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Fridge Brilliance

    Series as a whole 

  • The word Stormlight having 10 letters. Similarily, Voidlight having 9.
  • Alethi gender roles seem odd at first. Okay, so men are warriors...and shopkeepers? And diplomats? While women are artists and scholars? How do those go together? However, it makes perfect sense: The men are in charge of dealing with other people, while the women are in charge of the more internal roles. Or for the cynical, they get all the light, indoor work with no heavy lifting.
    • Wit actually points out the second part in Words of Radiance. And he's about as cynical as they get.
  • The Vengeance Pact:
    • A war where the most powerful nation in the world reacts to a horrific act of violence by launching an invasion of a relatively distant land, fighting a numerically inferior foe in a harsh, difficult landscape. The foe uses innovative, insurgent tactics. The war causes deep stress on the homeland, extends for a great length of time, gets many people killed (often for no good reason) and those prosecuting the war lose their focus on what they're really out there to fight. Might not be intentional, but there are some striking parallels there....
    • Sanderson was asked about this very thing, and he pointed out that the Parshendi are not the extremists in this war. Really, there are four sides to the War of Reckoning: The Sons of Honor, the Alethi, the Parshendi, and the Voidbringers. The Parshendi assassinated a member of the Sons of Honor to prevent him from turning them into Voidbringers. Unfortunately he was the Alethi king, so they took that personally and declared war. The Voidbringers then used the desperate situation to turn the Parshendi into Voidbringers. There are political parallels through all that, but it's a little bit less clear-cut than it might seem at first.
  • Sexism:
    • It is interesting to note the lack of sexism in Vorin-based societies, despite the gender role restrictions. In fact, Vorinism places some very strict roles on gender, and while possible to circumvent by being an ardent, it still divides the sexes into tasks that are oddly awkward at times. However, Look at the roles that women fill: clerks, scientists, scribes, engineers, researchers, etc. Many of these roles, especially scribing and clerical work, are absolutely essential for any society to function. By requiring that specific roles essential for society to operate are locked to women, Vorinism ensures that women not only remain highly educated but also very powerful, effectively curbing the traditionally masculine society that would develop historically. This results in a society where sexism is virtually nonexistent. This exact notion of women's "power" is explicitly deconstructed, however, in Jasnah's writings.
      What is a woman's place in this modern world? I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past. They ignore the greater assumption — that a "place" for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be — by nature — a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood. ... A woman's strength should not be in her role, whatever she chooses it to be, but in the power to choose that role.
    • Interestingly, tying in with what Jasnah has written, is that Shallan actually becomes more powerful the more she challenges her traditional role as a mere scholar. While she still applies her knowledge and research to her goals to stop the Last Desolation, she only truly achieves when she starts breaking out of the role itself - first by saving her brother while killing her father, then by taking up Pattern directly, approaching the Ghostbloods, and then completely casting aside any attempt to hide her Surgebinding and Shardblade.
    • There's also the fact that scholarship is devalued in Alethi society in much the same way domestic work is in ours—necessary, yes, but by no means as prestigious for this life or the next as being a warrior, and women are barred from positions of true power.
  • The Alethi and the Parshendi actually have similar gender roles in one important respect: They are expected to pair off and act as a single unit. For the Alethi, the husband acts as the face of the pair while the wife does the book-keeping, but the Parshendi warpairs, matepairs, and scholarpairs aren't actually all that different.
  • In the first book, Axies the Collector mentions that though he's been imprisoned many times, he's never seen captivityspren. In the second when Kaladin is imprisoned he starts seeing a new kind of spren, like thin taut wires. Those are likely captivityspren, and the reason Axies doesn't see them is because while he's imprisoned, he's hoping to see captivityspren, but they're only drawn to people who genuinely feel trapped.
  • Sanderson likes hiding foreshadowing by appearing to refer to a single event when he's actually referring to multiple. Take the series tagline: "The Everstorm comes. The True Desolation. The Night of Sorrows." It sounds like one thing with multiple synonyms, but the Everstorm and the True Desolation (and presumably the Night of Sorrows) are actually different things. Likewise, Shallan often references her father's death and her Shardblade as if they are the same event, but they are only related in that she's suppressing both memories.
