[[quoteright:265:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Warbreaker_6973.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:265:"Not everything is what it seems."]]

A standalone (for now) fantasy novel by Creator/BrandonSanderson, author of ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'', Literature/TheStormlightArchive and the ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'' series, ''Warbreaker'' once again demonstrates Sanderson's fondness for cool new systems of FunctionalMagic, [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses strong female leads of royal derivation]], religious quandaries, and shocking plot twists.

In a world where magic is ruled by three aspects (color, voice, and Breath, [[SoulPower the essential power of one's soul]]), where those who die nobly can return to life and [[AGodAmI be worshiped as gods]], the minor kingdom of Idris wants to stay as far away from such things as possible. They wear muted colors, usually a simple gray or white, and look upon the use of Breath magic as an abomination. But in the neighboring kingdom of Hallandren, where the immortal [[GodEmperor God King]] rules over [[OurZombiesAreDifferent a court of deities returned from the dead]], sinister plots are stirring and many are calling for war against the "rebels" in Idris.

The only way to avert it is for the king of Idris to honor an old treaty and send his daughter to the God-King's court [[ArrangedMarriage to be his bride]]. He has trained up his beloved daughter [[PrincessClassic Vivenna]] to do this, but when the time comes he pulls a switcheroo and sends his youngest daughter [[RebelliousPrincess Sisirina]] instead. When Siri arrives, she's immediately pulled into [[DeadlyDecadentCourt a tangled web of plots and betrayals within the court of the Gods]]. Meanwhile, Vivi, at loose ends now that the husband she went through a lifetime of WifeHusbandry for has married someone else, sneaks away to Hallandren to save her little sister from the ruthless God-King and take her place. It doesn't quite work out that way, especially when the mysterious Vasher, a fighter with a [[ArtifactOfDoom black sword that speaks to him and enjoys killing people]], takes notice of her...

The entire work can be found for free on [[http://brandonsanderson.com/portal/Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson's website]], as Sanderson performed a brave experiment with this novel: as he wrote and re-wrote it, he published each draft on his site, so that aspiring authors and/or curious readers could watch the story evolve artistically and technically. (For obvious reasons, he also kept a changelog.) As a result, spoilers abound; you know where to go if you want to get the story first. (Alternately, buy it on Amazon, where it has been officially published.)

For more works in TheVerse in which this takes place, see Franchise/TheCosmere.

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!!This book provides examples of:

* AchievementsInIgnorance: Lightsong sometimes plays a kind of highly complex ball-game with the other gods. He makes a point of never learning the rules, but keeps managing impossible moves (and winning) on sheer force of dumb luck.
** Also, how he rediscovers the skills he had in life. Entirely by accident, he learns halfway through the book that he is good at interrogation and finding hidden details,[[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers and is pretty good at juggling fruit]]. He has no experience like that in his life as a god, so he reasons that they must be skills from his previous life and wonders if he was a police detective or something similar. [[spoiler: Later, he gets a sword, turns out to be dangerously incompetent with it, and is informed that in his previous life he was an ''accountant''[[note]]We never do find out why he can juggle fruit.[[/note]].]]
* ActionGirl: [[spoiler: Vivenna]] [[CharacterDevelopment becomes one by the end of the story.]]
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler:Denth]] is genuinely funny, witty, and charming. He's also [[spoiler: completely amoral, obsessed with revenge, and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish either his vengeance or his current job as a mercenary.]]
** Also [[spoiler:Bluefingers]] who is benevolent, fatherly, humble, [[spoiler: and busily plotting a world war]].
* TheAgeless:
** The Returned can continue to live indefinitely if they are supplied with Breath once per week but are otherwise as vulnerable to injury as anybody else, [[spoiler: as poor Blushweaver discovered.]]
** Anyone can live indefinitely if they have the Fifth Heightening or above (People with less than that age more slowly, but the Fifth Heightening is when it stops completely). It's actually better than being a Returned since such people don't need a constant supply of Breath to live.
* AGodAmI: The Returned. Except Lightsong, who tends towards AGodIAmNot.
* AndCallHimGeorge: Tonk Fah and his pets. [[spoiler:Interestingly, this is at least ''implied'' early on, yet it's still a dark twist when we learn that he's not killing them by accident a la [[Literature/OfMiceAndMen Lennie]], but to satiate his psychopathic tendencies]].
