->''"The sun approaches the horizon. The Everstorm comes. The True Desolation. The Night of Sorrows."''

''The Stormlight Archive'' is an EpicFantasy series of ten planned novels, written by Creator/BrandonSanderson. It is part of Franchise/TheCosmere, along with Franchise/{{Mistborn}}, Literature/{{Elantris}}, and Literature/{{Warbreaker}}. The series is set on the world of Roshar, which experiences BizarreSeasons and HostileWeather -- the seasons change every few weeks, and appear in random order, while the hurricane-like "highstorms" hit every few days. The only exception to this is the annual "Weeping"; four weeks of constant, dreary rain (but no highstorms) that marks the beginning of a new year. These odd pressures have shaped Roshar's indigenous wildlife and human civilizations both.

In the distant past, mankind repeatedly warred with the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demonic]] Voidbringers. Championed by the mighty [[BadassArmy Knights Radiant]], armed and armoured with [[AbsurdCuttingPower Shardblades]] and [[PoweredArmor Shardplate]], humanity managed to hold their own and prevail against all odds... only to be apparently [[FaceHeelTurn betrayed]] by the Knights Radiant, who cast aside their armaments and vanished. The amazing weapons and armor remained behind, to be claimed by whoever can manage to acquire them.

Centuries later, the nation of [[TheKingdom Alethkar]], having just signed a peace treaty with the Parshendi people, are [[FalseFriend abruptly betrayed]] when the Parshendi send an [[ProfessionalKiller assassin]] wearing [[ManInWhite white]] to kill their king. In retaliation, the Alethi declare war and invade the Shattered Plains to begin a [[DuringTheWar long and arduous military campaign]].

The story follows several viewpoint characters: [[TheHero Kaladin]], a BrokenAce with ChronicHeroSyndrome who trained as [[TheMedic a surgeon]] but [[ChildSoldiers joined the army]] instead; [[OldSoldier Dalinar Kholin]], a [[WarriorPrince Highprince]] and [[FourStarBadass war general]] trying to [[TheFettered follow the old codes of chivalry]]; Shallan Davar, a [[BlueBlood noblewoman]] who is trying to save her [[ImpoverishedPatrician destitute house]]; and Szeth, a man whose honor requires him to be an ExtremeDoormat for others, who we first meet as he is sent to murder the Alethi king.

Novels in the series:
[[index]]
* ''Literature/TheWayOfKings'' (released 2010)
* ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'' (released March 2014)
[[/index]]
* ''Stones Unhallowed'' (Working title of the third book)
* Books four through ten, which have yet to be announced.

----
!!This series as a whole provides examples of:

* AbsurdCuttingPower: Shardblades cut through ''any'' nonliving matter like it is made of paper. They pass straight through living flesh as well, severing the soul of whatever part they touch. The only things they can't cut through are other Shardblades, Shardplate, or "half-shard" fabrials. This is because [[spoiler:Shardblades are actually spren, or the corpses of spren, bonded to Radiants.]] Dalinar theorizes that the real reason for the Blades was to fight Voidbringer monsters like thunderclasts, which were too big and durable for conventional weapons to harm.
* AbusivePrecursors: The Knights Radiant, or at least everybody thinks so.
* AfterTheEnd: The culture of all the characters ''believes'' this is the kind of world they live in. To some degree they're right, but the first book is one long hint that things will get worse.
* AlienBlood: Parshendi have orange blood that smells like mold.
* AlienSky: Roshar has three moons. The first, Salas, is small and casts a violet light; the second, Nomon, is large and has blue-white light; and the third, Mishim, is small and has green light.
* AnimeHair: Mixing Alethi blood, Horneater blood, and/or Iriali blood can result in the child getting a mix of black, red and/or blond hair respectively. As in each strand would be a different color. A child of all three races could conceivably look like [[YuGiOh Yugi Moto]].
* ApocalypseHow: The Desolations were repeated Planetary/Societal Collapse, and borderline Planetary/Species Extinction. The normal casualty figures are around 90% of the human race, and it's apparently a toss-up as to whether humanity has struggled back up to ''bronze'', let alone iron, by the time the ''next'' Desolation comes by. The current Desolation has been delayed far longer than most, giving humanity time to get much further up the tech tree than the normal.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Stormlight.
* ArcNumber: Ten, a very important number in Vorinism, apparently the world's predominant religion. Also four and sixteen, though less so than in Sanderson's other works.
* ArcWords:
** "Find the most important words a man can say," as well as a few other quotes from ''[[FictionalDocument The Way of Kings]]''.
