Welcome back to the continuing avalanche, O Rereaders of the Tor! It’s just getting crazier by the chapter; this week, we take a few steps forward on multiple fronts (nine-count-’em-nine POV characters!) and have some awesome mental images to swoon over. (Okay, maybe that’s just me?) Anyway. Onward!
First, please welcome Paige back to the reread this week! Lyndsey is called away for personal reasons, and Paige has generously stepped in at the last minute to keep my brain from exploding. (A: Or at least… trying…) (P: Nah, I wouldn’t let you explode.) (A: I knew you’d take care of me!)
Reminder: We’re working hard to focus on the events of just this chapter, which are a gracious plenty to work with, but we may reference anything up to the end of the book in the discussion. If you haven’t finished it by now, you really have no excuse. (A: Also, if you’ve read this far and haven’t just kept going, I… I don’t know what to think. You can stop in the middle of an avalanche? Are you human?) (P: Only a monster would do such a thing. It is known.)
In this week’s reread we also reference a few minor details from Warbreaker in the Cosmere Connections section, so if you haven’t read it, best to give that section a pass. But again, if you haven’t read Warbreaker by now, you really, really should fix that. (P: I have spoken. Well… Alice has spoken, but we are one voice today!)
It’s getting harder and harder to keep any kind of cohesion in a reread when we get to this kind of POV-jumping. A few paragraphs here, a few there, overlapping, touching on different aspects… My apologies up front if it doesn’t seem to hang together; we can but do our best and hope to start some discussion! I do hope you all actually go read the chapter, because that’s the only way this shindig is going to make sense.
WHO: Dalinar, Adolin, Shallan, Lift, Szeth, Kaladin, Navani, Shalash, Renarin
A: Good grief. Who don’t we hear from in this chapter? Jasnah, Venli, and Bridge Four?
P: We do see Jasnah, though she doesn’t speak. Also Fen. Taln. The gang’s all here!
WHERE: Thaylen City, both realms
Dalinar sends Lift to retrieve the King’s Drop, then confronts Odium, who has just sent his two thunderclasts to wreak havoc.
Adolin’s attempt to distract the Fused turns deadly and he is badly wounded, but his deadeye spren attacks the Fused, allowing him to escape the vicinity. Meanwhile, Shallan has failed to gain the cooperation of the Oathgate spren, and the second Fused is about to kill her when she unexpectedly manifests a wall between them; she runs to Adolin, and they jump into the bead-ocean together.
Lift chases Fused carrying the ruby, but the Fused is much better with the Surge (P: Ahem, the awesome.) than she is. Szeth and Nale hover above the battlefield, discussing the third Skybreaker Ideal.
Kaladin, having fallen into the beads in the previous chapter, is pulled out onto the land by Sylphrena, and the team regathers. Realizing there’s no chance to get through the Oathgate, Adolin prepares for a last stand to give the others a chance to get away, while Kaladin recognizes the need to say the Fourth Ideal.
Dalinar challenges Odium to a duel of champions. Lift, unable to catch the Fused with the ruby, is about to be crushed by a thunderclast when Szeth destroys it and joins her quest. Navani, intending to go to Dalinar, is captured with Fen and Kmakl by Sadeas soldiers. Ash destroys some artwork, and then finds Taln. Renarin sees fearful visions, and Odium claims Dalinar as his champion.
Title: Champion With Nine Shadows
A: This is one of those rare chapter titles that actually comes from a different chapter, in this case Chapter 24:
How far would he go for the good of all Roshar? How far would he go to prepare them for the coming of that enemy? A champion with nine shadows.
I will unite instead of divide.
A: As you may have noticed by now, I’m fascinated by the chapter titles. I love the way the Stormlight Archive uses quotations as titles, and in Oathbringer I loved the chance to suggest titles for each chapter. But my favorites, like this one, usually turn out to be the rare ones that call back to a moment we had no idea was going to turn out like it did. In the quoted scene, Dalinar was just beginning to form the coalition, and was troubled to realize that Taravangian was joining him out of fear rather than because he actually believed in an alliance. Now it’s come around in a way no one could have anticipated then: Taravangian has betrayed Dalinar, as he’d planned all along; the coalition has collapsed; and Dalinar himself is set up as Odium’s champion.
