Oathbringer Reread

Oathbringer Reread: Chapter Ten

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Howdy there, Cosmerenauts! Welcome back to the Oathbringer Reread, where we again join Kaladin on his travels. This time, he’s searching for Voidbringers, while Sylphrena makes awkward suggestions for his happiness, and Adolin visits his father’s Ryshadium.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. This week, we didn’t find any notable Cosmere connections, so you’re safe from those spoilers in the article; we make no promises about the comments! But seriously, if you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Alice: Hey, y’all, Lyndsey is crazy busy dealing with her duties for Anime Boston this week, so I begged Paige to join me. I’ve gotten rather fond of this conversational format, so … welcome, Paige!

Paige: Greetings, rereaders … Paige from New Mexico, reporting for duty! I’ll keep my intro short and sweet (HAHAHAHA!!) so that we can get down to OB bidness.

Though I’m a newb contributor here at the tor dot com, you may know me from such articles as the SA refresher, Parshendi/Voidbringer article, OB spoiler recap, and/or SA4 speculation. I’m happy to fill in for Lyndsey for a sec, but no worries, I’ll pay tribute to our beloved squire.

I’m also a newb alpha/beta/gamma reader for Brandon, and first stepped into that hallowed role for Edgedancer. Aside from the Arcanum Unbounded gamma and the Oathbringer beta/gamma, my only other belt notch is the recent, non-SA/non-Cosmere, Legion: Lies of the Beholder alpha. I hope to continue beta reading, as it’s an honor and a privilege to help Team Dragonsteel to make these books as awesome as possible.

Aside from stalking authors (well, an author), beta-reading the things, and working one of two jobs, I help out as a moderator on The Stormlight Archive Facebook group, participate on the JordanCon Art Show Programming team, herd my 2 needy cats, and listen to the Yankees as much as possible for half the year. It’s Opening Day, guys! I’m almost always writing for a flash fiction competition or summat, have a few pieces recently published in anthologies, and hoard a few trunk novels, which I hope to dust off, polish, and shop. Soon.

I see that my time is running out so, in closing … I’m mom to fabulous 23-year-old daughter and also have *counting* 6 stepkids (ish) who, between them, have 5 kids (+1 on the way). So yeah, I’m totes a grandma. But like, a badass grandma.

Also, it’s 3:00 a.m. right now which means that I rarely sleep. Hopefully, that explains the crazy. #sorrynotsorry

A: Now you know why Lyndsey and I call on her. Who doesn’t need a badass grandma as backup?

With that, here we go:

Chapter Recap

WHO: Kaladin, Adolin
WHERE: Rural Alethkar (Sadeas princedom), Urithiru
WHEN: 1174.1.2.4 (two days after Chapters 5-7), 1174.1.23 (The day after Chapters 8-9)

For the last two days, Kaladin has spiraled his way out from Hearthstone, searching for signs of the Voidbringers and warning anyone he finds that the wrong-way storm will be returning. He’s found no signs of attack, just wrack and ruin from the storm. This day, he enters a town called Hornhollow, where the people have already heard of his mission and are prepared with charged spheres to trade to him. They also have news: about fifty of the Voidbringers raided their grain storage, then headed straight toward Kholinar.

Adolin visits Gallant in his pasture, where they grieve together over the loss of Sureblood. Renarin seeks out Adolin, and asks him to find someone else to bear the Shardblade he’d won in that first duel. He finally admits and demonstrates that he has a live Blade of his own, and inadvertently heals Adolin’s injured wrist.

Threshold of the storm

Title

A: “Distractions” comes from the entertaining conversation between Syl and Kaladin, when she’s trying to hook him up with the local ardent (we’ll discuss that conversation below, and Lyndsey is going to be SO MAD that she missed this one!) since Shallan isn’t nearby.

This is a distraction. Like that Lightweaver could be for you…”

Thematically, there are a lot of distractions going on: Kaladin and Syl have silly conversations to distract him from his worry over the Voidbringers, Kaladin tries to distract Syl from her “helpful suggestions,” the Voidbringers appear to be creating some distractions of their own, and Adolin distracts himself from murder investigations.

Heralds

All four spots are occupied by Paliah, the Herald associated with the attributes Learned & Giving, the role of Scholar, and the order of Truthwatchers.

