Oathbringer Reread

Oathbringer Reread: Chapter One Hundred and Two

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On this week’s installment of the Oathbringer reread, our intrepid Shadesmar explorers take a shopping trip in Celebrant! They discover many interesting things, from paintings to the object permanence qualities of clothing, to… Fused? Here in Celebrant?! Read on, dear readers, and join us in more detail-picking and theory-crafting!

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in each reread—if you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

In this week’s reread we also discuss some minor spoilers from Mistborn: Secret History and Warbreaker in several sections, so if you haven’t read those, beware.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, Azure, Pattern, Syl, and Maya.
WHERE: Celebrant, in Shadesmar
WHEN: 1174.2.4.5 (This is officially the day after Chapter 101, so even though no noticeable time has passed for the team in Shadesmar, it is presumably the following day in the Physical Realm.)

In Celebrant, Kaladin, Adolin, and Syl are on a shopping trip for clothing, weapons, and other supplies. Kaladin discovers a painting that reminds him of the urgency of their mission, then Syl is recognized—turns out she has quite a price on her head. They make their way back to the docks, where Azure, Shallan, Pattern, and Maya are trying to secure passage. However, their plans go upside down when they realize that the “routine inspections” are actually overseen by the Fused. Ico’s ship is burned and Syl reveals herself in order to gain passage on an Honorspren ship.

Beginnings

Title: Celebrant

L: Well, this one’s easy enough. They arrive in Celebrant this week, so… there’s your chapter title!

Heralds: Chach, aka Chanarach (Chana). Brave/Obedient. Dustbringers. Role: Guard. Soulcasting Property: Fire. Essence: Spark

A: On a guess, a lot of this choice is based on the Fused (accidentally?) setting fire to Ico’s ship. Probably part of it is also the behavior of… pretty much everyone on the team, guarding one another as much as possible.

L: I wonder if the stone spren we were seeing a lot of were Dustbringer spren….

Icon: Oddly enough, Pattern is the icon for the chapter; that usually denotes a chapter starting with Shallan’s POV, but in this case it begins with Kaladin. That’s okay, though; Shallan—and Pattern—get into the act soon enough.

Epigraph:

Moelach was said to grant visions of the future at different times—but most commonly at the transition point between realms. When a soul was nearing the Tranquiline Halls.

–From Hessi’s Mythica, page 114

A: This is interesting timing. I just had a conversation on Facebook about the real origin of the Tranquiline Halls concept. Per WoB, it’s actually Ashyn. I speculated that the reason the story says that the Voidbringers conquered the Tranquiline Halls is that some of the humans on Ashyn somehow accessed Odium’s Investiture, and that’s why their Surgebinding became more dangerous and damaged the world so badly.

But here, Hessi is clearly referring to where a person’s spirit goes when they die. We know from Mistborn: Secret History as well as Warbreaker that most people go to the Cognitive Realm and then (usually) to the Beyond. We also know that the Heralds and the Singer ancestors, whether in the Cognitive or the Physical Realm, go to Braize, not the Beyond.

None of that has to do with Moelach, of course, but I thought it was interesting. In any case, Hessi and Taravangian clearly agree on the source of the Death Rattles. I think I need to go back and review those, and see what kind of correlations people have been making. How informative are they, anyway?

Stories & Songs

A figure stood up there, with the marbled skin of a parshman. He floated a foot or two off the deck next to Ico, looming like a stern tutor over a foolish student.

“Perhaps,” Azure said, “we should have asked who runs the inspections.”

A: Talk about hindsight…. That was definitely unexpected. Not to mention, unfortunate.

“It’s a unique piece, human,” she said. “From the far-off Court of Gods, a painting intended only for a divinity to see. It is exceptionally rare that one escapes being burned at the court, and makes its way onto the market.”

“Nine shadows,” Kaladin said. “The Unmade?”

“This is a piece by Nenefra. Is it said that each person who sees one of his masterworks sees something different.”

L: I wonder how much of this is BS just so the seller can make it seem more important/worth more than it really is. I’m skeptical of the “everyone sees something different” bit, but that part about the Court of Gods… what could this possibly be in reference to? All I could think was Warbreaker, but I don’t think that scans….

A: Yep, he’s talking about Warbreaker. That much is confirmed by WoB, if only by his acceptance of the assumption in questions; however, he won’t say if the painting here is one we actually saw there, or just another one from there. It’s probably fairly valuable, being from another world, but I agree that the seller is most likely making up some of the schtick here, though whether that’s for a bigger sale or to gloss over the fact that he can’t see anything special, I won’t guess! About that “everyone sees something different”… Brandon was extremely evasive about whether or not that was true, or how it works. I’d bet that Investiture — on Roshar, a spren bond — is part of being able to see anything at all in it.

L: Well, nice to know that my instincts were right for once!

Relationships & Romances

“And I’m… I’m kind of like a spren lighteyes. I didn’t want you to know. In case you hated me, like you hate them.”

L: Oh jeez. This breaks my heart. Poor Syl.

Places & Peoples

According to the signs Syl could read, some items were far more expensive than others. Syl seemed to think the difference had to do with how permanent the thing was in Shadesmar—which made Kaladin worry for the clothing they’d bought.

L: Interesting. So their economy is based not entirely on export/import, but on object permanence?

A: It makes sense, doesn’t it? I sympathize with Kaladin’s concern!

According to the list from the dock registrar, [the honorspren ship] was heading someplace called Lasting Integrity—which was to the southwest.

A: I wonder if it’s located at the point corresponding to Kharbranth. It seems reasonable, though I don’t know why that should be a center for honorspren.

Tight Butts and Coconuts

“What’s that?” Kaladin asked.

“Clothes!”

“Why do you need clothes? Yours are built in.”

