Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Intro post here. Beware of spoilers.
Chapter 1 (Calluses)
Epigraph: not much of interest here, except for the word choice to “calm” the spren prior to capture with something it knows and loves. I wonder if failing to do so is really the result of agitation on the spren’s part. It’s clearly not bait, since the gem itself seems to serve that function. Maybe a matter of hypnosis/getting the spren to let its guard down?
Alternatively, it may just be an odd choice of words. Incidentally, I don’t remember when the last book ended, so I can’t tell how much time has passed between then and this quoted lecture. I’m assuming it happened sometime in the (1 year?) timeskip between Oathbringer and RoW?
To the Coppermind!
Okay, I couldn’t find it exactly, but the Battle of Thaylen Field takes place at the end of the second month of 1174, and this is early in the first month of 1175, so a bit under a year since the end of Oathbringer. (Still not sure how that relates to the current date, though.)
“Espionage” = Lirin the spy. I didn’t know I wanted this, but now I am stoked! Where is he spying? Looks like a Singer camp, under Fused control. But he and Hesina are in a position of authority, to a degree? At least as possessing valued skillsets. I wonder how they swung that introduction.
Huh. Still in Hearthstone? I’m surprised. I thought everyone would have vacated.
I hadn’t considered the logistics of a refugee situation when impermanent housing is by definition not something that provides shelter from a highstorm. “Sure, let me just take down my tent every three days, try to stow my stuff where it won’t blow away or get stolen, and pack in tight so none of us die.” This is an added element of stress that can’t be helping anybody.
So Herdaz is falling. They held out for quite a while.
“Brightness Abiajan” appears to be in charge. Is that a singer name, someone who has adopted Alethi honorifics through cultural imitation? Or is it a human who retained local authority? I’m guessing the first, because it makes more sense and because the potential cultural exchange is fascinating (even though these awakened parsh don’t have much in the way of original culture that they know about).
Lirin has organized psych help and a support structure? Or, more likely, the community did that and he’s advocating for it / connecting his patients to it, but still. This is another instance of medical practice being more advanced on Roshar than its counterpart era in Earth history. Wound care etc. was a result of having rotspren give them an observable surrogate for germ theory. I wonder if spren for mental anguish or atypical thought patterns had a similar contribution on mental care.
Yup. Abiajan is a singer. Wearing a havah, complete with safehand. We already knew about the cultural absorption of the newly awakened singers around the continent, but this is making me wonder. Did the Alethi require femalen parsh to wear gloves on their safehands? If not was it because they weren’t “people” or because they weren’t female enough to matter?
The infamous purelake plague rears its head again. I have to reiterate how disappointed I was when Brandon revealed it was just a flu-like disease spread by worldhoppers. With the inherent good health that comes from living on such a highly invested planet, I’m not expecting this “plague” subplot to actually go anywhere. I mean, eventually all this foreshadowing may pay off, but I’m rather anticipating it to amount to a disappointing misdirection.
This mysterious Herdazian general that Lirin is about to meet… is he the one from that interlude, who had the speed lockpicking competition with the loser ending as Greatshell chow? I don’t actually remember where that took place, but I am thinking Herdaz.
Heroism is a myth [... that] got one of my sons killed and another taken from me.
Something tells me that Lirin still isn’t thrilled about Kaladin off doing Radiant things.
They’ve “sent Kal word.” Does that mean they have hidden spanreeds? I’m not too surprised, given that the refugee population will make it very hard to effectively monitor all of the people, but it shows a degree of organization that I am glad to see.
(Just checked the coppermind. The general from the “hog wrestling” interlude matches the physical description of this Mink, so I’d say that’s confirmed. Also the manacle scars. I don’t think he got those the way you are suspecting, Lirin.)
Didn’t notice the cameo before. I’m assuming that Aric, the guard of Hearthstone, is Chaos?
It’s ambiguous, but I like to think that Roshone is truly allied with Lirin at this point. I wasn’t one of the readers who was thrilled about Kal facing off with him in the last book. He never seemed like a worthwhile antagonist, and I think the “best enemy” trope is a much better use of him as a character.
Interesting that the singers share their former masters’ blindspot to laborers. That’s a heck of an inherited cultural bias.
Lirin was already in rough winds with the citylady
Fused and a warband searching for Kal. It’s too bad for Hearthstone that he’s not here yet.
Oh, wait, never mind. It’s a big problem for Hearthstone that he is here, and all glowy. Multiple someones are about to have a bad day.