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King Taravangian

"Sometimes, you must tear down a structure to build a new one with stronger walls. And we are going to need strong walls in the coming years. Very, very strong walls."

The king of the small city-state Kharbranth. He is thought somewhat dull by his peers. However, he is well-liked due to funding hospitals throughout the city for those who can't afford medical care. Or at least, that's how he appears on the outside. He is afflicted by a mixed blessing and curse from the Nightwatcher that changes how intelligent and empathetic he is on each particular day.

He is also the leader of a secret organization known as the Diagram, devoted to an incredibly complex and highly accurate document written by Taravangian himself on a day of massive, transcendent intelligence, that will supposedly save the world - albeit at a terrible cost.
  • Affably Evil: Unless it's one of his extremely intelligent days where he suffers from a Lack of Empathy, Taravangian normally respects and sympathizes with his enemies, feels remorse for his terrible actions, and only commits evil acts because he thinks it's the only way to save the world from Odium.
  • A God Am I: A twisted example, in which Taravangian considers the man he was on his day of near-omniscient intelligence to be a god, and what he wrote during that time to be virtually divine scripture. When he sees Odium casually recreate the Diagram in far greater detail, it completely breaks his resistance. He eventually becomes a god in truth.
  • Big Bad: Officially usurps this role when he kills Rayse and becomes the new Shardvessel for Odium.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Taravangian is much smarter than he appears, as shown by the multiple levels of backup plans and the specificity of his orders to Szeth. It is also implied that he has other pawns in the waiting.
    • Later, it's revealed that he's working off of an immeasurably complex set of documents referred to as the Diagram; a massive set of writings, scribblings, sketches, and rantings that he produced while locked in his chambers on a day when his Old Magic-warped intelligence reached an unprecedented peak, with his compassion decreasing proportionately. The Diagram contains spot-on predictions for events all over the world and is practically a one-stop book of prophecy, but is so complex as to be virtually impossible to interpret.
    • In Oathbringer, a day comes when he gains intelligence closer to that day than ever before. He is able to recreate the Diagram on the walls and floors of his room in Urithiru, and then update it based on new information. Most importantly, he stops outright trying to disrupt Dalinar's efforts to play peacekeeper, and instead decides to try and usurp control over the coalition instead.
  • Les Collaborateurs: He doesn't believe Odium can truly be beaten and is out to preserve as much of the world as he can. At the end of Oathbringer, Taravangian makes an alliance with Odium, promising him help in exchange for sparing Kharbranth. He intended to originally make a deal for mankind's survival, but Odium met with him on a stupid day and, the survival of his city-state was the best offer he could get.
  • Conlang: In-universe. During his most brilliant day, he invented an entirely new language because all existing ones were too imprecise.
  • Dragon Ascendant: At the end of Rhythm of War, he uses Nightblood to kill Rayse and becomes the new vessel of Odium.
  • Dumb Is Good:
    • Despite seeming stupid, he is unusually kind and compassionate for a king. He notes that his compassion and his intelligence seem to be inversely linked, so that he's kinder on his stupider days. Also defied: he specifically notes that this isn't the case for most people.
    • On an average day in Oathbringer, he expressed the belief that this was the price the Nightwatcher gave him; he can have the wisdom and acumen to help his people, just not both at once.
  • The Empath: He believes that he varies between "smart" and "stupid" days. However, on his supposedly "stupid" days, he is actually an empathic genius, able to perfectly read people's emotions. This lets him manipulate and eventually kill Rayse.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has grandchildren he adores and wants to ensure they never learn of the Diagram, or what he's done to realise its designs. He also has a close and affectionate relationship with Adrotagia, his second-in-command, going back to their youth.
  • Evil Old Folks: He's a Well-Intentioned Extremist old enough to have grandchildren.
  • I Am a Monster: Szeth calls him one, and he doesn't object to it at all. His viewpoint chapters indicate that he really does agree.
    Taravangian: Yes, but I am the monster who will save this world.
  • Insufferable Genius: When he is in his intelligent mode, he is supremely arrogant in his intelligence. He's also dangerous in his intelligence and the arrogance associated with it. Being too self-assured in his intellect can be just as deadly as being too stupid, after all, which is why his staff has a limit, set up by him on one of his more balanced days, to how smart he can be before cutting him off from making policy decisions and interacting with people. He even tries to fool it on particularly intelligent days by deliberately failing certain questions, but his friends and subordinates are smart enough to catch on to the deception.
    • His hyperintelligent sociopathy is, in some ways, fortunate for his advisors. When supremely intelligent he doesn't have the empathy to treat his advisers as intelligent in their own right. Which means he doesn't respect them enough to not be obvious when faking his test results, scoring exactly below the threshold rather than a more sophisticated deception. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for everyone else, they aren't having it.
  • Irony: Jasnah thinks he is a great king for maintaining peace and prosperity without war, while other kingdoms think he's weak for the same reasons. He's actually working to plunge the entire world into war to put himself on top. Jasnah would be especially horrified to know that he's doing this in an attempt to weather the coming Desolation.
  • Lack of Empathy: He gets less empathetic and more ruthless the more intelligent he gets, as mentioned under Dumb Is Good. On one of his more intelligent days, he sees nothing wrong with ordering the deaths of a choir of children that was distracting him rather than just telling them to stop singing. Luckily, he took precautions to limit his authority on those kinds of days, so the people he surrounds himself with don't act on those kinds of orders.
    • Subverted in the end. It’s Passion and Intelligence that are alternating. His dumbest day is when he kills Odium, making him the best candidate to be the new Odium.
  • Leonine Contract: In more ways than one. Taravangian believes he MUST make a deal with Odium to save anyone, while Odium only has to make an exchange if he thinks the price is right. Second, Odium can tell how intelligent Taravangian is on any given day, so Odium only shows up to negotiate on his stupider days, putting Taravangian at a huge disadvantage.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • At one of his moderately intelligent days, he created a series of tests to keep him from making any decrees when too far along either end of the intelligence scale. In Oathbringer, he purposefully pretends that he can't understand a question in order to bypass this, though one of his advisors figures it out.
