Reread ahoy! Welcome back to the Oathbringer Avalanche, as we polish off the remaining twelve POVs in this crazy long chapter, beginning with Adolin fighting the thunderclast just after Venli speaks her first Ideal. This wraps up the battle part of the finale, but there’s still a ways to go. Buckle up, and let’s ride this thing. Hands in the air! (Also, apologies for the mixed metaphors.)
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. (Are you kidding me? Is someone out there not finished?)
No Cosmere spoilers in the main article this week—we’re much too busy with Roshar at the moment.
Alice: Before we get started, you may have noticed that “Paige from New Mexico” is joining me again this week. Lyndsey is engaged in the emergency production of fabric masks for a nearby hospital; while she is really sad to miss sharing this chapter with y’all, that’s a higher priority. It’s not so much a matter of protecting those who cannot protect themselves; more protecting those who are busy protecting others. If you’re a stitcher, please check for local needs and help out if you can. If the hospitals don’t need them, there are others who do. Many veterinarians, for example, are donating their supplies to the hospitals and clinics, and would be extremely grateful for cloth masks to replace them. We’re going to get through this, you know.
Paige: Love that Lyndsey is fighting the good fight by helping with this worthy cause. I’m honored to stand in for her. What’s up, Sanderfans? Hope everyone is doing well and keeping safe. Maintain that social distance, stay home (when possible), and scrub-a-dub-dub before you use generous amounts of hand sanitizer.
WHO: Everyone, again.
WHERE: Thaylen City, again.
WHEN: 118.104.22.168, again.
Beginning on page 1167 in your hardcover: Adolin and Maya fight the thunderclast despite not having his Plate, he’s badly injured. Renarin finds and heals his brother, then takes over the thunderclast effort with help from a Thaylen Shardbearer carrying Maya; once that thing is banished, he finds the Oathgate guarded by twelve Fused but is oddly unfazed by this. Szeth and Lift, with help from Shallan’s Lightweaving, steal back the King’s Drop; Lift takes it to Dalinar in the red mist. Meanwhile, Kaladin is fighting Amaram and varying numbers of Fused, trying to keep them all distracted from Dalinar. Bridge Four, led by a leveled-up Teft, arrives with the first Kholin army troops via Oathgate, just in time for Rock to save Kaladin’s life by killing Amaram. Dalinar embraces the Thrill one last time, and traps it in the perfect gemstone. Odium, the Fused, the parshman army, some of Amaram’s troops, and the Everstorm all vacate the premises. It’s over.
Title: The Spear that Would Not Break
“Ten spears go to battle,” he whispered, “and nine shatter. Did that war forge the one that remained? No, Amaram. All the war did was identify the spear that would not break.”
Jezrien, Herald of Kings. Windrunners. Protecting/Leading. Role: King.
Nalan, Herald of Justice. Skybreakers. Just / Confident, Role: Judge
Talenel, Herald of War. Stonewards. Dependable / Resourceful. Role: Soldier
Ishar, Herald of Luck. Bondsmiths. Pious/Guiding. Role: Priest
Icon: The Double Eye of the Almighty represents the “everyone, again” POVs
If the journey itself is indeed the most important piece, rather than the destination itself, then I traveled not to avoid duty—but to seek it.
—From The Way of Kings, postscript
A: This chapter is chock full of awesome moments, and many of them just don’t fit into our usual set of units. When we could put things logically into a unit this week, we did so; the rest are just collected right here.
“All right, Maya,” Adolin said. “We’ve practiced this.”
He wound up, then hurled the Shardblade, which spun in a gleaming arc before slamming into the Fused on Hrdalm’s chest, piercing her straight through. Dark smoke trailed from her eyes as they burned away.
A: Well, so much for “I’m not a Radiant, I can’t do much.” Dude and Deadeye just took out a Fused for the duration of this battle, anyway. Or… at least until the soul can get back to the Everstorm and grab another body, which has to take a few minutes, anyway… And Hrdalm, the Thaylen Shardbearer, is back up and helping Adolin fight the thunderclast.