  • A closer look at Roshar's environment lends credence to Syl's claim that the laws of physics are "an agreement between friends." In fact there are so many things off about Roshar as a planetoid that it begins to look like a "what's wrong with this picture" puzzle:
    • The year length is a round number (500 days between Weepings exactly) and the moons always go across the sky in the order of Salas, Nomon, Mishim. Given that Salas and Mishim are stated to be smaller than Nomon, this is unlikely to occur naturally.
    • The seasons are all over the place (Kaladin notes at one point that a fortnight of spring is unprecedented), which implies no axial tilt (which would focus the sun's rays onto specific parts of the globe at specific times of the year, causing "warm" and "cold" seasons as with Earth).
    • The main supercontinent is in the shape of a fractal - a mathematical diagram that would not change to suit the whims of any specific number system.
  • Wit's insults:
    • Wit never insults Dalinar, only offering him simple nods whenever they meet. Because Dalinar already whips himself more than bloody enough on his own.
      Wit: Those who "deserve" my mockery are those who can benefit from it, Brightlord Dalinar.
    • In contrast, Wit always insults Kaladin. The only time he stops is when he decides that's not working and tells him a story instead. Kaladin is so selfishly depressed that even when Wit spells out the aesop explicitly, it takes Kaladin time to get it through his head.
    • If you pay close attention, the only people that Wit treats with kindness and respect in any way, even Kaladin, are those who are already Radiants, or able to become them. The reason? If you're going to become a Radiant, you need to already be broken. Wit loves to Break the Haughty, but every Radiant he meets has already been broken, otherwise their spren never would have come to them. Wit's not an evil man and he's not going to cruelly insult or mock the ones who are already broken.
  • The name "spren." It seems like they could just call them spirits. But since the Spiritual Realm is an actual place and the spren are not from there, calling them spirits is imprecise at best. Even more imprecise, since in Oathbringer it is revealed that what people on Roshar call spren are actually parts of larger creatures that can partially shift between the two realms.
  • The first part of the first Ideal of the Knights Radiant is "Life before death." To quote Teft: "The Radiant seeks to defend life, always. He never kills unnecessarily, and never risks his own life for frivolous reasons. Living is harder than dying. The Radiant's duty is to live." The part about not risking their own life seems odd. But when you consider that every single Radiant was a Broken Ace and thus heavily depressed, it makes more sense. Yes, they really do need an ironclad rule that boils down to "don't commit suicide."
  • As noted on the main page, the properties of the ten Polestones seem to be determined by color. But since color is defined by what frequencies of light an object reflects, it does make some sense that a gem's color would effect how it channels Stormlight.
  • Vorinism, and Alethi culture in particular, makes a lot of sense when you learn in Oathbringer that the humans of Roshar originally worshiped, and might even have been created by, Odium. Vorinism teaches that the meaning of life is to follow your Calling and achieve excellence in it, so that you will be able to better support the spiritual war effort in the afterlife. The Alethi go even further and turn everything into a contest to see who's stronger and better. Odium is the Shard of passion and unbridled emotion, particularly hatred. Finding the thing you most like to do and trying to surpass all others in it is exactly what he'd encourage people to do. At the same time, Alekhar also has some very rigid caste and gender roles, and old traditions like the Codes that argue for strict discipline. The humans eventually turned away from Odium and began worshiping Honor instead, and he likely tried to channel and control their passions by imposing rules on them in accordance with his own Intent. Which is the most noticeable offshoot from the church made to follow Honor? The Passions.
  • Lashings, as explicitly noted in Oathbringer, let Surgebinders not so much fly as be forcefully pulled in different directions, as if they were yanked by an invisible line. In other words, fights in the books likely look exactly like the Wire Fu scenes in movies that they're inspired by.
  • The different fighting stances used by shardbearers e.g. vinestance, smokestance, stonestance are named after each type of spren that the Knights Radiant bonded with. Oathbringer shows us ash spren, and Cultivation spren are shown to be made up of vines.
  • The Heralds are regarded by the Vorin faith as angelic quasi-divinities. And as it happens, the Greek word "angelos", which we usually transliterate into "angel", actually means "messenger" or "Herald".
  • The fact that spheres with diamonds are the lowest denomination of monetary value actually makes sense, and not just because they are the least useful in terms of Soulcasting. In real life, diamonds are actually very abundant in the crust, and the reason why they are so expensive is that their supply is artificially limited to drive the price up. Without someone intentionally choking the supply, diamonds would naturally be the most common gemstone and thus be the least valuable.

