The Road to RHYTHM OF WAR – Part One (Cruising the Cosmere)
Here at the Hive, we’re super excited for the upcoming release of the new installment in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives – Rhythm of War – on November 17th.
It will be the fourth installment in what is proving to be quite the Epic Fantasy saga!
To celebrate, over the next three weeks leading up to the release, we’re going to take a look at the series so far – the road that has so far led us up to this next book, if you will.
This week, we’re going to look at our favourite moments in the series so far. Next week, we’ll be focusing on our favourite characters. And in our last post, we’ll be exploring what we hope to see next in the series – our predictions for Rhythm of War.
So let’s just drive straight in shall we?
What is it about this series that you love?
Sanderson is skilled at creating worlds and populating them with living, breathing characters. His magic systems are compelling; they deliver thrills and allow for wonderful set pieces to enfold in memorable climactic battles. The silent moments with soon-beloved characters are as memorable due to his skill with dialogue; Sanderson’s prose sparkles in the sun. An easier question would be, “What is it about this series that you hate?” to which I would say, “Stop asking dumb questions, wot are you, crazy?!” and then eventually I’d admit I bloody hate Moash.
Oh, I 100% agree with you, Filip, Damnation can take Moash!
There’s just so much I love about Stormlight Archives it’s hard to know where to begin! I think first and foremost is that Sanderson has created the very embodiment of epic fantasy here, all the components of the characters, world-building, the history, culture, and the magic system, all come together to create these intricate set of books. The world-building I would arguably say is very much Tolkien-esque in its magnitude and I love that, these are books to easily get absorbed into.
I also love the way Sanderson meticulously builds upon his characters, which easily touch our hearts, and delivers us a top-notch magic-system. Each book builds upon the notions of Surgebinders, Windrunners, Lightweavers etc and every detail consistently has me intrigued and wanting more.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there Nils: the world-building allows for complete absorption. I remember back to when I first read these books – The Way of Kings was my entry point into Sanderson’s Cosmere, and I’d never read anything like it before. There’s a quality to his worlds that just stands apart. There’s an authenticity to everything, not just the characters but the world they inhabit and how they inhabit their world. I think that makes a difference. In so many books you have great worlds, and great characters placed in those worlds. But Sanderson’s characters truly live in their worlds in a way that is utterly believable. That’s what ultimately sucked me in to his stories and why I’d happily keep returning to them.
Do you have an absolute favourite scene of the series so far?
Nils: Ooh this one is easy for me – the duel scene with Adolin and Kaladin against six shardbearers, in Words of Radiance! I actually think a lot of readers will be nodding their heads in agreement right now!
The scene holds so much tension, you fear that Adolin has lost all, you worry that Renarin who bravely went to his brother’s aid will be brutally killed. Then Kaladin says this one line; “Honor is dead. But I’ll see what I can do.” Then he jumps into the arena and stands beside Adolin. I had goosebumps.
Adolin and Kaladin really struck a bond during that duel. A kind of mutual respect, which shifted their relationship away from the adversarial tone it had embraced to that point.
I’m not sure that I can pinpoint any one scene that is a strong favourite. Instead, looking back, I have flickers of images that are so vivid, like snatches of movies I once watched. An image of an assassin stalking down an opulent corridor; a wide-eyed child looking up into a vast library, alcoves gently glowing; a deep canyon, sides dripping, human remains strewn across the red floor; a city climbing tier upon tier, sparkling and glowing in the sun… I think it’s safe to say it’s the scenic that stuck with me over the years, rather than the intimate individual moments.
Nils: Great point, Beth! The scenes are written so vividly.
Are there any others that, whilst not necessarily being your favourite, really struck you? Memorable moments – go!
I have two moments from The Way of Kings which really have stuck with me.
The first being when Sadeas orders his men to tie up Kaladin outside of Bridge Four’s barracks, and leave him out during a highstorm to face the Stormfather’s judgment on whether he lives or dies. I remember Kaladin only barely survived because he used Stormlight and he had Syl standing guard (with a sword I think) and bending the winds around Kaladin. My heart!
Ah good shout Nils, that is absolutely a memorable moment! I remember thinking – oh! There are secrets! There is definitely more going on here than the characters were led to believe!
So many secrets!!
Ok, so my second would be when the bastard Sadeas betrayed Dalinar on the battlefield! I couldn’t believe it! But just as you think he’s done for, Kaladin and his Bridge Four men run to Dalinar’s aid, and it’s a scene that really grabs you, I literally clapped!!
What did you both think of the betrayal? Did you see it coming?
Oh, I believed both. Sadeas promised to be a bastard early on, and if there’s one thing you can count on Sanderson for, it’s to deliver wonderful bastards whose selfishness trumps the common good.