P: Both Adolin and Kaladin beat up on themselves far more than is healthy. It’s expected with Kaladin, considering his depression. My therapist is constantly telling me to stop being so hard on myself, so I understand Kaladin’s self-deprecation. But I don’t get why Adolin is constantly undervaluing himself when he’s so obviously valuable. This hurling his Mayablade to impale a Fused is HELLA impressive.
Renarin! He didn’t have Plate. How—
The thunderclast’s palm crashed down on Renarin, smashing him. Adolin screamed, but his brother’s Shardblade cut up through the palm, then separated the hand from the wrist.
… He seemed to heal more quickly than Kaladin or Shallan did, as if being crushed wasn’t even a bother.
P: I love that not only did Renarin run toward the thunderclast without hesitation, but he does some awesome Shardblade work whilst being crushed by said thunderclast. It’s really cool to see Adolin witness this and see how awesome his little brother is as a Radiant.
A: Renarin’s always had a warm corner of my heart, so it’s an absolute delight to see him in this chapter, forceful and resolute. (Well, mostly…)
As the first Fused came for him, Szeth ducked into a roll and cancelled his lashing upward. He collided with a rock, acting dazed. He then shook his head, took up his pouch with the ruby, and launched into the air again.
Eight Fused gave chase, and though Szeth dodged between them, one eventually got close enough to seize his pouch and rip it out of his fingers. They swept away as a flock, and Szeth slowly floated down and landed beside Lift, who stepped out of the illusory rock. She held a bundle wrapped in clothing: the real gemstone, which she’d taken from his pouch during his feigned collision. The Fused now had a false ruby—a rock cut into roughly the same shape with a Shardblade, then covered in an illusion.
A: Heh. Remember that bit last week where Lift wanted a favor from Shallan? Now we know what it was. I love watching the Radiants working together, pooling their various skills to achieve crazy/fun things.
P: I adored Lift’s idea and the way she went about asking for Shallan’s assistance with the illusion. That was some very quick and deevy thinking by our littlest Radiant.
A: Last week she had that flippant little line about “Relax, grandpa. Steal the rock. I can do that.” This week, we get to see just how slick she can be, swapping the rocks. That girl.
Within [the red mist] Dalinar was a shadow, with two flying Fused besetting him. …
The hulking Fused came for him, and instead of dodging, Kaladin let the creature ram a knifelike spur into his stomach.
P: I know that the Radiants have the incredible ability to heal themselves, but every time one of them deliberately takes this kind of injury, it makes me cringe. I mean, they’ll heal, yes… but they still feel the pain until they can heal the injury and that’s just… owie. Big bada boom owie.
A: I know, right? He knew what he was going to do and that it would be the best way to accomplish what he needed, but… Yeouch!
… He grabbed the creature’s hand and Lashed him upward and toward the mist. The Fused flipped past his companions in the air, shouting something that sounded like a plea for help. They zipped after him.
P: This creates a very satisfying visual. Fetch, boys!
A: And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor. (Sadly, I couldn’t find a gif for that one. Some of you will recognize it.)
“I made you! I forged you!” He leaped at Kaladin, propelling himself off the ground, hanging in the air.
P: On Lyndsey’s behalf, I’m reminding Alice to keep track of the surges that Amaram uses.
A: I shall endeavor to do so!
And in so doing, he entered Kaladin’s domain.
P: I love this. Kaladin is struggling in this fight with an Unmade-enhanced, double Shardblade wielding lunatic and he can’t get the drop on the guy. But wait… you want to float like a butterfly, do you? Do you feel lucky?
A: Well, not so much, no…
… The highprince swung, but the winds themselves curled around Kaladin, and he anticipated the attack. … He spun and slammed her against the gemstone at Amaram’s heart. The amethyst cracked, and Amaram faltered in the air—then dropped. …
Kaladin floated downward toward him. “Ten spears go to battle,” he whispered, “and nine shatter. Did that war forge the one that remained? No, Amaram. All the war did was identify the spear that would not break.