    Death Rattles 

The prophetic dying words sprinkled throughout the series (especially the epigraphs of Way of Kings) have a lot of brilliance to them, referencing events from multiple books in esoteric terms. Interpretations below.

  • "Ten orders. We were loved, once. Why have you forsaken us, Almighty! Shard of my soul, where have you gone?"
    • Reference to ten Orders of Radiants and, possibly, Honor's death.
  • "A man stood on a Cliffside and watched his homeland fall into dust. The waters surged beneath, so far beneath. And he heard a child crying. They were his own tears."
    • Possibly a reference to Dalinar's first and final visions, where he stands on a cliffside with Honor and watches Kholinar crumble to nothing.
  • "I'm dying, aren't I? Healer, why do you take my blood? Who is that beside you, with his head of lines? I can see a distant sun, dark and cold, shining in a black sky."
    • An early reference to the secret hospital. The "head of lines" is obviously a Cryptic, and the landscape described is Shadesmar. This might not even be a real Death Rattle.
  • “They are aflame. They burn. They bring the darkness when they come, and so all you can see is that their skin is aflame. Burn, burn, burn... ”
    • Rather poetic description of Voidbringers and their abilities.
  • "Victory! We stand atop the mount! We scatter them before us! Their homes become our dens, their lands are now our farms! And they shall burn, as we once did, in a place that is hollow and forlorn."
    • The humans conquering Roshar from the parsh, and sending them to Braize which could be the world they ruined and escaped from.
  • "Ten people, with Shardblades alight, standing before a wall of black and white and red."
    • Battle of Thaylend Field, were ten Surgbinders note  fought against Voidbringer army.
  • "Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns."
    • An obvious reference to Honor, Cultivation, and Odium (three of the sixteen Shards of Andonalsium) collectively ruling Roshar. But with Honor's death, Cultivation appears to have gone into hiding, and Odium is essentially the sole Shard on the planet.
  • "He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!"
    • Tower and crown are symbols of House Kholin and the fallen title likely refers to Radiants. It may be about Kaladin becoming Captain of Guard for Kholins after his actions in Ways of Kings.
  • "The burdens of nine become mine. Why must I carry the madness of them all? Oh, Almighty, release me."
    • Taln, being tortured in Damnation. In fact, this might be the exact moment where he gave up and the next Desolation officially began.
  • "A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal."
    • A reference to the Herald Shalash (daughter of Jezrien, Herald of Kings and patron of the Windrunners) and her habit of destroying all art of herself.
  • "The death is my life, the strength becomes my weakness, the journey has ended."
    • A dark inversion of the First Ideal of Radiants. Possibly in reference of how Odium can give people a void-powered version of ten Surges.
  • "Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before. The feast I must drink clings to their faces, and the words I must speak spark in my mind. The old oaths will be spoken anew."
    • This seems to be from Kaladin's perspective, of all things, as he leaps from the bridge in the climax of Way of Kings. The friends behind are Bridge Four, the friends before are the Parshendi (who he soon learns are more honorable than the Alethi who are his supposed allies), the feast is the Stormlight in their beards, and the words are of course the Second Oath of the Windrunners.
  • "They come from the pit, two dead men, a heart in their hands, and I know that I have seen true glory."
    • A reference to an event in Words of Radiance when Kaladin and Shallan were thought dead in the chasms, only to return with a gemheart. The only odd part is referring to them as two men, but the Rattles have used stranger wording before. note  The chapter where they come out of the chasms is even titled "True Glory."
  • "I see them. They are the rocks. They are the vengeful spirits. Eyes of red."
    • An early reference to Thunderclasts.
  • "That chanting, that singing, those rasping voices."
    • Possibly about the summoning of Everstorm.
  • "They named it the Final Desolation, but they lied. Our gods lied. Oh, how they lied. The Everstorm comes. I hear its whispers, see its stormwall, know its heart."
    • After breaking the Oathpact, the Heralds told people that the Desolations have ended.
  • "All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds."
    • Another Kaladin one, this time when he is protecting Elhokar from Moash. Syl becomes a Shardblade for the first time. The chapter where Kaladin is in prison and hears about what Elhokar did with Roshone is called "The One Who Killed Promises."
    • It could also be a reference to Szeth, who in Oathbringer turns against Nale after they disagree on which law to follow, and protects Dalinar and Kaladin, who both "killed his promises."
  • "They break the land itself! They want it, but in their rage they will destroy it. Like the jealous man burns his rich things rather than let them be taken by his enemies! They come!"
    • The Fused who are willing to destroy Roshar to kill all the humans.
  • "And all the world was shattered! The rocks trembled with their steps, and the stones reached toward the heavens. We die! We die!"
    • This either refers to Everstorm clashing with Highstorm during the Battle of Narak (which destoyed some plateaus), or to whatever event has created the Shattered Plains.
  • "He watches! The black piper in the night. He holds us in his palm... playing a tune no man can hear!"
    • When Cenn dies in Kaladin's flashback. The "black piper" seems to be a reference to Wit/Hoid, who plays pipes in some of his appearances.

