One of the problems with The Way of Kings Prime was it had too many characters competing for the limelight. It lacked focus. One could argue that the published The Way of Kings is kind of all over the place itself—indeed, a lot of the plot threads don’t connect until the end. (And then only in some limited ways.)
In the published book, I feel it works. Yes, the book is expansive, but we really only have two locations for our plot: the Shattered Plains and Kharbranth. In Prime, Jasnah and Taln both had major sections of the plot, in addition to Kaladin, Dalinar, Szeth, and the character Shallan replaced. It was just too much, and the thing never pulled together.
Fixing this was one of my main goals for revising the book. I started The Way of Kings over from scratch during 2009, between writing The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight. I knew I needed a tighter narrative.
At the end, I moved Jasnah and Taln out of the book for the most part. They will have stories later in the series, but for this book, Jasnah isn’t a viewpoint character.
I’ll dig into Soulcasting at another time.
Rescuing Taravangian’s granddaughter
So, Taravangian set this entire thing up. He wanted to see Jasnah’s Soulcaster in action. He had the resources to get through that rock, if he’d wanted to—but he wanted to see Jasnah work, and he wanted to have an opportunity to interact with her. His eyes have been on her for a while.