    • His entire plan is predicated on one of these. He'll make a deal with Odium so that everyone he rules will be spared, and then take control of the entire world. Odium derails the entire Diagram simply by saying no, because he's not an idiot. It's possible that Taravangian could have made the deal work on one of his smarter days... which is why Odium came to him on one of his stupider ones. He then agrees to Odium's offer to spare his city, its residents, and those married to said residents.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Taravangian's solutions to problems usually start with killing people, often well beyond necessity. On his more intelligent days he does things like ordering a choir of children to be killed (rather than just requesting they stop singing) or decreeing that all unintelligent people should commit suicide for the good of society. Even his more empathetic days aren't immune, as shown when he and Dalinar discuss a problem in The Way of Kings where three men are guilty and one man is innocent, but there's no way to tell who. Dalinar eventually reveals that Nohadon solved it by imprisoning all four, and Taravangian's response is that he is a coward and the true, moral response would be to kill all four.
  • Necessarily Evil: He fully admits to being a monster, but only because he believes it's the only way to save mankind from Odium.
  • Never Learned to Read: Averted; in his interlude, he casually mentions that he learned the womens' script years ago.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: The Diagram is supposed to accurately predict everything and come up with the perfect plan to spare the world from Odium's wrath, and everything Taravangian is doing is following this Diagram slavishly due to this perfection. Unfortunately, the Diagram isn't perfect, there are several things it incorrectly predicts or fails to predict, and the fact that there are multiple different interpretations means that even when the Diagram is accurate, it's flawed in that it can easily be misinterpreted.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He proves willing to sacrifice his life for his cause. He reveals his hand while he is in Dalinar's power, after having made himself useless as a hostage and disassociating himself from all his friends and family so that he can't be used against them. He points out that this is proof of his sincerity; Dalinar, on the other hand, says that he's just trying to martyr himself and become known posthumously as the one who did everything to save what he could. Dalinar believes that, despite what he says, Taravangian wants to be proven right in his extreme measures. When push comes to shove, when he kills Rayse and becomes Odium and therefore gains the power to end the war with minimal trouble... he decides to continue with Rayse's plan to conquer the Cosmere. Meaning that Dalinar was right, he really did only want power in the end, just not in the way that most warlords and dictators do.
    Dalinar Kholin: I think you saw a chance to be an emperor, and you took it. You wanted power, Taravangian—so you could give it up. You wanted to be the glorious king who sacrificed himself to protect everyone else. You have always seen yourself as the man who must bear the burden of leading. [...] Because you like it. [...] Because you want to be known as the one who saved us.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Zigzagged Trope. It isn't obfuscated at all, but it's more complicated than that. Most of the other lighteyes in Kharbranth consider Taravangian somewhat slow and unskilled at politics. In reality, he is at the head of a large conspiracy which has resulted in the deaths of many nameless citizens just to harvest information, and the killings of several very important foreign dignitaries. However, he used the Old Magic at some point, with his IQ changing at random each day: he can be intelligent or not, day by day. The deception comes in that he only allows people to interact with him when he is average or worse.
  • Room Full of Crazy: On his most intelligent day, he created "the Diagram" by drawing on every available surface in his chamber. The transcribed version includes notations indicating where a passage of text was located in the room. During Oathbringer, he creates an updated version in Urithiru based on developments that have occurred since the original.
  • Secretly Selfish: Dalinar accuses Taravangian of being this, of wanting to be the glorious king who sacrificed himself to save everyone else. When Taravangian kills Rayse and becomes Odium, he realizes that he could save the entire world by simply doing nothing... but instead decides to continue with and improve on Rayse's conquest plans, believing that only he can fix the Cosmere.
  • Smug Snake: Make no mistake - on his good days, Taravangian is terrifyingly intelligent. Unfortunately, he wasn't prepared for Odium to only ever visit him on his stupid days...
  • Spanner in the Works: Odium tries to kill Taravangian for his betrayal on one of Taravangian's stupid days to avoid being outwitted. However, Taravangian is able to remember just enough of the Diagram to steal Nightblood from Szeth and kill Rayse. And since it’s the day Taravangian is at his least intelligent, it’s also the day he’s at his most passionate, making him immediately take up the Shard as the new Odium.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: On his more intelligent days. He once seriously considered banning anyone below a certain intelligence threshold from reading because they wouldn't appreciate it.
  • Take Over the World: His initial goals are to conquer the entire world, as the Diagram said that he could negotiate with Odium to spare his people, and if he ruled the whole world, he could argue that all of mankind were his. Odium, however, saw this coming and simply refused to negotiate while Taravangian was smart enough to actually get that concession out of him.
  • Too Clever by Half: He makes an insanely complicated plan to stop Odium and save the world. It's stopped by Odium simply walking in and reading the plan himself on one of his stupider days...
    • ...which was part of Cultivation’s plan to use him as a pawn to kill Rayse.
  • Villainous Friendship: With his right-hand-woman and closest friend, Adrotagia. They've been close since their youth and call one another by their childhood names, Vargo and Adro.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Taravangian is willing to go to any length to save the world. But what makes him truly dangerous in this regard is that he goes to such lengths so that others won't have to. Thus far, he's released Szeth to go on an incredible killing spree, reduced the nation of Jah Kaved to burned-out anarchy, and countless other crimes. When he becomes Odium, he decides to use his newfound power to save everyone, with some rather sinister implications.
    The Diagram: Q: For what essential must we strive? A: The essential of preservation, to shelter a seed of humanity through the coming storm. Q: What cost must we bear? A: The cost is irrelevant. Mankind must survive. Our burden is that of the species, and all other considerations are but dust by comparison.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Taravangian sets this as his focus for strategy once he becomes Odium's Shardvessel, prioritizing win-win situations and Loophole Abuse over Rayse's preferred high-risk-high-reward strategy. Time will tell how this plays out.