A: So now the big question is whether she’s here primarily because of Renarin’s Radiant behaviors—his Blade and his healing—or whether we are to see some of her function also in what Kaladin is doing.

Oh, here’s a thought: Syl has been doing Research! Scholarspren FTW! Heh.

P: Seriously, get out of my brain. Or maybe I need to get out of yours, because yes, scholarspren was a thing I thought.

Icon

This chapter bears Kaladin’s Spears & Banner icon, and of course Kaladin occupies most of the chapter.

Epigraph

Perhaps my heresy stretches back to those days in my childhood, where these ideas began.
—From Oathbringer, preface

A: So once again, I have to ask: what days in his childhood? Is this referring to the glimpse from Chapter 89 in Words of Radiance, where he saw his childhood home as it was before the conquest, with his collection of wooden swords carved like Shardblades? That’s the first time we saw that “warm light” that he described as deep, enveloping, piercing, and familiar. Last week I posited that he was referring to the days of conquest and his early experiences with the Thrill, but while that might fit last week’s “since my youth”, it hardly suits this week’s “days in my childhood.” It seems that despite getting a book full of Dalinar’s flashbacks, there are still things we don’t know.

P: I agree that “childhood” and “youth” have vastly different connotations. Young!Dalinar was absolutely not a child, even in his earliest flashback. To many of us here in the real world, one is considered a “child” until they’re legally an adult, though “childhood” generally refers to the period between birth and puberty. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Brandon is using the word veerrry loosely because, growing up in Alethkar, Dalinar would already have been training on the sword during his “childhood”.

So (bear with me while I speculate) perhaps Dalinar questioned the validity of the Almighty even as a child of, for giggles, let’s say ten or twelve? The possibility takes my thoughts to Jasnah, and what she experienced as a child to result in enough cracks (according to what we know thus far, of course) to warrant a Nahel bond. She is—famously—a heretic, so perhaps her “lunacy” during her own childhood had something to do with her voicing similar opinions.

Hey … it’s possible. *ahem*

A: Good points. I focused in on “childhood” and ignored that he was talking about his “heresy.” Just please, someone reassure me that we’ll eventually find out what he was talking about for sure?

Stories & Songs

He lifted the Sylblade high overhead, prompting a cheer from the crowd. He would have bet that most of the people in this square used to curse the name of the Radiants, but none of that was manifest now in the people’s enthusiasm. It was hard to believe that centuries of mistrust and vilification would be forgotten so quickly. But with the sky breaking and the land in turmoil, people would look to a symbol.

A: Funny, isn’t it, how terror can change people’s minds? I won’t make the RL comparisons, good or bad, but it’s true: when people are frightened, they sometimes seek hope in places they’d formerly thought despicable.

P: This also brings to mind how a mob—and a scared one, as you say, Alice—will align itself with whoever is standing in front of it, showing their strength. If Amaram had ridden into town with the corpses of children hanging from his saddle and proclaiming he’d defeat the Voidbringers if they swore fealty to him, they’d have done so happily, I think. Mobs. *scoff*

“The red lights,” Kaladin said. “Describe them again.”

… “Um, all five witnesses mentioned the lights, Brightlord. There were several small glowing red lights in the darkness.”

“Their eyes.”

“Maybe?” the ardent said. “If those were eyes, it was only a few. I went and asked, and none of the witnesses specifically saw eyes glowing—and Khem got a look right in one of the parshmen’s faces as they struck him.”

A: The red lights must be spren… Paige, any thoughts?

P: Gotta be spren, yes? While Yixli is yellow, Ulim is red. So … maybe the lights are other Voidspren that led groups of the former Parshmen together? That seems a more likely scenario than a few Fused with glowing eyes hanging out with the refugees, especially as Khen doesn’t know what a Fused is when the group arrives at Revolar later on in Chapter 31.

A: It never occurred to me before; by the time Kaladin joins them, there’s only Yixli guiding the big group. But it makes sense that Voidspren would go out looking for scattered groups of reawakened (and confused) parshmen, bring them together, and then leave a single guide while they go look for others. How else could they get/keep most of them headed in the right direction?

