[Reading Diary] Listed: My Top Moments from Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings

This reading diary is part of my The Stormlight Archive series where I try to post real-time updates to document my reading journey going through these massive books – and of course, for me to remember everything because my memory sucks. 🙂

I finally finished The Way of Kings and it was glorious. I was supposed to create a reading diary series focused on each part but I breezed through the whole thing when I got to Part 3. So to somehow cure the hangover, I listed all of my top/favorite moments while reading book.

This goes without saying but SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t read Book 1 but want to know what I feel about it (which is pretty obvious by now: I rated it 6/5 for crying out loud because I felt like a solid 5 is not enough!), you can read my spoiler-free review of The Way of Kings HERE. But If you’ve already read it and just want to scream with me, then please read on!

MY TOP TEN MOMENTS IN “THE WAY OF KINGS”

10. Gavilar’s Assasination: Szeth seeing through the decoy

Or maybe…” Let’s start with a moment: Szeth realizing that the Shardbearer is indeed King Gavilar and the one garbed as the King is a decoy. This is early in the book, around the 20+ page mark and, aside from the unique way that fight scene was written (with the “Lashing” and everything), I just found it so smart, unexpected and such a huge risk. This is actually one of the first moments (including the Prelude) that I felt that I am in for something epic.

9. Jasnah’s field lesson to Shallan

“That was horrible,” Shallan finally said, hand still held to her breast. “It was one of the most awful things I’ve ever experienced. You killed four men.”
“Four men who were planning to beat, rob, kill, and possibly rape us.”
“You tempted them into coming for us!”
“Did I force them to commit any crimes?”
“You showed off your gemstones.”
“Can a woman not walk with her possessions down the street of a city?”
“At night?” Shallan asked. “Through a rough area? Displaying wealth? You all but asked for what happened!”
“Does that make it right?”

Oh, Jasnah Kholin – you magnificent woman. Jasnah killing four men to teach Shallan a lesson on philosophy was straight up brutal. I mean I won’t justify killing people but the way she put it and schooled Shallan, arguing on logic alone, is one of the reasons why Jasnah is my queen. Victim blaming = put in its place.

8. Taravangian revealing he has Szeth’s Oathstone

Taravangian was presented as being not bright and not well-versed in politics early on the book. I honestly never really thought to look his way so this really caught me off guard. And then Taravangian saying that Szeth’s next target would be Dalinar Kholin? That was such a mic drop moment in a book at page 1222 of 1252.

7. Jasnah’s theory on the Voidbringers

We didn’t destroy the Voidbringers. […] We enslaved them.” I’ve spoiled myself early on because I read the a couple of Wikis but this was still a blow to the face when I read it. We know that Jasnah has been, for some reason, researching about Voidbringers but we didn’t know why and what’s the significance of it. But then her revelation to Shallan right after fully accepting her again as a ward, and that last statement? Ooh, goosebumps!

6. Every time the Words of the Knights Radiant are mentioned

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.” Every single time the Words are mentioned, I literally get goosebumps. The first time Teft mentioned the Words in passing. And then Teft explaining the meaning of the words to Kaladin. And then we go to Kaladin actually saying and internalizing the First Ideal, and then subsequently saying the Second Ideal as a Windrunner. Each moment was equally epic.

5. Shallan admitting that she murdered her father.

In this scene, Shallan dropped a truthbomb that Jasnah’s Soulcaster was a fake all along and then subsequently asked the Cryptic/s to take her and Jasnah to Shadesmar as proof that she know of the place. The Cryptic (possibly Pattern?) asked for a “powerful truth” (“The stronger the truth, the more hidden it is, the more powerful the bond.“):

“Tell me. Tell me. What are you?”
“What am I?” Shallan whispered. “Truthfully?” It was a day of confirmation. She felt strangely strong, steady. Time to speak it. “I’m a murderer. I killed my father.”

It was hinted all throughout her POVs that she’s blocking something in her mind but I didn’t expect it to be this. Honestly speaking, Shallan’s story line in The Way of Kings is on the boring side, relative to the others, but her final chapters and this revelation alone more than make up for it.

Kaladin and Syl standing at The Honor Chasm by Thorkild Skov

4. Kaladin “dying” in the Honor chasm and coming back.

This is on the emotional side of the spectrum. This is when Kaladin decided to just end it all and planned to jump off the “Honor Chasm” only to find Syl dragging a leaf towards him. It was “Blackbane”, poison – because she thought it would make Kaladin happy since everything went wrong when he lost the other one. I was so emo when I read this scene: that simple and silly gesture from Syl and then her convincing Kaladin to try again (“What is one more try, then? What could it hurt?“). I swear, Kaladin and Syl’s relationship is so wholesome and pure. And then him going back to the barracks declaring to Gaz that he already “died” in the chasm and that he can’t hurt him anymore – asking to be assigned as the bridgeleader to Bridge Four. THIS is the beginning. (You can listen to the GraphicAudio scene of this exact scene here.)

3. Kaladin is judged by the Stormfather.

“I want you to go back into the barack and tell the men to come out after the storm. Tell them to look up at me tied here. Tell them I’ll open my eyes and look back at them, and they’ll know that I survived.”

Kaladin literally becoming a miracle for Bridge Four (“Do you want to be a miracle?” “No, but for them I will.“). Of course, I know full well that he’ll survive but Kal using this as a vehicle to give the bridgemen hope, even if he doesn’t even know the odds still makes me so emotional when I think about it. And then the brief moments he dared to look and he sees Syl standing in front of him, trying to defend him from the winds. Plus that moment Kaladin saw the Stormfather’s face, smiling at him. It was all too vivid, and reading this part was both gripping and emotional.