P: This line is such a stand up and cheer moment. Brandon is so good at such moments and I love this one.
A: Oh, no kidding. This is sheer brilliance. I… I just run out of the right things to say about these scenes. ALL the feels.
Dalinar Kholin knelt not far away, clutching a large ruby that glowed with the same strange phantom light as the Fused. The Reshi girl stood with her diminutive hand resting on his shoulder.
The Blackthorn was crying as he cradled the gemstone.
A: This one, too. That image… I’d love to see a Whelan painting of this scene, but it’s perfectly clear in my mind. After all the terror, the action, the carnage, every single person (except Jasnah) on the edge of being killed, and then… this. Both cause and effect, and it’s beautiful.
P: I’d take a Whelan painting of any of a number of scenes from this massive part 5 Sanderlanche. I’m always down for Whelan art.
Stories & Songs
Kaladin sparred with the Fused who had the strange overgrown carapace…
P: This has got to be one of the creepiest Fused we’ve seen yet.
Kaladin swept with the Sylblade, cutting through the Fused’s forearms. That sheared the spurs completely free and disabled the hands. …
The creature’s cut arms had regrown, and—even as it swung its hands—a large club formed there from carapace.
A: This guy is just weird and nasty. What Surge is it that allows him to regrow limbs and form weapons from its own carapace in mere seconds? Progression, I guess? Whatever it is, YIKES.
Oh, yeah, about that keeping track of Amaram’s Surgebinding! Last week, we caught him using Cohesion and Friction. Here’s more:
The eyes still glowed deeply within, and the stone ground somehow burned beneath his crystal-covered feet, leaving flaming tracks behind.
A: That would be… um… one of the Dustbringer Surges. Division, I think, “the Surge of destruction and decay.”
Amaram launched himself into the air.
He soared in an incredible leap, far higher and farther than even Shardplate would have allowed. And he hung for a time…
“Syl,” he hissed as Amaram landed. “Syl, that was a Lashing. What is he?”
A: Gravitation, I presume.
The ground rippled and became liquid, almost catching him again. Fire trailed behind Amaram’s arms as he swung with both Shardblades. Somehow, he briefly ignited the very air.
A: Those aren’t new, if I’m right and these are Cohesion and Division again. He’ll use Gravitation again, too, in a later scene. So that’s four. As near as I can tell, that’s all he used, though Kaladin would probably say that four Surges was four too many.
P: Every time he used a new Surge, he got scarier.
… the thunderclast collapsed—crushing houses in its fall, but also breaking off its arm. It reached upward with its remaining arm, bleating a plaintive cry. Renarin and his companion—the Thaylen Shardbearer—had cut off both legs at the knees. …
“You did good,” the Thaylen said. He nodded toward the thunderclast, which got to its knees, then slipped. “How to end?”
It will fear you! Glys said from within Renarin. It will go. Make it so that it will go. … Light. You will make it go with light. …
It was in pain. It could hurt. …
Renarin raised his fist and summoned Stormlight. It glowed as a powerful beacon. And…
The red molten eyes faded before that light, and the thing settled down with a last extinguishing sigh.
A: That “bleating a plaintive cry” almost had me feeling sorry for the thing, but… after the way it tried to smash my boys Adolin and Renarin (and everyone else, for that matter)… Nah. It was pretty cool to see it fleeing before Renarin’s Stormlight, though. What a victory for the kid who was “never going to be a soldier.”
P: That was a great moment. The whole scene with Renarin fighting that monster was fantastic.
Do you know how we capture spren, Dalinar? Taravangian had said. You lure the spren with something it loves. You give it something familiar to draw it in… Something it knows deeply. … He lifted the gemstone above his head, and—one last time—embraced the Thrill. …
“Now, old friend, it is time to rest.” …
P: During the Oathbringer beta, I didn’t care for the fact that Dalinar was so nice to the Thrill. Of course, knowing that it had to be lured, I understand Dalinar’s approach. Still don’t really care for it, though. The Thrill is super creepy.
