Warbreaker Groupread, the Finale

Welcome to the final week of the readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s “Warbreaker,” brought to you by Amanda and Naithin, who have done an excellent job hosting this event.

The above image is Warbreaker by Demon-Cabbage.

This week’s discussions focus on the last 200 pages of a Sanderson novel, so expect MAJOR plot spoilers.  If you haven’t read the book, don’t worry–I’ll be posting a spoiler-free review sometime in the not-so-distant future.

1. There were a whole bunch of character revelations in this last
section of the book. We now know who Warbreaker is, and what
Blushweaver’s motivations are, and who was behind the war, and theintentions of several characters we suspected. How do you feel, now that everything’s out in the open?

I was taken by surprise when I found out that it wasn’t the high priests who were behind the plots of war.  Blushweaver might have been naive and stupid, but she was still Lightsong’s friend and didn’t deserve to die.  I was glad to see Susebron come into his own; he seemed almost childlike at the start of the book, but that innocent sense of morality is what will enable him to wield his vast power without abusing it.

2. At the beginning of our group read, I asked if you thought the
Returned actually were divine. We saw Lightsong change his mind on his own divinity, and learned a bit more about the Returned. Has your answer about divinity changed, then, since the beginning of the book?

I still don’t think that they’re actually Divine, but they do serve an important purpose.  I still see the Returned as something kind of like the Elantrians from one of Sanderson’s other novels–they exist because of a natural process that’s present in the world, we just don’t know what it is yet.

3. Now that we’ve seen Nightblood in action, firsthand, and know more about its history, what do you think about it as an object? What are your thoughts about Vasher’s relationship with the sword?

Nightblood is one of the best characters in the entire novel.  I love the way that the command “destroy evil” backfired, since Nightblood isn’t entirely sure what the word “evil” means.  Even though Vasher doesn’t seem to like the fact that Nightblood exists at all, he’s definitely attached to the sword, otherwise he’d have destroyed it a long time ago.  I’m curious about the fact that Nightblood seems to be gaining more maturity and experience as he spends more time out in the world–he seems a lot like the Returned in that regard.

4. Lastly, what are your final thoughts on Warbreaker? How did it compare to other books you’ve read, and to other Sanderson, if you’ve read more by him?

It’s definitely not as polished as some of his other works, and lacks some of the subtleties that make me such a bit Sanderson fan.  At the same time, it still makes for a good read.  It’s imaginative and unlike any other fantasy novel that I’ve read.  The use of color as a source of power is unique.

11 thoughts on “Warbreaker Groupread, the Finale

  1. It’s funny to see character development in a sword 🙂

    I agree Vasher seems to have grown fond of Nightblood, but seeing as the sword has developed sentience it would seem to be a bit cruel to destroy him (it?!) just because someone else made a mistake in creating him.

    1. True, but I don’t think it would be out of character for him to do it anyway. One of the themes in this book seems to have been protecting people from excessive amounts of power. Nightblood may not be quite as dangerous as a God-King with a treasure-trove of Breath, but it’s still something that can be quite deadly and uncontrollable. It doesn’t strike me as any less humane than cutting people’s tongues out.

  2. I’m extremely curious about Nightblood’s seeming development as well. It did strike me as a little odd that Vasher considered it so unusual though. Yes, I know that other Awakened objects don’t develop or grow.

    …But they don’t talk to your mind, either.

    And who’s to say that the others wouldn’t develop further abilities if ever allowed to keep the breath long enough? Seems that any awakened object was always a short-term deal. At least as we saw them used throughout the book.

    Still, I can easily see how the command went so terribly wrong. That part is certainly consistent with the world created and the rules of the magic system.

    I mean, just how do you envision and put will behind the intent of ‘evil’? It’s an extremely complex and broad term.

    1. Even giving a Command to a normal awakened object and getting it to do what it’s supposed to seems to be an art form. Nightblood’s command was both specific and vague at the same time, but also open to interpretation, which is what makes it so dangerous. I wonder if anything similar was created in the name of science, as I’m definitely thinking that there are more applications of Breath than have been discovered yet in Warbreaker.

  3. Ooh, Ooh, off-topic but just wanted to say that if you enjoyed Colour as a magic, take a gander at The Black Prism by Brent Weeks.

    I was reading that through the last sections of this and a while after. It features a colour based magic system as well, and I was quite interested in the similarities and differences between the two.

  4. I’m honestly not convinced that Vasher knows how to destroy Nightblood, since if he did I feel like he would have done it when it was obvious the sword couldn’t do what they wanted it to hundreds of years ago. It sounds like Nightblood might be the only Type 4 created, so it would make sense that they hadn’t been able to experiment and figure out how to deactivate them.

    I agree with comments above that it is fun that a sword is developing a personality, but maybe if it keeps being educated it will finally learn what it’s supposed to destroy *crosses fingers for sequel*

    1. I hope that Nightblood shows up in the sequel. I’m guessing that the sequel will focus on Vivenna and Vasher. 🙂

      The very existence of Type 4s makes me wonder what else Breath is capable of doing.

  5. Even us humans have trouble defining evil, so an animated weapon wouldn’t have any clearer idea of it than it’s creators. I was convinced my cat was evil this morning as i lingered in bed and she nipped my nose while sitting on my chest. Her priorities were breakfast. Evil little fuzzy.

    I look forward to seeing how Nightblood matures/changes in the sequel.

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