Relationships & Romances

A: There’s plenty that could be said about the relationship between Kaladin and Syl. as well as her attempts to push him into other relationships, but… we’re going to talk about most of it below. Right here, I just want to laugh at this bit:

“I just want you to be happy, Kaladin,” she said, zipping off his shoulder and running a few rings around him as a ribbon of light. “People in relationships are happier.”

“That,” Kaladin said, “is demonstrably false. Some might be. I know a lot who aren’t.”

“Come on,” Syl said. “What about that Lightweaver? You seemed to like her.”

The words struck uncomfortably close to the truth.

A: Kaladin shuts down this line of thought pretty hard, since Shallan is engaged to Adolin, but (in retrospect) this is clearly setting up the triangle/square/weird thing to come later.

P: You literally beat me to this, Alice. I was about to drop in that very section of text and comment in a very similar vein. So once again, as I did many times during the beta, I will +1 Alice’s comment. Also, “triangle/square/weird” is the perfect descriptor for what that was. Is. Will be. Whatever.

I included Kaladin’s thought about how the words struck uncomfortably close to the truth. I would like to point out, however, that while Kaladin does indeed “like” Shallan, I always thought of it more as admiration for her continuing to fight, despite her past and her pain. Because “she smiled, anyway.” I think he was inspired by that, possibly even awed by her resilience and determination. I think she is something of a beacon for him, which can help him find his way out of his own darkness.

“It is my solemn and important duty to bring happiness, light, and joy into your world when you’re being a dour idiot. Which is most of the time. So there.”

P: Warning, going to channel my inner Verin and blather a bit. So … fans have many and varied opinions on the characters in The Stormlight Archive. I have seen a good many people reference the way Shallan “teases” or “talks down to” Kaladin since their first encounter with the boots in Words of Radiance. These comments have ranged from irritation to downright hostility for Shallan, who people tend to forget, is still a teenager (and a traumatized one, at that).

But I digress … because what I want to talk about is the fact that our favorite little honorspren tends to tease and talk down to Kaladin quite often, as well. Yet most people see that as sweet and endearing. Granted, she’s bonded to Kaladin and she’s a spren, so the rules are different … but I want to take the great liberty of looking at the two sides of this from Kaladin’s possible perspective. He’s very fond of Syl and knows that she is still learning about, well, everything. He takes her jibes in stride, and often gives them back, in kind. He chastises her in this chapter about already having a mother, and it seems to me as if their banter is something familiar for Kaladin, something that he holds onto when he’s troubled. I know, I know … cue the dog GIF again. Bear with me.

Shallan, on the other hand, who uses her sharp wit and sharper tongue as a defense, and maybe (definitely) as something to hide behind, is demonized for her banter with Kaladin. I don’t feel as if she’s baiting him or insulting him, rather I feel as if she’s using the teasing to connect with him. They’re both kindred spirits in that they’ve experienced great pain and loss, and I truly feel that this is one way Shallan tries to befriend Kaladin. I believe that he gets it, too, which is why he’s drawn to her. Not out of romantic feelings, but because they are the same, and when you’re in the dark, it helps to have someone sit beside you and hold your hand.

Done. Let the scoffing commence. I will not be offend. Much.

Renarin blushed, then nodded. People had trouble following him sometimes, but that was merely because he tended to be so thoughtful. He’d be thinking about something deep, something brilliant, and then would only mention a part. It made him seem erratic, but once you got to know him, you realized he wasn’t trying to be esoteric. His lips just sometimes failed to keep up with his brain.

A: I love this moment. The bond between these brothers is so sweet to me. While Adolin might not be the only person who understands Renarin (*cough*Jasnah*cough*), he’s one of the few people who cares enough to sort out the mental leaps and enjoy the depth of Renarin’s musing.

P: Oh my Honor, yes. Adolin’s easy acceptance of Renarin just as he is, at any given point, speaks to my heart. It’s tough, to know you’re different and that others look at you strangely, maybe speak of you in hushed whispers … of your strangeness. Even Shallan, who has some serious issues herself, thinks not nice things about Renarin. So for Adolin to just accept his brother, to love him as he is, and to constantly lift him up … wow. That really hits home for me. Thank you, Brandon Sanderson, for Adolin Kholin.