A Stick

"I am a stick."

A stick found in the Frostlands. With Pattern translating, Shallan tries to convince it to become fire. She fails miserably.





The leader of the Ghostbloods. A shadowy figure who wants the secrets of Roshar for himself.

  • Dimensional Traveler: It’s directly stated that he’s from another planet. And that planet is Scadrial.
  • The Ghost: Despite being a very important character, he hasn't been seen yet. As of Rhythm of War, this is heavily implied to be literal as well as figurative.
  • The Leader: Leads the Ghostbloods.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Mraize claims that he's suffering from a similar "ailment" as the Heralds, which would mean that he's a Cognitive Shadow stapled to a body.
  • Not Me This Time: Twice.
    • Gavilar assumes that he's the one who sent Szeth after him. Szeth has never heard of the man; if Thaidakar had sent an assassin, Szeth got there first.
    • As of Rhythm of War, he's mistakenly presumed to be behind the death of Jezrien.
  • Red Baron: He is known as the "Lord of Scars." It’s all but stated that he’s really Kelsier.
  • Walking Spoiler: It’s hard to talk about him without mentioning he’s Kelsier. And the mere fact that he’s still around is a HUGE spoiler for the Mistborn series.



"You still appear conflicted. What must I do to put you at ease? Shall I step up onto this desk here and do a jig?"

A member of the ardentia. He believes in Vorinism, and has made it his mission to convert the notorious heretic Jasnah Kholin to its teachings. Along the way, he becomes friends with Shallan Davar. He is actually a Ghostblood.
  • Affably Evil: He seems like a nice person and truly does like Shallan, but he still tries to use her as a tool to kill Jasnah.
  • Character Death: He dies in the first book.
  • Epic Fail: In Rhythm of War, Adolin describes his last act as "failing to not kill" Shallan. A failure which also failed.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He is killed by his own poisoned bread.
  • The Mole: Revealed to be one of the Ghostbloods, tasked to assassinate Jasnah Kholin.
  • Odd Friendship: With Shallan Davar.
  • Sinister Minister: Of a sort. He's not malicious to anyone but Jasnah as far as is known, but he did try to kill her.



"I hired the hunter I felt best for the task, and I understood the risks."

