Cosmere Chickens Ahoy!! Welcome back to the Rhythm of War Reread, as we arrive at our very first (in this book) Dalinar POV. And it’s a doozy. Battles, allies, enemies, fabrials, Connections, revelations, ancient history, new abilities… There’s a ton of action and information packed into this chapter, so let’s get to it.
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 Edgedancer and Dawnshard as well as the entirety of Rhythm of War), best to wait to join us until you’re done.
There’s one very small reference to a Mistborn magic system/user near the end of the Oaths Spoken section.
Heralds: Ishi (Ishar), Herald of Luck, Bondsmiths, Pious/Guiding, Role: Priest.
Nalan (Nale), Herald of Justice. Skybreakers. Just/Confident. Role: Judge.
A: I’d say these are both pretty obvious. Ishar represents Dalinar’s Bondsmith abilities, which have been expanding… dramatically. Nalan represents himself. Also, possibly, Szeth, but mostly himself.
Icon: Kholin Glyphpair, for a Dalinar POV chapter.
Epigraph: Rhythm of War, page 1 undertext:
I approach this project with inspiration renewed; the answers are all that should matter.
A: And once again, I have no confidence that I know who wrote this, though I would suspect Raboniel. Scholar though she is, Navani knows perfectly well that the answers are not all that matter—and should not be, when she’s responsible for all the lives in Urithiru at the least.
P: I agree that this sounds more like Raboniel, only wanting the answers she thinks will end the war, so the other must have been Navani.
A: I wonder just how long this habit of writing “undertext” has been part of Rosharan scholarship. It would make sense that “Page 1” was Navani, and the “page 1 undertext” was Raboniel. I think.
WHERE: Somewhere in Emul, north of the main body of Odium’s army
WHEN: 1188.8.131.52 (the day after Taravangian’s betrayal in Interlude 6)
RECAP: Dalinar and the Mink watch the battle from a fabrial platform high above, protected by Windrunners when Skybreakers attack. Reassuring word from Urithiru arrives, but both the Mink and Dalinar sense something wrong with the whole setup. Suddenly Nalan shows up to rebuke Dalinar for being a Bondsmith. As Dalinar’s guards all demonstrate their inability to kill a Herald, the Stormfather prompts Dalinar to touch him instead, and Dalinar sees Nalan’s history play out backwards, ending with his acceptance of a role as Herald in the new Oathpact. Afterward, Dalinar can see the lines of the Oathpact reaching away from Nalan toward the other Heralds; seven lines are weak and impotent, but one is strong and bright. As Nalan flees, Dalinar concludes that, whether by reforging the Oathpact or some alternative, he must find a means to solve the conflict and permanently bind Odium.
A: I just have to start out with a note about Dalinar’s POVs. While we’ve seen him through the eyes of others, this is his first actual viewpoint chapter in the book. The funny thing, though, is that I can never feel like his presence is lacking. Partly, of course, it’s that he is there all through Part One and the early chapters of Part Two—and his presence is always strong, no matter whose POV it is. But I think the bigger reason is that so much happens in his POVs. Take this one—it might start with him up on the platform overseeing the battle, but then there’s a Herald, and new powers, and … just so much information that it’s hard to take in. And that kind of thing seems to happen every time he’s on the page for the rest of the book.
P: I agree. The Dalinar chapters we do get pack a Braize of a lot of punch.
A: Okay, to the text:
Dalinar held firm to the railing, glancing at the Mink—who was tethered to Dalinar with a rope. The shorter man was grinning wildly as he clung to the railing.
P: Honor love the Mink, having the time of his life while hanging in the sky and being attacked. Nowhere to sneak away, though, except into Shadesmar.
A: The Mink’s reaction to all this is priceless. Dalinar’s mental comment on his weird mix of paranoia and daring is so true!
Beneath them, the battle lines held formation. Dalinar’s troops, augmented by ranks of Azish, fought Taravangian’s treasonous forces—who had tried to strike inward to rescue their king.