* AntiVillain: [[spoiler:Bluefingers]] and [[spoiler:Denth]] are arguable examples.
* [[ArentYouGoingToRavishMe Aren't You Going To Ravish Me?]]: Lampshaded when [[spoiler:Siri feels disappointed after nothing happens on her wedding night, then realizes how ridiculous it is to feel that way.]]
* ArrangedMarriage: Siri and the God-King Susebron. [[spoiler:Becomes a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage once he is revealed to not be the evil dictator she thought.]]
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Blushweaver to Lightsong, about [[LaserguidedAmnesia his former life:]] "What if you were a murderer, or a rapist? Worse, what if you had bad fashion sense?"
* ArtifactOfDoom: Nightblood.
** ArtifactOfDeath: it has a distressing tendancy to try and kill whoever draws it, or make nearby people kill each other (but only if they're evil; good people get violently ill when they get too close), something Vasher was clever enough to weaponize- see ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks below for details.
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler: Vasher]]
* BadassBeard: WordOfGod ''explicitly'' confirms that the Royal Locks (the Idrian Royal Family's control over the color and length of their hair) extends to facial hair in the case of male royalty.
* BaitTheDog: [[spoiler:Denth and Tonk Fah]], especially with the latter.
* BatheHerAndBringHerToMe: Siri goes through this every night before she is sent into Susebron's bedchamber. [[spoiler:Ultimately a subversion, as Susebron is not a villain and doesn't even understand sex for most of the book.]]
* BeleagueredAssistant: Llarimar, Lightsong's high priest, who does his best to keep his religion running despite its god's total lack of interest in it.
* BeneathSuspicion: [[spoiler: The Pahn Kahl]]
* BigBad: Teased constantly. At first it looks like [[spoiler:Susebron]], but he turns out to be harmless. Then it looks like [[spoiler:Denth]], but it quickly becomes apparent that someone else is paying him. All the characters' suspicion then falls on [[spoiler:High Priest Treledees of the God King]], but it turns out he's a deliberate red herring for [[spoiler:Bluefingers.]]
* BigDamnHeroes: Subverted '''hard''' towards the end when [[spoiler: Lightsong]] tries to rescue [[spoiler: Blushweaver]]. See WhatTheFuAreYouDoing, below.
* BreakTheHaughty: [[spoiler:Vivenna]]
* ButIWouldReallyEnjoyIt: Siri is told from the start that she must not risk getting pregnant by the God King. That's easy enough while she's still afraid of him, but then they start getting to know each other and turn out to have chemistry...
* BuxomIsBetter: All the gods, upon Returning, are transformed into their own idea of physical perfection. As a result, almost all the goddesses have enormous breasts.
* CastFromHitPoints: How Returned magic works--it can accomplish things far beyond ordinary Awakening, but only at the cost of the Returned in question's life. [[spoiler:Nightblood works like this too, drawing on its wielder's Breath to fuel its powers when fully drawn. Running out of Breath while trying to wield Nightblood is fatal- even for a non-Returned, as explicitly confirmed by WordOfGod. ]]
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:Vasher]] reveals in the prologue that he is able to [[spoiler:instantly achieve the Fifth Heightening, the same as all of the Returned.]] It turns out in the end that [[spoiler:he is indeed a Returned, and has been living in hiding for 300 years.]]
** Also, the D'Denir statues are [[spoiler:Kalad's phantoms, the army of uber-Lifeless which ended the Manywar]].
** [[spoiler:The Breath wasted in Tonk Fah's clothes ends not being wasted at all.]]
** [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Level-Up Perk]]: It's a good thing the [[spoiler:sixth]] heightening provides [[spoiler:instinctive awakening abilities]].
* ChekhovsSkill: ''Subverted''. [[spoiler:While he's trying to work out who he was pre-Return, Lightsong figures he was probably some sort of detective or soldier and guesses he'd probably be a really good swordsman if he ever tried. So later, when he picks up a sword and tries to go all BigDamnHeroes to rescue Blushweaver... he promptly gets his ass handed to him, because he while he was indeed an investigator, he wasn't a city guard officer, he was an ''accountant''.]]
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler:Bluefingers]] plotted out almost all the events of the novel like clockwork. Ultimately, it was only two factors he couldn't possibly have foreseen [[spoiler:(Lightsong's HeroicSacrifice and Vasher really being Kalad and Peacegiver)]] that stopped him.
