Due to size, the page has been split. WARNING! All spoilers before Rhythm of War are UNMARKED!
- Main Characters note
- Urithiru note
- Heralds, Knights, and Spren note
- The Fusednote
- Races and People of Roshar
- Other note
The Kholin Family
- Abdicate the Throne: When Elhokar dies, Adolin realizes that he's going to end up king, since Dalinar has taken himself out of the line and Elhokar's son is too young. In the end, he refuses the responsibility, as he broke the Codes by murdering Sadeas and honestly knows he'd be terrible at the job anyway, passing it onto Jasnah.
- Agent Peacock: In his armor, he is a massive, unstoppable badass. Outside of his armor, he is an insufferably beautiful man who insists on wearing cologne even while in prison and adores fashionable attire to the point that he is constantly bristling against his father's order that he wear his uniform at all times. When he has to lead a team to infiltrate Kholinar, Adolin hides them at the home of the person he trusts more than anyone else in the city: his tailor. While there he is appalled to learn that the folios he's been referencing for fashion are completely out of date, since they were designed to sell military-style coats to the Alethi warcamps.
- Ambiguously Bi: According to a Word of Brandon, Adolin would be comfortable in a polyamorous triad with Shallan and Kaladin.
- Becoming the Mask: For a long time he was a duelist who was coincidentally useful on the battlefield. By the second book, when he's started dueling again, he notes that he likes the loud darkeyed spectators in the stands because it reminds him of the battlefield—while he used to hate the battlefield because it wasn't quiet, like a duel.
- Beware the Nice Ones: An incredibly nice, likable guy - who stabbed Sadeas through the eye when it became clear he wasn't going to drop his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
- Broken Ace: Quite possibly Averted, as he's pretty much the only major protagonist not somehow broken. This may be the biggest thing keeping him from developing into a Radiant.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Sometimes has trouble keeping track of what he did to offend any particular woman, given how he tends to date every available one around.
- Can't Catch Up: At the start of the series, he's one of the biggest badasses around, but by book three, there are so many Knights Radiants and superpowerful spren and worldhoppers with exotic powers running around that being a "mere" Shardbearer is starting to look decidedly underwhelming. He has a bit of a quiet crisis of confidence about it, explicitly noting that he's never actually had to feel unimportant before.
- The Casanova: One of the reasons his relationships keep failing is because he has a shameless wandering eye.
- Combat Pragmatist: Perfectly willing to resort to this in duels if needed. While he won't break the actual rules, he's willing to use tactics like grappling, headbutting, and brawling instead of pure Shardblade-on-Shardblade combat, which the Alethi upper crust consider distasteful.
- Companion Cube: He likes to talk to his Shardblade before duels and battles, and he feels like it's alive. He's sort of right too.
- Cool Sword: A Shardblade. Her name is Mayalaran ("Maya" for short), and she is gradually recovering from her death largely thanks to his constant care and attention.
- The Dandy: Adolin loves fashionable clothes, to the point that he keeps folios of the latest fashions from Alethkar and reads through them while at winehouses so he can keep up to date and have properly fancy attire ready.
- Foil: According to Word of God, Sanderson created Adolin to have a contrasting viewpoint to Dalinar. His consistently upbeat nature makes him an excellent to Kaladin. His straightforward honesty makes him a foil to Shallan. His healthy normality makes him a foil to Renarin. Basically, as The Everyman and The Ace, he's a foil to every Radiant.
- Front Line General: Like his old man, Adolin fights from the frontlines.
- The Heart: As part of any group, his Boisterous Bruiser tendencies and unending good cheer is often used to inspire and keep everyone else going, even in the darkest of times.
- Hidden Depths: Much, much smarter than he lets on. He's not yet as great a leader as his father, but he's well on his way, and he also shows ruthless pragmatism by murdering Sadeas instead of playing his political games, which may come to haunt him in a big way.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: A non-murderous variety. Adolin finds hunts against beasts positively boring, due to how the prey has little chance of countering the elaborate hunting methods humans can come up with. He much prefers one on one duels, where warriors can pit their wits against an opponent of equal intelligence and strength.
- I Knew It!: In-Universe. He's insufferably pleased when he finds out Kaladin is a Radiant.Adolin: Ha! I knew there was something going on with him.
- Insult of Endearment: He starts calling Kaladin "bridgeboy" as a simple descriptive before they actually know each other, then keeps it as an insult once Kaladin becomes his guard. After the four on one duel where Kaladin saved him, it turns into a friendly ribbing remark. Unfortunately Kaladin doesn't notice that it's turned friendly, so their friendship starts to backslide a little before Shallan angrily explains things.
- Ladykiller in Love: After unsuccessfully courting every eligible woman in the warcamps, he gets betrothed to Shallan, and rapidly falls in love with her.
- Like Brother and Sister: Adolin ends up in a similar relationship to this with Veil in Oathbringer, considering her a drinking buddy. And yes, he knows she's Shallan's Split Personality.
- Love at First Sight: Was immediately smitten with Shallan upon seeing her. Though he only really fell for her after she asked him about what he did if he needed to poop in Shardplate.
- Master Swordsman:
- Probably the single most talented swordsman in the world, surpassing even his father and uncle. It's implied that he could easily rise to King's Champion if he wasn't at least trying to follow his father's ban on duels in time of war.
- In Words of Radiance, Dalinar decides to put some pressure on the Highprinces by having Adolin start taking their Shards from them in duels. Nobody seems to think that conquering 20+ Shardbearers should present Adolin with much of a problem.
- And indeed, during the big duel, he fights three Shardbearers at once, on his own, and holds his own. The main problem with the "Adolin will duel everyone and win their Shards" plan turns out to be finding Shardbearers foolish enough to agree to duel him in the first place. He's only able to get others to agree by offering them massive odds if they win (several of his family's Shards against one or two of theirs) or agreeing to duel at a disadvantage.
- Meaningful Name: His name is a contraction of "Adoda Lin," which means "Born Unto Light."
- Named Weapons: Notable in universe for being an exception, he hasn't named his Shardblade, feeling that it would be presumptuous. In Oathbringer, he finds out that the blade's original name was Mayalaran, and starts to refer to her as Maya for short.
- Never Learned to Read: Like most men who practice Vorinism, he can't read. Unlike most, he never even bothered to learn the simplified glyphs that men are allowed to read. That being said, he still keeps folios of fashion trends.
- Nice Guy: Adolin is an incredibly likeable and personable guy who gets along with pretty much everyone, regardless of whether they're lighteyed or darkeyed (although he still has some prejudices there). He's not perfect, as his dating history shows (although that could be because he's just so nice to everyone that he ends up offending his partners), and there are people he greatly dislikes... but they usually deserve it, like Sadeas and Amaram.
- Not Hyperbole: He really had courted every eligible woman in the warcamps before Shallan showed up.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: A supreme duelist, heir to the most powerful of the Alethi princedoms, goes to battle in Powered Armor and a BFS that makes him a One-Man Army... he's really a pretty impressive dude. It's just a shame that his Vitriolic Best Bud and occasional romantic rival is a hero of legend with superhuman powers who routinely overcomes impossible odds. Having that said, Shallan furiously denies that this trope is in effect when Adolin suggests that Kaladin is more worthy of her.Adolin: Shallan. He can literally fly.
Shallan: Oh? And is that what women are supposed to seek in a mate? Is it in the Polite Lady's Handbook to Courtship and Family? The Bekenah edition, maybe? "Ladies, you can't possibly marry a man if he can't fly." Never mind if the other option is as handsome as sin, kind to everyone he meets regardless of their station, passionate about his art, and genuinely humble in the weirdest, most confident way. Never mind if he actually seems to get you, and remarkably listens to your problems, encouraging you to be you—not to hide yourself away. Never mind if being near him makes you want to rip his shirt off and push him into the nearest alleyway, then kiss him until he can't breathe anymore. If he can't fly, then well, you just have to call it off!
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Knifing Sadeas in the dark is the sort of tactic that Dalinar would frown on, but the victim had it coming and then some.
- The Power of Friendship: An odd variant with his Shardblade, which he treats with unusual thoughtfulness, all the more so after meeting the Empty Shell of its spren form in the Cognitive Realm. He even directly calls her "a friend". Despite being "dead", the spren acts on her own to protect him, and is later able to communicate her name to him, and he is able to summon the blade faster than ordinarily possible in a moment of desperation. While it is believed that only the original Radiant who killed a spren could heal them, Adolin may be proving this belief wrong.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Wears cologne and "reads" fashion magazines.
- Rich Idiot With No Day Job: While not actually one - he is always fighting on the front line and is a competent battlefield commander - Adolin is considered one by most of the Alethi upper crust, who make it clear that they think he is an arrogant fop - up until the point where he thoroughly beats their asses in duels.
- Serial Romeo:
- Constantly switching girlfriends. It's lampshaded by his brother on several occasions. He's stopped in Words of Radiance mostly because he's unsuccessfully courted every lighteyed woman in Dalinar's warcamp (This is Not Hyperbole, by the way - Girls disliking Adolin because of past romances are a Running Gag in Words of Radiance). And because he's fallen in love with Shallan, who so far fits him to a tee.
- In Oathbringer, Shallan mentions she briefly made an attempt to avoid Adolin's ex-girlfriends. She quickly had to give it up as impossible.Shallan: They were like soldiers on the battlefield. They were just sort of everywhere.
- Smarter Than You Look: Adolin is much sharper than his foppish pretty boy warrior prince appearance would suggest. Every suspicion he had in the books so far has been founded to some degree. Sadeas WAS plotting against them. Amaram's reputation WAS too good to be true. And there WAS something unusual about Kaladin.
- The Team Normal: His father, brother, step-mother, cousin, wife, and best friend are all Knights Radiant while Adolin is a skilled-but-mundane duelist. It's a bit of a sore spot that just about everyone assumes Adolin will naturally become Radiant himself, but Adolin isn't sure he wants to.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Kaladin slowly evolve into this. They start out heavily mistrusting each other—Kaladin thinks he's an arrogant fop, while Adolin thinks he's an angry little man who is clearly hiding something—but they quickly become closer despite their best efforts. Adolin accidentally confides some worries with Kaladin once or twice, and they have good non-verbal communication skills. After Kaladin helps Adolin beat four Shardbearers at once in the arena, Adolin upgrades him to an actual friend. Kaladin, unfortunately, doesn't notice right away, and it takes Shallan angrily explaining things for him to turn things around.
- Warrior Poet: When he starts training Shallan in using her Blade, his teaching can get downright mystical.Adolin: The Blade is a part of you. The Blade is more than your tool; it is your life. Respect it. It will not fail you - if you are bested, it is because you failed the sword.
- Wrestler in All of Us: He is perfectly fine with using wrestling moves against opponents in duels, including tackling and grappling them. He even manages to beat one opponent when his Shardplate is nearly out of power by locking his arms around them and falling to the ground, pinning them in place.
- You Can Barely Stand: By the end of the battle with the thunderclast in Oathbringer he has some broken ribs, a broken leg and multiple cuts and scratches all over his body, yet he gets up (leaning on a wall), summons his Shardblade and is ready to fight on.
Renarin: Nothing ridiculous.