A: I guess I didn’t quote a critical moment there… so I’ll put it here, out of order. This is what makes me sort of understand what was going on:
That very thirst for the struggle—the fight, the victory—had also prepared him to refuse Odium.
“Thank you,” he whispered again to the Thrill, “for giving me strength when I needed it.”
A: Oddly, he’s saying almost the opposite of what Kaladin said about the spear that would not break, but they’re looking at things from different angles. All those years of the Thrill pushing him to win, to never surrender, helped him become the man who could look past the pain to the prize he most wanted—and he truly wanted the freedom of taking responsibility for his own actions.
P: Kudos to Cultivation on a successful plan where Dalinar was concerned!
[Kaladin] couldn’t make out Dalinar anymore, but the mist itself had begun to thrash. Surging and pulsing, it whipped about like it was caught in a powerful wind. …
The red mist imploded, vanishing. All went dark, with the storm overhead growing still.
A: It seems odd that we don’t actually see Dalinar pulling the Thrill into the stone, we just get the effect from multiple other angles—and yet it’s clear as day.
P: The red mist thrashing… what a creepy visual!
Relationships & Romances
“Adolin, don’t be foolhardy!” Renarin grabbed his arm. A burst of healing moved through Adolin like cold water in his veins, causing his pains to retreat.
“Get away,” Renarin said. “You’re unarmored. You’ll get yourself killed fighting this thing!”
“I can handle it, Adolin. Just go! Please.”
Adolin stumbled back. He’d never heard such forceful talk from Renarin—that was almost more amazing than the monster. Renarin, shockingly, charged at the thing.
P: This was a rather stunning exchange for Adolin… to see his younger brother, who he had looked out for his whole life, who suffered from physical ailments that made him appear to be “weak,” order him to stand down and charge a creature of nightmare? Even knowing that his brother was Radiant, I can’t imagine how shocked Adolin would have been.
A: Heh. It makes me grin just thinking about it. There are a couple of scenes in this chapter where Renarin reflects on the difference in the way people treat him now, but the effect from Adolin’s point of view is delicious.
Bruised & Broken
Shadowed darkness. Whispered words. Szeth slowed to a halt.
“What?” Lift asked. “Crazyface?”
“I…” Szeth trembled, fearspren bubbling from the ground below. “I cannot go into that mist. I must be away from this place.”
… That churning red mist, those faces breaking and re-forming and screaming. Dalinar was still in there, somewhere?
A: I always have mixed feelings about Szeth, but I do feel bad for him here. That red mist is enough to creep anyone out, without hearing whispers and seeing faces in it. With his past, it’s really not a surprise that he can’t bear such a physical manifestation of Nergaoul.
P: I definitely feel bad for Szeth; it’s almost as if he suffers from a form of PTSD.
“I hurt, once,” Amaram said. “Did you know that? After I was forced to kill your squad, I… hurt. Until I realized. It wasn’t my fault.”
A: I know it’s 100% deliberate on Sanderson’s part, but the parallel of Amaram’s and Dalinar’s reactions to the offer of “it’s not your fault” is pretty bold. It’s a big theme in Oathbringer: Who takes responsibility for their own actions, who doesn’t, and how do they handle it? Szeth takes full responsibility for all those deaths, and he’s constantly haunted by them. Moash spends his whole time blaming other people for all the bad things in his life, never acknowledging that his own decisions were part of the cause. Dalinar accepts responsibility, because if everything was someone else’s fault, he hasn’t grown through it. Kaladin takes responsibility for everyone else’s decisions, and he’s on the point of crumbling under that weight. I could go on, but… you get the idea. Accepting responsibility breaks you, in a way that makes it possible for you to grow beyond it. Refusing responsibility breaks you in a different way: Just look at Moash and Amaram.
P: Well said, Alice. As you know, this is one reason why I feel that Moash deserves #noredemption. He gave up that privilege (IMO) when he decided that none of his actions were his fault. Yes, the things that Dalinar did were terrible, but he owns it and refused to let Odium take the burden of his sins from him.