** "The sun approaches the horizon. The Everstorm comes. The True Desolation. The Night of Sorrows."
* ArmorAndMagicDontMix: Szeth can't wear Shardplate because it would prevent him from using his Lashings, which both utilize [[{{Mana}} Stormlight]]. The [[MagicKnight Knights Radiant]] evidently knew how to get around this.
* ArmorIsUseless: Depends. Regular armor is presented as greatly increasing survivability against mundane weapons, but is completely useless against Shardbearers (who either wield magic swords that can cut anything, or hundred pound warhammers). Shardplate provides massive amounts of protection from mundane weapons, and can even offer ablative protection against the weapons Shardbearers use.
* ArtifactOfAttraction: Shardblades and Shardplates technically don't qualify, since the attraction isn't supernatural, but they're so incredibly valuable the difference is academic.
* ArtifactOfDoom: Shardblades, possibly. Syl mentions that she doesn't like Shardblades, and that [[spoiler:Dalinar]] is a better man for giving one up. According to the WordOfGod, [[spoiler: Syl, an honorspren, is specifically attracted to Kaladin]] because he refuses to take a Shardblade offered to him.
** Shardblades, at least, are explained in the second book: [[spoiler:they are the physical form of spren bonded to the old Knights Radiant, and after the Knights broke their oaths they died, leaving the corpses behind]].
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: Shardbearers, who are given great authority regardless of their birth.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: If a Shardbearer wins an extra set of Shards, he can gift them to anyone he wants-- usually an equally noble family member, who will thereby become a badass.
* {{Badass}}: Many. Any Shardbearer is guaranteed to be awesome by the nature of the armaments. Kaladin and Szeth stand out in particular, and Kaladin isn't even a Shardbearer. Dalinar, on the other hand, is acknowledged as badass even for a Shardbearer -- at least, when he's not [[TheFettered holding back]].
* BadassCreed: The Ideals of the Knights Radiant. The First Ideal is "[[MartialPacifist Life before death]], [[ComesGreatResponsibility strength before weakness]], [[HonorBeforeReason journey before destination]].". The Second Ideal is different for each Order, but we know that of the Windrunners is "I will [[WeHelpTheHelpless protect those who cannot protect themselves]]".
** [[spoiler: Literature/WordsOfRadiance previews reveal that the Second Ideal of the Edgedancers is "I will remember those who have been forgotten."]]
** Also from Words of Radiance [[spoiler: the Second Ideal of the Bondsmiths "I will unite instead of divide, I will bring men together"]], and the [[spoiler: Third Ideal of the Windrunners: "I will protect even those I hate, so long as it's right."]]
** [[http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=1050 This]] Q&A reveals the Second Ideal of the Skybreakers to be [[spoiler: "I will put the law before all else".]]
* BattleCouple: Suggested to be the way Parshendi fight. Possibly also an appearance in one of Dalinar's visions; we see two Radiants working in tandem -- one male, one female.
* BerserkButton: The Parshendi/Parshmen have a race-wide BerserkButton when it comes to others touching/moving their dead. [[spoiler:Kaladin figures out a way to exploit this.]]
* {{BFS}}: Most Shardblades. Dalinar's and Adolin's are mentioned as being six feet long, and this is fairly common among Shardblades. It turns out that there's a reason for the blades to be so big: they were intended to fight large battles against great numbers of foes, as well as massive beasts made of stone that were hard to kill with conventional weapons. [[spoiler: The Blades themselves can actually change shape, but when the Knights Radiant broke their oaths they largely abandoned the Blades in their massive configurations, killing their spren and locking them in that shape]].
* BigBad: One hasn't actually shown up yet, though given that it's only the first two books of ten, this may not be surprising. [[spoiler: It is, however, ''heavily'' hinted to be Odium.]]
* BizarreAlienBiology:
** Roshar is apparently a land without soil (the constant highstorms blow away any earth), has random seasonal changes every few weeks, has a gravity level of .7, and is scoured by hurricane-force storms on a near-weekly basis. Adaptations include grass that retreats into holes in the rock when threatened. Very few, if any, animals other than the humanoid races seem to even be ''mammals'', with beasts of burden and domesticated pets being mostly crustacean, reptilian or insectile. The low gravity also allows for the massive crustacean greatshells to exist without being crushed under their own weight.
** The Parshendi race has shades of this. We know their bones are red, their skin is marbled red-and-black, their blood is orange and smells moldy, and they grow their armor as part of their bodies. It turns out that they're actually shapeshifters, and originally were capable of assuming hundreds of different forms, though many of those forms were as [[spoiler: Voidbringers]].
** Also [[InvertedTrope inverted]] when it comes to the country of Shin. Highstorms don't reach there, so the ecology of the region is a lot more similar to Earth, even to the point of having strawberries and chickens. Visitors to this land from the rest of Roshar find it extremely strange.