P: I guess I thought this was odd, for them to try to rescue T. I would have thought he’d have told them not to bother, as he thought he would be executed right away. It’s not like the Vedens were super loyal to T as their king, when he essentially stole the title.
A: It does seem a little odd, that he didn’t tell them not to waste their lives trying to rescue him. I’m not terribly surprised that they tried, though, because when he accepted the title, he was very popular with the Veden people. He was (as far as they knew) the one who came with healers and help, the peaceful king who provided aid and brought them out of their horrible civil war by being the one person the remaining leadership would all agree to follow. At the time, they’d lost most of their highprinces to the Assassin in White, and of course they didn’t know that he worked for Taravangian. They seem to have accepted his kingship quite thoroughly—and of course, he’s promoted people loyal to him, even if their loyalty was mostly to the rewards he’d promised them.
P: I suppose I can see that, it just feels a bit off to me.
A: Heh. Vedens are crazy anyway, right? Though they don’t have the Thrill to egg them on any more, so I don’t know what their excuse is now.
They retreated; Skybreakers couldn’t match Windrunners who were being constantly renewed, and were usually deployed on battlefields where Dalinar was not present.
P: This makes sense. Why waste stormlight when Dalinar has an endless supply of it? There would be little point in going up against his forces at all, but to distract them from the fighting on the ground.
“Word from Urithiru, Brightlord,” she said. “You wanted to know as soon as we heard something, and we have.”
Dalinar felt a huge weight slide off his shoulders. “Finally! What is happening?”
P: And thus begins the Fused’s campaign of misinformation to Dalinar from “Navani.” This frustrates me so much because it would have been easy to just send scouts. Some would have died, I know, and horribly as they came within the range of the garnet fabrial on the gemstone heart of the Tower, but this is war. People die. Go find out what’s up with Urithiru, already. Does that attitude make me a bad person? Nah, just realistic.
A: Well, they do eventually get there…
The Mink leaned out, squinting at the armies below. “Something about this smells wrong, Blackthorn.
“I’ll tell the others to watch out,” Dalinar said, “and send scouts to investigate Urithiru. I agree, something about this is off.”
P: Again. Everyone has a bad feeling about a thing, you go find out what’s going on with the thing! Yes, he’s sending scouts to the Tower, but I guess I had been expecting a bit of urgency, especially considering that Navani was there largely unprotected by Radiants. And I couldn’t help but wonder why he hadn’t sent scouts already.
A: I think it reflects their subconscious assumption that Urithiru is impregnable as long as you control the Oathgates. It simply never occurs to them that the tower could be taken from a different route and the Oathgate taken over from the Urithiru side—at least, not without time to get off a spanreed warning.
I’m a little unsure about how they got all the right intelligence to make this look like it’s from Navani, though. It wouldn’t surprise me if she wrote something for them to send, a compromise of true and not-quite-true information to keep him from rushing back into a trap—but if that were the case, I think we’d see it from Navani’s side too. So I have to think this is all fake… but it sure sounds enough like Navani to fool Dalinar. Or at least to fool the scribes.
P: They’ll need a code word from now on.
“They’re breaking,” the Mink said, standing up straight. “You want to let them go, or pin them and crush them?”
“What do you think?” Dalinar asked.
“I hate fighting men who feel they have no way out,” the Mink said.
“We can’t afford to let them reinforce the enemy to the south,” Dalinar said. That would be their true battlefield, once this skirmish was over. The war for Emul. “Keep pressing them until they surrender.
P: I was kind of pulling for the “pin the and crush them” option. *shrug*
Szeth, the Assassin in White, wearing a false face. He didn’t speak, though the complex Lightweaving he wore would disguise his voice. He simply watched, his eyes narrowed. What did he see in this battlefield? What had caught his attention?
Szeth suddenly grabbed Dalinar by the front of his uniform and towed him to the side. Dalinar barely had time to shout in surprise as a glowing figure rose up beside the archer platform, radiant with Stormlight and bearing a silvery Blade.
