Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety-Five

Andrew @1 - The proper question here is, "What paper?" The whole point of using that particular idiom here was that there's no paper. There's no document to even be worth anything. As Steven said, words are wind. Ulim's promises were never worth anything, as she'd had opportunity to observe already. She chose to believe him because she wanted what he said she'd get, not because he'd proven himself trustworthy.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety-Two

Ihvon @16 - That's a good point, and probably the best explanation I've come across. Two thousand children (ages 0-10ish) among 37,000 listeners (it's close enough) wouldn't really be very many - but 2000 such children along with only 1000 adults would be a lot. 

Kaboom @17 - I have no doubt that they may have tried to shift into mateform more, in order to increase their numbers, but it's only been 14 (Rosharan) months since the battle of Narak. We don't know anything about the gestation period for singers/listeners, but that would at the outside give them a few hundred babies. 

David @19 - I made no inferences. You (and Chitnis) did, though you carefully didn't go into details. I'm just pointing out that your inference doesn't necessarily have anything to do with my thinking. With degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering, a career in engineering, and also a functional brain, I've seen the false pretenses in a wide variety of "The Science" claims over the years. I've also seen an awful lot of times where if you start looking behind "The Science" you find that it's really The Money driving those claims. So my point stands. Make sure your bungee cord is firmly attached before you jump to conclusions; otherwise, you just look silly as you go splat. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety-Three

I love this chapter. It was kind of painful to not be the one writing about it - but not painful enough to give up a day of my anniversary vacation. :) The revelation of Veil's purpose (which many of the readers understood, but Shallan had clearly avoided thinking through) was really lovely, and the "Did I do well?" just about broke my heart. She maybe did too well, and/or for too long, but she enabled Shallan to grow up to the point where she could face her memories without collapsing. Come to think of it, that's pretty much what Cultivation did for Dalinar, too: gave him time to change and become a person who could face what he'd done and not fall back into being that person. 

There's a lot of discussion about Testament bonding Shallan as a child, and I'm totally with Carl @22 on this. Spren had been separated from humans for a very long time, and even now after several years of increased bonding, they don't really understand human growth and maturation. And I'm not convinced that a child can't understand the Ideals, at least enough to create a true bond with a spren; they just understand at a different level than an adult. As others have said, even the adults don't necessarily understand exactly what their Ideals mean all the time. Particularly in this age when neither the spren nor the humans have much concept of what being a Knight Radiant is all about and how it all works, both species are feeling their way forward, and there are bound to be problems. (Okay, the Skybreakers and highspren have kept all the traditions, training, explanations, etc., but since they support the Fused/Odium, they aren't exactly helpful.) Whether or not it was wise for Testament to bond with Shallan, I can't see it as either nefarious or illegitimate. 

jer @15 - It would have been courteous to either white out your spoiler, or at the very least put a spoiler warning in front of it. Just sayin'.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety-Two

Andrew @7 - Interesting take that I hadn't really considered. Raboniel certainly wants to end the cycle of whatever it is that causes the rising numbers of insane Fused; she knows that they'll keep returning over and over, and she wants it to stop. She was certain that if she returned again, she would be insane, and that's why she asked Navani to use the anti-Voidlight dagger on her. It's an interesting theory, and it makes sense that if the Fused could just win they wouldn't have to do the Braize thing any more. Of course, if they'd just lose the same thing might happen, given the state of the Oathpact. Her version of ending the war has to be a Fused victory, though. Partly, she'd never approve of the Fused being ruled by humans, and perhaps partly she doesn't see any way of staying on Roshar without that level of victory.

All that to say that perhaps her chief end is to stop the Returns, but the only way she can see to do that is still to exterminate or completely subjugate the humans. The rationale might not be quite so bitter and vengeance-oriented, but the result is the same.

Also, thanks!

David_Goldfarb @8, Chitnis @11 - Do make sure your bungee cord is firmly attached before you jump to conclusions.

Carl @10 - "Brandon knows a lot of science..." He also specifically told us, in text, that the listeners have far fewer children than humans:

The listeners had few children these days. Most had stopped taking mateform years ago, and they had never been as fecund a people as the humans apparently were.

I'm trying to justify the "large numbers of children" without directly contradicting the author. I'm just... having a little trouble with it.

goddessimho @13 - It does seem that, given the option, some of the Heralds might be interested in going Beyond rather than continue their current existence. I wonder if 3500 years of being committed to surviving for the sake of humanity has made it... difficult, at best, to even consider that possibility. As for Ishar... yikes. What a bizarre concept. He's probably mad enough that he'd think killing a bunch of spren in experiments would be worth it if he could save a bunch more, but honestly, he's so wacko I can't really begin to imagine what good he thinks he's doing.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety-Two
Roger @2 - I thought it might come before the next Navani chapter, for the reasons I explained. The thought was actually triggered by looking at the 17S timeline and noting that it had the two events happening the same day, with the big battle starting the following day. Raboniel's comments about what is coming would make even more sense if this chapter happened while her people were working on the anti-Stormlight process, because she'd know she's nearly finished. Along with using the anti-Stormlight to kill the Radiant spren, of course she'd use it to drive out any remnants of Stormlight in the Sibling's defenses and have full access to finish the unmaking. If she's just hoping for those events in the next week or so, why the urgency to wrap things up here?  For what it's worth, the beta document's preliminary timeline had this chapter set the day before Navani's breakthrough, but it also had that, and Raboniel killing Essu, and the entire battle, all happening on the same day. I haven't had access to the official Dragonsteel timeline for this book, so it's all guesswork anyway.
Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety-One

Steven @1 - I, too, always assumed Lift was something unique, but I just had to wonder. Is she really the first Radiant in 7000 years (or whatever it's been since the Radiants started) to use Lifelight? (I'm not counting the Sibling's Bondsmith; though Towerlight is a harmonization between Stormlight and Lifelight, there's no reason to think they ever used Lifelight itself.) If Lift is the first, there's been a whole lot of Investiture out there going begging for a whole lot of years! So I started wondering if maybe both Lights had been used in the past, but between Vorin dominance and revisionist history, people had simply forgotten that Lifelight existed. Stormlight is much more obvious, and gets delivered in a usable way with every highstorm, so... come to think of it, how does Lifelight usually get delivered? Lift metabolizes it from food, but that seems to be a very specific gift from Cultivation. So... maybe it's never been accessible before. I don't know, these are just things I wonder about.

Also, yes, I probably sounded like I was being harder on the ardent than I intended to be. I just don't buy the idea that people are "basically good." IMO, people are generally only as good as they need to be to look good in their culture. But that's a much larger discussion!

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety

Steven @8

@4 Mmmm, it is a pattern...!

Bahahaha! Nicely played, sir. Nicely played.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Ninety

Austin @1 - Not just me, then. Thanks. Given what the reader is just now learning of Cultivation from Raboniel's conversations with Venli and Navani, Adolin seems to have been listening in!

Andrew @2 - I agree, I think Dalinar would have been proud of him. I'm not sure he'd have said so, but it would still be true.
FWIW, there's lots of "humanity" out there in the Cosmere, and in that sense the extinction of humanity really isn't on the table. But as you say, Odium's goals are currently hidden, and there's every reason to think that the Fused would really like to destroy all the humans on the planet, so... (Also, that whole business about using the humans as his shock troops a.k.a. cannon fodder is too creepy. Just having it introduced as a plan makes me nervous.)

Steven @3 - So... twice in 30+ books? Huh. Seriously overusing the trope.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Nine

My thanks to Lyn and Paige for excellently covering this chapter! 

Andrew @4 - I agree; I think that for all of Raboniel's lies, her compliments regarding scholarship are genuine. She may (as Marbelcal points out @6) be using Navani's self-doubt and these compliments as ways to manipulate her. It's pretty clear that Raboniel realizes Navani is capable of finding answers she herself is too set in her own expectations to discover, and she hopes to acquire exactly what Navani gives her: the means to create anti-Investiture. The fact that she's using Navani doesn't negate at all the respect she has for Navani's abilities. Far from it: if Navani weren't the incredible scholar she is, Raboniel would have no use for her.

Marbelcal @6 & 8 - As noted above... there's one huge difference between Venli and Navani. Venli's value to Ulim lay in her naivete and vanity, along with the happy accident of her position as the apprentice to an aging Songkeeper. She was easy to manipulate, and in a useful role in listener society. The only reason he ever showed her actual respect (though obviously he faked it a lot) was that she was so darn lucky once in a while; other than that, he clearly thought she was a total fool. (As she was, for a long time.) Navani's value to Raboniel, on the other hand, is that she's incredibly intelligent and an excellent scholar. Not only is that needed for the success of Raboniel's personal mission to find anti-Investiture, it adds greatly to her enjoyment of their "game." Ulim just wanted a pawn to do the job; Raboniel enjoys the challenge of sparring with an equal intellect. Granted that Navani's role as Queen also made her a valuable hostage, that's really not her primary value.

goddessimho @9 - I've wondered so many times just what "unmaking" means -- both for the Sibling, and for the existing Unmade. The fact that Raboniel claims to be unmaking the Sibling implies, at least, that the other Unmade were formerly high-level spren of some sort. (I guess Sja-anat implied that before, when she referred to the Sibling as "cousin" back in her Interlude.) But I still want to know more about them. Curious as I am, though, I'm glad we don't have to find out what the Sibling would become after being unmade...

Roger @10 - It wouldn't entirely surprise me. There's some kind of relationship between the Sibling and the Unmade. I don't think this is where you were going, but... is it possible that the Sibling sees a similarity between the way Re-Shephir and Ba-Ado-Mishram were trapped, and the way spren are trapped to make fabrials. Sigh. So much we still don't know

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Eight

Oh, one other possibility. I have assumed that the Last Legion turned their backs on everything during the False Desolation. I just saw that someone else suggested that it was about the time of Aharietiam, which… well, maybe? Seems odd that no one knew of their existence for 4500 years, though. Will have to do more research.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Eight

Austin @1 – My problem with “the Fused are the listeners’ gods” is that the Fused weren’t even there during the False Desolation when the listeners walked away. They were still on Braize, and it was just the Unmade and the singers, with Void powers provided by Ba-Ado-Mishram. So here I sit, still wondering just exactly who they thought their gods were.

Steven @2 – Yeah, the obvious intelligence of the santhid should really have been a clue that the chasmfiends at least could be intelligent. I just never thought about it.

Beth @3 – I’ve been wondering about that now… For now, given how I feel about intelligent life, I’ll pretend that the listeners only hunted non-intelligent gemheart-bearing animals for agricultural purpose, until they were driven out of their cities and took refuge at Narak. With likely fewer animals there, and the chasmfiends being their only source of gemstones, they had no choice. It doesn’t seem that the listeners were aware of any intelligence in the chasmfiends, though, so… who knows?

