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  1. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. (Do I even need to be warning about spoilers any more? It's taken me a much longer time to get through this liveblog than I expected, and it's now well past a year post publication. IIRC, though, the big stormlight books have an 18 month spoiler period here on 17S, so I guess I'm still within that cautionary period. Shallan’s Sketchbook Part VIII (Inkspren) Art here. These inkspren are much more angular than I imagined. The “oil sheen” description for their coloration had me mistakenly thinking that they were goopily malleable in form like animated oil. It looks like that is fairly opposite the truth, where their forms are firm and essentially armored all over. In the physical realm they apparently can’t even change shape at all, despite being able to adjust their size. I wonder if that inability it change has anything to do with their positioning in the chart of radiant orders, or if there’s anything to be gained by comparisons to the adjacent cryptics (ever changing but always within a set bound of certain rules) or the cultivationspren at a further remove (constant change that creates emergent features of similarity) and the honorspren on the opposite side (malleable in every way). It could be instructive to arrange Shallan’s art into the double eye configuration and see if any associations emerge. Also, I have to laugh at the weapon thing. Their giant swords float on their backs without anything to hold them on. Brandon found a way to be even more anime/video game in his Rosharan weapons. I remind you that this world started in part based on the idea of “how could you justify swords that are actually as ridiculous as you find in some fantasy art?” Good job, Inkspren. You are fulfilling your purpose.
  2. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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).
  3. 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. 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: 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. -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.
  4. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Chapter 75 (The Middle Step) Title: I don’t remember if we had a “first step” chapter with Shallan/Adolin before in this book. It’s probably worth going back to look, but I won’t right now. Epigraph: This could still be a letter, but I’m starting to think it might be something that will be said by one of the people we’re trying to meet: Either Ishar speaking to Dalinar, or Restares speaking to Shallan A “crystalline” day in Shadesmar. That sounds tautological to me. Oh, a timeskip forward by several weeks. That’s slightly unexpected, but I guess we have to synchronize events with the invasion of Emul and the occupation of the Tower if we want to get the Sanderlanche timing right. Oh. Crystalline is a name for the weather, so it’s actually a valid adjective to use here. Hey, neat. Lasting Integrity is a literal Escher drawing, which you can apparently do in the cognitive realm. This makes me suddenly super eager for the Silverlight novel/novella or whatever we end up getting about it. I just read Naomi Novik’s scholomance books (which are fabulous by the way, highly recommended) and I’m in the mood for more physics-defying magic school. I have an inkling that the university of investiture studies is a good candidate for filling that desire. What causes the waves (and tides?) in the bead sea of shadesmar? Is there some gravitational force? Do the highstorms propel them? Is it simple cognitive resonance to the way a sea ought to behave? Or are there giant creatures churning the depths and sending ripples out through the undulating mass? Some of those possible answers are more disconcerting than others. Adolin can observe the rhythms (at least one rhythm) in how the lifespren react as a collective, but why would that be regionally specific to this part of Shadesmar? Hm. So only Godeke, Felt, and Malli are waiting around for Adolin. The rest took off to tell Dalinar what’s going on. (This seems like something else that the Stormfather ought to be aware of, being the patron/parent of the highspren, but I guess instant communication needs to have lots of limits.) Woah. Deadeyes are flocking to Maya. I did not anticipate that at all. It’s a huge development, and I can’t imagine the payoff will fully come in this book, but if Maya’s progress culminates here like I expect, I can see this as a set up for the knock-on effects to become a big part of the Book 5 climax. I checked the art page on highspren to see if Vaiu is depicted, and it looks like he’s not. I wonder if any of those spren match to individuals that will be described? Oh, I guess that’s a viable theory as well: The deadeyes are gathering to the trial about the Recreance, and the culpability of modern humans in that event. It’s more straightforward than my theory about Maya, and makes more realmatic sense, but I don’t like it as much. Yay! Back to Veil! I’ve been missing these girls. Oh dear. Formless is coming into being in response to Pattern’s perceived betrayal. I’d say we should hope for a quick resolution to that relationship issue, but I’m not so naive to expect anything of the sort. Hm. Shallan’s