Oathbringer Reread

Oathbringer Reread: Chapters Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven

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Alice: Welcome back to the Oathbringer reread—for two chapters this week. First we’ll go back in time with Dalinar in the early years of his marriage, then we’ll rejoin Bridge Four on the Shattered Plains for a series of poignant scenes. (Also known as “In Which Alice Cries a Lot”)

Lyn: (And “In Which Lyn Joins Her And They Are Both Sobbing Messes Together) Also, fair warning, this is a long one, brightlords and ladies. There’s a lot to unpack in these two chapters—a lot of pain, a lot of healing, and a lot of familial love.

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread. There’s a little bit of overarching Cosmere discussion in The Singing Storm section, specifically regarding the epigraph. If you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Dalinar; Rock
WHERE: Kholinar; Shattered Plains
WHEN: 1149, Weeping (24 years ago); 1174.1.6.1 (same day as Chapter 35, a few hours later)

In Chapter 36, Evi is pregnant with Adolin and she and Dalinar have a discussion during the Weeping about religion, war, and Dalinar’s character. Gavilar appears at the end and it is revealed that Dalinar didn’t actually kill the boy in the Rift, and now the area is in rebellion.

Chapter 37 revolves around Rock, who is busy making stew for Bridge Four as they practice being Radiant. Kaladin helps Hobber to learn to breathe in Stormlight, and his paralyzed legs are healed. Renarin joins them, and Kaladin agrees to join Elhokar on his mission to Alethkar in 20 days. In the distance, a group of honorspren watch and assess as Bridge Four practices. Then, finally, Rock spies the approach of a caravan—his long-estranged family, come to join him at last.

The Singing Storm

Titles: Hero; The Last Time We March

A: These have to be two of my favorite titles in the book. The first comes from this line:

In that moment, he didn’t care. So long as he could be a hero to this woman.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, we had the opportunity during the beta to suggest quotes from the chapter that we thought would make good titles. In this case, the first suggestion on the list was “Hero,” which I promptly upvoted. I did make a different suggestion (As White As a Sun at Night), but with the comment “Partly I think this is just funny, and partly I think it fits the unexpected nature of the sequence of Dalinar’s feelings. But I still like ‘Hero’ better. Please make it ‘Hero,’ because that line made me cry.” You know, it still does, and I’m so glad Emily went with that!

The second title is in this segment near the end of chapter 37:

“No,” he said. “It will be a privilege to carry him one last time, for my family.” … “We take to the skies, Stormblessed. We will walk no more in coming days. This is the end.” … “Ha! Do not look so sad. I left great stew back near city. Hobber will probably not ruin it before we return. Come! Pick up our bridge. The last time, we march not toward death, but toward full stomachs and good songs!”

And that one makes me cry too. What a beautiful scene.

Heralds

For Chapter 36 we have Nale: Judge, Just/Confident, Skybreakers; and Vedel: Healer, Loving/Healing, Edgedancers.

A: For me, Nale reflects multiple facets of Dalinar’s decision nine years before, to leave Tanalan’s young son alive. He made a judgement call then; now Evi praises him for it, while Gavilar is irritated about it—and Dalinar judges that whatever the consequences, it’s worth it to be a hero to his wife. Vedel could represent several things—a healing in their relationship, or Evi’s pregnancy, among others.

Chapter 37 shows Vedel: Healer, Loving/Healing, Edgedancers; and Taln: Soldier, Dependable/Resourceful, Stonewards.

A: These both seem fairly obvious. There is a lot of healing going on here, both physically and emotionally. Not for everyone, but enough to make it a strong theme. There’s not a lot of actual soldiering (just Kaladin helping the wagon folk drive off the Voidbringers), but there’s always an undercurrent of Bridge Four as soldiers, plus the conversation with Renarin and Rock’s own thoughts about himself. Add to that, these guys are dependable and resourceful enough to justify Taln’s presence right there.