** [[spoiler:Vasher]] and [[spoiler:Blushweaver]] are more well-intentioned Chessmasters.
* CombatPragmatist: Vasher. First with his technique of throwing Nightblood into groups of people, and then [[spoiler: in his fight with Denth, giving up his Breath for one chance to kill him.]]
* CoolSword: Again, Nightblood.
* CorruptChurch: The priests of the various Gods are some of the main plotters in the intrigues at court.
** Also subverted with [[spoiler:the God King's priests. While bound by tradition and rather more ruthless than is good for them, they're not actually the den of evil schemers Siri and Lightsong think they are.]]
* DarkIsNotEvil: [[spoiler:Vasher is a ManipulativeBastard with PermaStubble, a GuileHero or ScienceHero but particularly ruthless about it, whose preferred tactic when fighting groups is throwing an ArtifactOfDoom at them and ''making them kill each other and themselves''. We're introduced to him when he deliberately gets himself arrested so he can break into a deeper jail and extort a stockpile of magic power from another prisoner. However, he's a good guy and the ArtifactOfDoom in question was created specifically to destroy evil.]]
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Subverted--the Returned might be decadent, but really, nothing they do has a great deal of long-term relevance, and most of them simply can't muster enough interest to do anything important anyway. [[spoiler:Moreover, the FemmeFatale who seemed to be plotting the most ends up being manipulated by the Pahn Kahl scribes pretty thoroughly. And then murdered by them.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Pretty much everyone has their moments, but Lightsong unquestionably earns the grand prize.
* DeterminedExpression: Clod gets one briefly while protecting Vivenna. It's the only time he or any other Lifeless shows expression.
* DidntThinkThisThrough: Much more serious example than usual. When Vasher and Glorysinger (his wife) were forging Nightblood, they knew that whatever Command they gave would define the sword's personality and purpose. Given the fact that Nightblood contains a ''thousand'' Breaths and is thus one of the most powerful objects in the world, choosing the right command was obviously very important. After much thought, they selected "Destroy Evil". Only later would they realize the problem with this command: How is a piece of metal supposed to know what "evil" is?
* DistaffCounterpart: WordOfGod has it that [[spoiler:Llarimar and Lightsong's]] relationship is supposed to be a parallel of [[spoiler:Vivenna and Siri's. Lightsong (or Stennimar as he used to be called) liked traveling and enjoying his bachelor lifestyle whereas Llarimar was the one who always did what he should, but Llarimar also always admired his brother for his sense of adventure, his proactiveness, and his simple kindness toward other people.]]
* DragonWithAnAgenda: [[spoiler: Denth]] is hired to act as TheDragon for [[spoiler: the Pahn Kahl conspiracy]]. While he does loyally fulfill this role, his primary motive remains [[spoiler:revenge on Vasher.]]
* EasyLogistics: The chief advantage of Lifeless over regular soldiers. They don't have any need to eat or drink and don't appear to rot or decay, which allows Hallendren to sustain a standing army of forty thousand of the things with barely the slightest impact on their luxurious economy.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Two of them!
* EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: The Tenth Heightening causes anything white to burst out with rainbows. It also makes it so that Awakening drains things to white rather than gray.
* EvilChancellor: [[spoiler:Bluefingers.]]
** This appears to be a subversion at the start, however, so it's not played 100% straight.
** [[spoiler:High Priest Treledees]] is a complete subversion--he's a bit of a [[{{Jerkass}} jerk]] and is quite hidebound, but he's doing no more than what he believes [[spoiler:is his duty to his nation and his God-King.]] Indeed, he's the RedHerring [[spoiler:Bluefingers]] uses to keep from being spotted.
* EvilCounterpart: [[spoiler: Denth, by WordOfGod, was written as a echo of Kelsier. Only this time, he's on the wrong side.]]
* EvilOverlord: Subverted. [[spoiler:Susebron the God-King]] has a reputation as being this, especially in Idris, [[spoiler: but he's really a figurehead and a very nice (if naive) guy.]]
* EvilWeapon: Subverted with Nightblood. It's a black sword with magical powers that continually goads its wielder to kill people [[spoiler:but was actually created to ''destroy'' evil. Pity a sword can't tell the difference.]]
* ExoticDetective: Lightsong when he tries to solve the mystery of the murdered servant in Mercystar's palace--he uses his Fifth Heightening powers to see clues that no-one else could.
