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Chapter 17



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

Chapter 17 (A Proposal)
Header: Navani chapter, with kalak. Significance: someone has bad breath? Yeah, not sure why I’m even noting the herald icons.

Epigraph: learnin’ about Aluminum. Or, whatever alloy of it is being used in the Fused weapons. We know from Shallan’s necklace that aluminum is a known material on Roshar, and I would have expected the scholars studying this stuff to figure out that connection if it were just the pure metal. I think we can take that as evidence that the useful combat version is some modified material.

When they make the map, Navani senses a feeling of flight, freedom. Is that a connection to the Stormfather, whose passage over the land gives Dalinar the details to fill in the map, or is it something to do with the Bondsmith-Lightweaver connection? Alternatively, is it something to do with Navani herself?

“By Kalak’s mighty breath”--new version of the swear. (I like that it still preserves the possible morning breath joke.)

They have Zoom/Enhance on their map! Radiants are sci-fi, confirmed.

I am actually very shocked that the “Queen’s Wit” has stuck around. I was not expecting him or Jasnah to put up with each other, and it’s been a year. That is a long time to be in close proximity to Hoid. Plus, he usually does his own thing and steers clear of the current protagonists outside of special moments. Odd to see him staying so close to the action here. 

It makes me happy that his continued presence means he’s presumably been able to continue coaching Shallan on occasion. Maybe he even got another hug at some point.

Huh. So they know that the god-priest of Emul is Ishar, and that he’s insane. Honestly, it’s impressive just how many secrets the characters have uncovered. Often the readers are farther ahead than this. True to form for Sanderson, though, there are more secrets hiding all over the place.

I’m still not sure how navies are supposed to work on Roshar. Highstorms and boats are not a good combination. I suspect Brandon has put sufficient thought into the logistics, though, and I’m hoping for a pirate interlude or something of the sort.

So they know (or are pretty sure) of Taravangian’s treachery. That’s useful.

I’m really confused about why the Skybreakers haven’t made more of an impact on the war so far. An entire order of Radiants, trained and ready, throwing in with the singers while the other orders are barely nascent. It should be a complete rout. 

And I’m not surprised that the Dustbringers (Releasers?) are considering following suit. I do wonder how much of that is their general attitude and how much is Taravangian’s influence through his own loyal Radiant.


“Strange, that a mother should feel so unwilling to chat with her daughter about intimate matters.”

Um, no it’s not. Maybe the Alethi are more open, but that’s not weird at all where we come from. But don’t worry. I feel confident in telling you that Wit and Jasnah are not an item.


“There might be a gemheart at the center of this monster.”

I like this saying. It’s not one I would have thought of, as an expression of vulnerability, opportunity, and hope, but it really works.

Woot! Jasnah is going to emancipate all slaves! You go, girl. 
On the other hand, this is not just social upheaval that is on the way. The economic structure of their society, already fractured by the loss of the parshmen, will suffer another huge blow while they are engaged in a prolonged war. This will have a lot of knock-on effects that I hope they can prepare for and mitigate.

Oh, hell. The ardentia are all slaves. I hadn’t made that connection. Jasnah is really insistent on kicking all the hornet nests, isn’t she? This is going to be a disaster. A good disaster, and a smart move for Alethkar, but a disaster nonetheless.

I’m not sure how the technical slavery of the ardents prevents the church from amassing political power. Sure, it’s one form of check, but I doubt it does anything to actually stymie them.

Oh, I forgot that Ash was Jezrien’s daughter. 

More hints about the Shin. Is that just setup for Book 5’s focus on Szeth, or will we get to actually interact with them in this one?

I hadn’t thought about what might be possible with Ishar’s blade. Bondsmiths are limited by their “particular” spren, but if someone could wield the honorblade… I wonder if it would give Dalinar himself any resonance. His abilities are esoteric enough that the distinction between herald and radiant might actually be enough. It’s not just the granting of a surge, but deep realmatic manipulation of connection. I doubt that’s the direction it will go, but with the focus on Emul and Ishar it does look like we’ll get more Bondsmithery soon.