- Ambiguous Disorder: While nothing has been expressly stated, Renarin has a number of behaviours that are consistent with someone who is on the autism spectrum, such as his social awkwardness, and his tendency to stim (using a metal box which he opens, turns around in his hand, and closes repeatedly) when under stress or thinking. Word of God confirms that Renarin is on the autism spectrum.
- Broken Bird: Like all Surgebinders. In his case, it's probably due to his epilepsy, and consequent inability to live up to his culture's standards.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being bonded to a spren that has been corrupted by Sja-Anat, he is still on the side of the Radiants. So far, at any rate...
- Deadpan Snarker: Has it in him, as seen by his quote.
- Face Death with Dignity: To the point he gives Jasnah permission to kill him. Jasnah is so horrified by his willingness to die that she doesn't go through with it.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Renarin weaponizes this trope: between the standard Stormlight Healing Factor and his Radiant healing power, he can survive just about anything, including being crushed by the giant stone limbs of a Thunderclast. So he can run in and get hit while getting in a good strike with his Shardblade, and he comes out of it unscathed.
- Green Thumb: One of his powers as a Radiant, as a user of the Surge of Progression, through the Growth method.
- Healing Hands: One of his powers as a Radiant, as a user of the Surge of Progression, through the Regrowth method. In Oathbringer, he uses it to heal Adolin's broken hand.
- Heroic Willpower: He is able to pick up and hold a regular Shardblade, despite being a Radiant, which means that when he touches a "normal" Shardblade, it awakens the dead spren, causing to scream so terribly that others have been incapacitated or sent running away in horror and terror. Holding such a weapon is agony for him, but he still manages to do so numerous times with only a wince, including holding one for the FIVE DAYS it takes him to bond to it.
- Hidden Depths: He's a Radiant, of the Order of Truthwatchers. And then it turns out he's actually bonded a Truthwatcher spren who was corrupted by Sja-anat. No one, not even Renarin and his spren, are exactly sure what that makes him.
- Ill Boy: He has a epilepsy, and Dalinar coddles him. Wit insists he is stronger than he appears. Being a Radiant helps.
- Immune to Fate: His corrupted spren allows him to predict the future. This means that Odium cannot tell the future of Renarin or anyone in close proximity to him, and he cannot be predicted by Taravangian's Diagram.
- Master of Illusion: One of his powers as a Radiant, as a user of the Surge of Illumination. He has much less skill with it than the Surge of Progession, however. Shallan tries to help him, but Lightweavers and Truthwatchers use Illumination in entirely different ways, so it doesn't do much good.
- Meaningful Name: Subverted; his mother's culture doesn't worry much about the precise meaning of names, so his translates roughly to "Like one who was born unto himself".note Double Subverted as the story progresses: his early non-combative bookishness in the militaristic Alethi culture, his willingness to step outside class and gender roles, and his unique Surgebinding from his corrupted spren all make him a highly unique individual.
- Modest Royalty: Constantly pointed out as one of his primary virtues. Not only does he take to the rather embarrassing training Shardplate requires without a word of complaint, but he begs Kaladin to be allowed to join Bridge Four, and is happy to be given the menial tasks like cleaning the dishes. As an autistic epileptic bookworm in Alethkar's warmongering culture, he's desperate to belong.
- Non-Action Guy: Due to his blood sickness, he's useless in a fight, which a bad thing in Alethi society and its strict emphasis on gender roles and pushing the warrior ideal. Dalinar thinks this could change if he got some Shardplate. In Words of Radiance, thanks to getting Shardplate and a Shardblade, he shakes this by becoming a badass. And as it turns out later, he's a Radiant.
- Out of Focus: While he eventually is revealed to be a Radiant, he isn't the focus of most of the action in the first two books. Even in the third book, when he's taking more of a direct role in things, he's mostly in the background trying to stay out of the way. This is because he knows that he is bonded to a corrupted spren, and doesn't know what that means. When Jasnah chooses not to kill him (proving that his visions can be changed), he gets a few chapters as he fights a Thunderclast.
- Powered Armor: Dalinar plans to win him Shardplate so that he can fight. At the end of the first book, Dalinar realizes there's a simpler solution, and simply gives him his own Plate.
- Red Baron: Sja-anat named him "Son of Thorns."
- Seer: Has visions, a result of bonding with a Truthwatcher spren that was corrupted. Truthwatchers see the present. The fact that he predicts the future is our hint that his spren was corrupted by Sja-Anat.
- Spanner in the Works: Apparently his very existence influenced Dalinar in ways the Diagram didn't expect. Furthermore, it turns out that his existence is a blindspot to more advanced future sight like what the Shards themselves use. Taravangian's final gambit in Rhythm of War works in large part because Renarin is close by, confusing Odium's vision.
- Stating the Simple Solution: When Dalinar is on the verge of abdicating because he fears his visions are a sign of madness but can't ignore them, Renarin suggests that they investigate the content of the visions. They turn out to include long-lost information that definitively proves that they have a supernatural source, turning Dalinar from an ignoble early retirement and onto the path that lets him bond the Stormfather.
- The Unfavorite: He was this growing up. In flashbacks, Dalinar spent significantly more time with Adolin and referred to Renarin as "the other one" or "the invalid" in his narration. However, in the present, Dalinar has grown into a Papa Wolf and takes steps to try to ensure Renarin no longer feels like this is the case (with varying degrees of success).
- Word of Gay: Word of God basically confirms that Renarin has a crush on Rlain.
- You Can't Fight Fate: His visions always come true. Combined with the fact that his visions tend to be terrible, he's understandably a bit of a fatalist. When Jasnah refuses to kill him and Dalinar refuses to become Odium's champion, he realizes that his visions can be changed and accepts his position as a Knight Radiant despite his corrupted spren.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted. Despite her interest in Dalinar when they were younger, she eventually chose Gavilar because Dalinar genuinely frightened her. She only becomes interested in him again after he's leashed his dangerous edge.
- Awesome by Analysis: She uses the scientific method to prove that stormlight is quantifiable and is therefore Scientifically Understandable Sorcery. This knowledge allows her to successfully manipulate voidlight and mimic Fused/Singer rhythms. It was previously accepted it was impossible for humans to do so.
- Big Beautiful Woman: She's described as "generously filling" her dresses and is famously beautiful.
- Empowered Badass Normal: She eventually bonds the Sibling, becoming the second Bondsmith.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Navani is one of the leading minds in the world in the design and application of fabrials.
- Her Heart Will Go On: She mourns Gavilar for six years, then begins to court Dalinar at the end of The Way of Kings. There are later implications (and, eventually, outright evidence) that her marriage to Gavilar was less than perfect, however, and she frequently mentions that she considered marrying Dalinar first.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: She has a vicious case of imposter syndrome, and is absolutely convinced that she is not a real scholar, just an eccentric rich patron who the real scholars humor. This largely stems from Gavilar's emotional abuse, where he unfairly mocked her as someone who hangs around real scholars to feel smart while contributing nothing of her own... because she was busy running the kingdom for him and had no time. In Rhythm she is locked in a room away from all her assistants, allowing her to make incredible scientific advancements free from distraction... and she still insists she's not an actual scientist.
- The Madness Place: During Rhythm of War she essentially winds up sparking out during her isolated research, in contrast to her ordinary deeply methodical method. The results are unprecedented for the Cosmere. It's half insight, half Sanity Slippage from isolation.
- Mama Bear: She was never really able to fuss over Jasnah growing up (she jokes that the girl acted middle-aged since she was six), but after a frosty first meeting with Shallan, she eventually starts mothering the girl. Dalinar compares her to a mother axehound. If you become part of her "clutch", she will care for you and God help anyone who got in her way of doing so.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: She threatened to ruin Gavilar's legacy by revealing the truth about him, showing the world how he hated everyone and viewed his own family as worthless. But when he died, she couldn't go through with it, and merely portrayed him as a flawed but good king.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted. She always keeps meticulous notes, and in fact needs them to organize her thoughts just like a real scientist. It causes real problems for her in Rhythm of War when she is forced to collaborate with her enemies.
- Not So Different: From Raboniel, Lady of Wishes. Both are scholars working with Investiture, and dearly love their children, willing to do whatever they can to help them.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Believes she's doing this during Words of Radiance when Jasnah is seemingly killed by assassins. She keeps her emotions under control but is obviously heartbroken and keeps Shallan at arm's length for a long time. Happens for real after Elhokar is genuinely killed in Oathbringer.
- Red Baron: Raboniel names her "Voice of Lights" for her work with the various forms of Investiture. Considering she is a human being named by a Fused, this is a big deal.
- The Reliable One: Completely. She, as it turns out, was the one who really ran the kingdom for Gavilar despite his growing disinterst and obsessions.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is a world-renowned Magitek engineer whose inventions are hugely important to her country's economy and military. On top of that, she's a veteran politician and is instrumental in building the nascent coalition of nations in Oathbringer.
- Science Hero: Her fabrial inventions are vital in the battle of Narak, giving the Alethi forces small but vital boons by illuminating the field and mitigating the weather of the Everstorm. At Thaylen Field, she easily incapacitates three enemy soldiers with a touch by reversing her pain fabrial.
- Deconstructed in Rhythm of War. The constant allure of making big new discoveries and achieving greater understanding makes her easily manipulated by Raboniel into becoming something of a Reluctant Mad Scientist, even though both of them know that Raboniel is untrustworthy and is likely to use any discoveries to bloody ends in the war. While she eventually gets the upper hand, killing Raboniel and helping reclaim Urithiru, she's unable to stop the knowledge of anti-light from reaching the enemy, guaranteeing that the war escalates to levels of brutality never before seen on Roshar.
- Second Love: Find this in and is this to Dalinar Kholin.
- Sibling Triangle: There was one in the past between her, Dalinar, and Gavilar. She picked Gavilar, believing him to be the safer choice over Dalinar, but ultimately came to regret it when Gavilar turned out to be emotionally abusive and self-obsessed. Eventually she and Dalinar reconnect and marry in Oathbringer.
- Silver Fox: She has a grandson, and is described (admittedly by Dalinar, who might be slightly biased) as still being an extremely attractive woman.
- The Smart Guy: Not as much as her daughter Jasnah, but she is a steadfast researcher. This turns out to be a matter of focus: Jasnah is a full time historical scholar, and Navani has been busy running the kingdom. But when Navani puts her mind to it she is an astounding theoretical physicist.
- The Social Expert: She is very, very good at handling politics.
- Widow Woman: The widow of Gavilar, though she finds a Second Love.
- Wrench Wench: A less hands on, and more design version. She's heavily involved in the engineering of new fabrials.
Dalinar's late wife, who he spent three years courting. As part of his deal with the Nightwatcher, Dalinar has lost all memory of her.
- Accidental Murder: Dalinar threw burning barrels of pitch into a safe house that was used by members of the Rift's royal family. At least, that's what it used to be when Dalinar first invaded the Rift years ago. It had since been converted into a prison, and Evi was being held there after sneaking to the Rift to try to negotiate terms of surrender. Dalinar killed her thinking she was just another citizen of the Rift.
- Culture Clash: Evi adhered to a mixture of both Vorinism and Iri paganism, which lead to her intermixing expressions and concepts from both religions. In one sentence she'd talk of the Heralds and traditional Vorin values, and in the next she'd talk about the One and pagan virtues.