P: Choosing chapter titles was one of my favorite parts of the Oathbringer beta read. I think our team (especially you and I, Alice!) did a fantastic job with suggestions, and Team Dragonsteel was excellent as always.
Heralds: Vedel, Shalash, Battar, Kalak
Vedel: the Healer, patron of Edgedancers, Loving and Healing
Shalash: Herald of Beauty, the Artist, patron of Lightweavers, Creative and Honest
Battar: the Counsellor, patron of Elsecallers, Wise and Careful
Kalak: the Maker, patron of Willshapers, Resolute and Builder
A: We see our favorite Edgedancer in action, so that probably accounts for Vedel. Shalash herself is plenty to account for Shalash, but Shallan does some pretty creative things as well. I’m a little less clear on Battar and Kalak, so I’m going to put that mostly down to a number of people—especially Dalinar—trying really, really hard to be wise and careful, and also a lot of people resolutely refusing to give up, even in the face of overwhelming odds.
P: I feel that Szeth shows wisdom regarding swearing his Third Ideal; once he decides, he takes immediate and resolute action. Awesome landing, too. 10/10!
Also, Jasnah makes an appearance, which could be why we see Battar.
Icon: Double Eye of the Almighty—we’re gonna get lots of viewpoints again. Surprise!
Beware the otherworlders. The traitors. Those with tongues of sweetness, but with minds that lust for blood. Do not take them in. Do not give them succor. Well were they named Voidbringers, for they brought the void. The empty pit that sucks in emotion. A new god. Their god.
—From the Eila Stele
A: As before, we talked about this; there’s very little new to add, and we don’t want to risk Rhythm of War spoilers, so we’ll just leave it there. Feel free to discuss in the comments, though!
P: Look forward to seeing your thoughts, Sanderfans!
Stories & Songs
“Tell Yushah I want her to stay out here and guard the prison. Kai-garnis did well destroying the wall; tell her to return to the city and climb toward the Oathgate. If the Tisark can’t secure it, she is to destroy the device and recover its gemstones. We can rebuild it as long as the spren aren’t compromised.”
A: Three completely unknown names just casually dropped in here… Yushah and Kai-garnis appear to be the spren or Fused (do we know which?) who take enormous stone bodies to become thunderclasts. When he says that Yushah is supposed to guard the prison… I’m not sure, but I think he must mean the King’s Drop. Last week, there was a good bit of discussion in the comments about how seeing the future changes the future, and I’m now convinced that the purpose of wrecking the Gemstone Reserve was to grab the Drop and keep it from being used to imprison Nergaoul. Ironic, isn’t it—if he hadn’t done that, there’s almost no way Dalinar would have known about the thing, much less been able to get hold of it and use it. I guess Odium didn’t look into enough mirrors!
P: I agree that the spren/Fused Thunderclast sent to guard the prison is guarding the Drop. He goes after Lift, who is chasing down the Fused who has it.
A: I’m totally confused about the Tisark, though. Who are they? It seems fairly obvious that he’s referring to someone expected to take control over the Thaylen Oathgate, but is it the ones in Shadesmar? The ones attacking in Urithiru? The ones in the air above Thaylen City, preparing to stop anyone coming or going via the Oathgate? Does it matter? Probably not, at this point; whichever group it is, they’re supposed to control the Oathgate or destroy it. I’m fascinated by that reference to its gemstones and the spren, which seem to be connected.
P: Yeah, the Tisark are whoever is guarding the Oathgate. The thunderclast is to destroy it if they’re unable to secure it. Thank Cultivation, that probably won’t happen!
The other shook her head, and Adolin could almost interpret her answer. We tried stabbing each one. They keep mixing about, so it’s hard to keep track.
Instead, the female took out a knife and cut her hand, then flung it toward the illusions. Orange blood fell through the illusions, leaving no stain, but splattered against Adolin’s cheek.