not in a mental position to draw Lasting Integrity, which is why we don’t get any pictures. I’ll accept that reasoning. I know we won’t see any, at least in this book, but I kinda want to get Veil’s drawing of the place as a consolation prize. Huh. I’m as surprised as Radiant about the non-honorspren residents of Lasting Integrity. I guess it’s honorable to grandfather in people who lived there under the prior policy. Yeah, Restares’ mission and the goal of the Sons of Honor sounds really stupid when you say it like that, and it feels very odd that he would be in hiding in Lasting Integrity if that was actually how it went down from his perspective. I’m hoping for some nuance and explanation when we do eventually catch up with him. Nalthian traders hanging out in Lasting Integrity. Why are they still there? What’s the point of staying? Radiant learns that’s where Azure is from, but how? Did they know her by name, description, or personally? I want to know more! A clan of horneaters living in Shadesmar makes lots of sense, though it’s not clear why they don’t have communication with the physical realm clans. The family here in Lasting Integrity seem unlikely to be significant in the plot. She’s still reporting to Mraize? Makes sense, though I’m surprised that she can do so undetected and unobserved. That radio must be quite the thing. Restares is calling himself “Sixteen.” Yeah, his ambitions are way larger than anything as provincial as Roshar. Desolation Smesolation. We’re talking cosmere-wide plans undoubtedly. But, if the epigraphs are in fact from Restares, I’m guessing his actions have created consequences beyond his anticipation or reach. Nice to see Veil’s drawing trick still works sometimes to get Shallan to surface. Statues of spren that became deadeyes isn’t odd at all, when you think about it. I’m not sure if Veil just doesn’t get memorialization or artwork in general, or if there’s something she sees about it that I’m missing. Veil remembers things about Shallan’s life that Radiant doesn’t? That’s a new twist. I didn’t expect the partition to be so complicated. Huh. Was Pattern not the same spren that Shallan originally bonded? I know it’s an out-there theory, but it would be a fascinating thing to need to puzzle out. I doubt it’s the case, but it’s worth adding to the stack of possibilities. Oh storms. This is not good. Radiant confronted Pattern about the lying (I mean, he’s a cryptic–of course he lied) but the danger of that confrontation was from the effect it had on Shallan not from the change in the relationship with Pattern. What are you trying to accomplish here, Pattern, and who have you brought? Is this really just another cryptic? Is the head being “twisted and wrong” a description of weird fractal patterns, or is it an indication of Sja-Anat’s touch? Or something else? No matter who it is, how did they get into Lasting Integrity? Were they here all along waiting? That seems supremely unlikely. Oh dear. Radiant and Veil both got depowered and imprisoned by Shallan. That is not going to help keep Formless at bay. Hm. Shallan is easily duped, I guess. That was absolutely the sort of offworld person that is important to pay attention to. I’m not convinced he wasn’t Restares, but even if he’s not you can’t dismiss him. He’s definitely Significant. Shallan is making bad decisions left and right. Not surprising, but definitely sad. “Yes, let’s just ignore whatever Pattern did, pretend it didn’t happen except for how we don’t trust him any more. Then, let’s keep him close and go contact Mraize while we’re emotionally unbalanced. Nothing could go wrong.”
  5. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Shallan’s Sketchbook Part VII (Peakspren) Art here. Peakspren have clear ties to the Unkalaki (as expected). It’s interesting that their appearance draws from the full range of stone textures and colors. I wouldn’t have expected that degree of variety. I wonder how much it varies within single individuals, as opposed to across the population. I.e. does a single peakspren have limbs of different textures and colors, or is their whole body uniform? Does a peakspren retain their appearance throughout life, or do they adopt different textures and colors as they associate with different stones? I presume that they are uniform and persistent in appearance, but that’s mostly guesswork rather than informed speculation. I’m particularly intrigued by the idea that their surface cracks take the form of glyphs. Is that a matter of actually being glyphs but in a different form than Shallan is able to read? Or do the spren have a degree of affinity to rhythms or fundamental ideas that cause their cracks to approach glyph-like forms but not actually adopt them? Or, alternatively, is it a matter of glyph components being basic enough shapes that angular cracks would necessarily be reminiscent of some intelligible arrangement, and the human mind (especially a scholarly one) would strive for pattern recognition? The physical realm manifestation of these spren is interesting. Very stone golem in appearance, or perhaps elemental is the better comparison. As with other spren their size appears mutable, but these seem to be a type that are inherently visible and must physically hide themselves rather than simply willing themselves out of sight.