* {{Expy}}: WordOfGod says that Siri and Vivenna were exported from a novel he never got around to completing. While he never was really satisfied with the book and shelved it half-finished, he and his alpha readers liked subplot with the two princesses, so he wrote a book about them instead. He also mentions that Denth is more or less the same concept as [[{{Mistborn}} Kelsier]], [[spoiler:except that he's on the villain's side.]]
* FallenPrincess: [[spoiler:Vivenna.]]
* FalseReassurance: [[spoiler: Denth]] is a master at this, as well as ExactWords. [[spoiler: Denth repeatedly tells Vivenna that he can be relied on to faithfully carry out the task he's been hired to do. He just doesn't tell her that she's not the one that he's been working for.]]
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: The religion of Austre has some strong similarities to real world Christianity.
* FieryRedhead: The hair colours tend to play it straight, with red hair representing passion, temper, ''fire''. Brown hair is described as [[BrainyBrunette pensive]] and is usually the colour that comes out when Siri/Vivenna are thinking intensely about something. Blonde is the colour of happiness. The ones that might subvert or avert the tropes are black (neutral) and white (afraid).
* FishOutOfWater: Siri, the RebelliousPrincess who finds herself in a PrincessClassic plotline. And, for that matter, Vivi, a PrincessClassic in a RebelliousPrincess plotline.
* FlatEarthAtheist: Lightsong describes himself as the only god who doesn't believe in his own religion.
* ForgedByTheGods: Nightblood. While those who created him may or may not be gods ''per se'', at the least they were/would be worshiped as such.
* FunctionalMagic: [=BioChroma=].
* TheFundamentalist: Vivenna starts out as a mild version of this--she's not violent, but she is arrogant, judgmental, and closed-minded. CharacterDevelopment helps her get over it.
* GambitPileup: It becomes obvious almost as soon as Siri arrives at the court of the God King that everyone's plotting against everyone else in one way or another. But you won't believe how many people end up being involved, or how bad things get when the plots finally start to collide.
* GenreSavvy: Denth, who uses it both for practical purposes and clever LampshadeHanging. See CrowningMomentOfFunny for a memorable example that is actually both.
* GetIntoJailFree: Vasher gets arrested in order to get Breath from a captured rebel.
* AGodAmI: [[spoiler: Susebron is an oddly humble version of this. He firmly believes he's a god, having been raised almost entirely by his own priests, but he doesn't make a big deal out of it. It's just part of who he is.]]
* GodEmperor: Susebron, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the God-King]]. Although [[spoiler:he has little actual power until the end.]]
* AGodIAmNot: Lightsong, who constantly denies his godhood, though he does acknowledge the powers that come with it. [[spoiler: Until, right at the end, he regains his memory and decides he is a god after all. Cue [[HeroicSacrifice Heroic Sacrifice]].]]
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: Variation--the gods are Returned and in order to survive, need a Breath given to them once a week in order to continue existing.
* GodWasMyCopilot: [[spoiler:Vasher is Talaxin, one of the Five Scholars who pioneered [=BioChromatic=] research. In a subversion, TheDragon Denth is [=VaraTreledees=], another of the Five.]]
* GoneHorriblyRight: Nightblood. Creating a sentient sword with the Command to destroy evil seems like a good idea. Trouble is, an Awakened sword doesn't even have a [[IncrediblyLamePun clear cut]] concept of life, let alone something as abstract as evil. So you end up with a weapon [[MurderIsTheBestSolution eager to kill]] anyone it considers [[BlackAndWhiteInsanity evil]]. Doesn't take all that much to make Nightblood think you're evil...
-->''I'm figuring it out,'' Nightblood said. ''I've had a lot of practice.''
* GoodIsNotNice: [[spoiler:Vasher;]] [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] several times when he points out that he knows full well he's got a bad temper and terrible people skills.
* GovernmentConspiracy: It's obvious from early on that one exists. It turns out to be [[spoiler:the Pahn Kahl]].
* GuileHero: [[spoiler:Vasher]] and Denth have elements of this. See the Character page.
* HairColors: The hallmark of the Royal Family of Idris is the Royal Locks, hair that can change colors to reflect its owner's emotions: black for confidence, white for fear, red for passion, blond for happiness...
* HeroicSacrifice: The Gods are each able to perform a single miracle, at the cost of their own lives. [[spoiler: The only one we actually witness is Lightsong's.]]