P: That’s one word.
How could Dalinar fight this thing, who thought of every possibility, who planned for every outcome? How could he face something so vast, so incredible? …
He would break, go insane, if he tried to comprehend this being. And somehow he had to defeat it?
Honor had been slain resisting this thing.
A: …Yeah. Take on Lucifer himself, mano a mano? Not likely. Champions it is, then.
P: This is really a lose-lose for Dalinar. At least from where Odium is standing.
“Your freedom if you win, our lives if humans win.”
“Be careful what you request, Dalinar Kholin. As Bondsmith, you can offer this deal. But is this truly what you wish of me?”
A: And I mean… how do you know? In the face of something this far beyond you, how do you know whether a contest of champions is even remotely a good idea? How do you have any idea what you’re getting into? And, of course, he doesn’t, but he has to try anyway.
P: He has to try, absolutely. It’s that or Thaylen City falls, the Oathgate falls, Urithiru falls. It’s just him, facing down these armies alone. Oh, and a slick little radiant sliding about somewhere, trying to steal a ginormous gem. All he has is this Hail Mary pass that the Stormfather mentions, and he’s launching that ball into the air because there’s nothing else to be done with Amaram’s army taken by the Thrill.
She wasn’t supposed to get any older; the Nightwatcher had promised her she wouldn’t.
The Nightwatcher had lied.
A: Would I sound like a broken record if I reiterated one more time that I really want to know what was actually said in that exchange, versus what Lift thought she heard? This is yet another case where I’m pretty sure there’s a whole lot more to the story!
P: Lift is nothing if not an unreliable narrator. We NEED to know what happened with the Nightwatcher… and Cultivation, because she totally took a personal interest in our littlest Knight.
A: Theories abound, of course; by now, I just want to know. And of course, Lift’s book is a good ten years away.
P: *quiet sobbing*
Relationships & Romances
Navani scrambled across the top of the wall, alone except for crushed corpses.
Dalinar, don’t you dare become a martyr, she thought, reaching the stairwell.
What was he thinking? Facing an entire army on his own? He wasn’t a young man in his prime, outfitted in Shardplate!
P: I can’t imagine what Navani feels, seeing Dalinar standing down there, alone before Amaram’s army. After all of the time lost between them, she finally gets him, and then she sees him there and knows that she’s going to lose him because he can’t survive. How could he? But what does she do? She tries to get to him. I adore this, and I adore her.
A: What made me giggle (despite the seriousness) was that last part of the quote. Because when he was a young man, outfitted in Shardplate, he could face an entire army on his own?
…Come to think of it, yeah. Maybe not an army this big, but a smaller one…
P: Yeah, that was my thought. The Blackthorn would have stood out there bellowing at them to storming try him.
A: Welp. There’s an image…
There she found him, sitting alone in the dim light, staring ahead sightlessly. […] A king, for all the fact that he’d never once worn a crown. He was the one of the ten who was never supposed to have borne their burden.
And he’d borne it the longest, anyway.
“Taln,” she whispered.
P: Ash wanders the land, stealing and defacing any art of herself she can find. She’s so full of self-loathing, so marinated in guilt… and then Mraize finds her. He tells her of Taln and she goes to find him. How Mraize knows where Taln would be and when is anyone’s guess (spies, spies, everywhere spies), but I’d sure like to know what his motivations are.
A: These two… They could fit just as easily in Stories & Songs, or Bruised & Broken, but I like keeping them here in Relationships. We don’t know exactly what their relationship was, of course, but being bound together for so many millennia would have a profound impact anyway.
We’ll find out a little more about Ash’s destructive tendencies later, but the thing that leapt out at me here was that line about “He was the one of the ten who was never supposed to have borne their burden.” How did that happen? It occurs to me that he may have stepped up to take the place of someone who couldn’t bring themselves to go through with it—and he may have done it for Shalash’s sake. That would be a tragic romance for the ages!
P: I’m jonesing for some backstory, too! I also love this because it seems as if Ash is the only remaining Herald who cares, or even spares a thought, about what they did to Taln by leaving him there to hold back the desolation alone.