P: I’m here wondering how Szeth could sense Nale coming. Does it have something to do with Nale shoving his soul back into his body? Mostly?
A: I was wondering about that too. Did he see something that made him realize Nale was among the Skybreakers, or did he just sense that presence a moment before he arrived? I’d sure like to know. Maybe we’ll learn about it in Szeth’s book.
“Bondsmith,” Nale said, “your war is unjust. You must submit to the laws of the —”
An arrow slammed into his face, dead center, interrupting him. Dalinar glanced back, then stopped Cord, who was drawing her Shardbow again. “Wait. I’d hear him.”
P: Oh, our wonderful Cord. She has NO problem shooting a Herald. This was hilarious! Just, “I don’t think so, airsick lowlander. How about an arrow in your face?”
“And yet,” Nale said, “Honor still should prevent this. Prevent you.” He looked Dalinar up and down. “No Shardblade. Fair enough.”
He launched forward, reaching for Dalinar. Szeth was upon him in a moment, but hesitated to draw his strange Blade. Nale moved with a skyeel’s grace, twisting Szeth about and slamming him to the deck of the wooden platform. The Herald slapped aside Szeth’s sheathed sword, punching him in the crook of the elbow and making him drop his weapon. Nale casually reached up and caught the arrow launched from Cord’s Shardbow mere feet away—an inhuman feat.
P: Wow, Nale dispatched Szeth quite handily. And caught Cord’s arrow… from a Shardbow? He may be nuttier than a fruitcake (and don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with a few nuts), but he’s a badass.
A: He’s still a Herald, and still has the skills and reflexes honed by multiple lifetimes’ worth of fighting. Apparently his version of insanity affects his thinking but not his physical abilities, which is terrifying in itself.
Nale looked up at him, then ripped free of the line of light Connecting him to Dalinar and threw himself off the platform. The Herald burst alight and shot away as—belatedly—a few Windrunners came to Dalinar’s aid.
P: One would think that Dalinar would have a dedicated contingent of Windrunners protecting him.
A: I wonder how long that sequence actually took. It seems like several minutes at least, which would be more than enough time for the Windrunners to get there, but it’s also possible that all the “flashes” took place in mere seconds. Even the conversation with the Stormfather, being all mental, might happen much faster than an audible exchange of words. Maybe?
P: Also, interesting that Nale was able to rip away the line of light between him and Dalinar. Would anyone but a Herald be able to do such a thing, I wonder?
He needed to understand his powers. His duty was no longer to stand with a sword held high, shouting orders on the battlefield. He instead needed to find a way to use his abilities to solve this war. Reforge the Oathpact, or barring that, find another solution—one that included binding Odium once and for all.
P: Yes, how about another solution that doesn’t include sentencing people to torture and damnation? Let’s go with that, shall we?
A: Heh. More on that below…
Music, Mechanisms, and Manifestations of Light
The wood lurched under Dalinar’s feet, and he grabbed a railing to steady himself. “Skybreakers!” he shouted. “Trying to get at the fabrial housings!”
P: I guess those Skybreakers snuck up on them. 1000 feet in the air. But that would definitely be the best way to bring one of the platforms down, snatch a few fabrial gemstones and watch out below!
A: No wonder they keep a couple of Windrunners there at all times! And, apparently, more within shouting distance. It’s really hard to shoot at people who are under the floor, especially when you don’t dare damage the floor by blowing holes in it or anything.
It wasn’t truly a flying machine like the Fourth Bridge, but these platforms were nevertheless an excellent vantage for viewing a battlefield. Assuming they didn’t get attacked.
A: Heh. Assuming… I mean, yeah, what an excellent view! But also, how incredibly vulnerable, unless you keep your Windrunners very close by.
P: Exactly. And they almost showed up too late with the Skybreakers and definitely showed up too late with Nale. Not that they could have done much in that second situation, anyway.
