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I'm going to post my reactions and analysis of Rhythm of War chapter by chapter as I go through. Contains spoilers for RoW, obviously, and for the Cosmere in general as I'll probably be theory crafting as I go.

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Chapter 112

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

Chapter 112 (Terms)
Title: Are we really going to try making a contract with Odium now? I sure hope not. It doesn’t feel earned. Hopefully this is about the terms they will set with their allied Fused in the Tower.

Icons: Betab. Patron of Elsecallers, also Wise and Careful. I’m going to hope it’s something to do with Rlain’s new Elsecaller status.
Epigraph: This might be the first in-text confirmation that Odium is waging (or preparing to wage) a war beyond Greater Roshar. We’ve had Wit’s comments about preventing Rayse’s escape and limiting his ability to harm others, but nothing from Odium’s side to confirm that he actually has designs on the greater Cosmere. Obviously we know something about his plans due to WoBs over the years, but in-text citations are always better.
Dalinar’s exhaustion is greater than expected, and leaves him vulnerable. I think Odium is going to approach him in a vision while he’s down for a rest.

Odium didn’t even wait for him to lay down. As soon as he stepped through the door, it was all business. Will there even be small talk?


Storms within. 

Another addition to the list of swears! Thanks, Dalinar!

It does seem as though Rayse’s self control is lacking. He barely keeps his anger at bay, and his image seems to match Wit’s description of his power and mind working at odds with each other.

Odium thinks Dalinar has been getting coaching from Ishar. He can’t see Dalinar’s future, but this means he can’t really examine his past either.

That’s a pretty skillful lie that Dalinar just came up with on the spot. Good work.

Going to see Ishar wasn’t useful in itself, but it did let Dalinar bluff really well and provided great misdirection for Odium’s paranoia.

Wait, when did Dalinar learn that Renarin was a blindspot? Looking back… it was in chapter 54 when Renarin apparently deduced it for himself and shared, plus in interlude 9 Taravangian told Szeth…though that meeting may not have been reported to Dalinar. I totally forgot that Renarin had figured it out and told Dalinar. I guess that’s what I get for taking so long to read this book.

He immediately knows that Wit wrote the contract. He doesn’t seem to have much affection for the man, to put it gently.

Okay, here’s clarification of sorts: Honor chained Odium to the Rosharan system and prevented him from using his power on most people. And if he breaks his word, he’ll be open to attack from Cultivation.

The Everstorm somehow is beyond Rayse’s control, and he can’t agree to withdraw it. That’s weird. But let’s see where he’s going with it.


Do you know why I make men fight? [...] I need soldiers. For the true battle that is coming, not for one people or one miserable windswept continent. A battle of the gods. A battle for everything.
Roshar is a training ground. The time will come that I unleash you upon the others who are not nearly as well trained.

This is remarkably similar to the Alethi concept of the Tranquiline Halls and the fate of those worthy warriors who die in battle. I wonder if that belief was directly engendered by the thrill or by Odium’s whispers. Or is it the case of glorifying something that used to be warned against?

Odium’s proposal is exactly opposite to what Wit wants. “If I win, I go free of Roshar and leave you all here to rot.” That’s not great for the wider Cosmere.

Good. Dalinar doesn’t trust Wit, but he also knows that Tanavast died to trap Odium here. He’s not going to just undo that.

Woah, wait. This is a huge hint:


If I win, I want the Knights Radiant. [...] Your people and mine will begin preparing for the true war: the one that will begin when the gods of other worlds discover the strength of Surgebinding.

So Odium has been playing a serious game from the start. He discovered Surgebinding on Ashyn, tricked the people there into exploiting it until the planet suffered the consequences, and proceeded to begin the same here on Roshar. 
The spren copied this, and Ishar saw the danger of history repeating, so he limited surgebinding under some formalized ruleset. But surgebinding isn’t just the magic of Roshar or the Rosharan system, it is apparently an exploit of investiture at a fundamental level. It’s something that can be done on all shardworlds, as an enhancement of or as a distinct system from the magic that already exists there. And it’s powerful enough to kick off full-scale inter-system war. 

Ah. Odium is scared because the Fused and the Radiant spren can now kill each other, and each death reduces the forces he will be able to bring to bear when he does eventually break free. He is in a hurry to settle this while both sides are at full power so as not to lose the one advantage he’s been banking on. Sadly, Dalinar doesn’t see this, not being aware of what happened at Urithiru.

Ten days until Odium’s proposed contest of champions. I guess the epigraphs make sense: “Musings of El, on the first of the Final Ten Days.”

The terms if he loses are that Odium will keep his conquered lands and enforce an end to the war. I guess that explains how we get a timeskip between books 5 and 6. This will also let him send his agents through the cosmere.

And if Dalinar loses he joins the Fused, immortal and subservient to Odium in all things. But at the same time, the end of the war is still enforced, with the difference that Alethkar and Herdaz are not returned. It’s clear that while Odium covets Dalinar, what he needs is to preserve his army of Fused and Radiants before they can destroy each other.

Dalinar accepts, on the sound logic that if they lose the contest of champions then he’ll have to surrender anyway and the terms of that surrender will be no less restrictive than this win condition he’s negotiated.

Wow. That is a very different set of terms than I would have ever expected Odium to agree to, and a lot more information about Odium’s past and plans than I thought we would be getting. Brandon does love his end-of-book reveals, doesn’t he?


Chapter 111

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

Chapter 111 (Unchained)
Title: Probably most intended as a reference to the Sibling, but I imagine it will be a broadly applicable theme.
Icons: Quartet of Chach, Ishar, Palah, and Jez. Hard to speculate for Chach and Palah.


“And so I am not at all dissatisfied with recent events.”

How recent are we talking, here? I assume this is post-epilogue material, and El is aware that Urithiru was retaken and the Sibling revived. He really doesn’t think it matters, does he. I guess it’s a positive thing for him, since humans are resisting annihilation, and he was already arguing against exterminating the race. He doesn’t think there’s any chance at all that humans will come out the victors, though.
Wait, before we get into this, does Navani’s revival of the Sibling and apparent healing of that whole Unmaking business mean that the tower’s suppression can immediately revert to blocking Void-powered abilities? That would make a dramatic and instant difference in the balance of power here. I almost hope that’s not the case, since it feels sort of like the frequently used “shoot the mothership to deactivate everything” trope in movies that often comes off as a cheap victory.

Anyway, on to Dalinar, who is our first PoV.
Oh. It was Dalinar who accepted Kaladin’s oath. I had that totally wrong. Makes sense, though. Bondsmith power!


“God Beyond bless it to be enough.”

New swear construction for the list. Thanks, Dalinar!

Dalinar immediately recognizes Ishar through their Connection. That’s the bondsmith’s domain, so it makes sense, but I also wonder if it’s partly to do with the way Ishar founded the nahel system. It’s more than any of the other Radiant orders have recognized of their own patron heralds. 


Shalash presented Ishar as a confident, eager man. Energetic, more a battlefield commander than a wise old scholar. He was the man who had discovered how to travel between worlds, leading humans to Roshar in the first place.

Well, that’s a bit of an info drop. That’s not how imagined Ishar either, mostly going by the closed-eyed icon, but that’s neither here nor there. He was the one who saved humanity from Ashyn by discovering the path through Shadesmar. That’s a remarkable achievement, and it means that events happened very rapidly on early Roshar for him to have become a member of the oathpact. How swiftly did it become necessary to lock away Odium and his Fused?

Ishar thinks he’s Tanavast, and that he’s the one meant to fight Odium’s champion? That’s more delusional than I was expecting.

Apparently he is “Herald of Heralds, sole bearer of the Oathpact.” Not only that, he’s going to absorb Odium’s power and become reborn into a new incarnation of Adonalsium. I’m not going to say that he’s harmless, since he obviously has plenty of power and ability, but I will say that recruiting this guy sounds dodgy.

Ishar reclaimed his own blade, and apparently it was the one that Szeth’s dad was entrusted. I’m not convinced that Ishar would need to do anything at all to Szeth’s dad in order to get the blade back, since I doubt it was actually unbound from him in the first place. But the Ghostbloods lost track of some honorblades and their wielders, so something might be up.

The cremling is following their group. I guess we’ll find out if it’s actually possessed by a voidspren rather than being part of a sleepless. However, Timbre taking a chasmfiend taxi to reach Eshonai in the flashbacks gives some credence to the idea that the voidspren really are hiding in these cremlings.

The Rhythm of Executions. Why do they even have that rhythm?

Rlain asks for a spren. Timbre says he’s “already spoken for.”


Keep fighting. Salvation will be, Rlain, listener. Bridger of Minds. I have been sent to you by my mother, at the request of Renarin, Son of Thorns. I have watched you and seen your worthiness. 
Speak the Words, and do not despair.

Okay, there’s quite a bit to unpack here. Yes, he gets one of Sja-Anat’s children. I was hoping for Unmade Sibling, but I guess we’ll go with semi-Unmade nahel spren from another order instead. I do still like his association with Renarin here, and bonding one of Sja-Anat’s children fits.

The titles are interesting. Son of Thorns I like because it acknowledges both Dalinar the Blackthorn but also Renarin’s mother. (Whether that refers to Evi or Navani or both, I’m not sure. Probably Navani due to recent events, but who knows?) As for Bridger of Minds, that’s a fascinating one because until the recent alliance of convenience against the Pursuer, Rlain really didn’t do much to act as a bridge, being too much an outcast of both worlds. That title also suggests a role in connecting people or in pursuit of knowledge, which brings us to the last point:

The spren’s speaking patterns are reminiscent of Blended and Ivory, suggesting that prior to their corruption by Sja-Anat they were an Inkspren. That’s certainly not conclusive, and I could be wrong entirely. Current guess, though, is that Rlain will be a weird Elsecaller in the same way that Renarin is a weird Truthwatcher.

There’s a new word. “Skepping” is the act of quickly dismissing and resummoning the blade so that it passes through blocks. 
Whatever else Ishar has lost, his fighting ability is still top notch.

Ishar was average among the Heralds, Taln was the best. 
Ah, the Stormfather’s warning is important. WIth his honorblade, Ishar is “a bondsmith unchained” by the rules of the nahel system he instated.

The perpendicularity brings Ishar to his senses…almost. But no, the conclusion must be that Odium has corrupted the Stormfather.

He’s trying to steal the bond to the Stormfather, and Dalinar’s status as someone opposed to Odium? That can’t be good.

It almost works, except that Szeth chops through the theft with Nightblood. Holding Nightblood drawn in the middle of a perpendicularity has got to be making sword-nimi really happy right now.

Ishar went to the Shin and revealed himself in order to get his Honorblade back. What did that do to Stone Shamanism to have a herald tell them the conflict wasn’t over? 

Szeth doesn’t believe it, and Ishar elaborates:


Your father was barely a man when I found him. The Shin have accepted the Unmade. Tried to make gods of them. I saved them. And your father did give me this Blade. He thanked me for letting him die.

All of that is concerning. Given Ishar’s demonstrated grasp on reality I am not sure how much truth is in those statements, but it’s certain that Shinovar is worse off now than it was before Ishar and the Unmade visited.

Nightblood chipped the Honorblade. That’s not surprising to those who know where it came from, but it’s a big shock to everyone here.

Ishar has a brief moment of lucidity when Navani says her vow. He knows he’s insane, but he wants everyone to meet him in Shinovar to restore the Oathpact, provided they can restore his sanity at the time by having a whole bunch of Radiants swear their next oath in sequence to grant him lucidity.

Okay, so the Voidlight is still present in the Sibling as a corrupting influence, but the Sibling’s nature and use of Towerlight has not changed. Navani is going to try to purge the Voidlight I guess?

Okay, she can do it but she needs her scholars and the anti-Voidlight plate to make it work, and all of this will take time. Despite being driven back, Moash is not a solved problem, yet, that she can spend her focus elsewhere.

Hm. I guess Moash fled and she really can focus on this problem now.


Hm. So Ishar’s trick was to make their bodies and the ground Connected to the point that all their investiture flowed out to try to fill the ground. That’s a scarily effective ability.
Apparently Ishar couldn’t do that before, because even without the restrictions of the nahel system he was limited by Tanavast. So how limited is Dalinar at this point? What enforces his restrictions?


