HipsterStick

I am suddenly very concerned...

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Is anyone else getting major ‘Empire Strikes Back’ vibes from what we’ve seen so far? I know Sanderson has only released a few chapters, but every word I read of this book seems to carry a certain malaise about it. To make matters worse, all three of the previous books ended on some kind of a high note- and if we want some kind of suspense for the final book in the arc, then Rhythm of War is almost certainly going to have some form of downer ending.

So, for those of you who are pessimistically inclined and have similar feelings, my question is: what do you think is going to go wrong? Who dies, what happens, how do you reckon it ends? And to our more optimistic Sharders- are we being TOO negative? I’m interested in hearing what y’all think.

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I’m terrified that Adolin is going to die. That would be a hard blow for everyone.

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I think you're right that the book has to end on some kind of a low or bittersweet note.  Here are a few thoughts of what I think might happen:

- Shallan or Adolin or possibly both go down a dark path.  Shallan was on the edge of losing herself completely in OB, seems to have brought herself back in early RoW, but is still unstable.  She's struggling with a moral dilemma of whether or not it's ok to just go out and kill people who might be enemies.  Could easily tip toward the "dark" side permanently or temporarily.  Adolin's already killed one person in cold blood.  He might kill more, or he might have learned from what he did before.

- I think Kaladin will have a downward arc that resolves mid to late RoW with him swearing the 4th Oath.  Or, he swears the 4th Oath early and by the time the end of the book comes around he realizes it's still not enough sending him back down.

- I think there's a bit of a warning/foreshadowing going on with Dalinar.  Kaladin points out how dangerous it is for them to be sending their only bondsmith out into combat, but that they feel they must do it because his ability to refill Stormlight is too powerful.  I think Dalinar is going to take a close call, sidelining him for most of RoW and/or possibly die.  I think we're going to see serious difficulties on the weeks-long journey back to Urithiru on the flying barge.  It makes me think of BSG Season 1.  The way they are relying on Dalinar so much to me means there's a good chance he will have to be sidelined.

- Research by Navani/Jasnah shows that either the Sibling is permanently wounded and can no longer power Urithiru or Urithiru's ancient mechanisms are irreparably damaged.  Navani must try to get Urithiru up and running using their inferior technology, which can't succeed at the same level as what was there in the past.  Humans lose so much ground that they can't hold on to farmland outside Urithiru anymore and they must try to jury-rig something that allows them to grow crops in Urithiru again.  There is mass hunger and starvation as the new fabrials don't work as well and the soulcasters have their limits.

I'm not married to any of these ideas, just some interesting things that I think might happen.

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I have a feeling Dalinar will die this book in a blaze of glory like a champ.

First it would be unexpected to loose such a central character.

But after first thought you will see it should have been totally expected.

This is second to last book in a front five book arc. After that there will be a significant time skip.

Second to last book have to be a downer before the finale. Situation should become extremely bad and difficult. Characters must face the challenge they never faced before.

All this is kinda hard to set up without killing the right character. Such was the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi, capture of Han Solo by Vader, death of Dumbledore in HP and so on.

Kaladin and Shallan didnt fullfill their roles. All Kaladin did was creation of Windrunner and saving Kholins. For protagonist thats not enough. He will live on for sure.

The same with Shallan. Her deeds werent that impressive yet. She will certainly has stuff to do in Book 5.

Jasnah, Renarin and Navani, i guess, will appear in back 5 books.

Adolin isnt important for global story enough to use his death as something that will make situation extremely bad for all humanity.

Dalinar is the only one who more or less achieved alot of what he wanted to achieve, became better person, married Navani, became Bondsmith with OP powers.

His death in the end of Book 4 would be the gut wrenching, shocking moment that will massively impact everyone and set up the uneasy state of our characters before Book 5.

His death will open up the many ways for Adolin, Renarin, Kaladin to progress. Who will fill the hole as a leader of humanity? How will Adolin and Renarin react and change? Dalinar's death is vital for those characters to make a jump in progression or regression.

More over, i think, the scene Brandon was excited about to write decades ago, directly involves Dalinar last moments of life.

I think he will do something extremely BADASS and AMAZING to save everyone and ascend in the process so while technically dead he will be able to influence the story in back 5 books.

Also Navani would mourn two her husbands in a single book and that also would be kind of tragic.

Edited by Harbour
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I think it's highly unlikely Dalinar will die in this book. He was supposed to be the flashback character for the 5th one originally (I know, Eshonai... but this is very different, he couldn't get such development after death, come on). Also Brandon said he'd like him on the cover of the last book, that it would fit, I also vaguely remember him telling there's going to be more Dalinar in book 5 than 4 but I'm not sure about this last one.