  6. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Chapter 74 (A Symbol) Epigraph: Is this another letter? Is this Jaxlim’s sad goodbye given over the course of years? I don’t know yet. Venli considers attuning a rhythm of an emotion she doesn’t feel a lie not to others or to herself but to Roshar. I want a cryptic’s take on this. What kind of rumors are circulating about you two? Is it about loyalty issues? Sanity? Or (my first thought) shipping? That seems less likely, but it was what it sounded like when Venli first brought it up. Ah, so that’s how Rlain mingled. He just covered his tattoo, and nobody knew he was anything different from the rest of the singers. Oh! Willshapers can do stuff on the same scale as the Deep Ones. I was thinking of smaller manipulations, but she’s imagining a much more involved surgebinding. Every time Venli or someone else talks about hiding something from Raboniel or planning around what she knows I get this sinking feeling. The Lady of Wishes already outplayed Navani, and some of the things we know she learned have definitely compromised Rlain. I heavily doubt that she is unaware of Lirin and Hesina’s disposition, and only Venli’s radiant status seems like a true secret at this point. Lirin and Kaladin continue to be very much at odds. The people are following him, though, and the symbol he represents.
  7. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Chapter 73 (Which Master to Follow) It’s Part 4! Time for new PoVs, including my favorite collective in a single body! Title page indicates we’ll be getting the Shadesmar crew, Navani and Venli, plus Bridge Four. I’m slightly dubious about Bridge Four being given PoVs again–it worked before, but at the moment I feel like that’s indulging in character creep. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it when we actually get to that part, though. Teft in particular is going to need some attention if he wakes up before part five. Anyway, we’re back to the flashbacks. Let’s see what the sisters are up to. Interesting that Venli doesn’t recognize the new rhythms as sinister. Even in her tightly controlled state after first assuming stormform, Eshonai knew the rhythms were wrong and uncomfortable. Wow. That flattery isn’t transparently fake at all, Ulim. Way to really sell it. “You are the specialist snowflake ever. Just do what I say and you’ll be famous.” And, here’s the sad part. Her thoughts have been warped enough to focus on jealousy and coveting new forms for herself at the expense of gifting her mother a form that (in her hopes at least) could stave off the dementia. The agents of Odium have to pull the voidspren across at the Origin? How do they get there? Even with the industrial strength of other worlds, I have serious doubts about how well a vessel could survive on the ocean in a highstorm, especially at (presumably) the strongest point of the storm where the singularity pours power into it. I suppose they hang out east of the Origin until the riddens of the previous storm passes them, then move to the Origin to do their thing. But they have to pass the filled gems to the mainland somehow, and that’s a long journey. My best guess at the moment is that they have some manner of submersible that allows them to escape the worst of the storm's wrath when it passes over. However, santhid aren’t the only creatures in the ocean, and I or one would not volunteer to pilot an early-industrial submarine when Rosharan greatshells are about. At least she’s not simply naive. When she starts to think about Ulim’s manipulative nature, and how that might be concerning, her thoughts get fuzzy. She’s very much a tool more than an actor at this point. This does make me think that Venli, Rlain, and the other singer/listener radiants of the new era will have a much closer bond to their spren, and manifest extreme versions of the stereotypical personality traits of their given order. Having a spren inside their gemhearts leads to a more synchronous attunement through the bond than early stage human radiants. I wasn’t expecting this sort of self assurance and casual dismissal from Ulim. It’s a different manner of speech than we’ve seen from any of the other spren, and feels closer to modern colloquial English than any of the other characters. It’s odd, but I can see how it fits…assuming the society of Voidspren that have been planning this resurgence really have been interacting with many people and cultures. Interesting to hear about the False Desolation from Ulim’s perspective. It’s basically what we expected from Ba-Ado-Mishram, but the point about her having too little power and being thereby susceptible to Melishi’s attack is new-ish, as is the circumstances of the Unmade starting the False Desolation. I appreciate Venli’s backtalk in support of her “traitorous” ancestors. She’s not fully subverted yet. Yay! Jaxlim anchors Venli to the old rhythms. Oh storms. Venli, no, that’s an awful idea. I thought the Sons of Honor were unique in their madness, but apparently they had a mirror here. In fact, it’s so similar that I’m betting they were both created by the same manipulations. Venli wants to terrify her people, and trap them in a war of attrition to force them to seek out forms of power. Meanwhile, Gavilar and company want to force those forms of power into being so that humanity will be threatened enough to bring the Heralds back. Good grief.