A: New strategy: Keep more Windrunners on the platform… Or give them a way to perch below the platform, where they don’t have to burn all their Stormlight staying aloft, but also can see any attempts to attack the fabrial before they ever arrive.
The Mink leaned out over the side of the platform, trying to get a view directly beneath—where Radiants were clashing. He didn’t seem at all bothered by the three-hundred-yard drop to the ground.
P: It makes me a bit woozy to think about how high they are from the ground. I’m glad there’s a railing but how high is it, precisely? Some Windrunner I would make!
A: Who knew acrophobia was going to be the new test for Dalinar’s personal guard?
On Dalinar’s platform, some fifty archers re-formed their ranks following the chaos of the sudden Skybreaker attack. In moments, they were sending a hail of arrows on the Vedens.
P: It’s a hell of a big platform, to hold fifty archers, as well as various and sundry guards and such.
A: That was my immediate thought, too. Wow, Navani really figured out how to make these things big after her initial experiment back in Words of Radiance. Fifty archers with room enough to shoot effectively, plus Dalinar’s command staff, guards, and scribes. That’s a big platform. I wonder what they’re using as a counter, and where it’s located. (Presumably not at Urithiru…)
P: I wondered about the counter, too. Perhaps on the Shattered Plains? But are chasms really 1000 feet deep? Or wait… they don’t need to match the distance anymore, do they. New tech FTW!
A: And okay, I also have to wonder about the efficacy of arrows fired from 1000 feet up, but I’m not an archery expert.
Spren and Shadesmar
“You mistake my purpose, Dieno,” Dalinar said, tugging on the rope that bound them. “My job in this battle isn’t to command if you are killed. It’s to get you out before you are killed.”
One of Jasnah’s escape boats waited on the other side, in Shadesmar. In an emergency, Dalinar could get himself and the Mink through the perpendicularity. They’d drop a short distance—but not nearly as far as they would on this side—into a padded ship with mandras hooked in place.
The Mink, unsurprisingly, didn’t like that escape route. He couldn’t control it. In truth, Dalinar wasn’t a hundred percent comfortable with it himself—he didn’t fully trust his powers yet. His mastery over them was tenuous.
P: This is seriously cool. Jasnah’s really using her noggin here, thinking of how to keep her uncle safe while he’s hovering hundreds of yards in the air, with an enemy that can freaking fly. Yes, Dalinar has Windrunners, but the other side has Skybreakers and Heavenly Ones, and we don’t know in what numbers. Though most of the Heavenly Ones are likely at Urithiru at the moment.
Bruised and Broken
The vision faded and Nale lurched away from Dalinar, gasping, his eyes wide.
P: Nale is so very damaged. I really had hope, after Lift’s interaction with him in Edgedancer, that he might realize the error of his ways. But alas, no. Nale’s gonna Nale.
A: I can’t help wondering if there’s any healing for these poor broken Heralds. Much as I dislike this one in particular, I can’t help thinking that they sacrificed their minds for the sake of humanity, and I’d sure like them to have some peace.
Oaths Spoken, Powers Awakened
He opened the perpendicularity as the Windrunners approached for more Stormlight. He managed to open it only a sliver, renewing those nearby, but preventing the Skybreakers from partaking.
A: I thought it was awesome that he’s gained enough control over this particular ability to not only open it whenever he needs to, but to control the size of it so closely that only his allies can use it.
P: It’s quite spectacular. And I realize that there are so many other things he can likely do with his powers, but he needs to give himself some credit for what he’s already accomplished.
No, the Stormfather said to Dalinar. Touch him.
Dalinar hesitated—the power of the perpendicularity at his fingertips—then reached out and pressed his hand to Nale’s chest as the Herald reached for him.
A: You have no idea how hard it is not to just copy pages in here. I love this section! The initial confrontation, the complete failure of the guards to even remotely damage Nalan, the snapshots of Nalan’s past, the visual of the Oathpact… Just SO MUCH IMPACT. Blows me away.
