Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter One Hundred Fifteen


Salutations and happy reread Thursday, our Cosmere Chickens! Things are still winding down, but Sanderson still has some revelations for us, so read on as we continue wading through the denouement after the Sanderlanche.

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.

In this week’s discussion we also discuss some things from Elantris and Mistborn in the Cosmere Connections section, so if you haven’t read it, best to give that section a pass.

Heralds: Shalash (Ash), Herald of Beauty. Lightweavers (Illumination, Transformation). Creative/Honest. Role: Artist.

Kalak (Kelek). Willshapers (Transportation, Cohesion). Resolute/Builder. Role: Maker.

Shalash for Shallan, and Kalak because he’s literally mentioned.

Icon: Pattern


Yes, I look forward to ruling the humans.

—Musings of El, on the first of the Final Ten Days

L: Well, that’s not disconcerting at all.

P: Oh, yay. El looks forward to ruling the Radiant humans that he just seemed to be praising.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Shallan
WHEN: 1175.4.10.5 (Note: For the “when” notations, we are using this wonderful timeline provided by the folks at The 17th Shard.)
WHERE: Shadesmar (I think they’re still in Lasting Integrity though we don’t have direct confirmation of this), the plains east of the Shattered Plains (note: I was pretty sure on this one, but not 100%. The mention of the grass really threw me and made me second guess myself. If I got this one wrong, mea culpa.)

RECAP: Shallan drops out of the Ghostbloods for good, conveying a message from Wit to Thaidakar along the way. Meanwhile, Venli arrives at the listener refugees camp and talks them into gaining admittance. She manages to get her mother to bond a spren, and thereby begin the healing process of her mental injuries.

Spren and Shadesmar

“She looks better,” he said, “than she did when I saw her in the market. But I don’t know, Shallan.”

“Testament does seem better, Adolin,” Shallan said. “Thank you for speaking with her.”

P: I can’t help but wonder what Adolin talked with her about and whether she responded in any way.

L: I mean… Adolin being Adolin, I don’t think it mattered what he said, just that he tried to talk to them to begin with. Adolin’s great that way.

It gave them hope that whatever Shallan had done to Testament could also be repaired.

…”And I’m not exactly an expert on all this.”

“Recent events considered? I think you’re the only expert.”

P: She’s not wrong. But Adolin established a relationship with Maya ages ago, before he knew she was a spren. So who knows, maybe Shallan will reach Testament more quickly than he was able to do with Maya, just because she has access and more knowledge than he had.

L: Here’s hoping! I want to see Shallan dual-wielding Shardblades.

Bruised and Broken

Radiant remained. They agreed that once they found the right path, she would eventually be absorbed as Veil had been. For now, Shallan’s wounds were still fresh. Practically bleeding. But what she’d done would finally let her begin to heal.

L: I’m so glad to see Shallan on the road to healing at last.

P: I was SO relieved when she absorbed Veil. And to have her acknowledge that she’ll eventually absorb Radiant is reassuring.

Shallan had kept her head down too long. It was time to soar.

L: Yas queen! About time!

P: Preach it, sister!

“I deserve everything you can call me, and more. But I’m trying as I never did before.

L: Venli has certainly never been my favorite character, but I’m really excited to see her progression from here on out.

P: I didn’t like her at all until Timbre showed up. But I like her very much, now. She’s owned up to her mistakes and is trying to be better.

Oaths Spoken, Powers Awakened

Shallan had not one Shardblade, but two.

L: The thing I find most fascinating about this is the possibility of one person bonding more than one spren, of different orders. Brandon has been cagey about this in interviews; most of the time he’s RAFO’d the question, but lately he’s said there’s no hard limit to how many different orders a person could bond to, theoretically.

P: I would really be interested to see someone bond more than one spren. That would be cool, I think.

L: I’m imagining it like the twinborn in era 2 of Mistborn.

…she was certain that, during the years between killing Testament and finding Pattern, her powers had still functioned in some small ways.

L: Oh, well that’s interesting. So the bond wasn’t completely severed then…

P: That’s very interesting. I wonder what powers she thinks she retained and what she might have been able to do with them.

Some of this, Kelek said, had to do with the nature of deadeyes. Before the Recreance, they had never existed. Kelek said he thought this was why Mraize was hunting him. Something to do with the fall of the singers, and the Knights Radiant, so long ago—and the imprisoning of a specific spren.

L: Whoa wait a second! That seems like a HUGE thing to just casually drop here!

P: I wish we could have seen these conversations with Kelek!

“I’ve been speaking to Kelek, the Herald. He seems to think the reason you’re hunting him is because of an Unmade. Ba-Ado-Mishram? The one who Connected to the singers long ago, giving them forms of power? The one who, when trapped, stole the singers’ minds and made them into parshmen?”