“Those are boring.”

L: Bless you, Syl. Never change.

Sylphrena, the Ancient Daughter?” one shouted.

“That’s me!” she shouted back. “You’d better catch me before I scamper away! Wow! I’m feeling capricious today. I might just vanish again, off to where nobody can find me!”

L: I can’t even with her. I adore her.

A: Such a hoot—and at the same time, such self-sacrifice. After spending all this time in disguise because there’s a reward for her capture, she throws it all away on their one chance to get away from Celebrant and the Fused there.

Weighty Words

“You… you are a Radiant? The old oaths are spoken again?”

“Yes,” Shallan said, helping Adolin’s spren to her feet.

The frightened little spren sat up straighter. “Oh, glorious day. Glorious! We have waited so long for the honor of men to return!”

L: I really love this reaction.

A: Let’s see… this is a “vine spren”—an Edgedancer’s spren, or Cultivationspren. These are the ones who sent Wyndle to seek out and bond Lift; as a whole, they seem inclined to approve of the Radiant bonding. Not all the spren races are so eager, but it sure is nice to see this one!

A Scrupulous Study of Spren

The city wasn’t as densely populated as most human ones, but the variety of spren was stunning. Reachers like Ico and his sailors were common, but there were also spren that looked much like Adolin’s sword—at least before she’d been killed. They were made entirely of vines, thought they had crystal hands and wore human clothing. Equally common were spren with inky black skin that shone with a variety of colors when light hit them right. Their clothing seemed part of them, like that of the Cryptics and honorspren.

L: So we’ve got Edgedancer spren (Cultivationspren) and Elsecaller (Inkspren) ones. I’m curious about the crystal hands on the cultivationspren, and also why they’re wearing human clothes!

There were other spren with skin like cracked stone, molten light shining from within. Still others had skin the color of old white ashes—and when Kaladin saw one of these point towards something, the skin stretching at the joint of his arm disintegrated and blew away, revealing the joint and knobs of the humerus. The skin quickly regrew.

L: I’m very curious about what orders these spren represent!

A: An educated guess says that the first are the spren of Stonewards, and the second likely the spren of Dustbringers. We don’t have a name for the Stone spren yet (unless they’re Stonespren), but later in the book, Malata calls her Dustbringer-spren an “Ashspren.” She also implies that they aren’t very excited about the human bonding, an attitude that’s reflected in the ones they meet here:

They eyed the humans with overt hostility, and one flicked fingers toward Kaladin. Those fingers exploded to bits of dust, leaving bones that grew back the flesh.

A: Well, thanks for that mental image!

“No children,” Kaladin noted.

“There have been a few,” Syl said. “They just don’t look little, like human children.”

“How does that even work?” Adolin asked.

“Well, it’s certainly less messy than your method!” She scrunched her face up. “We’re made of power, bits of gods. There are places where that power coalesces, and parts start to be aware. You go, and then come back with a child? I think?”

L: This is pretty fascinating to consider.

A: I laughed pretty hard about Adolin’s response, that it sounded much like what his nanny told him about where babies come from. But I have to wonder whether it’s really like that (which would be a funny twist) or if Syl was told the equivalent of a human evasion.

“There are many varieties [of Voidspren],” she said. “Some of golden light, others are red shadows. Curious, yes. And it sounds like some of the Fused are with them—men with shells that can fly. I did not know this.”

L: The thing I find interesting about this is that Pattern finds it “curious.” Did he not expect for there to be different kinds of Voidspren?

A: That’s what it sounds like. That, or he’d simply never thought about it, so now he’s curious.

I have to wonder (I seem to be doing that a lot!) whether the red here reflects what we’ve been told about the significance of red in the Cosmere; it should, anyway. Per WoB, red indicates the corrupting or co-opting of one Shard’s Investiture by another Shard—not a specific other Shard, but any other. If that’s the case, these red Voidspren ought to be spren originally from Roshar who are now Invested by Odium’s power, while the golden ones are most likely solely of Odium.

[The Fused] stopped at the mouth of the alleyway, watching them board the ship. Honorspren gave it pause, apparently.

A: Isn’t that interesting. We know the honorspren seem to be standoffish, but this indicates that the Fused is, if not actually frightened of them, at least extremely cautious about them. Why?

Sheer Speculation

And sitting in a locked, glass-topped box, a long thin silvery chain.

“A thousand broams?” Kaladin asked. He looked down at the box, which was locked to the table and guarded by a small orange spren that looked like people.

L: I mean…. When I read a silvery chain the first thing I always think of are the chains (a’dam) the sul’dam use in Wheel of Time to control women who can use the One Power. This could be an homage, but Sanderson doesn’t usually do this. I find it more likely that this is something that’s going to come back somewhere down the line—because otherwise, why would he have mentioned it in the first place?

A: Why, indeed! My first thought was of the necklace Shallan’s father gave her, which is confirmed (in-world, anyway) to be aluminum, which “can only be made by Soulcasting.” We know that’s not quite true, but it seems to be the standard assumption. I don’t think it’s the same item, because this is described as “a long thin silvery chain” and Shallan’s necklace was described as “a necklace of fat silvery links.” Still… what are the odds that it’s aluminum, and therefore valuable throughout the Cosmere?

 

Next week, we’ll tackle chapter 103, returning to Dalinar’s POV in a vision, where he has a very odd conversation with… who or what, we can speculate then!

Alice is, as promised, busy running all over the Puget Sound area with her daughter’s volleyball team. One more regular season game, and then it’s tournament time. Whee!

Lyndsey isn’t sure what to do with her weekends now that she doesn’t have the renaissance faire eating up all of her time, but at least she has the Starsight release party in Utah next month to look forward to. If you’re interested in following along with her trip to Utah, follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

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