Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Intro post here. Beware of spoilers.
Chapter 7 (The Rarest Vintage)
Just a guess that this title is hinting at my hidden larkin prediction for the Ialai scene. Endangered animal all but relegated to myth = rare vintage.
Epigraph: zinc and brass as opposing metals. I wonder where I’ve seen that before… Interesting that they influence the strength of the spren’s effect, when a subset of spren are manifestations of emotions, and the metals correspond to rioting (stronger effect) and soothing (weaker effect).
I do wonder how that works--nobody is burning the metal or actively pushing investiture into it a la allomancy. Does the metal channel the stormlight somehow? Or is there an inductive effect analogous to magnets and electrical current, such that the infusion or expenditure of stormlight from the gem causes a flow of investiture through the metal, resulting in the realmatic effect. Actually, I really like that explanation, and will headcanon it until further evidence arises.
This Ialai is crafty. I want to see the bait she dangles. Everything she’s saying is carefully calculated for her actual visitor, under a deniability guise for the one she is supposed to be entertaining. I love this kind of political doublespeak and verbal maneuvering. I hope that Shallan realizes what’s being said in time, because so far she isn’t thinking about double meanings.
Awww. larkin theory was wrong--it’s just wine (Unless the creature is hiding behind the bottles! There’s always another secret, right?)
It’s a poor choice of terms to “infuse” wine with color, when that word is used for spheres and other important things. If I were to guess, it’s probably intentional on the part of the brewers to make the process more familiar and appealing. An “infused” wine must be more valuable, an indication of purity, just like infusing a gem. Complete manufactured desirability, but doubtless effective. I wonder if there are other uses of the term for marketing purposes.
“These Heralds-forsaken stormlands”
I’m pretty sure we’ve seen that formulation before as well, but I’ll add it to the list just in case. I’m unclear, though, on if this indicates anything with regard to Ialai’s loyalties and faith. I.e. regular Vorinism, Sons of Honor zealotry, etc.
Okay, with a little bluntness Shallan clued in to the double speak. Pretty clumsy so far--hah. Even Veil agrees with me.
Okay, the veiled discussion gets a little better. Not a lot, but a bit.
“I’ve fought so long. And now I’m alone… sometimes it seems the very shadows work against me.”
Interesting phrasing. This sounds reminiscent of Elhokar’s paranoia from seeing cryptics everywhere he looked. Is Ialai on that path?
“Get on with it,” Ialai said. “You killed Thanadal when he tried to deal. So I can’t try that. You hunted Vamah and murdered him after he fled, and there’s little chance of me surviving the same. I thought I might be safe if I hunkered down for a time. Yet here you are.”
Oooo, that’s fascinating! She’s not behind the deaths of the other highprinces. Who does she think is responsible? The Ghostbloods, perhaps? Did Mraize send Shallan to do this task in order to tie up loose ends and erase information? Is this Shallan’s chance to learn something Mraize doesn’t hand her?
Shallan just came to the same conclusion. This is awesome!
“They’ll send you after Restares next,” Ialai said. “But they’ll watch you. In case you rise high enough, learn enough to threaten them.
[...]Most of the Sons of Honor simply wanted their gods back, but Gavilar saw more. He saw entire worlds…”
So we’ll maybe learn about the mysterious Restares soon. It sounds like the Ghostbloods are trying to monopolize interstellar travel and commerce, which doesn’t really make sense. There are other factions out there, and this group seems to be secretive, likely infiltrating other cosmere-aware groups. I’ve probably jumped to the wrong conclusion.
Ialai’s “rarest vintage” comment--is she talking about an offworld import?
“Don’t give me riddles,” the Three said. “Give me answers. What are the Ghostbloods trying to do?”
I like that when they act in unity, they are The Three. That’s powerful, but also feels like a dangerous development with her aspects.
Adolin’s first words being “which one are you” is a positive sign that they are working to make things possible in their relationship, but worrying that it is constantly necessary. Or maybe not constantly, but regularly enough to be a thing.
I am having trouble remembering when we met Ishnah. If I haven’t recalled by the end of the chapter, we’re going to have to dip into the coppermind.