    The Way of Kings 
  • Taln's mentioned tendencies to die in unsurvivable fights during the Desolation make so much sense when held against the eventual refusal of the other Heralds to return to Braize. He's probably consciously choosing to keep fighting until he dies, removing the temptation to revolt against the Oathpact, which the other nine did end up doing. Another option is that he knows he will have to go back to Braize after the last battle, so there's no point in trying to preserve his life.
  • It is mentioned several times that predicting the future is left to the Almighty. The final vision Dalinar sees shows him a possible future . . . and guess who that voice is that he's been hearing? And as it turns out, even the Almighty can't do it very well. Apparently the bearer of a shard called Cultivation is better. What is Cultivation all about? Planting and nurturing things that will come to the future.
  • Arrows have a habit of conveniently missing Kaladin just barely during bridge runs, hitting the wood near his hands and head instead. Keep in mind that he usually carries his money on his person during these runs, and that the spheres always seem to go dun a lot faster than they ought to. Now, how did Reverse Lashing work again?.
  • At one point, the King's Wit talks to Dalinar and mentions how gibberish words are often the sounds of other words. Doesn't seem too important. Then we find out that the "gibberish" that Dalinar speaks during his visions are actual words, only in an ancient dead language
  • Wit/Hoid's story to Kaladin:
    • At first glance, it almost seems like a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, until one looks back over the setting itself. The tale shows what happens when people allow unconfirmed belief to rule their actions, and how people can do the most horrible of things because of belief in some greater power that excuses their actions. Three of the four main characters fall victim to this in their own way: Kaladin's inability to get over his own guilt and self-loathing, which convinces him that things are hopeless. Dalinar's belief in what the visions are showing him, which ultimately leads him into the trap during the battle on the Tower, as well as making the mistake of assuming The Way of Kings was applicable to all of life, and not the creation of a man who had been forced to unify the nations by force so he could implement his ideals. And most importantly, Szeth's strict adherence to Stone Shamanism and carrying out his assassinations at the order of whoever commands him, when all he would need to do to stop everything from happening would be to simply refuse to follow the orders of whoever holds his oathstone.
    • Becomes even more brilliant once we learn why Szeth was made Truthless. He tried to warn the Shin that the Desolation was coming. Because it obviously wasn't true, they branded him Truthless and forced him into slavery, and to bear the guilt of all the lives he claimed, and he went along with it, as he viewed it as the only punishment suitable. And then it turns out that he was right and the Shin were wrong. The desolation was coming. The Knights Radiant had returned. All of the deaths he caused were for nothing... because he believed the Shin over himself.
  • In the epilogue Wit mentions that the system of Lighteyed rule, despite seeming so bizzare, was created for perfectly logical reasons. Actual eye color is clearly as poor and indicator of intelligence and leadership quailities on Roshar as on Earth, but what probably happened, was that people remembered the Radiants having eyes that glowed, and are still deferential to bright eyes without remembering the reasons. Even more so, it's revealed that if you pick up a Shardblade, your eyes change color to light. It's quite probable that all lighteyes are the descendants of Radiants and Shardbearers.
  • There are ten point of view characters in the main story of The Way of Kings. (Kaladin, Dalinar, Adolin, Shallan, Szeth, Gaz, Navani, Cenn, Wit/Hoid, and Teft.) There are six others in the interlude, so add those and it becomes sixteen. And there's one more in the prelude, so seventeen. Brandon put in stealth references to the Arc Number of this series, the Arc Number of the entire Cosmere, and the Seventeenth Shard. Nice job.
  • The Parshendi targeting the expendable and easily replaced bridgemen over other more worthwhile soldiers is a puzzle to the Alethi. But when you consider the Parshendi are shapechangers who move between different forms for specialized roles, it makes sense that they would consider targeting bridgemen worthwhile. The Parshendi don't really believe in cannon fodder, since any Parshendi can become any role. While they would likely grasp, intellectually, that humans don't shapechange, there would still be an innate belief that killing a human - any human - would remove a potential enemy soldier from the field, even if that combatant was a lowly bridgeman. As an added bonus, that's exactly what happens during the book: Bridge Four turns from being made of the lowliest of the bridgemen to a Badass Crew able to held its own in an actual battle. Notably, the first Radiant they face is a bridgeman. Not only that, but when Kaladin things about his Character Development in Oathbringer, it sounds a bit like he shifted through forms.
  • There's a scene halfway through the book where Shallan is trying to figure out how to make Jasnah's Soulcaster work. One of the books she reads suggests humming is a key to making it work. Shortly after trying (and failing) this, Shallan is studying the patterns the Soulcast stone in the ceiling of her room when she first hears the spren talking to her. Its rather subtle, but Pattern is, well, made up of patterns, and he also likes to hum quite a bit. It's not really a coincidence that the first time he speaks to Shallan, it is after she tries humming to Soulcast, and starts studying patterns in her surroundings.
  • Taln is the Herald of War, and immediately following his resurrection appears at Kholinar. Kholinar is currently the capital of Alethkar, but it's also one of the Dawncities, and was the capital of Alethela, the Proud Warrior Race kingdom. No wonder he appeared there—it's the most logical place to start rallying soldiers.
  • Dalinar's visions are like a video game. He can interact with the world, move about freely and make choices, but in the end the story is still on the rails, and it's going to head where it wants no matter what he does. The parts where the Almighty is speaking to him are non-interactive cutscenes. Even more so in Oathbringer, when he can have them any time, can bring other people in, and start examining the "coding" to find limits and even what could be considered easter eggs.
  • Remember the scene where Dalinar uses his Shardplate to help some dark eyed workers perform construction, something that has others looking at him like he's crazy? Taken on its own, it's an Establishing Character Moment that shows Dalinar is willing to do the kind of work other Highprinces consider beneath their station. In Oathbringer we learn that the powers of a Bondsmith, which Dalinar becomes at the end of Words of Radiance are paticularly suited to this kind of thing, far more than they are for straight up combat, which he demonstrates by helping the people of Thalinar rebuild their wrecked city. Foreshadowing done two books and six real-world years early.
  • Dalinar's abrupt revulsion at violence in the middle of the battle against the Parshendi makes a lot more sense when you realize that this is, for a brief moment, the resurgence of his pain and guilt over how he accidentally burned his wife to death ten years ago. He doesn't remember exactly why he feels horror and revulsion at the sight of the violence due to Cultivation taking the memory from him, but he's still instinctively reacting to such a horrifying memory.

