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Chapter 12



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

Chapter 12 (A Way to Help)
Title: Kal looks for a new job.

Epigraph: Yeah, industrialization is not going to work as well when everything is locked up in trade secrets and fabrials are designed specifically to make reverse engineering them more difficult. Then again, without a system of intellectual property protection you may have a hard time encouraging artifabrians to contribute to the Kholin war machine. Because that’s what this plea is going to look like to anyone without all of the insight we get as readers.

Rock has moved on to “something else” that even Kal doesn’t know about. I want the secrets of the Unkalaki! I wonder what that means with Rock’s daughter serving as Windrunner ground support. Are there familial associations to be avoided due to Rock’s (alleged) birth order? Or do his children get their own roles and taboos independent of him?

That is a kind of sad moment, where he realizes (or at least reflects on the fact that) with everyone graduating to other groups “Bridge Four” doesn’t really exist any more. They all still belong to it in name, but it isn’t a cohesive group so much as a memory of what they were before. 

The major hallways have (locked) sphere lanterns. Kaladin is definitely seeing a different side of the tower city than Veil. 

Kal is wondering what he could do when he’s retired from being highmarshal. I want to say “Go be a surgeon!” but that’s not going to satisfy him any more, and it doesn’t use his nahel-granted abilities. With Edgedancers and Truthwatchers being able to heal, a Windrunner surgeon would be a sad Radiant.

Kal just had his breakdown, which summons exhaustionspren (we’ve seen these before) and agonyspren (these are new).

First, agonyspren being “upside-down faces carved from stone” is fascinating with the cultural association of Taln, patron of the Stonewards, being the “bearer of agonies.” Did the appearance of agonyspren change after Aharietam? I’m going to guess yes.

Second, Kal remarked earlier that Rock usually had a better sense of Kal’s mood, and he even attributed that in part to Rock being able to see Syl and her reactions to things. But if the exhaustion and agony spren were tagging along behind Kaladin, drawn by his suppressed emotions but not yet manifesting in the physical plane, there is a very good chance that Rock could see them already and thereby judge a person’s true emotions. I wonder whether there are any indications that Horneaters are known to be particularly insightful by outside ethnic groups, or whether Unkalaki culture has a different emphasis on revealing vs suppressing emotions. 

We already know that the existence of spren that respond to emotions has impacted cultural norms across Roshar, but the Unkalaki have the potential to be an extreme case. Then again, Rock’s ability, while not rare, is hardly ubiquitous among his people. I don’t remember what he called it, but I got the impression that it made him special.

Syl to the rescue with Best Bud Adolin! That’s not how I was expecting this scene to go, but it’s awesome.



“I let you blow me away last week and the week before”  


The similarity to “blow someone off” is uncanny valley levels of similar to our idiom. It makes sense, and I can see how it’s different in meaning, at least in nuance, but still.

Brightlord Master Highmarshal Stormface is a great nickname. Has he been talking to Lift? Probably not, she’d have thrown in something quite a bit less complimentary.

Surely there are more than the three Kholins who are immune to Kaladin’s intimidation factor? Maybe not. Nice of Syl to not bother Jasnah and get Kal killed.

Interesting that the regulated market of the Ten Rings is strictly middle class establishments, since the high class ones didn’t want oversight any more than the seedy places. As obvious as it seems, I’m not sure I would have thought to predict that outcome.

I’m fairly surprised that the winehouse named itself “Jez’s Duty.” That casual name for the Herald seems a strange fit for a reputable but not upscale shop. Maybe I’m just attributing too much reverence to the Alethi culture.

...drinking Horneater mudbeer. MUDBEER? Please come up with a more appetizing name for that. Who’s idea was this?

And Veil is here. This should be fun. 

Kal’s grass-is-greener moment of envying Shallan’s multiple aspects is cringe-inducing. First for the obvious lack of understanding, but second for the horrible image of Kaladin trying to deal with the split personality thing. He would be even worse at it than Shallan, and everything would be on fire.

Veil sticking up for Kaladin to the waitress is a nice way to show their friendship. I like it.
Oh, but apparently Kal isn’t happy about it.
..oh, wait, it’s Kal. Of course he isn’t happy. About anything. Ever.

Radiant tells Kaladin about the unformed personas waiting to cause problems because he’s Shallan’s friend. That is so sweet and affirming, while also being creepy and concerning. I am so glad that the Three are a thing in this story. As I said before, I am super invested in their progress.

Pattern’s crack about birthing children almost killed me. That is the best joke in the book so far. Way to flip the dynamic, Pattern! I can’t stop laughing at this, especially at the idea that he’s being serious. I figured the liespren would have picked up on some of this stuff after hanging out with Veil for over a year.

I sympathise with Kaladin’s discomfort during the matchmaking.


“things like nahn and rank had been… strangely less divisive this last year, under Jasnah’s rule.”

I’m going to want an explanation for that.

Veil’s back and forth with Adolin about Dakhnah’s figure is hilarious. “I’d have to eat six chulls” indeed. The relationship dynamic is, once again, awesome.

Adolin and Kaladin talking frankly about mental health issues? This is something that needed to happen and I’m really glad it did. Good to see they are looking out for each other and for Shallan.

Wit is still around? I’d have expected him to gallivant off somewhere by now.

With Veil, Radiant, and Shallan swapping around in public like this, and talking about each other openly, I wonder how widely their situation has spread by gossip or spy ring, and how it is misrepresented. We just heard that the whole city is talking about Dalinar’s book Oathbringer, even though it’s not finished yet. These people are the celebrities and political powerhouses of the world, so they will be the focus of both social observation and targeted surveillance. Is Veil still sneaky at all, or unexpected?

Rock is going back to get his punishment for taking up a weapon. I’m very unsure about how that is supposed to work, since we all know that Rock was not born in the order her claims, and I’m pretty sure that deception/rejection was part of why he was selected for the group that went to the Shattered Plains. Be that as it may, we’ve had ample foreshadowing in this conversation that Rock’s “punishment” will be to get thrown in the lake. The one conveniently sitting on top of a singularity leading to Shadesmar. I don’t know whether we’ll see him again in this book, but we will absolutely be seeing more of him. I can’t decide if he’s destined to be part of a worldhopper envoy or if he’ll be arriving to save the day with knowledge and recipes learned from the spren.