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Way of Kings Prime chapters from Altered Perceptions


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PETER! OH MY GOODNESS, DID YOU REALLY? ...I knew sending you all of those keys in Jelly Splash on Facebook would pay off. 


I haven't gotten all the way through the excerpt but I'm definitely curious what part it was. Right now Merin and Aredor are going clothes shopping (which is fantastic, I love it). I will say, the earlier parts with Renarin had me screaming at Elhokar and crying over Renarin a lot. I was in class. It was very embarrassing. 


For those wondering where people are getting the book, it was a part of an anthology called Altered Perceptions that was sent out for backers of its Indiegogo campaign, I believe. It's been a while since I signed up, so I don't fully remember the details. Squirenonny typed up a cool guide to what's going on for people who are confused.


Like Weiry said, I've been trying to liveblog, but I read quite a bit in class or at work, and I wasn't near my laptop at those times. I'll try to catch back up. Supposing that y'all even care about reading my nonsense reactions. I've been putting them under *Read More* breaks so that there aren't spoilers for the people who follow me. 


Peter, I have to say I've had a super long day of classes, and then work was crazy and exhausting, and coming home to find this on 17th Shard pretty much made it all worth it and I feel amazing now, thank you. Cosmere fandom is still the best fandom, and that's partially because Peter and Brandon are so awesome to all of us with these great stories and being so wonderful.

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For everyone else wanting to buy Altered Perceptions, it's not out yet, but it will be out within a few weeks. Backers get it early.


PETER! OH MY GOODNESS, DID YOU REALLY? ...I knew sending you all of those keys in Jelly Splash on Facebook would pay off. 


I haven't gotten all the way through the excerpt but I'm definitely curious what part it was. 

It's in the 6th chapter. It's not a huge thing, but it's something I knew would interest you. Originally Brandon said to include 5 chapters, but we snuck an extra one in, for that reason and one other reason.

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It. Is. Finished.


Oh, Harmony, Peter. Chapter 6, I cried. Literally no one else would cry at that but I totally did and it was amazing and thank you thank you thank you thank you.


Like Weiry said, I did do some liveblogging of it, and since tumblr can be difficult to navigate for people who aren't used to it, I'll copy and paste into spoiler tags here. Be warned, there are spoilers for WoK Prime (yes, it's very different, there are spoilers) and Words of Radiance here.


Chapter 1: Dalenar 1


  • The names are THROWING ME OFF. Dalenar especially, but that’s probably just because his comes up a lot. I pronounce it as day-len-ahr every single time.
  • Elhokar has gone from immature but well-intentioned to a bratty, malicious five-year-old who cares only about himself and has a really scary sort of bloodlust.
  • Dalenar is not as good of a person as Dalinar, which is really strange. There’s one point where he’s fighting an enemy and basically says “if Dalenar had been a better person he would have let this person do such and such thing” but… because he wasn’t a good person he didn’t. Very strange.
  • It took me a while to realize that the Prallan aren’t just renamed Parshendi. The Prallan are human!
  • I want to know more about Dalenar’s third son who died. 
  • Adolin is a much better name than Aredor. Aredor sounds like a place name.
  • Hearing about Lady Jasnah running army tactics is strange when I’m so used to hearing Brightness Jasnah.
  • So… I might have cried a little bit over Renarin already. See, in WoK he feels useless because he doesn’t have a purpose. In WOKP he’s got more responsibility than he’s ready for and he feels inadequate.
  • I just want to hug him every time someone talks about his ‘mistake’ or his ‘failed maneuver’. Like… the way it sounded was that he made a tactically sound choice, just not the best one? It seemed like a maneuver that was a minor setback but that didn’t really cause any huge issues?
  • AND EVERYONE IS UPSET WITH HIM ABOUT IT. Elhokar’s about to get smacked upside the freaking head if he doesn’t shut uuuup, and I’m so used to Dalinar and Adolin as my Renarin support squad, but Dalenar and Aredor seem ‘yeah he screwed up and we have to deal with it now’ and poor Renarin is left to just feel miserable and horrible all on his own.
  • …dang it come here darling i will hug you. I’m too Renarin fangirl for this book.
  • I cannot picture Merin as Kaladin it just doesn’t work. Right now Merin looks like a male not-elf version of Merrill from Dragon Age 2.
  • Also, he has much less agency in this version. For one, he wasn’t actually the one to kill the Shardbearer. For another, he’s unconscious when they decide to give him the Shards. Merin doesn’t even get the chance to turn down the Shards the way that Kaladin does.
  • And now they’re headed out to the battle field to see what’s going on. 


