RoW Chapter 11 Discussion

206 posts in this topic

On 17.9.2020 at 2:27 AM, Zea mays said:

I can't get over this Leshwi being in a male-en body in this incarnation. How did Kaladin not notice? Is my boy gender-blind or just uber-mad "woke"?

WoK rather than "woke";). Because it is there that we first learned that listeners/singers genders are often diffcult to tell apart for humans. This is reiterated in Jasnah's prologue in WoR. So, I am not sure why it is such a surprise for some? Given that it was, like, one of the first things that we learned about the Parshendi - and humans eventually only learned to pay attention to the presence of absence of beards, which malen may not even have in all forms.

Fine whiskers like Leshwi currently has wouldn't be a deal-breaker even for some human women, BTW. My grandmother battled with such from puberty and for her whole life, for instance.


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1 hour ago, jamskinner said:

Don’t be obtuse. It was a response to mammals gender being difficult to tell apart. 

Easy there tiger. Some animals are sexually  dimorphic, others, at least from a human perspective, not so much (I suspect other gerbils manage yo tell male and females apart, but the species continues, so they probably do).

Humans are, generally, sexually dimorphic*. Parsh are human. Sort of. They're also not human. They're a fantasy construct 'human' that diverge from earth biology as we currently strive to understand it. I suppose I under-estimated the difference. Honest question:  Do they get physically taller and shorter when they change forms? Between individuals (regardless of sex) How much variation in body shape, facial features, do they show? That is, how easy are they to tell apart from each other? Does one do so mostly by the color patterns (the way some old-fashioned farmers could tell their holsteins apart)? I get that to the average Alethi "they all look alike".

Kaladin has always taken care to notice people as individuals. Maybe he's just seen Leshwi in so many different [dead parsh people] bodies over the past year, it's not remarkable anymore. I wonder if he would have noticed if she changed outfits (and how often would she need  her swanky new outfits re-tailored? no wonder she wants members of her household trained in sewing).

In WOK, Dalinar is partially blinded by his cultural assumptions: In Alethy society only men go to active battle. Women do not walk around without proper torso (left arm!) covering. He assumes a parshendi he is seeing on the battlefield wearing only  a skirt is male. Frankly, if that is the very first time it occurred to him to question that assumption, he has shown a remarkable lack of intellectual curiosity. Also, I got the impression that until Rlain returns to Bridge 4 in Warform, the Alethi did not realize that the Listeners had the ability to switch between forms.


To clarify: Men,on average, tend to be physically bigger that women, have squarer jaws, grow beards, etc. Of course there is also a great variety in size and face-shape between members of the same sex, so, of course, some women are taller than some men. Compared to members of most species, humans are very individually distinct.


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At this point, a lot of virtual ink has been spilled on why it's not an issue that Kaladin didn't notice, understand, or care that Leshwi was in a malen body. Sexual dimorphism isn't as obvious with the singers as it is with humans, and when it comes to finding Fused, the colour pattern is the best option for identifying them anyway. Even after practice, in the middle of battle is not the ideal circumstances to be sitting and studying the new body of your enemy - they are flying through the air while attacking each other with deadly weapons.

And to be honest, even if there's a possibility that Kaladin could tell, it's still a reasonable choice that it didn't matter enough to put it in his POV. If they've been fighting the Fused for a year, I wouldn't be surprised that the human side has acknowledged and dismissed it as Fused weirdness. Even though it's shiny and new for us readers, it would be very old news to the characters.

This is just not a problem.


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9 hours ago, jamskinner said:

Don’t be obtuse. It was a response to mammals gender being difficult to tell apart. 

Haha im the one being obtuses, how then do you tell wombats apart without looking at their genetalia?


For instance, what gender is this wombat?



On 9/17/2020 at 0:47 PM, jamskinner said:

Funny how logical errors crop up when you focus on politics instead of story. It is Brandon’s book though so he can write what he wants. 

Also, you where making comment about Brandon writing to a political agenda.

Edited by Lemiltock
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When it comes to determining the sex of non-human creatures, it's not always easy, but there are known examples that we can use for comparison.

The one that leaps to mind is sexing chicks, which, despite the name, is the process of separating the males from the females among newly hatched chicks.


Chicken sexing is practiced mostly by large commercial hatcheries to separate female chicks or "pullets" (destined to lay eggs for commercial sale) from the males or "cockerels" (most of which are killed within days of hatching because they are irrelevant to egg production).

It's not quite the same, since you're actually staring at their genitals to make the determination, but it's not as simple or easy as you might think. What I'm actually getting at is the common reports of intuition being critical to the process. You could be taught to tell the difference, but it was by immediate reinforcement, not articulating the differences aloud.

I doubt Brandon is thinking of chicken sexing when he's considering how humans interact with singers, but he's clearly made many distinctions. Maybe some humans could tell the sex of parshmen at a glance, intuitively, but the skill is underdeveloped.

The Fused, on the other hand, are not like either the parshmen or Parshendi. They're the same body, hollowed out of the person who inhabited it, filled back up with an immortal malevolent spirit. The voidlight/stormlight process changes the physical form, so it stands to reason that the body conforms to the mind when it reincarnates and bestows whatever evident power comes with. It's closer to the upload consciousness sci-fi seen in Altered Carbon (and many more), except you need to kill someone and haunt their corpse, instead of growing one in a vat for yourself.

Edited by Rainier

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