He [Ishar] cannot bear sole blame for the destruction of Ashyn, humankind’s first home, but he was the one Odium first tricked into experimenting with the Surges.

Well, that’s a whole can of worms we didn’t know about the Ashyn situation. Not only is Ishar the one who discovered how to escape, he seems to have precipitated the crisis that forced an escape to be necessary. It also appears that Odium was confined to Ashyn somehow, and trickery was necessary for him to escape to the wider Roshar system.
This explains why the Oathpact was immediately recognized as a necessity. The survivors from Ashyn knew that Odium would cause the same destruction to Roshar if he wasn’t checked. So somehow they devised a way to consign him to Braize. I’m eager to learn the story of how that happened.

Szeth is ready to graduate from following the Blackthorn to following his quest to the Shin. Set up for Stones Unhallowed? Storms, yes!

Yes, sword-nimi, you destroyed a lot of evil this time. 

What does Szeth have to do before he leaves? Is it something to do with Taravangian, because otherwise the meeting with Odium may not be engineered appropriately. What was it Ishar knew that unnerved Szeth? The thing about the Unmade? Something about his father? I don’t know.

Dalinar: “I don’t know if Szeth or Nightblood are more insane.”
Stormfather: “Neither do I, but Ishar’s got them both beat.”

I wonder what they’ll actually get from Ishar. I don’t know that much of his writings will be useful or relevant or accurate, even if he did leave things behind.
Adin again. I don’t know how I feel about returning to an interlude character in the main text (excepting the main throughline interlude, which in this case is Taravangian). The only reason to do so now would be to show off that Adin is actually getting a spren, or to do something with a commoner’s view. The former doesn’t feel worth taking space here, and the latter could be accomplished with someone else. This undercuts the use of the interlude chapters. Either take out Adin’s interlude, possibly pushing it into the main text (my preference) or skip this PoV now. 


War was a masculine art, but when you started attacking women, you’d stopped engaging in war. You deserved anything that happened to you after that point.

A bright spot in Alethi sexism, and a reminder that as brutal as their culture is, war is formalized and has certain rules around it.

So can Kaladin lend his plate to other people? That’s neat and unexpected. I’m going to guess that other orders can’t do this. But see, this would have been a much cooler thing if it were the Moment of Awesome for Kaladin, separate from our first sight of living Plate. We definitely should have had the introduction to that from Jasnah first so that this could be special. 

And yes, this PoV could have been anyone else rather than Adin. My vote would be Dabbid or Leshwi, personally. The superficial connection to Tien, where Kaladin gets to save a kid instead of watching them die, is only there in subtle reference and could be there just as much from another PoV.

Huh. It didn’t take Navani long at all to purge the Voidlight and get everything functional. The Tower is alive again, and the suppression is working correctly. 

Ewww. Suppressing the Deepest Ones while they are halfway merged with the floor does not go well for them.

I’m hopeful that the Sibling can be more selective in the future and allow allied Fused to function in their halls. I’m not confident, though. What will happen with Leshwi? Best guess right now is that she and her entourage will ferry Venli and Rlain to the Shattered Plains to find the lost listeners.

Ishar is doing autopsies/dissections? Are they … not singers, it appears. Apparently humans, but possibly Siah if their bodies become depigmented upon death? No, it is pale blue so probably a Siah Aimian. Or maybe just a Natan like Dalinar thinks.

This other body, though, is weird. Should I recognize this? Oh, wait. Is it a Cryptic brought into the physical? It totally is. That description matches and is disturbing, but it is definitely what we’re seeing. 

Yes, Stormfather agrees. It’s a Cryptic. And there are more. Cultivationspren… The first one must have been an honorspren, with the bluish skin. 

Yes, Stormfather agrees again. Not only that, he recognizes the body as an honorspren he knows.

Storms. I thought the reveal at the end of Way of Kings, with Taravangian exsanguinating people to harvest death rattles, was bad. This has the same shock value and greater atrocity. Ishar’s madness is worse than anyone expected.

Moash’s Honorblade-granted abilities are unhindered, but his connection to Odium is suppressed by the revived tower, and, as anticipated, his passion comes roaring back. His pain and guilt return with a vengeance. 

What did he run into and land on? The description makes me think he smacked into the cliff and then fell into a snowbank, but it could be something magical rather than physical. 
Why did the Towerlight burn him? Was he too steeped in Voidlight to survive? That’s bizarre, since nothing like that happened to the Fused.

He gets rescued by Heavenly Ones, and begins to heal. Odium steals his guilt and pain again, and his body mends…except for his eyes. He’s permanently blind. What does that mean for him going forward?


Chapter 110

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

Chapter 110 (Reborn)
Icons: Jez and Ishar. We’re back to our regular mirrored doublet, so maybe things are calming down? Looks like windrunner and bondsmith shenanigans inbound.
Epigraph: Really? Now you’re teasing us with one word at a time? This is getting silly.

Okay, that is a lot more windspren than I expected. Kaladin is overachieving again, opening a glowing channel from the top of the storm to the bottom. No wonder the giant window was lighting up in the tower.

Hm. This is a nice moment of earning his Plate, and it’s great to both see it and feel the significance of the windspren choosing that connection. HOWEVER! Why does Kaladin get this scene? Jasnah has had her plate for over a year, and she’s not the only one. We all knew where plate comes from by now, so this isn’t a reveal of any sort. Doesn’t Jasnah deserve some time in the spotlight? This isn’t just the Kaladin show. The other characters matter too. 

And the PoV cuts off right as he is about to grab Lirin, or they’re both going to smack into the ground. It’s cinematic, but does anyone actually think Brandon’s going to let Kaladin fail to save Lirin right here? I guess it would be a test of his new oath…
Yes! Go Navani! Reject those internalized judgements of not being good enough. You are a scholar. You are a creator. You are enough, and you are worthy! We’ve been waiting for this culmination of your character journey. Take that, Gavilar.

Navani is willing to compromise, to unite. It’s a different conception of unity than Dalinar encompases, but it’s an important one. Perhaps more important for that difference.

Navani hums Odium’s tone, as the only one she can hear… but she can invert it in her own voice. This reclaims some of the Sibling and forces Moash to hesitate. This is what you’ve discovered, Navani, and a skill you’ve earned.

Sibling can hear Cultivation’s tone, but not Honor’s. So the answer is no, cultivation’s investiture was not replaced by the infusion of Voidlight. 

Navani unknowingly echoes Notum and the other honorspren here, “Honor is not dead. He lives inside the hearts of his children.”  And she makes it a reality, drawing on her own heart to bring forth Honor’s tone. 

All her practice jamming out with Raboniel means she can immediately and on the fly harmonize into the Rhythm of the Tower, finding that common ground with the Sibling. Yep, she’s awesome.

Also, I love that Navani is speaking to these Rhythms now. She’s going to be welcomed by Leshwi and friends.

The Sibling says their initial creation was in order to create common ground between humans and spren. What does that mean for the founding of Urithiru, and the formalization of nahel structure by Ishar? I doubt we’ll find out soon.

I find it significant that the Sibling accepts her oath. It’s not weird, since they are of equivalent stature/standing as the Stormfather and he’s the one who usually does it. But this is personal and the result of long negotiation. I approve.

She’s somehow healed the Sibling’s ability to create Towerlight, and they do it together. I don’t have a problem with that, except that it appears to trivially revert all of the Unmaking that Raboniel has been doing for weeks. Sure, that was needlessly drawn out in order to push Raboniel’s other plans, but it was still a huge infusion of voidlight into the very being of the Sibling, to the point that their mind has been undergoing fundamental alteration. I don’t think you should be able to gloss over that with a single power-up sequence. 
In fact, I was looking forward to Rlain the Bondsmith in part because of the partial unmaking of the Sibling. It would be something new and interesting to work around. 

On top of that, I think it would have been better and more Significant for a listener/singer to be the second Bondsmith. That would recast the conflict significantly, and draw a lot more eyes than Venli’s bond. Maybe that’s why Brandon didn’t do it? Because he didn’t want Venli overshadowed? But then why give the job to the Kholin family?

In fact, I’m a little irked that Navani’s “yes I matter, yes I’m good enough” moment leads directly into phenomenal cosmic powers. She was unique among the core cast as being someone without magical skills but still getting by through fabrial tech and family bonds and sheer gumption. Why undercut that role by giving her powers, right when she starts to accept her own contributions? I’m not fully happy with this development, as great as it is.

Still, “Journey before destination, you bastard.” That’s a badass moment and something we’ve all been wanting to spit in Moash’s face for a while. You go, Navani!
Lirin accepting the shash glyph is a nice touch to this reunion scene. Kaladin’s brand healing is nice and symbolic, but doesn’t make sense. Why would accepting his inability to save people negate his self identity as branded and enslaved? This doesn’t jive for me. It’s too sudden. Sure, elevations to another tier of Radiant Oaths are empowering, but he was accepting loss and weakness, not whatever this is.



Chapter 109

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

Chapter 109 (Emulsifier)
Icons: Four with Ishar, Kelek, Jez, and Palah. Best guess with the title is that Rlain is going to help emulsify the Warlight, hence Ishar for Bondsmith. Kelek for Venli as willshaper, and Jez for Kaladin doing stuff. Not sure about Palah, though. 

Epigraph: This is getting tedious. Lots of little backhanded compliments for the slaves El wants to rule. Get to the point, please.

Leshwi is overjoyed at Venli’s radiance. The previous scene cut was a fakeout. 
Leshwi is asking after her honorspren friend? She’s humming to the old rhythms? I hope these are actual indicators of what is going to happen going forward, not death flags for a character we want to root for.

Leshwi can’t become a Radiant with her soul steeped in Odium’s power, but maybe others can, and she can support them. 

I love the affirmation Leshwi shows. Venli is still her Voice, and she is content to lead when Venli is conflicted. And what does she do? She leads her forces against the Pursuer’s.

Oh, the Sibling may not be entirely given over to the Rhythm of War. They hear it somewhere in the tower, but they aren’t producing it.

Oh, is the Rhythm of War coming from Venli? (And possibly Leshwi) That would make her the emulsifier, especially since we’ve already seen she can use both Stormlight and Voidlight.

Hm. From the vision it looks like Venli is indeed the emulsifier, but not the sole producer of the tone. She is bringing Leshwi and the humans together, binding the previously unmixable to work together as a single force.

Navani makes the same conclusion. Nice.

Moash is fighting Raboniel with his Blade, and he also has a dagger capable of killing fused. Is he going to take the blame for her permadeath? Will Navani be off the hook from Odium’s perspective and the Fused?

Rlain is coming, but he’s too far away, and too late. And Navani is not worthy. Blunt, and devastating, but honest.

Rlain is working to heal as a surgeon. Being a unifier as a bondsmith would be a great role for him, but maybe truthwatcher is in the cards instead, if the Sibling is out of reach?

Reminder of the sky burial customs of the listeners. I appreciate that Rlain wants to give Teft that honor, leaving the body unmolested. 

Lift isn’t healing. Did anyone try feeding the girl? 

That alliance with Leshwi didn’t last long. She doesn’t seem to think she’s in rebellion, just acting with more compassion and honor while she serves the cause of her people.

Rlain speaking with confidence, ordering Leshwi around, is gold. Telling her she absolutely committed treason here, so he needs to listen up, then placing himself and Venli as trustworthy listeners with experience in escaping Odium’s control, that’s brilliant. He doesn’t even know about Venli’s radiance yet.

Ah, there it is. And Rlain’s response? 


“Figures. Kelek’s breath…I wait years, then you of all people grab a spren first.”

Yes, that is definitely too much channeling of Teft, Rlain. You even swore like him.

Yes, let’s all go out in the highstorm carrying unconscious Radiants. There’s no way that could leave you vulnerable. At least it got people moving.

Venli is super impressed at Rlain ordering Leshwi around.

“Hi Venli, please summon your blade to work the oathgate.”
“What? I can’t do that.”
“Well, crem.”



Chapter 108

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

Chapter 108 (Moments)
Icons: Mirrored triad: Taln, Vev, with Jez doubled. Windrunner moments, plus endurance and healing?
Epigraph: Confused but brilliant? Sure, I’ll take that compliment, El.

On a tent in Amaram’s colors. Is this Tien, and he doesn’t recognize him? I am not sure how this vision will be helpful, Dalinar. 