L: Hold up a tick. Is this new information?! My memory being what it is, I don’t recall whether or not we knew this already.

P: Well, I didn’t recall so I checked with the Coppermind:

“Ba-Ado-Mishram was able to supply the singers with Voidlight and forms of power, making singers into Regals.”

“She was a primary instigator of the False Desolation, leading to her imprisonment by the Knights Radiant, which put the vast majority of singers into slaveform, and affected all spren on Roshar.”

I obviously need to lose myself in the Coppermind now and then. And I’m dying to know how she affected all spren on Roshar.

L: According to that, we learned a lot of this in Oathbringer. Hooboy. Clearly I need to do a reread before book 5 drops…

P: Same!

The Reachers were searching for people who exemplified their Ideal: freedom. And the listeners were the perfect representation.

L: Interesting that freedom is the primary trait these ones are looking for!

P: The listeners really are perfect for the Reachers! ::warm fuzzies::

Cosmere Connections

Shallan lifted the top of Mraize’s cube. With help from Kelek, they’d gotten it open without harming the thing inside: a spren in the shape of a glowing ball of light, a strange symbol at the center. No one here recognized the variety of spren, but Wit called it a seon.

L: Elantris alert!

P: Hello, little seon!

The odd spren resisted attempts to get it free. It acted… like an abused child.

L: Poor little seon. I wonder how it’s functioning so far away from its home planet and the investiture there…

P: It seems to function as it should, but the poor thing is just so traumatized.

L: Understandably! It’s been stuffed into a box for storms alone only know how long. And that experience is enough to traumatize anyone! ::cough Rand al’Thor cough::

“Thank you for this seon, by the way. Wit says that unbound ones are difficult to come by—but they make for extremely handy communication across realms.”

L: Well this chapter is just chock full of interesting revelations, isn’t it? The seons being able to communicate across realms must be a huge benefit to the world-hoppers!

P: That is mind-blowing! And so freaking cool!

L: I’m also curious about it being “unbound.” You know… Hrathen used to keep his seon in a box, too. I wonder if this one was his…

Secret Societies

“What power do the Ghostbloods seek with a thing that can bind the minds of an entire people?”

L: Normally I would say “nothing good” to that question, but seeing as how Kelsier’s leading the Ghostbloods…

P: I’m still so wary of Kelsier. I just don’t know what to think of him or whether to trust him.

L: That’s fair. Like Wit, we know that Kel is willing to do pretty much anything—or sacrifice anyone—to achieve his goals.

“Thaidakar?” Shallan guessed.

“Ah, so you’ve heard of him?”

“The Lord of Scars, Wit calls him.”

L: Speak of the devil!

P: There’s the man himself!

“Tell him… we’re done with his meddling. His influence over my people is finished.” She hesitated, then sighed. Wit had asked nicely. “Also, Wit says to tell him, ‘Deal with your own stupid planet, you idiot. Don’t make me come over there and slap you around again.’”

L: ::snort:: Oh, Wit.

P: Oh my Honor, this made me laugh this afternoon when I reread this chapter. So funny. This could go in Buttresses.

History, Geography and Cultures

This eastern plain beyond the hills was a strange place—so open, and full of a surprising amount of grass.

L: Sounds like they’ve made it over to Shinovar, but that can’t be right. Shinovar’s waaaaaaaaaaay over to the west… I wonder why there’s grass here?

P: This made me wonder, too. Like why is there grass in the east?

Flora & Fauna of the Physical Realm

A shadow fell over Venli, and she started, staring up at a powerful long neck with a wicked arrowhead face on the end. A chasmfiend. Here. And no one was panicking.

L: Okay now this is just awesome. I can’t wait to see characters riding these into battle.

P: Right? It’s going to be so storming awesome.

Arresting Artwork

Shallan reached forward and flipped to the next page in her notebook, where she’d done a drawing using Kelek’s descriptions. It showed a pattern of stars in the sky, and listed the many worlds among them.


L: Isaac Stewart did a beautiful star map which I believe is depicting this.

P: Gorgeous.


We’ll be leaving further speculation and discussion to you in the comments, and hope to join you there! Next week, we’ll be back with chapter 116. Only three more chapters left, chickens…

Paige resides in New Mexico, of course. She is so stoked because it’s Opening Day! Welcome back, baseball. Go, Yankees! Links to her other writing are available in her profile.

Lyndsey lives in Connecticut and makes magic wands for a living. She’s also the costumer for two of her local Renaissance Faires and acts at many more. If you enjoy queer protagonists, snarky humor, and don’t mind some salty language, check out book 1 of her fantasy series. Follow her on Facebook or TikTok!


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