* BloodKnight: The Alethi, once a ProudWarriorRace, have degenerated to this.
* BrokenBird: According to the back of ''Words of Radiance'', only a broken soul can have Surgebindings inserted into it.
* ByTheBookCop: Skybreakers, according to what we've seen of them.
* CallASmeerpARabbit: Alethis refer to all birds as "chickens", which probably stems from the fact that birds don't exist natively in their region.
* ColorCodedStones: Played with somewhat, where there are ten gemstones used in [[AlchemyIsMagic Soulcasting]]; each gemstone can transmute a certain element, and the association is based mainly on the commonality of colour between them. In order, with colours and elements listed, the gemstones are: Sapphire, blue, [[BlowYouAway any clear gas]]. Smokestone, black, [[SmokeOut any opaque gas]]. Ruby, red, [[PlayingWithFire fire]]. Diamond, white, crystal. Emerald, green, [[GreenThumb plant matter]]. Garnet, rusty red, blood. Zircon, yellow, oil. Amethyst, purple, [[ExtraOreDinary metal]]. Topaz, brown, [[DishingOutDirt stone]]. Heliodor, golden, flesh. WordOfGod is that originally their magic was going to be based on mineral composition, until he realized that most gems are identical from that perspective, so color is easier.
* TheCommandments: The Ideals of the Knights Radiant. The Second through Fifth Ideals differ from Order to Order between the ten, but the First remains the same. [[spoiler:Breaking them results in the spren involved in giving Surgebinding to the Radiant dying, causing a {{Depower}} and killing the MorphWeapon Shardblade made, rendering it incapable of morph.]]
* ContinuityNod: There are a number of small references throughout the book to Sanderson's larger multiverse, i.e. the start of Chapter 18 mentions a man named Ati who, in the ''{{Mistborn}}'' books, was [[spoiler:Ruin]]. Also, the character Hoid, along with two of the three foreigners in the Ishikk interlude, Grump and Thinker being [[spoiler:Galladon from ''{{Elantris}}'' and Demoux from Mistborn, respectively.]]
** In Literature/WordsOfRadiance it is heavily implied that Zahel is [[spoiler:Vasher]]. Also [[spoiler:Nightblood]], who is given to Szeth.
* CoolHorse: Ryshadium horses; bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter than virtually any other breed. They choose their own riders and are apparently ''very'' picky; Dalinar estimates that no more than a dozen men have been chosen, out of the hundreds of thousands in the warcamps. Dalinar compares the difference between a Ryshadium and a regular horse to the difference between [[PoweredArmor Shardplate]] and regular armor.
* CoolSword: Pick a Shardblade, any Shardblade.
* CrypticBackgroundReference:
** Many, though in particular the anonymous letter excerpts given at the start of certain chapters contain many references to mysterious people, places, and events.
** The Old Magic and the precise nature of spren in particular. They're mentioned often, accepted as part of the world... but never truly ''explained''.
* {{Doorstopper}}: The original title of the second book was going to be ''The Book of Endless (or Infinite) Pages'', until Brandon's editor pointed out that the title might be a bit on the nose for a 1001-page book. As it happens, this second book--which was eventually named ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance''--apparently clocks in at 10'''88'''. Any longer, ''it would have been unpublishable''.
* DuelToTheDeath: One method of becoming a Shardbearer.
* EasyLogistics: Soulcasters can virtually eliminate an army's need for supplies, as they create food, wood, buildings, and other such things out of thin air. Considering that much of Roshar lacks the topsoil necessary for growing large quantities of food, this makes them every bit as strategically important as Shardblades, and the king's tax on the use of his Soulcasters is Elokhar's main income source.
* ElementalEmbodiment:
** Spren. There are traditional elemental spren like flamespren and windspren, but there are also spren for certain activities (creationspren for creating art, musicspren for performances), emotions (fearspren, gloryspren), biological processes/conditions (rotspren appear on infected wounds, lifespren appear near healthy plant life, hungerspren appear around someone starving, etc), and other things (starspren, which look like shooting stars but can change direction; deathspren, a mythological spren that are only visible to people who are very close to dying).
** It is strongly suggested that there is a Voidbringer minion connected to each of the Ten Essences, though so far we have only seen thunderclasts (massive, vaguely dog-shaped beasts of animate stone, connected to stone) and Midnight Essence (animate smoke inside a weasel-like skin with sharp teeth and claws, connected to smoke).
* EyeColorChange: It is believed by many characters that if a person with dark eyes wins a [[SoulCuttingBlade Shardblade]] their eyes will become light. Szeth's eyes are normally dark green but become pale blue when he is actively using his Blade; he notes this is unique to his particular blade, so it's not entirely clear what the actual situation is.