  8. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Alethi Glyphs Artwork here. I’m not much into the glyphs and trying to decipher them. I have been far more involved and interested in the transliterative alphabets we got for Alethi and Thaylen in the past books, and trying to pull useful meanings from the encoded text. Glyphs are cool, but I am willing to let others do the work of puzzling them out and identifying phonemes. Without looking closely at the chart, I’ll just say that it looks very similiar to what we’d seen before, either given by Dragonsteel and the text so far, or deciphered by other readers. In fact, this is apparently titled “page 2,” which means it likely follows directly from the page in the previous book. I’ll have to take a look at them side by side, but for now I’ll give my attention to Nazh’s commentary. Speaking of which, this is by far the most verbose Nazh has ever been. I’m glad to get more from him, but much of his humor was contained in the terse commentary and offhand notes added to the materials he collects. I’m not sure if I enjoy the longform essay as much. It feels a little bit like it’s trying too hard with all those parentheticals. Regardless of that…The obviously important piece of this picture is the reveal about the glyph for Roshar. A superposition of “Light of Tavast,” “Light of Koravari,” and “Light of Rasan” has been used to indicate the planet. First of all, this gives us a name for Cultivation’s vessel, at least in Alethi form. Koravellium Avast, “She Who Brings the Dews at Dawn” joins Tanavast. I’m going to call her Kora for short. Tantalizingly, she’s given a surname or title of Avast, which sure sounds like a close association to Tanavast. I look forward to learning more about her and her history. It’s also worth noting that this glyph for Roshar was necessarily created after the arrival of humans and their god Odium to the system, and it’s hard to think it would predate Odium becoming heavily invested here. As for Nazh’s translation, I do have some skepticism about the “Light of” being repeated separately each time. I’d need to spend a little more time with it to see how the pieces were put together, but it seems just as likely that the names were arranged separately or together around “Light” as a reference to the planet or system’s investiture in general, rather than specifically to its component parts. I also think it’s likely that “friendly cremling” is a reasonable etymology for “love” given what we know of the planet, and the ancient nature of the Sleepless.
  9. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Interlude I-9 (Taravangian / The Sword) Icon: Compassionate Taravangian is on top today. Title: Are we meeting Nightblood? I’m not sure how I feel about that. That’s a mood right there. Beautiful concision to convey his situation. A great line. Yes, as expected he’s trying to work through Szeth. It’s got to be tough manipulating people when you only remember your plan some of the time. It’s a little disturbing how Taravangian thinks of himself as two people. They are both named Taravangian but they aren’t the same person, in his mind. Yay Renarin! This is a conversation I didn’t know I wanted to happen in this way. I’m glad Renarin is taking the initiative. Renarin’s compassion is a good match for today’s Taravangian. I wonder what changed in his visions to trigger this meeting? Ah, and Szeth is there as well, after all. Taravangian thinks Nightblood can work against Odium. That’s encouraging (sort of) He knows Szeth’s dad died? Where does he get his intel? (Also, what does that mean for the honorblade? For the rest of Szeth’s family?) Hm. Nightblood will only work if wielded from inside one of Odium’s visions. That’s going to be tough to pull off. And Szeth refuses out of principle. Smart move on his part, since he doesn’t have the same knowledge the reader does, but it’s hard to see after Taravangian revealed that Renarin is a blindspot and asked Szeth to consult with Dalinar. Looks like we don’t get the first attempt in an easy way.
  10. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Interlude I-8 (Chiri-Chiri) Just want to say that the larkin image in the chapter header is delightful. Can’t wait to see what Chiri-Chiri looks like all grown up! I find it wonderful that Rysn and her ilk are called “soft ones.” That is such a flexible term, with potential to serve as insult, endearment, or anything in between. Important! Chiri-Chiri notes the lack of rhythms in human conversation, suggesting that she is just as in tune with the rhythms of Roshar as the singers. Is that a function of the gemheart? Are all forms of native Rosharan fauna in tune with those rhythms? Or just the sapient ones? That would be a fascinating thing to explore. Siah Aimians might be the first thing to test that hypothesis. I don’t recall anything in Axies’ PoV that suggested an affinity for the rhythms. Well, at least Chiri-Chiri is helpfully avoiding Dawnshard spoilers. “The event at the homeland” is circumspect enough to not give anything away. We do know that Rysn encountered the Sleepless there (shocking if she hadn’t) and more interestingly that Chiri-Chiri recognized Aimia as the larkin homeland. (Her personal homeland? Where did she actually come from before the Reshi Isles?) Ah, sounds like Rysn gets to be Ambassador to the Sleepless. That’s a cool job that I’m glad someone else is doing. *shudder* Chiri-Chiri seems to be adept at sensing emotions in others, even when she doesn’t understand them. It’s a sense close to but not the same as her sense for the rhythms. I want to know more about this empathic ability, and if it’s something that other cremlings (the Sleepless?) share. I’d forgotten that Rysn’s chair was a hover chair with fabrial tech. Is that new? I’m gonna have to go back and read the bit in Oathbringer. And now Rysn realizes her friend can talk. (Sort of. She’s still learning, but with motivation like head scritches, she’s sure to pick it up fast.)
