, a heart in their hands, and I know that I have seen true glory.”—Kakashah 1173, 13 seconds pre-death. A rickshaw puller. (380) [8-6-5]

I have a slightly convoluted theory about this. The only pits we have at this point is the dueling pits, so I'm going to assume that in this instance, "pit" means chasm. If anyone falls into the chasms on the Shattered Plains, they're assumed dead, but if Kaladin works on his Windrunners abilities a bit, he should be able to keep himself and another guy alive if they fall in. And if they come out with a "heart" (gemheart) I think they'd get a lot of glory.

Oh I have a nasty theory about that one, but it's irresponsible speculation.

See, early in the book Dalinar and Elhokar emerge from beneath the corpse of the Greatshell and cut out its gemheart. I think it's possible that this epigraph is foreshadowing death for both of them.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a comment:

In threads like this, I think we should carefully distinguish between the death quotes and Jasnah's notes.

The death quotes are due to some ability to see beyond normal human senses just before you die. Presumably they are in one of the living languages on Roshar. In addition, they are vague and likely symbolic, but if we can interpret them, they are almost certainly the unvarnished truth as understood by the person dying.

Jasnah's notes, on the other hand, are from ancient sources. They have been translated, embellished, and interpreted. There are many more layers of interpretation on them, is what I'm saying.

These are very different types of sources. I think which is which should be made crystal clear when we can tell the difference.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a comment:

In threads like this, I think we should carefully distinguish between the death quotes and Jasnah's notes.

The death quotes are due to some ability to see beyond normal human senses just before you die. Presumably they are in one of the living languages on Roshar. In addition, they are vague and likely symbolic, but if we can interpret them, they are almost certainly the unvarnished truth as understood by the person dying.

Jasnah's notes, on the other hand, are from ancient sources. They have been translated, embellished, and interpreted. There are many more layers of interpretation on them, is what I'm saying.

These are very different types of sources. I think which is which should be made crystal clear when we can tell the difference.

That's a good point, certainly. If the chapter is cited this becomes easy: chapters 29-50 are Jasnah's notes. Others are death quotes.

Edit: Chapter numbers are better than page numbers for another reason too. My only copy is a Kindle edition. Page numbers no is working for meh.

Edited by pmj812
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a comment:

In threads like this, I think we should carefully distinguish between the death quotes and Jasnah's notes.

The death quotes are due to some ability to see beyond normal human senses just before you die. Presumably they are in one of the living languages on Roshar. In addition, they are vague and likely symbolic, but if we can interpret them, they are almost certainly the unvarnished truth as understood by the person dying.

Jasnah's notes, on the other hand, are from ancient sources. They have been translated, embellished, and interpreted. There are many more layers of interpretation on them, is what I'm saying.

These are very different types of sources. I think which is which should be made crystal clear when we can tell the difference.

Very good point. Also, Jasnah's quotes could very well have been altered. We know shards have the power to change words on a page; it makes total sense for Odiun to change the histories to make it look like a friend is an ancient enemy resurfaced.

That said, I don't really feel like this is what's happening, as Brandon already used this trick. Also, I'm not sure writing in steel would save the words anymore, now that we are away from the shards who gave the Metallic Arts.

EDIT: Also,

I wish to sleep. I know now why you do what you do, and I hate you for it. I will not speak of the truths I see.

I think this may be Szeth talking Tarawhatshisname.

Edited by Jaconis
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this may be Szeth talking Tarawhatshisname.

I'm pretty sure it's one of Taragavinian's "patients" who says this, but it's probably not Szeth, given that he hasn't died. About all this quote gives us is an insight into the kind of information the dying see.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure it's one of Taragavinian's "patients" who says this, but it's probably not Szeth, given that he hasn't died. About all this quote gives us is an insight into the kind of information the dying see.

I think he meant that it s a dying man who is describing Szeth's future.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he meant that it s a dying man who is describing Szeth's future.

I apologize, I wasn't very clear. Obviously it's a dying person who said it, but I think it conveys Szeth's thoughts/feelings in the future, similar to how it is stated above the "friends behind, friends before" epigraph is likely of Kaladin.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really curious what chapter 69's epigraph refers to:

“All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds.”

I have an idea that it relates to either Amaran(Brightlord who betrayed Kaladin) or Sadeas. Not sure which idea I like better.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he meant that it s a dying man who is describing Szeth's future.

Oh. What I mean is that this quote is from a dying person telling Taragavinian that he sees something, but that he sees why Taragavinian is doing it---so he keeps his mouth shut. Kind of a meta-quote, if you will.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh. What I mean is that this quote is from a dying person telling Taragavinian that he sees something, but that he sees why Taragavinian is doing it---so he keeps his mouth shut. Kind of a meta-quote, if you will.

I always read that one nearly the same way happyman does. Which is why Taravangian's people consider "the sample largely useless.".

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh. What I mean is that this quote is from a dying person telling Taragavinian that he sees something, but that he sees why Taragavinian is doing it---so he keeps his mouth shut. Kind of a meta-quote, if you will.

This is how I read it as well.

