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Interlude I-1

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

Interlude I-I
Sylphrena! Hooray for spren interludes. (Sprenterludes?)

First thing first, have to acknowledge the chapter header art with an interesting depiction of Syl. I’m pretty sure that even in Oathbringer the non-recurring characters didn’t get unique chapter art, right? With respect to this piece, it isn’t very similar to most of the fanart I’ve seen, even accounting for the consistent style across the various chapter headers. It does capture her wind affinity, with the blowing hair, and I appreciate that she gets Alethi eyes in this depiction. Her dress is patterned, which I wouldn’t have expected--generally I see/imagine her as translucent and mono-tone, with very little texture to her appearance. More intriguing, is the fact that she has some sort of massive burden on her back, in the form of a leather(?) backpack. Is this a “weight of her people’s future on her shoulders” allegory, or something more personal? (Is it the food she used to lure the rat into Kaladin’s boot?) It feels even more symbolic than most of these pieces.

So, Cord’s full name is Hualinam’lunanaki’akilu. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time we’ve seen it in print. I like it. I have to say, though, this is just about the right level of weird name inclusion to have. Can you imagine a young, inexperienced Brandon trying to write a Horneater-focused book, where everyone has these long, poetic, often-skimmed names? Even better, make half the cast from Thaylenah, with their nigh-unpronounceable strings of consonants. Without nicknames like Rock and Cord from the Alethi, it would be nearly unreadable. I like the degree of worldbuilding color we get, and I’m looking forward to more Horneater characters, but we’d better meet them slowly because I have a pretty hard limit for being able to learn and remember new names of this type.

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It was pretty. Maybe Syl should have hated it, as she did Shardblades, but she didn’t. It was kind of a corpse--well, lots of corpses--but not as offensive. The difference, she supposed, was attitude. She could sense contentment, not pain, from the Plate.

 

Well, that’s confirmation, if any was still needed, of the deduction about plate being made of lots of so-called cousin spren. More interestingly, it suggests that the spren in dead plate are not tortured like the blades. Is it because they weren’t directly part of the Nahel bond, and so weren’t affected directly by the breaking of oaths? If so, then they would be locked into this form but not sundered by the Recreance. Alternatively, if less likely, it could merely be a function of their lower sapience. As beings of instinct rather than intellect, they don’t have a vested interest in the oaths and their status. They just keep doing what they do.

Syl’s curiosity isn’t a general trait of honorspren? I wonder if that’s due to the generational differences or just a personality quirk.

Intelligent spren are only 10,000 years old--how does that fit into the timeline? If I recall correctly, Aharietam was 4,000 years ago, with a cycle of desolations for centuries to possibly millenia before that, starting some time after humans arrived from Ashyn. So, that puts the appearance of sapient spren roughly around the time of the Shattering, which fits what we know otherwise. I wonder how long Roshar had existed prior to that time?

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YOU GIVE TOO MUCH OF YOURSELF TO THAT HUMAN.
“Isn’t that why we exist?”
NO. YOU HAVE ALWAYS MISUNDERSTOOD THIS. YOU DO NOT EXIST FOR THEM. YOU EXIST FOR YOU.

D’awww. Thanks for validating her, Stormfather. 
But seriously, don’t give Syl depression just because she asked. Adding more depression is not a helpful way to solve this problem.

Interesting exchange about the expected defeat of Odium and about Kaladin’s potential to become the champion. It almost feels like Brandon needed someone with meta knowledge to step in and tell the readers that their theories might be wrong.

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I HAVE THE POWER, BUT NOT THE ABILITY.

Hm. First, I’m glad we aren’t going to get sad Syl. Second, though, this is interesting as a distinction. The lack of ability to me implies lack of knowledge. The most likely explanation here is that Stormfather himself is incapable of understanding the human condition well enough, so he can’t impart that to his children.

On a separate note, I like the time dilation explanation for what we’ve seen happen in these frozen moments when the storm hits, between Kaladin’s early visions, the listener/singer form transitions, and now Syl’s conversation. 

So, Urithiru is halfway across the continent so it’s not a real surprise, but it’s good to note that all of the crem has precipitated by the time the storm reaches that point. Rain and snow there is pure water.

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Today the highstorm had been high enough to cover the lower stories of the tower. She’d never seen it get to the top, but she hoped it would someday. That would be different!

Foreshadowing! Cheerfully ominous foreshadowing at that. Good work, Syl.

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A Bondsmith Connected the Heralds to Braize, made them immortal, and locked our enemies away. A Bondsmith bound other Surges and brought humans to Roshar, fleeing their dying world. A Bondsmith created--or at least discovered--the Nahel bond: the ability of spren and humans to join together into something better. You Connect things.

Hm. The really intriguing part of this is that a Bondsmith “bound other Surges” in the process of leading humans from Ashyn to Roshar. Does that mean “formalized the ten surges as they now exist on Roshar” or does it mean “used the magic of Ashyn, which I am calling surges since that’s the local terminology”? 

Syl’s previous human was named Relador. Pretty sure we haven’t seen that name before either.


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