Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.
Chapter 76 (Harmony)
Title: It’s tempting to guess at a Scadrial connection, but that is supremely unlikely. If we’re lucky it will be an idea about harmonious blending of the various lights; otherwise it’s about “getting along” with Raboniel.
Epigraph: Still no indication of the medium or audience. The speaker is still a cosmere-aware individual who considers themself a has-been. Restares is still a possibility, Ishar much less so in my mind. This person is way too humble compared to the letter he sent Dalinar’s coalition of monarchs during Oathbringer.
“You read my journals?”
“Of course,” Raboniel said, setting out two glasses. “You would have wisely done the same in my position.”
Is this just a hypothetical or does Raboniel actually keep journals that Navani might have read if their positions were reversed? If so, does that help identify the Rhythm of War author? I don’t think so–those excerpts were too contradictory for me to get a grasp on, but it’s possible.
Okay, first, Raboniel’s grandmother was present for the arrival of Humans from Ashyn significantly compresses the timeline that I was working with in my mind. The first desolation, or the seeds of it, had to have happened very quickly. Are most of the Fused from that same early generation?
Second, the idea that those early humans were so severely and ubiquitously burned that the scars were mistaken for skin patterning analogous to listener traits really gets across the degree of devastation that they escaped.
Confirmed (rough) timeline from Raboniel says 7000 years since humans arrived on Roshar. That’s a good confirmation to have.
Raboniel’s manipulations are transparent yet effective. She’s good at getting the response she wants, and I’m rather impressed that with her reputation she hasn’t resorted to more painful methods yet.
Watching Navani and Raboniel do science together as enemies is the best mix of tension and magical discovery.
Odium’s rhythm is:
“Chaos, but with a certain strange logic to it. The longer you listen, the more sense it makes.”
That’s not ominous at all. It’s basically the standard description of Eldritch evil that corrupts as you comprehend it. It does not bear good omens for those close to the source.
If it’s really a matter of attuning different rhythms then humans will definitely not be the ones with the advantage in manipulating light.
I’m curious how musical notation works in the women’s script, or in the listener’s tongue. Presumably the rhythms wouldn’t be represented in either, since listeners would have no need beyond naming them, and humans wouldn’t have a need or desire to do so. That means any system Navani devises here will be a de novo method, deriving from her scientific pursuits primarily while possibly drawing on musical tradition. If the description is cool enough, I’ll hope to see it show up in one of the notebook pages.
Oh, she’s not trying to note down the rhythms or tones, she trying to give herself physical contact to filled gems to enhance her ability to sense their pulsing.
It worked, and the hand holding moment where they achieved harmony would be triumphant if it weren’t so patently obvious that it will end in tears.
So the Rhythm of War is the tone and rhythm produced by combined Odium/Honor investiture. I would assume that this was Rayse’s plan and goal all along if we didn’t already have Word of Brandon that he doesn’t want to dilute his essence or change his personality. So as bad as Warlight (or whatever we decide to call it) appears to be, it’s not something that Odium is actually trying to accomplish on a large scale.
With this confirmation, though, it seems that the in-world Rhythm of War from which the part 3 epigraphs were drawn is definitely a new document, comprising research notes that Navani and/or Raboniel compile about the current set of experiments. I still don’t have a handle on the authorship and the undertext, though. It’s really a confusing mess, still.
Raboniel is seeking the method of killing a Shard? That’s very, very concerning. But also could be useful. She states that she doesn’t know how Honor was killed, and I am left to wonder if she is speaking of the vessel’s death or the shattering that followed. Does she even distinguish between the two?
Sorry, Navani. I don’t believe that Gavilar knew what he was doing with that “Anti-Light.” He bought into the Sons of Honor thing way too thoroughly for me to give him that much credit. Although, it would explain why the heralds were giving him any of their time and attention, much less all of them that showed up that night. Hm. I suppose it’s possible, though I remain doubtful.
“By the holiest name of the Almighty”
-another variation to add to the swears list.
Well, i’m a little shocked that Raboniel is just calling this the end and telling Navani her promise of withdrawal was a lie. I thought she’d string Navani along for a while yet, or set her another task. Why would she simply abandon a line of inquiry when it doesn’t immediately yield the superweapon she anticipated? It’s a new area of discovery, and she has to know from her long, long experience of research that there is more to discover and exploit. Even if she’s not going to be involved personally, she ought to be giving direction to Navani’s further research. Just letting the woman do her own thing is not the smart path forward, even if she does set spies to steal anything Navani discovers.