Carl @11 – I can’t figure out why, but nearly every time I typed “Eshonai” while writing this week, that extra “a” got inserted. I thought I’d fixed them all, but apparently not. I seriously have no idea why, because it’s never happened before, and it's not happening today. Weird twitch in my left pinkie, maybe? I dunno.

Roger @13 – You know, I wrote off the idea of the Shards as the listener’s gods a long time ago, and I don’t know why. Perhaps because we were introduced to them as an ignorant people who wouldn’t know about the Shards, or something? It’s entirely possible that by the time Eshonai and Venli were born, the listeners themselves didn’t know who exactly their gods were. At the time of the False Desolation, though, it makes a lot more sense to think that they turned their backs on all three Shards, since they seemed to be the ones motivating the conflict – and none of them seemed to be giving the singers much actual help.

All in all, the thing that makes the most sense to me is that they saw the Unmade (or at least some of them) as their gods, but… I really don’t find any of the answers convincing.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Seven

Carl @25 - I'll have to go review the tower situation again, but I thought that by the time Dalinar got back, everything was at full capacity. Not that the humans would know... 

The Sibling couldn’t generate Towerlight because they couldn’t hear Honor’s tone, until Navani sang it. Honor lives on the hearts of men (and women)?

Love. This. And now you make me wonder... is this more true after Honor's splintering than it was before?

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Seven

Carl @17 - I thought the Sibling's inability to produce Towerlight was because of Honor's splintering, not the broken bond. Granted, we aren't told specifically. I assumed that because the Sibling says "I can hear my mother's tone. But not my tone. I think it's because my father is dead." Then when Navani sings Honor's song, and the Sibling sings Cultivation's, they modulate to achieve the harmony that is Towerlight. So ... while it took a human (not even bonded yet!) to help, I'd go with the Sibling's assessment that the difficulty is in the death of Honor's Vessel, not the broken bond with Melishi. I'm not sure why you say "not at pre-Melishi levels," though. Where does that come from?

@several - One of the things I love about the trial is the way it reveals the variations in the spren - even among a single "family" which we (or at least I) tend to think of as "all the same-ish." While we're used to the differences between, say, Cryptics and honorspren, it's a little startling to realize the depth of the division between factions of the honorspren, to say nothing of the individuality. We've always had Syl as a bit of an oddball, and we've seen differences between the various bonded honorspren, but even they have sometimes implied that each family is basically in agreement. Now we know they aren't, no matter how much Sekeir wishes he could make them all conform. Can't wait to see what individual decisions they make!

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Seven

Sorry, incoming wall of text... (It's too hot to do anything else, so I'm free to hang out here for a while. I miss doing this.)

necessary_eagle @1 – That’s… an interesting theory. It does address what they thought was going to happen (damage, but not death) and would provide something of an explanation for why so many at once would have broken bonds. On the other hand, I have a hard time accepting that the spren en masse would agree to blame their partners for such a thing, if they had made the choice themselves. Other than Cryptics, the spren don’t seem to be inclined toward lying.

I lean toward the idea that they were going to return to Shadesmar and explain why they had decided that Radiants should no longer be part of Rosharan culture and why the humans had agreed with them. It wouldn’t even be necessary for the humans to give a coherent explanation; as long as the spren were agreed that it was a bad idea, there wouldn’t be a thing the humans who disagreed could do about it. It might have worked out better for them as individuals if there had been a better explanation, but maybe they couldn’t come up with anything they thought would be widely acceptable to a humanity that was accustomed to relying on them. (I wonder, though… had the human kingdoms started “buying” Radiants to support them in wars with one another, and the Radiants decided that the only way to keep that from happening was to make sure there just weren’t any available? Seems a bit extreme as a solution, but without Urithiru as a home, maybe they couldn’t see any other way of keeping Radiants from returning to their homes and then being obliged to fight for them?)

As for the highspren… yeah, I’ve always assumed there was an agreement among the spren that this one Order could be safely assigned the task of making sure no more Radiants ever existed. That would also make more sense of Nale’s crusade to kill all nascent Radiants: he’s just fulfilling the agreed-to rules. Again, it’s a bit extreme, but given his “I am Law” ideal and his sketchy sanity, it’s easy to see that he might have decided that instead of dissuading the spren directly, it was better to kill the humans.

Well, hopefully Maya will tell us more in the next book. I’d really like to know what was behind their choice.

Steven @2 – In Oathbringer, it’s pretty clear that Ivory is the exception who defied the rest of his people by choosing to bond with Jasnah.

Roger @5 – Sorry, I wasn’t exactly clear. I was thinking about the humans, mostly, and the fact that the Radiants of the time seemed to make no attempt to justify their actions. At least, the commonly accepted history is that the Radiants betrayed everyone, with no recorded pushback. The other ones who could have perhaps told another story is the highspren, as noted above. By the time the other spren families had recovered enough to ask questions, the highspren may have decided that the best narrative to put forward was that the humans betrayed and murdered their spren; if their goal was to prevent future bonds, what better way to make all the spren fear bonding?

beekay @6 – Well, there’s a gemstone archive record that says the plan would require “a special prison. And Melishi.” Whether that’s because of his abilities as a Bondsmith, or because of his individual knowledge, we aren’t told. (And at the point in the books where we were given that tidbit, the fact that he was a Bondsmith was intentionally hidden from the reader, so…) It’s quite possible – even probable – that it was his Bondsmith ability that enabled him to trap Ba-Ado-Mishram; the only other time we’ve seen an Unmade trapped in a gemstone involved an already-bonded Dalinar, so maybe it is a Bondsmith thing. But then why didn’t the Sibling go deadeye when their bond was broken? Is it because those three spren are simply too… individual, too deeply rooted, to be broken like that? (I think that would be cool, fwiw.)

Donald @7 – I’ve been wondering about that. We know Kalak & Nale (at least) were present when BAM was trapped, but we don’t know whether the Heralds were involved in or even aware of the decision of the Radiants. I’m pretty sure Nale knows, because of his own spren bond, but whether any of the other Heralds were informed is unknown.

Andrew @8 – Oh, good point about Ishar’s activities! I think it’s safe to assume that none of the spren are aware of it (or not until they’ve been captured, anyway), but she is very wrong. I wonder what they will do when they find out.

Carl @9 – “If Adolin is an invader, so is Sureblood. Note that Sureblood also has a spren bond.” Oh, nice!! Okay, Sureblood had a spren bond, and Gallant has one… but the point is a good one. I wonder if Blended would claim that the Ryshadium are also “unnatural.”

Chitnis @10 – Yes, it seems probable that it’s either the same technology as used in Secret History, or an evolution of it. I just haven’t gone back to see what, if anything, we know about it – beyond its existence.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Six

Steven @2 – I think you’ve hit on a lot of why I can handle present-day Venli and begin to let go of the  loathing for her that I developed in Words of Radiance. She acknowledges her faults, and for all that she still acts like her old self from time to time, she knows she should be better. And she wants to be better. Moash, on the other hand, has rarely taken any responsibility for his own actions; even when he says words that sound like “yes I did it” he’s full of the ways other people “made” him do it.

Lisamarie @4 – Exactly! When you have to remind people (including yourself) that you’re an adult, it’s only because you don’t act like one enough to convince anyone.

Andrew @7 – I don’t think your speculation about Timbre is likely, but mostly because I’ve been reading ahead. In the next flashback, we see the moment Timbre chooses Eshonai, and… well, it really looks like she comes through to the physical side due to Eshonai’s words and behavior. (We’ll talk about that next week when we hit Chapter 88.)

As for the first part of your comment … we’ll agree to disagree about Lirin and Venli, I guess.

beekay @8 – I wish I’d been able to explore the bit about Gavilar’s spheres a little more, but I had to cut things a little tighter than usual last week. I wonder if the reason the Voidlight faded but the anti-Voidlight didn’t might have to do with the way the Light is created. (And oh, how I wish I knew who created the spheres Gavilar had!) When (much in the future) Navani creates anti-Voidlight, it requires a lot of Intent to invert the tone, while Voidlight is the natural outflow of Odium’s tone. I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to say, other than that perhaps the natural tones – Stormlight, Lifelight, Voidlight – and even their combinations – Warlight and Towerlight – are… more straightforward, moving in and out of gemstones readily, while the inversions have to be forcefully and intentionally created and therefore don’t move so easily. I’m not sure that makes any sense, but it’s late and it’s fun to think about.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Five

Steven @11/12 - The Bondsmiths do have squires. Not saying Dabbid is/will be one, but ... 

I cannot form a bond with just anyone, the Sibling said. In the past I spent years evaluating Bondsmith squires to select one who fit me exactly.
-- Rhythm of War, Chapter 69

So, yeah, it happens. It's even possible that when Navani dies, the Sibling will choose Dabbid as someone with whom she already has Connection, if he's been "apprenticed" long enough (and is of the right mentality) to be able to work with the Tower. It all depends on where the story is going. 

Something I found even more interesting, though...

Even though there can only be three full members, there were times that some Bondsmiths did take squires. Beyond that, many of the retinues that protected the Bondsmiths were considered members of the Order–going so far as to swear oaths, even though they didn’t have a spren and never would. Some even called this the most pure form of being a Radiant, because these were oaths sworn not in the name of gaining powers, but simply for the good of the oaths themselves.
-- Sanderson's Knights Radiant quiz

This doesn't really tell us whether the squires/retinues gained any Stormlight-healing ability, though one reading of it would imply that they don't. ::shrug::

In any case, I could see several other orders as suitable to Dabbid - including Windrunners, now that it looks like more honorspren will join up. Just out of curiosity, I listed the "themes" of the various orders to see which ones I could see Dabbid entering:

Windrunner: I will protect
Skybreaker: I will seek justice
Dustbringer: I will seek self-mastery
Edgedancer: I will remember
Truthwatcher: I will seek truth
Lightweaver: I will speak my truth
Elsecaller: I will reach my potential
Willshaper: I will seek freedom
Stoneward: I will be there when I’m needed
Bondsmith: I will unite

With that list, I could see Windrunner, Dustbringer, Edgedancer, Truthwatcher, Elsecaller, Willshaper, Stoneward, or Bondsmith ... which turns out to be everyone but Skybreaker or Lightweaver. I'd see Dustbringer and Truthwatcher as the least likely of the first group, but that still leaves things wide open. (Now watch: he'll be a Lightweaver contrary to all my expectations...)

