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YMMV / The Stormlight Archive

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YMMV tropes for the entire Stormlight Archive.

  • Awesome Music: This book series got an officially licensed soundtrack album composed by The Black Piper music group titled "Kaladin". This album manages to convey many of Kaladin's moments in the first two books, particularly "Bridge Four Shield" when Kaladin manages to use his Windrunner abilities to draw the arrows to his shield.
  • Complete Monster: Rayse, the Shardvessel of Odium, presents himself as a kindly father figure, hiding a vicious, insidious tyrant. Intending to rule the Cosmere, Rayse eliminates Shards who could challenge him, one battle turning the planet Threnody into a Death World. Coming to the Rosharan system, Rayse tricks the humans of Ashyn into devastating their own world, which led them conquering Roshar, deposing the native Singers. Recruiting the Singers with promises of revenge, the best become his Fused, warriors who endlessly resurrect in new bodies, killing the original person, less sane each time, with eternal torture for defection or defiance. When Honor seals Rayse on Braize using the Heralds, Rayse tortured the Heralds into releasing him, to wage brutal wars on Roshar that obliterate civilization, until the Heralds could seal him again, a cycle repeated over a dozen times. Sealed away by one Herald enduring torture for 4500 years, Rayse uses his limited influence to kill Honor, and spread wars on Roshar. Returning to start a new war, he frees the Singers from slavery, but forcibly conscripts them, conducting genocide on an independent Singer nation. When Dalinar Kholin negotiates with Rayse, Rayse attempts to forcibly convert Dalinar into freeing him. Rayse claims he is best for Roshar, but only sees the inhabitants as troops "hardened" through his wars, to be unleashed in a mad crusade on the greater Cosmere.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Lopen, a bridgeman of lesser importance, is incredibly popular for his cheery attitude and for providing Plucky Comic Relief, along with his vast amount of family members. Almost every time Lopen appears, he's brought another one of his cousins with him. He even gets to play a major role in Dawnshard.
    • Adolin, the one of Dalinar's sons who does not become a Radiant, has instead become one of fandom's favourites, thanks largely to his personality and the fact that even with his privileged upbringing, he's still an underdog compared to all the blossoming Radiants. It helps he's a premier Badass Normal, too.
    • Lift, after having appeared in just a single interlude chapter, became one of people's favourites thanks to her impish personality and actions throughout her chapter. She went on to star in her own novella and also to play a larger role later in the series.
    • The stick, due to its memorable lines, strong sense of self, and being a massive Mood Whiplash. It even got a “deleted scene” told from its perspective.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Mr. T for Taravangian.
      • Todium for him after he kills Rayse and becomes the new Vessel for the Odium Shard.
    • Song of Secrets for the fourth book prior to its official title being revealed.
    • Yugi Moto for the possible son of Adolin and Shallan, thanks to a Word of God that he'd inherit all of their hair colours.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • It's hard to fully feel sorry for Szeth when he's murdering people in the name of his religion, but it's horrible to see just how disturbed the so-called peaceful philosophy of the Shin actually is, and how it can warp people's minds and actions.
    • Taravangian is a ruthless Chess Master who murders and betrays his way to absolute power for what he considers the greater good, being perfectly willing to start bloody wars and throw entire nations into anarchy if that's what advances his plans. And to make it even worse, it's revealed in Oathbringer that he's not even doing it to defeat Odium. He's doing it to make himself as credible a threat to Odium as possible, so that when he surrenders to him he'll be able to get favourable terms. It's not even utopia that justifies the means for Taravangian, it's just a slightly better sort of dystopia! At the same time, he's a frail old man who knows he's not long for this world, one who's constantly straining against the limitations of his Disability Superpower to do what he thinks needs to be done, and who spends half the time afflicted with crippling guilt at the horrible things he can remember doing but can't remember why he did. It's hard to decide whether you want to punch him or give him a hug.