- Good Is Dumb: Navani insists that she wasn't an idiot, just not very clever. The unlocked memories of her in Oathbringer show that she was reasonably intelligent, but more religiously-devoted and accepting of the world rather than intensely inquisitive like Navani. Also, being raised in Iri, she was not up to the same levels of viciously competitive intellectual displays that Alethi women enjoyed, making her constantly feel like she was stupid.
- Forgiveness: Dalinar could hear her voice forgiving him when he united all three realms, and her forgiveness helped him forgive himself.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Emotionally, and probably physically. Dalinar was a brutal and bloodthirsty warrior given to the complete destruction of his enemies. She was a pacifist and devoted, loving mother (he referred to Renarin as "the other one").
- No Name Given: In the first two books, since her name is only stated from the perspective of Dalinar. In Oathbringer, Dalinar is able to hear her name again and remember her face.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Her marriage to Dalinar was both political and to secure an extra set of Shardplate, but the two quickly grew to love each other.
- While they did love each other, there was still a great level of conflict and sadness in their relationship, as Dalinar's brutality and love of soldiering frightened her.
- Posthumous Character: She died some time before the events in the main story, burned to death in the fires set by Dalinar to punish the Rift for rebelling.
- Ret-Gone: But only for Dalinar, who has lost his memories of her and cannot hear her name when spoken. This changes as of Oathbringer.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: A pacifistic person who tried to convince Dalinar to settle things peacefully rather than keep giving in to his bloodlust. After the leader of the Rift tried to assassinate Dalinar, she went to negotiate with them in the hopes of sparing them from her husband's wrath. Dalinar never found out, since he murdered the Rift's messengers before they could give him the news, and he burned her along with everyone else in the Rift.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Prone to giving these to Dalinar, mostly on his love of war and bloodshed, and his neglectful attitude towards their younger son, Renarin.
- The Ace: Shallan views her this way: an incredible scholar with stunning charisma and a surgebinder on top of it. She complains to herself about how perfect Jasnah is on several occasions. Navani notes that the biggest problem with arguing against Jasnah is just how often she ends up being correct.
- Adaptive Armor: As an Elsecaller of the Fourth Ideal, she can summon Shardplate from logicspren that she can morph as necessary, including removing any openings in the helmet to prevent weapons reaching in (using her Stormlight to sustain herself).
- Alchemy Is Magic: Can Soulcast without a Soulcaster due to being able to bind the Surge of Transformation.
- Ambiguously Gay: It's theorized in-universe that she might be gay, due to turning down every man who tried to court her and behaving in a "masculine" manner in many ways. This turns out to be incorrect however, she is asexual and heteroromantic. As of Rhythm of War she and Hoid have begun a relationship.
- Asexuality: Jasnah is asexual and heteroromantic.
- Badass Bookworm: She uses Soulcasting to great effect against some random thugs resulting in three of them being vaporized and one Taken for Granite... and then orders Shallan to treat her actions as a problem for research into ethics.
- Broken Ace: She's a surgebinder, so it goes without saying. It's partly whatever happened to her in the past and partly carrying the weight of trying to save the world from a new Desolation.
- Cincinnatus: In a way she plans to do Cincinatus one better. She fully intends to be the last Queen of Alethkar, reforming it into a republic.
- Dark and Troubled Past: A necessity for becoming a Surgebinder. We don't really know what it is, though.
- In Oathbringer she also remembers that as a child she was kept alone in a dark room, screaming until her voice grew rough - and keeping in a dark room seems to be an Alethi cure for mental illness. It must have been something serious, because even Dalinar was worried about her.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Is suddenly killed in the first part of Words of Radiance. Ultimately subverted when she turns up alive at the end of the book; she was able to survive by healing with Stormlight and slipping into Shadesmar with her Elsecaller powers.
- Famed in Story: She's one of the most famous people on Roshar, out of a combination of her family connections, personal brilliance, and rather... unorthodox beliefs and activities. To say that her reputation precedes her would be a massive understatement.
- Good Is Not Nice: She's got a sharp tongue, does not suffer fools, and is capable of some very harsh actions, such as when she takes it upon herself to set a trap for and kill four men who have been robbing people in Kharbranth's shadier neighbourhoods. However, she has an ironclad sense of integrity and fairness and genuinely strive to protect innocents and change the world for the better.
- Heir Club for Men: As a woman, she is not in line for the throne, despite being the oldest sibling. When Elhokar dies and Adolin refuses the crown, Shallan suggests they make Jasnah queen instead. Everyone agrees.
- Hollywood Atheist: Shallan initially assumes her to be this, actually averted, while she can be brusque and somewhat of an Insufferable Genius at times, she's a genuinely good person who shows tolerance and respect for Shallan's religious beliefs.
- Impossible Shadow Puppets: The first sign of her being a Soulcaster in her life was the fact of her shadow sometimes pointing toward light instead of away from it, though only she noticed. This is all but outright stated to be due to Ivory.
- Irony: Her careful, logical observation of the facts available to her quite often leads her to the wrong conclusion, when the dogmatic religious answers that she denied were actually closer to the truth. Interestingly, this doesn't make her look like a fool; she simply doesn't have enough information to reach the truth.
- She assumes that Honor and Cultivation are enormously powerful spren created by mankind's desire for personifications of those ideals. The truth is almost the exact opposite, as those two really are gods, and the spren are mere pieces of their power given intelligence. But since she has no knowledge of the wider Cosmere, there's no way she could know that.
- She uses the Parshendi as proof of the Parshmen turning into Voidbringers. But the Parshmen are actually far closer to Voidbringers than the Parshendi—the Parshendi are descendants of escaped slaves who threw off their gods at the end of the Last Desolation and managed to avoid being turned into sleeper agents like the rest of the species.
- Lady of Black Magic: She's elegant, decorous, and stoic, and uses Soulcasting to incredibly lethal effect in combat, including in ways that were thought to be impossible. For bonus points, Soulcasting people as she does is sacrilegious in Vorinism — not that she cares.
- Lady of War: As befitting her calm nature. She demonstrates this perfectly during the final battle of Oathbringer: she manages to look perfectly graceful soulcasting several enemies at once, even executing a Nonchalant Dodge on a flying enemy she took out of the sky.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: A rare heroic version. She is using the current Desolation to force through social reforms that would never fly under ordinary circumstances, such as abolishing slavery and relaxing the Alethi caste system.
- Magnificent Bastard: She has her moments. An incident in Rhythm of War highlights her brutally efficient approach to political maneuvering. To summarize: She provokes a particularly despicable and problematic noble into getting drunk and insulting her at a party, has Wit absolutely tear into him to provoke him into a duel, and kills him with a sword through the throat while he's still in shock that this is all happening. Then she has him revived, and declares that since he died all his possessions and titles go to his heir, who is much more ammenable. And to top it all off she uses the brutality of it all to pass a law against trial by combat, which she has always abhored as barbaric.
- Meaningful Name: Her name is pronunced exactly like Polish word jasna, meaning bright (about light) or light, pale (about colour), clear (about sky).
- It also sounds like Avestan yasna - veneration or holy act.
- Never Found the Body: Everyone naturally assumed she was killed by assassins after Shallan saw her stabbed in the heart. However, she somehow survived (benefit of being a Radiant), escaped to Shadesmar, and made her way back to a remote location in Roshar.
- No Pronunciation Guide: In interviews, Sanderson pronounces her name "Yasnah," but there's no hint of this in the books.
- Not So Stoic: Generally very calm and emotionless. Then Shallan is put in danger when she stabs herself in the arm, and later ingests poison. Notably, Jasnah thinks she bears a portion of the blame for both events. Jasnah is suddenly a lot less emotionless. Also shown just before her apparent death when Shallan comes into her study and finds her not only exhausted, but actually showing a fear spren. She finds it shocking.
- Oh, Crap!: In part five of The Way of Kings, when Shallan shows her the picture of Shadesmar. Shallan decides to take a Memory of her expression because of Jasnah's usual temperament.
- Person of Mass Destruction: She is able to use Soulcasting quickly and efficiently in combat, both by directly Soulcasting her opponents and by Soulcasting puddles of oil that she then lights with a Soulcast spark.
- Rousseau Was Right: She states that, since she doesn't believe in the Almighty, she believes that the goodness of humankind doesn't come from him or from fear of him, but from an inherent goodness inside of humanity as a whole.
- Single Tear: A variant. Shallan walks in on her in a vulnerable moment, and sees her trying to hide a single fear spren beneath her books. She realizes that if her emotional control has slipped enough to draw even a single spren, Jasnah is terrified.
- Skewed Priorities: During the final battle of Oathbringer, she starts giving Shallan a lecture on Soulcasting. She interrupts herself when she realizes it's not the time for it, and notes that she likes teaching a little bit more than she normally pretends.
- The Sociopath: Averted. Her ruthlessness and pragmatism can give this impression. The impression would be wrong.
- Stern Teacher: This starts with her elaborate scheme to prevent all but the most determined from even reaching her, and reaches a point where she admits she may be too tough after Shallan's faked suicide attempt.
- The Stoic: Always maintains extreme emotional control, never drawing emotional spren even when furious.
- Teleporters and Transporters: As an Elsecaller, she can bind the Surges of Transformation and Transportation, with the latter allowing at least teleportation into and out of Shadesmar in the flesh.
- Unskilled, but Strong: She was never trained as a warrior so naturally she sucks at direct combat, but she gets by with her Surgebinding abilities and since she's sworn her Fourth Ideal, she has both living Shardblade and Plate to cover her weaknesses. In Rhythm of War she tries to fight without her Shardplate, and almost dies for it.
- Viral Transformation: One of her Soulcasting tricks is to turn someone to crystal, which spreads to everyone touching the first person, and the second person, and so on.
King Elhokar Kholin
- Abdicate the Throne: Technically abdicated for a brief period of time during which the Lopen ascended to the throne of Alethkar. After Elhokar emerged from hiding, the throne peacefully transferred back to him.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A rather tragic example. Elhokar did not excel at administering justice: on his orders, Moash's grandparents were condemned and left to rot in a dungeon, where they were forgotten about and eventually died. Elhokar is never personally confronted about this—indeed, it's not clear if he even remembers—but the grandson of those two forgotten people ends up killing him for vengeance.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: It's easy to forget that he's a Shardbearer and knows his way around the Blade. When he besieges his own palace in the third book, he kills dozens of enemies singlehandedly despite not having the Plate. It even turns out he, of all people, has the potential to become a Radiant—only to die seconds before finishing the oath. And he probably had it for quite a long time, as the quote above suggests.
- Disproportionate Retribution: For the crime of committing a major faux pas and more importantly stealing the spotlight, Elhokar has Kaladin imprisoned then sentenced to death.
- Drowning My Sorrows: He spends the climax of Words of Radiance pass-out drunk, due to making the mistake of asking Kaladin if he's a good king.
- Evil Overlord: Subverted. For a time in Words of Radiance, it appears that without Dalinar around, he acts all around horrible. However, as Dalinar reveals and Kaladin eventually accepts, he's not actually a bad person. He's trying his best, and while he's rather incompetent at his job and picks the worst company, that doesn't make him evil.
