Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Rhythm of War Reread: Interludes 1 (Sylphrena, Sja-Anat, Into the Fire)

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Hello, my Cosmere Chickens, and welcome to the first REAL installment of the Rhythm of War reread! (I don’t really count the read-along posts, because we couldn’t reference anything that happened later in the book.) This installment covers the first set of interludes between parts one and two.

Reminder: We’ll be discussing spoilers for the entirety of the series up until now. If you haven’t read ALL of the published entries of the Stormlight Archive (this includes the novellas Edgedancer and Dawnshard, as well as the entirety of RoW), best to wait to join us until you’re done. And yes, we will be mentioning things that happen later in the book, because these Interludes are stuffed full of foreshadowing.

Heralds

  • For Syl’s chapter, all four Heralds depicted are Jezrien, Herald of Kings and patron of the Windrunners. This makes perfect sense, for an Honorspren.
  • Interestingly, all four icons for Sja-Anat’s chapter are Palah (Paliah), patron of the Truthwatchers. This is of particular note considering the fact that two Truthwatchers are Bonded with spren that have been corrupted by her! (Renarin, and by the end of this book, Rlain.)
  • Taravangian’s chapter Heralds are all of Chach, aka Chanarach (Chana), the patron of Dustbringers. She’s also the Herald associated with bravery/obedience. Now, Mister T has a Dustbringer in his employ, it’s true. But I wonder if the bravery part is the important aspect in this chapter. He truly believes that he’s being brave and self-sacrificing in his actions. Also, there’s a lovely bookending effect with the fire in his hearth, appropriate to Chana’s connection to fire. So, multiple reasons for Chach.

Icon: New icons! I love the one for Syl, and Sja-Anat’s is really cool, too. I particularly like the two-faced symbolism in Sja-Anat’s. We know she’s got some sort of double-agent thing going on, so this is very cool to see and makes a lot of sense. Taravangian’s… confuses me. Is this supposed to symbolize the Diagram?

A: Gorgeous new icons! I agree that Taravangian’s is confusing, but it reminds me a lot of the King artwork on some playing cards. At least, that’s where my mind went, and in my chapter notes spreadsheet, I called it “sword king.” It may be intended to invoke the Diagram, the sword, and the king all at once—and possibly even a few other things! I’m assuming the artist knew the connections that were going to be made by the end of the book, anyway.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Sylphrena; Sja-anat; Taravangian
WHERE: Urithiru; Kholinar; Urithiru
WHEN: Sylphrena: 1175.3.8.3 / Sja-Anat: 3.10.2 / Into the Fire: 3.10.4

(Note: For the “when” notations, we are using this wonderful timeline provided by the folks at The 17th Shard.)

Syl reflects on how she wishes she could help Kaladin with his depression. She asks both the Stormfather and Dalinar to Connect her to him more fully so she can better understand, and is rebuffed by both.

Sja-Anat sends off one of her children to visit Mraize and is visited by Odium. The two play a complicated game of mental chess and lies.

Taravangian sends all of his attendants away, as he’s planning on betraying Dalinar in order to secure safety for his home and his people.

Overall Reactions

She didn’t simply hear secrets; she took them. She made them hers. And she kept them.

L: We don’t really have a section that works for the Unmade, so this commentary is going here.

A: I like the way she talks about keeping her secrets from everyone. Whether she’s going to turn out to be “good” remains to be seen, but her determination to be as independent as possible is confirmed, and is very intriguing.

…existing between the Physical and Cognitive Realms. Like many of the Unmade, she belonged to neither one fully. Odium trapped them in a halfway existence. Some would manifest in various forms if they resided too long in one place, or if they were pulled through by strong emotions.

L: Well, this is new information!

A: It’s going to be helpful info in Part Two, also, as Team Envoy-to-the-Honorspren heads off into Shademar. I love that Sanderson popped this hint in the Interlude, so we’re primed when it becomes relevant to people who have to be in one Realm or the other.