“Didn’t you tell me you’d given up that grief?”
“Yes! I’m beyond guilt!”
“Then why do you still hurt?”
“Murderer,” Kaladin said. “You’ve switched sides to find peace, Amaram. But you won’t ever have it. He’ll never give it to you.
P: It’s interesting that Kaladin sees this in Amaram when Amaram gave himself to Odium. I’ve got to admit to a measure of satisfaction that Kaladin is able to make him flinch when he calls him on it… I’m glad that he hurts.
She had decided to stay with Jasnah in the first place to learn. But when the woman returned from the dead, Shallan had—instead of accepting training—immediately fled. What had she been thinking?
Nothing. She’d been trying to hide away things she didn’t want to face. Like always.
A: Speaking of taking responsibility… Shallan has such a weird combination of things going on. She does, at the bottom of it, take responsibility for what she did, even though the worst of it was instigated by some horrible adults in her life. When the responsibility is too much to bear, though, she hides it away in that deliberate forgetting; while I certainly understand this reaction, she can’t deal with it if she won’t face it.
P: Poor Shallan’s eternal struggle. I fear she’ll never heal until she unpacks all of this strife and faces it fully. I worry about our little Lightweaver.
The lights in their eyes started to go out. … Many immediately fell to their knees, retching on the ground. Others stumbled, holding themselves up by sagging against spears. … the Fused inexplicably retreated back toward the ships. The parshmen rushed to follow, as did many of Amaram’s troops—though some just lay on the broken stones.
A: Sanderson doesn’t elaborate on it, but you have to think, don’t you, that the soldiers who follow the Fused to the ships are probably going to be fighting this war on Odium’s side.
P: Oh, definitely. They’re a bunch of Moashes.
Diagrams & Dastardly Designs
“… Brightlord, there’s been an attack at Urithiru. … It appears that a strike force of some kind arrived at the advent of the Everstorm.” … “Radiant Malata is the only way for our armies to reach us through the Oathgate,” Teshav said. “But we can’t contact her, or any of the Kharbranth contingent. The enemy struck them first. They knew exactly what they had to do to cripple us.”
A: So innocent, they are. The idea that Taravangian and his pet Radiant are trying to sabotage Dalinar just never even occurs to them. Which, of course, is why it’s so effective.
P: One of my pet peeves, this… the unwavering faith in Taravangian. Bah.
Squires & Sidekicks
He crawled out onto the street, half expecting Skar and Drehy to be there to pull him to his feet. Storms, he missed those bridgemen.
A: We miss them too, Adolin. (Recall, at this point we assumed they were dead in the Kholinar palace.)
P: Yeah, Adolin’s mention of these beloved B4 members was a knife-twist when we thought they’d met a bad end.
Rock and Lyn landed next to Renarin.
“Ha!” Rock said. “What happened to uniform? Is needing my needle.”
Renarin looked down at his tattered clothing. “I got hit by a large block of stone. Twenty times… You’re not one to complain, anyway. Is that your blood on your uniform?”
P: Rock chastising Renarin over the state of his uniform is so wonderful. This is such a great moment of levity after the tension of the chapter.
“We had to carry him all the way down to the Oathgate,” Lyn said. “We were trying to get him to you, but he started drawing in Stormlight as soon as he got here.”
“Kaladin is close,” Rock agreed. “Ha! I feed him. But here, today, he fed me. With light!”
P: Honor love you, Rock!
Rock lingered, then grabbed Renarin in a very warm, suffocating, and unexpected embrace.
Renarin did his best not to squirm. … You weren’t supposed to just grab someone like that.
“Why?” Renarin said after the embrace.
“You looked like person who needed hug.”
“I assure you, I never look like that. But, um, I am glad you guys came. Really, really glad.”
“Bridge Four,” Rock said, then launched into the air.
P: Poor Renarin. I feel his discomfort at the extroverted Rock grabbing him in an unexpected and unwanted hug.