  11. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Interlude I-7 (Szeth) Interludes! I have to say I am super thrilled that Chiri-Chiri gets the next interlude after this one, though I’m concerned about continuity and spoilers since I haven’t read Dawnshard yet. Oh well, that’s for later. At the moment it is time for Szeth… Hold up. Szeth-son-Honor? That is a changeup and a half. Someone’s internalized identity has been making leaps and bounds of progress since the end of Oathbringer. I don’t remember what we saw from Szeth in Oathbringer exactly, but I’m pretty positive he didn’t think of himself like this yet. Just a friendly guy and his sword having a chat. Shame that Dalinar doesn’t like talking to sword-nimi. I wonder if it’s the clash with Honor’s essence, or the familiarity with the Thrill, or something less realmatically based. Aww, little Gav wants to be a Windrunner when he grows. No offense to all those other possible Orders (or to Daddy Bondsmith). And isn’t that a concerning use of a transitive verb. Huh. Szeth can see his own afterimage. That’s got to be disconcerting. I really wasn’t expecting it to show up to his own sight. This interaction between Szeth and his spren is weird. Super weird–he doesn’t even know his spren’s name! It’s a huge contrast to the other orders we’ve seen so far. I guess that’s what you get when one of them has continuity across centuries while the others are newly finding their own way, but still. I’m getting real Jedi/Sith vibes here. This crusade sounds like something we’ll hear a lot more about in Unhallowed Stones (assuming that’s still the working title for #5). I don’t know how the story would have been structured if Dalinar and Szeth’s books swapped places as originally planned. Anyway… Szeth has to stop following Dalinar and “become the Law” in order to earn his plate at the 4th ideal. That kind of self confidence does not sound like a good moral approach. I definitely wouldn’t do well as a skybreaker. An Oathstone is certainly ominous, but if I’m guessing this is intended as a lure to get Szeth to talk to him, not something that Taravangian actually wants… though it could well fill two purposes. Kill two chickens with one stone, etc. There’s a good chance we’ll see something about this in the upcoming interlude, though, so I won’t speculate too much. Before that, though–On to Chiri-Chiri!
  12. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Shallan’s Sketchbook Part VI Highspren, art here. This page has less content than the other spren pages, probably due to the “enigmatic” nature of highspren. I’m left with a few specific questions, though. Perhaps most trivially: What is up with the branch in the bottom left corner? From the coloration I was going to guess that it was a growth in the cognitive realm, but that little ghostly spren floating above it looks like a physical manifestation of some lesser spren. Why is it on this page? Does it have anything to do with highspren? More relevant to the spren at hand: I’m intrigued that the starscape doesn’t move with the individual. They function as apparent windows, not mobile constellations. The crucials question that was not addressed is whether this starscape is continuous/contiguous across individuals. If a second highspren comes to stand in the place another just vacated, will the stars viewed through them be the same? If they stand next to one another can you see a wider view of the same vista? I would guess the answer to these questions is yes, though that’s very much speculation. Assuming the answer is yes, what is this other realm? On a related note, is the starscape seen from their physical realm manifestation also the same? It’s interesting to me that the physical realm form of the highspren is more or less two dimensional, being a directional window, a pane of reality-breaking weirdness with a distinct orientation–as opposed to a sphere or other general shape.