- Fantastic Racism: It is not obvious but averted; he displays no prejudice against darkeyes, quickly respects Kaladin for his ability and at most voices a surprise at his high rank. He also reserves places for darkeyes, regardless of lighteyes grumbling.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish to Jasnah's Responsible. While she's off secretly preparing for the incoming Desolations, Elhokar is busy spouting conspiracy theories and unintentionally causing Dalinar headaches by trying to prove himself right.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He tries hard to be a good king, but consistently fails. When he sees others (such as his uncle and Kaladin) doing a better job than him, he gets frighteningly jealous. This leads to, on one occasion, him acting as a Spanner in the Works for his own plan in Words of Radiance, after which he finally realizes this is a problem.
- Hanlon's Razor: His real problem. He's trying to be a good king, but his good intentions are filtered through bad intel, poor communication, and untrustworthy advisors.
- Hidden Depths:
- He is largely seen as a childish brat who only manages to eke out some cleverness when he's being cruel. Underneath, he is a good, intelligent man who just wants to avenge his father and fulfill his legacy of keeping the country united. Unfortunately, his family treats him like a child, which results in him acting like a child. Given a chance, he rises to the occasion.
- For example, early in The Way of Kings, Dalinar mentions retreating from the Shattered Plains back to Alethkar. Elhokar assumes this is a sign of cowardice. Half a book later, the subject comes up again, and Dalinar explains his goal of stabilizing Alethkar, winning the war, and securing the Shattered Plains in more detail—and Elhokar understands perfectly.Elhokar: Why didn't you just say that in the first place?
Dalinar: [thinking] I underestimated him.
- Hope Spot: He's wounded, his forces are being killed all around him, Kaladin's been rendered helpless, and Elhokar is trying to save his son from the enemy. Just when all hope seems lost, Elhokar begins saying the words to become a Radiant, Stormlight begins glowing around him, and he's murdered seconds before he could complete the vow that could've saved his life and his son.
- Horrible Judge of Character: One of his flaws was that he chose the wrong men to surround him. After all, why else would he have an obvious slimeball like Roshone as his best friend? It was this particular flaw that caused Dalinar to conclude Elhokar could not be trusted with his authority and thus start babysitting him.
- Inadequate Inheritor: His father, Gavilar, was The Good King, well liked by many. Elhokar himself is a borderline Manchild, is completely paranoid for other assassins, and has a serious Green-Eyed Monster complex as a result of all of these when comparing his bad reputation to his father's good one. The prologue for Rhythm of War reveals that Gavilar saw him as inferior and not worthy of the legacy Gavilar was trying to build.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: A result of being well aware he is an Inadequate Inheritor to the throne of Alethkar is that he has a serious complex when it comes to this, which comes out at the worst times.
- Killed Off for Real: He dies in Oathbringer.
- The Load: He often needs to be rescued or protected, usually from disasters caused by his own poor judgment. He becomes a literal example of this during the second book, when he is too drunk to walk unassisted, and leans on an injured Kaladin while they are trying to escape from assassins. He becomes much more competent and useful in Oathbringer.
- Modest Royalty:
- Normally very very much not, but there are hints of it breaking through. Near the end of Words of Radiance, he comes to Kaladin's barracks to ask him for advice, even requesting he teach him the secret of leadership. And at the very end of the book, he ends up being ordered around by Lopen's mother when he's brought to her house to hide. He complains, but in a good-natured, friendly way.
- It's mentioned that he reserves seats in the dueling arena for darkeyes, despite the lighteyes grumbling about having to mingle with their "inferiors." He never seems to even consider reversing this policy.
- Essentially, Elhokar is a very decent man; he's just a really horrible king, and the knowledge of this wears on him.
- Oh, Crap!: When Dalinar starts to beat him at the end of The Way of Kings.
- Papa Wolf: When he's trying to reclaim Kholinar, he makes it a priority to save his wife and son. When it turns out his wife is too corrupted to be saved, Elhokar does everything in his power to get his son safely out of the palace. Tragically, it's not enough as his son is retaken by the Voidbringers and he's killed by a vengeful Moash.
- The Paranoiac: He's constantly convinced people are trying to kill him, which is honestly understandable considering the assassination of his father. When his leather saddle girth snaps during a hunt, he is absolutely convinced that it was intentionally cut by someone, and refuses to hear anything to the contrary. Sadeas realizes that he knows who cut the strap, which is why he doesn't use it to implicate Dalinar. Dalinar takes it a step further, realizing that Elhokar cut the strap himself because no one was taking his fears seriously. Also, it doesn't help that he's a Radiant in the bud, specifically a Lightweaver, and seeing Truthspren in the shadows (which are pretty nightmarish).
- Pet the Dog: A posthumous one. It's confirmed at the end of Oathbringer that his son made it out alive.
- Properly Paranoid:
- Someone really was trying to kill him when he fell from his horse, as the gemstones in his Shardplate were cracked and thus failed on him when he fell.
- His fears regarding seeing assassins in the corners of his eyes are partially correct. They're actually Cryptics like the ones Shallan sees.
- His paranoia is completely correct when he prevents Dalinar from taking up a Blade to help Adolin in the arena during Words of Radiance, He rightfully points out that it was almost certainly a trap to get him into a fight with four other Shardbearers without any Plate to protect him, which would end in Dalinar's death or maiming.
- Puppet King:
- More or less, considering the highprinces basically do whatever they want. By the end of the first book, Dalinar is taking steps to slap the highprinces down and make Elhokar more than a puppet.
- Unfortunately, in the second book Dalinar finds himself taking control almost against his will. He quickly becomes king in all but name, and wishes Elhokar could be trusted to handle things on his own more, but Dalinar knows Elhokar just isn't strong enough for what is coming.
- By the time of Oathbringer, he and Dalinar reach an arrangement that gets him out from being a puppet king: Dalinar acts as a Highking, leading the worldwide effort against Odium, while Elhokar rules over Alethkar as its king without Dalinar dominating. Elhokar ends up being an effective leader once he is no longer being pushed down by Dalinar's dominating personality.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He personally accompanies and leads the force sent to retake his capital city, Kholinar, which is being besieged by the Voidbringers.
- Sacrificial Lion: In Oathbringer, he gets the most Character Development he's ever gotten before in the series, and it looks like he may not only become the wise king he's always wanted to be, but he might become a Radiant as well. Then he's tragically murdered by Moash.
- Took a Level in Badass: A subversion that's strongly Played for Drama. He is murdered on the very cusp of becoming a Radiant.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In Oathbringer, Elhokar finally owns up to a lot of his shortcomings and starts taking a lot of steps in the right direction towards becoming the kind of king he always wanted to be.
- Ungrateful Bastard: When Kaladin is brought in to act as his bodyguard, Elhokar is quite impressed with his work and thanks him for saving his life from Szeth as far as he knows. He repays this life debt with a death sentence when Kaladin got more attention than him at a critical moment.
King Gavilar Kholin
- Badass in Charge: Szeth notes his skill with a Shardblade.
- Cool Sword: His Shardblade. Not that it helped him much against Szeth.
- Domestic Abuse: While never physically abusive to his family their POV chapters and behavior even years after his death make it clear he was emotionally abusive to Navani, Jasnah and Elhokar.
- Evil All Along: Most of the knowledge the audience learns of him in the first book is through Dalinar's biased eyes, painting him as The Paragon and a man unparalleled throughout the world. Then the later books reveal bit by bit Gavilar was not only a giant douchebag, but clearly up to no good. For example, he planned on restarting the Desolations for his own selfish purposes.
- Founder of the Kingdom: The first ruler to properly unite the warring Alethi Highprinces.
- The Fettered: Before his death, he took up the Alethi Codes of War and The Way of Kings as his models for rule.
- Godhood Seeker: Rhythm of War confirms that his goal was effectively a Kill and Replace on a Shardvessel, as Navani realizes while researching the Pure Tones.
- The Good King: Apparently grew into this when he took up his The Fettered point of view, but Alethi society didn't really see it this way. Subverted in that he was actually an insane religious extremist trying to re-institute a theocracy by returning the Voidbringers to the world and starting the Desolation. He genuinely thought this was for the best, but that's cold comfort to the millions who will die because of his actions.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: Dalinar adored his brother, but Rhythm of War shows that was decidely one-sided. In fact, Gavilar seems to hate his entire family for various reasons.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Passes off a mysterious black orb to Szeth as he dies, only saying "They must not have it." Szeth hides it in Jah Keved so that his masters can't take it from him, but he has no idea what it actually is. It's infused with anti-Voidlight.
- Immortality Seeker: Mraize theorizes that his true goal was to become immortal in the same way as the Heralds. It clearly didnt work.
- Last Request: He makes two to Szeth, who obliges him in both.
- Morality Chain: He was apparently one for Sadeas, keeping him in check.
- Posthumous Character: He dies in the prologue of the first book. The prologues of books one through five all show that same night from different perspectives, giving more views of him.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: United Alethkar through violent war, and also put up a reasonable showing as a full Shardbearer against Szeth.
- Shipper on Deck: He was trying to set up Jasnah with Amaram, but it didn't go anywhere. In addition to Jasnah's disdain for marriage in general, she's dismissive of Amaram specifically, and he actually seems a little afraid of her.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's a brutal warlord who emotionally abused his family and was actively trying to bring about a new Desolation. He follows the rules of Alethi society and, as a result, is viewed as The Good King by their standards. During an argument on the night he died, Navani threatened to reveal the truth about his selfishness and cruelty behind closed doors. The only reason she didn't was because he was murdered shortly afterwards and she felt guilty over wishing for it to happen so she maintained his reputation instead.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:
- As one of the Sons of Honor, his goal was to bring upon a new Desolation so that the Heralds would return to lead the world again. Unfortunately, he was missing several crucial pieces of information regarding the Heralds and the Desolations, and didn't quite grasp how terrifying the idea of bringing back the Parshendi's gods were to them.
- And then Rhythm of War throws all that into question again. He was apparently well aware that the Heralds were still around, and was merely using the Sons of Honor for his own goals. He was definitely trying to bring the Parshendi gods back, but for what purpose is unclear... unless his black sphere was a clue toward wanting to become a god himself in their place.
- You Are Too Late: As he's dying, he smiles and says that Szeth is too late. Considering that he was trying to bring back the Voidbringers, that's pretty disturbing.
Queen Aesudan Kholin
Elhokar's wife, who is in Kholinar during the events of The Way of Kings.
- Abusive Parents: While under the Unmade's influence she holds her son captive and allows him to be tormented by corrupted spren.
- Corrupt Church: She is unintentionally at the center of it, as she spoils her ardents and allows them to do whatever they want in exchange for assurances that what she does is the right thing to do.
- The Corruptible: She falls under the influences of the Unmade Yelig-nar and Ashertmarn.
- God Save Us from the Queen!:
- She seems to be a vain and foolish woman who surrounds herself with sycophants. She is at one point compared, in great detail, to the Ten Fools (figures from religious scripture). We don't get to read the comparison, but we have been told what the traits of two of the fools are: Eshu, who speaks of things he does not understand in front of those who do and Cabin, who behaves like a child even though he was an adult.
- Though Kholinar seems to have fared well in the first five years of her reign, by the time the Everstorm shows up in the sixth year, it goes downhill fast under her control. Refugees from surrounding towns pour in, while the Voidbringers surround the city in preparation of an invasion. This puts massive strain on the city, yet Aesudan remains in the castle without lifting a finger to help. Even worse, it turns out that she's bonded with Yelig-Nar, one of the Unmade, and corrupted many of her guards and light-eyed nobles.