Edited by Ailvara
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17 minutes ago, Ailvara said:

I think it's highly unlikely Dalinar will die in this book. He was supposed to be the flashback character for the 5th one originally (I know, Eshonai... but this is very different, he couldn't get such development after death, come on). Also Brandon said he'd like him on the cover of the last book, that it would fit, I also vaguely remember him telling there's going to be more Dalinar in book 5 than 4 but I'm not sure about this last one.

I’ve got cousins that are CONVINCED that Dalinar is toast, but I’m with you on this one- I think he’s too important to be killed off. I could maybe see a kind of bait-and-switch moment where people think he’s dead but he ain’t- but then again, Sanderson did this with Jasnah and Kelsier, and he’s not the type of author to get too predictable.

I’m convinced that at some point, Kaladin is going to be forced to choose whether or not to save his family or Bridge Four. I’m, like, 87% certain that his next oath is going to be “I will accept that I cannot save everyone”, and this moment will spur him to make that oath. Either way, someone close to him ends up dying.

Spoilers for Chapter 6:

Spoiler

The close call that Sigzil had with death makes me almost certain that we’re going to lose some prominent Bridge Four characters, as a sort of ‘Sacrificial lamb’. I also think that Lirin is dead meat- I just don’t know when he’ll bite the bullet. 

 

15 hours ago, The Ryshadium said:

I’m terrified that Adolin is going to die. That would be a hard blow for everyone.

Oh man... I really hope he doesn’t die, but if you had to kill someone- he’s not technically a main viewpoint/flashback character in either arc, and he’s got connections to nearly every single main character. Storms...

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1 hour ago, HipsterStick said:

I’ve got cousins that are CONVINCED that Dalinar is toast, but I’m with you on this one- I think he’s too important to be killed off. I could maybe see a kind of bait-and-switch moment where people think he’s dead but he ain’t- but then again, Sanderson did this with Jasnah and Kelsier, and he’s not the type of author to get too predictable.

In book 5 - who knows (though I think he's got greater things in store for him :) ). But the fact that he'll survive this one is confirmed (and not even considered a spoiler apparently) - here's the wob I wasn't sure if I remembered correctly: 

That said, we're definitely up for a major defeat, if it's not in this book then the next one will be... interesting.

 

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Dalinar is the ONE character (along with Szeth) who won´t die in this book. Those two will be very major in Book 5. Since Dalinars flashback sequences are in book 3, he has to be alive in book five in order to be a main character. Szeth on the other hand has not done very much for the good guys yet, and the pretty small role he will have in RoW is not enough to make up for that, so he will also live on to be a major player in Book 5.

I agree that the book probably will have the darkest ending yet in Stormlight though. 

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I was thinking. Imagine if this book had another happy ending and it was book 5 that got the dark ending. And then we have to wait 6 years for a 15-year timeskip where everything is screwed up from the beginning.

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Huh. I actually don't think that this ending will be particularly more defeatist than the others.

Brandon typically ends things with  "Victory... ...and now you have to deal with the consequences." or "Victory... ...but turns out that was just the easy part." Spoilers for Mistborn

Spoiler

Mistborn books 1 and 2 are examples of the first one.

And of course here in Stormlight Archive, every book the "heroes" win but seem to be worse off every time, because the stakes get raised.

TWoK: Kaladin successfully got out of the bridge crews and saved Dalinar, who now realizes Sadeas is his enemy and Kal is a good ally. Shallan has actually figured things out with Jasnah. ...but all these bits of interpersonal progress seem insignificant compared to the fact the Parshendi are still out there, oh and they're the voidbringers, oh and Dalinar's lost a big fraction of his army. Both Kaladin and Shallan "won", but they've got bigger tasks facing them.

WoR: They find Urithiru. Beat the Assassin in white, and "win" the battle against the Parshendi. The Everstorm appears and the Desolation actually starts. Good guys "won" but are somehow in more danger than ever before.

Oathbringer - the big "victory" was saving Thaylen City. Alethkar's overrun, half of Roshar (including human kingdoms, and the one order of radiants that actually has a bunch of members) is with Odium, but sure, Thaylen City's not taken (though it's mostly destroyed anyway.) Same deal as before - they "won" but Odium's guys won more.

So I kind of expect a similar thing here. I don't think it'll be an actual "downer" ending, I think it'll end on a big "Hell yeah" moment - but I do expect that somehow at the end of it, the challenges in front of our heroes are going to be even bigger than they are right now.