Icon

Reverse Kholin Shield (for Dalinar’s flashback); Bridge Four (Rock’s POV)

Epigraph

You mustn’t worry yourself about Rayse. It is a pity about Aona and Skai, but they were foolish—violating our pact from the very beginning.

L: Aona and Skai are the Shards from Sel, the world of Elantris, right? And the violation of the pact was the fact that… they settled on the same world? And if that’s a violation, aren’t the two Shards—Ruin and Preservation—on Scadrial violating the pact too?

A: Sure looks like it to me!

L: What exactly do we know about this pact, anyway? Is it all WoBs, or is there in-text information other than this little snippet?

A: Well, I’m a little behind on my WoBs these days, but I think this might be the first textual evidence of an actual “pact” among the Vessels. The epigraph for Chapter 39 touches on it, at least: Edgli seems to interpret “we would not interfere with each other” to mean that no two Shards should go to the same world. Arguably, Dominion/Devotion, Ruin/Preservation, and Honor/Cultivation would have claimed (originally) that they weren’t interfering with each other, they were cooperating. On Scadrial, we know they eventually failed to cooperate and did indeed interfere; Sel and Roshar present no evidence of a failure to work together that I can recall.

L: And Rayse is the current vessel containing Odium. So why shouldn’t the person the author is talking to worry themselves over him? He seems like a pretty huge threat to… just about everything.

A: I know, right? He’s interfering with everyone he can, and I’d think the writer of this letter ought to be worrying about him herself, rather than telling other people not to worry. It’s possible, I suppose, that she just thinks Hoid shouldn’t worry about Odium and should let the other Vessels take care of the situation, but I’m not convinced of that yet. She sounds more peevish than confident.

Stories & Songs

“If you wish to meet the One in person, you must travel to the Valley,” she said. “There you can speak with the One, or to his avatar, and be granted—”

“The Old Magic,” Dalinar hissed, opening his eyes. “The NIghtwatcher.”

L: Very cool that Evi’s religion deals with Cultivation, if we’re assuming the avatar she speaks of to be the Nightwatcher and the One to be Cultivation herself. She’s misgendered Cultivation, but who’s to say that a being like Cultivation is constrained to one gender, anyway?

A: Maybe Cultivation is one of the originally-a-dragon Vessels! Or something else, for that matter.

L: It’s likely that the gender either was never known by her people, or that it’s been changed over time.

A: Very true. It’s worth noting how much more the western kingdoms accept Cultivation as part of their religion, where the eastern ones call it “pagan” and “heresy” to even acknowledge her existence. Methinks they have a bit to learn…

He closed his eyes, kneading and humming his mother’s song to a beat he could almost, barely, just faintly hear.

L: !!! (Insert Metal Gear Solid alert noise here)

A: I loved this. We’ve been told that the Horneaters have Parsh blood; I’d say it runs strong in Rock, if he can hear the Rhythms.

There were legends of [dark gods like the Unmade] in the Peaks; Lunamor’s great-great-great-grandfather had met with one while traveling the third divide.

L: Now that’s a story I’d like to hear someday.

A: No kidding!! I wonder if we’ll ever get it. And maybe they’re back?

The Peaks, our home … something is wrong. Very wrong.”

A: On a guess, this has to do with Odium’s forces interfering with the Shardpool there? Or an Unmade?

L: Something that I hope we discover soon! I doubt Sanderson would have mentioned it if it were never going to come back, but when we find out? Who knows…

Relationships & Romances

She was a sweet, loving woman who deserved better than the treatment he gave her.

L: Well, on the plus side, at least Dalinar recognizes this. And he does seem to be making an effort to forge connections with her here. He opens up to her more here than he has to anyone else we’ve seen him talk to in these flashbacks, talking about whether he can change, about religion… Their relationship isn’t completely frigid and unloving.

