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Stormlight Cast - Kholins

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Character reference sheet for the Kholins and friends. Now you see what a bore Dalinar is by forcing all the men to wear uniforms 24/7 24/5 when all the girls get to wear pretty dresses with jewels and braids. I originally thought the havah was an overly complicated, fussy dress but after drawing them multiple times in multiple designs I've come to like their elegance and visual sleekness.

Super large res for people who like collecting images or inspecting details:


And for those unrepentant self-indulgent people (sadly including me on occasion) who like this kind of stuff -



Would AU Kaladin own the Bridge Four t-shirt and the slave brands beanie from the Sanderson store? Who knows.

And now you see why Shallan thinks all Alethi are huge. The Kholins' average height is higher than the national average in my country.

The more times I draw a character, the more they evolve as I get a firmer grasp of how the written description translates to a picture that evokes the character traits and impressions of their personality that stood out most to me. When a character doesn't have viewpoints then I have to rely on other characters' relationship with them, and the occasional physical description that only comes in a line at a time. Renarin and Navani are hard for me for this reason, Renarin especially since he just fades into the background. And I don't think there's even a description of Salinor's blade that Adolin won in a duel and gave to Renarin.




Thanks, I realised afterwards that I forgot Elhokar but his character annoyed me so much during reading that I couldn't do a drawing of him proper justice. He'd probably have a unibrow, humpback, crossed eyes and stink lines due to my frustration with him.


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This is great.


I wonder why most people draw Renarin was being so much smaller than Adolin though... They have the same parents and all Kholin men are tall, why would Renarin be shorter?


BTW, not a critic, I'm just wondering...


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He becomes slightly acceptable at the end of WoR but then I reread WoK again and I'm just like 'ugh'.  When he develops enough to be honest with himself while sober I will like him more.



Pattern? What are you planning? Why are you so sinister?

He's just looking at Jasnah's bum.  Maybe he wonders why people bother to wear clothes since everyone knows what a bum looks like.




Roshar has only 20 hours/day

Thanks, I remembered that the hours had fewer minutes and the years had more days, but I couldn't recall if there were fewer hours in a day.  20/5 doesn't sound quite that cool, sadly.




why would Renarin be shorter?

Fair enough question.  In my personal interpretation, I put him at ~180cm while Adolin and Dalinar are 184/185cm.  My reasoning was that he probably didn't eat as much or get as much exercise as he ought to, due to a sickly childhood and the awkwardness of glasses (reading is fine in glasses, try running and you get a dizzy headache from the frames bouncing up and down on your nose).  I imagined that if Dalinar asked everyone about their day at the dinner table in the proper dad way, Renarin would finish quickly and leave while Adolin would just shrug and clear all the plates and talk about heroic things that happened with a mouth full of chicken.


180cm is still tall, taller than average in most countries.  And Renarin is still young enough that there's potential for more growth, especially since

he healed himself

.  But when all the people around him are curvy Alethi women or fit soldiers I think most people draw Renarin much shorter as shorthand (hah) to show how he is less physically imposing than the rest of the cast.


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Does exercising impact physical growth (I have no idea)? After all, the tall, thin and not too athletic guys do exist. His lack of physical exercise would probably make him slender, which is exactly how Kaladin describe him: "his slender limbs".


His height however is never mentioned or his eyes or his hair ever were properly described... Again not a critic, I actually love discussion characters physical description. I think it fun to compare our personal imagery.


In my head, Adolin is the family's garbage can... Licking up his plate, taking a second serving and finishing up his relative's plates while still managing to be hungry again two hours later... Somehow, in my head, Adolin eats A LOT. I always imagined the kitchen crew knew him very, very well, always keeping food away for him, in the evening, expecting him to come strolling near them, in the evening.


I do picture Renarin as a picky and a small eater as well.


FYI, I too tend to picture Renarin as shorter than Adolin: the tall lean guy frame, much like Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory, but about an inch shorter than Adolin.


I also picture Dalinar as being very massive, tall and large, like a bull.


I like your Kaladin and your Shallan.


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I looked it up and Google is filled with all sorts of urban myths and personal anecdotes about exercise and height.  Stretching exercises and swimming may let you grow taller, but mostly it's genetics and diet.  And Renarin can't have the best genetics since he does have the blood sickness.  I don't know how they treat symptoms of epilepsy in Alethkar, but it wouldn't be too farfetched to imagine that Renarin was sent to bed with lukewarm soup and other plain foods that are purposefully unexciting in order not to trigger fits.


And you're right, there are few physical descriptions of Renarin and he doesn't have any viewpoint chapters, which is why I dislike drawing him.  I haven't gotten a feel for his personality and what analysis there is on his character is mostly presumption and reading very deeply into a few throwaway lines.   I feel like I'm throwing darts in the dark when I try to pin my impression of him to paper.  So far I've drawn him skinnier and less conventionally attractive than Adolin, paler skintone on the same level of the female characters because he is an indoors person, and boyish aesthetic rather than manly.  He also avoids eye contact and physical contact with non-family members.  Also he probably tried women's food when no one was looking and liked it.