…it wasn’t that she had a foot in each realm; more, she was like two entities that shared a mind.

L: Well that’s interesting! And also makes that new icon make even more sense!

A: I wonder… there are three Realms. Is that why she has three faces in the icon? That’s a way cool concept.

L: Somehow I totally missed the third face until just now. ::facepalm::

During the long millennia before this Return, she’d mostly slumbered. Without her bond to Odium she had trouble thinking.

L: Ahhh, that makes the long absence of the Unmade make sense. They’re like the spren; unable to function without their Bonded one nearby. So… are the Unmade some sort of spren that Odium has Bonded to himself, then?

A: I… I really wish I understood their origin story. I think there’s a strong chance they were “great spren”—maybe just a step below the Nightwatcher and Stormfather—that Odium coopted, but now I can’t help wondering about something I hadn’t really considered before: Could they be one from each family of sapient spren (except Bondsmiths, who have different spren anyway) that Odium Nahel-bonded? It would make a certain amount of sense, though I’ll have to think about it with both hands to make a proper Tin-Foil-Theory out of it.

L: Well, now that we have one that’s a “sort of kind of good guy,” maybe we will get a backstory flashback.

A: Incidentally (last-minute addition)—Sja-anat slumbered because she had trouble thinking without her Connection to Odium. Is that why Nergaoul was still active? Because there’s not much thinking going on anyway, so it’s no different than normal?

But she knew she was not as smart as Odium was. She could keep only a few secrets from him, and she had to choose carefully, clouding them behind other secrets that she gave away.

A: Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. I can’t help thinking that this is foreshadowing something that we won’t see fulfilled until the back half. Or maybe book five, at the earliest. We’ve already gotten just a hint of it, of course, in the way her modifications to Glys have made Renarin “invisible” to Odium and blurs his sense of those in the same physical vicinity. I hope, anyway, that more of her modifications will spike further plans, because no matter who the Vessel is, I do not trust that Shard.

God of all adopted spren.

L: Adopted? Interesting word choice there…

A: Indeed.

She did not corrupt. She Enlightened them, showing them that a different path was possible.

L: Hmm. A different path than what, exactly?

A: Different than adherence to the way marked out by Honor and/or Cultivation—or Ishar? I can imagine how it might apply to the intelligent spren, but I’m baffled what “different path” she could show windspren.

Her children darted away to do her bidding, then one of her greater children manifested. A glowing and shimmering light, constantly changing. One of her most precious creations.

I will go, Mother, he said. To the tower, to this man Mraize, as you have promised. Odium will see you, she replied. Odium will try to unmake you.

I know. But Odium must be distracted from you, as we discussed. I must find my own way, my own bond.

L: There’s a lot to unpack here! First of all. Greater child? Looking for a bond?! I’m curious if this is the one that Bonded Rlain.

A: This is definitely my assumption. It’s pretty clear in this passage that Sja-anat is sending a corrupted enlightened mistspren (like Glys) to Urithiru, but that actually bonding Mraize is optional. I figured that he went, took a look at the Ghostbloods, noped out, and looked around for a better option. Also, there’s a point (chapter 30) where Mraize is ragging on Veil because he’s “still waiting for the spren she promised would bond me,” and Veil retorts along the lines that Sja-anat only promised to send the spren, not that it would choose him, and if the spren doesn’t want to bond him, it’s his own fault. So I think it’s a pretty solid bet that this is Tumi, the one that eventually bonds Rlain. I could be wrong, but Occam’s Razor is a Thing.

L: Second! Mraize is still hanging out in Urithiru, is he? It makes sense, as that’s where all of the important stuff is going on.

A: UGH. I mean, we knew he was there in Oathbringer, when he was pretending to be a Sadeas soldier, and we also knew he had Shallan’s brothers brought there. So… yeah, I suppose it makes sense that he’s still there. His notion that he can demand a spren bond is pretty arrogant—not to mention ridiculous—but it fits his personality.