    Words of Radiance 
  • Shallan notes that with enough Stormlight, she could survive a spear to the chest without too much difficulty. That's how Jasnah survived the ambush. She was stabbed through the chest, Shallan Soulcast the ship to water, and Jasnah escaped to Shadesmar to heal.
  • In the previous book, the Almighty told Dalinar "Odium has killed me." In this book, Syl dislikes Kaladin's raw hatred for Amaram and people like him, which eventually breaks the bond and kills her. Odium is a synonym for hatred. Not just hatred, but specifically hatred toward someone due to their actions. The root of Kaladin's hatred toward lighteyes is that lighteyes have consistently betrayed him and killed those he cared for. It's not just that Syl's afraid of Kaladin breaking his oaths and what might happen to her because of that, it's that while Kaladin's around lighteyes he's closer to attracting Odium's spren instead of honorspren.
  • It is mentioned that Bondsmith Radiants are incredibly rare and powerful, with three members being a normal number for them. Given that Dalinar becomes one by bonding the Stormfather himself, this makes a lot more sense. And then we find out that they can't increase their numbers, since they only can be made by bonding the Stormfather and his two siblings.
  • All along, Renarin seems to be trying to overcome physical disabilities through sheer force of will. Everyone applauds him for making the effort, but it doesn't actually matter, except for what it says about his character. The only remotely useful thing he does at any point is use his Shardblade to cut through stone. then you get to the end and find out he's a Radiant. This means that handling the Shardblade is exactly as hard for him as it is for Kaladin. But he was still doing it anyway with just mild winces. Now that is a Handicapped Badass.
  • Eshonai is determined to speak with Dalinar specifically. This makes sense given that the Parshendi have spies among the parshmen in the camps, but makes even more sense when you consider that one of those spies was assigned to Bridge Four. Rlain had a singularly good opportunity to find out just how fundamentally decent Dalinar was, and his reports were probably partially responsible for Eshonai's high opinion of him.
  • Related, it's easy to miss, but Shen is with the group that guards "Dalinar" while he meets with Eshonai. That same night, Rlain leaves the camp, but can't tell Kaladin why. It's because he knew something was very wrong with Eshonai refusing to negotiate in even the slightest.
  • A VERY subtle hint that Shardblades are spren very early on. Navani told Dalinar that early Shardbearers learned to do the hammerspace storage thing by slapping a gem on their Shardblades. In Adolin's duel however, when his opponent unbinds from his Shardblade, Adolin takes of the binding ruby and crushes it in his hands. There is no mention of a spren escaping, as there was when Eshonai broke HER gem when she changed form. As the narration mentioned doing that was unnecessary to actually taking someone's Shardblade, that means the gem was perfectly fine and he could have used it as it was, and the spren hadn't 'run out'. So... where was the spren that should have been paired with the gem to make it a functioning piece of magitech? IN THE BLADE. Real subtle Brandon...
  • Small one: The reason Taravangian is not allowed to eat before taking his daily tests is because he has never eaten before taking his daily tests. It's a variable that could call into question the validity of the tests.
  • Kaladin lost his respect for Amaram when the man stole his Shardblade and killed his men, while he gained his respect for Dalinar when the man gave up his Shardblade and saved his men. Furthermore, Dalinar began to doubt Amaram when Amaram, despite being armed with a Shardblade, refused to save Adolin and Renarin because it would affect his reputation—while Kaladin jumped into the arena with nothing but a spear and then threw away his reputation in a failed attempt to get justice on Amaram.
  • It's often noted that Kaladin has essentially been adopted by Dalinar Kholin by this book. In addition to the fact that Dalinar treats him much the same way he does Adolin (trustworthy but occasionally needing a firm word or punishment when he does something stupid), Kaladin's name also fits the Theme Naming Dalinar used for his sons: Three syllables, with the last being in.
  • The first two Highprinces to join Dalinar on his march to the center were Roion and Sebarial, the cowards. They are also the two Highprinces least likely to feel the Thrill, which drives Alethi to violence and infighting. Even better by Oathbringer, when you learn that the Thrill is actually an Unmade, an agent of Odium, who in turn is acting to bring back the Voidbringers. It's not just the infighting, it's preventing them to moving against its master.
  • When it is first noticed that Jasnah is missing, Navani says that it's nothing unusual for her. She says her daughter has a tendency to appear somewhere other than where she was supposed to be going, and to be reluctant to explain What happened. Considering the kinds of enemies she has, it's probable that this isn't the first time she's had to teleport after narrowly avoiding an assassination attempt.
    • When Shallan goes into Jasnah's room after she is seen being stabbed, she doesn't find the body in the darkness, only bloodstains. Shallan assumes that the assassins took the body with them, but it's actually subtle foreshadowing that Jasnah slipped into Shadesmar while the assassins were distracted chasing Shallan's illusion.