A: I’m always astonished at how much Evi seems to love him. She calls him “beloved” in this chapter, and as much as she’d like him to take a different angle on… well, on life in general, it appears that despite the original reason for the marriage, she really does love him. It’s like she decided if she was going to marry him, she’d throw everything she had into making it work. And Dalinar doesn’t exactly reciprocate, but…

L: He does appear to be trying. I can only imagine how hard arranged marriages like this would be, especially when you’re already in love with someone else. Which leads us to Navani:

[Navani]’d talked and talked about her research into spren, and Gavilar had simply grunted, while making notations in glyphs on a set of his maps. She’d spoken with such passion and excitement, and Gavilar had ignored her.

L: This makes me so sad. I think most of us have had this experience before, or at least, I know I have—talking animatedly about something that we love only to realize we’re boring the person we’re conversing with. And for that person to be your husband? Ouch. And poor Dalinar, sitting there watching this and longing to be with her.

A: Yeah, this was very frustrating to read. Gavilar doesn’t seem to have been interested in his wife’s pursuits AT ALL, and while Dalinar probably wasn’t either, he was at least interested in her. That’s the point where Gavilar completely fails, and it burns me up. You don’t have to share a consuming interest in your partner’s hobbies, but you can at least have the courtesy to be interested in the person.

L: Yeah, it doesn’t seem as if he’s really investing any time or energy into the marriage… past what’s required of him for procreation, anyway. At least Dalinar is kinda sorta trying to form a bond.

“You spared the child.” … “Oh, Dalinar.”

He felt a swelling of pride.

[…]

In that moment, he didn’t care. So long as he could be a hero to this woman.

L: ::sniffle:: He wants to be better, in order to make her happy. There is love there, growing ever so slowly in the poisoned soil of his soul.

A: This was the first chapter where I was really excited about the potential for these two. It had its moments, like this one and the first one you quoted here, that are just hopeful. But at the same time there’s that bit in the middle, where he keeps thinking of Navani and how Gavilar doesn’t appreciate her. Which is true, but he’s a little too personally invested still. It’s never good for a marriage when one partner can’t quite let go of another person.

L: Unless it’s set up as a polyamorous relationship, like in Wheel of Time. And even those have their issues…

A: There’s a lovely bit of foreshadowing here, too. Dalinar is so happy to “be a hero to this woman,” even though he’ll let her down many times and eventually be directly, if unintentionally, responsible for her death. A long way in the future, we’re going to see his nephew step up to this same task. Elhokar will try to save his wife and son, and when it’s clear that Aesudan is beyond his reach, he’ll give his life to “be a hero to the one [he] can save.” And I just got something in my eye…

L: Oh stars and stones… ::sniff::

A: On the more cheerful side, I have to point out that this is where we learn that Adolin is on his way. Baby bump FTW!

Bruised & Broken

“Can’t you just enjoy it, Dalinar?”

“Enjoy what?”

“Your life.”

[…]

“It’s like you only live when you can fight,” she continued. “When you can kill. Like a blackness from the old stories. You only live by taking lives from others.”

L: What a terrifying thought, especially for someone as pacifistic as Evi. Seeing Dalinar this way really drives home to me how very broken he is, but he doesn’t realize it. He’s so focused on death and the Thrill that everything else has lost its flavor. I wonder if, when he was younger, he was the same way? I’d imagine that growing up Alethi did him no favors in this regard.

“Can a man actually change, Evi? Like those spren change?”

“We are all different aspects of the One.”

“Then can you change from one aspect to another?”

L: I mean, this is Dalinar’s whole character arc right here. Changing from a man of violence to a man of justice. In his case, it just takes a little (okay, a lot of) outside influence in order to begin the change.

He remembered that day. He remembered darkening that doorway, the Thrill pulsing inside him. He remembered a weeping child holding a Shardblade.

The father, lying broken and dead behind. That soft voice, pleading.

The Thrill had vanished in a moment.

“He was a child, Gavilar,” Dalinar said, his voice hoarse.

