Edgedancer Reread

Edgedancer Reread: Chapters 15 and 16

Well, hello there, Edgedancers! It’s time for another run at the reread, so we can polish it off before Oathbringer destroys all other books.

Things are getting heady up in here, what with internet Indicium info searches, crazy assassins, flying minions, and friendly swords. But no pancakes this week. Also, no Lyn, because she is up to her eyeballs in sewing up gorgeous costumery for an Event this weekend. We’ll miss her, but we’ll soldier on anyway.

The Awesomeness

Chapter 15: Lift finds the where Darkness’s minion had her hired info-seekers working, complete with all three minions. Wyndle takes his courage by the vines and sneaks in to watch, listen, and not get caught. Lift waits tensely while musing on deep philosophies, then ducks into the shadows as the minions depart. The assassin stops, looks at Lift, consults his sword, and turns away. Wyndle reports that while he didn’t understand what they were talking about, they know who their suspect is. The chase begins!

Chapter 16: Lift follows with difficulty through the Grand Indicium, and eventually the minions come to an exit. Lift and Wyndle slip to the side, climb out a window, and hide in the bushes to see where they go. Two of them inhale Stormlight and fly off through the city in search of their quarry. The assassin scares Lift half to death when he starts talking to her, but despite all his crazy-talk, he gives her the information she needs: they seek an old philosopher who seems to change appearance or vanish in blind alleys, and hangs out near the Tashi’s Light orphanage.

Kadasixes and Stars

“Storms!” Lift said, flopping backward on the carpet. “Storming Mother of the World and Father of Storms above! He about made me die of fright.”

“I know!” Wyndle said. “Did you hear me not-whimpering?”

“No.”

“I was too frightened to even make a sound!”

I just had to include this one, for two reasons. One is Wyndle’s not-whimpering, and the other is Lift’s curse, which we borrowed for the “Shards, curses, and Old Magic” unit. No, I don’t really have anything profound to say about it. I just like it.

Pet Voidbringer

“I’ll do it,” Wyndle whispered.

This whole section is pure gold. Wyndle is terrified almost out of his mind; he doesn’t think the journeyman Skybreakers’ spren can see him, but he’s not sure, and if they do, he can quite possibly be destroyed. The visuals of Wyndle are so good: “huddled down on the ground, vines tightening around him;” “vines twisted about one another, tightening into knots;” “vines scrunched as they tightened against one another;” “settled down, coiled about himself.” Combined with his whispers and whimpers, I just ache for the little guy! But he chooses to go anyway:

“Right. Listen and scream. I can listen and scream. I’m good at these things.”

Oh, Wyndle. You’re so beautiful.

Journey before Pancakes

Shockingly enough, there isn’t any food in these chapters. Not any at all. How terribly sad.

Friends and Strangers

Szeth

The assassin, clothing tattered, head bowed, with that large sword— it had to be some kind of Shardblade— resting on his shoulder.

“I do not know, sword-nimi,” he said softly, “I don’t trust my own mind any longer.” He paused, stopping as if listening to something. “That is not comforting, sword-nimi. No, it is not.…”

Still crazy after all these years…

For whatever reason, he still seems to be wearing the tattered white clothing given him by the Parshendi, or replicas thereof given him by Taravangian to make sure everyone knew it was the same guy. Also, from that same passage, it seems that when he’s moving, the afterimage is less pronounced. Is that because his soul attaches itself to a location if he sits still too long?

“I ain’t nobody,” Lift said.

“He kills nobodies.”

“And you don’t?”

“I kill kings.”

“Which is totally better.”

He narrowed his eyes at her, then squatted down, sheathed sword held across his shoulders, with hands draped forward. “No. It is not. I hear their screams, their demands, whenever I see shadow. They haunt me, scramble for my mind, wishing to claim my sanity. I fear they’ve already won, that the man to whom you speak can no longer distinguish what is the voice of a mad raving and what is not.”

Yikes. I think I developed more sympathy for him in this one chapter than I did in all of the first two books. But I do wonder what the others think of him conversing with his sword all the time.

The Philosopher

“The report described a man who has been spotted vanishing by several people in the city. He will turn down an alleyway, then it will be empty when someone else follows. People have claimed to see his face twisting to become the face of another. My companions believe he is what is called a Lightweaver, and so must be stopped.”

Heh. Lightweaver, indeed! No, ladies and gentlemen, this is something you are totally not prepared to deal with. Not even a little bit.

Nightblood

Well, there’s our favorite Awakened sword again. It’s worth noting that when Szeth drew it out a little, Lift felt “a sudden, terrible nausea,” so she’s in the category of “good people” as far as Nightblood is concerned. Then we get this bit:

“But you didn’t attack me.”

“No. The sword likes you.”

That’s… encouraging… I’d really, really like to know what the sword said to Szeth in some of these scenes!

Storming Mother of the World and Father of Storms Above

If the world was full of people like Lift, wouldn’t they just leave halfway through planting to go catch lurgs? Nobody would protect the streets, or sit around in meetings. Nobody would learn to write things down, or make kingdoms run. Everyone would scurry about eating each other’s food, until it was all gone and the whole heap of them fell over and died.