A: Hear, hear.

Bruised & Broken

A: I want to start this unit with something we’ve discussed before, but which bears repeating. Brandon has taken great care to create realistically “broken characters” whose struggles resonate with some of his fans. He’s even taken it one step farther, and made the effect of their struggle the means by which magic can infuse the character. I just wanted to reiterate that using the in-world term “broken” does not mean that readers who experience these issues are somehow … lesser. Each of us, whatever our makeup, are valuable and unique.

(Bummer that the magic aspect doesn’t work IRL, though, eh? That’d be so cool.)

P: Totes a bummer because I, like Kaladin, would own the sky. *heart eyes* But seriously, I think this is an important point to cover both with Kaladin’s surprise at his good mood and Renarin feeling isolated again. We’ve seen Knights and squires heal themselves with Stormlight, right? The Lopen regrew a storming arm, for Honor’s sake, so the ability to heal oneself is A BIG DEAL ™.

And yet … Kaladin’s brands will not heal. His depression does not end. Renarin’s sight is healed, yet his “fits” (epilepsy, as diagnosed by Kaladin) are not. Shallan can heal some pretty intense physical wounds, as we’ll see in Part 3, yet she cannot heal her identity disorder. Teft could probably heal his firemoss hangover, yet he cannot heal his addiction. Why are some afflictions healed and some not? We do have WoBs on this subject, but to boil down Brandon’s thoughts, if it’s a physical affliction, it can be healed, but if it’s psychological (even if it regards Kaladin’s scars and how he views them), it cannot.

If Stormlight could heal one or all of these conditions which afflict our Radiants, that would imply that there’s something wrong with them that needs to be fixed. Brandon asks for fans, “when you discuss this, to be very careful about treating mental illness as a flaw as opposed to an aspect of a human personality,” and we take that request and that duty quite seriously. So again, we want to stress that “broken” in the context of this series, does not equate to “flawed” for readers who can relate. Let’s follow Lift’s philosophy and just call it being awesome.

It was difficult not to feel uplifted, even in the gloomy weather. He’d spent the entire sprint to Alethkar worrying—and then assuming—that he’d be too late to save Hearthstone. To find his parents alive … well, it was an unexpected blessing. The type his life had been severely lacking.

P: Depression and anxiety saddle a person with dark thoughts much of the time, and I am most definitely speaking from experience. Kaladin’s depression is depicted so accurately that I want to reach into this book and just hug him. He feels that he’s a failure—to his brother, his parents, his soldiers—because the depression lies to him. Constantly. Incessantly.

The very fact that he feels uplifted in this chapter is notable for a few reasons, I think: first, it’s the Weeping, and he is obviously afflicted with Roshar’s version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); second, because he just experienced an emotional reunion with his parents, primarily in regard to his failure to protect Tien, who grounded him; and finally, because there was that moment when his father was saddened at Kaladin’s fate as a Radiant, and as has been noted in previous chapter recaps, Kaladin thinks very highly of his father so the lack of approval has the potential to plunge him into a depression. Yet it does not, and that’s heartening. If you have any further thoughts on this particular topic, please let us know in the comments!

“Adolin, I was starting to fit in. With Bridge Four, with being a Shardbearer. Now, I’m in the darkness again. Father expects me to be a Radiant, so I can help him unite the world. But how am I supposed to learn?”

Adolin scratched his chin with his good hand. “Huh. I assumed that it just kind of came to you. It hasn’t?”

“Some has. But it … frightens me, Adolin.” He held up his hand, and it started to glow, wisps of Stormlight trailing off it, like smoke from a fire. “What if I hurt someone, or ruin things?”

A: I almost included the earlier conversation here, too, because at least some part of Renarin’s “brokenness” (i.e., the thing that creates space for a spren bond) may be related to the way his brain is wired. I left it in Relationships, though, because I love the closeness between the brothers. This one, though, I really want in Bruised and Broken, because I feel so much pain and fear from Renarin here. It’s more than mere uncertainty, which we’ve noticed before; there’s actual fear of what’s going on. With our 20/20 hindsight, we can now guess that part of the problem is that neither Renarin nor Glys are sure they’re either genuine or safe.