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Five

Andrew @2 – You remind me of a book (I think I’ve recommended it before) called The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. It’s all about this exact question: If you could correct the brain damage from hypoxia at birth (or in the book, the “misfirings” in the brain that result in autism), should you? Will you be the same person afterward? Will that be good or bad (either way)? I personally would like to think that Dabbid's personality is pretty well set, as well as being strongly shaped for good by Bridge Four, so that the difference will be primarily in his ability to think and speak more clearly. But it’s always a question; IRL we have no way of knowing, since we can’t “fix” DNA on that scale. As for where Sanderson plans to take Dabbid… we’ll have to RAFO, I guess, but this is very much set up for a spren bond. You’re right, though, either way he goes there will be some consternation among the fandom!

@several – I do think Sanderson has made it clear that Cosmere magic can change all sorts of things about a person, including their DNA, and it depends mostly on their self-perception. (It also requires access to Investiture, obviously; the Reshi monarch didn’t change physically until after bonding the spren, for example.) As I said above, I think that since Dabbid sees his difference as resulting from injury rather than being an inherent characteristic, a spren bond could actually repair the “brain wiring.” It’s a dicey proposition to address, but Sanderson has been thinking about this question for a lot of years, so I assume he’s figured out how he wants it to work, at least on Roshar.

Carl @9 – Oh, I forgot about the Bondsmith squire possibility! (I think it’s come up before, right?) That would definitely be a strong contender for Dabbid’s future role. If we assume that Bondsmith squires, like Windrunner squires, can use Stormlight (or Lifelight, or Towerlight) while still squires, it’s quite possible that he could do whatever healing is forthcoming in the very near future even without a direct bond. I’ll confess that I’d rather not see him follow along the exact same path as Renarin and Rlain by bonding one of Sja-anat’s modified mistspren – not because I don’t think it would suit him, but because… well, that’s been done twice already. Can’t one of the “misfits” do something different? And Bondsmith-squire would definitely be different!

It's a peculiar thing about descriptors like “shellhead” – it’s accurate enough in itself, and given Lift’s general straightforwardness, there’s a good chance she didn’t particularly intend it as an insult (at least, no more than Lift insults everyone!). But when it’s a racial characteristic, and the race happens to be one that is mostly “the enemy” in the conflicts of the past seven years, it tends to be interpreted as an insult whether the speaker intended it or not.

Also, I’ve always wondered whether Elisha was really that self-conscious about going bald, or if he’d just had it with a bunch of punk kids pestering him. Getting mauled by a couple of bears seems a bit harsh; on the other hand, forty-two kids harassing one old man is pretty cowardly stuff, and they probably deserved a good scare, at least!

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Four

beekay @14 - I'm so glad you said what you did, because I'd just (like Navani...) taken it for granted that a human was needed. But, as we see all the time, intent matters so much when working with Investiture, as does Connection. Maybe it's just not possible for a Fused to hold the kind of intent needed to make this sort of thing work. And while it would be kind of shocking for the Fused to not understand the importance of intent, it could well be that after 7000 years, they might think they are holding the right intent, while being completely unable to do so. And as you say, Raboniel is accustomed to her highly-trained Fused scholars; why would she need to experiment beyond them, once she's "proved" something can't be done?

My assumption about the complexity of Adonalsium's rhythm is mostly based on the mind-numbing thought of bringing all sixteen of the Shards' songs into harmony and balance. I suppose it's possible that the original wasn't complex, but... I'm still betting it was/is. And I'd forgotten about the larkin being the protectors of the Dawnshard(s); I wonder how far back in history that relationship goes. Were they just assigned as the Guardians once this Dawnshard arrived on Roshar, or does it predate the Shattering, or somewhere in between? In any case, the connection of the larkin to the Dawnshard would certainly open up the possibility of a direct affinity to Adonalsium.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Four

Roger @1 and beekay @3 re: do you really need a human and a singer to create Warlight?

Something just occurred to me… Venli, being a nascent Radiant, has a Connection to Honor. While the Fused can obviously sing Honor’s tone, they belong to Odium as Cognitive Shadows powered by his Investiture. Is that what prevents two Fused from creating Warlight? Has Raboniel ever tried harmonizing the tones with an ordinary singer – not a Regal, but one of the natural Rosharan forms like workform – who might have Connection with Honor and not with Odium? You’re right, it’s probably more complex than “a singer and a human” … but is it as simple as “they never tried it with a non-Void-bonded singer”?

beekay @3 – You make a bunch of  good points here. Adonalsium’s pure tone/rhythm, for example… That would probably be incredibly complex; while the stones – or the planet itself – would almost certainly “know” the rhythm, it might not be possible for a mortal to even recognize it as a rhythm. Now I wonder… Could that have been the rhythm Chiri-Chiri heard, warning her of dark times coming and the need for her to “be better”? She felt it as “a vibration coming up through the ground.” It could be the rhythm of the planet itself… but would that be, or be close to, the original rhythm of Adonalsium? Hmmm.

Since the tuning-fork thing was a Thaylen secret, if they ever did try it there’s still no reason Navani would have heard of it. Especially if (since) it was ineffective, the artifabrians would have had no reason to mention it. As for Gavilar’s sphere being made by Ishar… it’s as good a theory as any I’ve heard.

Celebrinnen @4 – I feel stupid… I never even noticed Chana there. I’ve gotten much to used to one or two Heralds – or sometimes four – and it just didn’t register that there were three. Oops. If I had noticed and pasted in the usual information, it would have said this:

Herald of the Common Man. Dustbringers (Division, Abrasion). Brave/Obedient. Role: Guard

(Perhaps I should be including the body focus too…?) There are so many ways to connect her! Navani has consciously set aside her queenship, and in one sense is functioning in a “common man” role. She’s also working with divided spren (though of course she doesn’t use the Surges) and specifically flamespren, which are associated with the Dustbringers. She’s definitely brave, and she’s clearly working on ways to guard her people in whatever way she can. So… yeah. Lots of connections.

Carl @5 – Yes, I’ve read it, and of course it lurks in the back of my mind when dealing with these subjects. Of course, we don’t know for sure who it was or who they served. And… nah, I don’t have the wherewithal to get into the theories, today.

Also, hmm. I seem to not really think about Scadrial if I don’t have to… but yeah, it’s likely a form of hemalurgy, which Sanderson has said would be available to pretty much every magic system. Yuck. I really dislike hemalurgy.

willn @6 – Seems like they would, though it’s likely only Cultivation’s godmetal that would be forming there in the Peaks. Raysium is likely only (currently) available on Braize, and given what little we know of Honor’s Perpendicularity, I have no idea where they’d find Tanavastium. The Origin, maybe?

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Four

Roger @1 – I suppose in a way it’s an assumption, but Raboniel said in Chapter 76 that she’d tried melding the songs of Honor and Odium before and it just doesn’t work. She also says she’s never tried it with a human, because humans aren’t capable of holding the tone or rhythm. Then when Navani figures out how to hold the tone and rhythm, BOOM. Warlight. So… I assume (with Navani) that it requires the two different species as well as the two different tones & rhythms.

About the daggers… I’m just guessing here, but my bet would be that they have multiple daggers so they can have multiple people using them at once. They came to Urithiru expecting to find two Heralds, and I’d guess they didn’t want to count on having time to swap out the gemstones between stabbings. But that’s just my theory.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Three

Carl @17 - Foreshadowing re: Hoid, eh? Well, could be... I hope I survive long enough to find out what the deal really is with Hoid, though. I like him. I don't trust him. He's undoubtedly got plans he hasn't shared with anyone else, and I'm not convinced that they're actually good for anyone but himself. I'm also not convinced that, good or bad, he's got the ability to pull off the grand scheme he's working. 

I don't think the harmony of Odium and Cultivation is likely to be the Rhythm of Freedom. That's too closely tied to the Willshapers. I keep trying to figure out what the third leg of the tripod would be, if two of them are War and Science... The combination of passion/hatred and growth/progress keeps making me think of Conquest or Colonization, but those both seem too close to War, while Exploration or Investigation is too close to Science. (Heh. Maybe Cultivation/Odium makes "Exploration" and Honor/Cultivation/Odium - a.k.a. War/Science/Exploration makes "Conquest" or something. But I could spend years guessing and still be wrong, and then when I see the actual answer it'll seem totally obvious.)

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Three

In which Alice feels like she’s arguing over Cadsuane again…

Steven @2 – I must have missed that. Where does Lirin say that “Kaladin should suffer from his actions,” again? Oh, right. He doesn’t say that at all. You’re not only putting words in his mouth, you’re talking like he should have been able to see the future and know that saving Roshone’s life would definitely destroy his family. Also, what’s with “his downright refusal to help”? He’s packing a bag to risk his own life by leaving the infirmary to go do surgery (if necessary) on Kaladin; his only conflict with Rlain is that he knows there’s a possibility he can’t do enough in Kaladin’s primitive hiding place, and wants the possibility of bringing him to the infirmary to remain open.

David @3 – Poor proofreading on my part (along with revision artifacts – oops). I didn’t mean to say that Venli had found the Rhythm of War, but that she’d just… stepped right into the harmonized tones of two different Shards, when Navani had had to work and struggle and theorize and experiment to even prove that kind of harmonization could exist. And no, as far as I know we don’t have a name for it. Yet. Navani refers to the combination of Cultivation and Honor as “the song of science” – which I assume is correct, but we’ll see. I really have no idea what to call the harmony of Cultivation and Odium. For what it’s worth, here’s how Navani describes the tones of Cultivation and Honor:

The boundless energy of Cultivation, always growing and changing, and the calm solidity of Honor – organized, structured. . . . Structure and nature. Knowledge and wonder.

So… is it possible that Cultivation, with growth and change, could modify the hatred into more productive and positive passions? Or would the hatred merely expand and grow and corrupt more?

Isilel @4 – I think you’re extrapolating Lirin’s attitude toward Tien with insufficient data. Remember that we only see their childhood from Kaladin’s perspective, and while he loves his brother, there’s no particular reason he should focus on the relationship between Lirin and Tien, any more than he did Hesina and Tien – or for that matter, Lirin and Hesina, though that got a little development. Childhood memories tend to be self-centered, so unless there was something seriously off in Lirin’s treatment of Tien, there’s no reason for young Kaladin to think about it. For that matter, given how much he loved his little brother, I think it’s more probable to assume that Lirin treated Tien equally well; if he’d been as uncaring as you like to assume, I’d think Kaladin would have been angry about the poor treatment Tien received. But I don’t believe for a minute that he was treated poorly.

goddessimho @11 – I think that’s a non-starter. Rlain considers it at one point, and is… not enthralled by the idea; “nauseated” is the word he uses. It’s mostly a matter of “do we have a duty to rebuild the listener race?” and becomes moot when they discover that more than a thousand of their people survived.