** [[spoiler: Also the way Lightsong became a god: he died saving his brother's child.]]
* HeroicComedicSociopath: Played with concerning the mercenaries Denth and Tonk Fah. They're killers for hire, but they're good guys because they're funny and helpful to Vivenna. Maybe Sanderson's doing a {{homage}} to his good friend [[Webcomic/SchlockMercenary Howard Tayler]].
* HiddenInPlainSight:
** [[spoiler:Denth ''constantly'' told Vivenna what he was capable of, and she didn't take it seriously because he said it with a grin and likeable banter]].
** [[spoiler:Kalad's Phantoms]].
* HiddenVillain: [[spoiler:Bluefingers.]]
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Susebron and Siri.
* IdiotHero: Played with in interesting ways with Lightsong.
* IHaveManyNames: [[spoiler:Vasher. Also known as Kalad The Usurper, Peacegiver The Merciful, Talaxas The Sage, and [[TitleDrop Warbreaker]] The Peaceful]].
-->''They used to call him other things, too,'' Nightblood said.
* ILoveTheDead: [[spoiler:In the author annotations, Sanderson states that Jewel still slept with Clod, whom she was in a relationship prior to his death and subsequent "rebirth" as a Lifeless.]]
* ImplacableMan: The chief advantage of the Lifeless. Unlike zombies in other worlds they aren't any stronger or faster than living soldiers and can't spread their condition, but they make up for it by not needing food or rest and being able to shrug off any wound that doesn't directly impair functioning. [[spoiler: Kalad's Phantoms are Lifeless encased in stone, making them ultra-implacable men.]]
** Note that the real advantage of the Lifeless is that it was discovered near the beginning of the nation's founding how to animate one from a single Breath rather than the fifty it took before. That means that they double the size of their army without any difficulty.
* ImpossiblyCoolClothes: Lampshaded by Lightsong: he muses that his clothes are ''so'' impossibly cool that, were it not for the horde of servants in his employ, he ''would not be able to dress himself.''
* InsaneTrollLogic: Used constantly and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Lightsong.
-->'''Blushweaver:''' And are you going to explain why you consider competing with me to be the most sincere form of compliment?\\
'''Lightsong:''' Of course I am. My dear, have you ever known me to make an inflammatorily ridiculous statement without providing an equally ridiculous explanation to substantiate it?\\
'''Blushweaver:''' Of course not. You are nothing if not exhaustive in your self- congratulatory made-up logic.
* JerkassGods: Pretty much the entire court [[spoiler:except for Lightsong, Susebron, and to an extent Blushweaver.]]
** We don't know for sure. It seem likely that [[spoiler:Blushweaver is average]] among the gods in jerkass-ness, although more competent at it, but whether that means they all aren't so bad or she is worse is hard to say.
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] and explained during Lightsong's philosophizing: When each god can only perform one miracle to help their people, and that at the cost of their own life, the truly good and noble ones die off quickly and those who stick around are the less compassionate.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Lightsong's stated goal in life is to tick off as many people as possible in the most spectacular manner possible. When the chips are down, though, he turns out to be perhaps the most basically decent god left in the pantheon, with the possible exception of [[spoiler:Susebron.]]
* KaleidoscopeHair: The Royal Locks, the sign of Idrian royalty, change color according to the owner's mood. It also can be grown out at will.
* KingBobTheNth: The current God King is Susebron V.
* LampshadedDoubleEntendre: Blushweaver, ''constantly''. It's in her ''name'' for crying out loud.
-->"When all else fails, use sexual innuendo," she said lightly...
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: The one major downside to coming back to life as a god is forgetting the entirety of your past life. Memories are lost, but not skills or talents.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: Triggering this between {{Mooks}} is the main way that Nightblood is used.
** [[spoiler:The BigBad's plot is to pit Idris against Hallandren in a massive war.]]
* LighterAndSofter: Though the central storyline is still serious, the setting and characters are notably not as dark as in [[Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy the Mistborn trilogy]] or even ''Literature/{{Elantris}}''.
* LiteralGenie: The key limitation of the magic system is that ''everything'' you try to Awaken behaves like this, though not out of a sense of malice; becoming a better Awakener means learning how to phrase commands so that they actually work and don't backfire on you.
** [[spoiler:This is also part of the explanation for why Nightblood is the way it is, according to WordOfGod. It's made of Awakened steel, and driven by a somewhat vague command to "destroy evil." The indiscriminate nature of Nightblood's slaughter is a product of the blade not really having a firm concept of "evil."]]