** [[spoiler: In ''Words Of Radiance'', we see Kaladin's eyes turn sky-blue when he speaks the Third Oath of the Windrunners. Moash's eyes turn light tan when he bonds a regular Shardblade. Also, we discover that Parshendi eyes turn glowing red when they become Voidbringers.]]
* FantasticCasteSystem: The Parshendi can shift between a variety of different forms, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Warform is the one we usually see them in, making them big and strong and causing them to grow an armored carapace. Workform is similar to warform, but without the armor and with a mental block against conflict. Mateform is used for reproduction, while nimbleform is generally dexterous and quick. Finally, we have dullform, a baseline form with no distinguishing properties, and slaveform, the mindless state that most parshmen exist in. [[spoiler: There's also Stormform, one of their Voidbringer forms, which turns them into hate-filled killing machines that can generate lightning and in large groups can summon an Everstorm.]]
* FantasticHonorifics: "Brightness" is used to refer to lighteyes in much the same way as "lord" or "lady" would be used for nobility. "Brightlord" is also used, but seems to be reserved for those of much higher rank than the speaker.
* FantasticLightSource: Spheres, which double as ''money'' (see FictionalCurrency, below). When infused with [[{{Mana}} Stormlight]], they [[PowerGlows glow]]; the brightness and color of the light depends on the size and type of gemstone, respectively. Diamond spheres make the best light sources, as they're pure white; a mark is almost as bright as a candle, and a broam is several times that -- and (unlike candles, lamps, or torches) they don't flicker, don't give off smoke, and last for a week or so before needing to be re-infused. Clear goblets are filled with spheres and used as lamps; "wasting" spheres on light is something of a status symbol.
* FantasticRacism: Between the Alethi and the Parshendi/Parshmen, as well as between lighteyes and darkeyes in Vorin nations. Nations in the west of Roshar don't seem to divide class by eye colour, though.
* FantasyCounterpartAppliance: Spanreeds are a convenient way to communicate in writing, not unlike texting or a very fast telegram. Spheres, because of their Stormlight, are used in affluent areas as lightbulbs.
* FictionalCurrency: "Spheres", which are glass beads with gemstones embedded in them. The spheres themselves are always the same size, but the gems inside them come in three different sizes; chips, marks, and broams. Nine different gemstones are used; their relative value is based on their usefulness in Soulcasting (see MagicAIsMagicA, below). To make things even ''more'' complicated, sometimes different names are used for the gems. [[labelnote:Details]]Spheres are roughly the size of a person's thumbnail, usually with one side slightly flattened so you can set them down without them rolling away. Chips are the smallest denominations, with just a tiny shard of gemstone; marks are larger, worth five chips; broams are the largest. Different gems used include diamond (the lowest), garnet, sapphire, ruby, and emerald. We're never given exact conversion rates, but it seems to work in multiples of five. Their alternate names are descriptive; diamonds are "clear", garnets are "blood", sapphires are "sky", and rubies are "fire" -- eg, a clearchip is a diamond chip, a firemark is a ruby mark, etc.[[/labelnote]]
* FlawedPrototype: The Honorblades, the original Shardblades the Almighty gave to his Heralds. They give anyone who uses them surgebinding powers of the appropriate Order, but they consume stormlight at a prodigious rate, and lack [[spoiler:a spren, so they don't have the behavior checks of the Knights Radiant]].
* FlingALightIntoTheFuture: [[spoiler:God does this, and that's the source of Dalinar's/Kaladin's visions]]
* GambitPileup: There are a lot of different factions, some more mysterious than others, and all seem to have their own agendas.
* GiantEnemyCrab: The chasmfiends.
* GodOfEvil: [[spoiler:Odium]].
* HighFantasy: Sanderson has described the series as his "love letter" to the genre.
* HiveMind: It seems that the Parshendi have something like this. They have an uncanny ability to sing in time and in tune with each other... even when out of earshot.
* HollywoodTactics: InUniverse, {{Justified}} example. The Alethi are on the whole VERY good at war, and individual high princes' armies are quite disciplined and use effective battlefield tactics, but they're still very much feudal and have only been unified into one kingdom for roughly a decade. Because of this, despite the fact that the ostensible purpose of the war is to punish the Parshendi for murdering the king, the Highprinces are mainly concerned with hunting the beasts that provide them with gemhearts and the wealth they represent, and only fight against the Parshendi when it's necessary to reach the plateau where the beast is spotted or withdraw back to their camps after claiming the gemheart. Dalinar has noticed this and is trying to turn the campaign into an actual war.
* HostileWeather: The highstorms. They strike every few days, blowing from east to west, and are so powerful that being out unprotected in one is a death sentence. They've also scoured all dirt and soil from the eastern half of the continent (leading to some bizarre plants and animals), and bring the mystical Stormlight that powers everything.