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10 hours ago, ftl said:

Huh. I actually don't think that this ending will be particularly more defeatist than the others.

Brandon typically ends things with  "Victory... ...and now you have to deal with the consequences." or "Victory... ...but turns out that was just the easy part." Spoilers for Mistborn

  Reveal hidden contents

Mistborn books 1 and 2 are examples of the first one.

And of course here in Stormlight Archive, every book the "heroes" win but seem to be worse off every time, because the stakes get raised.

TWoK: Kaladin successfully got out of the bridge crews and saved Dalinar, who now realizes Sadeas is his enemy and Kal is a good ally. Shallan has actually figured things out with Jasnah. ...but all these bits of interpersonal progress seem insignificant compared to the fact the Parshendi are still out there, oh and they're the voidbringers, oh and Dalinar's lost a big fraction of his army. Both Kaladin and Shallan "won", but they've got bigger tasks facing them.

WoR: They find Urithiru. Beat the Assassin in white, and "win" the battle against the Parshendi. The Everstorm appears and the Desolation actually starts. Good guys "won" but are somehow in more danger than ever before.

Oathbringer - the big "victory" was saving Thaylen City. Alethkar's overrun, half of Roshar (including human kingdoms, and the one order of radiants that actually has a bunch of members) is with Odium, but sure, Thaylen City's not taken (though it's mostly destroyed anyway.) Same deal as before - they "won" but Odium's guys won more.

So I kind of expect a similar thing here. I don't think it'll be an actual "downer" ending, I think it'll end on a big "Hell yeah" moment - but I do expect that somehow at the end of it, the challenges in front of our heroes are going to be even bigger than they are right now.

I'd say the ending will be on par with the end of Mistborn: Well of Ascension.  To be nice, I'll put it in spoilers, though I've always thought the idea of spoilering something from a 13 year old book to be a little odd.

Spoiler

At the end of the book, they achieve their goal of getting to the Well of Ascension and Vin does what she thinks is right by releasing "the power" which turns out to be accidentally releasing Ruin from his prison.  The world gets a lot worse after that.  So I wouldn't call it victory at all.  The end of Well of Ascension is a downer ending where the heroes figure out they've been tricked into doing the bad guy's bidding and probably allowed him to destroy the world.

I think at the end of RoW, we'll have an ending where things are pretty bad, but there's still hope.

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On 24.8.2020 at 5:28 AM, HipsterStick said:

Is anyone else getting major ‘Empire Strikes Back’ vibes from what we’ve seen so far?

Yep, I`have suspected for a long time this book would be the darkest book Brandon has written to date.

Nothing is off the table, That war is probably going in a direction like Dalinar`s flashback sequences leading up to Rathalas. 

Guys, it`s gonna be a tragedy, prepare yourselves emotionally. I am both scared and excited. 

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How shall I put this? Brandon Sanderson is a butcher. He is most likely among the top 5 of bloodthirsty authors of our time.

I wouldn't call him grimdark, because he does rarely show human depravation in gory detail, but it is there, make no mistake. Remember mass executions for making a political point during the Final Empire. Or bridge runs? To be told that your task is your death and there is no escape? Have you computed the death rates during the Catacendre? How many of the original Elantrians survived? What is going on in Dakhor monastries? Take Nalthis. How many Breaths were required to make the Phantoms? Do you think the original owners gave them up voluntarily? On Roshar, multiple desolations with death rates above 90%. Your chances surviving the Somne and then Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been larger than the series of desolations before Aharietiam. On Threnody, let's be real, evacuating a continent is not practical. Can you imagine the scenes in the harbors? Can you imagine the last weeks of Ashyn - the night skys turning red and smelling the burning land? I cannot; in fact I don't want to. But I can conclude that it must have happened.

Every novel of the Cosmere is dripping blood. The packaging is nice, however.

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I reiterate. If in this book we don't find out how Mem got the aether out of Mraize's pants, this will be darkest in the series. 

 

But seriously, I agree. Downward turn is overdue. And if it's anything like the impactful scenes Brandon is capable of(the 2 most recent Kal/Moash scenes being an example) then it's going to be a rough one. Personally, I think it's going to end up with one of the mains trapped and or captured on Braize. Probably Dalinar because it will significantly weaken the Radiants. Also acts as a neutralisation of Dalinars new OP power. 

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I think we are going to get a twist that involves Navani and we won’t like her after. I don’t trust her. Never have. Prologue sets us up to sympathize with her and then...bam. Something bad. That’s all I have for you. 