- The Ghost: She doesn't have a single appearance in the first book, and barely in the second, though she is at least discussed. She finally appears in the third book during the attempt to retake Kholinar.
- Obliviously Evil: She is constantly concerned about the nature of her soul and place in the Almighty's plan. Unfortunately, her many ardents have discovered that it's not too difficult to convince her that the most important thing is showering them with luxuries and ignoring everything that happens outside her palace. This has resulted in the people of Kholinar starving while heaps of food rot at the palace.
- Uncertain Doom: Odium claims that Yelig-Nar's power ended up consuming her, but it's not made clear if she died. The waters are also muddied with the reveal that Drehy and Skar show up at the end of Oathbringer having saved her son, Gavinor, from her.
- Unstable Powered Woman: She became regent of Alethkar when her King went to war, but soon began living in hedonistic excess while abandoning the common folk to starve, abetted by sycophantic priests. By Oathbringer, the capital is in chaos and Aesudan has become a Willing Channeler for Yelig-Nar the Unmade, who ultimately consumes her.
The son of King Elhokar and Queen Aesudan, and heir to the throne.
- Dead Guy Junior: He's named after Elhokar's later father, Gavilar.
- Distressed Dude: Gavinor is held captive by his mother after she goes crazy and sides with Odium's forces. Skar and Drehy end up saving him offscreen.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: After his rescue, he spends all his time practicing fighting, and says he's going to become a Radiant so that he can kill the man who killed his father. By Alethi standards this isn't that strange, but even Dalinar and Navani aren't happy about it.
Highprince Torol Sadeas
- Affably Evil: He is polite and friendly with other lighteyes of equal station, and seems to genuinely care about Dalinar and his family. That affable nature, however, completely vanishes when dealing with anyone beneath his station. Lower-ranked lighteyes and especially darkeyes are tools to serve his needs, and any honor he shows to his equals goes out the window when dealing with his subordinates, especially bridgemen.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The general reaction among everyone who wasn't part of his family and army upon learning that he was killed at the end of Words of Radiance was to be rather pleased with the idea.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He plots on eliminating Dalinar and Elhokar then usurping Alethkar's throne for himself. Unfortunately for him, while he's a very competent schemer, he's nothing compared to the threat that Odium poses. When he reveals to Adolin that he plans to continue his schemes, even after learning the Desolation has begun, Adolin anticlimactically murders him.
- Blood Knight: The Thrill is now the only thing which makes him feel alive.
- The Chessmaster: Sadeas is a highly skilled schemer, managing to anticipate most people's actions and effortlessly manipulate them.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Sadeas is willing to betray any and everyone he works with, even his king, if he thinks it will net him an advantage.
- Cool Sword: Is given Oathbringer by Dalinar in exchange for the freedom of every one of his bridgemen.
- Drop the Hammer: The other weapon Sadeas relies on is a massive warhammer common among Shardbearers without a Shardblade.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In the second book, he can't understand why Dalinar bought the bridgemen from him, and assumes it must have been some failed attempt to weaken his army. The fact that Dalinar was simply rewarding good men doesn't even occur to him.
- Evil Gloating: Sadeas makes a habit of gloating about how he'll destroy Adolin and his father right to Adolin's face, usually in public when Adolin can't do anything about it. This ends up being Sadeas' undoing when he gloats to Adolin when they're not in public and nobody knows where Adolin is or what he's doing.
- Evil Redhead: Like all pureblood Alethi, he actually has black hair, but the constant mentions of his unusually ruddy complexion call this trope to mind.
- Eye Scream: Adolin kills him by stabbing him through the eye.
- Fantastic Racism: While he looks down on everyone not named Sadeas, he especially looks down on darkeyes. The few chapters from his perspective have him scoffing at their presence in the dueling ring (Elhokar reserves seats for them), their lives, and the idea that they have some purpose other than to die for his glory. After a bridgerun, he has the gall to accuse them of idling about "while better men died." Never mind that the reason they collapse after a run is because he pushes them so hard and they're shocked because half of them die every time.
- Friendly Enemy: With Dalinar. Doesn't stop him from betraying Dalinar. He even tries to justify his betrayal as granting Dalinar an honorable, heroic Last Stand so that he would be a martyr that the rest of the Alethi will unite behind.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Sadeas desperately wants a Shardblade; Dalinar uses the opportunity to take one from a Parshendi Shardbearer to convince him to go along with the joint-plateau plan. Later on, Dalinar buys all of Sadeas' bridgemen with his Shardblade. Ironically, once he has the Blade, he's still dissatisfied, convinced that Dalinar somehow tricked him with the trade.
- Heel Realization: Admits to himself that he's not glad Dalinar isn't losing his touch and that he's going to undermine Dalinar to protect his personal power anyway. He persists in claiming that his way is better for the kingdom in the long run, but it comes across as paying lip service to the idea.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Attempted, at least. In the book's intro, he is actually the one wearing King Gavilar's robes when Szeth shows up, intending to draw the Shardbearer away from Gavilar, who is disguised as a Shardbearer bodyguard.
- Just Between You and Me: Does this to Dalinar after betraying him, and then to Adolin on occasion in Words of Radiance. It gets him killed.
- Leave No Survivors: Adopted this policy early in the war, slaughtering a large group of cornered Parshendi who tried to surrender. This act is largely responsible for inspiring all the Parshendi to fight to the death and to leave no survivors either, transforming the conflict into one of total war.
- Magnificent Bastard: In-universe. Dalinar realizes he's been brilliantly outmaneuvered when Sadeas uses his own warnings to the king to maneuver himself into being named Highprince of Information. Later on, Sadeas warms up to Dalinar and seems to be interested in his ideas about the Codes, and works with him on joint-plateau assaults. This sets up his ultimate betrayal.
- Manipulative Bastard: Sadeas knows how to twist people around, especially other highprinces. He's less effective against lower-ranking troops, and someone like Kaladin is confounding.
- Mercy Kill: He claims that this was his intention with betraying Dalinar, and he somewhat believes it himself, although he also admits that he just needs to get Dalinar out of his way.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Sadeas claims he's loyal to Elhokar, and will do whatever it takes to protect his king, alongside Dalinar. The second book reveals that was just a facade.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Presents himself as one when he betrays Dalinar, saying he did it to remove a dangerous influence on Elhokar and to help unite the Alethi highprinces. Then it turns out that he was spouting total bullshit. He wants Dalinar and Elhokar dead so he can break Alethkar into pieces and rebuild it even stronger than before.
- Slave to PR: Sadeas, like all Alethi highprinces, has to maintain his appearance and standing among the other highprinces and the nobility. This is one of the reasons why he can't just have Kaladin and Bridge Four killed outright, and instead orders the officers in charge to have them die on the battlefield.
- Smug Snake: Quite unapologetic about his temperament and schemes, and takes the time to gloat to Adolin several times throughout Words of Radiance. He ends up getting killed unceremoniously in the midst of one such gloating spell.
- Starter Villain:
- Arc Villain and The Heavy for the first book and most of the second, repeated revelations render his political schemes minuscule as the grand scope of the series is unveiled, and he is unceremoniously killed by Adolin by the end of the second book after he has been eclipsed as a threat.
- One of Navani's notes, written after Sadeas is killed, mentions that ultimately he was a petty threat whose real threat came from the fact that his machinations distracted herself and Dalinar from seeing the greater danger, as he preventing them from noticing when the Parshendi changed behavior.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sadeas and Dalinar do not get along, but they'll put aside their differences to protect Elhokar.
- Undying Loyalty: For all of his other faults, Sadeas is unfailingly loyal to Gavilar's memory and to his vision of the greater whole of Alethkar. However, his loyalty is also what leads him to turn on Dalinar, as he believes that the Kholins are too weak and soft to properly lead Alethkar.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Dalinar saves his life when his army is flanked by Parshendi. Sadeas promptly betrays him on their next joint outing to the Tower.
- Unholy Matrimony: In spite of his many flaws, for all intents and purposes Sadeas seems to be this with his wife Ialai, who is just as much a schemer as he is.
- Villainous Friendship: Flashbacks to Dalinar's past reveals this was the nature of his former friendship with Sadeas. Dalinar used to be a borderline psychotic Blood Knight who cared about nothing save for fighting, while Sadeas was the same cold-blooded schemer he always was. The end of their friendship makes a lot more sense after Dalinar made his deal with the mother of the Nightwatcher and had his memories removed, becoming a more moral person in the process. In Words of Radiance, Sadeas states that he still considers Dalinar to be a friend, albeit one that he will have to kill to achieve his ambitions.
- We Have Reserves: Sadeas thinks nothing of the deaths of the bridgemen; in his observation, the bridgemen's deaths due to being unshielded and unarmored are better than the deaths of "real" soldiers who would die if the Parshendi didn't specifically target the vulnerable bridgemen. He even denies the bridgemen armor specifically because the Parshendi tend to target them over all else. From his own viewpoint, he considers having the bridgemen die in this manner is the best way that they can find an "honorable" death, and when Kaladin manages to pull off a plateau assault with no losses to the bridgemen, Sadeas remarks that "It's almost a waste."
- We Used to Be Friends: He and Dalinar used to be good friends until the night Gavilar died, as both of them blame the other. Sadeas blames Dalinar for being drunk during the assassination, while Dalinar blames Sadeas for failing as a decoy. Eventually the two team up and it looks like their friendship might eventually be repaired. Then Sadeas betrays Dalinar and leaves him and his forces to die, which had been Sadeas's intention all along. Oathbringer reveals they were once well matched as Gavilar's hands, the conniving schemer and the brutal warrior who complemented each other. Then Dalinar lost his memories and started changing for the better, while Sadeas stayed the same old jerk. Eventually, their values became incompatible and they drifted apart, their friendship forever unsalvagable.
- White Shirt of Death: He's wearing white when Adolin kills him. The narration has Adolin note that the color doesn't suit him at all.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- In a nutshell, Sadeas believes he's a Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire when he's actually the Starter Villain of a High Fantasy. He persists in trying to undermine Dalinar, even after the Voidbringers return and a Desolation begins, because he honestly believes everyone is still playing his game of politics. He's genuinely clueless just how irrelevant he is to the grand scheme of things. Luckily for the world, Adolin gets the point across.
- His treatment of Adolin, specifically, is this in a different way. He sees much of himself in Adolin, and assumes he'll be able to get him onto his side eventually. He just figures Dalinar's lessons need to be beaten out of him first. Adolin is much like Sadeas, which means he's ruthless enough to follow his father's honor to the logical conclusion, finally killing Sadeas for his constant attempts to undermine the kingdom.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: He's more of the "set everything up in my favor and see what happens" flavor of Chessmaster.Dalinar: It wasn't simply a convenient opportunity. You set this up, Sadeas.
Sadeas: I planned, but I'm often planning. I don't always act on my options. Today I did.
Although the highprince with the best archers of the Alethi forces, Roion has earned the fewest gemhearts.
- Archer Archetype: His forces have the best archers of the Alethi highprinces.
- General Failure: Not a terribly competent war leader to begin with, and only hurt more by the fact that his talented archer troops are very ineffective against the Parshendi.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Attacks Szeth to try and save Dalinar, is easily slain in turn but manages to buy time.
