The Girl Who Looked Up
|The Girl Who Looked Up|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
The Girl Who Looked Up is a Rosharan folk tale.
A girl lives in a village by an impossibly high wall, which nobody in the village acknowledges. The wall casts a shadow that leaves the village in darkness forever. She asks and asks about the wall, and what it keeps out, but the villagers all repeat the same reply: "Don't go beyond it or you'll probably die." They tell her it was built to keep the monsters out.
She climbs the wall, and when she reaches the top she finds a better world, lit by Stormlight. She realizes that the people of her village were the monsters, living without light. She steals some light and takes it back to her village. This act causes the storms to come and destroy the wall.
Whilst adventuring in Urithiru, Shallan tells the tale as a play, using Lightweaving in an amphitheater to create an image of the scenes in the play and eventually emulating a shadowy crowd watching from the stalls.
Even though it is an open ended story, with many different interpretations, both Shallan's and Hoid's tellings might have some special meaning behind them.
As she tells the story in Urithuru, the writing and various details indicate that it was meant to be a hopeful tale, with an unfortunate end. This is in line with Shallan's thinking at the time, with her newfound power, and the struggle between her identities. She ends the story right as the storms destroy the wall, and stopping there. The audience she summons also indicates that she feels the eyes of the world on her, and it is vital to humanity that she controls her identities.
Hoid tells the story slightly differently, the main difference being that he includes an epilogue. After the storms destroy the walls and bring in light, people are devastated by the destruction. But they also are better off without the walls, because now they can see what they do, as opposed to before when they were in complete darkness. Hoid spins the tale as a reason to keep on going, even after tragedy. This might be the reason he chose this particular story to tell while comforting Shallan, after she discovers what her good deeds around Kholinar have really done.
The story is probably a metaphor for the humans leaving Shinovar. The wall would be the mountain chain blocking both storms and Stormlight, and the strife that came from "breaking" the wall would be the first Desolation.
Since there are menacing statues on the walls, it is speculated that the dome was built to keep the villagers in.