You knew that, a part of her said, standing up inside, hands on hips with a defiant attitude. You knew the truth of the world even when you went and asked not to get older.

Being young was an excuse. A plausible justification.

So once again, we have Lift touching very lightly on her request to the Nightwatcher, but this time there’s something more. As quoted above, she knows that she’s spent years being irresponsible, and she implies that she asked to not get older so that she’d always have the excuse of being too young. But then you combine it with this one, and there are some deeper, heartbreaking implications:

When you were always busy, you didn’t have to think about stuff. Like how most people didn’t run off and leave when the whim struck them. Like how your mother had been so warm, and kindly, so ready to take care of everyone. It was incredible that anyone on Roshar should be as good to people as she’d been.

She shouldn’t have had to die. Least, she should have had someone half as wonderful as she was to take care of her as she wasted away.

Someone other than Lift, who was selfish, stupid.

And lonely.

We can’t say for certain, but I think this implies that Lift blames herself, deep down, for her mother’s death – whether that’s valid or not. It sounds like she maybe took off one day while her mother was ill, and when she came back, her mother was dead. Whether Lift could have done anything about that we don’t yet know — and probably won’t for another ten or fifteen years — but she still seems to blame herself, and apparently went to the Nightwatcher looking for a rationale to justify having been untrustworthy.

New theory: Lift asked to not grow up so as to have an excuse for being immature. Instead, the Nightwatcher gave her extra level-ups on being an Edgedancer, so that she could take care of those who are forgotten or ignored: a way to keep it from happening to others, rather than a way to not be blamed for them. Prevention, rather than rationalization.

Darkness & Co.

The journeyman Skybreakers can fly. They can suck in Stormlight and fly. So… does this mean they’re bonded to spren? For all that they seem so much lower than Nale, it appears that they actually are Radiants. I guess maybe that makes sense, being as he’s a Herald? Speaking of which…

“He really is wrong, isn’t he?” Lift said. “That one you say is a Herald. He says the Voidbringers aren’t back, but they are.”

“The new storm reveals it,” the assassin said. “But … who am I to say? I am mad. Then again, I think that the Herald is too. It makes me agree that the minds of men cannot be trusted….”

Everything Else

“Voidbringer,” Lift said, “can you find whatever number she just said?” (232)

“Yes.”

“Good. ’Cuz I don’t got that many toes.”

Nothing in particular. It’s just so Lift.

Poor parshmen. There weren’t many in the city, not as many as in Azimir, but by the prince’s orders they were being gathered and turned out. Left for the storm, which Lift considered hugely unfair.

And as it turns out, from the WoB turned up by you good folks last week, that’s the absolute worst thing they could have done to themselves. If they’d been kept in bunkers – or in the Indicium – they’d have been protected from the effect of the Everstorm, at least this time around. Wyndle’s belief that it probably wouldn’t hurt them, and also that they might be turning into Voidbringers, highlight just how limited the knowledge of Voidbringers is, even among the spren.

Listen, a part of her whispered.

There it is again, this time in context of Lift sitting there worrying about Wyndle and thinking about her excuses and her mother. Listen.

“Will you fight them, little Radiant?” the assassin asked. “You, alone, against two journeyman Skybreakers? A Herald waiting in the wings?”

She glanced at Wyndle. “I don’t know. But I have to go anyway, don’t I?”

If my theory is correct, she has stepped up to the task of being there.

Finally, one last thing… it’s far from perfect, but I finished it:

Raindrops on Shardblades and whiskers on axehounds,
bright glowing spheres and fresh pancakes in mounds,
grasses that retract and skyeels with wings,
these are a few of my favorite things…

Spren-bonded horses and chicken in curry,
cremlings with purpose and scribes in a hurry,
Storms full of power, a Wit who can sing,
these are a few of my favorite things…

When the bridge falls,
When the ship burns,
When the whitespine stabs,
I simply remember my favorite things
and then I don’t feel so bad.

Lighteyes in havahs with safehands close-covered
Shalebark and highstorms and Oathgates discovered
Autumns that randomly turn into springs,
These are a few of my favorite things!

When the job stinks,
When my head whirls,
When real life is sad,
I simply escape to my fantasy worlds,
and then I don’t feel so bad.

Well, you did ask…

Join us in the comments! Don’t forget to mark any Oathbringer spoilers! There are only two more installments in the Edgedancer reread! AAVAALAAAAANNNNCHE!

Alice finds herself very grateful for this reread these days, as the Oathbringer early releases have gotten to the point that she dares not participate in the discussion much. It is a difficult thing! Rumor has it that Lyndsey will be back next week with a second Stormlight Cosplay article, this time with Shardblades! Sometime soon, there will be a refresher on the nations and cultures of Roshar, and that Stormwarden article should be coming along too. Gotta keep busy for the remaining three and a half weeks before the big release!

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