- Neutral No Longer: He's one of the peacekeeper highprinces in Words of Radiance, standing between Sadeas' faction and the Kholins, but joins Dalinar for the final assault.
- The So-Called Coward: Sebarial often calls him a coward, while Dalinar believes Roion is merely cautious. In the end he sacrifices his life by attacking Szeth to try and help Dalinar.
Not a Shardbearer, this highprince relies on Brightlord Resi, his only Shardbearer, for most of the fighting.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Not one himself, but Brightlord Resi, with his Shardbearer status, is one for him.
- Team Switzerland: He, along with Highprinces Hatham, Roion, Vamah, and Bethab, is one of the neutral highprinces standing between Sadeas and Dalinar in Words of Radiance. In Rhythm of War he attempts to take over the warcamps, but is assassinated by the Ghostbloods, who pin his death on Ialai Sadeas so that Dalinar's coalition goes after her.
Highprince Turinad Sebarial
Shallan ends up in his warcamp in the second book due to some quick political maneuvering on her part.
- Boring, but Practical: While the other Highprinces are running around getting people killed collecting gemhearts, Sebarial has been building a permanent economy in the warcamps. It's not glamorous, but it's far more profitable, especially since he doesn't have to hire more men every other day due to losses from fighting the Parshendi.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: On the battlefield. His mistress even reads a novel while the battle and a HIGHSTORM rages.
- Defector from Decadence: He has abandoned the normal Alethi fashions. He doesn't care for warfare nor for their casual racism.
- Fantastic Racism: A notable aversion compared to the rest of the Alethi. He doesn't seem to care about eye color at all, to the point that he is one of the few Alethi openly in a relationship with a darkeyed. Palona mentions that he's constantly asking her to marry him, but she keeps refusing.
- Gentleman Snarker: Shows up at councils of war more or less entirely just to amuse himself by poking fun at people.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Tries to put on this facade, since, as he explains to Shallan, it makes sure he won't forget anyone especially deserving. However, he is upset when Roion dies anyway, showing this isn't necessarily true.
- Henpecked Husband: Except it's his mistress rather than his wife doing the henpecking. And, honestly, he's playing it up.Sebarial: Woman, you make me the most henpecked man in all of Alethkar—
Palona: We aren't in Alethkar.
Sebarial: —and I'm not even storming married!
- Hidden Depths: Jasnah dismisses him as a rude idiot, he does in fact have a very keen mind and a significant soft side. He seems to get a fair amount of mileage out of being underestimated.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He insults everyone, yet he is one of the few good Highprinces, and seems genuinely upset when Roion, his favorite insult bait, dies. His mistress implies he has taken in highborn ladies in distress before too.Palona: I'm not the first stray he's brought home.
- Long-Lost Relative: When Shallan claims he offered her lodging at his camp, he covers by saying that she's a distant relative.
- Mr. Vice Guy: He's openly indulgent in his creature comforts, to the extent that some of his peers believe that he would literally bring a massage table to a state meeting, but is an unusually thoughtful, competent, and grounded Highprince who looks after his people.
- Non-Action Guy: Unlike most Alethi highprinces, he's not a talented fighter or even a competent general. It's to the point that in the final battle of Words of Radiance, Dalinar orders him to stay out of everyone's way and give command to one of his mercenary generals, which Sebarial does gladly. In Oathbringer, he's handed over most of his army to Dalinar to replenish his losses, and focuses his attention on commercial matters. However, while he's not a skilled battlefield commander, he's a very skilled organizer, and was able to bring order to the chaos amid the Everstorm at the climax of Words of Radiance, saving Roion's entire army from being slaughtered.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: While Sebarial is very much a flippant and disrespectful snarker who mocks all of the other highprinces, his appearance as a lazy and uncultured boor is cultivated and exaggerated to make them dismiss him. He's actually extremely competent as a highprince, with a mastery of economics and some of the best soldiers in the entire Alethi army, and he easily takes control of Highprince Roion's army when they start to rout after the latter's death. Notably, he's so good at cultivating this appearance that even Jasnah dismissed him as useless and irrelevant.
- Believing Their Own Lies: Subverted. He's Sadeas' loudest supporter during the entirety of Words of Radiance, but hes really trying to convince himself more than anyone else. He eventually joins Dalinar for the expedition to the center of the Plains because he fails to convince himself.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: He, like Sadeas, thinks that all the talk of ancient honor and such is little more than historical revisionism. He does tell Dalinar that he wishes it was true, though, and it's certainly better than how Sadeas does it, trying to wrap nooses around everyone's necks.
- Sour Supporter: He is very much on Sadeas's side, but he doesn't like being told what to do. He eventually abandons supporting Sadeas altogether and joins Dalinar's coalition.
- Corrupt Church: Despite it being very specifically illegal, he often uses his ardents as part of tricks and deals, such as by having one of them insult a potential trading partner in order to make Hatham look desperate when he apologizes.
- Team Switzerland: He, along with Highprinces Thanadal, Roion, Vamah, and Bethab, is one of the neutral highprinces standing between Sadeas and Dalinar in Words of Radiance.
- Muggles Do It Better: He tries to skip using Soulcasters by just using wood to patch the holes in his walls. But since he needs to buy the wood from Sadeas, Sadeas raises the prices and forces him to use Elhokar's Soulcasters after all.
- Team Switzerland: He, along with Highprinces Thanadal, Roion, Hatham, and Bethab, is one of the neutral highprinces standing between Sadeas and Dalinar in Words of Radiance.
An Alethi Highprince, known for using mercenaries and coveting the throne.
- Private Military Contractors: Most of his army is made up of mercenaries. On a successful plateau assault, he would ride back to camp with the gemheart while leaving them to figure out their own way back.
- Team Switzerland: He, along with Highprinces Thanadal, Roion, Hatham, and Vamah, is one of the neutral highprinces standing between Sadeas and Dalinar in Words of Radiance. By the time of Rhythm of War, he has fully joined the war effort, though not entirely voluntary, but because the remaining opposition to Dalinar's coalition has fallen apart.
- Dirty Coward: According to Wit, this is one of the reasons why he thinks he can beat his children: they are the only ones who won't fight back.
- The Dog Bites Back: After all of his abuses of his family, he is reduced to being unable to return to them and forced to join the army as a recruit from the bottom or allow himself to go into poverty. Wit notes the irony.Wit: How remarkable. If you spend your life knocking people down, you eventually find they wont stand up for you. Theres poetry in that, dont you think, you storming personification of a cancerous anal discharge?
- Domestic Abuser: Beats his children to the point that at one point, one had a broken arm. It's bad enough that Hoid, on finding out, considers him a sadist and a coward, as well as, in Rosharan terms, a piece of shit (the last insult given without prompting).Wit: Ive been speaking to your children, Ruthar. No, this part isnt a joke. Relis, Ivanar. Yes, I know them. I know a lot of things. Would you like to explain to the queen where Ivanars broken arm last month truly came from? Tell me, do you beat your children because youre a sadist, or because youre a coward and they are the only ones who wont dare fight back? Or... oh, silly Wit. Its both, isnt it?
- Hate Sink: There is nothing admirable about him, from misogyny to disrespect for any feminine traits to child abuse, to the point that other officers are put off by his attitude once he makes it clear. He is so bad that Wit, who, though insulting almost anyone, doesnt seem to hold any grudges, seems to truly hate him, calling him a sadist, a coward, and a "storming personification of cancerous anal discharge"Translation , and seems to particularly hold him in contempt for hurting his own children.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Jasnah stabs him through the throat with Wit's sword, though he is healed by Renarin before he bleeds out (though he is still legally considered dead by the terms of a duel).
- Insult Backfire: He calls his own son a bastard for betraying him by mentioning his domestic abuse. In earshot of Wit.Wit: Not yours, then? No wonder I like him.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Though he isnt outright villainous in his actions (barring his domestic abuse), he still considers Dalinar too feminine for knowing how to write long after anyone else gave up on that thought process for him.
- The Remnant: In Rhythm of War, he's the last remaining piece of the Sadeas-aligned faction who refuses to cooperate with Dalinar, as the rest of Sadeas' allies are dead or surrendered after Ialai's assassination. Jasnah and Wit dismantle him after tricking him into a drunken duel.
- Sadist: In Rhythm of War, Wit explicitly calls him out as one, as well as being a Dirty Coward, when he brings up the injuries of Ruthar's children, including one having a broken arm.
- Smug Snake: He's constantly described as oily and conniving, but not actually very effective at manipulation or planning. He's often completely blindsided by enemy plots, and despite holding a significant number of Alethkar's Shards, by the end of Words of Radiance he has lost all of them to Dalinar except his own Blade. In Rhythm of War he falls entirely into Jasnah and Wit's trap, even when Dalinar explicitly warns him what is about to happen.
- Villainous Breakdown: Though calling him an outright villain may be stretching it (he doesn't outright turn against Dalinar), he is still a highly antagonistic force, and his drunken rant in Rhythm of War directly leads to his downfall.Ruthar: Am I the only one seeing this? I didnt say anything when she was made queen. Other nations have queens. But are any of them in this room interrogating a general? Its a disgrace! Dalinar writing? He might as well put on a havah and start painting. We deserve the judgments of the Almighty, after giving the throne to a godless wh (realizes that the entire room has gone still and silent)
- Old Man Marrying a Child: After Roshone's son died, she became betrothed to Roshone. Age-wise, it was perfectly legal (though the fact that Roshone was technically her guardian at the time might have made it tricky), but the fact remains that he was a good twenty or more years older than her. When Kaladin returns home in Oathbringer, she's become accepting of her role and seems fine with being wed to man much older than her.
- Tomboy: When she was younger, she spent most of her time playing with Kaladin and Tien. As she grew older, her maids stopped letting her do that sort of thing.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: When Roshone and his son moved into town, she was cut off from Kaladin, and forced to become cold to him to fit in. In Oathbringer she's become more accepting of Kaladin and grown into her role as the scribe and clerk of the township, taking governing as her responsibility.
- The Anti-Nihilist: Kaladin's vision of Tien points out that the inevitability of death is what makes the time we share together that much more special.
- Cynicism Catalyst: His death is one of the most important events in Kaladin's backstory, along with the manipulations leading up to it.
- Face Death with Dignity: He tells Kaladin during their Adhesion-fueled reunion during the climax of Rhythm that he chose to be on the frontlines with the other messager boys, facing the battle together and offering comfort and courage to them, rather than trying to find a way to escape. Of course, as with any incident involving the Spiritual realm, it's unclear on what level it was "real", whether Kaladin was truly conversing with his brother's soul or was just being given the chance to hear what he needed to hear.
- Hidden Depths: Despite being treated as little more than a silly fool who can make Kaladin smile, he proves to be a very good carpenter, producing artful statuettes. Unfortunately, the carpenter doesn't see the use in such frivolous things. He was also bonding or bound to a Cryptic, implying he wasn't as stable as he claimed.
- The Pollyanna: He spends nearly every single one of his scenes bouncing up and down like a loon, and is the only one who can shake Kaladin out of his chronic depression. The only time he seems genuinely unhappy about something is when Amaram recruits him for the army. He cries tears of joy when Kaladin joins up as well to protect him.
