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Chapter 86



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

Chapter 86 (The Song of Mornings)
Wow. Watching the near-genocide of her people convinces Venli she made the right decision to incite this war? I am not a fan of this mentality that Ulim is effecting in her. (And I hope he really is to blame, because thinking of that as her native thought process is creepy and disgusting.)

Yes, she’s feeling glee when looking at their losses. That is an Odium-influenced passion without doubt.

She’s subverted Denshil, but was that by way of her scholar in-group or something else? 

Yes, putting your bravest listeners where they are most likely to be killed is definitely the way to prepare for victory in the coming war. Your logic is flawless, Venli. 

Hmm. She’s recognized her selfishness and decided it’s not a bad thing. She’s working to gain ultimate “freedom” by removing anyone’s potential hold over her, and she’s doing it at the expense of the people she started out trying to help. I feel bad for future Venli being haunted by these memories. This corruption of the freedom she seeks as a Willshaper is going to be a constant reminder of Odium’s lies, but more poignantly of how she fell for them and what it cost.

The farming gemstones break when sung to–presumably because of the rate of stormlight flow? It’s notable that the breakages occur during active use through tonal manipulation of light.

I guess that explains how they created enough gems for transforming so many of their people.


Say a name on the breeze and it will return. 

A nice Roshar-ism for “speak of the devil” and equivalents. I suppose this one is specific to listener culture and language. I wonder what the analogous phrase would be in Alethi or other human languages?

Looks like Ulim has been leaving her after all, so she doesn’t need as much babysitting as it seemed like in her previous chapter.

The storm in Shadesmar blocked the path to Braize? Then how did the various voidspren get through? Oh, I guess it drew some with it. It’s just a gathering of power and malevolence, not a strict barrier.

Hm. So the Everstorm that was summoned is a piece of the gathered storm from Shadesmar, broken off from the main body of Odium’s power for this purpose. That makes sense, and matches the fact that no previous Return involved this sort of storm.

Venli is getting a bit full of herself to say the storm is hers for the fact of leading the summoning. It’s painful to watch her get managed by Ulim this way, but I guess hubris is a thing for a reason.

What is the “better rhythm” that is a counterpart to Skepticism? Is it one of the harsher rhythms connected to Odium that she isn’t able to attune currently because Ulim is outside of her gemheart? Or is it something else, better in a different way that doesn’t match her deluded mindset?

Yes, the jealousy is pretty bad. “I wish I could have gotten my nice things without you getting anything.”

Dementia to the point that their mother doesn’t even remember her own name? That is sad progress.


“Innocence is more a false god than the ones in our songs. People who chase it will find themselves enslaved.”

A remarkably salient point. Insightful, even.

Gavilar wasn’t working with Odium’s agents at all, according to Ulim, and was actually trying to counter them. That’s an unexpected confirmation, and means the Sons of Honor were not being manipulated in the way I thought they were. It also raises questions about the source of Gavilar’s voidlight, as Venli notes.

Eshonai wanted to receive a form fit for diplomacy, but it was Venli who eventually received envoyform. 

Sad–a classic missed opportunity for confession. Also, “you’re always right. That’s part of what I hate about you.”