Andrew @15 – I suspect that may be the reason Venli still couldn’t say her second Ideal: she had an ulterior motive. She did want a reason to free Lift, and she’s glad to have done it for both reasons, but she didn’t do it just because it was the right thing to do. I still have a few issues to work out with that, but as near as I can tell, that’s the catch.

Also: You seriously think the only reason Lirin was willing to go to Kaladin was to find out where he was so he could tattle to the Fused?  Are you kidding me?? That’s insane. No. No way.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Two

Austin @4 – We know that the Ghostbloods are trying to figure out how to get Investiture out of system, and we know Kelsier was trying to figure out how to get out of system. We know that the Fused/Heralds don’t know either of those things. (We also know that Vasher seems to know both…) It may be that they’re thinking that since the Heralds & Fused can get from one world to another, that information would help them? Or avoiding the madness? Or… I honestly don’t know what they expect to learn; I suspect that mostly they’re just hoping that they can learn a little here and a little there and put things together to figure it out. But that’s another secret we’ll have to wait for.

Roger @5 – Well, that’s a possibility I hadn’t really considered… Maybe? I’m not quite sure how Mraize & co would have come up with it, and I’d thought the Fused already had the Stormlight-stealing fabrials, but that proves nothing. We don’t know much about whether the Ghostbloods have artifabrians on the payroll, so I suppose it’s possible.

Andrew @9 – I’ll (reluctantly) admit that Mraize’s tactics have been very successful; that doesn’t make them ethical or appealing, and I still loath him for it! And yes, Shallan was shockingly successful at the things he set her to do, though many of them were things she wanted to do for herself or her friends anyway. That’s one of the reasons I think he’d discard her in a New York minute if she broke her Ideals and could no longer function as a Lightweaver – that aspect was critical to virtually everything she’s done for him so far.

As for the Heralds backstories… I think there’s a good chance we’ll learn more about the early days in some of the later books, but I don’t know whether Sanderson is planning to give us that or not. It’s possible that the prologue scenario will be something about the Oathpact, but I’m not banking on it. It  could well be something that happens after the contest of champions.

Carl @10 – I’ll agree that Moash is fatally weak, but I disagree that he only does terrible things under Odium’s direct influence. To me, it looks like he made a ton of selfish decisions all on his own, including betraying Kaladin & Bridge Four, that made him of interest to Odium. “Oh, look, here’s an absolute tool I can use against the strongest of my enemies.” No matter what good opportunities are given him, he’ll always stab someone in the back if it fits his personal self-pitying narrative.

Taravangian… I’m waiting for the next book to see what I think of that whole thing.

As for Kalak, yes, he was the POV in the prelude – and IMO he showed pretty weak there, though the others had all agreed to abandon Taln to the Fused on Braize before Kalak got there, so… I don’t know where that puts him. Jezrien at least looked strong(ish) – or decisive, if not strong. Kalak seemed both weak and indecisive.

Steven @11 – Yep. All that.

Also, good point about their insanity perhaps being related to their guilt. Or at least some of it. On the other hand, the Fused are increasingly insane too, though, and the ones who seem to feel the least guilty are starting to look pretty sketchy. Raboniel, who seems to feel no guilt whatsoever over her efforts to exterminate humanity, flat-out tells Navani that if she were to die and return again, she would be irretrievably insane. Lezian is certifiable, IMO, and he certainly doesn’t seem to have a guilty conscience – he’s just salty about being the first one killed. Leshwi, who appears to feel the most regret about the decisions they made 7000 years ago, is the most sane of any we’ve seen. But there’s guilt and guilt, and it may be that the Oathpact binding the Heralds gives their sense of guilt an added dimension.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-One

For some reason it really struck me this time how sad it is to see the humans moving in to those ten big circles on the west side of the Plains. We were first introduced to them as "the warcamps" and I thought of them that way even after we learned that the listeners had lived there for generations until this war. I guess after digging deep into the Interludes now, rather than just reading them and moving on, this time it hit me that the listeners' enemies were moving into and taking over their homes, while they fled out onto the relatively inhospitable (or at least unsheltered) plains, leaving behind not only their ancestral cities, but also their cultivated fields and sheltering forests. The cognitive dissonance between their joy in the abilities of warform and the grief at uprooting their entire culture hits me hard today. 

Of course, the other thing that hits me is that so much of the fate of these people is in the hands of two inexperienced young femalen, only a few years into adulthood. One would rather leave all this behind and go find the ocean, and the other just wants power by any means available. It's... pretty sad.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty

With our deepest apologies, there will be no reread post this week. We got our wires crossed, what with holiday weekends and guests and all the other things life throws around, so... we'll be back next week with Chapter 81.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty

Carl @11 - To nitpick a little (because don't I always?) Siri didn't ask Hoid for a story in the way Kaladin did. She asked what he knew of Hallandren history, and then ordered him to tell her of the days before the division of Idris and Hallandren. So... less asking for a story, and more requiring a history lesson. I can see why Hoid didn't regard it as the same thing.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty

LisaMarie @2 - SO with you on the "you can be anything you want to be" BS. You can probably do a lot more than you think, but even if you work really really hard, you can't necessarily reach all your dreams. I'm a firm believer in setting your sights high, but... dogs can't be dragons, and neither can I! If you know what I mean. 

Also Beth and LisaMarie... well, I think I know which one you mean, but there are still a handful of scenes coming that made me cry. 

Celebrinnen & PencilTaxi - You're definitely on to something with the Kal vs. Kaladin thing. It was mentioned in the beta and is still there, so it's clearly intentional. And as you say, he starts as Kaladin, but as he starts to feel broken by the hating wind, he becomes Kal. When he sees the light and strives for it, he's Kaladin; when he's sinking and "realizes" that it was too good to be true, he's Kal. When Wit pulls him out and gives him hope again, he's Kaladin again and for the rest of the chapter. I'm not sure what it says that he reverts to his childhood nickname when he's hopeless; maybe just that he associates hope with Syl? Or... I dunno... something else? 

Oh, also, we didn't address this, but  it was kinda fun. (The post was long enough as it stood, though!)

"This is almost too easy. For years, I’ve had to make do with hints of illusions. Suggesting scenes. Leaving most to the imagination. Now, having the power to do more, I find it less satisfying."

Yep, he enjoys the craft as much as the result. Now that he can create full-up illusions with Lightweaving, he doesn't need to be as skillful in the suggestions. Interesting, eh?

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Nine

Oh, also, the reread will be going up an hour later for a while. For anyone who goes and looks for it right at 9 Eastern, don't panic. It will be up at 10.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Nine

Paige & Lyn - THANK YOU THANK YOU!! (Also, we've survived all the senior shenanigans except the getaway and the graduation. Almost there! Thesis presentation was mildly terrifying for the kid, but IMO she did a great job. Had some funny moments and some wonderful feedback on her topic, so that's always good.)

Obligatory defense of Lirin... 

For all that Lirin complained about Kaladin, it seemed he considered someone his son called a friend to be worthy of trust.

Having reached the stage where my kids are officially adults but also still my kids, I'm pretty sympathetic to Lirin's dilemma. It's a fine balance between expecting them to hold to the things you taught them (because you still feel responsible for them) and letting them make their own decisions (because they're adults). I see Lirin not-quite-balancing between a deep respect for his son's obvious leadership capability and judgement (in most areas), vs. an even deeper fear that he's simply thrown away the most important values his parents tried to teach him. 

I could wax quite eloquent on the subject with tons of real-life examples, but... I won't. I suspect anyone with adult children can relate if they think about it for a minute; anyone with younger kids (or no kids) will either have to use their imagination or wait until they get there themselves. Think about the values you hold most dear, and then think about how you would react if they overtly and defiantly did the exact opposite. Just... think about it.

Isilel @6 - re: Lezian being restrained from brutalizing humans with the shash glyph - I have to wonder if Raboniel told him to stuff it for a while, because she has more important things to do than deal with his rampages. At this point, she still needs Navani's cooperation, and she needs the unconscious Radiants for her potential experiments. It's going to be easier to do what she's trying to do with a relatively calm status quo in the Tower. Once she's got what she wants (a way to kill Radiant spren), and the Sibling is finally Unmade, she'd likely turn him loose. She may even have promised him that, to induce him to simmer down and wait for her timing. She doesn't delight in brutality the way Lezian does, but she's also not compassionate like Leshwi. She is, however, very pragmatic, and will use their proclivities as leverage to achieve her own ends as expeditiously as possible - and with the minimum irritation.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Eight

birgit @17 - Oh, good point! There have to be Narrative Reasons that Lasting Integrity is so close to Tukar. That's certainly a valid option.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Eight

Hmm. Now I'm wondering why I so fully expect Dalinar to end up trying to subvert his role as Taravangian's (cognitive shadow?) general. Perhaps it's because of the way "Thaidakar" is interfering in the rest of the cosmere - that's what the great heroes do. Now I'm starting to hope for either unequivocal victory for Dalinar, or seeing him go into the Beyond. Unless the whole point is to have a showdown between two (or more, if Vasher gets involved) Great Cognitive Shadows fighting over the Cosmere, I don't want to see that trope repeated. At least Vasher was already a CS when we first met him... if that helps anything. 



Then again... (I'm thinking as I write, so take this for what it's worth!) Sanderson has created a universe where it's possible for a sufficiently motivated person to refuse to move Beyond, and stay where they can influence and even participate in on-going events. So far we've got Kelsier (that we know of) from Scadrial, the whole fleet of Returned from Nalthis, the shades of Nalthis (sort of), and of course the entire army of Fused and the ten Heralds from Roshar. So far, only Kelsier and Vasher are known to be involved in inter-system events, but it is, perhaps, reasonable to assume that they won't be the only ones by the time this is over. Oddly enough, Vasher is apparently the only CS who knows how to move between systems; I'm beginning to expect that he might share that secret with Dalinar, should the circumstances arise. 

Huh. I started out feeling like this was an over-played device, and now I'm thinking it may be an intentional design feature. Not sure how I feel about that.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Eight

Steven @2 – You may be in a minority who likes reading about Shadesmar, but I’m in that minority with you! I find it all fascinating.

Andrew @4 – I certainly had no intention of implying that Mraize was unaware of the use of Jezrien’s Honorblade; I’ve assumed that he knows about it. I also assume that he knows about Nalan’s, since we learned about it in Oathbringer, and it was apparently reclaimed some years or decades ago. My question was whether he knows that Ishar has also reclaimed his Blade, though more recently, and whether he knows if any other Honorblades have been removed from Shin custody. (And also, I want  to know if they have!!!)