Kaladin hasn’t learned that in living the vision he inhabits memories of the one he replaces. It took a while for Dalinar to learn to go with the flow on that. Kal is just being himself.

And suddenly Kal recognizes where and when this is. “Work with what you have.”

Oh, that’s why he didn’t see it at first. Tien came in later to protect these two. 
Aww, Tien recognizes him in the vision, somehow.


“Of course I was terrified. Doesn’t change that I needed to be here. For them.”

Kal and Tien are more alike than we’ve had a chance to see.

This is touching. I am frequently emotional in books, so this isn’t out of the norm by any stretch for me, but this little exchange is definitely making me tear up a bit. Well done Brandon/Tien.



“They all die….That means it doesn’t matter. None of it matters.”
“See, that’s the wrong way of looking at it. Since we all go to the same place in the end, the moments we spent with each other are the only things that do matter. The times we helped each other.”

“And if I fail again?”
“You can’t. So long as you understand.”


And Tien gives him a wooden carving to carry out of the vision to show it was real. 
Alright, Dalinar, I take it back. This was a good idea after all. (Though only because there was more to it than just watching Tien die again.)

He grasps Syl, somehow recognizing her from only a pinprick of light. 

Oh, the horse dissolved. Not sure how that will go over. 

He hears Tien and Teft’s voices egging him on to say his Fourth Oath. And more shockingly, the voice that says “These Words Are Accepted” isn’t the Stormfather’s. I want to say it’s Tien’s but they’ve already left the time-agnostic realm of the Spiritual, so it seems like Teft is the only one who could stick around long enough for it. I’m not sure, though, because Tien was definitely implied.

And all the windspren congregate from across the sky to (presumably) form his Plate.


Chapter 107

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

Chapter 107 (Uniting)
Icons: Four: Kek, Chach, Jez, Ishi. I got nothing.
Epigraph: These short snippets are infuriatingly meaningless on their own. Clump them into a single epigraph so that there’s room for more meat. Or, alternatively, just tell us who El is!

Is it significant that the mural navani smears blood on is the one of a willshaper spren? I don’t think so–it seems like it’s probably just added color, but it’s a weird place for that sort of detail.

Taunting Navani with Elhokar’s murder is not going to make her give up. You say you feel nothing, but I’m sensing a lot of residual spite in you, Vyre.

As expected, he gets a Raboniel to the face. I’m imagining all those shows where a cat jumps up at someone out of nowhere, though I suspect it’s a bit more terrifying to have that happen with a full-sized Fuzed. She’s weak enough it will only delay, but it’s super satisfying to see her fondness and belief in Navani motivate her like this.

Nice, Raboniel is using the stormlight siphon version of the knife to hinder Moash, sucking away his strength.

She reaches the pillar and only hears the Rhythm of War. So the Unmaking is complete, but as anticipated the Sibling is not like the other Unmade. Those are fully Odium, while the Sibling is powered by Warlight. Actually, wait. If previously the Sibling worked on Towerlight, generating Towerlight, a.k.a. fusion of Honor and Cultivation, why are they working on Warlight now? Shouldn’t there be some Cultivation in the mix? Or did all of the Voidlight replace the Lifelight half? That might explain the severe weakening that the Sibling experienced, especially towards the end.
The Stormfather manifests next to Dalinar in the air, outside of a storm. That’s unprecedented.
Also, it’s weird to me again to think about the timescales involved for the highstorm to travel across the continent. They are blithely flying toward the enemy camp, while a highstorm is bearing down on them to arrive within hours at most. Surely they should be waiting until after it passes to do this?

Also, with Dalinar getting pulled into a vision, that’s gotta be awkward for Lyn the Windrunner who is carrying him.

Kaladin taking Syl’s hand, then letting her go… definitely a sad moment.

Dalinar convinces the Stormfather to pull Kal into the timestop at the center of the Storm. Giving someone a little more time to process their grief is the sort of magical intervention that feels relevant to real life concerns. I like this part of the solution.

The civilians in the tower are trying to protect the Radiants, and Venli specifically notices the one-armed soldier that took Kaladin as inspiration against depression. I hope not too many of them die.

Venli reveals the wrong rhythms in her speech, getting Leshwi’s attention.
Timbre is shouting her little head off inside, "Show her, show her!"

All this buildup to Leshwi being accepting of Venli’s radiance, and LOLnope–she immediately attunes Destruction. 
Definitely not an automatic alliance. Here’s a reminder that as much as we like Leshwi, and as much as we trust her morals, she’s still fighting for the forces of Odium.
Kaladin buys into Moash’s dichotomy of Odium or oblivion. The Stormfather tells him there are more choices, and there is still more journey worth taking.
Actually, until I wrote that I didn’t recognize this as a journey vs. destination point. Odium or oblivion is a pondering of consequences and outcomes, forcing Kaladin to choose to end his journey. The Stormfather instead tells him there’s more to do right now, which is more important than the false choice of destination he’s been presented.

The thought of Syl being left alone to grieve is enough to make Kaladin try again, but he still has exhausted his strength. I’m glad he loves Syl enough to try.


Don’t force me on this, Dalinar! You could break things you do not understand, the consequences of which could be catastrophic.

A reminder that for all the Bondsmith’s powers, he is still bound by the constraints of the nahel system of oaths, and that pushing those limits is done at everyone’s peril. We do not want a deadeye Stormfather, or one broken in other soul-destroying ways.

Dalinar is in the spiritual realm and he senses a warmth. Is this the anomalous light from his visions? In the past he attributed it to the God Beyond, but we don’t really know what it is or where it came from. Does this mean we’ll get an actual explanation?

Dalinar connects Kaladin to the warmth and sends him a vision. What is the connection to? What will the vision be of, and how much of it will Dalinar be influencing? Any? I sort of think that his contribution is done after forging the connection.


Chapter 106

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Chapter 106 (A Hundred Discordant Rhythms)
Icons: Offset triad of Taln, Jez, and doubled Nale.
Epigraph: I don’t get it. How are varied and intense being used as antonyms? Or at least exclusive?

Kaladin reflects on his argument with Lirin about killing to protect, and how that may be an inherent contradiction. But unbeknownst to him, Lirin is mere feet away being held hostage against Kaladin doing anything. So when he does finally look up, will he kill in order to protect his father? Or will he accept Lirin’s morals and let his father suffer the fate the enemy has planned?

Navani jumps into the pain field to grab the knife, and stabs Raboniel with it. Way to be awesome, Navani! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that she’s married to the Blackthorn. I doubt there’s enough light in there to actually kill Raboniel, though.

I really like that she takes time to have pride in the range of her pain field, while being bombarded with its effect. Definitely a scholar.

Oh. Raboniel is almost dead. She’s cut off from the rhythms and in excruciating pain. Navani succeeded, but Raboniel has enough time for some last words. And what words does she choose? Affirmation of Navani, and encouraging her to escape. 

Awesome. Raboniel esteems the Voice of Lights highly enough to think she is the best chance now of ending the war. Wonderful culmination of this relationship!

And Moash ruins the moment. At least he did it dramatically (by throwing a knife into Navani’s chest from across the room).

Timbre really has no fear, telling Venli to reveal herself in front of everyone. That’s far gutsier than I would expect.

Leshwi frees Lirin! Kaladin doesn’t have to face the decision I thought would come.

Oh, Leshwi is definitely going to capitalize on the Defeated One title. She’s going to get a lot of mileage out of that.

Well, that’s even more dramatic. The Pursuer teleports past Leshwi to kill Stormblessed, and now Venli will have to save him with her stone shaping. That’s a sweet setup right there.

Oh, that’s not what happened. It just broke Kal out of his funk and forced him to fight back. 

Ah, maybe that’s not a good thing? Kaladin with eyes that are starting to glow red is not an auspicious sign. 

Uh oh. Using the wrong color of light to lash the Pursuer’s head off of his body…that’s not the Windrunner ideals I’m used to. Has Brandon been running a long con? Is Moash right? What if Dalinar does get his contract signed, only to find out that Kaladin has taken up the role of Odium’s champion? I don’t actually think that’s what’s going to happen, but sequences like this are doing a seriously impressive job of convincing me it’s a possibility.

No, don’t run away with the hostage! That’s how you make him follow you! Seriously, folks. If you aren’t going to fight him, just give him what he wants.

So now Venli just has to reveal herself by fighting against the Pursuer’s personal guard and protecting the Radiants. I’m not sure that’s an improvement over the previous scene.

No! Syl is forgetting. This is not good. Kaladin, please don’t kill Syl or abandon her!

Um, is Syl forgetting the Words he said or the ones he was getting ready to say? Because that’s an important distinction.

When Lirin is thrown off, Kaladin jumps off the tower into the storm, while remembering honor chasm. This took an even darker turn than I thought it would. For the moment I think I still prefer my hypothetical hostage negotiation for the character arc, but I’ll wait and see where Brandon is going with this.


Chapter 105

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Chapter 105 (Children of Passions)
Icons: Another offset triad: Jez and Chach, plus Vev twice but not mirrored. Maybe that’s Lift getting pride of place? I’m beginning to think the lack of symmetry is intentional to evoke the chaos of the current situation.

Epigraph: Are you making fun of our skin, now? Just because we humans don’t have cool crab shells doesn’t mean… yeah, who am I kidding. I’m sure we’re funny looking to you.

Smashing the Pursuer against the giant window against the backdrop of highstorm lightning is a cool move. Following it up by scaring him away, that’s how you win with panache.
Of note is that this whole section identifies Moash by his former name, not by Vyre. Not sure if that’s a change based on his proximity to Bridge Four, or something else, but he’s thinking of himself that way.

Kaladin is going to take some time to get over Teft’s murder, but it’s definitely not going to break him the way Moash expects. It might have, earlier, but he has already accepted that he’s not Bridgeleader or Highmarshal any longer, and he has the beginnings of a new identity in place.

Oh, stink. Odium is interested in Lift for obvious reasons. I really hope she doesn’t get taken captive again at the end of all this. Going from Mraize to Raboniel to Odium in a series of cages is not what I want for our little Edgedancer.

Moash, that is where your narrowmindedness betrays you. Kaladin’s only two options are suicide or surrender of self? You don’t know him as well as you think you do.

And now he’s headed for Navani. Is he going to get hit by her fabrial mines, or is he going to have Odium ejected from his heart by her anti-Voidlight dagger, forcing him to face his own emotions again? My money is on the second one.
The shield is down. This is your chance, Navani.

Two more Fused titles we haven’t heard before: Word of Deeds and Night Known. Not sure what their role is in the final Unmaking of the Sibling.

Hm. She only arms one of her traps (for now).

I love that Raboniel prepared the notebook and plate for Navani to escape with. There’s lots of potential manipulative reasons for it, but I like to think there is true fondness and gratitude there.

Nice, Navani. You did outthink Raboniel at this juncture, at least. “Here, have my knife and we’ll talk it out.” 

And she takes the bait. Walking into the prepared painrial. Let’s see how this plays out.


Chapter 104

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Chapter 104 (Full of Hope)
Icons: Three, and in a different configuration than before. We have Chach, Vev, and two Nale… but the Nale icons aren’t mirrored. What’s going on?!
Epigraph: “Humans are a poem. A song.” I’mma need some more context to see where he’s going with this one.

Rlain is reprimanded for carrying water to the basement…but it’s the carrying water part that he’s doing wrong. Make the humans do that menial labor. Nice subversion there.

Oh, wait. He was recognized. He and Dabbid are both detained. Not sure how they’ll get to Navani or the Sibling now.

Now that he’s set the stakes, Kal is smack talking loud enough to put on a show. This fight became about the audience and reputation in their eyes, more than the contest itself. Nice move. 

And it works. The Pursuer (now a.k.a. Defeated One, apparently) is psyched out and starts to retreat to fight more cautiously.
I love that Leshwi is cheering for Kaladin. And she may be speaking softly, but she’s doing it to Exultation. It’s definitely cheering.

I’m disappointed that Moash misinterpreted Teft here. I was expecting him to say, “We both know who the better man is. If I were a better man I wouldn’t win this.”

Nice, Teft. Advancing to the next oath in dramatic fashion, manifesting a blade. Well, spear really. Is he going to get a glyph of power when he actually says the oath? Will that make it through the tower’s suppression, and if it does will it make a difference?

Oh, nope. He was just forcing the connection to bring Phendorana through a little bit.

