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Elric

How important are the interludes?

Question

I'm currently reading Words of Radiance, and I'm wondering when the interludes will start to connect? Has the series gotten far enough for things to start to connect together lore or connect to the current storylines? I feel like I'm sort of struggling to understand how everything connects in the interludes or question the relevance to the main characters' stories. I know I'm still just in the beginning of the story, but I'm curious how others make sense of things. I also read at a slower pace, so it's hard to keep up with the first book's interludes. Any tips?

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6 answers to this question

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Read the interludes and the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. Both are important to understanding the plot and the Cosmere as a whole.

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Well, it’s pretty hard to answer this question. There are a lot of interludes, and they do a lot of different things. 

Some interludes have characters that we never see again. Those interludes are usually there to do 4 things:
1. Give some amount of foreshadowing for future events.
2. Give some more insight into the magic system
3. Show the effects of the main characters actions.
4. Give the more Cosmere-Aware readers some interesting tidbits and crossovers

Some interludes are from the perspective of characters we already know. These are essentially just normal chapters, but they were put in the interludes because we aren’t going to keep seeing their POV, Brandon only wanted to give them one chapter. 

And some characters are actually introduced in the interludes, and then go on to become repeated POV characters. These are almost just normal chapters, but the actions of these characters usually don’t directly impact the plot. 

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There are a few interludes that are more relevant to larger-cosmere things, like one with the visitors in Way of Kings, and some do connect to the main storyline sometimes, but if you want to keep up with the contents of the interludes better to know, you can find the chapter-by-chapter summaries that include the interludes and check those for something that isn't as dense as the full interlude while keeping any relevancy intact.

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Repeating characters in the interludes show events happening that are outside of the storyline for the main characters. Take the Szeth interludes in the Way of Kings. Rsyn is another good example. The interludes are just that: interludes. The Stormlight Archive books are essentially trilogies, so the interludes are a break from the main storyline for side lines. 

If you like the cosmere, or you plan to read all of the books, if you skip the interludes, you'll miss out on some cosmere information. I personally wouldn't even if I just wanted to read the SA because the side plots are often important or provide context. 

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For WoR specifically? I would say pay attention to what happens...

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Interludes do a number of things and it's kinda hard to explain which ones are actually important to the story without going into spoiler territory. Some just show a perspective on something important but isn't from the viewpoint of a person that is important. Some are the reverse, unimportant events from a character who will be important later. And of course important events seen by important characters also happens(i.e. Szeth in WoK). Some seemingly are unimportant events from a character who seems unimportant as well, but we can't really be sure of that until the series is complete. Like others suggest, I will also suggest reading all of them so you don't miss anything important rather than the risk of being confused by something you missed by skipping ones you don't feel interested in. I will also say that the interludes get less separated from the story the further into the series you get. 

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