As I was finishing Oathbringer yesterday, I realized that by the time the next one comes out, I will probably need a refresher. I am sure there is probably an entire Wiki out there for the series, and I will probably read that too. But this is my summary of things to remember from Oathbringer. I include a summary of the final battle, as a lot of the plot is contained in the climatic moment, and the few surprises at the end that potentially set up the conflict in the next book. Do NOT read if you plan on reading Oathbringer!!! SPOILERS!!!
Epic final battle summary
Originally, Dalinar and the human coalition thought the Voidbringers would strike at Jah Keved (Shallan’s homeland, remember, and the super evil genius King Taravangian’s turf at the moment), but Dalinar realizes in a moment of inspiration that Thaylen City, Queen Fen’s city of merchants, is a much more weak target due to its weakened state after the coming Everstorm and the fact they lost their entire fleet. Unfortunately, leading up to the battle, Taravangian released all of his secrets to the leaders of the nation to sabotage Dalinar (Humans are the invaders in Roshar, Elhokar swore allegiance to Dalinar, and Dalinar met with the evil god Odium in a dream).
Weakened from the crumbling coalition, Queen Fen and Dalinar are pretty much alone. Neither have troops that are amphibious fighters, and they can’t even use their ships anyway, because the enemy strikes during an Everstorm. Odium himself comes to lead the battle and watch the humans fall. He has a ton of newbie parshmen who are nervous to fight, but assures them they won’t have to because (surprise!) Odium has brought one of the Unmade, the Thrill that causes bloodlust on both sides of the fight. Dalinar was relying on Amaram’s troops to fight, and the moment the Thrill is released, they turn on Dalinar and Thaylen city fighting alongside the Fused. In addition to two huge thunderclasts, stone monsters that rise out of the ground, it already looks like the battle is lost.
Two unexpected Radiants join in on Dalinar’s side last-minute to give aid. The first is Lift, the urchin girl who is friends with the emperor of Azir, who is an Edgedancer. She slides around everywhere like she is ice skating, and can slip through enemy lines really easily. She also doesn’t need Stormlight, but just gets really hungry the more energy she uses. The second is Szeth, the White Assassin, who originally tried to kill Dalinar. His mentor Nin, the Herald of Justice and leader of the only surviving faction of Radiants, the Skybreakers, wants him to fight on Odium’s side. But Szeth chooses to fight for Dalinar, believing that he is likely the closest thing he has ever seen to a righteous person. Dalinar asks Lift to find the King’s Drop, a large gemstone, which the parshmen have stolen. They don’t know what it is for, but they know the enemy wants it.
Dalinar, ever the hero, starts walking directly towards the enemy with nothing but a copy of The Way of Kings. He confronts Odium, and again asks for a duel between champions, as Honor had suggested. Odium accepts, but (surprise!) he has selected Dalinar as his champion, and he releases all the mental terrorism on Dalinar that he can– memories of the Rift where Dalinar exterminated an entire city and unintentionally killed his wife. Odium, who is the embodiment of Passion, expplains how he prepared Dalinar for this moment and that he was ultimately responsible for all the carnage. He offers Dalinar to blame him, and to let him take his burden of guilt. Odium thinks he has him, but at the last moment, Dalinar pushes through (“You cannot have my pain!”). In this moment of extreme willlpower, Dalinar is surrounded by gloryspren, and he somehow rips the fabric of time and space and fuses the three realms (Spiritual, Cognitive, and Physical) with two effects: the team stuck in the Cognitive Realm (Shallan, Kaladin, and Adolin) escape and all the scattered gemstones are recharged with stormlight. Odium seems to be under the impression that Honor has returned, but Dalinar explains that while this isn’t completely true, his spirit (the Stormfather) and his will (Dalinar) were back.