I was expecting Teft to get killed directly, rather than tortured with the loss of Phendorana. Her death is a gut punch. There’s a reason we all hate you, Vyre.

Oh, Teft is getting killed too. I’m rather surprised that Vyre didn’t leave him as evidence of what had been done to his bound spren. Especially since the wound he received at her death sounded like it would preclude forming another bond for a long time at least.

Lift’s not gonna be happy about this, though, which is going to matter to Moash in a minute.

The "full of hope" line and title are interesting in context of Jasnah's vehement denouncement of the topic. Is hope worth anything here? Did it do more harm than good? It's constructed as a rebuttal, but in a form that her arguments are still potentially valid.


Chapter 103

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Chapter 103 (The Legend You Live)
Icons: Jez and Vev=windrunners and edgedancers. Teft and Lift gonna be doin’ stuff.
Epigraph: El also thinks human tenacity appears appropriately Rosharan. 

Teft is right that Kaladin does have a flair for the dramatic, but having just seen inside his head I don’t know I’d go so far as to say he’s intentionally grandstanding.

Teft, that was pretty ballsy but I don’t think putting them in a headlock is the preferred method to deal with opponents who have electrokinesis. I guess it works, though, when you’ve got a healer on tap and Stormlight for strength. Too bad Moash is on his way or this might actually work as planned.

Yes, Phenodrana. Go out the east-facing window into the coming highstorm. Briliant plan.

Oh no! Moash wasn’t on his way, he was already here and ready to ambush the rescue party! As he takes down lift, I can’t help but think: He’s come to steal Kaladin’s dinner.

Kaladin is doing a good job of getting into the Pursuer’s head. But pulling out a scalpel as his weapon of choice was not what I expected him to do. Neat statement about fusing his soldier and surgeon identities, but could probably have been built up more to make that moment really shine.
What is Moash using that sand for? It’s already black, so it’s got to be intended as a sensor. Is he detecting spren?

Teft, you are facing down an honorblade-wielding agent of odium with only a dagger. I think Kaladin is rubbing off on you.


Chapter 102

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Chapter 102 (Highstorm Coming)
Icons: Jez and Chach. Either brave windrunners, or destructive highstorm. 
Epigraph: This one is quotable: 


To humans, our very visages become symbols. You find echoes of it even in the art from centuries before this Return.

Is…is this talking about the infamous “voidbinding chart” from the endpapers? Are those shapes intended to be singer faces?
Also, am I correct in assuming “this Return” to mean the current one in the story, or would these Musings on the first of the FInal Ten Days be a more ancient document?


Venli is lined up for the Oathgate, in a position that will make it awkward and very visible to change plans. This means it will be the optimal time narrative-wise for her oaths about freedom to kick in and force her to back out of the “run for the hills” plan.

Venli’s got 15 friends/minions at this point. I don’t think I knew before this how large her recruitment had gotten. Honestly, it’s a bit smaller than I expected, if only slightly.

Venli’s envoyform carapace is “ornamentation, not true armor,” which somehow means it doesn’t shield her from the cold wind? I think I have a different understanding of armor than they do, but I suppose this is just saying that there is a lot of exposed skin to that form. Which, going by the folio page, is hardly a surprise. Just an odd way of saying it.

Venli knows she’s being manipulated, but she doesn’t care. She sees what she wants to grasp.

Yup, Timbre is disappointed in her choice. Aww, she tells Timbre to leave, find another host, but Timbre wants her

Ah, so there’s a deadline of sorts as well. Highstorm inbound, probably to the Kharbranth end. I doubt they'd be trying to organize transfers in the time between one leaving Kharbranth and striking Urithiru.

Vyre has run off, somehow sensing that Kal is on his way. Or maybe Leshwi told him that the Pursuer was trying to kill steal? Anyway, it’s funny to me because I only just realized that Vyre is the sole conduit they have at the moment for running the Oathgates. That means he’s been stuck as the elevator operator or revolving door attendant for the entirety of this occupation. He has got to be so bored.

Ah, nope. The highstorm is about to strike Urithiru, so they appear to have been transferring personnel and supplies in that brief lull. Weird, but okay. I mean, the Kharbranth Oathgate is inside the palace and wouldn’t really be exposed to the storm anyway. I guess that end of the transit is not particularly affected one way or another.

I guess getting rained out thanks to Vyre’s absence means that Venli doesn’t have to make a scene (here) when she changes her mind. And it forces her to reconsider when she sees things start to go down. Timbre knows what this means.

The coming storm is supposedly going to be big enough to cover the entire tower. Sounds like a big’un.

Her friends like the idea of saving Kaladin and family, because they see him as a potential ally/asset. I wasn’t expecting Venli’s honesty here, or their support. A lot of unspoken trust going on.

Navani isn’t even getting food? That’s not how you are supposed to treat the Voice of Lights. Something has fallen through the cracks. Surely Raboniel doesn’t think Navani’s usefulness is at an end, after what she accomplished so far.

Raboniel managed to reverse-engineer Anti-Stormlight in less than a day from Navani’s notes. That’s impressive.


If she’d been a scholar, she’d have understood the implications of her work.

That’s a ludicrously high standard to hold scholars to, Navani. Take a look at your own scholars and ask how much they have missed of the wider picture.

Navani painting prayers now is reminiscent of her Thath glyph after the betrayal at the Tower, and I love that this moment mirrors that one.

Navani’s reflection on faith here is powerful and salient. How do you respond when you know that the god you pray to is in fact dead? Does that make the prayers worthless? Or is it an act of devotion to rely on their foresight reaching beyond even that death?


Someone had known anti-Voidlight was possible.
Someone had known Navani would create it first.
Someone had seen all this, planned for it, and put her here. She had to believe that.

As readers, we know that there is another deity on Roshar known for her future sight. So it is entirely possible that Cultivation did in fact seed this possibility into being. But it is equally possible that with blindspots and competing manipulations, this outcome was random and unforeseen. It is an act of faith to choose what Navani should believe, and though the stakes for us readers are as close to zero as to make no difference, it’s still an instructive situation to examine for how we ourselves approach faith in such a hypothetical. It’s a situation that could easily be compared to our own universe.

Someone says he’s here to kill Navani in order to distract Dalinar. I’m guessing that Rlain is failing to come up with a natural cover story.

Oh, nope. It’s Moash/Vyre. (Reminder: Moash was a better name and it shouldn’t have been changed.)

Woah. He’s directly arguing with Raboniel, and says the order comes straight from Odium…but Raboniel somehow pulls rank and says her orders take precedent? I’d like to see the rules lawyering that makes that viable.

Moash promises to not kill Kaladin, but ruin him somehow. In exchange, he gets Navani. I’m not sure what Moash is going to do, but I’m concerned about Syl’s continued absence.



“You have no idea what this day will cost me.”


I think he’s going to do something creatively sadistic, rather than any of the straightforward attacks on Kal’s loved ones. But I’m not sure what.

It was implied earlier, but explicitly noted again: the Honorblades are perfectly viable under the tower’s suppressive field, and stormlight functions normally for them. Therefore, it is the spren and the nahel bond specifically that are being smothered. The honorblades are aligned to Honor’s investiture just as much, so either they are simply powerful enough to shrug off everything the tower does–a distinct possibility, since we know more advanced Radiants gain greater immunity to the inhibitor–or the suppression targets something much more specific than the Intent of kinetic investiture. 

Actually, having typed that out, it’s got to be the strength of the artifact that matters here. Fabrials are suppressed too, but it depends on the light they are infused with, not the spren that powers them. So the Honorblades can overpower the suppression, not escape it through a difference of attunement.


He [Moash] wasn’t human. He was a Voidbringer. If that word had ever applied to any, it was Moash.

With all of his Passion consumed by Odium, it’s an apt term.

She found a sliver of Raysium… no wait. There is a second dagger, whole and unexploded. That is a useful piece of equipment. An answer to prayers, one might say. And it’s slightly charged with anti-Voidlight.

Kaladin sees everyone wearing the Shash glyph.


They wore the symbol of his shame, his failure, and his imprisonment. And they made it something better.

This is the most overtly messianic symbology we’ve had associated with Kaladin, and the most direct analogy to Christian symbols since the Well of Ascension when the Church of the Survivor took up the spear that slew Kelsier.

I’m surprised that Kaladin’s thoughts about the end of his life as Highmarshal are so much more focused on what he might embody next rather than on martyrdom and endings. He’s come a long way since honor chasm, and suicide is not something he is looking for.

He found Syl!

He’s wearing the gauntlet on his belt, aimed at his back. My only guess is it will let him ram the Pursuer when he does his “I’m behind you” trick?


Chapter 101

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

Chapter 101 (Undertext)
Icons: Palah. Matches the title for Learned, but I don’t have a guess about why that matters here.

Epigraph: El likes that humans think he’s scary. Big surprise there. 

The Prime’s house full of furniture made me think first of that meeting of monarchs where everyone brought their own throne, and I had the facetious thought that maybe the Azish just kept all of them. Then I thought of Wyndle’s chair garden and wished that he could have come to see this. I’m sure it’s not quite as ridiculous as Dalinar thinks.


“Storms above and Damnation beyond.”

New swear for the list!

So, not only do the Azish have fewer Shardblades and Plate, they have fewer Soulcaster fabrials as well. Did the Alethi start with more, or did they take them by conquest with their abundance of Blades?

This tradition of sharing the Emperor’s meal is very different when seen through Dalinar’s eyes compared to Lift’s. Dalinar’s extreme distaste of this pageantry is funny when wedded to his concept of effect leadership. He really can’t fathom someone like Yanagawn wielding actual power.


“Damnation’s own device, that was.”

Another for the list. It took me a minute to parse the way it was being used, though. Device in this case was literal rather than idiomatic, a reference to his watch fabrial. I didn’t read it correctly the first time.

Jasnah handles the cultural business with aplomb, as expected. More interesting is the fact that Gawx/Yanagawn is doing remarkably well at handling his role. He’s relying on his advisers, but also making decisions for himself and acting with ever-greater confidence. I’m impressed.

The argument about hope is appropriate to the characters and situation, but also feels a bit off thematically. I’m not sure how to articulate my reaction better, but it doesn’t feel like it arises organically from everything that’s been happening.

Ishar is Tashi to the Azish. So why was Tashi the one who didn’t get a pancake? Is it a conflation or confusion about who was lost? Or something else entirely specific to the pancake festival?

Dalinar: I’mma go talk to Ishar.
Noura: But…isn’t he insane like the others?
Dalinar: Yup. But maybe less than the others. Ash (who is definitely insane) says we can trust him.
Noura: o.0

I’m actually with Dalinar on this next part, though. If you’re going to talk to him, do it peaceably if possible. Noura’s kidnapping idea is doomed to fail.


“Go with Yaezir’s own speed.”

Thanks Yanagawn! Not really a swear, but I’ll add it to the list.

I remain very skeptical of this contract Jasnah and Wit are preparing. I feel like it is a trap that can be turned around on those who laid it, even if Wit is acting completely above board here–of which I have yet to be convinced.

Aww, Gawx is worried about Lift. Good job being a friend!

Dalinar has kept working on writing and editing his book this whole time. That’s dedication when so many other duties are pulling him in other directions. I’m impressed. 

Asking Jasnah to write the undertext is sweet. It’s a show of trust and approval that I think she needs, and demonstrates how far he’s come in regards to being paternal.


“I hope that in your additions, we will create something greater than I could have alone.”
“Don’t say it that way. You make it sound like the odds are against it being possible, where I should say that is the most reasonable outcome.”

Okay, I know that this is meant to be a sweet comment about trust and unity, and the value of working together. But good grief these people are self-assured. I want to say conceited and arrogant, but they have a lot of reason to think highly of themselves, so the attitude could be deserved. Still, this is what it sounds like:

Dadlinar: “Hopefully you can add something to make my amazing autobiography even better. I trust that you’re smart enough to contribute. A bit.”
Jasnah: “What are you talking about? It’s a foregone conclusion that it will be leagues better when I’m done with it. I’m the best scholar in the world, after all.”



Chapter 100

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Chapter 100 (Watchers at the Rim)
Title: A repeat from previous books. While I recall the term and its meaning, I don’t remember at all what chapter previously bore this title so I don’t know if there’s any parallelism being set up. I assume not, and it’s just the conceptual callback.