Oh no! I was hoping that the person who murdered Ialai would be forced to expose themselves as a hidden agent of the Ghostbloods, but Shallan didn’t keep her eyes on the prisoner so now she has another murder mystery to solve. :-( So much for that potential clue.
Storms send he was still alive
We’ve seen “Heralds send” before, including variants with individual heralds named, but this is the first instance of “Storms send.” I wasn’t expecting that interchangeability.
The imagery here is a bit heavyhanded--Kaladin’s past going up in flames as he fights the Fused, and his powers are stolen from him.
I have to say, though, the voidlight fabrial that snuffs out surges? That’s super cool. I want to know how it is done! Also, it’s not just surges that are suppressed, it forced Syl out of her shard form and back to simple spren. That is a really powerful trump card. I can’t wait to see that extrapolated to other situations.
Kal fighting with just his spear powers (and stormlight boost, which apparently was not suppressed) to take down the singers and combat the Fused is a cool moment. Very fast action scene, and a demonstration of heroic competence. I like it.
I think Kal made a new enemy, though. When that Fused returns in its next body, he will not be caught off guard as easily.
I am curious about the limits of that suppression fabrial--it turns off active effects, but not the “passive” strengthening of stormlight. Which is a bit odd to me because that doesn’t seem like a particularly passive effect, in comparison to other passive effects we’ve seen in the past. I might have thought it would work like leeching, removing a store of investiture, but that’s not the case. I thought it might be targeting external effects, but some of Kal’s lashings are strictly internal. It must be something different than we’ve seen elsewhere.
Lift stealing the hostage! Yay Lift.
(I have to mention that I recently became an active participant of the Worm fandom, and one of my favorite fanfics involves Lift arriving in the world of Worm and doing Edgedancer things in that superhero setting. If that is of interest to you, I recommend checking out Leaf by Slavok.)
(On a mostly unrelated note, the other cosmere-related fanfic that I highly recommend is a crossover between Era1 Mistborn and Young Justice. The main character is a Terriswoman whose backstory is more or less canon compliant and she is a delight to read. The story is by Obloquy and called Life Ore Death.)
They captured the fabrial, so that’s a good thing. Navani will be very interested.
Am I a little bit crazy that “an old lighteyed man in beggar’s clothing” made me immediately think of Hoid and wonder why Lift hadn’t recognized him? Turns out it was just Roshone, forcing Kal to put aside his prejudice and rescue someone he would rather not.
We didn’t do this, Veil thought. We decided not to kill her, right?
I… Shallan’s mind began to fuzz, everything feeling blurry. Had she done this? She’d wanted to. But she hadn’t, had she? She was… was more in control than that.
I didn’t do it, Shallan thought. She was reasonably certain.
So what happened? Radiant asked.
Oh no. Oh no, oh no. You’re still doing this reality questioning thing? Shallan, this is a problem you would rather solve before the epic climax of Sanderlanche. Like, say, during a calm timeskip between books. Not that I would prefer that, but it would definitely be easier on you.
“Nale’s nuts,” muttered one of Adolin’s soldiers.
It took us a shockingly long time to get an obscene body part referenced in one of these heraldic swears. Congrats, Nale, you get to be the first!
New spren sighting: anxietyspren, “like a twisting black cross”
Oh, right, that’s who Ishnah is. She volunteered herself during the tavern trip with the Horneater White incident.
I’m wondering whether it would work to search all of the possible suspects in Shallan and Adolin’s retinue for the Ghostblood tattoo.That would presumably clear everyone and let her start thinking about invisible assassins or hunters with blowdarts. Not that failing to find a tattoo would reassure her, since she never actually gave herself one, as far as we know. (Not sure if she’d be able to, given Kaladin’s reaction to tattoos.)
Speaking of that last, did the other Bridge Four members lose their tattoos and/or brands when they became squires or knights? I don’t remember that really being mentioned in Oathbringer, but it probably was. I seem to recall a lot of discussion about how unique Kaladin was or wasn’t in regard to viewing his brands as part of himself.