Lance @6 – Well, in one sense, all natural effects are “Surgebinding.” I.e., all natural effects use the Surges: gravitation, adhesion, tension, division, etc. It could be said that Surgebinding is just a matter of someone with the right access to Investiture using the natural Surges in different ways than the planet does – e.g. making the wall or the ceiling “down” to anyone touching it – which is exactly what is happening in Lasting Integrity. No, the spren wouldn’t call it Surgebinding, because to them that’s what the Heralds and the “traitorous” Knights Radiant do – but all the same, intentional or not, I would say it is a form of Surgebinding. But it’s all a matter of how you look at it.

Aerona @8 – Thank you for that quote. Like others, “carapace” never came into my mental image of inkspren, because it’s not part of any description we’ve ever been given of Ivory’s appearance.

Carl @9 – Jezrien’s Honorblade wouldn’t grant Lightweaving; it gives Adhesion and Gravitation. The two Blades that grant Illumination would be Shalash’s and Pailiah’s, and it’s unclear whether Truthwatchers are able to create Lightwoven disguises the way Lightweavers can.

Isilel @11 – I always had the impression that the bonding was 100% Ivory’s choice – that the other inkspren wanted him to kill Jasnah, but he was sufficiently impressed that he chose not to. It’s pointed out at least once that he’s the only inkspren to choose a bond (currently), and that he did it in defiance of the wishes of his people. But I don’t think it was at all involuntary.

Re: Kalak "on patrol” – it does make you wonder, doesn’t it? What exactly was he doing, and where? I really can’t see him doing the kind of patrol Notum was doing.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Four

Beth @3 – Thank you! You’re one of the rare people who understand how I feel about Lirin. Obviously we hate some of the things he says and does – or at least disagree with them – but it’s also eminently understandable, and very human. At times, very admirable, too.

Austin @4 – There are times when it takes great courage to control your instincts and not fight back.

Evelina @6 – Thank you. The ability to think through the probable effects of your actions is not a small thing, and requires a certain maturity. It can be crippling, but everyone has to decide for themselves: what is your primary responsibility?

@many – I’m not going to argue with you about Lirin; I learned how useless that was with Cadsuane. (The only time I successfully changed anyone’s mind was with this.) Nonetheless, I stand by my liking for him. He was certainly not a perfect parent – neither am I – and he made some poor choices. He’s learned from at least some of his mistakes, and one of the big lessons he learned was that subtle resistance can have very unsubtle and brutal consequences for other people. It seems to me that perhaps he swung too far the other direction, to making no resistance at all - although even then I think his biggest mistake was expecting/demanding the agreement of other people (i.e. his family). But he continues to demonstrate growth; by the end of the book, he flat-out tells Kaladin that 1) he can accept that they each need to follow their own path, 2) he chose to demonstrate faith in his son, and 3) that he was sorry for his part in their previous conflict. So to me, he’s a very real and worthwhile person, willing to continue to grow and learn and change. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Three

Donald @1 – Cool theory. I’ll need to cogitate on it for a bit, but I don’t see any glaring holes yet – which is a very good sign! (Okay, me not seeing holes isn’t really a sign that it’s correct, but that it’s entirely plausible, at the very least.)

Steven @2 – The more I dig, the more I find Ulim utterly contemptible. As you say, he really did see Venli and all her people as expendable, and thought it entirely appropriate for them all to die. I wonder … as a Regal, would Venli have any actual authority over Ulim that she doesn’t know about? If he knows she could actually do something to him, that would give him reason (other than shame, which I’m not sure he has!) to avoid her.

Aerona @3 – That’s exactly how Ulim comes across. It’s manipulative and abusive, and the sad part is that Venli is unable to see it as you did. As far as influencing your perception… well, yes, but mostly in that you have an even more visceral reaction to the abuse experience than most. Anyone who doesn’t find Ulim’s behavior reprehensible isn’t reading very deeply.

Also “seeing shades in the mist” does sound very Threnody-Scadrial-mashup, doesn’t it? And he’d be quite familiar with both.

Muswell @4 – Possibly not; I picked up the general insult from British TV. Would you prefer smeghead?

Beth @5 – I agree, very symbolic. While the listeners didn’t exactly have paradise, it kind of is when compared to what they’re about to get thrown into.

Andrew @6 – While she’s considered an adult in listener culture, yes, she is very young and inexperienced – particularly with Ulim’s sort of flattery. It’s understandable that she falls for it.

Lance @8 – We don’t really know, no. We know that many of the nature spren aren’t even sentient, much less sapient, but we don’t really know what they gain from a singer bond. Perhaps they gain enough sentience to be aware of heightened perceptions or enjoyment of life? My objection (specious as it may be) to trapping windspren is that we’ve seen so many of them around Syl, and they seem to be more intelligent, closer to sapience, than, say, flamespren or rainspren. It’s possible they only appear that way around Syl and Kaladin, and are normally no more aware than any other nature spren.

Roger @10 – We know very little about the Voidspren, really, other than that they get their Investiture from Odium. His influence is very like Allomancy, and might be related in a way. I don’t think it is Allomancy, because that belongs to a different system, but it’s very similar.

Eagle @12 – Rats. I forgot to note the bit about Cultivation’s Vessel. Good catch.

Goddess @13 – Oh. Right. (Not that I ever took Psych, but I’ve heard enough…) That’s true, and makes it even more revolting.

Austin @17 – Sanderson most definitely draws a line between sentience and sapience. We’ve talked about it from time to time. Also, clearly I’ve forgotten half of what’s in the Arcanum…

Rhythm of War Reread: Interlude Nine

That doesn't mean that Taravangian will die, though. Even if you don't want to credit him with anything, he's likely to survive as Cultivation's tool, or possibly as the tool that slips in her hand and causes far greater destruction.

On the other hand, if the actual plans were Cultivation's and not his, you can't really say that he's failed, can you?

Rhythm of War Reread: Interlude Nine

Carl @17 - I dunno... his plan with Nightblood, which wasn't even one of his "smart-day" plans, worked rather brilliantly.  

How had he thought to outthink a god when stupid? He couldn’t do that when smart. No wonder he’d failed.
Did you fail?
The sword is here.
Odium is here.

Rhythm of War Reread: Interlude Nine

Brendan @12 - I'm... not sure; I'd have to check with the PTB. Tor isn't publishing them, so it's really not a given.

Rhythm of War Reread: Interlude Nine

Carl @1 – But if the vines represent Cultivation, what does the sword represent? Both sides nominally come from Cultivation’s … gift to him. And yes, for a certain definition, psychopathic behavior is demonic IMO. It’s certainly not angelic…

I still haven’t decided whether I think Taravangian’s Diagram is a result of Shardic precognition, or a super-intelligence whereby he was able to remember everything he’s ever known/heard and connect all the dots. The former would be easier to believe.

Andrew @4 – I can’t guarantee that the comments will be free from spoilers, because I don’t have any control over that. We can but request it. I can promise that Paige and I will avoid discussion of the secret books and the SA5 Prologue until they are published, at least. If it seems super necessary to address something therein, we’ll spoiler-tag the bejeebies out of it.

 Lance @6 – Minor correction: the surgeon at his birth suggested he “may have diminished capacity.” He didn’t, as it turned out (or so he says), but people expected it and so it became part of his reputation. He did use the reputation to encourage people to underestimate him, so we can make of that what we will. As for the rest of “what was he like before”… I suppose if it matters, Sanderson will find a way to give us that information, but otherwise I don’t know how we’d learn.

@several – I’m personally undecided as to whether the cycle will continue in any degree now that he’s Ascended. The arguments on both sides are valid, so I’ll just wait and see what happens in book 5, on the assumption that we’ll see enough of him to tell. I love reading the debates, though!

Rhythm of War Reread: Interlude Seven

Austin @1, Beth @2 - Yes, there is a Beyond, and reference to "the God Beyond" - but Sanderson has stated in the past that he's not going to address what happens Beyond. Roshar has a concept of something similar to Heaven and Hell, but we know they're just two of the other planets in the system, so we still don't know if there's any real God outside (or beyond) the system of the planets and the Shards. We don't know if it makes a hill of beans worth of difference in the Beyond, what kind of person you were while you were alive. If it doesn't matter, then what's the point in trying to be a good person? If Renarin is going to end up with the same result as Sadeas, what does it matter how anyone behaves?

I don't necessarily know that it would be a great idea for him to address any of that. However, since he's the one that decided to deal with religion in his fantasy, it's fair to question what he does with it.

Carl @3 - I hadn't considered that Szeth's highspren might be afraid of Nightblood. I guess that would at least demonstrate wisdom!

Kerros @10 - I, too, have always assumed that the Shin prohibition against walking on stone was residual obedience to the limitations set in place to keep the humans in the place given them, to keep them from taking over (or damaging) the rest of the planet. I'm not sure who set the restrictions, but the Shin are certainly the only ones who still hold to it. Not knowing who created the Oathgates (or Urithiru), or when, it's hard to know how the "stones unhallowed" fits into that. It might be that the Oathgates were already in place for the singers' use before the humans arrived, and the humans were given permission to use the Oathgate to travel to Urithiru. That would have some interesting implications.

birgit @8 & several others - You're correct; there's a later conversation (which I didn't look up because I was running late) where Szeth confronts Taravangian about his request for an Oathstone. Once Taravangian realizes that the "guard" is actually Szeth, he turns immediately to trying to get Szeth to plan with him to use Nightblood against Odium. So while it's never clearly stated, the implication is that Taravangian knew Szeth had Nightblood, and figured that requesting an Oathstone would get his attention and bring him and his sword within reach.

More on stone:

They were on the king’s floor, two levels up, surrounded by rock walls, ceiling, and floor. That was profane. Stone was not to be trod upon.

That's from the Prologue to TWoK. That said, I don't have real confidence that Szeth really understands the whys and wherefores of holy vs. profane stone, much less is communicating the Shin beliefs accurately. And never mind the original rules about it! Even this isn't really clear: is it profane for him to be walking on stone, or for them to have worked the stone and built with it in the first place? Is stone shaped by Surgebinding acceptable, but that shaped manually is not? I'm so confused... I'm hoping that Book 5 will give us better understanding about all of the Shin beliefs and rules, though I doubt all my questions will be answered.