* ItsRainingMen: According to Dalinar's visions, the Radiants could arrive for battle this way.
* JackassGenie: The Nightwatcher, who will grant seemingly any wish, for a price. In fact, most people who go to the Nightwatcher end up regretting it. The only person (we've heard of) who didn't was one man who made his wish to feed his family through a harsh winter. His curse was that he saw the world upside-down for the rest of his life. It was weird, but he got used to it. [[spoiler:For Dalinar, the Nightwatcher erased all his memories of his wife. He can't remember anything about her except that she existed, and whenever someone speaks her name, all he can hear is static. As of ''The Way of Kings'', it's unclear whether this is his curse or his wish]].
* KarmicTrickster: Wit's job. He enjoys it considerably, and it is fairly obvious that the nobility deserve his treatment almost to a man.
* LanguageEqualsThought: Averted. In Alethkar, the lighteyes ''are'' the nobility, and the darkeyed version of Alethi doesn't appear to treat them as separate concepts. Rock runs up against this when trying to talk about how nobility works in other countries, but no character shows any particular trouble recognizing the idea of lighteyes not being on top.
* LikeCannotCutLike: Shardblades can parry each other.
* LiteralGenie: Subverted. One character thinks that the Nightwatcher works this way, and plans to word his request to her carefully enough that it doesn't backfire. His friend informs him that this isn't how the Old Magic works, though; the Nightwatcher will grant you your wish just like you wanted it, but she will also place a curse on you which she feels is equal to the wish's value. Sometimes the curse makes the wish ironic, but it's often completely unrelated.
* LostTechnology:
** Shards. Scholars have been trying to replicate them for as long as anyone can remember, but only recently has any progress been made in the form of "half-shards"; shields that can block a shardblade, but don't grant any of the other benefits of Shardplate.
** Navani notes that the half-shards aren't actually progress towards Plate, since as far as anyone can tell they use a different mechanism.
** [[spoiler: The revelation in ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'' that Shardblades are actually transformed spren explains why the artifabrians have had so much trouble with them.]]
* MagicAIsMagicA:
** There are at least two different (though related) systems: fabrials and Surgebinding. Fabrials are a form of Magitek: by trapping a spren in a gemstone and providing it with Light, you can force the spren to do whatever you designed the fabrial to do, from emitting warmth to telekinetically synchronizing two objects to turning rocks into (bland) food. Surgebinding is granted by the Nahel bond, a link between a human and a spren whereby the spren gains sentience in the Physical Realm and the human gains Surgebinding powers. All Surgebinders can inhale Stormlight to gain enhanced strength and speed and a moderate HealingFactor, but each order can also use the Light to accomplish specific magical effects. So far we know some or all of the powers for five orders:
** Windrunners gain GravityMaster powers, allowing them to redefine "down" at their discretion. So a Windrunner can decide that gravity now pulls them forwards or up or sideways, and they will fall in that direction. Or they can make an enemy fall straight up into the sky. Windrunners can also increase an object's gravitional pull, allowing them to pull arrows out of the air and into a shield or bridge or whatever. Finally, Windrunners can also fuse together two objects with a temporary but virtually unbreakable bond.
** Lightweavers [[spoiler: gain Soulcasting, the ability to transform one substance into another (such as [[TakenForGranite turning a bandit's body from flesh to glass]] or turning rocks into food or a goblet into blood). They also can conjure incredibly detailed illusions, complete with sounds and motions.]]
** Elsecallers [[spoiler: share the Lightweaver's access to Soulcasting, but also can [[TeleportersAndTransporters translate between Realms and teleport from one point to another]].]]
** Edgedancers [[spoiler: can control friction, letting them climb walls like a gecko or slide over floors as if they were greased. They also possess the HealingHands magic known as Regrowth.]]
** Truthwatchers [[spoiler: have demonstrated the power to discern the future, albeit cryptically.]]
** There is also another form of magic that we haven't seen much of: Voidbinding, the magic of Odium. Very little is mentioned of it (presumably because it was used by the Voidbringers) but it has ten "levels" which appear to be counterparts to the Ten Essences of Surgebinding.
* TheMagicComesBack: A major theme of the series as a whole. With another [[spoiler: Desolation coming around]], magic has started to reappear as [[spoiler: the spren seek out potential new Radiants and bond to them]]. Its also hinted that the magic has been coming back for a while now, as [[spoiler: Shallan]] started manifesting powers as a child and another, an old healer, has been manifesting for decades. In fact, the magic would have been coming back ''sooner'' except that [[spoiler: Nalan, one of the Heralds, has been actively hunting down and executing anyone manifesting Surgebinding powers if he can catch them breaking laws that make it legal for him to kill them.]]