  • Dalinar has a vision of Odium's champion as someone he vaguely recognizes, with nine shadows. This foreshadows Dalinar himself being the champion (and the shadows being the Unmade), but after he refuses, he helps to defend Thaylen City with nine companions: Seven Knights Radiant whose powers are still shadows of what they could be, and two Heralds who are mere shadows of their former selves.
  • Vorinism holds that the Heralds went on to fight the Voidbringers in the Tranquiline Halls, the Vorin version of Heaven, after the Last Desolation. In fact, this is at least partially true: whenever the Heralds died, they went back to Odium's world, where they would fight against the Voidspren until captured and tortured until they broke. However, Odium currently lives on Braize, also known as Damnation.
  • Everyone is surprised when several Radiants turn out to be working against humanity, or at least at cross-purposes. However, they forget that in one of Dalinar's visions, Nohadon was talking about how the Desolation was so bad because a Surgebinder had caused a war shortly before the Voidbringers returned. "Not all spren are as discerning as honorspren." This was before the Knights Radiant were founded. In other words, without the structure and tradition of the Orders, the Knights of modern times are mostly just ordinary people with special powers, with all the problems and conflicting personalities that implies. The fact that in order to be a Surgebinder you pretty much have to have some kind of trauma or mental illness or both probably doesn't help.
  • It seems odd that Shallan's mental problems would get worse in this book, after she spoke her Truth at the end of the previous one. However, because she spoke the Truth, she could no longer pretend she didn't kill her mother, but she still didn't want to truly confront that part of herself. So instead she loopholed around it by convincing herself that Shallan did it, but Shallan is just another false personality (which was an idea we saw earlier in Words, when she showed Pattern her "true" self). There are a few moments in the book that imply this loophole might be straining her bond, but for the moment, the result is the creation of split personalities.
  • Shallan's third personality, Brightness Radiant, seems to appear a bit suddenly, even considering the fact that Shallan created her on purpose. However, we have seen her before: She was the personality we saw after Shallan killed her father and Tyn. The pragmatic and stone-cold killer who can command a scene and suffer any indignity to make sure her goals are met.
    • It also seems to be heavily based on Shallan's view of Jasnah and her efforts to be more like her. Although the name and personality switch happens suddenly, she has actually spent a great deal of time during the previous two books practicing this personality.
  • While the singers and fused are usually red and dark/Voidlight, Odium himself is usually colored with white and gold, whether as a human or singer, and uses white and gold in visions where he isn't being violent. When Moash kills Jezrien, he did so with a gold and white knife. There is a high probability that this is our first glimpse of rayseium, Odium's godmetal. Likewise, the reason so much of Odium's stuff is red is because that is the color of one Shard using another's power—and Odium does so love corrupting things.
  • In the final chapters when Lopen accidentally swears the Second Ideal he asks why then and is informed that he wasn't ready when he attempted it before. What was different this time? He was cheering up wounded soldiers by doing magic tricks and telling them that there is still hope, "protecting" them from falling into despair when they couldn't do it themselves.
  • Throughout the book, Shallan increasingly becomes just another personality occupying her own mind. There's a very good reason for that. Surgebinders become Surgebinders because they're BrokenAces, and Shallan was broken as a child. Now that she's grown up, she still hasn't gotten over that pain. That means that she still sees herself, possibly on a Spiritual level, as being a scared little girl. Her mind can't process her own Character Development and so even though she's gained new skills and confidence, the only way she knows how to process that change is to create more lies; she's convinced herself that all Shallan can be is a coward. The reason she's not a scared little girl is also the very reason she thinks she is.
  • On a meta level, Odium is a foil to Ruin, the only other Shard we've actively seen who's been in the forefront as a villain. While both employ prophecy, have empowered minions, and notably managed to kill the Shard they were sharing a territory with who opposed them, both differ wildly on implementation, with Odium primarily using methods based on the Cognitive Realm and Ruin being mostly based on the Physical realm.
    • Ruin's own use of prophecy mainly composed of altering existing prophecies to serve his ends, sometimes moment by moment to fit the situation. Odium is noted to be very good at making his own prophecies and sees very far into the future, to the point that predicting the future is actively taboo on Roshar due to how closely it is tied to Odium. They don't even play gambling games that rely on guess the future result of, say dice rolls, because that smacks too much of prophecy, instead playing variants where they guess the numbers after dice have been rolled, since that makes it a past event.
    • In appearance, Odium tends towards gold and white colors, and appears as a gold and/or white clad member of the species he is appearing to. Ruin tends toward black and dark gray, and appears as someone the viewer knows. Odium tries to make the person he is talking to trust and surrender to him with a calming, Affably Evil demeanor while Ruin takes advantage of already-established trust and subverts it to his own ends.
