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Chapter 21



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

Chapter 21 (The Seething Knot)
Epigraph: Oh, nope this is Sazed after all. Presumably a second letter, then. Has Hoid been contacting everyone again, or just the people he thinks are most likely to be sympathetic?

Adolin is delightful. I love how he’s justifying his fashion obsession with an appeal to Alethi manliness. “Oh, yes. Picking the right outfit is exactly like fighting a duel, with the same preparation and instincts. Absolutely identical skillset, here.”

Ah, here’s a good quote to encapsulate it: “I’m not fussing, I’m strategizing.”

Adolin has one hour to fill before he leaves. I hope the task he’s “checking off the list” is saying goodbye to his brother. It would be a good counterpoint to their ritual before the duel in Words of Radiance, and we always need more Renarin than we are given.

Oh. Well, more bromance with Kaladin is acceptable, I guess. I’ll just headcanon that goodbye to Renarin was a bigger priority and got taken care of before the fashion strategy session.

Haha. All the young women are chasing Stormblessed by coming for medication. And Adolin totally called it.

The Nalthian coin is cool. I wonder if it’s depicting Kalad or someone else? I also like that Adolin is allowed to see past the facade Kal puts up.


“Don’t let anyone burn the tower down while I’m away.” 

Come on, Adolin. You know better than to deliver such an obvious invocation of foreshadowing. Murphy loves straight lines like that one.


“You should have been the surgeon, Adolin.”
”Don’t be silly, I could never dress like that.”

I love it.

Shardplate can’t be transferred to Shadesmar using the Oathgate, but it can be teleported across the continent. Is that a contradiction? Oh, I guess not. In my mind the teleportation worked by traversing the Cognitive Realm, but obviously that can’t be the case for instantaneous travel. It’s a Spiritual Realm traversal, which doesn’t mess up the degree to which a spren is manifesting in the physical vs cognitive as long as the destination matches the starting point. Moving into a different realm, though, would affect the spren themselves. It’s not a function of investiture density, since they can make one trip but not the other.

Beryl substituting for Stargyle at the last moment is suspicious, and I’m chalking it up to “necessary Red Herring.” It was fairly obvious when the characters were introduced that Brandon was more invested in Beryl’s story than in Stargyle’s, so I was surprised that she wasn’t selected. My assumption at the time was that she would get some screen time back at Urithiru or on the Emuli campaign, but now it seems like Stargyle was used specifically to manufacture a bit more attention for her by way of this swap. I’m not buying the spy implications, though.

Are the rainbow colors in Gallant’s eyes a general Ryshadium trait? If so, are they related to the musicspren bond?

Palafruit--named after the herald? Seems odd if so.

Adolin has a conversation with Gallant, then says “I talk to my sword too. Funny thing is, she eventually talked back.” He is definitely Edgedancer material with all this listening.

The intentional obtuseness about bringing along all those swords is entertaining, but what is the real purpose here? Are they for trading? Maybe a cultivationspren likes swords the same way Wyndle likes chairs?

Zu is in Iriali name. I should have made that connection from the hair, but didn’t. Surrogate mother figure, anyone? Perhaps she knew Evi? Plus maybe we’ll actually get to know something about the Stonewards now.

Zu’s people thought her cursed by a god the Alethi don’t know/worship. Is that one of the two brothers from the Reshi interlude (Vun Makak or something like that)? I’m not sure how culturally similar the Reshi and Iriali are. They’re neighbors so there ought to be some parallels.

Oh, I hadn’t realized/remembered that Iri was occupied and/or defected to Odium at this point. That’s unfortunate.

Felt is coming along… presumably he got here by way of Shadesmar originally, so it will be interesting to see if that comes into play during this expedition. Or if his Scadrian origins are revealed to anyone. Is his wife Malli native Rosharan? I’m pretty sure we don’t know anything about Felt’s family or lack thereof from his brief Mistborn appearance.

Oh. Looks like I misread something last chapter. Stump is a Truthwatcher not an Edgedancer. Probably fits her better… actually, did we already know this from the novella? I think we did. That was her thing--healing kids and “knowing when they were lying.” I’m pretty sure at the end Lift had a conversation about what kind of spren she saw and it was different from Wyndle’s appearance. Man, I’m forgetting all kinds of stuff. 

A cache of soulcasters discovered in Aimia? More Dawnshard clues!

Is Shallan’s inability to master soulcasting an effect of her inability to confront her truths? Or is it just an aspect at which she is less talented?

This conversation with Dalinar finally brings out some deep feelings from Adolin--about Evi, in particular. I am glad to get to see this, and to see that Adolin is not forgiving about what was revealed in the autobiography. It’s also neat that he managed to turn the confrontation into a meta moment, with Adolin rejecting the dichotomy between Journey vs. Destination as personified in Dalinar vs. Taravangian. So much of the book looks to be about that philosophical debate, it’s interesting to have the premise questioned at this early stage in the book. Much more nuanced treatment than one might expect from a book featuring “personifications of morality” as the arbiters of magical power.

Dalinar’s expectation that Adolin become a Radiant makes me feel bad about rooting so hard for him to awaken his blade. No pressure, dude! (Although you definitely have to revive her. Yeah, I lied. Lots of pressure, I’ll just feel guilty about it.) It will be interesting to eventually see what role he takes. Despite his dueling and other combat ability, I expect Maya will be uninterested in returning to battle. I’m getting way ahead of myself, but I do wonder what he will do to further mend that relationship once she awakens.

Wait, Why are there dedicated oathgates to each of the ten dawn cities? As far as I can tell they each allow the user to select from a choice of destinations. Is it simply a matter of organization so that incoming and outgoing transfers can be coordinated safely when many are in use? Or is there something about the construction of the oathgates at Urithiru that only permits each one to transfer to a specified target?

Swinging the whole thing upside down by moving along a different axis, in order to dump them into shadesmar, is cool, though.