Bruised & Broken
A: I know this isn’t really the right place for this, but I can’t find a better one. And it does involve serious damage…
Adolin yanked out his belt knife, then forced himself to his feet, unsteady. The Fused lowered its lance to a two-handed, underarm grip, then waited.
Knife against spear. … He tried to dredge up Zahel’s lessons, remembering days on the practice yard running this exact exchange. …
Zahel whispered to him. … Pull yourself close enough to ram the knife into the enemy’s neck.
Right. He could do that.
He’d “died” seven times out of ten doing it against Zahel, of course.
Winds bless you anyway, you old axehound, he thought.
A: So obviously, I love his recollection of lessons with Zahel, and once again the value of practicing things you would theoretically never have to do. (See: Jakamav laughing at the idea that a Shardbearer should ever have to bother with knives.) It’s just a crying shame that, as good as Zahel is, he can’t fly—so the Fused have yet another advantage that Adolin can’t counter.
P: Adolin would have pulled off the move had he not been fighting a Surgebinder. Zahel likely never considered teaching how to fight one. Why learn to fight something that’s extinct?
Adolin stumbled, trying to reassess. The Fused idly brought the lance back around, then fluidly rammed it right through Adolin’s stomach.
A: This one… It’s made worse by the casual way it’s handled, both by the Fused and by the text. Such a shock.
P: This was a total face-clutching moment for me. I think I audibly gasped during the beta read.
A: Right? They’re doing the dance, fighting the fight, and then it’s just… right through your body, done. WUT?
P: After Elhokar was so suddenly dispatched, I was terrified for Adolin. I was begging for his life as I read.
He wrenched his eyes away from the glass pane showing himself and Jasnah, turning toward one even worse. In it, his father knelt before a god of gold and white.
“No, Father,” Renarin whispered. “Please. Not that. Don’t do it…”
He will not be resisted, Glys said. My sorrow, Renarin. I will give you my sorrow.
P: Renarin, waiting for his own death and pleading for his father to not give in to Odium is utterly heart-wrenching. If your heart wasn’t wrenched, well, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.
This scene really is important, though, and not only because Jasnah thinks she’s sneaking up on Renarin, but because for all we know, this is the future. Renarin is seeing what’s going to happen with Dalinar at any moment. It’s short, but it’s such an intense POV because right in the middle of the Sanderlanche, you have a Truthwatcher (yeah, yeah, corrupted spren, blah, blah, listen. to. me.) who sees what’s about to happen, and it really does seem as if all hope is lost. Even Renarin, who knows it’s about to happen, begs his father not to do it. Heart. Wrenched. Ow.
A: I’m with you 100% on this. He knows full well that he does see the future correctly—the Everstorm was enough to prove that, whatever the source. I found it excruciating that even though he feared what he could do, he still learned to read and write so that he could understand the words his visions were showing him. Now, I can’t help getting the impression that if he could pick between what he saw concerning himself, and what he saw concerning Dalinar, he’d gladly take his own fate if it meant Dalinar could be protected.
P: Doubtless, he would. That boy was always too good for his father. And I like Dalinar.
Diagrams & Dastardly Designs
“A contest of champions. For the fate of Roshar.”
“Very well,” Odium said, then sighed softly. “I agree.”
“Oh, I assure you. This won’t be easy.”
Odium raised his eyebrows in an open, inviting way. A concerned expression. “I have chosen my champion already. I’ve been preparing him for a long, long, time.”
“Him? A passionate man, yes, but hardly suited to this task. No. I need someone who dominates a battlefield like the sun dominates the sky.”
P: This, of course, is the moment when many readers feel that their ‘Dalinar is Odium’s champion’ theories would be realized. Indeed, when reading through his flashback sequences, one can certainly see Odium’s influence.
A: Oh, absolutely. To realize that the whole thing was Odium grooming him for this moment, though, is both shocking and infuriating. All that time, he was being manipulated into this. (Which, of course, makes that other coming scene much more powerful and profound, but we’ll get there soon enough.)