P: This scene is fantastic. We learn so much about Nale in those few moments, and we see him afraid. Of Dalinar. Who also surprised the Stormfather. Just… wut?
A: Since we can’t just paste the whole thing in here, let’s run through the list of memories quickly. The first is obviously the Heralds abandoning their Blades and the Oathpact at Aharietiam. The second… Okay, I have to quote this one.
Nale cradling a child in one arm, his Blade out as dark forces crawled across a ridge nearby.
A: Does this not sound like that Death Rattle epigraph?
I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.”
A: A lot of people have been claiming this death rattle as evidence that Oroden or Gavinor will be Odium’s champion; I think it may be referring to whatever this moment was, when Nale had a choice to make. (Unless all the death rattles are future visions, but… we don’t know that, do we?) No idea who the child was, though, or what the setting might be; I suspect that we’ll find out in one of the other Heralds’ flashbacks if I’m right.
Moving on, the third is most likely Nale helping set up the early form of Alethi law, with the concept of “right of travel” to keep the various levels of hierarchy in check. The fourth looks like Nalan becoming a member of the order of Skybreakers—the only Herald to actually join the Order dedicated to him. Then battles and more battles, and then…
“I will take this charge,” Nale said softly. “With honor.”
“Do not consider it an honor,” Jezerezeh said. “A duty, yes, but not an honor.”
“I understand. Though I had not expected you would come to an enemy with this offer.”
A: What the… WUT??? Jezrien and Nale were enemies prior to the Oathpact. Opposite sides of… what conflict, though? One where Jezrien came to consider himself the villain, and ending with the creation of an arrangement which served to bind the Fused on Braize for as long as all ten Heralds could hold out. This is… I’m not sure what to think. So I’ll speculate in the Theorycrafting section below.
P: This was an amazing tidbit to witness. And to think that he went from someone respected by Jezrien to someone who would murder children because they were Radiant.
A: Anyway… this section ends with Nalan kinda flipping out. On a bet, he saw all those things too, which had to be a lot of weird. But as he breaks contact with Dalinar, the Oathpact itself becomes visible (at least to the Bondsmith) as lines of light connecting Nalan with the other Heralds. Seven, faint and ineffective, have to be for the others who broke the pact but still live; the eighth, bright and strong, would be Taln, who has never broken. Despite their own thoughts, then, the Oathpact is still… there. Thin and brittle, but still there. As the Stormfather calls it, “A cage, forged of their spirits.”
P: This actually gives me shivers. To see the things Dalinar can do with his powers, to see the Stormfather surprised by it, it’s amazing.
And I had the same thought that the brightest of the lines of light was to Taln.
“Could I reforge it?” Dalinar asked. “Could I remake the Oathpact, and bind the Fused away again?”
I do not know. It may be possible, but I have no idea how. Or if it would be wise. The Heralds suffer for what they did.
P: Thank you, Stormfather. All of this with Dalinar wanting to remake the Oathpact, I don’t get it. Who are you going to pick to endure eternal torture? Who would volunteer, knowing what happened to the Heralds? I mean, I get that the original Heralds thought they were doing something just and righteous, but in hindsight, would any of them have volunteered? Knowing what it would do to them, what they would do to Taln, what affects eternity would have on them?
A: While I have no doubt that there are those (Kaladin and Dalinar, for two!) who would volunteer, if it would give humanity more time to figure out a way to win, there’s another problem. There’s a recent WoB stating that even this time, Taln did not break, and we’ll eventually find out what happened. That means that, despite his holding the Oathpact solo for 4500 years, something happened to make it irrelevant. On a bet, some of those worldhoppers we’ll be seeing in the flashbacks started meddling, and created a way around the Oathpact. Remember, well before Taln appeared in Kholinar, Ulim had bonded with Venli, talking about a storm in Shadesmar, and how they had to work around Taln to get the Voidspren to Roshar. Ulim was given to Venli by the feruchemist Axindweth, obviously a worldhopper, so… something’s up, and the Oathpact can’t work anymore.