If he were to know the deepest secret parts of her soul, he would not be surprised. For she had come from him. Unmade by his hand.

But as with all children, she had become more.

A: What more? I find Sja-anat the most intriguing of all the Unmade at this point, because the range of possibilities for her future activities is so broad. I expect this to come to fruition more in the back half of the series, though—probably along about the time we get Renarin’s book.

Odium’s song—like a rhythm but more resonant. One of the three pure tones of Roshar.

L: A concept which will, of course, become very important later.

A: Heh. Indeed. I love the way Sanderson slipped so many little hints into this first set of Interludes that will have Huge Implications And Effects later on.

“I am eager for the invasion,” she said. “I will very much like to see my cousin again.”

L: Cousin, eh?

A: I’m really wondering about this… I mean, she admits that she says it mostly to annoy Odium and make him suspicious of her desire to go to Urithiru, but I’m betting there’s some level of truth in it. I’ve wondered if, originally, there were ten children of Honor and Cultivation, and the Sibling is the only one who wasn’t Unmade. So many possibilities.

Music, Mechanisms, and Manifestations of Light

Sylphrena felt the energy of the approaching highstorm like one might hear the sound of a distant musician walking ever closer. Calling out with friendly music.

A: We didn’t know it yet the first time we read this Interlude, but what foreshadowing! Music is going to be a strong theme in this book, particularly in combination with the light brought by the two storms. I recall enjoying the imagery the first time through, but I didn’t think too hard about it at the time. On the reread, this is just brilliant, and it’s funny to read how he hammers it in with multiple references to the music in the storm throughout this Interlude.

…and the tower had been bright with lights… A strange kind of light…

L: This is from Syl’s memories of the Tower from before the Recreance. It’s interesting that she says a strange kind of light, since we can now definitively say that it was Towerlight that was powering it.

A: More foreshadowing! Again, we had no idea, at this point in the book, that there was anything but Stormlight and Voidlight available as sources of Investiture. Syl drops this hint that there’s another kind, and before we’re done, we’ll learn a whole lot more.

Spren and Shadesmar

She was invisible to almost everyone but those she chose—and today she chose the children.

L: Absolutely adorable.

As always, small thoughts bombarded her as she flew between them, waving, smiling, changing shapes repeatedly from one moment to the next.

L: Hmm, fascinating, considering how the windspren are what forms the Plate eventually. They’ve got a very distinct link that we can see here through this psychic connection. I’m so curious as to what types of spren form the other orders’ Plate. I bet the Lightweavers’ is creationspren, considering how often Shallan sees them around her. My spheres would be on gloryspren for Bondsmiths.

A: Yep. Lifespren for the Edgedancers is almost a given, they way they cluster around Lift, and I’m betting on flamespren for Dustbringers. Elsecallers might be logicspren. I’m not ready to guess at any of the rest.

How had the first honorspren—or cultivationspren, or inkspren, or peakspren, or any of the other intelligent ones—been created? Had they been shaped from raw Investiture by Honor himself? Had they grown out of these, their cousins?

L: A really cool question! Was Honor using the original spren as blueprints for his new creations, or did he actually change existing ones? Evolved them somehow, with Investiture?

A: Did he Make them from the lesser spren, and then Odium Unmade some? That’s my current theory, but it could change at any moment.

She felt so much kinship with them, though they were clearly different. Not as smart. Could she help them become smart?

A: Absolutely fascinating thought, coming as it does just before an interlude with Sja-anat. Is there a connection?

“You never make choices. You merely blow as you always do.”

I AM BUT THE STORM. YOU ARE MORE.

“You avoid responsibility,” she said. “You claim you do only what a storm must, but then act like I’m somehow wrong for doing what I feel I must!

L: Gotta respect Syl for standing up to the Stormfather!

A: Yet more foreshadowing. Later in the book we get to see Dalinar arguing the exact same point with the Stormfather.