    • Both are a source of Investiture and use their Investiture to power and physically alter certain minions. In this, they are actually very alike, both utilizing corrupted versions of other Shards' Investiture, with many of their minions undergoing noticeable physical changes. With Odium, however, most of these changes are natural parts of his minions biology stemming from changes to their spiritual or Cognitive aspects that trickle down to the Physical Realm. Ruin actively alters and mutilates his minions in the Physical Realm with stolen bits of Spiritual data to alter and add to their Cognitive and Spiritual parts.
    • Speaking of minions, they're even opposed when it comes to their minions' sanity. Odium values sane, physically whole minions because they can act rationally, follow orders, and have sufficient initiative to do what he wants done. Ruin goes for insane minions, whether originally like that or induced to be so from contact with him, because they're easier to control with spikes and won't question doing what a voice in their head tells them to do. Notably, Odium's insane minions tend to be harmless and sit around doing nothing, while capable of fighting if ordered. Ruin's minions are always violently insane, and without his direct control rampage wildly.
    • Both utilize forms of mind control. Odium does it by implanting Physical beings with spren/Cognitive beings aligned to him, and Ruin does it by spiking them with Hemulurgical spikes, physically opening them up to his Cognitive tampering and control. Notably, all of Ruin's forces were in the Physical realm, with him being the only Cognitive presence, while Odium, while having a sizeable force on the Physical Realm, has a significantly more massive force in the Cognitive Realm, and is also able to corrupt and control Cognitive beings.
    • Speaking of mind control, Odium's acts of subversion tend toward deals and pacts that he is completely up front and honest about, and will actually go through with in both spirit and letter. This allows him to take control of populations and essentially conscript whole peoples to his side by subverting their leaders, with eventual trickle down effects. Ruin, however, plays ALL sides. The leaders, the mooks, the rebels AND the heroes. By massive and subtle manipulations, everyone is unknowningly on Ruin's side even as they are impelled to try and destroy everyone else, and even when they think they're opposing him.
    • Before becoming Shards, Ati, Ruin's holder, was noted as being a good man who was corrupted into being the crazy creep that came to destroy Scardrial, and being very honest about it. Rayse, Odium's holder, has apparently ALWAYS been an evil asshole, yet currently presents himself as a friendly, wise and relatable guy... when he's trying to con you into dealing away EVERYTHING to him.
      • This also explains their difference in methods. Ati wasn't evil, he succumbed to the shard impulses, so Ruin was unable to hide them, and he used his powers to impose himself on others and stripe their mind away, just like it happened to him. Rayse, however, wanted it, and got control on his shard, and this is reflected in his subtelty.
    • Notably, there is also their omnicidal end goals. While Odium primarily wants to destroy the heroes and the peoples of Roshar they're defending because accomplishing this gets him out of a pact that keeps him bound to Roshar so he can finally go and start killing other Shards, Ruin wants to commit omnicide as a means in itself, with the implication that after he's killed everyone on Roshar, he's going to destroy the physical planet itself. While fr Odium it is merely the means to an end, for Ruin it is the end in itself.
  • Dalinar's flashback reveals another reason he was so adamant on trusting Sadeas back in the first book: he doubted his loyalty to the crown once already, and as a result he exposed himself to his enemies and unwillingly killed his wife. He didn't remember the details, but that surely left a mark.
  • In this book, we get rough translations for the names of Dalinar and Evi's children. "Adolin" means "Born unto Light", and "Renarin" roughly means "Like one who was born unto himself". By the end of the book, Adolin looks to be on the path to Radiance (or something adjacent to it, at least), and whatever Renarin is going to become, it's clear that it's nothing that's ever existed before and he will have to, so to speak, create himself.
  • Kaladin's short speech to Amaram: "Ten spears go to battle, and nine shatter. Did that war forge the one that remained? No, Amaram. All the war did was identify the spear that would not break." It's intended as a counter to Amaram claiming he "created" Kaladin, but it's also a perfect summary of what happened to the Heralds and Taln. Note that Taln's Honorblade is extremely long and thin, almost like a spear.
  • Adolin being the Badass Normal and only member of the main group without a spren bonded to him actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. He's pretty much the only one in his family, let alone the larger group, who hasn't undergone some horrible, life-breaking trauma that would let him bond with a spren. He's the most sane and stable part of the group and is essentially the rock that everyone else needs to keep themselves grounded. Even without a spren or Surgebinding, Adolin is crucial because he's sane.
  • The Nahel bond requires a human who is "broken" and the damage in their mind to be filled in and healed by a spren. Adolin seems to be bonding with Maya, despite being the Only Sane Man in a whole pile of Dysfunction Junction that is the main cast. How can he be building that sort of bond despite being relatively sane and normal? Because there is a broken person involved in this bond: Maya. It's Adolin who is healing her. After all, it's not explicitly said that the mortal participant of the bond has to be the broken one.