L: ARGH, this moment. This moment made me SO HAPPY. I was so glad that Dalinar had stayed his hand and spared this child. It made his warmongering almost… acceptable, that he still had that spark of humanity and compassion remaining within him.

A: It was a beautiful thing, and I too was delighted that he had not killed that boy. I’ll admit that I thought it might turn out to be a good thing…

L: Until we returned for “Rift Part Two: Inferno Boogaloo,” anyway.

In those chasms, Lunamor had found himself again after a long time being lost. Renewed life, renewed purpose.

L: And so it begins.

A: (Every time that line comes up, I can’t help following it with “There is a hole in your mind.” It’s shocking how many times “a hole in your mind” fits the relevant character in The Stormlight Archive, though.)

“Teft didn’t come back to the barracks last night, sir,” Leyten called, looking uncomfortable.

L: Oh, Teft. :(

Some days, it seemed you couldn’t break Kaladin Stormblessed with all the stones on Roshar. Then one of his men would get wounded, and you’d see him crack.

[…]

“Kaladin,” Lunamor said softly. “This thing we have begun, it is still war. Men will die.”

L: Oh, Kaladin. Poor, poor Kaladin. You can’t save them all, dear heart.

A: But he’ll try. He’ll all but destroy himself, trying to save them all…

L: It kills me to see him do this to himself, but on the other hand… I wouldn’t want him any other way. His dedication to saving others is what makes me love him so much.

…Renarin stepped towards him, as if sitting at the side and watching was his place too.

“Hey! Renarin! … I could use some help with this bread,” Lunamor said.

L: I love how Rock consistently strengthens the bonds of fellowship within Bridge Four. He’s like the glue that holds them together. … Which, knowing stories as I do, makes me very worried for him.

A: Speaking of Rock…

How could he explain this? The bridge runs, the cracks in his soul. How could he explain that the man she’d always said was so strong had wished to die? Had been a coward, had given up, near the end?

A: I’m really torn about where Sanderson is likely to go with this. On the one hand, we’ve got the probability of what you just said about the likely fate of the one who holds them together. On the other hand, we’ve got Rock specifically thinking about cracks in his soul—the kind of cracks that we know open a person to the spren bond. He’s probably going to do both—and then I’ll have to cry my poor eyes out! Again.

He watched, and was glad to hear Unkalaki again, a proper language. Glad that the other men did not speak it. For if they did, they might have picked out the lies that he had told them.

L: This kills me. Earlier I said that he was the glue holding the group together, but this… the fact that he’s lying to them, makes him stand outside the group, a little. He can’t trust them enough to open himself up, to admit his mistakes or his sins or however he sees it. I imagine he’s probably afraid of what they would say or do, if they knew the truth. He can take the pain of the others away, but harbors his own deep inside, unwilling or unable to allow them in to help ease his own burden. All of the bridgemen carry their own bridges within them—Kaladin his guilt over not being able to save everyone, Teft his addiction and his lack of self-worth, etc… Which is why this chapter was so poignant. The bridge is symbolic of the baggage they all carry.

Together they carried the bridge on one final run—reverently, as if it were the bier of a king, being taken to his tomb for his final rest.

A: ::sobbing::

Squires & Sidekicks

A: Heh. Everything in this chapter could fall in here… but I’ll try not to quote the entire chapter. Really.

L: Yeah, this is going to be a long section this week, but that’s fine. All of these characters are important in their own ways, and the companionship of Bridge Four is a central theme for Part 2.

The men of Bridge Four had been augmented by some members of other bridge crews, and even a couple of soldiers that Dalinar had suggested for training. The group of five scout women was surprising, but who was Lunamor to judge?

L: Love that other scouts have joined Lyn! I’d love to learn more about them.

A: I think we see one of them in action later, maybe. We’ll have to watch for them. But I keep wondering whether their presence is surprising to Rock personally, or surprising in the context of the Alethi culture.

Why was Kaladin kneeling before Hobber’s stool, holding out… a gemstone?