P: Additionally, his comment about fitting in with Bridge Four and being a Shardbearer is touching. Because he was loosening up a bit, and now he has this new label thrust on him, this new responsibility that feels too large. He was always in Adolin’s shadow, and in Dalinar’s, and to be completely frank, I think he was comfortable there. And now he is a Radiant (sort of, which is also causing stress); it’s no wonder that Renarin is so obviously worried about ruining things.

Flora & Fauna

Beneath him, the valley was clogged with vivim trees, which wound their spindly branches together to create an almost impenetrable wall of forestation.

A: I have nothing in particular to say about the trees, but it’s rather fun to be back in a land where plants grow profusely!
P: You know, I never really considered this before, but the Shattered Plains were pretty stark, so Alethkar does feel quite lush, in comparison. Not as much as a certain valley we’ll visit later, but certainly more so than the plateaus.

This was prime farmland; there was a reason why the Akanny region was prized by Sadeas. It might be a cultural backwater, but these rolling fields probably fed half the kingdom with their lavis and tallew crops. Other villages focused on raising large passels of hogs for leather and meat. Gumfrems, a kind of chull-like beast, were less common pasture animals harvested for their gemhearts, which—though small—allowed Soulcasting of meat.

A: Most of this is just interesting world-building; the Akanny region sounds equivalent to the US Midwest—the breadbasket. Don’t forget the pigs, of course—because I keep seeing people who, like me, suddenly notice a pig and wonder if that’s a continuity error. (They’re a vital part of the economy, apparently.) And… there’s the thing fans have been wondering about: yes, they do raise animals for their gemhearts. In this case, I assume gumfrems have heliodor gemhearts, since they’re used to Soulcast meat. (I wonder if gumfrem meat is edible? That would make them doubly productive!)
P: I envision humans bringing their weird livestock with them to Roshar, since pigs and chickens (all of the varieties!) and horses don’t exactly fit in with the local wildlife.

So alien. Creatures all covered in hair—which made him shiver to touch—with big glassy eyes. And those hadn’t even been real horses. For all their pedigree breeding, the horses they’d rode on campaign had just been ordinary Shin Thoroughbreds. Expensive, yes. But by definition, therefore, not priceless. Not like the creature before him now.

A: RYSHADIUM!!! Also horses.

P: I know it adds to their rarity, but I do wish that we’d seen more Ryshadium in the series to date. Well, there’s a lot of series yet to come, so perhaps I’ll get my wish!

Adolin often had felt he could read his own Ryshadium’s emotions. There had been a … bond between him and Sureblood. More delicate and indefinable than the bond between man and sword, but still there.
Of course, Adolin was the one who talked to his sword sometimes, so he had a habit of this sort of thing.

P: Okay… I was extremely sad when Sureblood died. But holy highstorm, when Adolin got choked up in this scene, I became quite verklempt. Which, as some of you surely know, is unusual for me. *ahem* But yeah, ow. And who’s to say that they didn’t share an actual bond, if Ryshadium are able to bond spren?

A: I absolutely love this whole scene between Adolin and Gallant. All The Feels, oh my. I felt pretty strongly that after the battle of Narak we needed to see him grieving for Sureblood, and I love that he goes to see Gallant partly on the pretext that Gallant is missing Sureblood too. ::sniffle:: I also adore the way Gallant seems to understand much of what Adolin says, and I think I have to quote something non-Oathbringer here. In her notes on the Rosharan system in Arcanum Unbounded, Khriss makes this comment:

…There is even a race of equines that—through the spren bond—have adapted to life on the planet and obtained a high enough level of self-awareness to nearly be named a sapient species.

A: Just how nearly?? Given that they choose their riders, are they fully sapient but don’t have the physiology to speak? I want to know!!

P: I was sorely disappointed that we didn’t see Gallant and Sureblood choose their riders. Imagine the gloryspren that Dalinar and Adolin would have attracted!

A: That is probably the one thing we didn’t get in Oathbringer that really bums me out. I want to see that scene so much! Well, like I always say… it clearly wasn’t necessary to the story being told. (But I wish it had been.)

P: Ya know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking that, perhaps, we’ll get a bonus flashback from Adolin or Dalinar regarding their Ryshadium during another’s flashback book. Much as we got sneaksy Kaladin flashbacks during Dalinar’s flashback book. Oops… veering off topic!