  • elhokar prime worst character in the history of ever

  • That is an exaggeration but he is dead to me DEAD I hate him he’s terrible. At least he didn’t force Renarin to fight him, but stripping him of all of his rank and disinheriting him and taking his shardblade? That is horrible and excessive when it was Elhokar’s own stupid fault that Renarin got put in charge anyway. Elhokar you are dead to me.

  • Dalenar even tells him to do it! Dalinar was ready to murder Sadeas for passingly calling Renarin useless, but Dalenar goes ahead and tells his son to go ahead with this horrible public humiliation. Thank HARMONY Aredor spoke up for Renarin because I was about to cry. Okay that’s a lie I was already crying but Aredor helped.

  • Poor Renarin probably thinks he deserves to lose it too even though it wasn’t a bad maneuver and the soldiers are all dead because something weird and unexpected happened like what even how could you even say that was his fault aaaaaauuuuuuggghhhhhhh.

Chapter 3: Merin 1

  • Having a version of Kaladin that doesn’t hate nobles is very strange. In the same way that Kaladin’s depression is a major part of his character, his hatred of lighteyes is another. Without that, Merin doesn’t… really have any personality. There’s not really a reason he saved the king, even. He’s just bland dude who suddenly has a Shardblade and htat makes him fairly uninteresting.
  • I wonder if Honorspren being related to windspren is a holdover to here, where the winds have supernatural significance and are more overtly connected to the Almighty.
  • I like the use of ‘tenset’ as a group count. It took me a moment to realize it was grammatically in the same function as the word ‘dozen’ or ‘pair’ or ‘gross’, and after that it was easy to read it naturally and works well with the worldbuilding.
  • Since Shardblades and Plate can be created, it seems they are not nearly as valuable as they are in canon. These aren’t priceless treasures that nations fall and rise based upon, they’re just very powerful tools and you get to be a Lord for having one.
  • These Shardblades also cut flesh normally. And Shardplate will warp and bend, rather than crack and shatter. Shardplate does still self-heal, though.
  • I like how Meridas is the one who’s so mean to Merin. It’s like a shout out to how his namesake (Meridas Amaram) will one day betray Kaladin in such a terrible way.
  • Aredor being friendly and protective toward Merin is straaaange. Where is my bickery Kadolin? Where is my Bridgeboy/Princeling banter? I NEED MY BICKERY KADOLIN THAT WAS THE BEST PART OF WOR.
  • Also Aredor is fairly bland as well. Brandon has definitely stepped his game up EXTREMELY when it comes to characterization.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a focus on symmetry the way we see with Vorinism, as well. The glyph names aren’t palindromes, at least.
  • Parshen as a title is really off putting. It works better as a race name, than a title. Reminds me of reading about Vivenna and Siri as “Koloss” back in Mythwalker. It’s just ‘no wait that means something else…’
  • Also, the cloak scene happened again, though it wasn’t nearly as poignant and meaningful as it was in canon. Though… Dalinar did tell Kaladin that ‘everyone who wears my colors is a member of my family’. So… already canon Kaladin Kholin almost?