- Stepford Smiler: If his nascent bond with a cryptic was anything to judge by, his infectious cheerfulness was, on some level, an act.
- Actual Pacifist: He refuses to kill, even by inaction, under any circumstances. This becomes a serious point of contention between him and Kaladin, and in Rhythm of War they get into multiple disagreements and arguments over Kaladin's place, and it culminates in shock and anger on Lirin's part when Kaladin is forced to kill a Stormform Regal in the middle of Lirin's clinic to protect an unconscious Teft.
- Dark Secret: He is accused of forging documents from Wistiow willing his family a large gift of spheres for Kaladin's education. Turns out he really did do it, though he is insistent that if Wistiow had been lucid in his last hours, he would have done so willingly.
- Education Mama: Of a sort. He is insistent on training Kaladin to be a surgeon and sending him to Karbranth when he comes of age. Kaladin would rather be a soldier, but he learns well regardless.
- Honor Before Reason: There are several times where he could have killed Roshone, or even just let him die, but he always refuses. He also refuses to ask for payment for healing or move his family to a more prosperous city, despite knowing it would be far easier on him.
- It's All My Fault: His slide from taking a low view of fighting into full-blown Suicidal Pacifism stems from thinking his fight with Roshone is the reason Tien was killed and Kaladin was broken. In a way, he isnt dissimilar from his elder son in this regard.It takes Hesina calling him out on it in private for him to make any attempt to be better after an argument with Kaladin in Rhythm of War.Lirin: Would he be dead if I hadn't spent all those years defying Roshone? If I hadn't picked a fight?
- Like Father, Like Son: His method of dealing with it aside, his guilt over Tien is not all that different from Kaladin's own.
- Shaming the Mob: Manages to do this to a group of his neighbors when they come to steal the spheres given to him by Brightlord Wistiow, saying outright that he's ashamed of them and pointing out how he's healed them and their loved ones.
- Vicariously Ambitious: He is hard on Kaladin and his actions out of not only his own guilt, but a desire for Kaladin to be better than how he perceives himself to be. It takes Hesina calling him out in Rhythm of War for him to acknowledge this problem.Lirin: He was supposed to be better than this. He was supposed to be better than... than I am.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Downplayed. She's just a bit odd, especially by Alethi standards. She prefers to talk circles around her sons instead of directly chastising them, looks forward to one day men being allowed to read, and thinks Kaladin's supposedly blasphemous powers are delightful.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has a clever tongue in her head, though not as much as many of the other snarkers in the book. She's very good at twisting Kaladin's words around to teach him a lesson, and the few times he snarks at people, he always credits her.
- Never Learned to Read: Specifically averted; Hesina is noted to be the only woman in town who can read. And, of course, none of the men are allowed to.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever exactly happened between Lirin and her parents that led to her leaving the city and rarely speaking of them.Hesina: [to Kaladin] Don't let your father's words unnerve you. He always gets pessimistic at times like this.
Lirin: I do not.
Hesina: [Disapproving Look]
Lirin: Name one other time.
Hesina: Meeting my parents.
Lirin: Stormwinds, let's hope this doesn't go half as poorly as that.
- Proper Lady: She comes off as a perfectly refined Alethi darkeyed woman, who ended up in a remote corner of the country but retained her courtly manner. It's hinted (and confirmed by Sanderson) that one of her parents is lighteyed.
Brightlord Toralin Roshone
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Surprisingly enough, the Singer occupation of Hearthstone leads Roshone to start taking his duties to his people seriously, even putting aside his feud with Lirin to work together to help protect his citizens. Moash kills him before we could really see his growth.
- Closest Thing We Got: He's a terrible citylord, but in Oathbringer Kaladin tells him that he has to shape up because they don't have time to upend the entire Vorin caste system.
- Even Evil Can Be Loved: Despite his flaws, his children's genuine love for him and their grieving for him after his death are some of Rashone's more humanizing aspects.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Roshone's a cruel bastard, but he loves his son, and blames Lirin for failing to save his life after a hunting accident.
- The Exile: He was banished to the backwater town of Hearthstone after pissing off a bigwig for some reason. Words of Radiance reveals Dalinar realized that he was abusing Elhokar's trust for his own selfish purposes, and thought it would be fine to just send him off to the edge of Alethkar.
- Failure-to-Save Murder: Roshone blames Lirin for the death of his son Rillir. Roshone and Rillir were both severely wounded while hunting a whitespine, and Rillir's wound was inevitably fatal, so Lirin prioritized saving Roshone's even though Rillir was still technically alive. Roshone would accuse Lirin of letting his son die, and this would lead to him having Tien be conscripted into the army as retaliation.
- Fantastic Racism: Like most Alethi lighteyes, he finds darkeyes to be little better than slaves, and is annoyed whenever they won't just give him everything he wants without arguing. The reason he ended up in Hearthstone was because he asked Elhokar to help him get rid of some bothersome elderly darkeyed silversmiths he was competing with. When they made an issue of it, they were thrown in jail pending an inquest, where they died in short order. Dalinar exiled Roshone to a distant corner of the country "where he could do no harm."
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: He went from the next king's best friend, to the lord of a backwater town, to a servant doing menial labor, then finally a corpse.
- Impoverished Patrician: In Oathbringer, Kaladin is surprised to realize that while Roshone has more money than the rest of the town put together, he's still quite poor by the standards of his rank. The money Kaladin brings to town, intended just for holding the stormlight he needed to fly, turns out to be worth more than the bundle of spheres he and Lirin were fighting over.
- It's All About Me:
- He wants the spheres Brightlord Wistiow gifted to Kaladin's family. There doesn't seem to be anything he actually wants them for—he just wants them because he doesn't want anyone else to have them. This is also what led to him getting banished to Hearthstone in the first place. He screwed over Moash's grandparents because he was having trouble competing with them legally.
- On the flip side, when he and his son are injured by whitespines (a species of aggresive monsters) during a hunting expedition, Roshone tells Lirin to operate on his son first. Unfortunately, his son's injuries are so severe that nothing short of magic could have saved him.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While Roshone took his grudge with Lirin too far to the point of effectivally murdering Lirin's son, he was correct in that Lirin had stolen the money they were fighting over.
- Karmic Death: Moash catches up to him years later and avenges his grandparents deaths.
- Never My Fault:
- He blames Lirin for his presence in Hearthstone, due to the surgeon failing to save the previous Brightlord. Nevermind the fact that the more direct cause was Roshone asking his friend the crown prince to screw over an innocent pair of competitors.
- When his son is killed in a hunting accident, he blames Lirin for failing to save him—despite the fact that the hunt was Roshone's idea in the first place, and Lirin could have easily have killed him on the surgery table.
- One Degree of Separation: He competed with Moash's grandparents and got Elhokar to practically have them killed, was exiled by Dalinar, and made Kaladin's childhood hell. He's also related to Amaram, who picked up right where he left off in making Kaladin's life hell.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: When a shop belonging to an elderly darkeyed couple was giving him trouble, he had Elhokar screw them over. Dalinar stepped in as soon as he could, but the couple had already died in prison, waiting for the inquest. Dalinar then banished him as far from his connections as he could, in the hopes of keeping him from doing any more harm.
- Uriah Gambit: When Lirin was unable to save his son (despite trying), Roshone got revenge by adding Lirin's son Tien to the list of conscripts for the army in the hopes he'd die in combat. It worked.
Others from Alethkar
Brightlord Meridas Amaram
- 100% Adoration Rating: He is one of the few Alethi nobles known to all to be perfectly just, honourable and morally upstanding. Subverted not only because he most definitely isn't, but because this is exactly the reason why Adolin believes Kaladin's accusations against him - he figures that anyone who looks that squeaky-clean must be hiding something.
- Affably Evil: Amaram's initial politeness isn't feigned, he feels guilt over his actions, and believes the evil acts he performs are necessary. By the time of Oathbringer, the exposure of his deeds and his dislike of Kaladin, Dalinar and Jasnah has made him much less affable.
- Arch-Enemy: Amaram is this to Kaladin, being the one responsible for his enslavement and the deaths of his original squad, all to protect his own reputation. Kaladin finally gets a chance to settle the score in Oathbringer.
- Berserk Button: Of all things, Your Mom insults really rile him up.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: One of the most well-respected of brightlords, and one of the few Alethi brightlords who Dalinar truly respects. Adolin, slightly more Genre Savvy than his father, correctly notes that Amaram's sterling record sounds entirely too much like a man who spends a lot of energy on keeping up appearances.
- Body Horror: His bonding with Yelig-nar causes crystals to burst out of his body and even through his Shardplate, including on his back, an entire side of his face, consuming his feet, and down his arms. Kaladin's view after destroying the chest piece (and thereby the entire suit of Shardplate) is very nasty.The highprince's entire chest had collapsed inward. There was no sign of ribs or internal organs. Instead, a large violet crystal pulsed inside his chest cavity, overgrown with dark veins. If he'd been wearing a uniform or padding beneath the armor, it had been consumed.
- Broken Pedestal: Kaladin once looked up to Amaram as a true lighteyes, honorable and just unlike Roshone. Then Amaram revealed his true colors, and Kaladin left with an undying hatred for not only his former commander but towards all lighteyes that hasn't fully gone away to this day.
- Bullying a Dragon: Tries to summon his Shardblade against Jasnah for insulting him. Jasnah coolly begins preparing to Soulcast and daring Amaram to give her a reason to kill him.
- Cool Sword: His Shardblade, which he stole from Kaladin.
- Dark Secret: He never earned his Shardblade. He stole it from Kaladin and sold him to slavery on a false charge.
- Demonic Possession: In the final fight against Kaladin, he intentionally becomes possessed by the Unmade Yelig-Nar so he can become powerful enough to fight a Knight Radiant.
- The Dragon: He briefly becomes Odium's after the latter uses the Thrill to corrupt him, and then Dalinar refuses to become Odium's champion.
- Dual Wielding: Dalinar gives him Oathbringer once the Blade is found, since as the new Highprince of Sadeas he's its rightful heir. He uses both it and Helaran's Blade in the final battle.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He nearly draws his Shardblade on Jasnah after she calls his mother a whore.
- Evil Counterpart: He's basically what would happen if Dalinar couldn't take responsibility for his crimes.
- Fantastic Racism: At first he was surprised that a Herald might have dark skin and self-consciously chides himself for assuming they'd all look like Alethi. He's convinced that the Herald's dark eyes must be some sort of disguise though: so in other words he can overcome his Fantastic Racism but is still blinded by his Fantastic Classism. The assumption is somewhat justified though, as Shardblades and Surgebinding gradually turn the irises of a Darkeyes that gains them Bright, and the Heralds are literally legendary in their Surgebinding prowess and have been for millennia. However, the connection between a Herald and their Honorblade is entirely different from the Nahel bond between a Radiant and their spren and does not have this effect.
- Hypocrite: For all his talk of making hard choices to fight Odium, he ends up joining Odium. Admittedly, Nergaoul was less than a mile away and pumping him with enough Thrill to drive his entire army insane, but still. He had previously praised Dalinar for his mistaken belief that Dalinar had killed Sadeas, and turns on him for that exact reason.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Insists that stealing Kaladin's Shardblade was necessary for the fate of the world, as he can utilize it far more effectively. Eventually, he comes to regret his actions. That is, he regrets enslaving Kaladin rather than killing him.