THIS IS OUR WORLD. IT BELONGS TO THE SPREN.

L: Ooooh, interesting. I wonder what he thinks about the listeners’/singers’ claim to the world.

A: I do find this an odd sentiment. As I understand it, the spren are a manifestation of the thoughts of those who live on the planet, so until there were people capable of thought, there would have been no spren. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe it doesn’t take sapience to form spren. We don’t really know much about the appearance of lifeforms on the planet, I guess…

She wished she could talk to objects like Shallan did, and hear each one’s story.

L: For some reason I never considered that “hearing” the thoughts of inanimate objects was something that only the Lightweavers and the Elsecallers could do, and the spren could not.

A: Never crossed my mind. Fascinating.

Bruised, Broken, and Disabled

Syl’s ADHD 

Thoughts bombarded her. What did it feel like to be a tuber being cut? How long had it taken Rock and Song to come up with Cord’s name? Should Syl have a name that was a poem? Maybe they had a name for her among the Horneaters. Did they have names for every spren, or just important ones?

L: Brandon has confirmed that he’s written Syl as presenting ADHD.

A: Which is… unexpected, to me. It never occurred to me that spren would have the same kinds of mental issues as humans. They’re sapient, so I guess… why not? It was interesting that she points out that it’s not an honorspren thing, because “the others weren’t like her, except maybe Rua.”

Also, I love her musings on Cord’s name.

She often had trouble in a room full of talking people, whether they were humans or spren. She would be intrigued by every conversation, her attention diverted constantly.

L: This is something that a lot of my friends with ADHD talk about!

One might have thought the storm would be the same way, but it wasn’t loudness that bothered her—it was a diversity of loudnesses. The storm was a single voice.

A: From a slightly different angle, this is something that my son could tell you all about. He doesn’t mind loud music at all, but the chaotic nature of a room full of unfocused conversations drives him nuts.

Kaladin’s Depression

[Kaladin] needed [Syl’s] help, and she couldn’t give it. She couldn’t understand.

L: I’ve been on both sides of this situation, and it’s just so, so hard.

However, there was a reason he’d had difficulties as a surgeon in the past. He would continue to have the dark brain. This wasn’t a solution. She needed a solution.

L: Oh, Syl. You poor sweet child.

CHILD. REBELLIOUS CHILD. YOU HAVE COME TO ME WISHING.

“I want to understand him,” Syl said, revealing the thought she’d been holding—protecting—and sheltering. “Will you make me feel the darkness he does, so I can understand it? I can help him better if I know him better.”

L: Oh gosh. I just want to give her a hug. I wish I could tell her that understanding won’t necessarily help her to “fix” Kaladin. Even when you understand completely, you may not have the tools needed to give someone who’s drowning that hand to pull them up. They have to want to find their own salvation. Guidance can be offered, of course. But there’s no magical fix for depression. This is an overarching theme in the series, and one that’s been talked about a lot in the fan communities before and after the release of this installment.

The thing was, Kaladin wasn’t just some human. She’d picked him deliberately out of millions and millions.

L: I’d just like to point out that I love the fact that Sanderson is very distinctly calling out the fact that someone with depression is worthy. So often, depression tells us that we’re unworthy, that we’re useless or helpless or unwanted. Syl chose Kaladin out of MILLIONS of people, despite his depression. Or maybe because of it. If you, dear chicken, are one who suffers from this as well, remember that you’re in good company with Kal (and I, for that matter). You are worthy, just as he is, just as I am. And remember that he’d be proud of you and want you to keep fighting.

“He’s different, isn’t he?” Syl said. “Worse, because his own mind fights against him.”

“Different, yes,” Dalinar said, leaning on the railing next to her. “But who is to say what is worse or better? We each have our own Voidbringers to slay, Brightness Sylphrena. No man can judge another man’s heart or trials, for no man can truly know them.”

L: Much respect to Dalinar, here.

“You can help without knowing exactly what he’s feeling. You can be available for him to lean on.”