One of the Ghostbloods who Shallan meets in the Alethi warcamps.
  • The Apprentice: Shallan is surprised to find that he is Iyatil's apprentice, rather than the other way around.
  • Awesome by Analysis: He likes trying to understand cultures by analyzing their weapons.
  • Arc Villain: Is shaping up to be this for Shallan's subplot.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Various scenes imply he possesses Life Sense from a fairly high Heightening.
  • Batman Gambit: He acquires a number of priceless paintings of the Heralds, knowing that at some point, it would bring Shalash to him so she could destroy one with her face on it.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Strangely, for the most notable contact with a secret society, so far as we can tell he has been completely straightforward in all his dealings with Shallan.
  • Bond Creature: He keeps an Aviar, though the power it grants is unknown.
  • Cold Ham: He is remarkably dramatic, in an understated way. Just as an example, he leaves a startling note where a Radiant will see it and instinctively draw in Stormlight, darkening the hall. This reveals the lit room where he is waiting for a meeting.
  • Collector of the Strange: He likes to collect trophies from around the Cosmere, from Taldain sand to an Aviar.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Makes quite a few of these. In Oathbringer, Shallan lampshades that all the information he gives her comes with hints towards things she didn't actually ask about, such as a Surgebinder in Amaram's army who died long before Helaran tried to kill Amaram. He's doing it deliberately, stringing her along with more secrets.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Mraize views everyone as either hunters or prey, and it seeps into all his interactions and perspectives.
  • Dimensional Traveler: It's not made clear exactly where he's from, but he initially implies and later outright admits he is aware of other worlds. In Rhythm of War, he namedrops Nalthis and Scadrial, and comments that the Ghostbloods' interest in Urithiru was in controlling the Oathgates to get free access to Shadesmar. Their intent is to dominate the (literal) power trade by figuring out a way to take the freely-available Investiture in Roshar's highstorms and trade that to other worlds where it is much harder to access.
  • Evil Mentor: He is steadily becoming this to Shallan, giving her genuine praise and instruction and challenge as he works to recruit her.
  • Gone Horribly Right: He wants to hone Shallan's skills to make her more valuable to the Ghostbloods, and succeeds very well. His tutelage will be very valuable to her when she comes for him.
  • Knife Nut: He's very fond of throwing sharp things in Shallan's direction to judge her reactions.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He isn't always the best actor, but he is exceptional at giving people what they really want in order to manipulate them.
    • His efforts to draw Shallan into the Ghostbloods are particularly effective. He draws her deeper by giving her assignments she already wants to complete, while encouraging her to push her moral boundaries and giving knowledge and instruction she is genuinely interested in as reward. It is subtle enough that, by Rhythm of War, Shallan realizes she has essentially been acting as a perfect deep cover agent for the Ghostbloods despite the fact that she is allegedly spying on them.
  • Morality Pet: Shallan appears to be his, but it just highlights how cruel he is to everyone else. In Rhythm of War, he kidnaps Lift and sells her into slavery, and abuses his Seon to the point that they're afraid of him. He drops it the minute Shallan moves against him by helping Restares instead of killing him.
  • Mysterious Backer: Shallan has no idea what his end goals are. She initially assumes he's doing something evil, but the fact that he claims Jasnah had also assassinated several of his people as well casts his actions in a different light.
  • Obviously Evil: He looks like he's been through the wringer, covered with scars and with badly broken and poorly healed fingers.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He coos over Shallan's drawings like a proud father, and compliments her on completing a task without him even noticing she had attempted it.
      Mraize: It is not often that I am proven a fool. Well done.
    • At the end of Words of Radiance, he tells Shallan he will bring her family to the Shattered Plains and Urithiru. Not as hostages or in exchange for anything, but as a gift in recognition of Shallan's accomplishments. And he keeps his word.
    • Over the course of Oathbringer, he gives Shallan the information she asks for, mostly as a reward for doing things she's already doing in the first place.
    • He considers his personal laundrywoman a powerful hunter because she is very good at her job.
  • Properly Paranoid: He keeps on killing cremlings with his blowgun. Partly he's messing around. Mostly he's keeping away Sleepless and Voidspren spies.
  • Secret Test of Character: When he accepts Shallan as a provisional member, he idly notes that while Ghostbloods are not allowed to kill each other, killing provisional members is another story. Shallan takes the hint, and is careful to dodge the assassins that try to follow her.
  • Seen It All: Iyatil mentions that he is very hard to surprise, as he has apparently seen much in his lifetime.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Once he gets out of his disguises, Mraize adores finery and well-tailored outfits.
  • This Means War!: As of the end of Rhythm of War, he says that Shallan turning on them has put her at war with the Ghostbloods. She is unimpressed, and tells him she looks forward to the hunt.
  • Weapon of Choice: He has a notable fondness for blowguns.



"I have many times asked myself, why those of you here go about so brazenly with features exposed to all who would see them. My mask reserves my self. Besides, it gives me the ability to adapt."

A Ghostblood woman who Shallan initially mistakes for a boy, both for her figure and the fact that she wears a mask.
  • Cool Mask: Her mask is made of some kind of orange carapace, possibly Parshendi. She threatens to kill the ardents who try to remove it. It's confirmation that she's actually a South Scadrian.
  • Dimensional Traveler: She's indirectly confirmed to be a worldhopper by The Bands of Mourning, when we meet her people. They are a clan from the southern reaches of Scadrial called the Hunters. All South Scadrians wear masks, but only the Hunters let their faces grow into them.
  • The Mentor: She's actually Mraize's master, not the other way around. He specifically refers to her as his babsk, the Thaylen word for this.
  • Madness Mantra: She fakes one when pretending to be Shallan's crazy sister.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When she realizes that Shallan's plan to sneak into the ardentia is to pretend that Iyatil is her crazy sister. To her credit, she plays along like a champ.

    Lin Davar 

Lin Davar

"Everywhere I step, I find only corners. Slowly, they trap me."