** The fact that the magic is coming back is actually considered a ''very bad thing'' by some people. The main reason is that [[spoiler: the Recreance actually ''killed'' a huge number of spren bonded to Radiants, and was considered such a terrible act that the spren abandoned humans. That the spren are bonding with humans again now is because they sense another Desolation approaching and are acting as much out of self-preservation as anything else, because the alternative is extinction of both.]]
* MagicKnight: The Knights Radiant in the backstory. Szeth [[spoiler:and ultimately Kaladin]] during the main novel.
* {{Magitek}}: Fabrials, which are essentially steampunk-type devices which run on Stormlight, and are used for a variety of purposes, including Soulcasting. [[spoiler: Though Jasnah and Shallan don't need them to Soulcast.]] Shardplate and Shardblades represent a much more ancient and advanced form of {{Magitek}}, though the secrets of creating them have been lost (not that people don't try).
* {{Mana}}: Stormlight functions like this when used to directly power magical abilities.
* ManChild: One of the Ten Fools, Cabin, is mentioned to have behaved like a child even though he was an adult.
* MeaningfulName:
** "Kaladin" is one letter away from "[[ThePaladin paladin]]."
** Alethi culture usually gives meaningful names to Lighteyes. Their names are usually close to palindromes, but not quite there, like Sadeas or Renarin. In ''Words of Radiance'', it is revealed that the nearly-but-not-quite fitting a pattern is meant to reflect their place in the social order - closest to God - and actual symmetrical names are seen as presumptuous arrogance.
* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: Odd subversion. The Alethi and related cultures at first ''seem'' to be this, with their knights and castles and lords and so forth, while other cultures like the Shin seem like {{Wutai}}. But then there's an interlude where we actually visit the Shin lands, and in fact they are much more 'normal' feeling to the reader because they have fertile soil and plants that are familiar to us (such as strawberries and non-motile grass) but treated as exotic and alien by the Alethi.
** To play with this even more, according to WordOfGod the Shin are the only race on Roshar that don't have "Eastern" almondine eyes. It's noted to give the Shin a "childlike" appearance.
* MedievalStasis: The Desolations are a direct cause of this. They are so destructive that civilization is often broken by the time they end, to the point that the Heralds won't even be sure if the next civilizations can forge ''bronze'' when they show up to fight the next one. However, the Heralds' abandoning of the Oathpact at the start of the first book [[spoiler: and the Parshendi's abandoning of their gods]] appears to have delayed the Desolations long enough for a rather advanced set of societies to develop.
* MismatchedEyes: The child of a darkeyes and a lighteyes will have one eye of each color. This makes them something of an outcast.
* MulticoloredHair: Mixed-race Alethi (Adolin, for example) almost always have this.
* MundaneUtility: Used straight and {{discussed}}.
** Infused spheres used for light. See FantasticLightSource and FictionalCurrency.
** Dalinar wonders why no one ever uses Shardplate for anything but combat. And then proves his point by using his Plate to dig a latrine pit ''out of solid rock''.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: [[spoiler:Odium]]
* NatureSpirit: Some spren seem to fill this role, though many others instead seem to either be attracted to or created by intense human emotion.
* NoPronunciationGuide: Brandon Sanderson pronounces the J in "Jasnah" as a Y, as if it were a Scandanavian name. There is nothing in the book that indicates this should be the case.
* NoSell: The Lashings (and presumably all other forms of Surgebinding) can't be directly used on Shardplate or its wearer.
* OhMyGods: "Stormfather!" and "Living Heralds above!" are both commonly used as exclamations. Also, "Damnation" is used in place of "Hell", and if you don't like someone you tell them to "Storm off."
* OneManArmy: The Shardbearers -- even [[InvokedTrope stated outright]] several times. Also the Surgebinders, even without the Blade, as [[spoiler:Kaladin]] proved.
* TheOrder: The Knights Radiant, founded by the Heralds. The Knights Radiant were actually divided up into [[ArcNumber ten]] individual orders (even called such in-universe), though all of them seemed to be Shardbearers. WordOfGod says that each order had two types of magic like Soulcasting or Surgebinding (see MagicAIsMagicA, above) and each of those was shared by two orders (the diagram on the inside front cover of ''The Way of Kings'' illustrates this).
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: Voidbringers. ShroudedInMyth. [[spoiler:They're the Parshendi/Parshmen. Sort of.]]
* OurNudityIsDifferent: The cultures based on the Vorin religion consider a woman with her left hand (the 'safehand') bare to be provocative. Commoner women wear a glove to cover it while noblewomen wear dresses with left sleeves that cover the entire arm and hand and button shut. At one point we see a prostitute, who wears a short-sleeved dress, and Kaladin cannot take his eyes off her safehand.