[…]

“Being a Radiant isn’t so much about strength or skill, but about your heart. And yours is the best of all of us.”

L: Is Rock cutting onions? I really hope that we see more of Hobber in later books.

A: I can’t not quote this additional bit, because I get caught between cheering and crying every single time I read it:

Several windspren turned toward Hobber, and for a heartbeat Lunamor thought that everything else faded. Hobber became one man alone in a darkened place, fist glowing. He stared, unblinking, at that sign of power. That sign of redemption.
The light in Hobber’s fist went out.

A: We’ve talked a lot about the theme of redemption in the last few weeks, mostly in the context of Dalinar and Moash. Turns out, most of the bridgemen (and a few other folks) feel a need for redemption. We see it in this chapter: Rock, Kaladin, Teft, Hobber, Elhokar, Renarin, Rlain, Leyten, Skar… They’ve all done, or been, or experienced things that left them feeling unworthy and inadequate. To be here, on this plateau, drawing in Stormlight, healing, being accepted, and especially seeing the hope of being chosen by a spren to become a Knight Radiant—I think that’s the proof of redemption they long for.

L: Though for some of them—mainly Kal and Teft, I think—that redemption is going to be more hard-fought for than for others.

A: True. I’m still trying to figure out if it applies to Lopen, and if so, how. But a number of them will not have the difficulty of those two, and I think I might add Rock to the list. He’s got a lot of other issues to deal with—but we’ll talk more about that below.

“Bridge Four is not Windrunners. … It is us,” Lunamor said. “It is me, it is them, it is you.” He nodded toward Dabbid. “That one, he will never hold spear again. He will not fly, but he is Bridge Four. I am forbidden to fight, but I am Bridge Four. And you, you might have fancy title and different powers.” He leaned forward. “But I know Bridge Four. And you, Renarin Kholin, are Bridge Four.”

L: I just… I can’t even with this quote. This sums up the fellowship of Bridge Four so beautifully for me. Bridge Four is family. They stand with one another, even when the going gets tough. Even when the people in the family don’t feel like they belong, or deserve inclusion.

A: ::sniff::

“Of course, nobody says I’m less of a man than my brother, and nobody points out that it sure would be nice for the succession if the sickly, strange younger brother were safely tucked away in a monastery.”

L: Poor Renarin. I always get a bit of a Thor/Loki vibe from these two, with the exception of course being that Renarin is no trickster. He’s just a genuinely kind-hearted good kid, and having to live up to the expectations imposed on him by his father and brother must be utterly exhausting.

A: One of the most difficult aspects of this is that neither Dalinar nor Adolin would consciously lay those expectations on Renarin—not these days, anyway. (Much of this damage was done by Young!Dalinar, of course, who … well, I won’t go there now.) But aside from Dalinar’s early contempt, there’s so much pressure on Renarin just from who Dalinar and Adolin are. They’re so perfectly Alethi, in all the ways he can’t be. (Yes, I know they aren’t perfect. Far from it. But from the outside, in the Alethi context, they look pretty close to it.)

L: Isn’t this so true of human nature, though? The expectations we hold ourselves to are often so much stronger than any that could be imposed upon us by others.

A: Oh, so, so true.

“I’m already the oddest one in this bunch.”

L: ::side-eyes Lopen::

“Oh,” Renarin said. “I don’t know if [Rlain] counts.”

“This thing is what everyone always tells him,” Lunamor said. “Over and over again.”

L: Poor, poor Rlain. This and the part from his POV made me so sad for him, but we’ll get into that in more detail when we get there.

Skar left with a spring to his step. Another man would have felt worse, but Skar was a teacher at heart.

L: We’ll see more of this later, but I love the fact that Skar is such a good person that he’d take joy in helping another to achieve something he wants so desperately.

A: That’s one of my favorite chapters, where it’s Skar’s turn to help everyone. I’m looking forward to that.

