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Chapter 77

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

Chapter 77 (The Proper Legality)
Icons: With a title like that, what would you expect besides double Nale?

Woah, we’re already at the feast? I was expecting some other visits to show up in the flashbacks before we got all the way to the fateful night. I guess it’s time to see how involved Venli was and where Szeth’s employment actually came from.

Interesting that they’ve noted several times that the timekeeping rhythm is Rhythm of Peace, which is also the one here that Venli attunes to calm herself. It’s prominent enough that I’m wondering about deliberate juxtaposition with the Rhythm of War.

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The Rhythm of Fortune blessed her

That is a different way of saying “she was lucky” than I anticipated, and I wonder how manipulable Fortune is in this system (compared to Feruchemy, for example). So far the rhythms have almost entirely been limited to emotional states, rather than other concepts, and something as abstract as fortune isn’t something I was expecting to encounter this way.

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They should have brought Demid. She liked how he listened to what she said, and he always had a ready compliment.

And that says about everything we need to know about Venli’s current character development.

Why does Ulim adopt a human rather than listener form? Is it because Odium was originally a god of the immigrant humans? Or is it the type of spren he is? It’s been a long time (7000 years apparently) since Odium involved himself with the listeners.

Axindweth was discovered–by whom? The heralds? The Ghostbloods? Someone else?

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“She’s a very specific and rare kind of specialist–the details need not concern you–but there is apparently another of her kind in the palace. An agent for someone else. They found her and turned the human king against her.”

Wait, who’s the other feruchemist? Are they still with the Sons of Honor during the current events of Rhythm of War? Who are they an agent for, and how did they detect Axindweth? (Are they a named character from Era 2 Scadrial?)

I am enjoying this cross-cosmere interaction, but as much as I love puzzling things out and looking for connections, I’m concerned about how it will appear to people who are only familiar with Stormlight or who are casual fans of the cosmere and don’t keep track of everything. Presumably Brandon has betas who fall into those categories, so I trust that feedback is occurring. Still, this is rapidly reaching the point where other series start to feel like prerequisites to reading, and I am not sure that’s a good thing.

“We have no plans” says Ulim, and his anger makes me believe him. So the assassination was orchestrated by a different party, counter to my expectations.

Venli’s stuck in time out for the feast? Current guess is she gets released right before Szeth makes his move.

Ulim didn’t even expect the heralds. This is looking more like a big trainwreck rather than a mastermind’s plan.

Nale followed Ulim back to Venli, is trying to take custody of her, and is speaking to Ulim out of recognition. This is definitely not the encounter Venli is prepared for, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get information dropped about the heralds’ perspective.

Huh. Rockbud shells are apparently the same color as Nale’s skin tone. I had imagined them more reddish in hue.

Sad day that the Herald’s are so obviously insane that Venli considers voidspren the more trustworthy option, even knowing how she’s been manipulated.

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“So, Gavilar’s plan is working. The fool. He will destroy us all. That foolish idiot of a man. He lures us with promises, then breaks them by seeking that which I told him was forbidden! Yes. I heard it tonight. The proof I need. I know. I know…”

Oh dear. How much of this is a misunderstanding on Nale’s part, and how much is he discovering? Was Gavilar actually seeking a weapon against Odium, only for the Sons of Honor to turn toward beckoning the desolation after his death? Or did that idiocy start with him? What was he promising the heralds? At any rate, it sure looks like Nale is going to be responsible for Szeth’s availability.

Why is Nale tracking Jezrien’s honorblade, but not the others? Is it simply because Szeth’s truthless nature makes his situation unique in some way? Or is Nale already scouting Szeth for the Skybreakers? Or is there something else going on?

Also, I’m not buying the “reasons that are unimportant to you” deflection for not touching the honorblades. Sorry Nale, it’s just not convincing.

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“Fortunately, I have read your treaty. There is a provision allowing one party to legally break it and attack the other–should they have proof the other is conspiring against them. I know for a fact that Gavilar is planning to use this very provision to assault your people in the near futuer. I give you this knowledge, sworn by a Herald of the Almighty. You have proof that he is conspiring against you, and may act.”

 

Storms, that’s a disturbing act of legality, on all sides. I don’t think “Fortunately” has any business introducing that explanation.

Ulim has the same reaction I do: “That was…Wow.”

Venli “hesitated to let him in.” I didn’t realize she had a choice in the matter of letting him back into her gemheart. That’s a crucial ability right there, and even if she’s compromised now it creates an opportunity. 

At least Venli is concerned about the coming casualties, on both sides even. This despite having Ulim warp her thinking directly. She’s far gone, but not lost (as we clearly know since these are flashbacks, but at least it’s selling that state through the narration in context).


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