Places & Peoples

It held about two dozen structures, including two large storm sanctuaries where travelers could stay—but there were also many outer buildings. This was the highprince’s land, and an industrious darkeyes of high enough nahn could get a commission to work an unused hill out by itself, then keep a portion of the crop.

A: I don’t have anything profound to say about the sharecropping arrangement, just that it’s there. It’s also … interesting that it requires the appliccant to be both “industrious” and “high enough nahn” to obtain said commission. Also, did you notice how Sanderson snuck the “storm sanctuaries” in here, so that when he needs them later, we don’t snort at the oh-so-convenient appearance of something new?

P: When these popped up in this chapter, I had an, “Ahh, of course,” reaction. Because the concept of traveling anywhere that would leave people out in a highstorm—special wagons or no—has always squicked me out a bit. Those storms toss around boulders, people … boulders. Are your wagons boulder-proof? I didn’t think so. So my point—yes, I have one—is that with the far-reaching travel our plucky band of Radiants, etc. are doing in this book, it makes sense to see such a development.

Tight Butts and Coconuts

Several men held up small children to get a better look.

“Great,” Kaladin said softly. “I’ve become a menagerie act.”

In his mind, he heard Syl giggle.

A: LOL. Yes, Kaladin, you’re reduced to being the sideshow… Sorta like a whitespine in a cage, you might say?

P: And nearly as dangerous. Hmmm, do whitespine brood? But admittedly, if a flying, magical-sword-wielding hero showed up in my town, I’d be all a-goggle, as well.

“I know you’ve been busy lately fighting guys in white clothing and stuff, but I’ve been doing research. People lock their doors, but there’s plenty of room to get in underneath. I figured, since you don’t seem inclined to do any learning yourself, I should study. So if you have questions…”

P: And I’m admitting to some curiosity about when/where Syl has been spying, and on whom. You’re all thinking it, too. Pervs.

A: I … um … Oh, dear. Just where has Syl been sneaking around? I guess that thing with the Alethi bringing their wives along to war had to be useful for more than just the practical bookkeeping aspects….

His life just kept getting stranger. He tried—unsuccessfully—to banish the image of lying in bed with a woman, Syl sitting on the headboard and shouting out encouragement and advice.…

A: Oh, the priceless image! Followed promptly by:

“Lord Radiant?” the citylord asked from inside the front room of the small home. “Are you well?”

“Painful memory,” Kaladin said.

A: BAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, Kaladin. For all your depression, you and Syl can make for some awesome comic relief!

P: Kaladin’s mortification at the thought of Syl sitting on the headboard and cheering him on is sheer wonderfulness.

Weighty Words

“You mink!” Adolin said. “You’ve managed to create a Radiant Blade? Why didn’t you tell us?”

“It just happened. Glys wasn’t certain he could do it … but we need more people to work the Oathgate … so…”

He took a deep breath, then stretched his hand to the side and summoned a long glowing Shardblade. Thin, with almost no crossguard, it had waving folds to the metal, like it had been forged.

A: There’s a question that, as far as I’m concerned, still hasn’t been answered: Did Renarin actually speak another Ideal offscreen, or is his relationship with Glys so weird that they just talk about what they need, and Glys finds a way to make it happen? Discuss!

Oh, also, “You mink!” is rather a fun twist on the Earth equivalent of, “You weasel!” or “You rat!” Great fit into the world as designed. Also also, Renarin has finally admitted that the Shardblade Adolin won for him is a source of pain, and can we please find someone else to carry it now thankyouverymuch.

P: Oh my Cultivation, yes! I’m quite curious to see the Ideals that Renarin has spoken, if any. I will admit that I would be somewhat reassured, what with the whole corrupted spren sitch, if I knew that he had at least spoken the First Ideal.

A: YES. It drives me spare that we don’t even know that much.

Renarin looked to him, then smiled. A pulse of Radiance washed through Adolin, and for an instant he saw himself perfected. A version of himself that was somehow complete and whole, the man he could be.

