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Chapter 80

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

Chapter 80 (The Dog and the Dragon)
Title: You mean an axehound? What are you talking about, Wit? Stop making up animals.

Icons: As expected, Jester/Fool matches the title. Not sure why Jezrien is there.

Epigraph: Yes, Jezrien was trapped in a gemstone. I like that Kalak is critical of the singer’s cleverness in taking 7000 years to figure that out.

Kal feeling like the wind hates him because of power suppression is unexpected but totally makes sense as something that would feed into his depressive state.

Are these hateful flashes of light the Sibling? Is it that far gone to voidlight already? Or am I jumping to conclusions? 

Wait, is this just a normal nightmare, not a power-influenced vision? The leaving Syl behind thing is so counter to his previous chapter that I can’t see where it would come from besides his own internal fear.

Oh, hold up. This description sounds like Braize. How did he get to Braize? That would explain the pervasive Hate that’s everywhere, though. And it would explain why Syl is too far away. I worry about what effect this is actually having on Syl in the waking world. Obviously the bond is still intact, but the distance will have strained it heavily.

If this is what happens to the Heralds, I can see how they wouldn’t last long. Notably, Kaladin is seeing visions of people he can’t protect. Those quotes about torture in Damnation where the heralds remember knives and the scent of burning flesh…there’s nothing that I recall specifying the torture was of them individually rather than, for example, being forced to watch a town of people be massacred while they stood by powerless. That’s not to say that physical torture of the heralds didn’t also happen (Kal certainly isn’t having a good time), but it definitely casts a new light on some of those passages. I’ll need to go back and read those with new eyes.

Which tone is he hearing? Best guess is Honor’s but I’m not sure. The title and icons indicate this is a Wit chapter, so the light could well be Wit coming to the rescue, and he has access to all sorts of light. Could be any number of shard flavors. 

Yes, it is Wit rescuing him, though there’s no indication yet of the variety of light he’s using. Also, this is really not how one keeps a low profile from Odium. Nor is hanging out with Jasnah for a year and a half, now that I think of it. What’s going on there? Is he still trying to obfuscate his presence from the local shards?

Hm. A vision akin to Dalinar’s but from Odium…and Wit doesn’t know how Odium found Kal.

Quote

“Take everything you have, and put him in pot.”

Aww, I miss Rock.

Wit is being remarkably silent compared to his usual sort of intervention.

Ah, and Kal asked for a story, totally making Wit’s year I bet. Very sweet. Let’s see what the offering is. I doubt it will live up to “The Girl Who Looked Up,” but that’s a supremely high bar. 

Wit’s Cryptic excitedly waving at Kal is cute. I need more screentime for this energetic bundle of patterns who is undoubtedly loving the many, many flavors of lies it gets to find by hanging out with Wit.

And she tells puns. “I’m irrational” indeed. 

Yep, Kal gets an explanation of what a dog is. I hadn’t realized that dragon was also a word he wouldn’t know. I’d have assumed that it would translate into greatshell or something when Wit said it, since giant mythical monster is kind of a staple, but no. Yolen exists, and dragons are a specific thing that can be referenced in the cosmere, so Kal will need an explanation of that as well.

Huh. Axehounds are the result of domestication, not a natural outgrowth of the ecology of Roshar. Obviously the species existed first, but the form it’s in now is the dog version, rather than the wolf version. I would be interested to know more about convergent examples of domestication.

Hmm. I enjoy the description of a dragon through the eyes of someone familiar with Rosharan fauna. “Only four legs” and “small pieces of shell” are fun reactions. It does confirm for the first time the appearance of cosmere dragons: four legged, winged, large. European ideal, one might say.

What!?! There’s a dragon on Roshar? Is it cultivation’s vessel, or is it someone else? Can we meet her?

Oh, the cryptic’s name is Design. That’s got a very different connotation than Pattern, despite the many synonymous meanings. I wonder how important that is.Design’s approach to spoilers is endearing. The proof was valid. I hope she shows up in Wit’s future cameos. Can you imagine how that would have gone if he’d already bonded her before this? 

Quote

 

[Nalthis]
Wit: Hello, Siri. My name is Dusts and I’m here to tell you a story about the Five Scholars and the great war, about Peacegiver and Kalad, and how…
Design: Hint, they were the same person. Also, the Godking dies as soon as he has a son.
WIt: Don’t spoil stories!

[Sel]
Wit: Good work, Shai. Let’s go steal the Moon Scepter.
Design: Hint, it’s a lie. He’s going to leave you behind to rot in jail and do some miraculous forgery.
Wit: Don’t spoil it!

 


 

Quote

“Hush, this isn’t the part where you talk.” 

Wit is getting far too much mileage out of having a compliant audience. I bet he wants to say that to people almost as often as they want to say it to him.

How can someone look assiduous? That’s a weird description for the illusion of a farmer’s child. That word is supposed to describe character and actions, not appearance.

Quote

“What kind of an ending is that?”
“Endings are an art. A precise and unquestionable art, bridgeman.”

Also, Design is great.
 

Quote

 

“Did you miss ‘the end’ at the end? It indicates that is the end.”

 


Oh, so Wit is still escaping notice and is open to being attacked if that fails. Actually, the specific wording is important here:
 

Quote

“I can’t keep this bubble up much longer, I’m afraid. He’ll notice if I do–and then he’ll destroy me. I have violated our agreement, which exposes me to direct action.”

Was it Wit’s interference with Kaladin, the act of creating the bubble, that violated the agreement, or is it his interference on Roshar in general? Given Wit’s comment about the vision “not playing fair” at the beginning, presumably his justification for stepping in, I’m left to assume that the agreement was about taking direct action against Rayse, and his activities with Jasnah wouldn’t qualify. Hard to say for sure, though.

Quote

He felt stronger, less for the words and more for how annoyed he’d grown at Wit.

Hoid’s true power: annoying the protagonist until they get motivated to Do Something About It.

Final verdict: a decent story, but fun mostly for the contrast to Roshar’s animals. Nowhere near as awesome as Girl Who Looked Up, but it does feature Design in the storytelling, which is a great redeeming quality.


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