Shallan's abusive father. Revealed posthumously to be a member of the Ghostbloods.
  • Abusive Parents: He beat all of his sons and treated them horribly. He would not beat Shallan, but he emotionally abused her by restricting what she could do and punished her for disobeying him by beating the servants instead.
  • Domestic Abuse: After Shallan killed her mother, he pretended that he had been the killer to protect her. But the stress of this caused him to become genuinely abusive to his sons and his second wife, Malise Gevelmar, who he later murdered. But not Shallan. Never Shallan.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As cruel as he became, Lin never stopped loving Shallan.
  • Kick the Dog: He starts doing this more and more as he slides further into being an abusive father, first by beating his second wife and then beating the servants as a way to punish Shallan for disobeying him. When Nan Balat talks back at him, insinuating Lin is a murderer, he responds by having Balat's axehound puppies killed.
  • Not Me This Time: Lin's an abusive monster and part of a shady organization, but he genuinely didn't kill his first wife.
  • Posthumous Character: Dead before the story begins, but still gets significant character development in Shallan's flashbacks.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Of a sort. His name is given in Words of Radiance, the second book.
  • Start of Darkness: When he took the blame for the death of his wife and the man who was not her lover, both actually killed by young Radiant Shallan in self defense.

Historical Characters



"I walked from Abamabar to Urithiru."

A legendary king that wrote the in-universe book "The Way of Kings", which formed the basis of the Ideals of the Knights Radiant. He is known for uniting the Silver Kingdoms in ancient times. Although a great king, the current Vorin culture dismisses his teachings, and his book was nearly banned.

In one of his visions, Dalinar meets a young king who he believes to be Nohadon. In the aftermath of a Desolation, this young man is distraught, and is worried about how willing spren are to bond with bad people who stir up chaos. He tells Dalinar that he will unite Roshar by force.
  • The Good King: He was renowned as one of the greatest kings ever, due to his humility, wisdom, and honor.
  • King Incognito: On his famous walk from Abamabar to Urithiru, he didn't mention his being the king to anyone, so he was unrecognized.
  • Metaphorically True: Subverted; even in his own time, everyone assumed that his famous walk was a metaphor, and he just walked from Abamabar to a city with an Oathgate. But he really did walk all the way to the foothills of Urithiru and then up through the tunnels of the mountain. His only "cheat" was taking a ferry over a river.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sort of. "Nohadon", the name he's most well known by on Roshar is actually his holy name. Bajerden, the other name he's known by, may not even have been his real name.
  • Shrouded in Myth: There are a lot of legends about Nohadon, and some people don't even think he even existed.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: In his youth, he was quite dour and often thought about how to save the world. In his elderly days, he's much more lighthearted and chirpy, cracking jokes and traveling to the grocery store.

    The Sunmaker 

Sadees "The Sunmaker"

The last man to unite the Alethi highprinces, which he did when he was only seventeen years old.

  • The Conqueror: He conquered all of Alethkar in the past.
  • Expy: He is, for all intents and purposes, the Roshar equivalent of Alexander the Great, including how he died young and left his empire to fall apart.
  • Greed: His empire fell when he tried to conquer too much and failed.
  • Legendary Weapon: The Shardblade "Oathbringer" was said to have been his weapon in life.
  • Written by the Winners: He's a legendary figure to the Alethi for unifying the nation, defeating its theocracy, and establishing international trade routes that supported a scientific and cultural revolution. Outside Alethkar, he's despised as a genocidal tyrant who killed 10% of the entire population of Azir simply because he didn't have any use for them. That history proves problematic for Dalinar when he tries to ally with countries that Sadees had conquered or menaced.
  • Young and in Charge: Was the leader of Alethkar when he was only seventeen. This dooms his empire when he meets an early death, since he hadn't considered appointing a successor.

Other Characters



"Where are you, Blackthorn? Why have you not come to face me again?"

A Parshendi Shardbearer who seems to know Dalinar Kholin, fights him during the Second Battle of the Tower, and can also speak Alethi. She is revealed in Words of Radiance to be a general of the Parshendi, and due to the respect the other Parshendi have for her, she is essentially their leader. She seeks to save her people by any means possible, even if it requires assuming a dangerous new form and bringing back their people's ancient gods.