A: I feel like I should have awespren floating around me. The visual really gets me: Adolin seeing himself “perfected” for a moment. Is it how Renarin sees him? Or how he thinks he should be? Or is it bigger than that? Cultivation, or Adonalsium, or the God Beyond? Is it a version of him that Odium might fear? Am I reading too much into this??

Okay, probably I’m making way more out of this than was intended, but it seems so Significant. Paige, do you have anything to add to the muddle I’ve made of this?

P: Ummm, remember that you did ask. *cracks knuckles* Okay, so Renarin somehow sees things that will happen, with the exception of Jasnah’s lack of follow-through during the Battle of Thaylen City (thank the Stormfather for that!). Is that a Truthwatcher thing related to Illusion? Is it a thing of Sja-Anat, who we (some of us, at least) are speculating was the one to corrupt Glys, whatever his origin? Further, much as Renarin is able to use Progression to affect change on another, as when he heals Adolin, could it really be possible for him to lend his ability “to see” to another, if only for a moment? Could Renarin have actually shown Adolin a future version of himself? Or perhaps it’s simpler than that, cleaner and more down to Roshar. Perhaps … much as Shallan will draw Elhokar in Part 3 (It’s what you could be), maybe Renarin used Illusion and tried to show Adolin what he could be.

A: Mmmm. I like that.

P: It’s pretty much what you said, I think. I just ramble a bit more.

Only after Gallant trotted off did Adolin realize he’d used his right hand. He held it up, amazed, moving his fingers. His wrist had been completely healed.

A: During the serialization, Gepeto wondered a couple of times why Brandon made such a point of mentioning Adolin’s broken wrist. I couldn’t say anything back then, but… Aside from shutting the beta readers up about the continuity requirement to see the injury, it was the perfect setup for Renarin to show a Truthwatcher Surge in action. Such a twisty author, that Sanderson guy… making everyone wonder for the longest time whether Renarin was really a Truthwatcher, and then giving us this apparent confirmation, and then at the end of the book turning it all inside out. Oy.

P: Well, yeah … we were anticipating some kind of Radiant Renarin stuff, and this was the perfect opportunity for us to see the younger Kholin brother doing something cool. Participating in this beta read really drove home one simple fact for me: Never doubt the Sanderson.

A: Oh, and I do need to mention: whether he’s a “real Knight Radiant” or not, Renarin is most certainly a Surgebinder at this point.

P: You bet Dalinar’s tight butt, he is.

Murky Motivations

Fifty parshmen in warform—which was what the descriptions sounded most like to him—could easily have overrun this town and its handful of militia guards. They could have slaughtered everyone and taken whatever they wished; instead, they’d made a surgical raid.

A: Of course we’ll learn more about their motivation when Kaladin catches up with them, but it’s worth noting that he is (naturally) still thinking in terms of the battle of Narak, and assuming that all the transformed parshmen are now aggressive warriors.

P: Which he would do, of course, as he assumed that the Everstorm would transform all parshmen into “Voidbringers”. His shock at seeing them doing a relatively mundane activity such as playing cards was so well-written, as was his snap decision to allow them to capture him. However, in light of the end of Part 3, I rather wish that Kaladin hadn’t had the opportunity to form an attachment. *sad face forever*

A Scrupulous Study of Spren

“So maybe you could do that,” Kaladin said. “Find little, uh, bits of the wind? Or of Honor? Shape them?”

“Hmmm,” Syl said. “I would be an excellent mother. I’d teach the little spren to fly, to coast the winds, to harass you.…”

Kaladin smiled. “You’d get distracted by an interesting beetle and fly off, leaving them in a drawer somewhere.”“Nonsense! Why would I leave my babies in a drawer? Far too boring. A highprince’s shoe though…”

P: We do learn a bit more about spren procreation whilst in Shadesmar, and I find it incredibly interesting to think about the topic.

A: I guess we probably don’t need to dig in too deeply just yet. But the image of Syl teaching baby spren to harass Kaladin is perfection. Also… umm… foreshadowy, maybe? Is this a sly reference to (the standing theory about) Windrunner Shardplate being formed of windspren?

P: OMGOMG … let’s not get me off on a tangent about Shardplate. *heart eyes*

A: Baby Windspren Shardplate!!!! (Oh, sorry…)

P: #notsorry

He rested the Sylblade on his shoulder and stretched out his other hand, preparing his speech.