Places & Peoples

“What happened to your brother, Rock?”

“My two brothers are well, so far as I know.”

“And the third brother?” Kaladin said. “The one who died, moving you from fourth to third, and making you a cook instead of a soldier? Don’t deny it.”

“Is sad story,” Lunamor said. “And today is not day for sad stories.

A: Kaladin is assuming (likely based on the half-truths Rock told them in the earlier books) that Rock was fourth in line and is now third, making him a cook instead of a soldier. This is going to be proven categorically false near the end of the chapter…

They hadn’t anticipated the cruelty of Torol Sadeas, who had murdered Kef’ha without a proper duel, killed many of Lunamor’s family who resisted, and seized his property.

A: This… oh, I always hated Sadeas, but this is completely despicable. I want to bring him back to life just so I can kill him again.

“Lunamor, what happened? Your note was so terse. Kef’ha is dead, but what happened to you? Why so long without word?”

“What of Tifi and Sinaku’a?” she asked him.

“Dead,” he whispered. “They raised weapons in vengeance.”

She put her hand to her lips…. “Then you—”

A: Rock was the fourth son, but not the fourth of four. He was fourth of six… which is why he could claim that his two brothers are well—meaning his two younger brothers, and leaving out that not just one, but all three of his older brothers were killed when they came down from the Peaks. His wife’s response makes me believe that the theory is probably right: that Rock is now not merely the head of his family, but likely the nuatoma of his clan.

There’s just so much we don’t know about their culture, and we don’t get much clarification here—except for Rock’s personal situation, and even that is mostly inference.

Tight Butts and Coconuts

L: Also known as the “Rock and Lopen appreciation section.”

A: Woooot! I appreciate the Rock and the Lopen.

Lunamor—called Rock by his friends, on account of their thick, lowlander tongues being incapable of proper speech

L: Airsick lowlanders.

“How hard can it be to learn how to fly? Skyeels do it all the time, and they are ugly and stupid. Most bridgemen are only one of those things.”

L: Bless you, Lopen.

“Lopen!” Kaladin called. “You’re supposed to be helping the others, not showing off!”

L: I mean, he’s got a point. Lopen’s not being a very effective instructor, here.

A: Well, he does provide a certain… example of what not to do, right?

“If I am to become a delicate cloud upon the sky, I must first convince the ground that I am not abandoning her. Like a worried lover, sure, she must be comforted and reassured that I will return following my dramatic and regal ascent to the sky.”

L: I have no words for the sheer amazing that is this quote. And for these that follow:

“Don’t worry, dear one. The Lopen is vast enough to be possessed by many, many forces, both terrestrial and celestial! I must soar to the air, for if I were to remain only on the ground, surely my growing magnitude would cause the land to crack and break.”

 * * *

“Ground,” Lopen said, “I will still love you. I’m not attracted to anyone the way I am to you.”

L: ::snort::

A: In this context I have to add one more quotation:

“Perhaps,” Lunamor noted, “when that one is away from too much toxic air, he will be less…”
“Lopen?”
“Though upon consideration, this thing would be sad.”

A: Indeed.

“Huio has changed this thing. I now have to either promote him or push him off side of plateau.”
“Promote him to what?”
“To airsick lowlander,” Lunamor said, “second class.”

Weighty Words

“It isn’t healthy to have a stone curdling in your stomach, still wet with moss.”

L: Well isn’t this a fascinating idiom? Sort of reminds me of a combination of “a rolling stone gathers no moss” and the concept of feeling like you have a stone in your stomach.

“The first step will be to speak the Ideal,” Kaladin said. “I suspect a few of you have already said it. But for the rest, if you wish to be a squire to the Windrunners, you will need to swear it.”

A: I wonder about this. Is it necessary to speak the Ideal to become a squire, or is he assuming this? And either way, Is he inadvertently tying them to the Windrunners, or just to the Knights Radiant as a whole? Obviously all Orders share the same first Ideal, so there’s that, but how much does “intent to be a Windrunner squire” shape their path forward?