Has flashbacks in Book 4, Rhythm of War, alongside her sister Venli.
  • And I Must Scream: After she gains stormform, becoming a Voidbringer, she is frequently disturbed by her true self screaming in her head.
  • Anti-Villain: As with most of the Parshendi, Eshonai's main goal is the defense of her people while trapped between two near-equally bad options: either fight the Alethi in a slow battle of attrition, or allow Gavilar to complete whatever his plans were that would bring back the Parshendi's gods and start up another Desolation.
  • Bold Explorer: She wants nothing less than to travel the world by herself, finding new peoples and places. In fact, this wanderlust is what led to the Alethi and the Parshendi meeting in the first place.
  • BFS/Cool Sword: The Shardblade she wields is noted to be big even for a Shardblade.
  • Cain and Abel: Eshonai is set up as the Abel to Venli's Cain. The story then subverts this by turning Eshonai into a Tragic Villain and giving Venli a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Appears briefly to fight Dalinar in The Way of Kings. Words of Radiance reveals that she's essentially the leader of the Parshendi, and she plays a very important role in the book.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Eshonai is set up to be the main viewpoint character of the series from the singers' side, but dies offscreen between Words of Radiance and Oathbringer, with Venli becoming the more prominent singer viewpoint.
  • Disney Villain Death: Adolin headbutts her into a chasm. She's wearing Shardplate at the time, so she probably survived the actual fall, but a highstorm and an Everstorm crashed into each other right above her head, so her survival remains ambiguous. In Oathbringer, she turns out to be dead, having drowned in the dual storm's floodwaters.
  • Dying as Yourself: The last flashback chapter in Rhythm of War reveals that she recited the oaths in her mind as she drowned, which allowed her to become a Radiant and die free of Odium's corruption.
  • Fighting from the Inside: After changing to stormform, she gathers all those who refuse to change together, thinking that it will make them easier to execute once the rest of her people are Voidbringers. But she puts some of her closest friends in charge of guarding them, who then lead them down into the chasms, implying that her true self was manipulating her Voidbringer mind into giving them a chance to escape.
  • Four-Star Badass: A general with a Shardblade. The last Shardbearer among the Parshendi, actually.
  • Just You and Me and My GUARDS!: Rather conspicuously only engages other Shardbearers after they've been weakened by regular Parshendi warriors. Understandable since the Alethi have a considerable advantage in the number of Shards they have.
  • Killed Offscreen: She dies in-between Words of Radiance and Oathbringer. Her final moments are shown in a flashback chapter of Rhythm of War.
  • Large and in Charge: The highest-ranked Parshendi military leader left alive, and towers over her soldiers at seven feet tall. Looks even bigger since her Shardplate bulges out due to her warform carapace underneath.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: She notes that she prefers to act contrary to the instincts the forms force on her. Workers are non-aggressive to a fault; when in workform she sought out confrontation. Mates are playful and useless; she forced herself to remain productive. She even orders her soldiers to attempt to paint while in warform, despite the fact that they are both physically and mentally unsuited for it. This neatly foreshadow the Fighting from the Inside above.
  • Shock and Awe: Gains lightning powers by assuming stormform.
  • Tragic Villain: Becomes one once she obtains stormform and loses control of her mind.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She accidentally caused most of the plot of the series by stumbling upon the Alethi while she was out exploring. Admittedly the Everstorm and the Desolation likely would have happened eventually anyway, but she feels understandably guilty about the exact events leading up to it.
  • Worthy Opponent: Thinks of Dalinar this way.



A man searching for Hoid alongside Blunt (Baon) and Grump (Galladon). He's Demoux from Mistborn, and he is now a part of the Worldhopping organization known as the Seventeenth Shard.



A man searching for Hoid alongside Thinker (Demoux) and Blunt (Baon). He's Galladon from Elantris, and he has joined up with the worldhopping organization known as the Seventeenth Shard.



A man searching for Hoid alongside Grump (Galladon) and Thinker (Demoux). He is Baon, a character from White Sand, and he has joined the worldhopping organization known as the Seventeenth Shard. He's also an archer.



"Kid, two people live in this room. The first is a grouchy swordsman who has a soft spot for kids who are in over their heads. He comes out by day. The other is a very, very grouchy swordsman who finds everything and everyone utterly contemptible. He comes out when some fool wakes him at a horrid hour of the night. I suggest you ask the first man and not the second. All right?"

A swordsman who instructed Adolin and Renarin in swordsmanship.

    Rysn and Vstim 

Rysn and Vstim

A young Thaylen merchant apprentice and her babsk. Rysm is the protagonist of the novella Dawnshard.