* LockedIntoStrangeness: The Royal Locks turn white to show fear. After [[spoiler: Vivenna discover's Denth's true colors]], her hair stays white for two weeks straight.
* LongLostRelative: [[spoiler:Technically, they were never really ''lost'', but Lightsong's head priest, Llarimar, is actually his younger brother. Lightsong's (named Stenimar as a mortal) Return came to be when he saved Llarimar's daughter from a sinking ship.]]
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:Before he Returned, Lightsong was Llarimar's brother.]]
* LukeNounVerber: Many of the Returned have very NounVerber names, although not all. Gods like Peacegiver, Warbreaker, and Blushweaver fit the trope, but there are others, like Lightsong, Mercystar, and Weatherlove, who do not. Allmother kind of looks like she works, but not quite.
* TheMagocracy: Inverted. Being a powerful Awakener isn't a guarantee of social status, but most of the wealthy and powerful buy lots of breaths so that they have the power available if they need it. In other words, magic is a sign of status, rather than the other way around.
* ManChild: WordOfGod is that Sanderson felt he had to walk a very fine line with [[spoiler: Susebron]], to make him childlike enough to be believable as someone who's been largely isolated his whole life, without being so much that his [[spoiler: relationship with Siri]] was [[{{Squick}} squicky]].
* MarriageToAGod: Siri. An ''arranged'' marriage, at that.
* MayDecemberRomance: [[spoiler: Siri and Susebron]] are a... complicated example. Chronologically, he's in his fifties and she's in her late teens. ''Mentally'', she's an adult [[spoiler:while he starts out almost childlike.]] ''Physically'', they're about the same age because of how [[spoiler:a Returned's powers keeps them ageless as long as they have a steady supply of Breath.]]
** This veers into Mayfly territory when the shippers pair Vivenna with [[spoiler:Vasher.]]
*** Although in this setting anybody can become immortal (barring accidents) if they have enough Breath so it's not that big of an issue.
* MeaningfulName: Austre, the name the people of Idris give to {{God}}, evokes "austerity", which is a hallmark of their religion.
* MistakenForGranite: The D'denir statues.
* MrExposition: Hoid the storyteller.
* MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch: Lightsong.
* NamesTheSame: A RedHerring variant: [[spoiler: Denth's real name is revealed to be "[=VaraTreledees=]," which implies a connection to the suspicious high priest Treledees, but they're entirely unrelated.]]
* NayTheist: Lightsong remarks early on that he must be the only God ever to not believe in his own religion.
* NoPlaceForMeThere: [[spoiler:Vivenna]] decides this about both of the nations involved in the book, hence the WalkingTheEarth choice.
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat: Hilariously lampshaded by [[DeadpanSnarker Denth]].
-->'''Tonk Fah:''' You think he'll live?
-->'''Denth:''' He just fell out the third-story window, plummeting toward certain doom. Of course he'll live!
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: [[spoiler:Bluefingers, and the Pahn Kahl in general.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Sanderson [[{{Mistborn}} really likes]] [[Literature/{{Elantris}} this one]]. Not used as heavily here as in his earlier books, but it shows up.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: The Lifeless are reanimated corpses. They don't rot, they don't eat brains (or anything else) and they're intelligent enough to take orders, if you know the magic password to command them.
** Arguably the Hallandren gods themselves, as they're people who've died and been Returned; supposedly the Iridescent Tones (or to the Idrians, Austre, God of Colors) Return those individuals who die exemplifying one of the "great virtues of human existence." They require at least one Breath a week to continue living, and whether or not they're actually gods is up for debate. [[spoiler:As Lightsong finds out once he remembers how he died and came back, they really ''are'' gods in a sense.]]
** Considering the way the Returned feed off Breath, they might also be considered a (relatively harmless) variation of OurVampiresAreDifferent, and are in fact treated as such in certain countries of Nalthis, by WordOfGod.
* PhysicalGod: The Gods of Hallandren...for a loose definition of god.
** Anyone with enough Breath to reach one of the upper Heightenings would probably qualify as well under most definitions, even if they aren't actually Returned. The Tenth Heightening, so far seen only as a product of the tens of thousands of Breaths the God-King carries, gives one the ability to Awaken perfectly by pure instinct (bypassing the key limitation of this magic system, the need to know how to phrase something exactly to make the Awakened object do it properly). There is a ''reason'' the God-King is such a powerful figure.