A: At the same time, I’m really happy to see his internal acknowledgement that the meaning of it mattered to him. The hug itself was deeply uncomfortable, but Rock’s insistence on their brotherhood was most welcome.
In the darkness, Kaladin could see something streaking from the city. Brilliant white lights flying in the air. …
Amaram raised the Shardblade high.
“Bridge Four,” Kaladin whispered.
An arrow slammed into Amaram’s head from behind… He made a choking sound, then turned about just in time to catch another arrow straight in the chest—right through the flickering gemstone heart. …
A glowing figure stood on some rubble beyond, holding Amaram’s enormous Shardbow. The weapon seemed to match Rock, tall and brilliant, a beacon in the darkness.
P: Of course, the Sanderlanche is full of whoop-and-holler moments, and this one is no different. Someone else did save Kaladin, and of all people, it was Rock, from the rubble, with a Shardbow.
A: This just-in-time rescue was truly a fist-pumper! When you think it through, too, you realize that Rock made a snap decision—not thinking it through at all—that he couldn’t fly fast enough to reach Kaladin in time, but this enormous bow could get an arrow there. I’m sure he knew, even as he did it, what he was doing to himself, but he put Kaladin’s life ahead of his own right here.
Kaladin glanced toward Rock, who stood over Amaram’s body, looking down, the enormous bow held limply in one hand.
P: This made me so sad for Rock, but he did what he had to do to save his Captain.
A: He did, and we don’t know yet what the cost to himself will be. What’s the punishment for a Horneater who takes up arms outside the cultural structure? Rock obviously views it as a serious breach of… well, protocol, if nothing else, but I suspect it’s more than just “rude” to him.
Kara will fight with the others—don’t tell anyone, but she’s been practicing with a spear since childhood, the little cheater.
A: Including this because it’s so cute. Also, it makes me picture Kara Stewart with a spear, and that’s just a priceless image anyway.
P: I can totally see it!
Places & Peoples
The helm had stylized eyebrows like knives sweeping backward, and the Plate was skirted with a triangular pattern of interlocking scales.
A: Thaylen Shardplate FTW! I wonder if its original owner was Thaylen, or if it’s just belonged to that kingdom so long that the eyebrows and fish scales have become inherent.
He’d… he’d gotten too accustomed to the invincibility of Plate. But his suit was back in Urithiru—or hopefully coming here soon on Gaval, his Plate standby.
A: I know this is a pretty minor thing, but I do love the note that they designate a “Plate standby” in case a Shardbearer is away or incapacitated when a battle is happening. Somebody should use it, and this way there’s no arguing about who “somebody” should be.
P: Plate is definitely too valuable to sit around unused in case the bearer is unavailable somehow.
Szeth of the Skybreakers had, fortunately, trained with all ten Surges.
A: How cool is that? There’s so much we don’t know about the Shin and the Stone Shamans yet, but this is a fascinating data point: Some people, and we don’t know who or how many, train with all the Honorblades they hold. Given that (as far as we know) they still hold all the Honorblades except Nale’s and Taln’s, that covers all ten Surges. Hopefully, we’ll learn a lot more about this in book five.
P: I love that Szeth is so knowledgeable regarding the Surges. It shows us at how much of a disadvantage the rest of our Radiants find themselves while trying to figure out their own Surges. Looking at you, Lift and Shallan.
A: With that background, he’d make a great all-around Radiant-trainer. Mental image: Szeth teaching Lift to ice skate. Heh.
Tight Butts and Coconuts
“Any idea where you want us?”
“I’m… um… not really in command or anything…”
“Really?” Lyn said. “That’s your best Knight Radiant voice?”
“Ha!” Rock said.
“I think I used up all my Radianting for the day,” Renarin said.
A: I’m not sure which is funnier, Lyn’s question or Renarin’s answer, but it was one of those precious comedic moments that relieves stress without reducing the excitement one bit. (At least, it is for me.) I have to hand it to him, though, Renarin did a lot of Radianting today. He’s probably not done, either, because he’ll be down there healing everyone once it’s over, as well as working the Oathgate for the next couple of hours.
