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Chapter 42



Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.

Chapter 42 (Armor and Teeth) 
Epigraph: come on, say something new.

Before moving on, I should give my prediction for how the whole pillar issue is going to resolve. I don't think novani or ribonel would get what they want. Teofil was instructed to destroy the garnets and thereby remove the suppression effect, presumably from both Radiants and Fused. I predict that Navani will succeed in her task to help the Sibling, but won’t be able to reverse any of Raboniel’s changes before Teofil smashes his target, leaving both their jobs half done. Then the two researchers will separate, having gained knowledge of each other's actions.

Also, I have to say that as much as the singers are sympathetic, it’s really hard to care about both sides succeeding when it’s Navani vs the Lady of Wishes. One of those is obviously the right person to root for, and it’s not the one who’s spent millenia earning a reputation for genius torture methodology.


“Navani and her timid attendants soon left the broad hallway scattered with corpses”

You know, the phrasing is a little ambiguous. If I didn’t know better I’d think that maybe Navani had acquired some of the Blackthorn’s propensity for violence.

Looters in the middle of the invasion. Navani is not surprised.
Huh. That calm moment in the highstorm (which we’ve experienced via listeners and Radiants so far) is considered mythical but also has a name: centerbeat. It’s obviously connected to the rhythms, even if humans didn’t know about them for any of the time that they’ve been using the term.

Elthebar the stormwarden. The name just sounds funny to me, despite actually fitting well into Alethi naming schemes. On that note, we’ve had stormwardens around before, but I don’t remember their clothing being described: “pointed beard and mysterious robes.” Somehow I’d missed the idea that they play into mysticism. It makes sense if men aren’t supposed to be scholarly and if they are flirting with the taboo of futuretelling with their forecasts.

Navani is trusting Dabbid to know what’s going on. That’s very cool of her.

Why topaz and garnet? In soulcasting topaz is rock and stone, while garnet is blood and water-based liquids. Is there a relationship between that and power suppression for garnet and whatever it is that topaz will be doing?

Oh, we get to see more science and fabrial tech. Let’s see how you do mundane stormlight infusion.

I don’t think we’re going to learn anything more about gemstone size measurements. No idea what unit a kiv is except it’s small.

Apparently the Alethi only know how to passively infuse gems, by letting stormlight pass between same-typed gemstones from small to large. But the Thaylen have secrets! Ooo, resonant frequencies. What’s the relation to cymatics? Does stormlight form shapes as it traverses the distance? Does the vibration need to be constantly maintained for the siphon to function?

Interesting that the light behaves similarly near the tuning fork as it does for radiant inhalation. It appears that the frequency is the same for all gemstones: it’s a feature of the light, not the storage medium.

So, the topaz was either a lock or an opening-closing mechanism. Now they are working on a sapphire, which does what? We need more fabrial info!


Sleep deprivation is not making things better for Kaladin. 
Rlain going to the singers is a good plan...except for when he inevitably meets Vyre. Moash will recognize him and it will not be a happy reunion.

Syl with survivor’s guilt is sad, but not as sad as her feeling like she needs to put up a cheerful front for Kaladin ;_;


The design of the ancient fabrial is confusing and fascinating. Navani wants to know what it does, and so do I!

She’s going as fast as she can, Sibling. Maybe if you had talked to her sooner instead of sending cryptic and threatening messages, you wouldn’t be in a time crunch now.


Color is like flavor to spren. It is part of the soul of a thing.

And there’s the Nalthis connection. It’s been discussed a lot before, but Awakening will have really interesting interactions with the polestones. Also a connection to Sel, perhaps, or at least soulstamps.

Confirmation that Raboniel is trying to turn the Sibling into an Unmade. It’s apparently as simple as infusing the pillar in the right order with voidlight. That’s a poor design choice, Sibling.
Hmm. If the process halts partway through, will the Sibling join Sja-anat as a third faction?

“The Lady of Pains has stopped.” Dun dun duuuuun.


A sad, valiant last charge by Teofil’s band: I really like seeing this from the other side. Raboniel’s awe at how well they do, and Venli’s comparison of the column to “a winding relentless chasmfiend, all armor and teeth” (hence the title of the chapter) are very cool and emotionally charged.

Humans worked together cooperatively, “sacrificing individuality until they were practically spren.” I’m surprised Timbre didn’t object to that characterization too.

And the Pursuer destroys Teofil’s chances :-(

Hm, looks like my prediction was way off. Sorry Teofil, you will be missed. May you enjoy many valorous battles in the Tranquiline Halls. 

The Sibling can still see “a room on the fourth floor, with a  cage in it.” What can that possibly be? It’s bound to be significant, even if not relevant to the current crisis. Something to do with Mraize? 


Melishi...I have hated you...but now I bless you. It worked. I am safe, for now.

We need more details about that old Bondsmith, of course, but right now I want to know what the failsafe did.

It makes sense that they would destroy the tower maps, but I’m a little surprised at that.


The Sibling can’t make stormlight; the tower runs on its own fusion of Honor and Cultivation, which remains unnamed and presumably has no other applications widely.


“Stormlight, to the Sibling, is incomplete. Like a key missing several of its teeth.”
“And with Voidlight, you’re using a key...with no teeth?”
“I’m not using a key at all. I’m breaking the lock.”

Thankyou, Venli, for asking questions! Inquiring minds want to know!


“Powered by stormlight, judging by the tone…”

More connections between frequency, rhythm, and forms of investiture. Nice

Also, that shield is far more literal than I expected. I anticipated a metaphysical shield around portions of the Sibling’s mind, not a forcefield blocking access to its heart.

I wasn’t expecting Ulim to show up again. There’s no love lost between him and Venli. It’s fascinating that he chose to appear in human form. Why? What is up with that? Also, he’s a bloodthirsty little thing, isn’t her. Good thing Raboniel wants everyone alive to study.


Hmm. Interesting connection between the Vorin taboo of gambling and the risky tactical choices one makes on the battlefield. This is another instance where I love Navani’s philosophical bent. I really appreciate the way she is taking responsibility both for her actions here (first resistance then surrender in hopes of protecting her people) and for the past with Gavilar’s conquest.


Odd, that she should feel most a queen in the moments before the position was taken from her.

I like this focus on her accomplishments and her service to the people. It’s only slightly soured by the inevitable comparison to Taravangian when he makes his expected betrayal and justifies himself to Dalinar.

Raboniel’s ability to respect Navani and others, to offer fair terms of surrender, is disconcerting. If we hadn’t already been made aware of her reputation I would be rooting for her to succeed.

You want to… hire her? That’s a different proposition than the enslavement I expected. Good on Navani for initially refusing, but the way it’s been set up she’s going to do exactly what Raboniel suggests and try to spy on the Fused and learn their secrets. Sadly, Navani is very much the underdog in this game of wits. Raboniel has too much physical power to make up the difference in any places that Navani gains an edge.


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