“I try. Sometimes he doesn’t seem to want even me.”

“That’s likely when he needs you most.

L: Oof. Yeah. When we pull away is often when we’re hurting the most. It’s so hard to reach out, when you’re in that dark place. You feel like a burden to everyone around you.

Maybe I can already understand Kaladin, she thought. I had a dark brain of my own, for a while.

She had to remember what that had been like.

L: Storms, I just… I respect Sanderson’s handling of this so much. Once you’re out, it can be hard to remember just how deep and dark that hole can be. The fact that he has loved ones who suffer from depression has helped him to portray it well, I’m sure.

A: Lyn, I’d like to pass on a question from last week’s comments. I answered for myself, and I think your comments here answer most of it, but the question was this:

When you’ve struggled with depression and mental illness, and you read Kaladin and Shallan go through their traumas AGAIN in this book, after they’ve gone through multiple book’s worth, what is your reaction? Are you thankful that Sanderson is portraying this so realistically? Are you wishing they would have shown more improvement by now? Do you agree that this should be depicted so unflinchingly, or are you more like “I’ve already endured this in real life, I don’t need to read 4000 pages of a fictional character going through the same thing.”

(They already saw my response, so I won’t repeat it here. Basically, it was “yes.”)

L: It can be hard to face, because I love the characters and don’t want to see them suffer the same way that I do (in Kaladin’s case at least). But there’s also some relief and joy in seeing representation of my struggles in a character I love. My struggles with depression can’t be magically erased with the wave of a wand (or with Bonding a spren), so it’s nice to see this reflected in a book and think, “hey, I’m not alone. Kal’s struggling too… and he keeps going. I should too.”

Oaths Spoken, Powers Awakened

She rolled off the counter and zipped over to examine Cord’s Shardplate stacked neatly in the corner. … Maybe Syl should have hated it, as she did Shardblades, but she didn’t. It was kind of a corpse—well, lots of corpses—but not as offensive. The difference, she supposed, was attitude. She could sense contentment, not pain, from the Plate.

L: Reminder for those who may not have read Dawnshard: Cord got this Shardplate during that book, on the expedition to Aimia. I find it interesting that the spren that make up the Plate aren’t deadeyes…

A: Definitely interesting! Ever since we started suspecting that the lesser spren form the Plate, though, we’ve been seeing hints of this attitude. The windspren that dance around Kaladin all the time seem so eager for him to be ready. It’s almost like their ultimate joy in life is to be a shield for someone, and if they’re locked into that form, that’s perfectly fine with them. I do hope Sanderson will explore this more, eventually.

YOU ARE SO CERTAIN THAT YOUR HUMAN IS THE CHAMPION, the Stormfather said. I DO NOT THINK THE WORLD WILL BEND TO YOUR WISHES.

L: It’s long been supposed that Kaladin’s going to wind up being the Champion. I think that’s… too obvious. Sanderson’s too crafty for that!

A: Heh. I love the way he gives us some of the obvious answers, but only some. The rest are only obvious in hindsight.

I HAVE THE POWER, BUT NOT THE ABILITY.

L: Well, that’s an interesting distinction. So it’s like… he has a bunch of water, but no means to pour it?

A: This one makes my brain hurt! It makes sense if I close one eye, I understand it, but… I can’t put it into words any other way. Or maybe that’s just old age.

“A Bondsmith Connected the Heralds to Braize, made them immortal, and locked our enemies away. A Bondsmith bound other Surges and brought humans to Roshar, fleeing their dying world. A Bondsmith created—or at least discovered—the Nahel bond: the ability of spren and humans to join together into something better. You Connect things, Dalinar. Realms. Ideas. People.”

L: Lots of information here that we’d either only heard in passing or had to infer from clues dropped along the way. I especially find the part about Connecting the Heralds to Braize interesting. It makes sense; I’d just never really considered before that that must have been what happened so that they kept returning there after each death.