 Also, wow. Sorry for the wall-o-text. I started to respond to some of this last week, but failed to actually post my thoughts. So now you get it all at once.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Two

CireNaes @11 - Hey, good to "see" you again! Insightful as always. Yes, Raboniel is definitely adept at playing both ends against the middle, the middle against both ends, both ends against each other, and and other pieces you want to bring in, isn't she? She sets everything up so that if something goes wrong, it isn't really her fault, and she's always got deniability - but somehow she's got herself placed to take advantage of every development. She's ... I can't help admiring her, if only for the way she keeps so many ideas moving at once, always ready to move with whatever progress is being made, but never quite putting herself at risk. In the end, she didn't win the war, but I think she got the result she ultimately wished for herself. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Two

Carl @8 - I noticed it in the beta, but that's not the place to make word changes. Unfortunately, no one who did this section in the gamma flagged it. (We started a new approach in gammas a couple years ago - instead of everyone trying to proof the entire book, it's broken into 50-page chunks, and each person signs on for one chunk at a time, hopefully each taking at least 3 or 4 chunks. That way we can tell that every section has had roughly the same number of eyes on it... but of course, not everyone notices the same kind of thing, or will suggest a word change like this. Apparently, the six people who did this section didn't think "naiveness" was a problem.)

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy-Two

Roger @1 - Heh. Yes, I have a lot of hindsight questions... But you're right: given how close she got to overwhelming the Sibling simply by going right away and leaving Lezian to delay Kaladin, she probably didn't think it mattered. And it probably didn't.

artcticcivvie @2 and goddessimho @5 - Now I'm thinking again... (a dangerous pastime!) Raboniel does say she had another Fused listening whenever she couldn't do it herself, but that assumes they were actually diligent in the task. The more I think about it, the more I have a hard time imagining Raboniel spending a lot of time leaning up against a crystal vein in the hope that she'll find out when the Sibling is talking to someone. I'm sure she figured out when the normal conversations with Kaladin took place, and that sort of thing, but it seems probable that there would have been a few things missed. Still, Navani has to assume that everything is compromised.

Andrew @4 - Oh. Wow. Why did that never occur to me???

Songs of Home could also apply to the Sibling. They wish they have the access to the Songs that will allow them to generate Tower light.

That would absolutely be an aspect of the theme. They actually must have songs for their home - their body, really - to function. That inability to make Towerlight, and the intrusion of Voidlight, is destroying them. 


Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Seventy

Nina @10 - Notum and Dabbid? That's such an unlikely match, I love it. That would be SO cool. I was thinking maybe Yunfah, the one Kaladin arm-twisted into "considering" Rlain, but it would be much cooler for Dabbid to bond one of the "new rebels" after Adolin's trial.

Sillyslovene @11 - Shalash referencing the epigraph makes more sense than anything else I've seen, though I've never really thought they'd dedicate all for Herald spots to the epigraph... But that doesn't mean they wouldn't do it!

Marbelcal @12 - Dabbid as anything other than a Windrunner? Heresy! Though it does make a lot of sense... there are probably other Orders that would fit him better.

Lance @15 - Bondsmith squire, eh? That has possibilities. The Sibling just got done telling us that they used to spend years evaluating Bondsmith squires before choosing one. That implies that while Bondsmiths might not have the plethora of squires that a Windrunner might, they did at times have multiples. I wonder what kind of powers a Bondsmith squire would have.

goddessimho @17 - Silence is the opposite of sound only in the way that darkness is the opposite of light. Silence is merely the absence of sound, just as darkness is the absence of light. We'll talk more about how destructive interference actually works when we get to the chapters where Navani figures it out, but for now... you can't destroy a sound by increasing the silence, because silence doesn't work that way. To destroy a sound, you have to make a second sound that is in perfect opposition to the first; they cancel each other out, resulting in silence.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Seven

Sigh. Here I am again, the night before the new post goes up and just now getting around to joining the discussion. But I did have a few thoughts...

Roger @1 -

It also means that the Dawnsingers were the ones who lived on Roshar pre-shattering.

IMO, that would 100% make sense. They were the ones who lived there at the "dawn of time" for Roshar.

Does this hold true for the other types of Highspren, that they have to desire a bond in order to travel to the Physical Realm?

Two things. One, "Highspren" are specifically the spren of the Skybreakers. While we know what you mean, fwiw it's not a good word choice anymore. Syl calls the Radiant-bonding spren "true spren" which is probably has good a term as any. Sanderson hasn't given us anything better to use, a fact that continues to irritate me.

Two, in answer to your actual question ... well, we really don't know. Syl seems to have gone looking for some reason; Wyndle was sent by a governing body. The others seem to be some sort of a mixed bag of "sent" and "went looking." Since the spren are intelligent while in Shadesmar and only lose that when they transition without an extant bond, I would guess that those who are seeking a bond are drawn to the cognitive reflection (the soul-flame, in Shadesmar) of a person who demonstrates the attribute that appeal to that spren. Once they find an appropriate flame, they have to take the risk of transitioning to the physical realm in the hope of recognizing that person on the other side, and being able to "anchor" with them until a bond can form. Obviously that wouldn't be necessary when there are organized Radiants who would be likely to have squires; in that case, the Radiant (like Venli) would be sufficient.
That's just my guess, but it's a fun thing to think about!

Andrew @2 -

For me, nothing Venli does from hear on out will cause me to forgive her for what she did to her people.

Hmm. For me, nothing she does in future can *make up* for what she already did in the past. That doesn't mean she can't become a completely different person who would make a very different choice now. Look at Dalinar: the man he is now would never torch an entire city full of civilians because its leaders tried to kill him, but he did in the past. I can accept Venli, with growth, the same way. (Re: Moash, I don't doubt that Sanderson could write a redemption arc that I'd accept; I just don't want him to.)

Lance @3 -

I wonder if bonding with a Radiant spren could prevent a Fused from taking over a Listener’s body, and if that might prove to be a way of safeguarding the Listener culture from being permanently destroyed once the Fused become more aware of this little group.

Seems like it should work, as long as the Fused doesn't have one of those nasty little knives to kill your spren. I mean... in theory (as Carl noted), you have to agree to allow the Fused to take your body, but I don't think they worry much about gaining that agreement through manipulation or coercion. I suspect a better protection for the listener survivors will be Leshwi and her cohort, though.

in the intro you listed the Surges for Willshapers as being Transformation and Cohesion

Well, now, that's downright embarrassing. Clearly I was going too fast and failing to cross-check myself. I've corrected my source document so it won't happen again, anyway. As for the rest of that paragraph, we know so very little about the "resonances" of each order that I can't begin to address it. Good theory, though. I like it.

Inahc @6 - It's pretty certain that the singers are descended from the Dawnsingers, but all we have are hints as to what distinguishes the Dawnsingers in particular. It might be nothing, and they just dropped "Dawn" from the name along with losing some of their traditions and knowledge over time. Or it might be that, as you suggest, their nature was changed when Adonalsium was shattered. I like that idea a lot, myself - and I think it makes sense. Hopefully we'll find out someday.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Six

Carl @10

Filled with Passion and utter loathing for himself, he Shatters the Shard, killing and redeeming himself (even if our hosts don’t want redemption for him).

I’d accept that solution. :D

Roger @11 – Hmm. I don’t recall the suggestion that Cultivation managed to graft a little of herself onto Odium, but… Hmm. If Taravangian’s soul held some piece of Cultivation’s Investiture, that would be an amazing and awesome effect. It might take time for her influence to affect anything, but what an absolutely lovely bit of sabotage that would be.

tiornys @12 – Good point. I’d forgotten about that particular twist. So it might be possible, but definitely easier if the Vessel can convince him/herself that the action is in some way aligned with the Shard’s Intent. Worth pondering!

jer @16 – TOdium freed, Autonomy, an unknown Shard, Hoid… but what really terrifies me is that Sanderson is almost always capable of coming up with something scarier than I’d thought about! (I have had some other more specific thoughts, but right now I can’t remember what they were. Brain fog bites again.)

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Six

necessary_eagle @1 – Okay, I really like that possibility. Dalinar loses (I don’t want him to lose, but I do expect him to) but is then able to persuade TOdium to change his plans. He might have to do the persuading as a Cognitive Shadow, but that would be fine.

Also, I laughed out loud at your strike-out comment. :D

Roger @2 – I’m not sure how much of that is common knowledge, but then again Taravangian had access to a lot more information than most people on Roshar. In any case, as you say, bearing the agonies is hardly the province of kings. He might bear the weight of making the decision, but it’s the common soldiers and the ordinary people who will actually suffer the consequences of those decisions. Which… thinking about it that way makes me even less sympathetic to his position. I didn’t think that was possible!

Aon_Dork @3 – I’ll definitely agree that Taravangian is a more satisfying villain by virtue of his complexity and the potential for truly devilish schemes. I still hate these chapters, particularly in this setting where I need to interact with the text, not just read it and growl!

Carl @4 – I certainly expect that the ending of KOW will reveal the Big Bad for the back five. I just don’t know whether it’s going to be TOdium or someone else. I could list a bunch of different possibilities, all equally terrifying, but I’m still sorta betting that what Sanderson comes up with will be more threatening than whatever I’ve imagined.

CireNaes @5 – I’m still hoping Cultivation’s role plays out positively, somehow. I’m not sure whether she outmaneuvered Odium or herself with this project, but you’re probably right that her Shard’s Intent prevents her from simply splintering Odium. If she held that as a valid solution, she and Honor could probably have done it thousands of years ago – unless it’s simply impossible to use the power of Cultivation to attack another Shard. I wonder… is it that she couldn’t think beyond the Intent of her Shard, or that it’s not possible to use the power in a way that’s not consistent with the Intent?

Andrew @6 – Friendship is complicated, sometimes. It’s quite possible that Taravangian developed a genuine liking for Dalinar without becoming a genuine friend. If nothing else, it could be argued that you aren’t truly a friend to someone you’re planning to destroy for your own ends, no matter how much you like them.

goddess @7 - You're right, of course; Dalinar keeps hoping that if he tries hard enough, he can finally convince Taravangian - even now that it looks like it's too late and the betrayal is done. It's a very human thing to do. Also, I like that theory about Taravangian shattering his own Shard at the critical moment. That would be a cool twist - and quite a redemption arc.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Five

Good point, Beth. Investiture is always conserved in some form, so while a Vessel can be physically killed, the power itself - as well as its Intent - remains. Even when a metal is "destroyed" its essence isn't destroyed; it is, as you say, changed. It might take a different form, but it's still there.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Five

birgit @3 – You know, that’s a good point about Raboniel and her

“Do this, and I’ll free your tower. I’ll take my troops and walk away. This knowledge is worth more than any one location, no matter how strategic.”

She would have done exactly that: free the physical location and leave. She might even have left the Oathgates functioning – or she might not – but once she had Warlight and Unmade the Sibling, the tower itself would be worthless to either side. Without the Sibling, it would be unlivable in any case.


