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Venli in Rhythm of War


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I feel Venli's chapters in Rhythm of War were the weakest. I was intrigued by where her charecter would go after Oathbringer but was disappointed by her storyline in Row. Any ideas on what she'll do next and what part she will have to play in the later books? Also any positive opinions on her chapters in Row because I hate feeling negative about a Stormlight charecter.

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Venli became one of my faves in RoW but this is a ymmv sort of topic I guess. She interests me because she's a coward, and not a very good person, and she's aware of it. But she decides to make steps, small but nonetheless important ones, to do better. Do I enjoy this kind of character because I too am cowardly? Perhaps.

I also think her opinions about the conflict between the humans and the Fused mirror my own. She distrusts both sides and doesn't want to join either. But at the same time she's awed by the knowledge that the Fused have of the singers' past culture. She has a front row seat to their insanity, yes, but she's also curious about their traditions. Even before Ulim, Venli was hunting for warform, and when she met the humans and saw their script,  she wanted to make an alphabet too. After Ulim, she passes herself off as a "scholar" when she's just being guided by him. But I do think she probably has an innate scholarly drive; if she hadn't been given envoyform, she likely would have picked up scholarform. In Alethkar she sees the Fused building a palace with their own style of architecture, and she's so wistful thinking about the rich craftsmanship her people must have had, ages ago. When she gets a chance to use Cohesion on the stones of Urithiru, though, it's amazing, because the stones remember her people. And the stones remember the abilities of the Dawnsingers; things she wouldn't have learned from the Fused. And it's so beautiful to me that she goes back to the Shattered Plains and gives this gift to her people. (It's also kind of tragic, like sorry I wanted you dead but here! I have magical powers for you now! I promise I'm a better person.)

I love that in Oathbringer, the Reacher captain who's presumably Timbre's father says that his daughter is chasing foolish dreams. But in Rhythm of War, it's mentioned that large amounts of Reacher sailors have been disappearing from Shadesmar. Timbre was a trendsetter!

Also the scene when she reveals to Leshwi that she bonded Timbre is my favorite thing ever. She's like "sorry...I swore the first ideal of the Knights Radiant." And Leshwi is like "sorry?? This is the happiest moment of my 7000 year life! I'm defecting immediately from Odium, f*ck that guy." The listeners rightfully made songs about the dangers of their gods, Venli decided to ignore them. But some of those gods actually ended up being decent at heart :')


Anyway this was long, and may not convince you to like Venli. But it's what I enjoy about her and her chapters

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YES to everything @yulyulk said.  I really enjoyed Venli's scenes.  I find her, with her fears, her pettiness, her wavering self-esteem, to be a very relatable and "real" feeling character.  Much more so to me than someone like Adolin - brave, self-assured, thoughtful, kind, unfailingly empathetic and supportive?  Don't get me wrong, I love him and wish he were my best friend, but he's not like ME.  I'm definitely more like Venli.  I've been ego-driven and in love with my own cleverness.  I've been selfish and self-seeking.  I've been motivated by fear.  I've made bad choices and hurt people who loved me; I've had to work though the resulting pain and feelings of shame; and I've found ways to forgive, be forgiven, and try to do a little bit better today than I did yesterday.  Venli's whole character arc feels very real to me.

Also, from a narrative point of view, I think we as readers need someone like Venli - a sort of spy or "double agent" among the Fused, allowing us a view of what they think and what they are up to.  Someone who's in their confidence to some degree, but not loyal to their side.  I desperately want to understand more about the Fused, Voidlight, the history of the Singers and Odium and Honor, and I was happy that Venli gave us an inside track to some of that.  Otherwise, the Fused remain a black box of mysterious unknown "bad guy"-ness.  And we definitely need viewpoint characters who represent what is probably the most common drive in any war - to find a way OUT, to just be left alone and not have to fight for (or against) anybody.

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Venli’s story is about seeking freedom and power, realizing she was manipulated all along, and then being thrown into a situation where she is confronted with The lies and false promises she trusted in. Then, in RoW, she has to decide if she will allow herself to continue being swept along in the tide of Odium’s purposes while wallowing in guilt, or use what little power she has and put herself at risk for the sake of freedom.

It’s not my favorite character progression, but I think I can appreciate it.

Edited by Crucible of Shards
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I love her as a character, but I agree that that her some of here chapters were...not necessarily disappointing, but not my favorites. Especially the flashbacks. I just couldn't get into the flashbacks in this one. 

But am super emotionally invested in her "redemption" story. And maybe it's too obvious to happen, but I really ship her and Rlain. I was so excited for them to meet, and I loved the few passages we got with them interacting. The have both been so lonely despite being surrounded by "friends", I really wanted them to fall in love have lots of Listener babies.

But as it played out, I was glad Rlain didn't forgive her outright, since she really did some terrible stuff that had dire consequences. Felt more real that he's kinda pissed at her, and the scene where he yells at her was amazing. I love sassy Rlain!

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