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Interlude I-6



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

Interlude I-6 (Taravangian)
Title: “A boon and a curse” Surely that doesn’t mean we’re going to see him on a bad day, right? Hmm, actually I don’t think I paid any attention to the chapter icon last time. It’s similar to the kings you see decorating many playing cards. There are two, one upside down compared to the other. One is holding a sword with eyes open, another has eyes closed/sad and grasps a vine or cane, presumably symbolic of nurturing. Looking back, the previous Vargo interlude had the sword rightside up (clear eyed, intelligent, cruel) while this one is flipped the other way (downcast, compassionate). So he’s on one of his less intelligent days, but going by the title he may be about to realize the fan theory about which one of those is intended as the boon.

(images: intelligence, emotion)

Looks like Mr. T has already contemplated the question of boon vs. curse, but when he’s smart he assumes he already knows the answer.

He’s so old :-( Constantly plagued by exhaustionspren, joints painfully creaking, heart about to give out… he’s been spending himself for this task.

“A god made you what you are.” Surely you’re not going to tell us that you saw Cultivation too, are you? I can buy her hand in your situation, but I think having all three of the prominent Nightwatcher visitors be secretly blessed/cursed directly by Cultivation is a bit of a stretch.

The diagram can’t see Renarin... the obvious answer is Glys, but realmatically why would that matter? Presumably it can account for beings aligned with any of the three flavors of investiture dominating Roshar, so it’s not just as simple as Odium or Cultivation or Honor being immune. Similarly, all Radiants and nahel spren are mixtures of Honor and Cultivation, so admixtures themselves are not the issue. Is it because Sja-Anat is betraying Odium and acting against her supposed nature? Is she doing something specific with the spren she enlightens that shields them from connection/precognition?

Good callback to the vision where Renarin was the blindspot. I’m glad Taravangian remembered that right before the next vision started.


“They will fight in the war they’ve been promised since birth, and though it will consume and destroy them, they will enjoy it. I shall make certain of that fact.”

So much for capturing Nergaoul. I guess Odium can directly inspire the Thrill anyway? Great.

What is the light that Taravangian sensed? I thought it might be Odium’s disguise slipping, but he suppressed it to hide. I’m not sure how that works.

What was Odium’s original plan for the Blackthorn? Taravangian seems to think it’s more than just conquest of Roshar. Would corrupted Dalinar have led the charge across the cosmere? That’s a terrifying thought.

Wow, “dumb Taravangian” is quite clever. Good job manipulating Rayse into showing you what you wanted to see!

And he has a further insight about Rayse’s (former and lingering) humanity. “Slow to think but quick to understand” indeed.

And he’s smart enough to look for the name an obsessive brilliant schemer would plan around..and he finds Szeth. Obviously we know it’s probably due to Nightblood, but I wonder what everyone in-world is going to make of this?

Brilliant idea that the “capacity to save mankind” comes down to the capacity to understand Odium. His vacillating days of brilliance and compassion showed him how Odium thinks and how to anticipate him. It’s not either that is the gift but rather the experience...the journey. Good grief, did Sanderson just subvert his own foil for “means over ends” by making Taravangian’s journey the thing that mattered?!

Also, I am impressed with this chapter because i still don’t know if it is going to end with triumph (Taravangian makes the decision to talk to Renarin and Dalinar) or tragedy (he has the opportunity but doesn’t follow through).

Oh, on the page turn I see that Taravangian immediately figured out the Nightblood connection. Good on you, Vargo.

And it looks like we get a mix of triumph and tragedy--he has to follow through on the betrayal, but he’s planning to make the strike that matters.

Also, unrelated to this interlude, but I turned the page to see the title page of Part Three, on which the POV list includes Eshonai! Hype!