P: He certainly does his share of Radianting during and after the battle.
Dalinar drifted in the Thrill’s embrace. … He hadn’t changed in one giant leap, but across a million little steps.
The most important always being the next, he thought as he drifted in the red mist. …
A small hand gripped Dalinar’s.
He started, looking down. “L-Lift? You shouldn’t have come in here.”
“But I’m the best at going places I’m not supposed to.” She pressed something into his hand.
The large ruby.
A: I love the way Lift is written. Every time she shows up, it seems, there’s a funny little jolt in the writing. There’s this passage where Dalinar is drifting, thinking deep thoughts, and then blip here’s Lift. He seems to have momentarily forgotten that he sent her to get the King’s Drop and bring it to him. In return, she’s all nonchalantly proud of being where she shouldn’t be yet again. I love Lift.
P: I adore Lift. She’s so wonderfully innocent and earnest.
One figure didn’t melt like the others. A woman with jet-black hair… stepped between the enemy and Shallan, Radiant, and Veil. The ground turned glossy, the surface of the stone Soulcast into oil. Veil, Shallan, and Radiant were able to glimpse it in the Cognitive Realm. It changed so easily. How did Jasnah manage that?
Jasnah Soulcast a spark from the air, igniting the oil and casting up a field of flames.
P: Jasnah is the unsung hero of the Battle of Thaylen Field. She is so wonderfully badass with her Soulcasting and Shardplate-enhanced soldier-hurling, that she deserves more fan love.
A: Words fail me when I look at what Jasnah does in this battle. The way it’s written is such a weird combination of understated and overwhelming… like Sanderson wants us to know what an incredible badass she is, but he doesn’t want us to focus on her too much because that’s not where the story is right now. I love it. And her.
She took Shallan by the arm—but Shallan wavered, then puffed away. Jasnah froze, then turned to Veil.
“Here,” Radiant said, tired, stumbling to her feet. She was the one Jasnah could feel.
A: This is… I don’t quite know what to say. This started out with Shallan inadvertently creating illusions of Veil and Radiant to support her; then she created extras of herselves to keep the army from killing her; by the end here, she’s got illusions of Veil and Shallan, while the solid one is Radiant. I’m so confused… Also, something just registered. Radiant was wearing Shardplate in the first illusion… does that mean Shallan is actually wearing Shardplate, if she’s Radiant at the end? Jasnah doesn’t mention it, so I assume not, but… huh.
P: Yeah, this could have used some clarification. Perhaps Shallan wasn’t strong enough to manage after what she’d done with her illusions but it was weird for her to become Radiant.
“We shouldn’t have ignored this,” Radiant said. … She slipped—for a moment—into viewing Shadesmar. …
“Not too far,” Jasnah warned. “You can’t bring your physical self into the realm, as I once assumed you could, but there are things here that can feast upon your mind.”
P: That’s not at all terrifying. Also, yes they really should have worked on some Soulcasting!
A: They should have. Shallan is just way, way too good at avoidance. Oh, and this puts to rest (if it wasn’t resting already) the idea that Shallan went physically into the Cognitive realm when she Soulcast earlier. She’s not actually capable of doing that. The danger is in letting her mind go too far in.
Jasnah waved her hand toward the approaching Fused—and stone formed from air, completely encasing them.
It was brilliant. Any who saw it in only the Physical Realm would be impressed, but Radiant saw so much more. Jasnah’s absolute command and confidence. The Stormlight rushing to do her will. The air itself responding as if to the voice of God himself.
P: I’ll say it again… Jasnah is beyond badass.
“The portal has to be opened,” Renarin said.
“Your Highness…” Teshav said. “You can’t fight them all.”
“There’s nobody else.” He turned to go.
Shockingly, nobody called for him to stop. …
… It felt wonderful and terrifying at once to know that nobody did that today.
P: I can imagine how conflicted Renarin must feel here; on the one hand, he’s glad that nobody is telling him not to do what he’s doing, but on the other hand, he’s terrified that nobody is telling him not to do what he’s doing!