  • A Day in the Limelight: Rysn gets her own novella in Dawnshard.
  • The Apprentice: Rysn apprentices under Vstim to learn how to become a fully-fledged Thaylen trademaster.
  • Bond Creatures: Rysn accidentally bonds with a hugely valuable creature called a larkin by falling off a cliff. She names it Chiri-Chiri. It looks sort of like a cute winged crayfish. While we don't know the full significance of this, another character uses a captive larkin to drain the Stormlight from Lift. It can drain and metabolize Voidlight as well.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Rysn is the protagonist of the novella Dawnshard, which chronicles her voyage to Aimia.
  • Character Development: Rysn starts off fairly entitled, judgmental of other cultures, and sulky. By Dawnshard she's quite embarrassed at her past self, and has grown into an empathetic and skilled trader.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: A quiet but emphatic version. Rysn won't tolerate any Condescending Compassion. And she has had more than enough of well -eaning people asking why she insists on taking care of herself and living as independently as possible when she's rich enough to not need to.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Vstim pretends to be sick so that Rysn has to take the lead in negotiating, but she believes that he's dying and goes to desperate lengths to fulfill what she sees as his last wishes.
  • Guile Hero: Rysn grows into one over the course of Dawnshard, where she uses the diplomatic skills Vstim taught her to persuade her crew not to turn back despite the Sleepless' repeated sabotage. This culminates her in convincing the Sleepless to bend their centuries-long vigil and let her leave Aimia alive as the Dawnshard.
  • Handicapped Badass: Rysn suffers a very nasty fall and has her legs paralyzed. While she is understandably depressed for a time, she goes on to become a badass Guile Hero in Dawnshard.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Vstim. While it doesn't appear that true corporations have evolved quite yet in Thaylenah, they still teach that it's best to screw over your customers and competitors before they do it to you first. Vstim, on the other hand, insists on learning the ways of the culture he is trading with, discovering what they value and treating them with respect. With the Shin, he goes out of his way to provide them Soulcast metal that was not mined directly from stone (since the Shin revere stone), while with the Reshi he participated in a hunt and managed to kill a dangerous creature largely by himself.
  • Mentor: Vstim takes Rysn as an apprentice and travels the world with her to pass down his decades of knowledge of trade and the various peoples of Roshar.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: Larkins, as it turns out, are the appointed guardians of the Dawnshard. By the end of Dawnshard, Rysn is the MacGuffin in question.
  • Odd Friendship: Rysn quickly becomes friends with the Lopen, in part because he understands what she's living with after losing his arm.
  • One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure: A large part of how Vstim makes such a good living is by taking this literally. We see it on several occasions. He trades worthless metal castoffs from Soulcasting training to the Shin, who revere stone and will pay a premium for metal that was never mined. He also teaches Rysn about a culture that will buy wormy grain as long as it isn't rotten because the insects are a part of their cuisine.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: As a trading strategy. They simply see their job as finding out what people need and supplying it. They aren't looking to cheat anyone or haggle out one sided bargains for things they don't want.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Vstim only briefly appears in the interludes, but he was the one who bought Szeth as a slave from the Shin, and then traded him to the Parshendi, which kicked off the entire plot of the greater story. He also gave Rysn the training she needed to negotiate with the Sleepless and become the Dawnshard, which has truly cosmic implications.
  • Stronger with Age: Larkins are the immature forms of greatshells called lanceryn.
  • The Symbiote: Larkins need to bond with a special form of mandras ('luckspren') found only on Aimia in order to be healthy. The Mandras help it overcome the square-cube law, particularly in order to fly.
  • To Be a Master: Rysn aims to be a master trader like her babsk Vstim.
  • You Are Not Alone: After her injury she eventually starts corresponding via spanreed with other people living with handicaps. She finds the community and sense of shared experience enormously empowering.


Axies the Collector

A Siah Aimian seeking to learn the secrets of the spren.

  • Animated Tattoo: He marks his body with his notes, and can change their color in order to see them. This is useful, seeing as he is a scientist and is regularly robbed blind.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He appears to be literally cursed with horrible luck, and is regularly beaten thrown in jail or robbed blind. He never seems to take it hard though, mostly because he is implied never to be in real danger.
  • For Science!: He has dedicated his (apparently very long) life to learning the secrets of all spren. He considers going on a bender in a bad part of town to determine if intoxicationspren exist to be perfectly reasonable. They do exist, by the way.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: His attitude concerning the spren. Or rather, Gotta Catalogue 'Em All.
  • Human Notepad: Uses his tattoos to store his research notes.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: As mentioned, he is literally cursed with bad luck. The results range from being stripped naked beaten and robbed to somehow offending people enough to be hung upside down from a rope to eventually be fed to a greatshell. He's entirely unfazed by all this.
  • Mugging the Monster: According to Vstim's reaction to seeing an Aimian, people are constantly doing this and just don't realize it because he's too nice to fight back. Apparently escaping from being thoroughly tied up, upside-down, ready to be fed to a greatshell shouldn't actually be a problem for him.
  • The Shadow Knows: His shadow goes towards the light, rather than away.

    Helaran Davar 

Nan Helaran Davar

"We can't have vengeance yet. Balat can't lead the house, and I must be away. Soon, though."

Eldest child of Lin Davar, heir of the Davar family, and Shallan's oldest brother. He left home after their mother died, as he blamed his father and refused to be in the house with him. He spent much of his time on mysterious errands with unknown groups, and received a full set of Shards soon after he left home the first time. The entire family considered him the greatest and bravest of them.
  • Cool Sword: He had a Shardblade, given to him by one of his mysterious friends. Amaram ends up with it after Kaladin kills Helaran.
  • Dark Secret: He doesn't have one (that we know of), but when Kaladin realizes he killed him, he decides to keep it a secret from Shallan. Eventually Shallan finds out the truth from Adolin, but she gets over it relatively quickly, realizing Kaladin was just a soldier protecting his highlord at the time and couldn't really be blamed for acting accordingly.
  • Mysterious Backer: Someone trusted him a lot to give him a full set of Shards. Amaram thinks he was a member of the Ghostbloods, and Mraize mentions him, but he also had some dealings with the Skybreakers. Turns out he was with the Skybreakers, and Amaram's assassination was a mission given to him to prove his worth.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Is one of these, and suffers from one of these.
    • On the one hand, killing Kaladin's squad kicked one of the darkest storylines in the books into high gear. He did it for no reason other than that they got in his way—with their spears and his Plate, he literally could have just ignored them if he was feeling merciful.
    • On the other hand, if he had been allowed to kill Amaram, not only would that dark storyline have been averted at least to an extent, but the Sons of Honor would have been dealt a crippling blow.