Carl @4 –

it’s fairly debatable whether Adonalsium was any closer to the Christian ideal of a god than the Shards and Vessels. I mean, he was mortal, after all.

But… was he? Adonalsium was splintered; that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s dead. Just sayin’…

Also, I would love to see a nice long conversation between Khriss and Navani.

Carl & Roger – We can be fairly confident that the Stormfather and the Nightwatcher existed pre-Shattering as the spren of the highstorms and the spren of … probably “life” or perhaps the planet… but they both existed as sentient spren. At what point they gained actual sapience, we don’t know, but I think Roger’s guess is fairly solid – the “old magic” was associated with the highest spren on the planet. Whether the “new magic” is a result of the arrival of Honor & Cultivation, or is merely the development of Surgebinding in the system, I won’t guess.

And I suspect there’s a long discussion here, but it’s too late at night and my brain won’t go there right now!

Sorry about throwing this in so very late…

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Four

Carl @3

How did she recognize [the chain]?

I wish I knew! It makes a lot of sense, in context, that this was Mraize’s “advance on future payments” intended to get Raboniel to agree to negotiations for use of the Oathgate. Still, Raboniel recognized it almost immediately, and we don’t know why or how. Had she seen a similar one before? Does her skillset include the ability to recognize uses and origins of Invested objects? Neither of those make sense to me as a thing Raboniel can do, but I don’t have any better ideas.

Not. The surface of the eye can’t feel pain. 

Since it “pierced her eye,” though, it probably hit more than merely the surface of the eye. Also, while Shallan didn’t particularly care about getting shot in the head, it did hurt, since “actual painspren joined the illusory ones around her.”

Andrew @6

I wonder if it would help to have a chain from the lands of the dead, said to be able to anchor a person through Cognitive anomalies. 

Good question. My first thought was, “yeah, why not give that chain to Kelsier?” – but I assume it wouldn’t be any more useful to Cognitive-shadow Kelsier than to Cognitive-shadow Raboniel. In that case, though, why give it to her? Just because it’s valuable? Maybe we’re wrong about the chain being the payment from Mraize, but it does make so much sense contextually. *sigh*

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Three

Beth @6 - Not exactly "well" yet, but definitely better than I was! I hope to be symptom-free in a few more days, based on the symptoms of family members who are 2 days ahead of me in the process. :) 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Three

Roger @2 - I'm not saying it would have worked, nor that it would have been a wise thing to do. I'm just saying they should have thought about it and decided it wasn't worth the risk. 

Carl @3 - Thank you! My flashes of insight are sporadic, but I do have 'em. :) That particular one, which had never occurred to me until I was writing this post, suddenly walloped me over the head - and once seen, it can't be ignored. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Two

Aeshdan @6 - Good point about the painspren normally being orange; I hadn't thought about that aspect. Since Eshonai is used to the color of Stormlight-charged gemstones, it would make sense that a gemstone containing a trapped spren would look different - and it makes sense also that the spren's natural coloring would be part of that. 

Kefka @8 - I'll have to look that up! The daughter is plenty old enough - she's a senior in high school this year - but the creep factor might still get her. :D 

Beth @1 and AeronaGreenjoy @9 - The whole thing with Jaxlim's dementia becomes more real and more painful as we have real-life experience with it, doesn't it? It's easy to pity someone, and even feel bad for their family, but coping with it first-hand (or I suppose you could call it second-hand when it's your parents?) turns this from sad to a real gut-punch. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty

Ben @19 - Well, it at least gives a clue as to why you brought Dalinar into it, though I disagree that he's an egomaniac. Also, I'd suggest that Venli may still have a ways to go before she "does more good than bad" overall, though obviously ymmv.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty

BenW @17 - I'm trying to figure out what your comment has to do at all with Andrew's comments @6. Care to clarify?

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-One

goddessimho @17 - Envoyform doesn't have much carapace, though. Some forms have so much that it serves as armor and insulation; others have very little. The envoyform carapace seems to be mostly decorative and relatively fragile - just some on the cheeks and the back of the hands. They clearly aren't meant for fighting! 

Also, I'm with Carl; I think the reason Lift is still functioning is likely that she's using Lifelight, which isn't blocked by Raboniel's meddling. There's still an effect; she can't use Abrasion at all, and even Progression is harder to use, presumably due to some part of Honor's power being part of the Surge. But she's awake and aware 100%, and that's probably the Lifelight effect. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-One

Carl @1 - Umm... 

I don’t think white sand is a tool, any more than copper or tin is a tool on Scadrial. I think it’s just how Investiture works there.

I would call copper and tin "tools of magic" on Scadrial, too. It may not be the best of semantics, but it's the best I could come up with at the time: it's the object through which the magic-user activates the magic. The point was to distinguish between "how magic works on Taldain" and "the plot of White Sand"  in any case.

Also, yes, the "I shouldn't jump off the Tower right now" probably is foreshadowing of the later jump. Definitely worth pointing out.

Andrew @7 - It's an understandable difference for different readers. However...

For me, their was too much scientific details in too many chapters.  They made these chapters tough for me to read as I slogged through the scientific principles.  Those readers who are more scientifically inclined/aware, may have had an easier time digesting these scenes. 

It's not merely that some of us had an easier time digesting those scenes - it's that they were beautiful and filled with all the things that make our hearts happy. It's SO rare to find scientific accuracy - or even an attempt at it - in fantasy, and it was sheer delight. Where you struggled to digest those chapters, they were a perfectly-cooked steak for me.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty

FractalSpren @14 - Good point. I always forget about the special powers that come with envoyform.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty

Carl @8 - 

… It makes a soft clink, and it totally shocks her, and then they don’t talk about it at all …

Maybe that “drink the Dor as a liquid” stuff the Yrie had (in glass bottles that clink)?

::retrieves jaw from floor:: Oh. My. Stars. And. Buttons. That would be awesome and I really hope it's true. I mean... I'm kinda scared what it could be used for in the wrong hands, but also that would be amazing. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Nine

With my deepest apologies: I completely spaced when I was writing the last bit, and forgot that there will, in fact, not be a post next week. (Due to American Thanksgiving holiday, we traditionally take that week off. I could wish it were because I'd be too busy at the Dragonsteel MiniCon, but alas, I can't be there.)

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Seven

Nina @7 - I've wondered the same thing. Perhaps it's related to those few visions with the warm light - the ones the Stormfather claims no involvement. Perhaps he has access to Connection beyond/before his Bondsmith bond? No idea how or why this would be the case, but it would be cool.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Seven

Good points, y'all. I tied in the timeline of Dalinar's personal life, but failed to notice how he might be specifically seeing reflections of Evi here. He might not even be consciously making that connection, but as he said, he's tired of pushing people around and destroying them. I think there's an underlying hint of "Gavilar's ambitions aren't worth it anymore." I don't recall that he ever thinks that Evi died on the altar of Gavilar's ambition (and there are a number of reasons he wouldn't see it that way), but it's true nonetheless. And as Andrew points out, Evi was in Rathalas because she couldn't adopt the Alethi ways, and she gave her all to try to make peace before the city was destroyed. These are a peaceful people - even their fighting over a city is more a matter of shouting than actual fighting - and I can see Dalinar hoping that Gavilar won't find any reason for conquest. 

As for Axindweth and that foul gemstone... No, I don't think we ever learned how she got it, or even who she was working for. There were at least a couple of secret factions trying to influence things on Roshar, and we don't know enough yet. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Six

Hey, y'all! Sorry I've been so out of touch lately - life's been a bit of a zoo. But I wanted to be part of the discussion, even if I'm late... So, a few comments.

Roger @2 - I've not heard of Ivan Doig before this, but I will most definitely check him out! It'll be fun to see how well his books match my experience. :)

I wish we knew more about modern language drift on Roshar. We learned some about Dawnchant, and I hope to learn more (like how closely it's related to modern singer/listener language), but we don't really know much about how human language has changed since the Fused were last on Roshar. It might be as simple as "Unlike most Fused, Raboniel had always kept up on the human language, so her learning curve was minimal."

Andrew @3 re: new Radiants with more powers. I agree; this is not soft magic, so the basic rules probably haven't actually changed much. I have to wonder: over a few thousand years of Radiants, how many times did someone get hurt using a particular application of their Surges, and that application was then discouraged? Or how many times did the number of Radiants diminish such that some unusual skills were forgotten, and weren't regained because they depended too much on teaching and not enough on discovering? It's an interesting question, and it mostly leads me to agree with you: human nature being what it is, the greater part is probably ignorance. Since they're discovering /i/everything/i/, knowing nothing, they're likely finding applications that were forgotten or abandoned by the former Radiants.

Carl @5 - Well, that may be true too. We have some pretty good indications that Bondsmiths are less constrained in the absence of Honor's Vessel, and it may be true for (some of) the other Orders as well.

Aeshdan @9 - Valid point. As a culture evolves, their ways of thinking and training evolve as well - and this time, the humans have had 4500 years to evolve, instead of a couple hundred like they'd had before. Not only are the Fused more demented than ever, many of them are unable to adjust to the concept that the humans have changed a lot in their absence this time around.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Five

Beth @1 - That story makes my heart ache; it's too often repeated and every time unique. I'm glad you two have survived it together.

Roger @3 - Hmm. Possible, though they were watching the sky rather than the tower, and he overheard their conversation about watching for Windrunner scouts. I doubt Raboniel would have told them to fake that conversation, though she might well have assumed that they would report a Stormblessed sighting. My guess is that she's sufficiently confident in her own control that for the time being, she's not letting anyone else know about listening in on the Sibling (other than, obviously, the people she has doing the listening). She's not one to let subordinates know about things that are none of their concern. 

Carl @4 - It's certainly possible that Dabbid could become a Bondsmith eventually, though I personally am... unconvinced. I think there are other orders that would suit him better. Unless something dreadful happens in SA5, I see no reason that Navani wouldn't be the Sibling's Bondsmith for another 30 or 40 years; I'd just as soon Dabbid had a spren of his own before that. And I don't really see him bonding the Nightwatcher. My bet is on either an "enhanced" mistspren, or an honorspren. (Hey, maybe Notum will bond with him! That'd be all kinds of fun.)

Kyle @5 - no, it's not a typo. Perhaps I didn't adequately clarify what I was thinking. Teft and Syl are two of the most important people in Kaladin's life right now, and I thought the role reversals were fascinating.  Normally, they each encourage him in their own ways - Teft being the grumpy, pessimistic sergeant who pushes him to keep going, and Syl being the optimistic one who teases him into believing it's really worth the effort. Now they are both deeply dependent on him (one reversal). Teft is the hopeful-looking one on the verge of waking up, while Syl is the fearful one worrying that they're all going to die (second reversal). And Kaladin, though he doesn't think of it that way, doesn't really know how to handle it when they "aren't themselves" as it were.