  13. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Chapter 72 (Outmatched) Title: If this is a taunting reference to the way authorship of the Rhythm of War is a confusing mess, I’m going to be very mad. More likely it is simply a comment on the degree of the Sibling’s corruption. Oh, wait. I misread the title, thought it said “MISMATCHED”. Outmatched is much more straightforward–the Fused played Navani and she lost. Icons: double Palah. Reference to “learned” for Navani’s research? Inverted, perhaps, to show she’s way behind Raboniel? Epigraph: I guess the lesson is that you can’t treat realmatics as a science in the sense of objective repeatability. The fundamental forces of the universe respond directly to the intent of the observer/manipulator, and Intent is itself a deep, fundamental law. So you can’t do much with the light conversion by just using tuning forks. It requires a spiritweb and purpose. Not sure that is worth the culminating note for the book. Oh no. I’m suddenly remembering that Navani also gave away secrets about Shen during her conversations with the Sibling. Is he doomed now? Special note of nine numerology, and a good idiom besides. –I’m stuck again on the comparison to what Sja-Anat is doing. How is the interconversion accomplished in the case of those offspring spren? Is it a matter of changing out light as it is here? And for the Sibling, whose Intent matters? It’s clear that Raboniel is not well-versed in matters of Light, but she is an experienced user of voidbinding and has meticulously researched how to break people. Is there a way to insert Shen or Navani or another person into that process to subvert her efforts, provided they wield Intent in the correct way? And I’m really sad that Navani is stuck with an “I’m a failure” end to this arc. I was really excited for her to succeed on her own merits now that she’s been forced into a research role rather than one of patronage. Obviously that’s likely still going to happen (we have two more sections to go before the end) but this is a depressing nadir for her character, and a fitting one to put into the middle of a story that started with her confrontation with Gavilar. Next up: Interludes!
  14. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Chapter 71 (Rider of Storms) Icons: Jezrien for Stormfather, Ishar for guiding? That’s mostly based on the fact this is a Dalinar chapter, and I thought in the last one that we were overdue for some tactical intel from the Stormfather. Epigraph: This feels like it should be deep and meaningful, but it’s kinda rambly. I guess I just have to wait for the last chapter to deliver the meaning (though at a guess the final one will be from the undertext). No clues about authorship here. Dalinar is becoming more and more suspicious of what’s going on at Urithiru. Fascinating that the Tower suppression extends to dead blades as well. That bond is weak enough that it’s not surprising, but it is interesting that the blades still register as “Honor” enough to count for the Tower’s IFF. Insightful Dalinar realizes he was emotionally dependent upon the Thrill–and that recover from that is as long-term a prospect as recovering from his alcoholism. Laqqi is an interesting town name. I don’t think we’ve seen much in the way of naming conventions from Emul yet. I remember noting lots of Qs on the map, so it fits. Yep, the Stormfather is blind to the tower. Also, he’s apparently inexperienced enough to not be able to recognize problems from a distance so he’s going to take Dalinar with him for a look. Seems like millenia of watching the planet would make you a pretty observant fellow, but I guess he’s not used to paying attention to the little folk. So the riding the storms thing that Kaladin did early on was analogous to Dalinar’s highstorm visions, just with a live stream rather than a recorded message. A hijacking of perspective, rather than any actual physical/cognitive travel. Hang on, are the landsquid living in the mountains? Why is Dalinar the one narrating this continental overflight, rather than Shallan? We need our ecologist for insight into the things that really matter! Oh, at least Dalinar tried to get a closer look. Turns out he didn’t have time with the passage of the storm. This argument about the nature of a storm is neat. Stormfather has a point that the soul of a storm is to be impersonal and grand. A “storm with mercy” is fundamentally a contradiction in the cognitive aspect that defines spren. And yet, Dalinar has a good point too. The Stormfather by virtue of being a spren at all has transcended that impersonal nature and gained volition. I’m also intrigued that Dalinar can create lightning and thunder by shouting while he rides the storm. How much can he affect the world he passes? Cycles of storm altitude? That’s an interesting phenomenon. Not surprising at all, but the meteorology of Roshar is weird enough that I’m not at all sure what to predict. I want to know more! Oh, I thought Kaladin leaping out the window would be the tipoff, but it looks like Dalinar is going to fly inside and see the occupying force. What I’m suddenly wondering, though, is whether his sight is strictly physical or if he’ll be able to see/interact with the Sibling. Ah, nope. He had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of a dark hall. That was not useful. Oh, so he did talk to Kal, and he managed to pull winds together sufficiently to throw him onto a balcony when he fell. Nice. Dalinar wants Bondsmith training and Stormfather thinks there’s someone who knows how to help. Please tell my that’s not why Ishar’s in the chapter icons. We don’t want the insane god emperor as a mentor. Oh. Apparently we do, and not just as an emperor but as an ally. I don’t see this going smoothly. And Shash and Taln are supposed to make introductions? I’m not sure if that will be good or bad. It’s something more than just walking up to Ishar and saying “Hey, you ever thought about actually helping us?” Wait, Shash had round Shin-like eyes? I don’t remember that from her earlier descriptions. We know that at least some of the heralds had characteristic Rosharan epicanthic folds, right? I’m pretty sure Nale and Kalak did, and Taln as well now that I think about it. Does this say something about Jezrien and Shalash’s origins? Shash: “If anyone (except me) is still sane, it’s him.” Very convincing of your own sanity, there. Also, I like the insight into her anti-artwork obsession: It makes a lot of sense where that would have started and how her inherent patronage of art would focus the resentment in on that particular mode of reverence.