P: So it’s not just that Dalinar shouldn’t try to reforge the Oathpact, he likely won’t be able to do so.
A: That’s my thought. He might be able to set up the exact same thing, but it wouldn’t actually work.
A: Okay, so here’s my latest tin-foil theory. About that scene with Jezrien and Nalan, and the way they were enemies until they forged the Oathpact… What would have been the conflict between them?
“An enemy, yes,” Jezerezeh said. “But an enemy who was correct all along, making me the villain, not you. We will fix what we’ve broken. Ishar and I agreed.
A: This seems to imply that the Oathpact was created to fix a situation Jezrien and Ishar somehow caused, or helped to cause. Nalan was on the other side, apparently, and they saw him as an honorable man who would join them in a grave and terrible duty. Somehow, the Oathpact was needed to fix their mess, and at the same time was a solution that Nale would see as a good thing.
My theory (and it’s not very detailed) is that within a few decades after humanity arrived on Roshar, Jezrien and Ishar, along with a bunch of friendly singers and other humans, began to play with Surgebinding despite the damage it had caused on Ashyn. The Roshar-spren went along with it readily, finding that bonding with humans gave them more physical presence. Some of the singers, angry about the spren bonding with humans, found willing bond-mates among the Odium-spren who had snuck in with the humans. Too late, Jezrien and Ishar realized that the singers were bonding with Odium’s Voidspren instead of the local Honor-and-Cultivation-spren (or Adonalsium-spren), and it finally registered that this might not be a good thing. In order to block Odium’s influence, they came up with the Oathpact as a means to trap the Voidspren on Braize—which also meant trapping those who had bonded with them.
One of the things I like about this is that all sides can claim betrayal. Specifically, the Fused (and by extension, the singers) can claim that the humans betrayed them by turning against them after introducing them to surgebinding. They can also claim that the spren betrayed them by bonding with humans. The spren can claim that the singers betrayed them by bonding Voidspren in violation of their former friendship. (See also Leshwi: “They’ve come back to us! They’ve forgiven us!”) The humans can claim that the Fused betrayed them by bonding Voidspren and bringing the powers of Odium to bear on Roshar. And so on.
I think it still has some holes, and there are a lot more details I can envision, but… that’s the base of it. Jezrien and Ishar brought Surgebinding to Roshar, opening a Pandora’s box that they eventually tried to seal with their own souls.
P: I’ll leave the theorycrafting to Alice, she’s better at it. I’ll just read along and nod.
Geography, History, and Cultures
Any given Azish soldier was no match for an Alethi, but after witnessing their discipline this last year, Dalinar was grateful he’d never had to face their infantry in battle. The vast blocks of Azish pikes were less mobile than the Alethi equivalent, but were impeccably coordinated.
A: I enjoyed this shoutout to the military value of a non-Vorin culture. The Azish, unlike the Vorins, don’t hold “being a soldier” as the highest ideal in the whole world. What they do value is order and organization, and it’s reflected in the way they fight. I love seeing the Alethi and Herdazian generals being brought up short by the evidence that their way isn’t the only way.
Fewer Heavenly Ones than I’d have expected, Dalinar noted … They’re leaning on the Skybreakers for this battle. Perhaps the bulk of the Heavenly Ones were with the main enemy forces, stationed several days’ march away.
A: It’s a fair guess, but it’s wrong, of course. The bulk of the Heavenly Ones are at Urithriu, enforcing Raboniel’s rule over the Tower. Sadly. It’s really hard to watch Dalinar’s lack of understanding here; he keeps thinking of his own campaign as The Central Event, and doesn’t realize that it’s all a distraction. The main push for Odium right now is Urithiru; this whole thing is just a way to keep him and Jasnah out of the way.