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: The Parshendi, of the ProudWarriorRace variant [[spoiler:unless/until they become Voidbringers]].
* ThePaladin:
** Kaladin. [[WeHelpTheHelpless Helping the helpless]] is a strong personality trait of his from the start, both on the battlefield and with medicine.
** In ''Words of Radiance'', it is eventually revealed that [[spoiler: Surgebinding powers depend on adherence to a code, at least for some of the orders. In Kaladin's case, this means that his powers fade when he stops being protective.]]
* PeopleOfHairColor: Certain nationalities have hair colors strongly associated with them -- black for the Alethi, red for the Vedens, and gold (not blonde, but actual, shimmering ''gold'') for the Iriali. You can even tell people of mixed nationality, because they usually have multicolored hair in streaks.
* PerpetualStorm: There is talk of "the Everstorm" that is yet to come, which seems to be a metaphor for the FinalBattle (see also AStormIsComing). However, given that the world is periodically wracked by powerful storms which may or may not be sent by the BigBad, there might be a literal storm in the offing.
** At the end of book two, the Voidbringers apparently create the Everstorm. [[spoiler:It is a cyclical storm like the highstorms, except for two things. First, it carries with it spren that will transform Parshmen into Voidbringers. Second, it moves around the world in the opposite direction from highstorms, so buildings sheltered and reinforced to be protected from regular highstorms may be devastated by the everstorm. Needless to say, this is very bad.]]
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Shardbearers and Surgebinders. [[spoiler:Jasnah]] has the potential when the mood takes her, as well.
* PhotographicMemory: Bizarrely literal example with Shallan. She can, by blinking, take a Memory of a scene, which allows her to later reproduce that scene with photographic accuracy, including showing the otherwise invisible Cryptics. In addition, when she sketches a Memory, the Memory is gone, leaving her with only a regular memory of the scene. ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'' implies that most if not all Lightweavers possessed this ability.
* PlayingWithFire: Implied to form a large part of the Releaser's abilities. The Prelude mentions them leaving the very ground smoldering and smoking, and they are tied to the Essence of Fire.
* PoweredArmor: Shardplate is a {{Magitek}} version, a type of LostTechnology powered by [[{{Mana}} Stormlight]].
* PowerGlows: Stormlight is the magical "fuel" of this world. As the name suggests, it emits light, as does anything infused with it.
* PracticalCurrency: Gems inside glass spheres, infused with Stormlight, are primarily money but can be used as light sources or as power sources for surgebinding.
* ProudMerchantRace:
** The Shin are the complete inversion of [[ProudWarriorRace the Alethi]]. They consider warriors, "those who take," as the least of their society, and treat them as slaves. Farmers and the like, or "those who add," are given the highest position, since they are contributing to the world. Although never stated outright, one would assume they likewise hold their women in very high esteem.
** Also the Thaylen culture appears to be heavily mercantile, most of the Thaylens we see are merchants, and Kaladin's father mentions that every Thaylen he ever met tried to cheat him.
* ProudScholarRace: Thanks to the strict gender roles of the Alethi (and the Vorin religion in general), Alethi women are like this, while their male counterparts are closer to a ProudWarriorRace.
* ProudWarriorRace:
** The Parshendi. While [[TheCombatPragmatist perfectly willing to target bridgemen to disrupt incoming attacks]], once battle is joined they focus on targeting the strongest and most capable of enemy combatants, avoiding the wounded, invalid, or noncombatant if possible. Unless they're [[BerserkButton disturbing Parshendi bodies...]]
** The Alethi deconstruct it; most brightlords are more interested in looking the part than living it. In addition, many Alethi have the "Thrill," a form of bloodlust that grips them in battle, and they've become so glory-hungry that they consider even ''thinking'' about peace cowardice.
* {{Reconstruction}}: Arguably, of epic fantasy. The success of ASongOfIceAndFire influenced a lot of genre works since its publishing, to the point of dark, gritty stories and [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructions]] with [[AntiHero anti-heroes]] and [[VillainProtagonist villain protagonists]] becoming a trend. Here, however, most of the main characters are a lighter shade of gray at the very least, and try to fight for a good cause - even villains aren't steeped in depravity and [[WellIntentionedExtremist have noble goals]]. The world is still a dark place, and many of the heroes are broken inside, but find a will to go on and better their own lives and the lives of those around them. Indeed, the message of the whole story could be interpreted as "The ends do not justify the means".
* SelfHealingPhlebotinum: Shardplate armor can be fixed, even if a piece of it is shattered, by installing gemstones infused with Stormlight. The gemstones usually crack in the process. And like a starfish, if you have only one piece, you can eventually regrow the whole Plate, unless someone else has a larger piece and is doing the same thing.