Lunamor whispered the Ideal.

L: I find it interesting that he whispers it. Has he already said it, and just doesn’t want to interfere with the rest? Or is this the first time he’s sworn?

A: Personally, I think this is the first time, and he whispers because he doesn’t think it’s appropriate for him. After all, he’s supposed to be a cook, or his clan’s nuatoma, or possibly a slave—but not a Knight Radiant. Or even a squire. This conflict will stay with him through the end of the book, sadly.

“The Surges of Progression and Illumination. I’m not sure how to make the second one work though. Shallan has explained it seven times, but I can’t create even the slightest illusion. Something’s wrong.”

L: Is this because of his corruption, or because the Surges don’t work quite the same way for the two different Orders, I wonder?

A: That’s been the subject of a great deal of theorizing and argumentation. Some believe it’s because Glys is corrupted, and therefore Renarin has access to a different Surge. Some think the corruption damages the access somehow. Some think it’s just that Renarin isn’t ready for it yet. And… all the permutations in between and beyond! I have in the past argued that it’s just because the Surges don’t work the same way for Renarin and Shallan, whether because of personality differences or Order differences, but I’m not sure now. I don’t think we have enough information to do any more than guess.

A Scrupulous Study of Spren

“I’ve always wondered,” Dalinar said. “Are they made of fire themselves? It looks like they are, and yet what of emotion spren? Are angerspren then made of anger?” … “And what of gloryspren? Made of glory? What is glory? Could gloryspren appear around someone who is delusional, or perhaps very drunk—who only thinks they’ve accomplished something great, while everyone else is standing around mocking them?”

L: This is a very interesting question. Have we seen gloryspren rise up around Dalinar in some of his cruelest victories, when others are horrified by his actions? I remember seeing them around Gavilar, but not Dalinar.

A: Dalinar gets some gloryspren in that first flashback battle, which was kind of a nasty piece of work. Gavilar gets them when he’s delightedly telling his men to “Hail the Blackthorn!” the time that Dalinar beat Kalanor … and came this close to killing Gavilar. Dalinar draws a bunch of them when Adolin is born, when he repairs the temple in Thaylen City, and then they come in flocks and droves during the climax. So… near as I can tell from a quick search, Young!Dalinar only draws gloryspren during a battle that one time, and that happens when he takes down the brightlord, whose honor guard then breaks before the elites.

We’ve debated much over what “glory” actually means in this context, and I don’t think we’re any nearer a conclusion now than we were back in TWoK.

That one did have a sword. A miniature Shardblade.

L: I wonder if they’re just mimicking what they’ve seen of highspren in Shadesmar (but then, the living Blades wouldn’t appear as such over there…)

A: I wonder if their appearance is shaped by Dalinar’s voiced description of them, like their size was locked when Geranid wrote down her measurements of them.

L: Oh, that’s an excellent theory.

They were lesser gods, but still holy. He could see their true shapes beyond the streamers, a faint shadow of a larger creature at the bottom.

L: Well isn’t that interesting. Rock’s the only character I can remember that has mentioned being able to see this… can he see into Shadesmar, a little? If so, how?

A: It ties back to the Parsh blood, I think. Earlier we commented on his ability to hear the Rhythms, and here we have that Parsh ability to see into the Cognitive realm, to some degree.

L: Wait a second. Did I miss that somewhere? Parshendi can see into the Cognitive Realm?!

A: It was never stated outright in the text that I recall, but in WoR, Eshonai’s descriptions of various spren was always more than what the humans saw. I think there were further hints buried in their songs—they’re closer to the Cognitive realm than humans are. (I wonder what Lift sees of this sort of spren, with her Nightwatcher gifts.)

But where is his god? Lunamor could see all spren. Prince Renarin had bonded one, except Lunamor had never been able to spot it.

L: Hmmm. Is Glys playing coy, or does this have something to do with his corruption?