  15. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers. Chapter 70 (Well) Icons: Double Shash. Based on my suspicion at the end of the last chapter, I’m going to guess that this indicates a trap or ploy on someone’s part, in line with the illusions created by Lightweavers. (Alternatively it could indicate violence based on the garnet=blood essence connection, but I find that less likely) Epigraph: I dunno. I got nothing. We’re back to research note mode, but these are clearly in the mode of Navani’s current research, AND have no connection to Venli’s research into forms. Yet, this is in the main text not the undertext. There are apparently only two chapters left in this book, before the epigraph sources will switch, so the answer has got to be coming soon. I am doubtful it will make this mess make any sense together. (Also, this is from the final page of Rhythm of War, so it’s near that culmination as well.) Is…is Kaladin dreaming of Braize? How? He’s not been doing anything lately that would connect him more deeply to the oathpact than he was before, and I can’t think of a vector for Braize’s tortures to reach him outside of that, since any voidspren would simply alert the singers of his location. It’s not just a regular nightmare, is it? It’s awfully specific for that. That last nightmare figure–what did it take? A spear, in which case it would be Moash? Something invested, in which case it would be…? I don’t know. Can’t read too much into it yet I guess. Oh, it was the spear after all, but it was Dabbid taking away the physical spear. Hmm. Don’t die, Dabbid! Dabbid, I am so proud of you for being willing to try! Kaladin, you’d better respond appropriately to this. He talked! Yay recovery! (incremental step though it may be) Oh, good. Navani sees the trap. Now she just has to figure out how it was set and warn Kaladin that it is being sprung. Why did they time the trap for the middle of a Highstorm? That sounds like a poor choice, even if the tower is largely above the storms. Kal certainly likes his disadvantaged fights. Is this aggravated protagonist syndrome or something? Or is he just looking for precise million-to-one odds so he can be sure to succeed? Go Syl! I didn’t think she’d be able to work the fabrial directly like that. And she’s communicating through drawing glyphs in the air. That’s not something I’d have expected of her either. Oooh ow. Diving into water under forced acceleration from a counterweight yanking on your arm is not going to be a fun time. Neat to see that it works much better in a neutral buoyancy environment, though. Thinking ahead, would it be effective as an EVA tool in microgravity? The resistance of the water in this scene works better for it since it dampens momentum in an enclosed environment, but in the open reaches of space that might not be a hindrance. Not sure how reference frames would translate “horizontal” motion with this type of device, though. Would it be orbital, moving parallel to the ground of the nearest planetary body? Would it be a true vector of acceleration? Figuring out orbital mechanics under fabrial power sounds like a job and a half. Putting a lid on the well… smart of them. Not an ideal situation for Kal to be in, here. It’s okay, Kaladin. I had never considered the problem of inhaling Stormlight while free diving either. In fact, I’m kind of curious to check the forums and see if anyone had speculated about this prior to the release of Rhythm. This can’t be the first highstorm since the occupation. They come much more frequently than that. So, if the Stormfather passed over/under/around the tower in that time, why was he not able to report the invasion to Dalinar? Did he not bother to look? Is he blinded somehow? I didn’t consider that possibility. Is this corruption analogous enough to what Sja-Anat does for Shen to qualify under both criteria? He gets a corrupted spren, just not one from the Unmade. Rather, he gets one touched by the Lady of Wishes, putting him in yet another category of ambiguous affiliation.