And then we get to the “after”, in Teft’s POV, where Kaladin opened his eyes and gasped and his “prophecy” to the bridgemen came true – it was straight from Jesus Christ’s books (LOL, I kept thinking about this when I was reading it, sorry to be blasphemous). Also, the dun spheres, and Teft’s suspicion of him being one of the Radiants begun.

2. The whole Battle of the Tower sequence.

Okay, I was practically crying reading this intense sequence. The Battle of the Tower: right at the moment Adolin realized that Sadeas’ group was withdrawing up to the very end of the battle and Dalinar asking the bridgemen why did they return for them and him subsequently saying that he’ll take care of Sadeas – it was almost 200 pages worth of thrill and fast-paced action. If I dissect this sequence, I might’ve populated this whole list with mostly from these pages alone because it was THAT intense! An avalanche (a “Sanderlanche”, more like it, as the fandom call it) indeed.

My favorite moments within? In order:

  1. Bridge Four going back for Dalinar – There’s so much to unpack even for just this scene. Kaladin recalling his father’s words (“Somebody has to start, son. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right. If nobody starts, then others cannot follow.“) Kaladin realizing and putting to heart the meaning of the First Ideal. Kaladin saying to Bridge Four that they have to go back for Dalinar and his people, and, one by one, they just nodded because they know it is the right thing to do. How easy they are to follow Kal, and to decide to abandon what might’ve been their only chance to escape Sadeas and that cruel fate of being bridge crews, quick to die on the job. That “ease” kills me every single time and makes me a crying wreck. “Bridge up!” (You could listen to this scene here.)
  2. Syl realizing, finally, that she is an honorspren – One of the most heartbreaking images in my head may have been Syl, ordinary-person-sized, staring towards the carnage in the Tower, horror-stricken (“She stared eastward, her expression horrified, eyes wide and sorrowful. It was the face of a child watching a brutal murder that stole her innocence.“) Then subsequently saying to Kaladin that she finally remembers what kind of spren she is. “I am an honorpren. Spirit of oaths. Of promises. And of nobility.” And it all made total sense, and it lead to Kaladin’s realization (above) and what he did next.
  3. Kaladin binding over a hundred arrows in his shieldView this image for your reference.
  4. Kaladin saying the Second Ideal of the Knights Radiant – This was right after the backstory of how Tien died so it added more punch. Kaladin willed himself to move and holding a spear for the first time after his display in the chasm, he inhaled Stormlight from the glowing gemstones woven in Parshendi beards… and said the Second Ideal: “I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.” – and the rampage begun.
  5. Dalinar stunned to see the bridgemen fighting – “It was the most amazing, most glorious thing Dalinar has ever seen.
  6. This is a bonus, but: Kaladin ordering lighteyes around and promoting people amidst the confusion. LMAO.

Told yah, I have a lot to say about this sequence. 😀

1. Dalinar trading Oathbringer for the bridgemen.

I am not just typing it out, I am embedding it (see above). The single most epic scene in The Way of Kings is not a fight scene but a negotiation – a decision. Dalinar trading Oathbringer for Sadeas’ bridgemen left me stunned like no other. It was so unpredictable – characteristic yes, but so ridiculous to be expected. That brief moment when Kaladin’s heart sank when Sadeas said he cannot part with the bridgeman. And then Dalinar summoning his Shardblade as Kaladin was about to turn away, driving Oathbringer in the middle of the Justice glyph. I could’ve have lodged it in the Battle of the Tower entry but it was too explosive to just lump in there. It was epic, epic, epic. And then we have this exchange:

“What is a man’s life worth?” Dalinar asked softly.
“The slavemasters sat one is worth about two emerald broams,” Kaladin said, frowning.
“And what do you say?”
“A life is priceless,” he said immediately, quoting his father.
Dalinar smiled, wrinkle lines extending from the corners of his eyes. “Coincidentally, that is the exact value of a Shardblade. So today, you and your men sacrificed tp buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.”
“You really think it was a good trade, don’t you?” Kaladin said, amazed.
Dalinar smiled in a way that seemed strikingly paternal. “For my honor? Unquestionably.”

What an amazing man! I love Kaladin but the last few pages of The Way of Kings really cemented Dalinar to be my favorite character in this book.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Navani proving Dalinar’s visions are real
  • “Wandersail” scene and Wit revealing that Sigzil is his student
  • Dalinar fighting the chamsfiend to save Elhokar
  • Dalinar digging a latrine in a Shardplate (LOL)
  • Adolin introducing Danlan to Dalinar (another LOL, honestly anytime Adolin mentions a new girl, I LOL)
  • Syl fighting off deathsprens while Kaladin is recuperating
  • Dalinar and Navani kissing, finally (because, dude, the tension throughout the chapters was killing me)
  • Talenel reappearing in the Epilogue

Here’s my character ranking after finishing The Way of Kings:

  1. Dalinar Kholin
  2. Kaladin Stormblessed
  3. Sylphrena
  4. Jasnah Kholin
  5. Shallan Davar

Here is my The Way of Kings Reading Thread in Twitter if you want to check out my real-time tweets while reading the book. Follow me at @pagesandcc at Twitter for more bookish ramblings. 🙂

Do you agree with any of the above? What are your favorite moments in The Way of Kings? Comment up!

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Auditor by profession and a 'round-the-clock geek 🤓 from the 🇵🇭. I'm a coffee-holic INTJ with an unhealthy obsession with books and stationery. I word-vomit over at Twitter and posts book pics at Instagram: @pagesandcc . I also blog at https://pagesandcoffeecups.com/ .

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