    • Elhokar is a mix between a Pointy-Haired Boss and a Spoiled Brat and causes endless harm and trouble through his petulance and incompetence. The kicker, as revealed towards the end of Words of Radiance? He's aware of it. He's trying to be a good king, but no matter what he does, it turns out to be the wrong thing. He tries to trust his advisors, it turns out that they're misleading him. He tries to ignore his advisors and go with his gut, it turns out his gut is wrong. He tries to be firm, innocents suffer. He tries to be lenient, the guilty run amuck. Meanwhile, he sees people like Dalinar and Kaladin inexplicably managing to make it work, even though he can't figure out what they're doing differently than him. He's still an awful king and an unpleasant person, but man, being born heir to the throne turned out to be Blessed with Suck for him in a big way.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Kaladin is shipped with almost every member of the cast, with the biggest ships being Kaladin/Shallan, Kaladin/Jasnah, Kaladin/Syl, Kaladin/Adolin, Kaladin/Shallan/Adolin, Kaladin/Tarah, Kaladin/Leshwi, and Kaladin/happiness.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Torol Sadeas is a blatantly evil scumbag who is quite well regarded as a villain in the fandom, thanks to being a well executed Starter Villain. He manages to be a loathsome Smug Snake, while also getting notably humanized, giving him nuance and making him quite compelling, plus being both a legitimate threat and a Big Bad Wannabe who doesn't overstay his welcome. Not to mention being a very good demonstration of everything wrong with Alethi society.
    • Moash is widely hated by the fandom for his actions in the series, to the point of there being subreddit dedicated to hating him, aptly titled "r/fuckmoash." At the same time, he is also regarded as one of the best villains Sanderson has ever made due being legitimately dangerous, as well as having an engaging character arc. His arc is particularly notable, for both humanizing him while also making him easier to root against, as you see the process of him making all the wrong decisions and become something truly repugnant.
  • Memetic Badass: Taln (Talenel'Elin) has developed into one in the fandom, due to him enduring 4500 years of torture. It's a common theory that Taln didn't actually get captured or tortured, but instead spent multiple millennia just fighting the Fused on Braize, essentially being the Stormlight version of Doomguy. Later on, it's even revealed that he did not break, and that Odium was forced to find another way to begin the Desolation, and these comparisons skyrocketed.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, wore white on the day he was to kill a king. Explanation
    • Fuck Moash. Explanation
    • I, Adolin Kholin, have shat myself in my Shardplate. Three times, all on purpose. Explanation
    • "I am a stick." "But you could be fire." Explanation
      • You're Evi, but you could be fire Explanation (spoilers)
    • NO MATING! Explanation
    • NSFV / Not Safe For Vorin Explanation
    • Die Hard Explanation (spoilers)
    • Spaceship Urithiru Explanation (spoilers)
    • Parshallan Explanation (spoilers)
    • "These words are accepted."Explanation
    • Singer FurriesExplanation (spoilers)
  • Signature Scene:
    • Pretty much the entirety of the first chapter of Way of Kings - which includes the iconic introduction of Szeth and the magic system of the world, and a bombastic combat scene that establishes the powers of Shardblades and Shardplates, and finally Gavilar's cryptic last words.
    • Any scene where a character swears an Oath.
    • Kaladin at the Honorchasm.
    • Kaladin jumping into the arena to help Adolin in Words of Radiance, with the badass line "Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do."
    • Dalinar standing up to Odium in Oathbringer, also with the badass line "You cannot have my pain".
  • Trans Audience Interpretation: Lighter than others, but in Oathbringer, the character Lyn makes her debut, a would-be Windrunner squire that Syl mistakes as being a bridgeman, whom Kaladin allows into the Windrunners and who eventually does become a fully-fledged Windrunner. Several members of the trans community saw her as a trans symbol, being a woman with traditionally masculine interests, and some even interpreted her as a transgender man pre-transition. However, when Rhythm of War was released, this interpretation seems to have died down significantly, as after bonding with a Windspren, Lyn did not transition and remained female, as opposed to the Reshi King Ral-na in Dawnshard who identified as male and later fully transitioned on bonding with an ashspren.
  • The Woobie: Several characters have this at times, particularly Kaladin and Dalinar and especially Shallan once you learn more about her backstory.
    • This is actually a sort of soft requirement to become Radiant, with the idea being that only someone whose soul has been "cracked" by trauma can form a bond with a Spren, which forms through those cracks and makes both the Radiant and their spren stronger. However, it's implied as the series goes on that this is an incomplete at best understanding both in-universe and out, as demonstrated in Dawnshard, when Huio swears the Third Ideal of the Windrunners, something that nearly tore Kaladin apart, by affirming that "protecting everyone" includes his annoying and sometimes hurtful cousin Lopen.