Fridge Horror

    Series as a whole 
  • Darkness was right to kill potential Radiants in order to prevent Desolations. The Return of the Parshendi's old gods happens because Kaladin takes a level in badass and defeats Eshonai to rescue Dalinar. If Eshonai and Dalinar could have talked about ending the war there on the Tower, they would have been able to join together against the Desolation.
  • Early on in Way of Kings, Kaladin nearly kills himself in despair before Syl just barely stops him by returning in time. Later on, we learn that the Nahel bond needed to create Radiants requires people who are deeply broken in some manner. This leaves a worrisome question: just how many potential Radiants killed themselves because their spren wasn't able to find and save them?

    The Way of Kings 
  • If Jasnah's research proves correct that the Parshmen are docile Parshendi, and we know the Parshendi - and, by extension, the Parshmen - have a Borg-style mind connection, all of Roshar is very fucked due to how used people have gotten to having Parshmen servants around to do whatever chores and look after children. In the second book, Jasnah points out that they won't even have to violently rebel (although she assumes that's the plan). All they have to do is walk off the job, and every country's economy would be completely devastated. When the big reveal is made, Shallan notes that there are two Parshmen standing literally within meters of them. That is just how commonplace the Parshmen are. Made even better in Oathbringer where all most parshmen do is walk off the job.
  • In Chapter 48, after cutting herself to mask that she had soulcasted the contents of a goblet into blood, Shallan wakes up in a hospital. In Kharbranth. King Taravangian's hospital. The one that has patients slowly drained of blood so that they are in a state of dying, and speak the Death Rattles. Even if she wasn't at risk, both Shallan and Jasnah were that close to a very large conspiracy.
  • By all appearances, Lin Davar's Soulcaster actually was a fabrial soulcaster, not a prop to hide Surgebinding abilities like Jasnah's (it only seems to have been able to create stone, for one thing). And as we see in later books, using a fabrial Soulcaster gradually transmutes the user into the appropriate Essence. Every time Lin used his Soulcaster to get the money he needed for his schemes, he pushed himself a little closer to becoming stone.

     Words of Radiance 
  • Shinovar has always been protected from the highstorms, so its people and wildlife never evolved to survive them. But in just a few days, the Everstorm is coming, and unlike highstorms, it comes from the west. The mountains will be no protection against it. Shinovar is going to be devastated. There's a smaller (but still pretty darn big) mountain range covering the entire western coast of Shinovar. The Everstorm won't hit them full force (but even a minor hit could do serious damage to a land with no fortifications).
  • How long has Nalan been hunting down and murdering Radiants for whatever crimes he could find them guilty of? How many would-be Radiants who would be needed to fight the Voidbringers has he killed so far? How badly has his pursuit of Surgebinders crippled Roshar's ability to ultimately fight back?
  • The smarter Taravangian becomes, the more fundamentally flawed the plans he creates are, such as it being a good idea if all the less intelligent people killed themselves. The Diagram was created when he was at his most intelligent - right from the beginning, his faction is gambling everything on a critically flawed course of action. Even if his exceptional level of intelligence allowed him to overcome this, he also becomes increasingly less compassionate as he grows smarter. The Diagram was created by him while he was incredibly brilliant, and monstrous.
  • Considering the revelations about Gavilar's goals to bring back the Voidbringers and the Desolation, his line to Szeth claiming that the assassination was too late becomes much more disturbing in hindsight.


Fridge Logic

Alternative Title(s): Words Of Radiance, Oathbringer


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