That’s true, Filip, Sadeas was built up throughout the first two books as an absolute devious bastard right from the get-go. I felt immense satisfaction at seeing him get his comeuppance by Adolin’s hand in the end though. Although Adolin’s sense of honour there was questionable.
*Slowly raises hand* I didn’t see it coming. I was more wrapped up in Kaladin’s storyline, and Bridge Four, and whereas I didn’t like Sadeas, I didn’t see that coming!
Glad I’m not the only one who didn’t see it coming! Filip had his head in the game!
There are a lot more moments from Shallan’s storyline that stuck with me for some reason – I think I really connected with her as someone who so desperately wants to be able to learn new things – but not always big moments. Scenes like the opening of Words of Radiance, when Shallan is aboard ship and worrying about her position now with Jasnah, but when a santhid turns up she still falls into schooling the crew.
We all know Nils loves the bantz – any points of conversation that you loved?
Oh my gosh, Beth, the banter was fantastic! It was most prominent during the courtship scenes between Adolin and Shallan. I remember on their first official date, Shallan blunderingly asks Adolin how he poops in a Shardplate during a battle! Now that’s my kind of romantic talk!!
“I…er…” Adolin frowned at her. “That is not something any woman has ever asked me before.”
“Yay for originality!” Shallan said, though she blushed as she said it.”
I love the dynamics between these two, such awkwardness!
Sign me up for anything that includes Hoid:
Expectation. That is the true soul of art. If you can give a man more than he expects, then he will laud you his entire life. If you can create an air of anticipation and feed it properly, you will succeed.
Conversely, if you gain a reputation for being too good, too skilled… beware. The better art will be in their heads, and if you give them an ounce less than they imagined, suddenly you have failed. Suddenly you are useless. A man will find a single coin in the mud and talk about it for days, but when his inheritance comes and is accounted one . percent less than he expected, then he will declare himself cheated.
I loved Shallan and Pattern’s conversations:
‘Sorry, I have trouble being insightful on an empty stomach.’
‘You say you are ‘on’ the stomach,’ Pattern said. ‘But I know you do not mean this. Context allows me to infer what you truly mean. In a way, the very phrase is a lie.’
‘It’s not a lie,’ Shallan said, ‘if everyone understands and knows what it means.’
‘Mm. Those are some of the best lies.’
Sanderson has quite a way with words, doesn’t he? Geddit? I mean, they can be particularly radiant sometimes… Ok I’ll stop, and we can share some more of our favourite quotes instead.
I refuse. Bad Beth, being punny as all hell.
Punny Beth is a funny Beth!
I knew you’d appreciate my efforts Nils <3
Ok, I love collecting quotes as I’m reading, so here are a few of my favourites.
From Words of Radiance:
‘Adolin stopped thinking. He let the flow of the fight consume him, let the rhythm of his heart guide the beating of his sword.’
“You sent him to the sky to die, assassin,” Kaladin said, Stormlight puffing from his lips, “but the sky and winds are mine. I claim them, as I now claim your life.”
‘“What’s your name?” She asked.
“Wow, Well then, Gawx, I don’t talk to myself because I’m crazy.”
“I do it because I’m awesome.”
Lift can be so much fun at times!
And here’s one from the opening of Oathbringer, which made me laugh.
‘Eshonai had always told her sister that she was certain something wonderful lay over the next hill. Then one day, she’d crested a hill and found humans.’
I love the descriptions:
‘She found herself breathless, clutching her leather-bound drawing pad to her chest as longshoremen pulled the ship into the dock. Kharbranth was enormous. Built up the side of a steep incline, the city was wedge-shaped, as if it were built into a wide crack, with the open side toward the ocean. The buildings were blocky, with square windows, and appeared to have been constructed of some kind of med or daub. Crem, perhaps? There were painted bright colours, reds and oranges most often, but occasional blues and yellow too.
She could hear the bells already, tinkling in the wind…’
‘Beyond the doors was a breathtakingly large room. The sides were of smooth rock and they stretched high; the dim illumination made it impossible to tell just how high, but she saw flickers of distant light. Set into the walls were dozens of small balconies, much like the private box seats of a theatre. Soft light shone from many of these. The only sounds were turning pages and faint whispers. Shallan raised her safehand to her breast, feelings dwarfed by the magnificent chamber.
‘Brightness?’ a young male master-servant said, approaching. ‘What do you need?’
‘A new sense of perspective, apparently,’ Shallan said absently.
We hope you enjoyed reading what we’ve loved about this series so far – we’d love to hear from you though! What were some of your favourite moments? Any memorable quotes? Join in our conversation in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter with #CruisingTheCosmere.
Next week, how about a detailed look at the cast of these books? You won’t believe the characters Sanderson writes! Tell you what — join us again next week, when we talk about our favourite Stormlight Archive characters, and why none of them are named Moash…