- It's All About Me:
- Kaladin thinks this is his attitude. He's shocked to learn Amaram is actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely believes his actions serve the greater good. The trope still applies, however; Amaram is convinced that he is important to the survival of the world, and that getting his hands on a Shardblade is worth killing a handful of innocent men.
- Apparently Kaladin isn't the only one who thinks this. Jasnah is positively dismissive of him for the same reasons.
- He takes credit for Kaladin's Radiant status, saying he was the one who forged Kaladin into what he is.
- Karmic Death: Amaram killed Kaladin's original squad for knowing his Dark Secret. As he prepares to murder Kaladin, Amaram is killed himself by a member of Bridge Four, Kaladin's new squad. The squad-mate in question was Rock, the only member of Bridge Four who refused to kill in the past.
- Karma Houdini: In between Words of Radiance and Oathbringer. Dalinar proves Kaladin's innocence and exposes Amaram as a thief, a liar, and a murderer, and for a while it seems like Amaram's public image is forever ruined and the man is powerless. Then after everyone is settled in Urithiru, Amaram is promoted as Highprince Sadeas on Ialai's behalf, and business continues on as usual for him like nothing happened.
- Knight Templar: For the majority of the story, he was convinced that what he was doing was for the good of all of Roshar, even if it would actively usher in another Desolation. He finally drops this when he fights Kaladin in Oathbringer, embracing Odium's power.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Wit uses this trait as a basis for his "Reason You Suck" Speech. His plans - which involve triggering another Desolation to return the good old days - show that Wit was entirely correct.
- Loophole Abuse: Like all good Alethi men, he can't read, but he understands the simplified glyphs used in their place for things like showing directions or labeling objects. Amaram has taken to stringing them together in sentences (rather than just singly and in pairs), creating a crude pictograph language.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Part of his breakdown in Oathbringer. As Kaladin notes, he keeps trying to justify everything he did, but if he was truly beyond guilt, he wouldn't bother.Amaram: Anyone would have done what I did, even Dalinar himself.
Kaladin: Didn't you tell me you'd given up that grief?
Amaram: Yes! I am beyond guilt!
Kaladin: Then why do you still hurt? (Amaram flinches) Murderer. You've switched sides to find peace, Amaram. But you won't have it. He'll never give it to you.
- Never My Fault: Dodges his guilt by claiming it was necessary. This makes him susceptible to Odium's offer to accept the blame for Amaram's misdeeds, claiming he was the one who drove him to it. Amaram accepts Odium's offer, unlike Dalinar, who admits Odium may have influenced him, but the choices were still his own. It is being forced to acknowledge that he still does feel guilty about it all that drives him into a complete breakdown.Amaram: I hurt, once. Did you know that? After I was forced to kill your squad, I... hurt. Until I realized. It wasn't my fault. None of this is my fault.
- Nice to the Waiter: At least, when nothing important is at stake. Shallan after disguising herself as one of his servants, is surprised to learn that he knows his servant's name, that she has the night off, and her current relationship status.
- Not So Similar: He thinks Dalinar is the same as him to the point of modeling his miltary career after the highlord's, but he's very wrong despite the surface similarities. Dalinar never intentionally hid what he was and what he did which became public knowledge, unlike Amaram who tries to cover up every single flaw that might tarnish his public image. L Ikewise, Dalinar eventually became who he pretended to be and accepted his flaws, while Amaram fake personality remained just that while he pushed away all responsibility for his crimes onto other people.
- Oh, Crap!: His reaction when he realizes Dalinar knows what he did with Kaladin.
- One-Winged Angel: When he swallows a gemheart and becomes a champion of Odium, Amaram's body begins to rapidly be replaced by spikes and plates of raw amethyst that makes him resistant to Shardblades. He also gains access to all Ten Surges through Voidbinding, and takes to Dual Wielding Oathbringer and Helaran's Shardblade, essentially making him a combination of every single kind of human enemy at that point in one person.
- Painful Transformation: His gradual transformation after bonding with Yelig-nar seems to be rather excruciating, driving him to a Screaming Warrior.
- Precision F-Strike: Jasnah is so far the only person to have managed to get a genuine angry rise out of him when she insults him directly, due to their former closeness, or at least, his perception that they were close.Jasnah: From what I understand, (your mother) spent the seven months she was with child entertaining every military man she could find, in the hopes something of them would stick to you.
Amaram: You godless whore.
- Rank Up: Named the new Highprince Sadeas by Ialai after Torol's death.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted. Kaladin thought he was this for a long time, but when Kaladin refuses the Shardblade he won, he promptly has his spear team killed and Kaladin himself Made a Slave so he can have the Shardblade himself.
- Redemption Rejection: Though Amaram sides with Odium, Dalinar offers him the opportunity to change back sides and redeem himself, telling him that everyone can change. Amaram refuses, saying he wouldn't be able to forgive himself.
- Sincerest Form of Flattery: When Amaram is exposed as a liar and a murderer by Dalinar, he's shocked and angered because he based his persona and miltary career on Dalinar's own, and thought they were peas in a pod.
- Slave to PR: He's dedicates a lot of his energy into emulating Dalinar and making himself out to be the perfect, honorable brightlord. Everyone, even Kaladin was fooled by it initially with only Adolin ever suspecting the man was hiding something.
- Superpower Lottery: After bonding with Yelig-nar, Amaram gains access to all Ten Surges, or perhaps their Voidbinding equivalent. This grants him the ability to slick himself through Abrasion, use Lashings for Not Quite Flight, use Tension to transform stone into mud and back again, and Division to set anything he touches, from the ground to the very air, ablaze. Unfortunately, this is coupled with a Painful Transformation.
- Too Good to Be True: Adolin's opinion about his reputation. After all, even his father, the greatest man he's ever known, has flaws open to the world.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Subverted origionally as he is an expert with his (stolen) Shardblade. But during his fight against Kaladin he becomes possessed by Yelig-Nar, making him this trope. He gains nine different types of magic (in contrast Kaladin has two both of which Amaram also has) but has no training with them so he can't use them to their maximum potential.
- Villainous Breakdown: On being forced to acknowledge that he still feels guilty for what crimes he has committed, Amaram loses all attempts to keep his composure and flies into a rage to try and kill Kaladin once and for all.Amaram: Everything I've done, I've done for Alethkar. I'm a patriot!
Kaladin: If that's true, why do you still hurt?
- Violence Is the Only Option: This is Kaladin's stance towards punishing Amaram for his crimes, while Dalinar thinks exposing him and ruining his public image is enough. Kaladin turns out to be right, as Oathbringer reveals.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: As one of the Sons of Honor, Amaram wants to bring back the Heralds so that they can properly lead humanity under the doctrines of the Vorin church. The Sons of Honor believe that to do so, however, requires them to start another Desolation, unaware that the Heralds both already live on Roshar, and desperately want to avoid another Desolation to the point that the Skybreaker order are actively assassinating Sons of Honor agents as well as potential Radiants.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He'd fit in fine in a darker fantasy work like A Song of Ice and Fire or even some other Cosmere works like Mistborn. He just happens to live on the one planet where the magic system runs on Honor Before Reason, and being a Well-Intentioned Extremist does nothing but empower Odium.
- Decoy Protagonist: Dies in the introductory chapter for Kaladin, though this isn't made apparent until the end of Part 3 of the first book.
- Killed Off for Real: Although resurrection is possible in The Stormlight Archive, Cenn is struck down by a Shardbearer and doesn't come back.
- New Meat
- Red Shirt: He exists only to die, and the worst part is he knows it. Even though we don't actually see him die until halfway through the book, his death is still blatantly obvious.
- Shout-Out: Brandon has stated that he may have unconsciously named him after Cenn Buie from The Wheel of Time.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Killed off at the end of the first chapter of The Way of Kings, before anyone really got to know him.
The captain of the Cobalt Guard.
- Bus Crash: Stops appearing partway through The Way of Kings. The next time he's mentioned is a fair bit into Words of Radiance, when Zahel tells Kaladin that he died during the second tower assault.
- The Leader: Of the Cobalt Guard.
- Red Herring: He fits the description of Jezrien, the Herald King, almost word for word. Turns out to just be a coincidence.
- Hidden Depths: Aside from a brief slip-up in her airhead act, she doesn't seem to be anything special in The Way of Kings. Then in Words of Radiance, it's revealed that she's trying to kill King Elhokar.
- The Mole: She's secretly working for Taravangian, aiding his Diagram plot by trying to kill Elhokar.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Tries to act like an airhead, even though she actually isn't. Adolin notes that the angriest he's even seen her is when he off-handedly reveals he knows she's been doing this.
- Romantic False Lead: Teased as potentially being the true perfect girl for Adolin, but as usual, they break up.
- Small Role, Big Impact: She's a fairly minor character, but the information she collects and sends to Taravangian is what causes him to send Szeth to kill Dalinar.
A mysterious woman who appeared to rally the defenses at Kholinar.
- Abdicate the Throne: While she tells Adolin that it was someone she knew that gave up the throne and royal responsibilities, it's pretty obvious she's talking about herself.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Last seen preparing to defend the Honorspren from the Fused. Rhythm of War would confirm she survived and returned to her own travels.
- Bounty Hunter: Is referred to as one, having come to Roshar to take Nightblood back.
- Cool Sword: She has a strange Shardblade that she wears in a sheathe, apparently because she is unable to dismiss and summon it. It's generally assumed to be a Type IV Awakened Entity like Nightblood, although considerably less dangerous for everyone involved. Word of God seems to support this, although exactly how similar and how different it is to Nightblod is unclear. Azure has referred to it as "she", implying the blade has some measure of intelligence.
- Dimensional Traveler: She's from Nalthis. Specifically, she's Vivenna, last seen traveling with Vasher, who now goes by Zahel.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: She still has the Royal Locks, and her hair changes to white in Shadesmar, indicating that she's terrified. Adolin notices, but doesn't understand the significance of the color, assumes it's some oddity of Shadesmar, and doesn't comment.
- Meaningful Name: "Azure" is obviously a reference to Kholin blue, but it's also a color—making it an appropriate pseudonym for someone from Nalthis.
- Oh Me Accents Slipping: Once she gets to Shadesmar, she drops any and all pretenses of being Alethi, using expressions that are far more obviously from Nalthis. Justified, as no one else knows Nalthis exists.
- Samus Is a Girl: Her men pretend she's male to keep her from getting in trouble. Kaladin doesn't really mind due to his experiences with Syl and the new female Radiants, while Azure herself is mostly just amused.
- Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about her without mentioning that she's actually Vivenna.
One of Navani's ardents, she is a beautiful and intelligent woman with an unfortunate tendency to get distracted.
- Ambiguous Disorder It's possible she actually does have ADHD or something similar, she certainly shows classic symptoms. But since the state of mental healthcare on Roshar is... lacking there's not a good way to be sure.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: On the Wandersail, she was supposed to show Rysn the new fabrials within a day or two. It took her two weeks, because she kept getting distracted.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She is distractible and more than a bit odd. She's also one of Navani's most valued assistants because when she is on task she's just that good.
- Too Clever by Half: On the Wandersail's expedition she did an excellent job investigating the strange situation on Aimia. Too good a job, she cut through the deceptions of the Sleepless in minutes and forced their hand.