If I remember correctly, the subject in this case is a Shin. That's probably significant.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the "friends before, friends behind" quote, remember that in the Tower battle, he had Bridge Four behind him, and Dalinar's army in front of him. Thus it's likely that the quote doesn't refer to the Parshendi, since it seems to be speaking from Kaladin's point of view in that moment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the "friends before, friends behind" quote, remember that in the Tower battle, he had Bridge Four behind him, and Dalinar's army in front of him. Thus it's likely that the quote doesn't refer to the Parshendi, since it seems to be speaking from Kaladin's point of view in that moment.

But the feast he must drink clings to their faces... if "their" doesn't refer back to friends, then it's horribly convoluted and obscured grammar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, you can find all the epigraphs here.

One of the death quotes:

“He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!”

One of Jasnah's quotes:

“They lived high atop a place no man could reach, but all could visit. The tower city itself, crafted by the hands of no man.”

I think that the "tower" referred to in the death quote is Urithiru, the home of the Radiants. The spear is probably connected to Kaladin in some way, either because Kaladin is the "He" in the quote, or for some other reason. There's no definite connection between the first part of the death quote and the second part. I'm sure they're related, but it's not clear how.

More on Urithiru (a quote from Jasnah):

“Though many wished Urithiru to be built in Alethela, it was obvious that it could not be. And so it was that we asked for it to be placed westward, in the place nearest to Honor.”
Where is the place nearest to Honor? And what does that mean?* The place farthest west is Shinovar**, but that seems unlikely to be the place nearest to Honor, given the lack of stormlight and spren, both of which I think are connected to Honor. That being said, Szeth considered Stormlight to be holy... It is possible someone pulled a Lord Ruler and readjusted Roshar to disguise the place nearest to Honor.

That being said, the quote says "westward", not "west-most". The location of Urithiru doesn't have to be as far west as possible, just west of Alethela (Alethkar). It's worth noting that Highstorms begin in the East, so they don't begin at the source of Honor. Whatever that means.

* my money is on there being a shardpool in/near Urithiru.

** actually, looking at the maps, there is an island, Aimia, west of Shinovar.

Finally, one last Urithiru quote (commentary by Jasnah):

“Radiant / of birthplace / the announcer comes / to come announce / the birthplace of Radiants."

Though I am not overly fond of the ketek poetic form as a means of conveying information, this one by Allahn is often quoted in reference to Urithiru. I believe some mistook the home of the Radiants for their birthplace.

I suspect this isn't a mistake like Jasnah thinks it is. I think that Urithiru (or more importantly, the "place nearest to Honor") is the birthplace of the Radiants - where the orders began.

One final thought: When looking at Jasnah's studies (and to a lesser extent any of the death quotes that were recorded, don't forget that it is entirely possible that Odium has the same ability to alter text that Ruin had.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!”

I think that the "tower" referred to in the death quote is Urithiru, the home of the Radiants. The spear is probably connected to Kaladin in some way, either because Kaladin is the "He" in the quote, or for some other reason. There's no definite connection between the first part of the death quote and the second part. I'm sure they're related, but it's not clear how.

I think the Fallen Title is symbolic of Dalinar being crushed by the Parshendi. On page 420 of the Hardback, about two thirds through chapter 28, as Dalinar walks with Navani back to his personal complex from pounding out the Latrine with his hammer, he describes the Glyphpair on his banners as being shaped into a Crown and a Tower. If Kaladin hadn't saved Dalinar House Kholin would have been practically finished, sounds like a fallen title to me, and the spear refers to the fact that he was refusing to use anything but that spear with the head knocked off, it means that he had to pick up the spear and fight again.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
“He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!”
I think that the "tower" referred to in the death quote is Urithiru, the home of the Radiants. The spear is probably connected to Kaladin in some way, either because Kaladin is the "He" in the quote, or for some other reason. There's no definite connection between the first part of the death quote and the second part. I'm sure they're related, but it's not clear how.

I think the Fallen Title is symbolic of Dalinar being crushed by the Parshendi. On page 420 of the Hardback, about two thirds through chapter 28, as Dalinar walks with Navani back to his personal complex from pounding out the Latrine with his hammer, he describes the Glyphpair on his banners as being shaped into a Crown and a Tower. If Kaladin hadn't saved Dalinar House Kholin would have been practically finished, sounds like a fallen title to me, and the spear refers to the fact that he was refusing to use anything but that spear with the head knocked off, it means that he had to pick up the spear and fight again.

Maybe. But I can't help but feel that the tower, crown, and spear are three separate items. Otherwise it would have written as "The tower and the crown, and the spear!"

Maybe if the tower and crown are Adolin and Dalinar (or vis versa), and the spear is Kaladin... That would make sense to me.

What if the fallen title is Highprince of War? The title has certainly fallen, a) because nobody had it, and B) because nobody followed the codes of war. It might also be the title of Knight Radiant. That I think is more likely.

What if the "he" is referring to the tower, the crown, and the spear?

These ideas are coming to me as I write.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aimia is where Axies the collector is from. Also the last place where you could find greatshells with gemhearts of a useful size until those were hunted into extinction before the chasmfiends of the Shattered Plains were discovered. I think, I should double check those two things.

Edited by Cheese Ninja
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aimia is where Axies the collector is from. Also the last place where you could find greatshells with gemhearts of a useful size until those were hunted into extinction before the chasmfiends of the Shattered Plains were discovered. I think, I should double check those two things.

These are both correct.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chp 11:

Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns.

Does anyone else think this is related to the Shards? We know there are 16, and the Everstorm possibly refers to when all the things in the cosmere come to a head.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.