One of his fits struck him. … Stained-glass pictures, panel after panel.
These had always been right. Until today—until they had proclaimed that Jasnah Kholin’s love would fail.
P: This was such a cool scene. Especially when Renarin began to smile because of what he saw.
A: That was priceless. On a first read, you just have no idea what to expect from it. What would make him smile in a moment like that?
Light exploded from the Oathgate platform in a wave. The Fused cried out in a strange tongue, zipping into the air. A luminous wall expanded from the Oathgate platform in a ring, trailing a glowing afterimage.
It faded to reveal an entire division of Alethi troops in Kholin blue standing upon the Oathgate platform.
Then, like a Herald from lore, a man rose into the air above them. Glowing white with Stormlight, the bearded man carried a long silver Shardspear with a strange crossguard shape behind the tip.
P: Just… WOW.
A: Yep. Nothing else to say.
He hadn’t changed in one giant leap, but across a million little steps.
The most important always being the next, he thought as he drifted in the red mist.
P: The next step… this sentiment really keeps me going sometimes. Journey before destination, friends.
A Scrupulous Study of Spren
He could hear stone grinding just behind.
He fell to his knees.
Maya! he thought, truly desperate. Please.
Blessedly, as he raised his hands, the Blade materialized.
A: What a moment! This is one of my favorite scenes ever. Maya didn’t need to wait. Syl explained the ten heartbeats once as “syncing a heartbeat to their essence.” I choose to interpret this as Maya already being in sync with Adolin, to some degree, so that this time she didn’t need all ten.
P: I love this scene, too. He needs her and she appears for him. I definitely think it shows that they are in sync, that Adolin has reached her, and that she responds to him. It’s one of the most exciting developments in a really exciting book.
A: However you interpret it, she came sooner when he needed her. And she’s not done:
As he lay there in agony, he felt something—a faint panic on the wind. He forced himself to roll to the side, and a Fused swept past, its lance barely missing him.
A: There’s talk about the deadeyes being “slaves” or “tools,” but Maya seems to care that Adolin survives this shindig. I wonder; in the 1500 years or so since the Recreance, has any Shardblade cared about it’s wielder before?
P: She definitely cares about him, as we see when she attacked the Fused in Shadesmar. The fact that he can sense this from her now is really telling, I think. She’s waking, she is!
As Hrdalm stepped toward the fight, Adolin took the man by the arm, then lifted Maya.
Go with him for now, Maya, Adolin thought.
He almost wished she’d object, but the vague sensation he received was a resigned agreement.
A: Aww. Giving a Blade to a Plate-wearer does make sense when fighting a thunderclast, and I’m pretty impressed that she agreed to go.
Over to Kaladin and Syl:
The highprince battered against the Sylshield with two Shardblades. She, in turn, grew a latticework on the outside—with parts sticking out like the tines of a trident.
“What are you doing?” Kaladin asked.
P: I love that Syl took the initiative to change her form. It worked, too.
A: I’m including the map again, for reference. Some of us like to place these things visually.
Wow. Okay, we made it through the ginormous chapter, with our sanity mostly intact. Now let’s take it to the comments, for your reactions and anything we missed. My thanks again to Paige for stepping up at the last minute, and to Lyndsey for putting priority on the needs of others in a time of crisis.
Next week, we’ll take up Chapter 121, which is about half the length of the one we just finished… so, also huge. (Seriously, we discovered early on that doing more than about 15 pages was usually too much in one week, so now you know the secret to how and when we felt we could combine chapters. Chapter 120 was 45 pages, and 121 is 21 pages. Um… okay, then.) See you in the comments!
Alice is hanging in there, doing the social distancing and hand-washing thing. She actually wore a mask to do the grocery shopping the other day. It was weird. She may need to create cosplay masks if this keeps up. As an introvert, she’s well trained for this, though.
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 a champ at the in-person social distancing but is bereft at the postponement of the MLB season. Links to her available works are provided in her profile.