A beggar philosopher camped outside an orphanage in Tashikk, whom Lift befriends on her way through.

  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Wipes the floor with two of Nalan's minions, who were seeking to execute him for Surgebinding in the name of their master.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Is reported as "vanishing" and "changing his face," and is thus mistaken for a Lightweaver by two of Nalan's minions. These reports are factually accurate, but the source of Arclo's powers, the Voluntary Shapeshifting of a Dysian Aiman, is entirely different than those of Surgebinders.
  • Horrifying Hero: Sleepless are like that. He's harmless enough if not provoked, and he certainly helps Lift, but he is indeed completely horrifying.
  • Mugging the Monster: Two Skybreaker Radiants try to kill him, mistaking him for a Lightweaver. The fight is so one-sided he admits he can't even call killing them self defense.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Dawnshard reveals that the rest of his kind consider him to be a traitor because of his willingness to work with the Radiants.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Lift comes to his defense only moments after he's dispatched the two, thus revealing his secret.
  • Walking Spoiler: There's so much hidden about him that it's a wonder this entry has any normal text at all.
  • The Worm That Walks: He's a Sleepless, a collection of highly specialized cremlings linked in a Hive Mind.

    Queen Fen Rnamdi 

Queen Fen Rnamdi

The queen of Theylenah.

  • Establishing Character Moment: Her introduction involves her personally answering Dalinar via spanreed (rather than having a scribe do it), cursing up a storm, and then closing off when Dalinar asks too much.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Although it still takes some convincing, she is still one of the most reasonable rulers Dalanar has to deal with in Oathbringer.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: When the Alethi contact her in Oathbringer, she curses like a sailor, which surprises Dalinar; she was always perfectly polite whenever they spoke. Navani explains that while Fen knows how to affect a courtly demeanor, when she's more comfortable she has a very foul mouth. It's therefore a bad sign when she stops swearing, and Dalinar realizes he's offended her.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When Dalinar pulls her into one of his visions, he's absolutely stunned upon discovering that she had rallied the townspeople into an organized militia against the Voidbringers, commenting that she did a better job in the vision then he did. From Queen Fen's point of view, she thought it was all just a dream.


Cord (Hualinam'lunanaki'akilu)

One of Rock's daughters, who came down from the Peaks in Oathbringer. She has the sacred Sight of her people, but disagrees with her father on the best way for the Peaks to survive. She is a major character in the novella Dawnshard.

  • I Am X, Son of Y: "I am Hualinam'lunanaki'akilu, the daughter of Numuhukumakiaki'aialunamor, the Fal'ala'liki'nor, he who drew the Bow of Hours at the dawn of the new millennium, heralding the years of change!"
    Nikli: I... have no idea what any of that means.
    Cord: don't?
    Nikli: No.
  • King Incognito: She's actually a princess of her people, and has several sacred rights that others do not—though outsiders are rarely aware of such distinctions. She tries to use her status as the daughter of Numuhukumakiaki'aialunamor to her advantage against the Sleepless, as it is against an ancient pact for the gods to kill her. Turns out the Sleepless weren't involved in that pact.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She spends most of her time as a cook, and is seeking Shards so that she can fight for her people.
  • Secret-Keeper: She's one of the few people in Roshar who knows that Rysn holds a Dawnshard.
  • See the Invisible: She has the same Sight as her father, and so can see spren at all times. This is why she was brought on the expedition in Dawnshard.

    The Mink 

Dieno "The Mink" Calah

"Alethi bloodlust has cost me many loved ones over the years, but I'd be a fool not to admit the value in pointing it—like the proverbial sword's blade—at someone else."

A genius general from Herdaz, known for his escape artistry and surviving impossible situations. The coalition recruits and rescues him in Rhythm of War, after he spent a year holding out against the Fused.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his strange personality quirks, he's an incredibly competent general and a frighteningly talented escape artist.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He shows up in Oathbringer offering an Alethi rapist a choice of executions, all while the Mink is cheerily practicing with handcuffs.
  • Escape Artist: He's very fond of escaping from handcuffs, and is often seen playing with them.
  • Honest Advisor: He asks Dalinar if he wants the truth or a pleasant lie. Dalinar says he wants the truth, and from then on the Mink does nothing but explain to him exactly what he needs to do—even though it involves abandoning Alethkar.
  • Ninja Log: When Kaladin first meets him, he realizes he has disappeared, and what he was actually speaking to was a pile of clothes in the shape of a man. The Mink's bodyguards sigh and say he does this all the time.
  • The Wonka: He is, in short, what the Lopen would be if he was a general instead of a Windrunner. More than a little silly, but also extremely competent.