Icons: Jez and Shash. Jez for windrunners, not sure about Shash

Epigraph: El refers to himself as a singer, so yes, Navani’s “no title” bit was definitely misdirection. 

Kal was woken by a distant song–the Sibling? The anti-Stormlight that was just created? Hard to say.

Sibling is talking to him, but isn’t doing well. Not sure why the Sibling is being weakened by this. I’d have expected more scattered thoughts, altered emotions, not frailty.

The Fused found the final node, and it’s in the same room where all the Radiants are being tended. This feels contrived. I’m all for confluent climaxes, but I’d have liked there to be a reason that the Radiants were placed in that particular room, so that’s it’s justified as a decision rather than just a coincidence.

Oh no. Kaladin doesn’t know what the Sibling meant when it asked him to send Rlain. I hope the delay from that misunderstanding isn’t too costly.

Dabbid brought them Bridge Four uniforms to wear. That’s unsubtle, but sure. Time to suit up for battle.

Rlain is not at his best, due to Venli’s confession. That could help open him for the bond, or hurt by distracting and discouraging him.

Hm. It makes sense to have Rlain and Dabbid hide, since they won’t be with the escaping party, but I was anticipating a larger breakout. This method trusts everyone to handle themselves and leaves fewer points of failure for getting some people out, but also leaves people to their own devices and the increased risk that entails.

I know it’s just a backup plan, but Teft’s willingness to jump off a cliff in the hopes that his powers return in time to survive is uncomfortably reminiscent of the Envisagers. I guess that’s the point, but yeah. Not something I want to see him try.

Teft made Kaladin swear to escape and not sacrifice himself. That’s going to make a big difference. He’s not going to risk another broken oath.


Chapter 99

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Chapter 99 (Not Bound)
Icons: Betab and Jester–caution and an offworlder. Possibly consulting with Wit via the radio, possibly just learning about wider cosmere events, or maybe Azure returns? Oh, wait. This is Jasnah’s chapter header. Betab for Elsecaller, Jester for Wit. It’s just a cast list.

Epigraph: Okay, three big things here. First, identity of El: he had his title stripped from him so he probably is/was a Fused, and Navani’s confusion was just lack of context. Second, in addition to the title, he had his rhythms stripped away. HOW? What does that mean? I am terrified at some of the possibilities. Third, he seems to have floated the idea that listeners and fused should enslave humans rather than exterminate them–the very outcome that was flipped around on the parshmen after the capture of Ba-Ado-Mishram. So it’s neither a new tactic nor one that is uniquely human, though admittedly nobody else went for it and El himself was shamed as a result. 

Jasnah’s security is pretty good for being on a campaign. Traps and alarms in all the surrounding rooms, including below, so she has sufficient warning of any attack. Plus Wit is there, so any assassins that make it past her fabrials probably won’t be entirely undetected.

Yeah, I guess that first assassination attempt leaving her stranded in Shadesmar left a lasting impression.

I can understand the frustration to a veristitalian of having to throw away her laborious reconstructions once an eye witness to the past is suddenly available.  At the same time, I think they’ve already established that Ash, Taln, and the rest are hardly unassailable in their memories. But settling academic debates about history and motives is a pretty convenient use for immortals coming to the fore.

I’m not sure the right answer to this quandary is that “relying on the past is flawed.” The conclusion is that “precognition is terrifying to compete with.” Don’t just give up on the tools you’ve learned to use so expertly.

Wit, that is uncharacteristically intimate of you–both of you. Removing her glove and kissing her safehand? This is making me think there’s something besides Fortune behind the way you’ve lingered at Jasnah’s side for almost two years.

Oh wow, yes. They are being entirely more familiar in their flirtations (Jasnah! Flirting!) than would have been expected. I didn’t know this was a legitimate ship. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m on board yet, since I was really expecting Jasnah to be ace and that’s been my headcanon of her character for a while. I guess I’ll watch and see how it develops.

The way she’s describing Wit, though, maybe she’s ace but not aro? Not clear yet.


She didn’t trust him, of course. But that was part of what intrigued her.

Okay, I take it back. It’s teasing and flirtatious, yes, but apparently not intimate to any degree.

I am sad that the Awakened card games never featured in our views of Nalthis. Maybe they are played outside Hallandren, or in a different time period? I’ll hope for an appearance in Warbreaker 2 when that book comes out…eventually.

Good analogy, though. Rigging the games compared to manipulating the future. Odium can anticipate what is going to happen as well as someone who knows all the factors influencing an outcome, but there can still be surprises and other cheaters.

Also, who won Hoid’s Breath from him?

Hm. Sounds like maybe they are physically involved, but she is some degree of ace after all. So Wit is interested, but hasn’t revealed enough of himself to earn trust, and may run off at any moment. Not too surprising.

Wit’s wordplay is all alliteration and only some degree of cleverness. I did like the soulless stars slumber line, even though jasnah didn’t get it.

Wit really doesn’t have a Rosharan perspective here. “If we lose, it just turns your planet into hell. 

I find myself entirely skeptical of the idea that this sort of contract would be effective in forcing Rayse to comply with it. Except, just as I’m about to rant about that, Wit says this:


“He will have to abide by those terms, as they are part of the promise Rayse made by taking up the Shard of Odium. To fail that promise would give others an opening against him, and said failures have killed gods before. Odium knows it.”

It sounds like there were more strings attached at the beginning than are readily apparent, and that may be the primary reason Hoid turned down the opportunity. I’m confused about how that promise is actually efficacious, though.


[Wit] wisely turned down the power the others all took–and in so doing, gained freedoms they can never against have. I, Jasnah, am someone who is not bound.

So, yes. The obligations that come with power are the problem. And, maybe this is something that was already known, but it sounds to me like this means Hoid was the only non-Vessel present at that time. All the others took one of the shards, with no other abstentions according to this.


Chapter 98

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Chapter 98 (An Unwholesome Shade)

Icons: Ishar and Shash. Coming up with a creative way to meet Ishar?

Epigraph: Musings of El. Having just gone back through the Rhythm of War notebook epigraphs from part three, the identity of El is a question at the front of my mind. Looks like we may get an answer by the end of the book. “I look forward to ruling the humans” doesn’t really sound like an Unmade necessarily (since I don’t get the impression they have designs on ruling things) but we know so little about them I won’t rule out that possibility yet. Most obvious option is that he is a Fused, but Navani already cast doubt on that. A sleepless perhaps? One working with the Fused? Or what about the Siah Aimians? We have only met Axies so far. There could be others with very different plans for their ageless lives.

Where did the Horneaters get goose feathers? Do they have sadistic long necked chickens on the peaks? 

I had completely forgotten about the burial customs of the Alethi where nobility were directly soulcast into statues, then returned to their homelands. That is so weird to me. I guess it means that you have a good likeness of your ancestors to remember them by? Shipping statues overland has got to be inconvenient and a huge sink of effort. Only the highest tier of nobility would command that sort of observance. 

“Singer and human bodies smelled the same when they burned”–that seems odd, given the crab people thing. Surely there’d be different chemistry going on inside?

Huh. the soldier’s patches have their names on the back, serving a similar function as dog tags here.

Emul reveres archers, which strikes Dalinar as bizarre. I want to learn more about the sort of influences that would promote that hierarchy.

I’d forgotten that the Iri had allied with the Fused. I guess it will be a while before we learn more about Evi’s heritage and family.

“Stargyle the Lightweaver”--where did that name come from? He’s described as Alethi, I think. Did we meet him earlier in the book under Shallan? I don’t recall the name at all.

Oh, Dalinar thinks it’s a stupid name too, and is sure it’s a self-chosen one. That makes sense. From his height…is this Vathah?

Whoever he is, he grew up a pigmenter’s son before joining the army he later deserted. So, color is his thing.

Ishar is with the army? That’s unexpected. Also, he looks Shin. I need to look again at the descriptions and figure out the relationships between the heralds, and which ones look like offworlders. It’s probably just indicative of the distribution that arrived from Ashyn, rather than any timeline of arrival, but it’d still be worth doing.

Ishar magically draws the glyph for mystery, to entice Dalinar closer. That’s a weird thing to do for someone who denounced the new radiants in such strong terms.

Szeth wants to do the same thing, apparently. He didn’t seem to realize that one or more heralds came from his ancestry.


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

Part V start (Ketek, Epigraphs, and speculation)
Before I start in on the final section of the book, let’s take a moment to address a few things. 

First, the Ketek:


Burdens, Our Calling.
Songs of Home
A Knowledge
Knowing a Home of Songs,
Called Our Burden

That repeated “Knowledge” in the middle doesn’t quite match the form we’ve seen from past keteks, as I recall. Isn’t there usually a single non repeated word in the third line? Man, my Alethi poetic analysis is rusty. 
I’m a bit surprised to have the entire second half of the ketek appear in the final section of the book–I was starting to think it wasn’t a ketek at all. It feels like something that should apply to Jaxlim and the Keepers of Songs, but keteks are a human thing. I don’t see non-Vorins becoming enamored of symmetry to the point of composing these. The listeners already have their own songs without downgrading to human poetic forms. I’m not sure how to interpret the interplay between the concepts here. I’ll have to wait until it shows up in context, probably in the epilogue.


Second, let’s revisit the Part III epigraphs, excerpts from the Rhythm of War notebook.  The authorship was bugging me way too much, but now that we have both the context and the authors, I might get more out of it. Here’s a chapter-by-chapter commentary on the epigraphs.

Page 1

  • Navani has done this shared notebook thing before. It’s a standard or at least a common format for collaborations, though her research partner is a new twist.
  • Word choice suggests this is Raboniel, but it’s not explicit. This person has hopes for the outcome.
  • A direct response in the undertext to the previous comment, presumably by the other partner, but that’s not certain. This person professes to only care about getting a scientific answer, which sounds like Navani

Page 3

  • “Fevered state” sounds like that rush to complete things at the end of Part IV, but this is only on page 3 so I’m not sure what Navani’s referring to here.
  • Raboniel (in undertext) advises detachment and to “abandon lesser connections.”

Page 6

  • Navani has deja vu about the rhythm/Tone. Not sure which one she means, probably Honor’s.
  • Raboniel (in undertext) is surprised at Navani’s familiarity with the rhythms and acknowledges that humans may belong on Roshar after all, since they’ve been here for thousands of years. From what we’ve seen in the story, that doesn’t mean she’ll be any more compassionate in prosecuting her war and trying to genocide the nahel spren. But maybe she’s more willing to accept the survival of a subjugated humanity?
  • Raboniel laments that it’s more complicated than the simple answer of Stormlight and Voidlight annihilating each other.
  • Navani encourages results-focused scientific thinking.
  • Raboniel (in undertext) defies that, argues that scientists are not dispassionate observers of the cosmere but perform their work with hope for what they might discover.
  • Navani (in undertext) reflects on the oddities of working with an ancient being who has not lived all their thousands of years on Roshar and thus is missing modern developments.

Page 10

  • Raboniel says the emotional influence of the Rhythm of War will be of interest to someone named El. Last time reading this I got confused and thought it was a shortening of Ulim, since I was going on the theory that these were Venli’s research notes from the Shattered Plains. Now, I have no idea who it would be. I don’t remember the Pursuer’s actual name, and can’t think of any other Fused that would take an interest.
  • Oh, Navani (in the undertext) has the same question I did. “Who is El?” She says they probably aren’t a Fused, given the lack of title. My way-out-there guess is that it’s one of the unmade. Kelek shortened Ba-Ado-Mishram to just Mishram. Maybe this is an abbreviation of Yelig-nar? I know that’s a stretch.

Page 13 

  • Navani wants to know about the sand from Yolen
  • Raboniel (in undertext) explains about the lichen that grows in the sand. Notably, she says “I am told,” so she hasn’t really investigated it herself. Also, I hadn’t previously paid attention to the statement here that the sand can be propagated by cultivating the lichen to grow into new sand. That means trade with Yolen is not the only source for this, and someone in the cosmere probably has a profitable little lichen farm for selling to interested parties
  • Raboniel (still in undertext) talks about other offworld items–specifically something that resembles the necklace from that Shadesmar marketplace, which she says is meant to “anchor a person through Cognitive abnormalities,” whatever that actually means.

