Note: This post will contain spoilers for earlier volumes of the Stormlight Archive (including Dawnshard), as well as spoilers for the pre-released chapters from Rhythm of War. Do not continue if you don’t want to read spoilers!
Rhythm of War, the fourth book in Sanderson’s ten-book Stormlight Archive, releases on Tuesday. If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know just how obsessed I am with this series and with Sanderson’s Cosmere novels in general (as they all intertwine). RoW is my most-anticipated book of 2020, and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will also be my favorite book of the year. For the last few months, I’ve been reading along with the pre-released chapters on Tor.com, enjoying the delicious thrill of being back on Roshar again. And I have theories. Lots and lots of theories. I’m only going to include the big ones here, because there’s no need for this post to be novel-length! In no particular order:
1) Adolin will reawaken Maya but not necessarily bond to her (though it’s possible he will). Either way, he’ll learn how to reawaken a dead spren, and through his discoveries, they’ll figure out how to wake the sibling/tower at Urithiru. This might involve Rushu, who seems to have a lot of interesting insights that other people don’t notice. ***Later pre-released chapters confirm that the sibling at the heart of the tower is indeed a deadeye, so this theory feels even more solid now.
2) Rushu is going to be important in some way. She’s been an idle side character for too long. It might have to do with Adolin’s discoveries above, but it might be something else, also. I just feel like she’s going to come into her own in this book finally. (Also, I really hope it isn’t in a negative way, like her being a spy or traitor of some kind!) ***Rushu ended up being fairly important – or at least more than an idle side character – in Dawnshard, so she may have less of a role than I was originally predicting in RoW. But I still hope she does!
3) Re: voidlight fabrials: If the sons of honor have a spy in Urithiru, perhaps the Singers do as well – if so, could they have listened to the lectures Navani gives on fabrial technology and then apply the knowledge to voidspren? ***Later pre-released chapters show that this technology was first discovered before the end of the last desolation, just not widespread. The desolation ended before it could be widely known. So this theory has pretty much been debunked already – though the Singers probably still do have a spy in Urithiru!
4) Early in RoW, Renarin confronts Moash with a figure made of light. In earlier books, Renarin hasn’t figured out how to use the “illumination” surge yet, and clearly he has by RoW. I believe he is actually confronting Moash with a “what might have been” version of him (Moash), the same as what Wit did for Shallan in Oathbringer. Considering that Renarin’s spren is corrupted and so his surges would be different from other Truthwatchers, I think it’s an interesting that he could pair his illumination surge with seeing the future.
5) Kaladin’s fourth ideal will have to involve letting go of his long-held guilt for Tien’s death, allowing his scars to erase and letting go of his identity as a slave. Maybe he will go back into surgery and help his dad like he’d decided he’d do before he volunteered for the army, the identity he doesn’t feel he’s worthy to be right now. Perhaps he’ll become the person who will help anyone wounded in battle, Singer or human, ruffling feathers on both sides but also perhaps building a bridge between the two sides. Perhaps his ideal will be something along the lines of “I will allow others to protect themselves when it is right” or “I will forgive myself when my protection fails” or even “I will protect myself.” ***Later pre-released chapters show Kaladin agree to join his father and continue training as a surgeon. His reluctance, though, speaks to a greater shift in mindset that he still needs to undergo. I feel this strengthens my theory.
Things I’d like answers to, or have questions about:
1) Has Danlin ever been dealt with? Could she be the spy in Urithiru? Who is the “close to Dalinar” spy that Sons of Honor mention to Shallan?
3) Why is Szeth in prison but Taravangian allowed to roam freely? Why isn’t Dalinar using Szeth as a resource, especially as he seemed to accept him at the end of Oathbringer and was using him as a bodyguard then?
4) Some people react with nausea or bloodlust when exposed to Nightblood/Sword-Nimi and some have no reaction at all. From Warbreaker, I understand the difference between those who have nausea or bloodlust, but I’m wondering why there are neutral folks on Roshar. Are they all Radiant or potential-Radiant? Does it have something to do with their tie to the cognitive realm?
5) Certain parts of the world seem particularly important to Singers both in the past and present. What is so important about them that the humans don’t know?
All right…bring on the countdown…two more days!!