Chapter 5: Merin 2

  • After having ridden a horse and watched my friend go tumbling off her horse when she lost control, I fully appreciate Merin’s fear of horses. I didn’t get up above a trot but horses are terrifying if you don’t know what you’re doing. If I had had Stormlight to stick myself to the saddle, I would have.
  • I still miss my Kadolin. Where is my Kadolin????
  • Renarin is a lot creepier in Prime. Like, Merin is visibly unsettled by him and the way he describes Renarin is often in an almost inhuman way. IDK if Prime Renarin is meant to be ASD (I sure hope not, because this is really poor representation if it is) but it’s definitely noticeable. 
  • I almost think that this Renarin might have Truthwatcher-y powers that let him see or know things that others can’t and that it makes him unsettling. It would explain how he’s able to understand exactly what happened at the battlefield when Merin and Aredor are bewildered by it. He sees “patterns in the battlefields” and he speaks with certainty about things that should sound more like guesses. 
  • Outside of seer-y powers, he says things that don’t fully make sense and Merin remarks multiple times that there’s something very creepy about Renarin’s eyes “staring, yet unfocused” and the way he looks at people. Canon Renarin is quiet and reserved yes, and Adolin speaks of him pausing before speaking, but he doesn’t have this sense of something unnatural about him.
  • It even makes Aredor’s defenses of Renarin seem biased or misguided, that because Renarin is his brother, he can’t see what’s really going on here, but our main character can. Y’all know I love Renarin to death but this Renarin unsettles me slightly.
  • Oathgates are functional, and I think I remember reading somewhere that this takes place earlier in Roshar’s history than canon WoK, and that makes sense. Of course, no Knights Radiant or Vorinism changes quite a bit anyway.
  • Lady Jasnah is again, flatter and less interesting than Canon Brightness Jasnah. She’s cold and humorless and seems kind of ‘stereotypical ice queen’ rather than the complex and mature Jasnah that we’re all used to. Small shout out via the red-headed attendant!
  • Jasnah DOES show kindness to Renarin though, asking him how he is and promising to get him another Shardblade. Which… considering how Dalenar and Aredor are less supportive of Renarin than Dalinar and Adolin… I am now extremely interested in how Canon!Jasnah would interact with Renarin. NEED MORE MEMBERS OF THE RENARIN DEFENSE SQUAD K THX

Chapter 12: Merin 3

  • Okay, shopping montage is a small consolation for not having my Kadolin, but still. Now I’m picturing my Kadolin doing a shopping montage and AAAAAH. “I’m not wearing that, Princeling it’s ridiculous.” “Hey, you’re a Radiant now and technically a lighteyes. I mean, know that you’re a peasant bridgeboy underneath it all, but you might be able to trick a few people if we dress you up right. At least until you open your mouth.”
  • I can definitely see what Nonny meant about Merin being waaay more romantically inclined than Kaladin is. Merin seems acutely aware of the girls that Aredor brings to him and is concerned with his appearance and what they think of him and stuff. Kaladin just… isn’t interested at all. If anything, based on his interactions with Adolin and Shallan, he dislikes any idea of romance right now. Yep, I’m hopping on the Aro!Kal or at least Gray-ro!Kal bandwagon. It’s night and day comparing him to Merin on this subject.
  • Also Aredor turning the topic back to Merin whenever the girls start to talk about him is really sweet.
  • A little socializing never hurt a man,” Aredor said. “You should try it sometime, Renarin.” I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE
  • Shardplate is waaay more vulnerable here. Funnily enough, the idea of Protocol in duels reminds me of the Aegis forms from Infinity Blade. 
  • Seeing how Awakening and the magic system of Roshar changed is faaaascinating. Awakeners here are creepy. I feel like there is a small holdover here in the ardents who use soulcasters of the canon universe.
  • I take Renarin being interested in Awakening and kidn of sticking up for the Awakeners as a sign that he’s often interested in things that he’s not supposed to be interested in. (See: Fabrials in the canon universe.) Hmm. Maybe Prime!Renarin is a secret Awakener? Maybe he didn’t get the charan?
  • Vasher is still Vasher here, though I can see why Brandon changed the name in WoR to hide his real identity.
  • I feel like there isn’t quite enough reason for Merin to turn down the tutors Aredor offers and ask for Vasher instead. Up to this point, he’s wanted to fit in and be accepted and do what the others expect from him. The fact that he had one duel doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to go against that, except that… the plot demanded it.