Page 21

  • Navani is questioning the nature of God due to her research into Investiture
  • Raboniel (in undertext) says gods/shards probably can’t be destroyed.

Page 27

  • Raboniel says “don’t mourn for what has happened,” presumably meaning the early failure to create an anti-Light
  • Yes, Raboniel is now leaving Navani to her own devices. 

Final page

  • Navani thinks about opposites and what that could mean for sounds that have meaning and intent.
  • Navani thinks about her new title as Voice of Lights, and says that means she must express their desires, then connects that to the idea of Intent. You know, the first time around I didn’t make the obvious connection to Venli’s job as Voice to Leshwi. Navani’s title draws on that, but makes her Voice to all the lights, which is much more of an honor than I gave the name credit for. It’s not a recognition of esoteric, scientific accomplishment, but a position that makes her the interpreter for the powers of deity.
  • Navani thinks about Intent.


Third, the cast list for part five includes the usual suspects, plus Vyre and someone named Lezian. No clues at this time on who that would be, but I’m going to go out on a limb of wild speculation to guess that it is a personal attendant to Ishar. That seems like the sort of person Brandon might give a perspective to, and the name could be vaguely Tukari. Okay, I’m making that part up. I don’t know much about naming conventions in Emul/Tukar besides that they use a lot of double Qs in place names. The use of an X might be more consistent with Azir (compare Gawx, Zawfix) but there is also Sesemalex Dar, so Xs aren’t necessarily rare. Anyway, that’s my guess.


Interlude I-12

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Interlude I-12 (Taravangian)
Compassionate Vargo on top, with more Vev in the icons. “Loving” is getting a bit of a workout over the past chunk of chapters.

I can understand Taravangian’s struggle to say things without outright betraying his deal with Odium, and thus invalidating Kharbranth’s protections. It must be a struggle to figure out how to thread that needle when his own mind is unreliable, especially since Rayse told him that the agreement is one that he honors in spirit, not in letter. There will be no rules-lawyering his way through loopholes.

Taravangian forced to slowly create a new mastermind scheme without his prior superpowers is a comic book trope that I didn’t know I needed injected into this story. It’s refreshing seeing it apply to a character so different from the standard protagonist role/demographic.

There’s nothing in the Diagram about Nightblood. But he did get an agent to interview “a former bearer.” That’s got to be Azure, since I don’t see Zahel being particularly free with information. I wonder what they are both up to these days? We haven’t seen either around recently, especially Azure. I hope she shows up at some point during the last part.

Luring Szeth and Rayse into the same place sounds like something that will immediately depart from whatever you planned. It’s worth a shot, but seems insufficient as a measure against Odium.

A weird cryptic? No, Sja-Anat. Very cool. I was not expecting that. How is she projecting herself so far? It’s a neat trick. Taravangian’s fear is convincing and a good reminder that the Unmade are more potent than “big spren.” 

Sja-Anat knows about Cultivation’s touch, and speculates that the Old Magic was a cover for her to be able to influence things directly without everyone noticing. A fair conclusion, I’d say, though there’s probably much more to it.


The power behind him is strong, but his mind is exposed. The mind and the power seek different goals. This leaves him…not weak, but vulnerable.

“Exposed” is an interesting word here. By pulling against his power, Rayse the vessel emerges close to the surface and can potentially be struck separately.

So, Odium isn’t watching Taravangian all the time, or anyone else. And as Bondsmith Dalinar is scary enough that most voidspren spies keep their distance. That gives a bubble for plotting in.

Corrupted spren to lure in Odium sounds like a bait that is removed enough from Szeth/Nightblood that it shouldn’t trigger any suspicions. I can see the first elements of this plan. It will need a lot more to become useful.


You are not protected from him as many on this world are. You have made deals that exempt you from such safety.

I am intrigued by this line. I have a lot of questions about what binds Odium to act more circumspectly with those who haven’t made such deals. Is it his nature? Is it some sort of pact between the shards of Roshar? Is it the threat of Cultivation responding if he extends himself? It doesn’t really make sense with what I know of shards. 


Interlude I-11

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Interlude I-11 (Adin)
Icons: Jez. Not sure why.

Adin is a new name. I’m not sure what nationality it fits. Oh, it’s an Alethi kid in the tower. Makes sense, it’s a shorter version or at least shares roots with Adolin. We know that Kaladin didn’t like his name because it made him sound like a lighteyes with that extra syllable in the middle, so it feels obvious in retrospect that a darkeye kid would have a simpler form similar to Adolin.

Wants to be a windrunner, hence the chapter icons. His plotting to draw the attention of spren is cute, except every time he mentions it I think about how the spren in the tower are all suppressed and there’s nobody around to watch him even if there were enough honorspren to be looking for a bond and even if his attempts to attract them weren’t mostly ridiculous.

He does have the core concept that it’s attitude that matters. My favorite though is how he’s competing with the girl next door for being the most spren-worthy.

Adin’s dad has been tending the Radiants, but also doing something with the tower’s resistance after curfew. No hints on what that something is.

I guess having crem around and available makes for convenient starting materials for pottery. I don’t love the idea of working with it as my job, but I’m not really a hands-on laborer type by experience.


Windrunners needed strong arms, because they didn’t use their legs much, on account of them flying around everywhere.

I’m sorry, run that by me again? I don’t think I quite got the flow of logic there. I’ll ask my son to explain it to me, I guess.

His dad knows how to handle this. “Windrunners have to eat, so they respect plates. You should do pottery until you can fly.”

Didn’t Master Liganor already arrive? Oh, he arrived at the front door, but hadn’t come into the back room yet. I guess I didn’t think of it as a shop with attached work area, but more as a single open room (which it isn’t). That double entrance threw me.

Alalan as a name matches conventions, but I’m betting it’s a cameo for someone with an IRL name like Alan. (There was another windrunner mentioned recently that was also an obvious cameo. Kati or something? But I’m out of touch with the fandom and those close to team dragonsteel, so I’m not sure who either would be.)

Adin can tell that things are coming to a head today, and he convinces his dad to bring him along, on the argument that the Radiant room will be safer than the shop. I’m going to say that’s probably a bad argument, but the whole tower will get pulled into this mess, so it’s still potentially better to have the family members together.

This was a fine interlude, but honestly kind of forgettable. It feels like a letdown to have it be another perspective on events in the tower without revealing anything substantial. The interludes in general are ideal for expanding the world and exploring distant people and situations. Getting a civilian view of things and a child’s view of spren/Radiants was good, but probably not enough to justify an interlude in my opinion.


Interlude I-10

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Interlude I-10 (Hesina)
Alright, I’m excited for Hesina to get a turn. She’s been far more in the background than Lirin and needs a bit of time in the spotlight.
Icons: Vev. Because loving is pretty much what we need from her right now.

Tomat? Where is that? Oh, it’s her hometown. I don’t think we knew its name before. And we see that her parents are both high nahn and also forceful enough personalities that they bully the lighteyed citylord into doing whatever they want. Not really surprising, but I have a much more refined and snobby image of them in my head from the few passing mentions Lirin made of them. It’s possible that’s still the case, but this description feels less snobby than simply stubborn.

Interesting that the singers repaired things that had been left broken for generations. There is a lot of industry happening right now with a motivated workforce.

Lirin is trying to be supportive, but the stress is getting to all fo them.

Lirin, I really sympathize with you trying to find the right answer. The problem is, she’s not going to believe the right answer because she knows what you actually think.


“My wife needs a supportive husband, not a self-righteous one.”
“And our son? She asked. Which version of you does he deserve?”


Lirin blaming himself for Tien’s death is not the form I expected this to take, but it makes way too much sense. I guess I hadn’t really considered his perspective before.


“Kaladin has told me many times that he’s not my son any longer.” 

I’m pretty sure that’s not what he said. Which thing did you interpret as cutting ties, Lirin? I agree with Hesina. Stop pretending Kal isn’t your son.

This argument feels like it should for a couple who’ve been together a long time.

It’s a bit of a pilgrimage to come take care of the Radiants. There are a lot of people here that cycle through for a chance to be close to them and feel a touchstone of reverence/resistance. 


Hesina and Lirin used a more carefully cultivated group–mostly ardents–to handle delicate matters like bathing the patients.

Is the word choice significant here? Probably subconscious for the characters, but Hesina does use that word and it’s only come up a few times in a non-realmatic context. In fact, I should go back and search through the other books so far and see if there is any hidden suggestion at Cultivation’s influence.

Noril (I’d forgotten his name–sorry guy) is definitely going to give a different perspective on Kal. I wonder if Hesina knows how much worse Kaladin’s depression has gotten since he left home. I’m sure Lirin hasn’t considered it.

Asking everyone for their stories of the shash glyph is a good approach to helping him think about this from another side, but it’s not going to be fun for Lirin to confront.


Chapter 97

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Chapter 97 (Freedom)
Icons: Nale. This one confused me at first, but in addition to Justice, Nale is associated with Confidence. Navani’s research coming to a head and giving her a shot of self confidence along with something tangible to contribute is a good fit for that herald to head the chapter (assuming that’s where it’s going, based on the preceding notebook page.

Epigraph: So it’s both. Mishram (and that’s an interesting shortening of the name that I want to consider at length for patterns) is pitiable for the captivity she suffers, but her extended imprisonment may have adversely affected the underpinnings of Roshar and “all spren”. Which is plenty ominous and suggestive without actually giving any concrete clues on what to look for in speculating further. Thanks Kelek! You’re a gem ;-) 
(pun fully intended)

Navani is going all in on this research thing. And yet, her notes still look as beautiful as the preceding art page. I get the sense that her idea of disorganization doesn’t match mine. My lab notebooks are way worse than that, especially when I’m in the middle of experiments with loose sheets of paper everywhere. Navani, I’m proud of you for learning to do things the right way.

Oh, she’s looking specifically for the opposite of Voidlight. That’s obvious in retrospect, but from the prior chapters I’d been expecting her to be working toward the opposite of Warlight, the fusion of Honor and Odium’s investitures. What she’s actually doing makes way more sense, and could possibly even serve to counter/reverse the unmaking of the Sibling, if it chases out the voidlight that was already injected. Obviously you’re not going to make the antimatter version of the power your own side needs to win. 

She’s using a trombone and a slide whistle in her experimentation! This is delightful, and I have such a comedic mental image of how she’s using them in her meticulous science experiments. Please tell me that someone has made art of this. If they haven’t, I may need to see about commissioning something from one of the many amazing artists in this fandom. Hmm. I’ve noticed that the illustrious illustrator Botanica is following my liveblog (Yay! I’m flattered you consider it worth your time). I humbly submit this as a concept worth considering, if you haven’t done so already. 
EDIT: I asked on discord, and someone shared that there is in fact an illustration of this scene. You can find it here, based on the “oven kid” meme that I hadn’t known existed until now. 

Yeah, phase shifting the frequency of a tone isn’t going to directly phase shift the effect it has on physical objects or passage through a medium. I’m glad you’ve discovered destructive interference, but what you need is something that changes resonant nodes in a predefined medium, and I’m not convinced that’s even possible.

She’s getting good enough with tones that she can manually draw out light! Go Navani! Look who’s an expert now.

I’m not sure I even understand what she managed to accomplish with the plate. Is she changing the harmonics while leaving the root frequencies the same?

Oh, so Intent is involved. I’m kind of surprised it works through the plate, then. It’s a step further removed than humming. 

Oh, smart. She’s devising a universal power converter to change investiture to the desired flavor in stepwise fashion: First remove the old flavor, then add a new one. If this works as she’s imagining it will, then the limiting factor will be Intent…the exact thing that gives investiture its flavor in the first place. It makes a great deal of sense, and emphasizes both the utility and the limitation. Gathering a group of people together to share their intent (hypothetically, all the captured humans in a giant tower city, to name a random example) you can process a great deal of investiture at once. At the same time, a planet’s entire population is not going to stack up favorably against the Intent in a shard, or even an Unmade. This will be a small-scale, precision tool rather than a cosmere-upending weapon.

I do wonder whether the process would be able to halt at that middle point, the undifferentiated state. I’m guessing that any “neutral” investiture will quickly take on the flavor/intent of whatever it meets through simple resonance, but if it can be isolated would it correspond to original Adonalsium light, as an all-in-one sort of superposition? Or would it simply be raw power unaligned to any shard or other subdivision of the powers of creation?