A: I love every bit of new information, or confirmation… and each one makes me want more. I also want to know what she means by “other Surges” that were used to bring humans from Ashyn to Roshar; I suspect they may actually be different than the ones we’ve seen, because each world is slightly different. But I’m just guessing.

Cosmere Connections 

The mind did not like being questioned, but the power… It liked questions. It liked arguments. It was passion.

There was a weakness here. In the division between the Vessel and the Shard.

L: And weaknesses, of course, exist to be exploited!

A: Yissssss!

Secret Societies

Besides, the farther they progressed, the less accurate the Diagram became.

L: But it doesn’t matter now, because they’ve achieved their end.

A: Sadly enough. Or at least, short-sightedly enough. Not that it will matter… I wonder if Rayse!Odium, assuming he won the battle of champions, would actually have killed all the humans just for fun anyway, or if he’d have just left them and the singers there to duke it out while he yeeted off to look for other Shards to shatter.

How lucky was he, to have had a friend for… storms, seventy-three years?

L: Man, for all his evils… sometimes I really do feel bad for the guy.

A: Almost… Well, I’ll give him this, he takes personal responsibility for his decisions. I can respect that, at least.

“The Diagram,” Taravangian said, “has served its purpose. We have protected Kharbranth. We have fulfilled the Diagram.

L: We’ve written so much about the moral quandary of Mister T’s actions that I don’t want to keep belaboring the point aside to mention that I really appreciate how well-written his character is.

A: Yeah… a well-written character that I thoroughly dislike.

“Dismantle our secret hospitals; release our soldiers to the city guard. If there are any middling members you think know too much, give them a time-consuming ‘secret’ quest far from civilization. Danlan should be among the first of this group.

“As for Delgo, Malata, and the others too useful to waste, I think they will accept the truth.”

A: Point one: At least the secret “hospitals” will be gone, finally. So there’s that. Point two: Danlan was never more than a useful tool, who has now outlived her usefulness. I give low odds on her surviving her “secret quest.” Point three: I’m sure he’s right about Malata (his pet Dustbringer from Oathbringer), since she’s never been committed to his cause for its own sake. She’s always been in it for her own advantage. We know nothing about Delgo; I wonder if he’s another Dustbringer?

Taravangian would be given to the Alethi for execution, and his corpse would be burned without a proper funeral. The Alethi gave no honors to traitors.

L: He made of himself a martyr, one who would be remembered forever as a traitor, but he ensured the survival of his people. What a fascinating character.

A: Also, yet more foreshadowing. None of this will actually happen, but it will look like it did. The corpse burned beyond recognition will be another’s but since he’ll have vanished, he’ll get whatever funeral rites they’re willing to give.

He’d be dead, so what did he care about a funeral?

L: Interesting, how much our names after we die mean to us. We want our memories to live on. We want to be remembered, and remembered well. It’s… such a human trait.

A: No matter what we think we believe, we all have eternity in our hearts.

“Too often,” Taravangian said to Maben, “those who write history focus on the generals and the scholars, to the detriment of the quiet workers who see everything done. The salvation of our people is as much your victory as mine.” He bowed and kissed her hand.

L: Sanderson, you’re making me tear up over TARAVANGIAN, what? How?! Stop it! (Also of particular note, considering what he becomes…)

A: I still wonder… Is Maben really who she appears to be? I think she is, but I’m always suspicious of the quiet ubiquitous ones.

While I promised to do whatever was necessary to save our people, I will not go one step further. Not a single death more than needed.

L: Here’s more of that murky moral territory, again.

A: It’s a little ironic, though. He won’t let his friend die for him, but he’s okay with thousands and millions of other people dying. Never mind all the people who died for the death rattles, whether they actually gave one or not.

Dukar bowed. “My king. My eternal king.”

A: Bahahahaha! Little does he know how true that’s going to become. No, little stormwarden, your tests will no longer be needed…

A real hearth, with real wood, dancing with flamespren. His pyre.