* PhysicalReligion: The Iridescent Tomes of Hallandren. People literally talk to their gods to ask favors, though they rarely receive aid.
* PrincessInRags: Happens to [[spoiler:Vivenna]] at one point.
* PsychoForHire: [[spoiler: Tonk Fah.]] Literally, as he's a mercenary.
* PsychopathicManchild: Nightblood comes off like this at times. [[spoiler:Tonk Fah also has elements of this, with emphasis on the "psychopathic".]]
* RageBreakingPoint: [[spoiler:After suffering Lightsong's antics for five years and seeing him try and fail at many things just in the attempt to see if his previous life had remembered them, Llarimar screams at Lightsong when he tries to pick a lock, even saying that he is a ''scribe'', not any other skills.]]
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Minor example, but WordOfGod confirms that Brandon's own wedding, first time, and honeymoon took place during the writing of this book. This definitely had an effect on the Siri/Susebron romance.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: [[spoiler:Vasher and Denth.]]
* RebelliousPrincess: Siri is a free spirit living in a very conservative culture, though she's able to get away with being somewhat rebellious because she's the youngest of four children and thus not very important in the grand scheme of things. Ironically, this independence is what helps her adjust to Hallandren, and she comments in the narrative that Vivenna, who was ''trained'' to go, would have been hindered by that very training.
** Of course, Vivenna similarly comments that she is much better suited for Hallandren than poor Siri. This book is full of characters misjudging each other, and contains several occurrences of the literary equivalent of a [[DescriptionCut description cut]].
** Vivenna herself is a subversion--even when she does go against her father's wishes, it's only out of what she sees as her royal duty.
* RousseauWasRight: Pretty much every character in the story has good (or at least sympathetic) motivations for their actions. In the end, the only truly evil person in the novel is [[spoiler:[[AxCrazy Tonk Fah]]]] who is ultimately just TheDragon's hired help.
* SarcasticConfession: [[spoiler:Denth and Tonk Fah]] pull this several times with regards to [[spoiler:the ruthlessness and sociopathy of mercenaries]], but the truth doesn't get realized until it's too late.
* SequelHook: in the epilogue, Vasher tells Vivenna that [[spoiler:Yesteel, another of his and Denth's old colleagues, has resurfaced with improved Lifeless, which he's sold to an ambitious warlord. They then head off to investigate together.]] WordOfGod is that ''Warbreaker'' was always intended to be a two-book series, but the release of volume two, ''Nightblood'', was delayed by working on the final three volumes of ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. As ''Warbreaker'' stands on its own fine, however, this wasn't a serious issue. On his blog, Sanderson revealed that he felt it would be better to get his extremely ambitious ''Stormlight Archive'' series established before the release of what he admits will be a tonally different follow-up to the first book.
** SavedForTheSequel: Many of the developments and some pieces of the magic of [=BioChroma=] are being saved for this upcoming book "when he gets around to writing it".
* ShapeShifterBaggage: Averted. Siri can make her hair grow from short to very long in a matter of moments, but it makes her very, very hungry.
* ShoutOut: Early in the book, Parlin acquires a green hat, described as being "like a sock, though much larger." [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Remind you of anyone?]]
* ShroudedInMyth: Kalad and Peacegiver, to the point that [[spoiler: people have forgotten they were the same person]].
* TheSociopath: [[spoiler:Tonk Fah]] is heavily implied to be this in the novel; WordOfGod confirms it.
* SoulPower: The Idrians believe Breath is a person's soul, and thus hold Awakening to be the worst sort of heresy. The people of Hallandren are less convinced of this, and don't revile Awakeners or believe losing one's Breath is so terrible, as long as they're paid well for it (or do it for a good cause, like [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly sustaining the Returned]]). They are both somewhat right and wrong- according to WordOfGod giving away your soul is quite unpleasant, giving you worse health and depression, though it's not as bad as the Idrians say.
* SpannerInTheWorks: Almost everyone at the Court of Gods was prepared for Idris to sent Princess Vivenna to marry/be the hostage of the God King. When the King of Idris exploits a loophole in the contract to send Princess Siri instead, they're all convinced that she must be part of an elaborate plot against them and are thrown into a frenzy trying to [[GambitPileup adjust their webs of schemes]]. But actually, the king just [[TheUnfavorite doesn't love Siri as much as he loves Vivenna]] and figures he'll have an easier time sending her to be raped and killed instead.