“The guard tells me of a terrible sound you have been making, something discordant.”

I’m sorry, Raboniel, you’re going to have to specify. Are you talking about the intent-phase-shifted tone she’s been designing to be antithetical to your very existence, or to her trombone playing? Because they’re both likely to set your teeth on edge.

Hm, how cold would something have to get to effect the state of investiture? Does absolute zero function in the same way in the cosmere? Do you get Bose-Einstein condensates of investiture axi? I guess matter at the fundamental level has more quantum states to occupy?

Raboniel’s care for her daughter continues to be a tender spot in her behavior that deepens her character. She is far different as an antagonist than I expected when she was first introduced.

The final node is nearby and very small. Is it in the library, hidden among the gemstone memories?

Nope, Navani’s scheming is not up to the task. Raboniel hones in immediately on the hidden plate. Not only that, the intent of creating the plate apparently trumps the intent of playing the plate, and it functions as Intended even when someone else pulls the bow. That’s both a good thing for future fabrial creations, and a bad thing for Navani’s current secret keeping. I was kind of expecting it to just sound like the regular tone when Raboniel played it.

Oh, Navani thought the same thing, or at least wondered. 

The notebook is, in fact, named the Rhythm of War. Not that we needed confirmation, but it’s nice to see the book itself make an appearance in the text.

Oh, right, the vacuum tubes. That will be a start to holding the light isolated, but I’m not clear on how the properties of the glass are kept from interfering.

Oh, it’s a big vacuum tube. Several feet long and nearly a foot in diameter. I was imagining something substantially smaller.

Hm, the tube is for meteorology and “barometric studies.” That’s a good enough justification for why they would develop such a thing.

Oh, she supposes that physical sound is necessary to propagate the tones and rhythms of roshar, and that realigning the intent will fail without isolating it that way. Hence the vacuum tube. It’s good reasoning, but why would the metaphysical sounds of eternity that you hear with your soul be constrained to movement through air? In fact, we know that Fused can utilize their powers in the vacuum of space, so I have a hard time believing they are actually separated from anything up there.

It worked! That’s cool, no matter what doubts I have to poke in her reasoning. And it’s a discovery and success she made together with Raboniel. I can see how this could be scaled up slightly, but it looks like once attuned to a tone, the change is permanent. How could you perform this without access to a vacuum? And how did Gavilar or his associates accomplish it? And finally, what is Navani’s true plan for her to be able to hide it under this revelation to Raboniel?

Oh, is she going to give her notebook to the other scholars and have them build something? Sweet!

Oh, wait no. It blew up? Why? Was it simple proximity and leakage into contact with voidlight? The previous sphere lasted years before it exploded under the manipulations of Navani’s scholars.What triggered this one?

Navani didn’t manage to kill her, but it was a good attempt at assassination. Almost completely deniable as well. Raboniel tried to draw in voidlight with the dagger, as Navani expected, and the explosion was naturally violent.

The daughter is nearly unharmed, the servant not quite dead. No fatalities from this bomb.

Navani observes smoke and heat as well as pressure damage from the explosion. Also, the dagger was destroyed. Actually, I wonder if the lights even had the chance to mix and react with one another, or if the anti-Voidlight annihilated with Raysium before it ever had the chance to get there. Oh, wait, no. The anti-Light was in the pommel, with regular voidlight getting sucked in. It wasn’t a Light/Metal reaction. (Also when I write anti-Light I feel like I’ve suddenly switched to a DC universe with an anti-Life equation.)

Did the plate survive? That would be bad if the bomb ruined her ability to make more.

Oh, the vacuum tube was also fine. Thats the bit far more likely to have been damaged, but I didn’t even think of it.

Oh, she’s going to inject it into someone. Has she told Navani that it’s possible to do that, or just written “reversible” in the notebook and expected her to draw conclusions? Who is she going to assassinate? It’d better not be Leshwi, and I will be surprised if it’s the Pursuer. At this point I’m expecting a mercy-killing of her daughter, which is somewhat understandable but will also be very messy. I am not comfortable with this.

Ah, yes. It was indeed the daughter. I’m surprised there’s no reaction with the Raysium, though. Also, no explosion. Would it have been more dramatic if she’d stabbed the gemheart? Probably not, but it’s hard to say.

I wouldn’t have thought much of this moment where Raboniel weeps if we hadn’t already seen Venli’s breakdown and learned about crying as opposed to attuning sorrow. This is true grief and relief, and I have to feel for Raboniel here.



This is the “tenth name of the Almighty.” people swear by the description frequently, but this may be the first time it’s been directly invoked. Onto the list it goes! 

Navani feels the same sympathy, even directly compares Raboniel’s experience to her own grief at Elhokar’s death.

Navani recognizes that the unmaking of the Sibling was a protracted process compared to what it needed to be, so that Raboniel could motivate her research. That’s got to be a bunch of mixed emotions.

The daughter’s name was Essu. That’s worth remembering. Raboniel is going to contact braize (through visions?) to confirm it was a lasting death.

Oh no. Raboniel sees the notebook unharmed, and instantly recognizes the assassination attempt for what it was. How will she respond to that? Also, she calls it “Our notebook” in a way that at first I thought was appropriating Navani’s work, but on reflection it really is appropriate. Just as the rhythm of war could only be created by their combined efforts, the Rhythm of War and its fruits belong to both of them. Perhaps not equally, but enough to make it theirs together.

And obviously the anti-Stormlight is the next step, because what can kill a fused will kill a spren. And, conveniently, she has a bunch of test subjects lined up and waiting.
Turns out that an arms race is not going to help when you are closely monitored and all of your research is immediately copied by the enemy. That edge didn’t last long.

Huh. Maybe she didn’t recognize the assassination attempt. Small mercies.
I guess that’s a bit of a downer ending to Part Four for Navani. 

Next up, Interludes!


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Navani’s Notebook Part IV
Art here.
Looking at the pictures before translating anything, I love the beauty of the scientific instruments, the musical equipment, and the spren or light being channeled through that tube. It feels like a naturalist’s notebook, and it’s wonderful.
I can’t tell if the cymatic pattern drawn at the bottom has any similarity to the ones depicted previously. I’m going to guess no, but would need to open the prior images from Shallan’s notebook in WoK to really compare.



The Thaylen vacuum tube.

How did the Thaylen create such a thing, and for what purpose? Why is that useful without electronics or incandescent illumination? What’s the point? Pretty awesome, though.


A cracked diamond affixed to the top might give the exact result i am seeking

Man, “cracked” and “might” gave me trouble because I was mixing up some of the letters. I’m not sure what sort of leakage is desired from a cracked gem, or why diamond is the chosen species.


The metal caps unscrew for versatility of experimentation.

Is that so you can use different gems in experiments or for connecting to other things? Gems makes the most sense.


A fabrial pump removes the remaining air.

So the vacuum tube can be regenerated multiple times as needed. That’s helpful.


The rhythms cause patterns in the sand, different patterns for the different kinds of light. There must be an answer of some kind here, though I wish I could consult a true scholar concerning this.

Why was “the” written multiple ways in that first line? (Th E versus T H E) I know we’ve established nonstandardized spelling between Navani/Shallan/Jasnah via the notebook pages, but so far each author has been internally consistent. An error? 

It looks like Navani hasn't gotten over her imposter syndrome yet.

Also, this next bit looks like it’s a different hand. I thought this page would be something she tried to hide from Raboniel? Maybe not possible given that multiple days of experimentation would be necessary to make progress.


Now that we have seen where this line of exploration has led, I am amazed that you were able to extrapolate this, Voice of Lights.

Yes, see? Even Raboniel thinks reverse engineering a tone from a phase shifted pattern is kinda unbelievable. Sorry Navani, you pulled this one out of nowhere. 

Also, I initially mistranslated "Voice" but I love that she is calling Navani by the granted title now.

(Also, AAAA! This means Raboniel has access to the research and its results! Aaaa!)


The tones are becoming easier for me to hear. I recognize the tones of the different kinds of light and struggle to hear if there is something more.

Yay Navani! Progress. But is it realmatic or experience? Let’s see what Raboniel has to say:


Your research has yielded great fruits. There was a time I thought it impossible for one of your kind to hear the rhythms. How could I have anticipated the magnitude of what you have kept hidden from me ho(?)
I fear I have underestimated you and your kind.

Wait, so did Raboniel add these comments after the fact? The fact that it was “kept hidden” suggests that the interspersed comments weren’t included initially, but only appended later. However, it does appear that Raboniel ends up with all of the research eventually. 


Chapter 96

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Chapter 96 (A Thousand Lies)
Icons: Vev again. Loving? Healing? Coming after the previous chapter, let’s hope it’s thematic healing for Venli.

Epigraph: Wait, what? Why are we supposed to let Ba-Ado-Mishram out? (And presumably Yelig-nar as well, or any others that are caught.) Is it out of sympathy because “trapped forever” is a fate worse than death? Or is it because that’s a bad outcome for other reasons–power perpetuated, Intent sequestered, etc. If we let her/them out, how does that improve anything? Remember how we’re in a war against them?
Oh, maybe it’s another piece of what is tying Odium to Roshar? Maybe he can’t leave while his Unmade are here? That seems unlikely. I’m going to go with the merciful interpretation, where Kelek is horrified at the idea of eternity in confinement.

Actually, I know it’s not directly relevant, but before we jump into the chapterI want to note something I’ve been thinking about after the recent chapters: I’m not entirely comfortable with how close together Dabbid and Maya both regained their voices. It sets an obvious parallel to compare their situations, which really aren’t comparable. It’s a coincidence of appearance in how their injuries manifest, and with as much thought as I’ve given it so far (admittedly not a ton) I don’t see anything valuable coming from an attempt to compare or contrast the two. I think it forces a narrower reading of their characters and their traumas, and in this case that’s a bad thing. I suspect that to Brandon it was two separate stories that aligned in this place, and if anything he thought the parallelism was a degree of added depth, but that doesn’t seem to be the case from my perspective.

I’ll wait and see if anything more is made of it, but for now I’m going to register that as a minor complaint of the book’s construction.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
Interesting note that crying is less common when you can express your sorrow or pain through the rhythms. I’d make a comment about the Weeping (as in the weather phenomenon) but that name is clearly a human invention and not influenced by any of the same forces.

She told the whole story? That’s a good thing, but it’s kind of long, right? How long are they sitting there talking?

I’m not sure if Rlain has a point or not. Venli leading the Fused to the remaining listeners seems like a lower risk because don’t they already know where those “nomads” are? Why would they need Venli to do it? 


“I didn’t have the first notes of understanding what it meant to be a traitor.”

The notes idiom is worth mentioning, but also Ow. Props to Rlain for being willing to work with her despite what he just learned.

That’s not bad reasoning that the rescue attempt will create enough chaos to cover for your group. I’m not sure that Timbre will be happy with you standing by while the attempt at freedom is made. That sounds like a suitably dramatic point to have a change of heart and speak your oaths.

With that said, Venli doesn’t sound like she is doing much in the way of planning here. I guess that means the plan can’t go too wrong, if there isn’t a plan to start with? Silver lingings.

And yes, Venli is hoping to see Jaxlim again. That reunion is the culmination she is looking for, whether or not it manifests in this story.


Chapter 95

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Chapter 95 (What She Truly Was)
Icons: Forgot to do this part before I’d read a couple pages already, but Chach is appropriate for the association with destruction. Also for the inverted virtue of bravery→cowardice.

Sad to see all of the listeners overwhelmed by the new form. Venli’s familiarity allows for resistance, which is fortunate for her.

Heck of a time to have a change of heart or moment of realization. I like that it’s once again the rhythms that clue her into the way her reactions are not quite right.

Wow. Conceit being seen as desirable. Good going, Venli you are definitely on the winning side now. *eyeroll*

Oh no, is that Adolin’s horse? Sad times. The death in WoR was not built up well enough to have a big emotional impact, but this callback is still a mood killer.

She’s going to watch Eshonai’s fall. And as she does it she reflects on the changes that have occurred. 


It was hard to associate the terrible warlord Eshonai had become with the thoughtful female who had tried so hard to find a way out of the war.

A reminder here that Eshonai was working to escape a war while Venli not only incited it but spent years doing her best to fan the flames. Sisters working against each other to the tragedy of all.