He walked to the hearth and watched the dancing flamespren before dropping his copy of the Diagram into the fire.

A: I loved the symmetry of these lines—one near the beginning, before his friends arrive to say their goodbyes, and one at the end after they’ve left, when the writings that have driven them all go up in smoke.

TinFoil TheoryCrafting

Anytime too much power—too much Investiture, too much self—congregated, realms became porous and time behaved oddly.

L: It’s that most rare of occasions, when I actually don a tinfoil hat myself. I foretell that eventually in the Cosmere, so much Investiture is going to be gathered in one place that they’re going to go back in time to fix the Shattering.

A: Wow! As tinfoil theories go, that’s pretty astounding!

Geography, History, and Cultures

She barely remembered the place from before, when she’d bonded her old wonderful knight. He’d spent most of his life traveling to little villages, using her as a Shardblade to cut cisterns or aqueducts for the people.

L: This is really cool, to finally see some concrete memories of Syl’s old Knight Radiant.

A: And what a wonderful man he must have been! Not worrying about glory, or what might be due his position, he went around to little villages to do public works projects, because he could do it so much more easily than they could. It’s really neat to see that this is what the old Knights Radiant could be: fighting and protecting when needed, but also watching out for the little needs of ordinary people. A true public servant.

“He died. My knight, Relador. He went to fight, despite his age. He shouldn’t have, and when he was killed, it hurt. I felt alone. So alone that I started to drift…”

L: Poor guy. And such a Windrunner thing to do. Protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves, almost certainly.

A: I was so happy to see a name for him. And yes, very much a Windrunner at heart.

Humans

Guide her well, and do not trust Dova. Having met more of the other Heralds, I’m certain Battah is not as stable as she seems.”

L: Oh hey, another Herald “sighting!”

A: While I do believe she’s a Herald, I’m still not convinced she’s Battah, and Sanderson hasn’t yet (as far as I can ascertain) confirmed it. There’s a RAFO from a couple of years ago, and that’s it. Hmm.

Brilliant Buttresses

She turned into a tuber anyway and rolled around on the counter to say thanks.

L: Okay, fan-artists. You’re up. Draw Syl as a potato. We’re counting on you.

A: LOL! Have I got a deal for you. Courtesy of Elizabeth Johnson in The Stormlight Archive Facebook group, Behold: Syltato!

The timing of Lyn’s request is hilarious, because just a week ago, someone posted a game: “Make this potato into a Cosmere character, and everyone else will try to guess who it is.” Along with having a lot of fun, we learned that if the Facebook algorithm thinks you are calling or comparing someone to a potato, you get a “violation of community standards on bullying and harassment” notice. (I guess you can probably only get to that link if you’re part of the group, so there’s that… Sorry.)

L: Thanks a lot, Gordon Ramsay.

Honorspren—all of the intelligent spren—were something new to Roshar. Well, new as in ten-thousand-years-old new. So… newer.

A: Unintentional humor on her part, perhaps, but this cracked me up. (Might be worth noting that the intelligent spren seem to have come along just about the same time as the conflict between the humans and the singers… Within five hundred years or so, anyway.)

 

Well, that’s us for this week, blazing through all three Interludes. Next week, we begin Part Two: Our Calling. Chapter 20 is long enough that we’ll be dealing with it alone.

We’ll be leaving further speculation to you in the comments, so have fun and remember to be respectful of the opinions of others!

Alice is not going to comment on current events; there’s too much of that going around. Instead, she’ll be up there in the rainy PNW rereading 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. Look for her @Wetlander on your social media sites (still on Facebook, checking out the functionality of several others). Not that she’ll say anything cool or interesting, but she might be there.

Lyndsey wants you all to remain safe over the next couple weeks, and entreats you to remember that Black lives still matter. If you’re an aspiring author, a cosplayer, or just like geeky content, follow her work on Facebook or Instagram. She also messes around on TikTok from time to time.

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