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Parshendi/Parshmen are friends


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This clearly refers to Kaladin's heroic leap across the chasm at the battle on the Tower.  However, I haven't seen anyone mention the apparent discrepancy between the first and second sentences.  Specifically, who does the "their" refer to?  Clearly, the Parshendi.  But, if looked at without any bias towards who the friends are, it seems like the "their" also refers back to someone in the previous sentence.  Hence, I conclude that the Parshendi are actually the "friends before".  This could certainly just be awkward phrasing, but given how subtle Brandon can be, I think it's worth looking into.

Right, so, had a "duh!" moment right before I hit post, causing me to re-write this thing.  Let's take a look at that quote again!




“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.”

So, usually, I would analyze a paragraph in the order of the sentences appear, since they present a shared thought that they explore.  I'm not going to do that this time, though.  The third sentence is simple enough: the old oaths are the Ideals of the Radiants, being spoken again.  Rather unambiguous.


The second sentence is the interesting bit.  At first, I was reading it as Stormlight sticking to the faces of the Bridgemen, indicating that they would become Kaladin's Squires.  We see traces of this in WoK, and even more by the end of WoR.  But then I remembered--the Parshendi wear gems infused with Stormlight in their beards.  This is why you thought it 'clearly' referred to the Parshendi, and I believe that you are correct.


The first sentence refers to friends both before and behind.  This could refer to physical distance, as in the Bridgemen in front of him as well as behind him.  That interpretation clearly fits well.  It could also refer to time, so, friends in the past and friends in the future.  


I actually think that both interpretations (my original, as well as your parsing) are correct.  Two meanings, both correct, with one sentence!  The kind of simple, elegant writing that makes me happy.


tl;dr: I thought you were wrong, then I remembered what I was forgetting, and so I think you're right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

...not food. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)


Actually, I think that first comment is on the right track. See, Szeth mentions that Voidbringers could hold Stormlight in indefinitely. Therefore, with the Everstorm preventing large-scale agriculture, captured Voidbringers and volunteer Listeners will act as longer-term gemhearts to allow Soulcasting for food during the Weepings.

(Sorry; I immediately thought of this randomly when I read your post. If you couldn't tell by the mock serious look on my face, there is absolutely no need to take the previous comment with anything but a pinch of copper and a large dose of skepticism.)


On a more serious note, I think this is a brilliant theory. Congratulations and welcome!

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I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was some sort of alliance between the Parshendi and the humans.  We already have had a couple of feelers in that direction with Rlain, and in the circumstances, everybody needs all the help they can get.  We'll see if it happens and how smoothly it goes.

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