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On 8/23/2020 at 11:22 PM, The Ryshadium said:

I’m terrified that Adolin is going to die. That would be a hard blow for everyone.

the main reason I am holding out hope for Adolin is because too many of the main and major characters have issues but Adolin for the most part in a relatively normal guy (from an emotional stand point) so its good to get his POV on occasion it helps preventing things from getting too dark.

 

thats one of the reasons he's one of my favorite characters.

Edited by Kalaksbreath
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On 8/24/2020 at 0:22 AM, The Ryshadium said:

I’m terrified that Adolin is going to die. That would be a hard blow for everyone.

Between the mention of Oathbringer (the Shardblade) seemingly not hating Dalinar much, and everything that happened with Maya in OB, I honestly hope Adolin won't just get killed off, since Adolin's arc seems to be building up towards exploring the deadeyes, especially Maya. Even if Oathbringer seemingly having some degree of thought doesn't get brought up again, with how much Maya got brought up in Shadesmar and the Thaylen battle, it'd be so sad if the possibility of (at least partially) reviving dead spren would just be left unexplored, when Adolin seems to be shaping up as exactly the character who would be crucial to that.

That said... RoW so far does seem to be shaping up to something eerie. A fast-paced start could very well lead to something catastrophic happening to slow down the pace for a while. And from what we've seen so far, I'd dare say it's already shaping up to be pretty dark, even in comparison to previous books. It is, honestly, a bit terrifying.

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On 27/8/2020 at 9:33 AM, Kered said:

Personally, I think it's going to end up with one of the mains trapped and or captured on Braize. Probably Dalinar because it will significantly weaken the Radiants. Also acts as a neutralisation of Dalinars new OP power. 

Huh. Considering Dalinar's flashbacks were supposed to be in book 5, a trip to Braize makes sense. It would definitely remind him of Rathalas. And the scene where he'll potentially make the jump might be the one Brandon is excited about. This book did start with Gavilar opening that possibility.

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On 8/27/2020 at 1:38 PM, Duke of Lizards said:

I think we are going to get a twist that involves Navani and we won’t like her after. I don’t trust her. Never have. Prologue sets us up to sympathize with her and then...bam. Something bad. That’s all I have for you. 

She's going to enslave spren for fabrials of war, and the Radiant-spren aren't going to like it. That's my take on it, at least. Maybe she'll even find a way to trap the Radiant-spren into a fabrial, which would really set them off.

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2 hours ago, Eluvianii said:

Huh. Considering Dalinar's flashbacks were supposed to be in book 5, a trip to Braize makes sense. It would definitely remind him of Rathalas. And the scene where he'll potentially make the jump might be the one Brandon is excited about. This book did start with Gavilar opening that possibility.

That's what I was thinking. Only thing that makes me doubt it is that I know Brandon has said Braize would be explored in more detail through the Heralds flashbacks in the latter half of the series. But I think him going there will for sure happen. Either in an effort to learn more about Odium and or the Oathpact or he'll be legitimately trapped there by Odium. In the current scope of the story, taking Dalinar off the board would be a huge blow to the Radiants and the Coalition.  

Edited by Kered
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Well we now have an anti-surge fabrial. Then means that Elsecallers and Willshapers lose their escape option. If you want a real downer ending, have Venli being found out and Moash finish her off in front of Dalinar or Kaladin.

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Well Empire Strikes Back is what most fans consider to be the best Star Wars movie so is that necessarily a bad thing? Also I don’t think think it’s going to be a downer ending where things look hopeless for the team. I think the author knows that there is about a four year delay for these books to come out and knows it probably will not go over well with fans. He is one of the most aware authors out there with public relations. Also he knows he doesn’t need to resort to such cheap tactics of cliff hanger endings when this he Tor’s flagships series and he will not kicked to the curb and have the series dropped like Tor has been doing to other very talented authors. We are in safe hands. Trust the plan!

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Not much interpersonal drama or conflict between Shallan and Adolin. It's mostly internal character conflict for Shallan. Doesn't bode well for any development of a "character arc" for Adolin. He continues to do and say all the right things. No changes to make, no personal journey of self discovery to undergo, but is probably the most universally beloved person on the Radiant side. He's a dead man walking for sure.

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6 minutes ago, DeployParachute said:

No changes to make, no personal journey of self discovery to undergo, but is probably the most universally beloved person on the Radiant side. He's a dead man walking for sure.

We don't yet have his PoV.

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Just now, Karger said:

We don't yet have his PoV.

True, but I ain't holding my breath. If I'm wrong, great, it means that Adolin has become interesting to read again. If I'm right...well that's fine by me too.

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