Okay, so I'm only just now on page 500 or so of Way of Kings, reading it for the first time. It's taking me awhile to plow through it, but I'm dedicated to reading at least this one because I like what Sanderson did with WoT, and I'm willing to give him a shot at selling me on his own meaty fantasy world. I really do like several of the ideas I'm seeing coming up like the Shardblades, but I'm encountering the apparently not-all-that-rare reaction that the exposition is a bit daunting. Nonetheless, I'm making this thread because I just want to put down in public, before I read any further, my wacked-out, crazy theory about what I think might be the overarching story to this series. I will freely stipulate that I'm almost certainly wrong, and probably am proven wrong even before I finish this book. It just all seems to spur my imagination to this crazy theory, and I know it can be fun for the fans to see the newbies get it super wrong anyway. My random thought/theory that's been building so far is this: That all these events are taking place within a virtual reality/ augmented reality that all the people in Roshar experience their whole lives without realizing it. It's a bit Matrix-y, but not quite that dark. What made me think this started with the spren. The way they represent abstract things like ideals or emotions, and are often just seen as glowing dots or forms made me think of a science fiction story I read once where humans had been augmented with nanogenes generations previously, so that now they could activate essentially a Google-glass kind of vision where everywhere they looked they were getting data readouts, from oxygen content of the air to soil nutrient values, etc. The spren sort of remind me of that, especially the way that you usually don't see other people's spren (though I have gotten far enough to know that's not always the case, re: Syl). Still, I love the idea that all these folks are constantly getting data fed to them by nanogenes, but since they have lost any concept of technology they just assume they're fairy-like beings and take them as just a part of life. The Shardplate also feeds into my theory. I've gotten to parts where it describes how when you put on the helmet it becomes translucent so you can see out of it from the inside. In my head I'm totally visualizing a medieval person putting on Tony Stark's Iron Man armor and just thinking it's armor with magical properties. Likewise, and although I've only seen this happen back in the prologue so far, I could see the assassin's ability to change how gravity reacts to him with Stormlight as being a kind of Neo-like ability to subtly alter the virtual reality code around him so that he can perform superhuman feats of acrobatics. Likewise, I could imagine Shardblades as being just a form of programmed weapon, like a special access key, that lets you have superhuman abilities within the program when you wield one. The thing that really freaked me a bit is that the Parshmen warriors are described as having orange blood. I'm half-convinced that everyone in that world really is just some sort of avatar in a massive game that's been left running for thousands of years unattended. Maybe the Knights Radiant were the actual player characters, and they just abandoned the game and now all that's left are the people who would have been the background characters and peons, trying to find meaning in their lives. Anyway, like I said, I know what I've been saying is almost certainly not what Sanderson is doing. I just rarely get the chance to so fully speculate wildly at the outset of a big storyline like this very often. lol And so here it is, for your collective amusement.