Chapter 17: Merin 4

  • Birds confirmed for only Shinovar/Shinavar. Unknown if they are still all called chickens. (pls let them all still be called chickens)
  • I will say this: it’s interesting to see how Renarin in canon has taken on Merin’s role here for the Shardplate training. Vasher uses the same drills: jump off the building multiple times. Eat in your Shardplate. However, in canon, these things are seen as a normal, if odd, part of getting used to Plate. I prefer that quite a bit, as the ‘eccentric teacher who doesn’t know what he’s talking about’ has a little too much of Mr. Miyagi in this case. It’s obvious to the readers that Vasher knows what he’s doing and everyone else isn’t seeing it and we end up feeling like the characters are dumb for not realizing this. The fact that these aren’t seen as bad ways to train someone in canon allows us to preserve the amusing oddity of the exercises without making everyone who ‘doesn’t see the point’ as ignorant.
  • Also, we see Vasher’s stance training with Merin resurface as Kaladin trains Bridge 4 in the spear. Start with stances, then you get a weapon and you practice resetting over and over.
  • "Are you here for a reason?" Merin asked. "Or did you just come to mock me?"    "Oh, mocking mostly," Aredor said with a yawn. SO CLOSE TO MY CANON BOYS. I SAW A FLASH OF KADOLIN IN THERE
  • Merin has multiple brothers it seems, his parents are farmers, not a surgeon and wife, and he already felt like an outsider because he was the only one who had traveled. Makes me wonder why Merin decided to become a spearman in the first place. I’m guessing he didn’t have a Tien.
  • Oh, this Vasher thing made me realise something. I have a question for Brandon: Vasher has been a part of the Stormlight Archive story since the beginning, but originally (I assume) he was Rosharan. In displacing him to Nalthis and making him Nalthian, did Brandon have to figure out a lot of worldhopping stuff in order to get him back to Roshar so he could play his role in SA?
  • The illustration of how a spearman will feel against a shardbearer with the arrow seems very poignant. It isn’t something Zahel has to teach Kaladin, because he’s been there, but it’s something Merin probably needed to be reminded of.

Chapter 22: Merin 5

  • I’ll admit. I kinda made a small shrieking noise when I read this scene even though I was in bed and my roommate was asleep. And then I cried for a little bit.
  • Okay, meta time. First let’s break it down. Renarin here is doing math problems for fun, and is writing number glyphs. We see this kind of behavior mirrored in Shallan’s brother Wikim in canon, but I get a similar sense of the scene here. Yes, in both cases, men are allowed to do math and write numbers, yet I would wager that it’s meant to be used in the context of business or somethingl like that. Practical math. Wikim and Prime!Renarin’s habits of “math for math’s sake” seem to edge too close to scholarship and femininity. Even when confronted over it here, Renarin is on the defensive. He “hedges” that it’s okay for men to write numbers, but it’s definitely something that Merin was uncomfortable finding.
  • I feel like this represents a lot of the differences between canon!Renarin and Prime!Renarin too. I called it (I freaking called it) that Renarin would be interested in persuits that are more traditionally feminine in Vorin culture, like we see here, though I think canon Renarin is drawn more towards engineering than math.
  • See, canon Renarin feels he needs to hide, deny, and suppress those parts of himself. He already sees himself as not masculine enough to be the son a Highprince deserves, and so he suppresses his interests in these things, and denies that they exist. He hates seeming weak, and I’m guessing this is due to his ‘blood weakness’ which Prime!Renarin seems to lack. Renarin would never dare follow is more feminine interests (and also, I theorize, would never enter the ardentia) because it would be a sign that he truly has failed and isn’t masculine at all.
  • Prime!Renarin is already ostracized by the court and doesn’t feel this kind of pressure to conform. He seems a lot more comfortable in his place as the odd one out. Not that he’s happy there, but he’s accepted it more. Up until Elhokar disinherited him, he was a warrior and a tactician, he just wasn’t terribly good at it. He doesn’t feel left out or like a failure to the degree that canon!Renarin does. I think the lack of ‘blood weakness’ is a major part of this. He’s already seen as eccentric, so he’s not as worried about being caught doing something like this.
  • Magic glyphwards are interesting, especially since they are not meant to be magic (just like in SA) and they don’t work for anyone but Merin. I don’t feel like being able to see how the air moves would be all that useful, unless perhaps you were a character who could fly.
  • I want to be a reader in the SA universe I want it so much. Dream job. Also linguist on Roshar yep. Maybe a touch of cultural anthropologist.
  • This Way of Kings is soooo booooriiing. Like, if the characters are saying it’s boring, it’s gotta be hella boring. Nohadon’s WoK is much more interesting, in it’s Walden-esque philosophy based on experience.
  • Merin’s attitude toward the dueling competition seems to reinforce what I said about his choosing Vasher as a teacher not making sense. Here we see Merin wants to fit in with the nobles and conform to what they want. He goes as far as saying “It means everything” when I’m much more inclined to agree with Vasher when he says “it means nothing to you.” Why does Merin care so much here, when he was willing to pick the eccentric teacher?
  • Also, I’m not entirely sure how being able to see how Vasher is breathing helps Merin get an edge on him, but okay. Maybe if you wanted to use the Spook-hyper-sensitivity kind of argument, where Spook could dodge because he could feel the air around him, whereas Merin can see the air, you could justify it I guess.



