The Road to RHYTHM OF WAR – Part Two (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 instalment in what is proving to be quite the Epic Fantasy saga!
It’s the Hive’s second Road to the Rhythm of War post and this week we’re going to be discussing our favourite characters. Sure Sanderson is well known for his epic world-building and gorgeously detailed magic-system, but we feel it is the characters which truly make this series come alive.
Last week, we looked at our favourite moments of the series so far. Be sure to come back next week for our final post.
So let’s dive straight in, who are our favourite characters?
Filip: Jasnah, anyone? Yeah? Good, we’re all agreed then. Thank you for reading part two of the ROAD TO RHYTHM OF WA–huh, what’s that, Nils? N-no, s-stop poking me, you–!
Nils: Haha, you’re not ending this post that easily! But yes Filip, I’m with you 100% on Jasnah! I have to admit to you, when I thought she died at the beginning of Words of Radiance – I almost wanted to put the book in the fridge!
Filip: I never believed it for a moment. Sanderson doesn’t waste characters for shock value, unlike some…What is it that you enjoy about Jasnah the most, Nils? How about you, Beth?
Beth: I do love Jasnah, and I hate Sanderson for putting me in that awkward position of wanting Shallan to succeed, but falling in love with Jasnah and so not wanting Shallan to betray her… And I definitely thought she’d died. I don’t know if I’ve become a more cynical reader since the days I first read Stormlight, or if it’s just I can’t see Sanderson’s twists coming? But yeah. Hook, line, sinker.
Nils: I too very rarely see Sanderson’s twists coming either, Beth. I think it’s because I get so lost in his world, taking in every ounce of detail, that I rarely think ahead to what might happen to the characters.
What I enjoy about Jasnah, is her practicality. She’s strong in the way she thinks everything through rationally, and intellectually, every decision she makes is never a rash one. What about you Filip? And who else do you both like? I’m so fond of Kaladin and Syl and Shallan and Pattern. Got to love the Sprens, right?
Beth: Like I mentioned last week, I love the relationship between Shallan and Pattern! I love seeing Pattern evolve!
Nils: Pattern can be so funny in such an innocent way!
Filip: Dalinar is someone I have incredible respect for, because he used to be an absolute monster (and the perfect Highprince of Alethkar), whose arc has shown a capacity for change and self-forgiveness that is inspiring on many levels. Whenever I think of that quote from Oathbringer, I get goosebumps.
I love Shallan to death. Some readers find her obnoxious, but among the younger characters, her PoVs are my absolute favourite. She’s broken in such interesting ways, and her talents for illusion make for endless fun.
Beth: Obnoxious?! How is she obnoxious?!
Nils: I have absolutely no clue! I’m also another fan of Shallan, and I don’t understand why some people find her boring either!
Beth: WHAT?! Who are these people?!
Nils: You’d be surprised how many people feel this way, Beth! I’ve seen a lot of reviews that don’t really favour our beloved Shallan.
For me personally I think Shallan’s growth throughout each book, the way she learns about her Lightweaving abilities, and finds her courage, is absolutely fascinating. She has a rather dark past, as you say Filip, she is broken in a rather complex way and she clearly has the capacity to be cold (I’m thinking of the way she killed her father here) but then when we are shown present day Shallan, her wit and lighthearted nature brightens the scene. Not to mention how uniquely awesome Pattern is, and seeing their bond and their banter together has been such a delight!
Beth: It’s certainly easy to skim over Shallan’s darker depths…
Filip: Where Syl and Kaladin are concerned, I definitely prefer the little honorspren. I don’t hold anything against Kal, but STORMS, that loveable idiot is so thick-headed sometimes.
Nils: Oh yes, Kaladin can be so frustrating for sure! When reading Words of Radiance I straight up wanted to slap him at times! But still, he’s been through so much and his life has been full of hurt and mistreatment so – I just want to hug him! He holds a special place for me. As does our adorable Syl.
Beth: I mean, he’s also got the underdog quality that is such a huge draw for so many people. He represents the downtrodden, the injustice eked out on the undeserving… It’s easy to see how such strong attachments can be formed there.
Nils: Excellent point there, Beth. You really hit the nail on the head on all that Kaladin represents.
How about the supporting cast? Who are our favourites there?
Filip: Azure comes to mind as a side-character who stood out in Oathbringer — but then again, I did always like Warbreaker…
Nils: My absolute favourite is Wit!! I love his humour but I also have a soft spot for his philosophical views too!
‘“I could hit you in the head with a hammer,” Wit said happily. “A good bludgeoning would make you forget and do wonders for that face of yours.”
“Wit,” Dalinar said flatly.
“I’m only joking.”
“A hammer would hardly dent that thick skull of his.”
Amaram turned to Wit, a lot of bafflement on his face.’
Filip: I love Wit, too! He’s my second favourite fool in all of fantasy (the first spot is reserved for none other than the Fool of Robin Hobb’s Elderlings trilogy.)
Beth: I was so fascinated by the character of Szeth and his torments. I found his story arc, his eventual confrontation of what his life and oaths had meant, such an interesting debate to dive into!
Nils: Ooh yes, good shout Beth! Szeth is fantastic! You really get to understand just how much his character has been plagued by lies throughout the series, and you just can’t help but feel for him.
And lastly, who loves Moash?! Filip we know you do, don’t you?
Filip: Shame on you for asking. I refuse to dignify this with an answer!
Nils: Ha, that’s just because you’re secretly a big fan!
For me though, nope, nope, nope. Damnation can take him! I will never forgive him for betraying Kaladin.
Beth: Have I repressed this?? I have no memory of this place…
Filip: Oh, this and so much more, Beth. And no one can blame you, some of these books can be downright traumatic as you read ‘em for the first time.
Nils: Yep, and that betrayal was brutal.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our thoughts on the characters, but what we’d really love is to hear from you! Who are your favourite characters and why do you love them? Join in our conversation in the comments below, on our Facebook page, on our Instagram page, or on Twitter with #CruisingTheCosmere
Join us next week for our last instalment in The Road to the Rhythm of War feature where we’ll be discussing adaptations!