The Thrill suddenly returned to Dalinar. The red mist—which had been fading—roared back to life. Images filled his mind. Memories of his youth spent fighting.
“I need someone stronger than Amaram,” Odium whispered.
“A man who will win, no matter the cost.”
The Thrill overwhelmed Dalinar, choking him.
“A man who has served me all his life. A man I trust. I believe I warned you that I knew you’d make the right decision. And now here we are.”
“Take a deep breath, my friend,” Odium whispered. “I’m afraid that this will hurt.”
P: Here we go, you think. This is the moment. Dalinar will bow to Odium, as Renarin sees in his vision in Pailiah’s temple. He’ll turn, and he’ll destroy the Alethi and Thaylen armies. You know it! You knew it all along, didn’t you? Dalinar is weak, he’s a murderer. Killed his own wife. This is all he was ever good for… betrayal and death. Right?
Squires & Sidekicks
[Amaram’s army] kept uneven ranks, snarling, eyes red. More telling, they ignored the wealth at their feet. A field of spheres and gemstones—all dun—that had been thrown out onto this plain by the thunderclast that destroyed the reserve.
A: I do think it’s worth noting this: A bunch of Sadeas soldiers, not exactly known for their discipline, are ignoring more wealth than they’ve ever seen in their lives. The Thrill is so strong that all they want is to fight.
P: And it’s not as if their personalities have been wiped out. They really do just want to fight more than anything. Just like what happened during the civil war in Jah Keved. You see it in the soldier that captures Navani: He’s coherent, he knows who’s who and where he is and what he’s doing. These guys are scary.
Tight Butts and Coconuts
A: I could just about put everything Lift does into this section this week. She provides notes of laugh-out-loud humor in an otherwise dark and intense chapter. I adore this child.
P: Who’s stopping us? All Lift, all day, boys and girls!
“So…” a sudden voice said from his right. “What’s the plan?”
P: There are a lot of moments in the books thus far that make my heart soar and my soul sing; Lift stepping up beside Dalinar as he stands alone, facing an army of Thrill-enhanced soldiers, and asking what they’re gonna do, is absolutely one of them.
A: Especially since she was supposed to be gone with the Azish fleet!
P: Her decision to stay and help was one thing. But the way she walks out of the city, likely passing through the advance guard of Amaram’s soldiers, to stand alone beside Dalinar, is simply incredible.
Lift may seem simple, but she’s really not. She’s fully aware of the odds involved with the two of them alone facing an army. Armies. But she’s willing to let Dalinar point her where he needs her and be and to see the task done. She’s just so, well… awesome.
You knew it was coming.
“What’s wrong with your army?”
“They’re his now.”
“Did you forget to feed them?”
P: I love that Lift is so centered on food. While it would be nice to not require Stormlight, it can’t be easy going to battle with no books and naught but some jerky in your pocket.
A: Heh. It occurs to me that Dalinar doesn’t yet know about Lift making Stormlight from food. He doesn’t even get the joke—at least not in its full glory.
“Were you … thinkin’ you’d fight them all on your own?” Lift said. “With a book?”
P: While Dalinar may think Lift is touched when the tiny Edgedancer (don’t act like you haven’t thought it!) steps up beside him, it’s nothing compared to what she must be thinking when he says he’s going to fight with a book. I can see the ‘okay, crazy guy’ look on her face!
A: And I’m just cracking up at her view of the world. Hey, everyone’s crazy in their own way, so fighting with a book? Okay, if that’s your thing, you do it.
She shook her head. “Sure, all right. Why not? What do you want me to do?”
“Do you have a weapon?” he asked.
“Nope. Can’t read.”
A: I could go on all day, quoting Lift and laughing my head off! But I’ll stop there, for a bit. “Nope. Can’t read” has to be one of my favorite Lift moments ever, though. Especially the way Dalinar has to do a double-take on her response.
P: A lot of people double-take Lift, but Dalinar’s reaction here is golden.
“Can you steal it back?”
“Easy? I think you might find—”
“Relax, grandpa. Steal the rock. I can do that.”