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The red-headed attendant who is Jasnah Prime's ward is named Shinri Davar. Brandon considers her to be not the same person as Shallan at all, unlike Merin who he does consider to be the same person as Kaladin, if his life had gone differently. She has a completely different plot from Shallan's.

In Prime, Jasnah is much more of a main character than Shinri is. Her plot is my favorite in WoK Prime, though I do enjoy various aspects of Merin's plot. But I definitely have to agree: Merin is much more boring than Kaladin.

When Brandon decided he didn't have the writing skill yet to pull that book off before he wrote Mistborn instead, he definitely made the right choice. Way of Kings Prime is a mere shadow of the Stormlight Archive to come. But it's an interesting artifact.

Edited by PeterAhlstrom
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Yeah, I certainly agree. It's fascinating seeing where everything came from, but I'm glad that Bradon put off SA for later. It's incredible how much he's improved as a writer. He's really fantastic, and you can see it's because he's worked hard and put a lot of effort into just writing a lot and learning how to write. It gives not-so-great writers like me hope that one day we can improve too!


Botanica, it's definitely a fascinating read! I don't know what the chances are that China will ever get copies of Altered Perceptions, but if there's an e-version released, you should see if you can pick that one up!

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For everyone else wanting to buy Altered Perceptions, it's not out yet, but it will be out within a few weeks. Backers get it early.


It's in the 6th chapter. It's not a huge thing, but it's something I knew would interest you. Originally Brandon said to include 5 chapters, but we snuck an extra one in, for that reason and one other reason.


Cool  :)  I guess it will be available in Canada, if not I guess I'll have to find myself a more worthy excuse to drive to Plattsburgh or Burlington :ph34r:

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Feather, reading your reactions is..was...if this is a "thing" you do on a regular basis, I need to start following your live-reactions :D


Minor spoiler regarding the final point in your spoilered comment.  Spoiler. 

And watching how someone breathes can tell a lot about them, unless they have insane control over themselves.  People usually breathe in before they exert themselves, because of complex biology reasons that boil down to: it's easier.  Ragged or uneven breathing indicates that they're tiring, even if they aren't showing it yet.  If they've forgotten to breathe at all, or barely any (which happens a surprising amount) then their vision will begin to suffer, especially on the outsides/peripheral.


All little things that aren't much, and I have no idea if any of those are reflected in the scene in question as I haven't read it yet, but..!

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  • 1 month later...

My only issue with the "seeing how he breathes gives you the advantage" thing is that, once he's already breathing to make the exertion, isn't it pretty much too late for Merin to react?  Merin has to go through the whole process of breathing in and planning out his move.  Sure, he has that extra second, and that can be useful, but I can't see it being THAT useful.  If this power also has that effect in common with Atium of enhancing your mind to react in time with the new sensory input, THEN it would be useful.


Proud to have supported the IndieGoGo for this anthology, a lot of the essays I've read have been really poignant (especially Howard and Sandra Taylor's), though there's a lot of stuff I haven't read because I'm not familiar with the work of the authors in question.  The print copy I got is a real gem of a book.  I would definitely recommend this anthology.


WoK Prime is fascinating.  It's so interesting to see how going back and changing Kaladin really changed the whole course of the story.  Heck, WoK Prime reduces Canon WoK to the first few chapters and the bulk of its plot is actually what became Words of Radiance!  Or that's how it seems to me, anyway, from these chapters.


With the numbers of chapters in between the Merin chapters, I'm assuming we would be jumping all over Roshar in the meantime, given what Brandon has said about WoK Prime and how its plot threads were a lot more all over the place.  I would love to see later on how those plot threads get woven into the canon plot of the SA.

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Some of the plot elements won't show up until book 6. 


The Jeksonsonvallano scenes are also from Prime, and they're somewhat similar a few of Szeth's scenes in Way of Kings.


And you can buy the Altered Perceptions ebook now. Links here: http://brandonsanderson.com/altered-perceptions/

Edited by PeterAhlstrom
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