A: Yes. As in, I believe Glys is playing coy because of the corruption. He doesn’t want to be seen, because he wants to be a good Truthwatcher spren but knows Sja-anat has affected him.

L: Yeah, but Rock seems to be able to see the spren even when they don’t want to be seen. Like the honorspren later on, and Syl in book one. So either Glys is more powerful/better at hiding himself than all those other spren, or there’s something more going on here…

A: There’s always another secret.

Gods! Strong gods, like Sylphrena. Glowing a faint blue, they clustered around a tall spren woman, who had long hair streaming behind her. She had taken the shape of a person, human sized, and wore an elegant gown. The others swirled about in the air, though their focus was obviously the practicing bridgemen and hopefuls.

L: Highspren scouting party!

“I can barely remember a voice… her voice, Phendorana, reprimanding me. I got in so much trouble for searching out Kaladin. Yet here they are! They won’t speak to me. I think they assume that if they do, they’d have to admit to me that they were wrong.”

L: I’m so curious about the social hierarchy of the honorspren. Is Phendorana some sort of Queen or something?

A: I wish I knew. I had hoped to see her again in Shadesmar, but we didn’t (so far as we know). I wonder if she’ll show up again. It’d be kind of a hoot if Lyn bonded her, now wouldn’t it? ;)

L: That would be completely weird. To be honest I’d love to see Rock bond her—he already shows the spren such deference, it would make sense that this regal one would be attracted to that…

Quality Quotations

“Today we will not need to scrub the walls, and the life will be as white as a sun at night!”

Evi’s native idioms didn’t always translate well into Alethi.

L: This one’s really cool. It almost reminds me a little of Scadrial, with the ash falling all the time—the first part of this would make total sense there, scrubbing the walls to be white… but a sun at NIGHT? Maybe she means… a star? This is just baffling.

Gavilar waited in the sitting room, dressed in one of those new suits with the stiff jacket and buttons up the sides of the chest.

A: Even before he was born, Adolin was getting an example of fashionability!

a playful windspren whipped at the smoke, making it blow across him no matter where he stood.

A: It all makes sense now.

Numuhukumakiaki’aialunamor

L: Say that ten times fast. (Every time his full name is shown I just have to stare at it in amazement… because I, clearly, am an airsick lowlander.)

Beautiful lights and fallen stars

L: This ranks up there with Dresden’s “Stars and Stones” as one of my favorite phrases. And another one:

Blessed gods of sea and stone.

* * *

“You’re not a king, Lopen,” Drehy said. “We’ve been over this.”

“Of course I am not. I am a former king. You are obviously one of the stupid ones I mentioned earlier.”

A: Lol. (Also, have we addressed this before?)

“Finding a smile on your face, Kaladin Stormblessed, is like finding lost sphere in your soup. Surprising, yes, but very nice too.

A: ::snickers::

It was made of tough wood, Bridge Four was.

L: Continuing the metaphor/symbolism/whatever.

“When you say these things, you are almost not bitter!” Lunamor said. “Ha! Much practice must have been required.”

“A lifetime.”

A: *sigh* And last one, I promise:

Lopen shoved in close and made the Bridge Four salute. It seemed to mean something special, coming from him. Two arms. One of the first times Lopen had been able to make the salute.

Phew! If you’re still with us, thanks for sticking it out! This was certainly a long one, but there was a lot worthy of discussion in these chapters. Chapter 38’s pretty long, so next week we’ll be tackling it by its lonesome. As always, please join us for respectful debate, discussion, and theorizing in the comments!

Alice is wiped out after a rather phenomenal “ladies night out” for Phantom of the Opera. She has very few brain cells left with which to craft a witty bio this week. Good thing she did most of the above writing before going out.

Lyndsey is heading out later today for a photoshoot in Boston for her Star Lord cosplay. Check out her Facebook account for amusing photos of cosplay on mass transit…

citation

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