* TheSiege: The entire Vengeance Pact is one prolonged example. Because the Alethi can't move their entire force out onto the Shattered Plains without getting surrounded by the much more mobile Parshendi, they instead cut off escape to the west and proceeded to engage in a seven-year-long war of attrition to reduce the Parshendi numbers, with much of the fighting occurring over the gemhearts left by slain chasmfiends (used to power Soulcasting). While an effective strategy, the siege causes massive strain on Alethkar itself, costs a tremendous number of lives, and eventually pushes the Parshendi to [[spoiler: develop stormform bodies, which triggers their DemonicPossession, starts up a new Everstorm, and begins the next Desolation]].
* SoulCuttingBlade: Shardblades. Which is why they [[WindowsOfTheSoul burn out the eyes of their victims]].
* StayInTheKitchen: The Alethi and related cultures (i.e. most of the people we meet) have this for ''both'' sexes--only men are permitted to be warriors, but only women are permitted to be scholars (unless they join the ardents), and it is taboo for a man to be literate; men are only expected to know the simpler ideogrammatic glyph system rather than the alphabet. In terms of a person's Calling, it seems to boil down to men being physical and women being creative and/or scholarly. Although it gets into even weirder territory with safehands and the fact that they're not even supposed to eat the same ''food''.
* AStormIsComing: See the page quote. "The Everstorm comes" is a major [[ArcWords arc phrase]] in the first two books.
* SummonToHand: Shardblades work this way; they vanish into thin air when released, and appear in the owner's waiting hand ten heartbeats after they decide to summon it. (Someone whose pulse is racing can call their Shardblade faster than someone who is calm and collected.)
* TechnicolorEyes: The Alethi (and most of the rest of the continent) are split into "darkeyes" and "lighteyes," based (obviously) on eye color. The lighteyes are the rulers, and their eyes are things like gold and violet and white in addition to more mundane colors like blue and green (although ''dark'' green is a darkeyes color).
* TronLines:
** The Knights Radiant have them in one of Dalinar's flashbacks, right down to the colors -- either blue or gold for the two Orders we've seen. Implied that the other orders will branch out into whites, greens, and reds, though what color the Skybreakers (whose gem is ''black'') will be is anyone's guess.
** In ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'', we see them on [[spoiler: true Shardblades, specifically blue for Sylphrena and red for Pattern.]]
* WeatherOfWar: [[spoiler: Enough Parshendi stormforms can summon the Everstorm, essentially an amped-up highstorm that blows the other way round.]]
* WeNeedADistraction: It is implied in ''Words of Radiance'' that [[spoiler: ''all of Roshar'']] is one giant distraction to keep [[spoiler: Odium from killing anymore of the Shards like he did with Honor, Dominion and Devotion]].
* WorldOfBadass: Unless you live in Shinovar, you have to contend with Highstorms, Shardbearers, brigands, hostile terrain, and huge monstrous fauna. Generally, you either die, get sold into slavery, or [[TookALevelInBadass man up and rise to the occasion]]. Sometimes you get to do all three.
* WoundThatWillNotHeal: At the start of the series Szeth notes that even with the regenerative powers granted by Stormlight a limb rendered unusable by a Shardblade won't recover. Although in the second book [[spoiler: Kaladin's]] arm is killed by Szeth's blade, and it does recover. This is because Szeth's sword [[spoiler: is actually an Honorblade, which gives Szeth weaker surgebinding than Kaladin has.]]
* YouKillItYouBoughtIt: The ordinary way to obtain Shards. Whoever strikes the killing blow on a wielder gets to take the Shards for himself. This is more social convention than anything to do with the Shards - Kaladin refused to take up one he earned in combat, in his backstory, and someone else took it instead.
* YourNormalIsOurTaboo:
** Mostly shows up with the people of Shin versus those from most other countries. For example, the Shin people value humility above all else (to the point that their trade negotiations consist of merchants ''downplaying'' the value of their goods rather than exaggerating them) and consider walking on or otherwise touching or damaging stone to be disrespectful. After travelling throughout the other lands, Shin viewpoint character Szeth reflects that it's rather hard to hold foreigners to these rules considering their lands don't have soil covering the bare rock.
** The Horneaters have a caste system based on the order in which children are born, which defines their vocation. When Rock explains this to the other bridgemen (mostly from Alethi-related cultures), the oddest part to them is that the Horneaters do not consider being a warrior to be the highest and most respected vocation. Rock also stuns the others by saying that Horneaters consider long-ranged weapons better and more honorable (whereas among Alethi, there's a reason the officers get swords and the grunts get spears).
** Crosses over with DeliberateValuesDissonance, but this is also true of the general culture we see with the Alethi and related peoples compared to the ''readers''. For example, how literacy is restricted to women.
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