@several - I don't know that it matters a lot, but it's nice to see that I'm not the only one wondering why Syl is different from the other spren, from what we've seen. All the possibilities suggested so far are valid from what we know. I find it hard to believe that she's the first sapient spren in 7000 years to find her "human side" in grieving for her former Radiant, but at the same time, she is (so far as we know) the only formerly-bonded spren to have survived the Recreance. I guess if it matters, we'll find out eventually whether she's truly unique in that regard.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Two

Wow, I've really been out of touch! Thanks for the comments here... as I've just finished writing tomorrow's post...

It's sometimes hard for me to remember that the sisters are both very young here. "Young" and "thoughtless" often go together, and we sure see it in these two. Eshonai was very self-centered, just as much as Venli - perhaps more, at this point, because Venli at least was deeply concerned about their mother. 

I maintain that Venli is still a physical coward, though she begins to develop more courage over the course of the book. When Leshwi first tells Venli that she'll be going along on this mission as Raboniel's aide, there's an assurance that she won't have to do any fighting - and when they get in the fight coming up through the tunnels, Venli is very nearly useless. She never gets in a fight if she can help it, and she avoids confrontation as much as possible because she's afraid of what might happen to her. Timbre will, hopefully, help her get past that a bit more.

I still have hope that we may learn more about Axindweth, if only some clarification of who she was working for and why. I'd hate to have that left unanswered.

See you tomorrow!

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Eight

Isilel, I was thinking about the weaponry. I obviously don't have a solid answer, but in this case we have a barely-adult explorerer carrying a really good knife found in the ruins. If Eshonai has one, they can't really be all that rare among the listeners, can they? I'm also guessing that, especially by the time their numbers have dwindled when we see them, they have done all they could to retrieve the weapons they had after every battle (plus salvaging everything from the humans killed whenever the listeners won a battle) and all that, so ... it's not impossible that the weapons they had were finally concentrated among the relatively few fighters left. I'm not sure that fully resolves the question, but ... some ideas. 

As to how those lovely steel weapons were still so bright and clean after thousands of years... that's one I'm not metallurgist enough to take on. I'd posit that many of them were indoors, in crem-coated buildings like the one Adolin used to blind-side the listener choir, which might have preserved them. It's also probable that those weapons were of the best quality that could be made on Roshar - which, given 3000 years of development since the last Desolation, might have been pretty good stuff. One thing we don't know, of course, is ... who did those weapons belong to when they were left at Narak? Were they human artifacts, or singer? If the Plains were shattered by singers creating a positive interference tone, who would have been at the center? Both? 

Now I want to know.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Seven

Kaboom @27 - I don't have a lot of confidence in my theorizing these days, but there are aspects to this one that I really hope will prove true - and that's one of them. 

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Seven

FYI, 17S has a transcription of a reading from Silence Divine.



Also at


Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Seven

Austin @17 - From March 2020:

So, this cool story about people who get a disease get magical talents while they have the disease and what-not, I will write this someday. This takes place on Ashyn, which is in the Rosharan system. And there is kind of deep lore stuff about the history of Roshar that Ashyn is related to, and I want to do that. And there's some fun inter-connectivity to the magics. I just haven't had the time, yet.

oafgeek @18 & 19 - So... Humans had to worldhop somehow to get from Yolen to Ashyn in the first place; we really don't know the mechanism for humans spreading throughout the Cosmere or how that sort of colonization happened in general. (Except for Scadrains, which were created by Ruin and Preservation, all humans originate with Yolen.) We do know there were humans on Ashyn and singers on Roshar when Odium arrived in the system and started meddling. There may have been worldhoppers influencing things, but recall this from much later in RoW:

Ishar was ambitious even before madness took him. He cannot bear sole blame for the destruction of Ashyn, humankind’s first home, but he was the one Odium first tricked into experimenting with the Surges.

The magnitude of the disaster, assuming the Stormfather is a reliable narrator, was due to the involvement of the Dawnshards:

[Honor] raved, speaking of the Dawnshards, ancient weapons used to destroy the Tranquiline Halls. (Oathbringer, Chapter 113)

We know from Dawnshard and other references that they are incredibly powerful, and in the hands of someone like Ishar... well, I can see him basically nuking his world because he didn't understand just how much damage he could do. I can also see someone else feeling so threatened by him that they would use a Dawnshard to stop him. Either way, they made the planet almost unihabitable except for the cloud cities and a few small pockets on the ground. 

I can't spend the time searching for all the references now, but it's at least implied, and possibly stated outright, that Honor himself brought the humans from Ashyn to Roshar, not that they did it themselves.

Andrew @10 - A minor quibble, perhaps, but Honor didn't come to Jezrien with the concept of the Oathpact. Ishar came up with the plan, figured out how it could be done, assembled the willing participants, and they went to Honor asking him to grant the power to make it work. 

Michael @13 - It's certainly possible that the original enmity between Nale and the others was on Ashyn, but the formation of the Oathpact was to remove the Fused and Voidspren from Roshar. I don't believe it had anything to do with "breaking" Ashyn, other than the recognition that if the singers all started using Odium's power to do Surgebinding, Roshar wasn't going to be a livable place for humans either. FWIW, the Heralds originally opposed the idea of any Surgebinding, but when it became clear that it was going to happen anyway, Ishar managed somehow to force the spren to agree to the limitations that set up the Knights Radiant orders.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Seven

Hmmm. Ashyn magic is supposed to be disease-related; though the book isn't written yet, Brandon has talked about it before.

"Bacteria have evolved to the point that they try to keep their hosts alive by granting them magical powers while you have the disease. So, you catch a cold, and can fly until you get over it."

"Suffice it to say that the disease magic is related to a symbiotic bond between spren-like investiture and microorganisms."

There are other WoBs on the subject, but they're mostly variations on that idea. He did say that while it's always been disease-based, "it isn't quite the same as it was." (The context seems that someone was trying to find out if the planned novel uses exactly the same magic system as the one in place when they damaged the planet.)

So... if you're willing to call the Ashyn Invested microorganisms "spren" and the disease a "bond" it doesn't seem like the kind of "spren bond" we're familiar with is necessary for Surgebinding. Recall, too, that people call things by familiar names even if they don't work the same way, so Rosharans would probably call any magic system "Surgebinding" by default.

... I think I was going somewhere else with this, but I don't remember. So I guess for now we'll leave it as a reminder that magic on Ashyn doesn't function quite the same way as magic on Roshar, though they're in the same system and have the same Shards' Investiture.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Seven

Heh. Like I said, the theory has some holes... but as an outline, I'm kinda fond of it. I hope it turns out to be the truth. :D 

oafgeek @1 - Nice extension on Nale's personality! I really like that. He was known to be honorable, and at least in this case shown to have the better judgement, but that's a shaky foundation to set him up as The Ideal of Law and Justice. He certainly went with it, though! I have some hope that, in creating the Oathpact, Honor (and possibly Cultivation) actually bestowed some level of divine discernment matching each Herald's role, but I also suspect that they lost most of that when they walked away from the Oathpact. His behavior in recent decades certainly doesn't look good. 

Austin @2 - I'm not sure the timing is off, though. Based on Dalinar's vision with Nohadon in TWoK, some form of Surgebinding preceded the formation of the Knights Radiant. Syl's thing about "we saw what Honor did with the Heralds and emulated it" may not be as straightforward as it looks, and might be more about the Orders of the Radiants (and their Shardblades) than about Surgebinding itself.

I'm thinking more that the early Surgebinding on Roshar (the kind in my theory) predates the development of the ten families of Radiant-forming spren we're familiar with. I'd guess it was more a matter of bonding with, say, lifespren to gain healing, or windspren to control gravity. In any case, I'd bet that the initial bonds gave control of one Surge, much as we see in the Fused abilities. The humans, without the limitation of "one spren at a time" caused by the singers' gemhearts, and with their experience on Ashyn, may have figured out a way to bond multiple spren, gaining more and more power - which would definitely irritate the singers who couldn't do that. (Until Timbre, anyway...)

The Oathpact gave each Herald the ability - and the limit - to control two Surges, as well as some other things hinted but not yet spelled out for us. I'd postulate that the true spren we know now emulated that setup, as well as figuring out a way to take metal forms in the Physical realm to emulate the Honorblades. 

I'm sure there are plenty of other holes, and as with any theory I could be completely off-base. But I enjoy speculating about the ancient history, so scenes like this thing with Nale & Jezrien are huge theory-fodder for me. (If I were brave enough, I'd try to search reddit and 17th-Shard to see what theories other people have come up with based on this stuff, but... I don't have enough free time to dive into those rabbit-holes.)

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Six

@many - Thank you all, and know that you're not alone in your grief either. I have a much deeper understanding, now, of what the families go through. It was hard losing my own parents, but I'm now profoundly grateful that neither of them experienced dementia in the process.

I, too, have very mixed feelings about Raboniel. She was set up to be a horrific character, and yet she shows Navani more respect than many humans - the humans tend to respect her position, where Raboniel respects her self, and that put a very different light on her. She's brutal in some ways - brutally pragmatic, and absolutely committed to ending this terrible cycle of dying and returning for her people - but she's also extremely intelligent and excited about discovery for its own sake. (Though she never ever forgets to look for ways she can turn discoveries to her own purposes...) She's a very faceted character; one of the best Sanderson has ever written, IMO.  

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 20: You Wouldn’t Have a Hope

NotPerformative @164 - Why should any of the comments address the red hair/ fire thing? Jo pointed it out immediately.

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Two

Carl @24 - Why do you take quotations out of context and then argue with them? As I said:

Based on that, I’d say Roshar is pretty wide-open as far as who can be chosen, but the point has always been that any individual has the possibility of being chosen; it’s not restricted by factors beyond your control like genetics or status.

We were talking about Roshar in the first place, and I concluded by specifically addressing Roshar. What does Scadrial have to do with that?

As for "gods" - well, if you consider the Knights Radiant to be gods, that's your look-out. I don't - not even on an in-world understanding. As far as I can tell, the humans sort of considered the Heralds to be god-like, and the listeners/singers sort of consider the Fused to be god-like. I don't see anyone thinking the Knights Radiant or the Regals to be gods, but maybe you read it differently. And as I said before, if you're going to call the Regals gods, then I don't understand the objection to more humans becoming god-Knights Radiant. If one side has hundreds of Fused and thousands of Regals, and they're all "gods" to you, why do you want the other side limited to a hundred or so Knights Radiant because you don't like the idea that "everyone is a god now"?

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