* SpareToTheThrone: The oldest princess was groomed from birth to become the God-Emperor's wife. The second oldest princess was the "spare," trained in case something happened to her sister. Their father sent the youngest princess instead, mostly because she was a wild card that no one had ever bothered to spy on. WordOfGod and a bit of his narration also indicate that despite being basically a decent man, the King really didn't love Siri as much as he loved the others, so found it less painful to sacrifice her.
* StuffedInTheFridge: [[spoiler: Parlin and Blushweaver.]]
* TalkingWeapon: Nightblood.
* TerseTalker: Parlin.
* TheyDo: [[spoiler:The God King and Siri late in the book.]]
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: [[ArtifactOfDoom Nightblood]]'s powers make him more useful as a grenade than a sword. He possesses the power to tempt people with impure souls, and gets them all to kill each other. It doesn't ''always'' work because he can't do anything to sinless men.
* TitleDrop: [[spoiler:Vasher's]] real name (well, oldest known name, whether or not it's his ''real'' name is debatable) is Warbreaker the Peaceful.
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Played with--Siri and Vivenna are set up as the two roles, and then Siri ends up in an ArrangedMarriage dealing with social intrigue while Vivenna has to be a RebelliousPrincess.
* TreacherousAdvisor: [[spoiler:Denth]] and [[spoiler:Bluefingers.]]
* UncannyValley: Invoked with the Lifeless. The most disturbing part of them is that they ''don't'' look dead... or alive, really.
* TheUnfavorite: WordOfGod confirms that, as much as he may rationalize to himself otherwise, King Dedelin does in fact love Vivenna more than Siri, and that most of the political and tactical reasons he gives for sending off Siri instead of Vivenna are largely efforts to delude himself. This is also hinted at in the narrative.
* UnwittingPawn: Vivenna to [[spoiler: Denth.]] Blushweaver to the BigBad.
* TheVamp: Blushweaver comes across like this at first--CharacterDevelopment gradually moves her more into FemmeFatale. Possibly more into MyGirlIsASlut. She's flirtatious, sure, but legitimately means well for both the country and the target of her affections.
* VirginityMakesYouStupid: [[spoiler:Susebron and Vivenna]].
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: All of the Returned can do this, though most don't know it (hence subconsciously shapeshifting into idealized versions of what they looked like as humans, but not showing the ability any other way). [[spoiler: Vasher and Denth do more with it, taking the appearance of a scruffy vagrant and a sellsword respectively, even though they're actually Returned. WordOfGod is that Siri and Vivenna, who have Returned blood in them, could potentially ''learn'' to do this, but at the moment are limited to their hair]].
* WalkingTheEarth: Vasher [[spoiler:and Vivenna at the end.]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Susebron's priests truly do care about him. But their sacred vow to protect the God King's [=BioChroma=] gift from abuse means some terrible things are done to him. All in the name of keeping it safe.]]
** [[spoiler:Also Bluefingers and his conspiracy. All they want is independence and freedom from opression for their homeland--and they're willing to start a world war if that's what it takes to make that happen.]]
* WhatTheFuAreYouDoing: [[spoiler:PlayedForDrama. Near the climax, Lightsong wonders and tests whether his PastLifeMemories include MasterSwordsman skills. They don't.]]
* WideEyedIdealist: Several, at least at the beginning.
** [[spoiler:Susebron,]] whose entire experience of the world consists of a book of fairy tales his mother read him as a child.
** Vivenna has a real tendency to view everything in terms of absolute black and white. She gets better.
** Siri also starts out quite naive and idealistic.
* WordOfGod: Identifies [[spoiler:the Voice that speaks to the Returned and lets them come back]] as one of the [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Shards]] from Sanderson's wider cosmology. It is named Endowment.
** Sanderson tends to expose a lot of otherwise-unshown background in this way. Another tidbit: Clod the Lifeless was made from Arsteel's corpse.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Vivenna, pre-CharacterDevelopment
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Implied to be pretty much everybody. [[spoiler:Kalad and Peacegiver are the same person, Austre followers used to be Awakeners too, and so forth.]]
* [[spoiler:[[YouKilledMyFather You Killed My Sister]]]]: Denth hates Vasher because of it.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Poor [[spoiler:Blushweaver.]]
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