A: I mean… if you want something stolen, you’ve come to the right girl. She’s the best at the job. Grandpa.
P: Steal something? Easy peasy for this little thief. Right?
“It’s just us two, then?”
“Right. Good luck with the army.”
A: So nonchalant, our Lift. Heh. I’ll take care of the super-powerful dude with the special rock, you’ll take care of the army, and we’ll be back for breakfast. Smoke me a kipper.
P: Have a few pancakes.
She’d tried pleading, cajoling, yelling, and even Lightweaving. It was no use. She had failed. …
A: Poor Shallan—with the whole team depending on her to open the gate, it was just not possible. What an awful feeling. And then, with her illusions on the bridge already having failed, one of those Fused is coming for her. No Shardblade, no Stormlight, no defense.
P: This scene is so fraught with tension. Everyone is running out of resources, running out of options, outnumbered by Fused. This is such an excellent build-up.
And yet in that moment… Shallan felt something. Pattern, or something like him, just beyond her mental reach. On the other side, and if she could just tug on it, feed it …
She screamed as Stormlight flowed through her, raging in her veins, reaching toward something in her pocket.
A wall appeared in front of her.
Shallan gasped. A sickening smack from the other side of the wall indicated that the Fused had collided with it.
What she’d done felt like Soulcasting, yet different.
A: In a moment, Pattern will explain to her that she manifested a physical-world wall in Shadesmar, which is pretty cool in itself. Also, that the Fused smashed into it—and hopefully gave itself a concussion! The thing that struck me just now, though, is… where did she get that Stormlight? Did she just reach into the Spiritual Realm and get Stormlight to manifest this wall? Because if so, that’s… astonishing.
P: This was really interesting, that she felt something like Pattern just out of reach. If only they hadn’t been on the verge of utter defeat, she could have played around with it a bit. Perhaps she’ll revisit this after the events of Oathbringer.
Going about on your knees didn’t look as deevy as standing up—but when she tried being awesome while standing, she usually ended up crashed against a rock with her butt in the air.
A: Heh. We saw that one in Edgedancer. It reminds me of me trying to skate… except that as a little kid, I was a decent ice-skater. Not anything great, but at least I could get around on the ice without falling over. Roller skates were always another matter.
P: I was a passable roller skater but couldn’t stay vertical on ice skates. Ice skaters truly are Edgedancers.
Wyndle sighed but obeyed, streaking off after the Voidbringer. Lift followed, paddling on her knees, feeling like a pig trying to imitate a professional dancer.
P: I think this is rather an impressive metaphor. Lift is a clever little one.
“Yes,” Nin said, nodding, hands clasped behind his back. “Our minds are fallible. This is why we must pick something external to follow. Only in strict adherence to a code can we approximate justice.”
A: I have mixed feelings about this. Adherence to a code can be much better than just making it up as you go, but it depends a lot on the code you pick—and you have to use your own mind to pick that code. So you’re still back to individual responsibility.
P: I definitely think the way the Skybreakers swear to a code to be… off. It’s definitely down to individual choice and responsibility, which is why I love Szeth’s choice.
“When I say the Third Ideal, can I choose a person as the thing I obey? Instead of the law?”
“Yes. Some of the Skybreakers have chosen to follow me, and I suspect that will make the transition to obeying the Dawnsingers easier for them. I would not suggest it. I feel that … I am … am getting worse…”
“Your agony is because you did not follow something unchanging and pure. You picked men instead of an ideal.”
“Or,” Szeth said, “perhaps I was simply forced to follow the wrong men.”
A: For reference, the Third Ideal has the Skybreaker swearing to dedicate himself to “a greater truth—a code to follow.”
This conversation between Nale and Szeth just makes me snort. Clearly, Nale is assuming that Szeth intends to follow him, because of course who else is there? In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I really don’t like Nale very much. The best thing about him is that he has finally accepted that he’s not reliable any more. And I guess I have to give him some credit for at least half-heartedly encouraging Szeth not to follow him. On the bright side, Szeth is thinking of someone else entirely.