A: This is the first time we see the use of the term “Sylblade” for … well, Syl in the form of a Shardblade. I understand the value of coining a noun form to designate the various forms a bonded spren can take—we’ll eventually see things like “Patternblade” and “Sylspear”—but I’m still not 100% sure I like it.

P: I definitely like it. Because while it’s a blade, or a spear, it’s still Syl. So having Kaladin refer to his Blade or his Spear would feel strange, because … yeah, Syl. Imma take this opportunity to say how much I look forward to Adolin referring to his Mayablade.

A: ::heartthrob::

P: I concur.

Around the perimeter of the square, people hissed and whispered, anticipationspren flapping in an unseen wind.

A: ::snicker:: (It took me a minute to remember why I found this funny, and then I remembered Natam saying (discussing the time someone tried to kill Elhokar by cutting his balcony railing), “I was with the guys who ran out there and found him flapping in the wind, like the Stormfather’s own ears.”) So anyway, anticipationspren flap like streamers in a breeze, and eventually we’ll find out why.

P: Someone = Moash & Friends. *angry face*

A: True. ::scowl:: That part … not so funny.

Ryshadium were often called the “third Shard.” Blade, Plate, and Mount.

That didn’t do them justice. You couldn’t earn a Ryshadium simply by defeating someone in combat. They chose their riders.

But, Adolin thought as Gallant nuzzled his hand, I suppose that was how it used to be with Blades too. They were spren who chose their bearers.

A: I love this flash of insight. Dead Blades don’t get much choice, but when they were living, they did. And do. Kinda like Ryshadium

P: From the first time we saw Adolin talking to his Blade in WoR, I had the warm fuzzies. It was as if he knew that it was more than just a sword … knew that there was something about it that deserved his respect and gratitude. And that always spoke to me. That feeling is also present when he talks to Gallant, here.

Quality Quotations

  • “It is my solemn and important duty to bring happiness, light, and joy into your world when you’re being a dour idiot. Which is most of the time. So there.”

A: I just have to say that “Happiness, Light, and Joy” was one of my suggestions for the chapter title. It was too much snarky fun to pass up.

P: Don’t get me started on chapter titles, or I’ll research who chose this one! (Okay, it was Matt.)

  • The Knights Radiant had been founded by the Heralds, but they were also traitors. So … he was either a divine being of myth or a cretin one step above a Voidbringer.
  • Syl zipped up to his shoulder. “Wow. She must be desperate living out here. I mean, look at you. Hair that hasn’t been combed since you flew across the continent, uniform stained with crem, and that beard.”
    “Thank you for the boost of confidence.”
    “I guess when there’s nobody about but farmers, your standards really drop.”
  • “You don’t trust anyone who carries a Shardblade, Syl. We’ve been over this. It’s not a mark of bad character to have bonded one of the weapons.”
    “Yes, well, let’s have someone swing around the corpse of your sisters by the feet, and we’ll see whether you consider it a ‘mark of bad character’ or not.”
  • “And stop spying on people when they’re being intimate. It’s creepy.”
  • “You’re as bad as Aunt Navani,” Adolin noted. “That’s why you came running, isn’t it? You smelled treats.”
    The horse turned his head, looking at Adolin with one watery blue eye, rectangular pupil at the center. He almost seemed … offended.

 

Well, folks, that’s probably more than enough out of us, but it’s sure been fun—especially for a chapter with (seemingly) so little action! Next week we’ll hit Chapter 11, Dalinar’s second flashback chapter: The Rift. Join us in the comments for all the stuff we didn’t talk about yet!

If you’re by any chance at Anime Boston this weekend, see if you can find Lyndsey. She’ll be the blur in the Yuri costume.

Alice is, as usual, up to her eyeballs in a zillion small projects. She’s still chipping away at that promised article about the Kaladin album—fortunately the music is much more awesome than her organizational skills.

Paige spends her ~41 minutes of leisure time a day trying to write her own stories whilst two 15-pound, elderly cats clamor for her attention and scritches. As she doesn’t have four hands, the cats usually win that battle. She’s equally fanatical about reading fantasy and watching Yankees baseball. She lives in Truth or Consequences, NM, which is a real, weird place.

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