While all this is going on, Jasnah is confronting Dalinar’s son, Renarin, who is having a vision of the future in which Dalinar gives in to Odium and Jasnah realizes that he is a traitor (the spren he bonded to was a spren of Odium) and slays him. But Jasnah instead spares him, surprising him that his visions don’t have to be fulfilled. He feels he has a second chance and joins the fight.
Now with a fighting chance, the whole team is tasked with specific goals. Szeth and Lift are still tasked with retrieving the gemstone. Dalinar is going to try to confront the Thrill (but no idea how that will work yet). Shallan will create an army of shadows to distract the forces of Amaram. Kaladin will simultaneously confront Amaram and protect Dalinar. Jasnah will use her awesome soulcasting abilities to slow down the enemy’s attempt to destroy the oathgate. Renarin will try to take on the thunderclast. And Adolin, who feels left out, will try to help.
Szeth and lift have a difficult time getting the gemstone due to a Fused that also has Edgedancer abilities. Szeth gets his magic sword out that has serial killer level thoughts, and one of the Fused takes the sheath so that Szeth can’t stop killing. Don’t worry– they get it back after a few drama-filled moments. Dalinar walks directly into the Thrill, letting himself feel the bloodlust, but not giving into it ultimately understanding it. He thanks it for giving it power and energy when he needed it. Lift gets the gemstone to him, and he is able to contain the Thrill within the gemstone, similar to fabrial technology. Kaladin is attempting to fight Amaram who has swallowed a gemstone containing Yelig-Nar, another of the Unmade. While he is undergoing a horrid transformation (similar to Elhokar’s wife back in Alethkar), Amaram is trying to convince Kaladin that he forged Kaladin into what he is today. Kaladin refuses to admit that, and Amaram is ultimately saved by the timely intervention of Bridge Four (Teft also becomes a Radiant after struggling with his firemoss addiction, and is able to open the oathgate from Urithiru with Bridge Four. Rock, breaking his vows of pacifism, kills Amaram with a well-aimed shot of a bow). Jasnah is flippin awesome, and you get to see how soulcasting can be used offensively. Adolin recklessly tries to take down the thunderclast himself, but Renarin ultimately brings it down with his shardblade.
The parshmen try to join the fight, but in the end, Thaylen City is saved, and the parshmen retreat to fight another day.
Setup for the next book
Shallan and Adolin get married within the week, but Adolin refuses to be crowned king for good reasons. I mean, he killed Sadeas, and the highprinces probably aren’t too keen about that. Instead, Jasnah becomes queen of the Alethi.
Taravangian admits to Dalinar (seems like he could have kept his conniving secret, but he didn’t) that he was responsible for sabotaging his alliance, and that he had been planning on Dalinar losing the fight so he could take over the leadership. Surprise. Taravangian still is plotting though. Something he didn’t tell Dalinar, he actually arranged for a contingent of parshmen to attack Urithuru to try to get Odium’s attention. Odium responds and meets with Taravangian in vision. Taravangian strikes a deal with Odium that Odium will save the city of Kharbranth in the coming apocalypse if Taravangian does some dirty work.
Moash is still fighting on the parshman side. He feels extremely guilty for turning on Kaladin, but he thinks he is long gone. The Fused assign him to kill a god, which turns out to be Jezereziah, the king of the Heralds, who appears to be nothing more than a drunk and blithering beggar. I think Moash will likely be the next big bad guy in book 4. Or he could have a change of heart. Who knows? Well, Taravangian definitely will.
Talenalat and Ash, two of the other heralds meet up. Ash wants Talenalat to be mad at her, as the other nine heralds abandoned Talenalat in Damnation, but Talenalat accepts it as giving humans the best chance they could have.
Kenli, the originally power-hungry Parshendi, is having moral qualms with her role in Odium’s evil plans. She ends up bonding with a spren and swearing the first ideal, becoming apparently the first listener/singer to bond with a spren. She is also able to hide this from Odium.
Final scene, Wit appears to bond with a reluctant Cryptic spren in Alethkar. Hmmmm.