P: Nale’s arrogance has bothered me from the get-go. While it’s awesome that he’s found all of these Radiants and trained them, he also murdered countless more. That alone is unforgivable, in my opinion, as is turning away from the humans to serve the Fused.
And he’s right, he is getting worse, so it’s a good thing that Szeth has his eye on someone else.
A: Then there’s Kaladin…
I can’t fail him!
Kaladin looked over his shoulder toward Syl, who held him lightly by the arm.
She nodded. “The Words, Kaladin.”
A: This would seem to indicate that speaking the Fourth Ideal would give Kaladin something that would enable him to protect their team from the six Fused flying toward them with death in their hands. Aside from his Plate (and would he even get that in Shadesmar?), it seems likely from past experience that he would get an infusion of Stormlight directly from the Spiritual realm. I’m still not sure what good that would do; could he actually kill or disable six Fused? And if so, would they have any way back to the Physical realm, even then? Still, leveling up right now would seem to be a good idea.
P: It’s an interesting question, whether live Plate will show up in Shadesmar. I would think no, since Blades manifest as the spren that they are—alive or dead, it stands to reason that the same would go for Plate—also alive or dead.
Leveling up is certainly what everyone wants. We saw Kaladin do it in both The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, so going by those examples, it wouldn’t be unexpected for him to speak the next Ideal in order to somehow save their tight butts.
A: Find me one reader who didn’t expect him to say the Fourth Ideal in the next scene… But we’ll talk about that next week.
An explosion of light appeared overhead, a ball of expanding Radiance. Something dropped from the middle of it, trailing smoke both black and white. Glowing like a star.
A: I just have to insert here how much I love this visual. It’s absolutely stunning.
P: I still require art.
A: Too bad the 10th Anniversary Leatherbound is so far away—they do the most amazing artwork for those!
As the monster raised its fist to strike Lift, the spear of light hit the creature in the head and cut straight through. It divided the enormous thing in two, sending out an explosion of black smoke. The halves of the monster fell to the sides, crashing into the stone, then burned away, evaporating into blackness.
Soldiers cursed and coughed, backing up as something resolved in the center of the tempest. A figure in the smoke, glowing white and holding a jet-black Shardblade that seemed to feed on the smoke, sucking it in, then letting it pour down beneath itself as liquid blackness.
Lift had seen this man before. The Assassin in White. Murderer.
And apparently savior.
P: The fact that Szeth, chilling in the sky above Thaylen Field, chatting with Nale, sees what’s happening with Lift, astounds me. But then, in the literal nick of time, he drops from the sky and uses Nightblood to CUT THE THUNDERCLAST IN HALF! I know I already scored this but again, 10/10 best Stormlight-enhanced landing. Sorry, Kaladin.
And how interesting that not only did Nightblood cut the storming thing in half, he evaporated it. Just… wut? I wants more of the Nightblood, precious…
A: Again, what a visual! Just… slide right down the middle of the walking rock like a hot knife through butter. I could be wrong about this, but I’m betting that he destroyed the spren/Fused at the same time. (Nope, I checked, and I’m not wrong. WoB confirms that this one is dead, dead, dead.)
Nightblood has some… interesting effects, doesn’t he? I just had to go back and look at some of the ways Vasher used him in Warbreaker and… well, no mere thunderclast would stand a chance against him. Flesh? Rock? Whatever, doesn’t matter. Nightblood has come to DESTROY EVIL. And yes, once he’s out of that scabbard, he turns all the things to smoke, and drinks their Investiture if they have any.
A Scrupulous Study of Spren
Mist formed into a small, glittering Shardblade.
… Or no, it was just a pole. A silver pole with a rudimentary crossguard.
Lift shrugged. “Wyndle doesn’t like hurting people.”
Doesn’t like … Dalinar blinked. What kind of world did he live in where swords didn’t like hurting people?
A: I honestly couldn’t decide whether to put this in Spren or Tight Butts—Wyndle and Lift are such a crazy comedy team! In her inimitable fashion, Lift has simply accepted that Wyndle doesn’t want to hurt people, so she’s perfectly content with a bat. Or a fork.