She feels a void when Eshonai falls, no powerful emotions at all, not even weak ones. Odium has taken her passion.

She can feel Odium’s joy in destruction and sorrow as the new storm builds.

The violence of the colliding storms is really awe inspiring. And for Venli to watch it all through this open doorway cut in stone, shielded only by crem, is a striking image. With plateaus themselves about to be tossed into the air, as we know from Szeth and Kaladin’s fight, it’s shocking that she or anyone was able to survive this.

The rhythms go crazy as opposing perpendicularities clash with each other. The pure tones of Roshar, of Odium and Honor meeting. Do they harmonize into the Rhythm of War for her, or will that only happen when there is union rather than opposition?

And in the face of those storms, alone and terrified, she is forced to confront the fact that she is scared, powerless, and selfish, not a genius or a potential queen. Just a coward.

Like I said, heck of a time to face all that…but, if this destruction of her home and her people wasn’t enough to get through to her then I’m not sure what would have been.


Chapter 94

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Chapter 94 (Sacrifice)
Icons: Vev. Loving?

Epigraph: Now you’re just being a tease. “Oh, yes, I know the secrets of the Recreance. I will tell them to you after five more paragraphs of filler to fit into epigraphs, so that the readers don’t learn anything interesting.”

Resolving not to let Shallan rescue him would be the right answer if it weren’t tinged with such dejection and feelings of worthlessness. We love you, Adolin. You may think the world needs more Radiants, not Princes, but it absolutely needs more people like you.  

Kelek’s indisposed, Shallan’s incarcerated, and Sekeir has the knife. Not a great situation. Actually, I wonder if the knife functions any differently in the cognitive realm. I presume not, but it’s hard to say.

Maya is the final witness. I guess that solves how she’s going to get to the trial. I was imagining her wandering in at the end, but that strained plausibility. This is much cleaner.

I see. Sekeir has legal recourse to say whatever he wants until the witness shows herself able. She’s not a witness, she’s an object lesson and a chance to use his own words.

That hurts. Adolin admits that Maya isn’t more than a slave, no matter how much he wants it to be otherwise. It has less stigma perhaps in Roshar where slavery is a matter of course, but he does not relish the prospect of being her slave master. Credit to him for not flinching from the reality of it.

Not a good look there, Sekeir. The human is pleading for mercy for the deadeye that you are restraining and agitating.Your words will spin this for many, but the optics are not in your favor and your enemies will not be convinced. I guess a majority is all you need, so it’s a worthwhile attempt. (At least until it blows up in your face, but we haven’t gotten there yet.)


“I had this fortress working in an orderly, organized manner before you arrived. You have no idea the frustration you have caused me, human.”

Exactly. Sekeir’s grudge is against Adolin challenging his power and authority, threatening the system he’d built at Lasting Integrity. It’s not about Radiants and bonds, or about murdered spren. It’s about the humans who intruded on his domain and upset his control.


“I refuse judgement! I don’t need to give it. In the end, her testimony is the only one needed. Her condemnation is all we ever needed.”

This is a power move, and I have to admire it. By not rendering judgement, Sekeir says that the trial was a farce because precedent was so well established. He forces any critics to contend with the history rather than anything that was done in this event. 
At the same time, by declaring “no judgement” he has just removed the legal hold on Adolin when Maya does upend his whole argument.

And here it is. What does she say? She says “We Chose.” Aww, and she says his name. That makes my heart happy :-)

Sekeir tries to recover, spin it (or perhaps to make sense of it in his own mind as his worldview is utterly challenged), but Maya is having none of it. 


“You cannot have my sacrifice.”

So good. Sekeir, the honorspren, Adolin–none of them are allowed to appropriate her sacrifice for their own ends. They don’t speak for her, they don’t take credit or blame for what she did. 

I feel it’s especially appropriate here that she is a cultivationspren, the companion spren of Edgedancers. Usually Edgedancers listen to the unheard, but usually that doesn’t mean themselves. Adolin here has lent enough strength to Maya so she can make her own voice heard by all. I love it.

Blended is the only one hanging around. I would have thought Amura would want to investigate, given how much of herself she dedicates to the deadeyes. 

I like that Maya is the one invoking Strength Before Weakness. Usually the spren viewed with the sort of personhood to need that development and commitment. 

Silly thought: Maybe instead of the standard nahel bond, they’ll get one that’s somehow inverted. Maya will draw on Adolin for power and strength, and he will be allowed to grow in new ways by being drawn into the cognitive realm. Actually, this started as a silly thought with Maya wielding a little Adolin sword, but the more I think about it the more I like the concept. Nahel bonds in general are governed and constrained by whatever Ishar did to codify the oaths, but Maya has already broken those constraints and paid the price. She and Adolin could well be capable of forging their own path.

Blended suggested this tactic, “playing both sides.” That didn’t make sense to me until she revealed the stake she had in it: trying to prove whether Maya was more alive than anyone believed when Adolin told them. Or rather, that they have a friendship. 

Blended confirms that the bond between Adolin and Mayalaran is not a nahal/Radiant bond, but that something is indeed happening. 

Very good point, Blended. If the spren were complicit in ending the age of Radiants, then the current spren may have far better reasons for avoiding humanity than simply fear of death. Adolin may have convinced them that humanity aren’t horrid monsters, but he probably hasn’t secured the type of help he was hoping for.

You know, I didn’t really get why this is a big deal at first, because as a reader I’ve been assuming for a long time that the spren must have been complicit to some degree in the recreance for it to have been as widespread as it is. But in-world it seems that until this point nobody entertained the idea that it could be anything but murder. This is not like the anticlimax at the end of Oathbringer where the “humans are invaders” fell flat, but it is a reveal that hits very differently for the readers and the characters.

Maya says they didn’t know it would kill them, though they expected terrible pain.

Blended echoes Sekeir’s words, but with different intent: Maya’s judgement of Adolin was the only one that ever mattered. Is that something Blended went into this believing, or did she arrive at that opinion after all of the reveals from Maya? It matters because I would be much more charitable about the way she put Maya on display here if she started out with the belief that Maya should be given the opportunity to judge Adolin for good or ill. But if she couldn’t know Maya’s ability to push through as powerfully as she did, then Blended gets a lot less sympathy from me.

Yay Adolin! Even now he’s working to reframe things in his mind away from self-centeredness and towards concern for Maya, respect for Maya. Definitely Edgedancer material.

Hm. Adolin says he wants to get back to the Oathgate to share the news. But the map of their journey definitely continued south from Lasting Integrity rather than returning to Urithiru. So how are they going to know to go the other direction? Will news of the Sibling’s unmaking be spreading through Shadesmar?


Chapter 93

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Chapter 93 (Strong Enough)
Title: But strong enough for what? To attack a herald, or to let her husband be taken, or to face her own truth? Not that last one, since Formless hasn’t been around long enough to deserve that climax, but she could still go either way. Oh, who am I kidding. She’s on the downslope right now. She’ll make the aggressive choice.

Icons: Nale. Presumably because Kelek is rendering judgement today?

Epigraph: Wait. If the bond is broken by capture, how could Kelek feel the difference between Jezrien fading away and simply remaining captive? Obviously some aspects of the bond persisted for him to have that awareness.


“There are some things only she [Shallan] can do,” Formless said. Would that be a problem, now that Shallan no longer existed?

Oh dear. Formless is supplanting Shallan, not becoming a fourth aspect. Or at least she thinks she is. Hmm, and she appears to have less of a grip on Veil and Radiant than she thought.

Aww, Adolin with the sweet affirmation. Who is stronger, indeed? Don’t let your struggle be a detraction from your determination and diligence. Formless doesn’t listen, of course, but someone surely does.

Pattern perks up when he sees her? That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure strikes a sour chord. He’s not always the best at seeing through her aspects, though, so maybe he’s not fully aware of what’s happened.

Radiant is trapped, but not Veil. That’s significant, for sure. But what is Formless planning to do after this “last gift” for Adolin? Is she planning to end herself, or just cut ties with Shallan’s life? And what does Veil think she’s figured out?

Oh, I see. “A new persona couldn’t draw like that.” Shallan is trying to be supplanted, to reinvent herself.

“How would she extricate herself from Adolin?” Yeah, no. Formless no longer gets a vote. You’ve messed with my ship, girl.

Yes, Pattern thinks she’s Veil. His perception is sadly lacking for someone with a direct line to Shallan’s soul, but it definitely shows Adolin well in contrast.
Formless is a fusion of the “best parts” of her three aspects. It’s the poorly constructed version of the organic healing we hope Shallan will achieve, built from what she envies most of her make-belief personas, or from what she hopes will paper over her combined insecurities. What it isn’t is an actual, whole person. 

I have to say, Formless seems much more fragile than I anticipated from the buildup she got.

Huh. Formless being uncomfortable with the impossible box that is Lasting Integrity, to the extent that she avoids looking at the other three planes of the tower. That’s a remarkably apt yet subtle metaphor for her place in Shallan’s psyche. She’s in denial, trying to form a new identity without addressing the “impossible box” she’s created of her mind. I wouldn’t have noticed it except that it was a mention of something Formless “wasn’t got at,” which seemed pretty unlikely for her to admit when she’s trying to be her strongest, most capable self.

Pattern, that was not how you retell a joke. I presume it was something about parroting Wit’s words, and that’s how you are like a chicken? You fail at second-hand jokes, Pattern.

You should have gathered by now that I am all the way here for Shallan’s inner conflict. Yet, I have to admit that this sequence feels more than a tad forced. Formless shows up, and within a page we’re at “You deserve to be loved,” and she suddenly questions her life plan of throwing away the past to join the Ghostbloods. Subtle it ain’t.

She wanted to spend time drawing it, but of course she wasn’t like that anymore. She needed to find all this disorienting and strange. Like Veil. 
Oh dear. If we needed any further confirmation that she’s drawing on the wrong pieces to construct herself, this is it. She’s so desperate to get away from her history that she embraces her invented weaknesses just to displace who she was before.

The plan is to Soulcast the lock to the door? Since when does soulcasting work inside Shadesmar? I am not convinced this is viable at all.

Radiant killed Ialai. Storms. This is some real Third Man type mystery stuff going on here. Literally, in fact. That’s more appropriate a comparison the more I think about it. Huh. 

So, how many recent things have been blocked from Shallan’s memory? I feel like it’s a bit of a cop out to have her unaware of what her aspects do.

Guess I was wrong. Soulcasting is easier in Shadesmar, not harder/impossible. Weird. 

A small glass chicken is Kelek’s memento in the window. What type of chicken? Who was it from? Was it an Ashyn chicken or one further afield?

I love that Veil forced herself into being through lightweaving that Formless didn’t want or intend. This dynamic is great.

Veil is speaking aloud! They are making sounds with their lightweaving, which is something she hasn’t achieved since her mother died. (Unless the sound is mental, but I don’t think so.)

How much of this argument is Kelek hearing? I kind of want to know what he thinks of it. Actually, is Shallan still wearing her Lusintia disguise while talking to Veil?

Wait, but if Veil does this, we won’t get to enjoy her anymore :-( Shallan getting the memories back, and (I assume) losing the partition between some of her skills and talents is a good thing, something we’ve been building toward. But I’ll miss Veil.

Yup. Shallan’s first spren is dead, and she remembers.


“Oh, God of Oaths.”

Another one for the list!

That’s really rough. Shallan killed her mom. Then her nahel spren. Then her dad. No wonder she’s messed up.

But wait. If Shallan killed her first spren, then the safe really did contain a dead Shardblade. Is it still bound to Shallan? Does she carry that blade as well as Pattern? The screaming could be something else that’s hidden away in her mind.

Hm. Radiant doesn’t seem to be getting a goodbye scene, but I sort of get the impression she’s leaving/integrating as well. Am I reading that right? Ah, actually I don’t think she’s left yet. We’ll have to see in the next chapter. 

Yes, go find your first Pattern! Oh, is this where we’ll get someone dual-wielding Shardblades? I could see it happening regardless, but it’d be even better if she is able to (eventually) revive Pattern the First following Adolin’s example with Maya. 

I’m proud of Shallan for making the better choice about Kelek. I was expecting Formless to be more formidable.

Ah, yes. Protective custody “for your own good.” Definitely not house arrest. And that’s the it-gets-worse moment that allowed Shallan to make the right choice. She didn’t have to make it worse on her own.