Dalinar had brought only a handful of bodyguards today: three men from the Cobalt Guard, and a single Shardbearer. Cord, the Horneater woman, who had taken it upon herself to join his guards for reasons he didn’t quite understand.
A: Heh. Clearly he didn’t read Dawnshard first! Near the end of the book, Nikli tries to assign Cord the task of guarding Rysn. It makes a certain amount of sense, since she now has the Shardplate she just found, and she already knows the secret of the Dawnshard and the Sleepless involvement. Cord refuses, though:
“I am no soldier,” Cord said, her voice growing softer. “I am no warrior. I must train if I am to be of any use. I will go to war and learn to use this gift. I will fight the Void, as my father refuses to do. Once I’ve accomplished that goal, then I will consider your request.” (Dawnshard, Chapter 19)
A: Apparently she decided that “going to war” for her would best be accomplished by becoming one of Dalinar’s guards—a position where she can become familiar with her Plate and be involved in the war, without going out into battles that she’s not been trained to fight. Makes sense to me, anyway.
P: Makes sense to me, too. In this role, she’s a protector instead of an aggressor.
A: And she clearly has no problem… asserting herself:
An arrow slammed into his face, dead center, interrupting him. Dalinar glanced back, then stopped Cord, who was drawing her Shardbow again.
A: Anyone want to bet that this is Amaram’s bow? The one that Rock used to kill him? And Cord has now “inherited” it from her father? Come to think of it… did Amaram inherit it from Sadeas? If so, that bow has quite the lineage. Shooting Nale in the face is a good use, even if it can’t kill him. (Yeah, I’m not fond of this guy…)
A: Oh, hey, it’s another annotated-by-Nazh map! There’s not a whole lot to say about it, except that it’s useful to be aware of the annotations. I’m assuming that in this chapter, they are probably up nearer Holiqqil, since Dalinar comments that the “true battlefield” will be to the south, and they later take over Laqqi as the command center.
If you compare this to the earlier Shadesmar map labeled “A Portion of the Southern Sea of Souls,” you’ll see that the city of Rossen Dar, due south of the spot marked “Ishar’s Army,” overlays the Shadesmar location called “Nameless”—the location where Shallan and Adolin’s team landed. The location where they first saw the deadeye Cryptic. The location where they first saw the Tukari caravan that followed and later attacked Notum. I doubt this is a coincidence.
P: I adore maps in books. It helps me to visualize where they are in relation to the rest of the country/region/continent/etc.
A: I totally agree! Maps are one of the first things I look for, because they help me make sense out of all the references to travel or just to other places. (Also, I think they’re a good idea for an author, even if they don’t publish the thing, to make sure that distances and travel times make sense and are feasible. Continuity FTW.)
“I do have to admit,” the Mink said to Dalinar as they watched, bowstrings snapping behind them, “this is an excellent way to oversee a battlefield.”
“And you were worried about there being no escape.”
“Rather,” the Mink said, looking toward the ground below, “I was worried about all avenues of escape being interrupted by an unfortunate collision with the ground.”
P: This cracked me up. The Mink is very Lopenish here and a bit of levity is needed in this scene, what with the betrayal and the battle and such.
A: I wonder if all Herdazians (or most) share this sense of humor. “An unfortunate collision with the ground” indeed. I really do like the Mink—he’s such a funny mix of characteristics.
We’ll be leaving further speculation and discussion to you in the comments, so have fun and remember to be respectful of the opinions of others! Next week, we’ll be back with chapter 48, in which Eshonai meets a worldhopper (without knowing it) and Gavilar is suddenly a little too interested in her people.
Alice is a Sanderson beta reader and administrator of two fandom Facebook groups. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two kids, with extended family out back.
Paige resides in New Mexico, of course. She works full-time, goes to school full-time, beta reads part-time, mods/admins 3 Stormlight-themed Facebook groups part-time, and writes part-time. She wishes sleep wasn’t necessary because there’s just too storming much to do! Not to mention the Yankees are in a pennant race! Links to her writing are available in her profile.