He advanced, slapped away Adolin’s weak attempt at a parry, and raised the sword to strike.
Someone leaped onto the Fused from behind.
A figure in tattered clothing, a scrabbling, angry woman with brown vines instead of skin and scratched-out eyes. Adolin gaped as his deadeye raked long nails across the Fused’s face….
He rammed his sword into the spren’s chest, but it didn’t faze her in the least. She just let out a screech like the one she’d made at Adolin when he’d tried to summon his Blade, and kept attacking.
A: What a shocking, unexpected moment that was!! All this time we weren’t quite sure whether she hated him for “owning” her, or if she was even more than marginally aware of him. And now, when someone is about to kill him, she Absolutely Refuses to let it happen. That’s my human! You keep your grubby sword off him! Lol. I love her so much.
P: This was truly amazing. For a dead-eye to defend her—not a Radiant but, maybe later a Radiant?—was phenomenal. All we’d seen about dead-eyes up to this point indicated that they were mindless. They were dead. And Radiants killed them. So why would this spren defend Adolin as she does? We have our hopes, but the fact that she does this is pretty significant, I think.
A: Oh, absolutely. Well, everyone knows how much I want Adolin to awaken his sword, right? But for a “mindless deadeye,” she sure shows some initiative here. I don’t see how that can not be Significant. They’re supposed to just wander the seas except when someone locks them in one place. They’re NOT supposed to attack people, much less in defense of the human who uses them. But she does, and she is angry. It seems she appreciates Adolin.
“Oh, I don’t like this,” he said.
“You don’t like nothin’.”
“Now, that is not true, mistress. I liked that nice town we passed back in Azir.”
“The one that was deserted?”
A: Oh, poor Wyndle. As much as I love the comedy duo, I sometimes feel bad for him. At the same time… I can’t help thinking that he just might be enjoying himself more than he’ll let on, and he just likes yanking her chain.
P: I‘m sure he spends moments lamenting the loss of his chair garden, but I do think he adores Lift. As evidenced by his next quote.
“Mistress!” Wyndle said. His vines climbed over her, as if trying to cradle her. “Oh, mistress. Summon me as a sword!”
P: This is big. Wyndle doesn’t enjoy being a sword. Granted, a thunderclast isn’t a person, so he could hack at it without any moral issue, I would think, but still… this shows how worried he is for Lift.
A: I agree. I’m not sure how much he could have done, even as a sword, to protect her. I’m not entirely sure how much the thunderclast could have damaged her, either, except that I think she was pretty low on food and wouldn’t be able to keep healing much longer. But his willingness to be a sword is noteworthy anyway. I believe that, as much as he complains, he truly cares for her.
P: Not today, Odium.
- He wasn’t sure where Syl had gone, but Pattern seemed to be enjoying himself, humming pleasantly and swinging a glass branch.
- They couldn’t hold her. She just slid away. It was like they were trying to grab hold of a song.
- “Well starve me,” Lift said. “She’s more awesome than I am.”
- How could he face something so vast, so incredible? Touching it, Dalinar could sense it stretching into infinity. Permeating the land, the people, the sky, and the stone.
- Odium has learned to possess men. A dark, dangerous day. He’d always been able to tempt them to fight for him, but sending spren to bond with them? Terrible.
And how had he managed to start a storm of his own?
Well, that was fun! In a manner of speaking, anyway. Join us in the continuing avalanche next week, as we tackle Chapter 118. More POV characters, and even more POV shifts than this week. Wheeeee! Yikes.
Alice is very much enjoying the Rhythm of War beta read, which is stirring up much … animated discussion, shall we say? She’s also seriously considering an Elantris reread once the Oathbringer reread is done, in case anyone is looking ahead.
Paige resides in New Mexico, of course, and writes in an attempt to stay sane. No, really. Imagine if she didn’t write. Yeesh. She’s fully into baseball fangirl mode as Spring Training has begun and Opening Day draws ever nearer. Go Yankees! Don’t judge. Links to her available works are provided in her profile.