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I didn't see Rlain [on the poster for the Way of Kings Leatherbound Kickstarter].
There were reasons relating to upcoming books that I didn't want to put Rlain in this. I agree, it would be great with him, but for now, I left him off intentionally.
I'm going to make the assumption that Rlain will have the same basic powers as Renarin.
This is a RAFO for now, though you can assume basic similarities between their powers--but Rlain's deeper connection to the rhythms might tweak his powers somewhat.
I love the increased involvement Rlain is getting already in this book! Any chance we'll get a glimpse into his viewpoint?
Yes, there is at least one Rlain viewpoint in the book.
Frustrated with the editing/beta readers for not noticing Brandon leaving out a character.
The character I'm talking about is Rlain. An entire part of the book was spent with every single member of Bridge Four talking about how Rlain wasn't really a part of things, and even more so Rlain himself in his POV chapter. And then nothing! We get a conclusion to the whole buildup of Bridge Four, but Rlain is nowhere mentioned in the last half of the book. Nevermind that we've all spent an entire book (and the three years since WoR) wondering if Rlain will become a squire, and nevermind that we get an answer to whether a Parshman can become Radiant in the first place. We just get nothing! No resolution.
Everyone noticed this. I noticed it even before the beta read started. Brandon was well aware, and this was all intentional. I'll bet you can think of some reasons for it.
Who is Renarin's crush?
Should I answer this? How about this, it is not supposed to be... I'm not trying to be tricky. If you think it is someone hinted at by the book, that is who it is. I'm not pulling a fast one on you. Basically, I am letting the characters come to their own realizations as they move through the story. But I have liked how it has grown, and I am not planning to change it, and I am not playing to be tricky with you about this.
And I think you were subtle enough and obvious enough, because many people in the chat have guessed. People are saying it.
Well, they're saying lots of things, I assume.
So Adam just undid my RAFO. I can't see the chat, but as Robert Jordan says, this should be intuitively obvious to the casual observer. I expected this one to be obvious; I'm not trying to trick you. But the characters have not reached the same conclusions that their emotions have, yet. Does that make sense?
This should come out in book five, so you shouldn't have to wait till the back five for anything to happen there.
What kind of work did Rlain do during his time as a spy? Did he commit active sabotage against the war effort, or was he merely gathering information?
Very few. There are a couple of key things that he did—I would like to write a Rlain story at some point—but he mostly understood that feeding information back and not being caught—because he felt he was in a pretty tenuous position, and rightly so. There's two big things going on. Number one: he is not in possession of his full mental faculties, which makes it dangerous to try anything, because he's like "can I trust that this is a good idea?" Right? And then number two: how hard would it be for someone to be like "hey, wait, maybe some of these slaves we got are spies for these guys." It's not too hard a leap to make, that one of them might be, and that put him in really dangerous positions.
How did he get information back to his people? Was there a contact?
If you go into the book, you'll find that there are times that they talk about bands of listeners roving in and things like this, and how far they think they got. Some of that was to cover getting people in to talk to spies. They got spotted, so they pretend to burn a bridge, which they still would want to do, but there's this whole cover operation of doing raids as close to the warcamps as they get, and sending people in to—
And I think I remember a line saying something that a Parshendi would never not do anything that he wasn't ordered to do, so he could just walk around? I'm not sure if I'm remembering—
He was much more free. But he wasn't going all the way out into the Plains, like he can't cross in that form—the bridgeless chasms, right—and things like that.
I gotta know if I'm going to see Rlain interludes or (please!) a book of his perspective.
You will get a scene from his viewpoint soon.
There's no Rlain [on the Bridge Four poster] because I didn't want to spoil the fact that he gets access to Stormlight in this book. He's not the only exception--I hoped to get Drehy, who is modeled off of a real-life friend, into the group. There wasn't space, unfortunately.
Eshonai's one experience as a mate was a "disaster" and Rlain's time in mateform "didn't turn out the way he expected". Is that implying what I think it's implying?
No, they're implying different things. With Rlain it's just that it turned out he was solely attracted to other men. Not a disaster, just not what he had anticipated. And Eshonai, I'm not implying the same thing there. I'm implying that she... when she did a mate she just did not like being in that form. It did not mesh well with her, she embarrassed herself in ways that... Eshonai outside of mateform considers that entire time an enormous disaster and a huge embarrassment. Does that make sense? I wasn't trying to draw a correlation between those two. It's a good question to ask because the structure of how I wrote those is very similar.
I've been waiting for you guys to read this one, as it has some of my favorite moments in the first part. From the conversation with Rlain, and me finally being able to talk about some of the mechanics that let the Listeners survive on the Shattered Plains, to--of course--being able to write a fight using Awakening for the first time in a while. I also enjoy writing about Kaladin through the eye of someone like Zahel, as it gives me some interesting opportunities.
Obviously, I'm pushing (again) the boundaries of what a reader can be expected to remember/know about the cosmere to enjoy these books.
It's my opinion that thinking "Zahel can do weird, mysterious stuff I don't understand" is all right for those readers who don't have a larger cosmere experience. In fact, I'm confident that even if Warbreaker hadn't been released, I'd be writing scenes like this in the same way. It's a common trope in fantasy for the powerful figure, like Gandalf, to do things that seem outside the rules everyone else has to follow. One thing I like about having the cosmere to play with as a creator is that it lets me do scenes like this, which both are mysterious but also fully explained by the greater magic system, if you want to dig into it.
I will say that Zahel is making an informed guess about Szeth in this chapter. He doesn't know 100%.
This is your last relatively cosmere-aware chapter for the previews, I'm afraid. There are a few more similar to this much later in the book.