Adolin eating a lot is not really that surprising.  He spends every day either in or preparing for battle or duels.  That kind of daily workout would make him the equivalent of a professional athlete.  He'd probably happily eat chouta and after being told what it's made from, he'd just shrug and keep eating. 


My character designs for Kaladin and Shallan took a lot of evolving.  The first drawings of them look weird to me now, like watching the first season of The Simpsons and wondering what's wrong with their faces.  There are certain elements that I think are most important for conveying their character.  For Shallan it's rounded lines in her face and hair to represent the "blossoms and cake" that everyone thinks she is.  As for Kaladin, he's allergic to smiles. 


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Oddly, enough I have read too intense physical training during childhood and teenage-hood can impact physical growth which do explain why many high level athletes who reach their peak in their teens are so... short...


If anything, Adolin's intense training since early childhood could have caused him to loose an inch or two! Now I am, of course, grabbing at straws, but I thought it was a fun fact to add.


I googled a bit (hardly a valid reference, but better than nothing) and it doesn't look as of autism impacts height. It can impact weight as those children tend to be picky eaters and seizure would be a serious limiting factor into growing any kind of muscular frame.


Height though? I am not so sure... I wish Brandon would give us a clue here into the next book. 


I agree Renarin isn't a very fleshed out characters and many discussions on him are truly grabbing at straws based on impressions tightly linked to classic tropes. He is socially awkward, the second physically sick son: he has to be bookish adnd extremely smart even thought there is little evidence of both in books.


This being said, nearly all of my character analysis I do for Adolin are me grabbing at straws and reading more than intended on a few lines. The author likely didn't even think of the character in such deepen way.


I can't fault the Renarin fans for trying to built up a rounder character based on what little clues they have.


I personally picture Renarin as looking younger than his years, more like a teenager than a young man. He is lean, tall and elongated. He isn't ugly, but he isn't handsome either. He favors more Dalinar than his mother in terms of physical appearance.


However, I picture him as darker skinned than Adolin mostly because Adolin is a golden head... Blond people tend to have lighter skin tones and books emphasis on how Adolin physically resemble his mother who was, presumably, white. Adolin sure got a tan from being outside so often, but even under the sun, blond people don't get overly dark, so Renarin still is darker as he has a "purer" Alethi look.


In my head, Adolin gets sunburns more easily than the average Alethi.


Kaladin has the darkest skin tones, still in my mind.


Agree about Adolin's eating habit: eats anything as long as it is called food.


I like your Shallan, she truly has the "foreign unsophisticated look" you expect out of her. Alethi are supposed to be tall, curvy and perfect while Shallan is shorter, slimmer with freckles, frazzled red hair.


I don't picture Kaladin as particularly handsome nor ugly, just normal looking. The kind of guy some women would find pleasing to the eyes due to his roughness and unkempt appearance, but others wouldn't. He certainly never smiles and he doesn't care much for his physical look. He tries to appear "clean", but he doesn't understand how the way you physically present yourself may do wonders for you.


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I think it's weightlifting that's bad for you at a young age.  It's not good to compress a growing skeleton.  Renarin mentioned that Adolin started training at age 6, but I don't think Alethi military training really involves weightlifting.  For lighteyed kids it's probably just whacking dummies with wooden swords.  If Shardbearers do weight training, then Adolin inheriting his mother's Plate at age 16 wouldn't have stunted him that much.  The real question is how Kaladin is so freakishly tall when his family is presumably on the short end of average and he was in Amaram's army during his developing years.  Is it unconscious Stormlight infusion, like how greatshells get so big?


It's kind of frustrating how little canonised physical description of Renarin there is.  He's skinny with glasses, and that's about it.  I'm pretty sure his hair colour isn't mentioned, but everyone draws it the same way because he isn't described as blond like Adolin so he must be dark haired and follows mysterious Roshar Yu-Gi-Oh genetics. I really only have a generic picture of Renarin in my head.


Rough sketch, I don't feel like I know the character well enough.  But I drew him with monolid eyes and he kind of reminded me of the kind of nerdy kid who likes Pokemon cards and hides in his room when his older brother invites girls over.



He was never hit hard with the puberty stick so he doesn't have a deep voice like Dalinar; he has soft features instead of angular ones which is why Kaladin forgets that he is only a year younger and treats him like one of those teenage boys he needs to protect.  Kaladin judges Adolin for his expensive boots, but overlooks Renarin wearing glasses doing exercises in the arena and jumping off roofs.  In Kal's childhood, glasses were the most expensive item his dad owned next to the jar of diamonds.  Lirin never even took the glasses outdoors.


To me, Renarin is the type of person who doesn't like sitting for pictures and turns his face away if you try to look straight into his eyes.  He has hair in a longer fashionable cut that is definitely not military regulation, but he gets away with it because everyone in his family spoils him and lets him be play at being a soldier even though he is completely unsuited for it.


I always thought that because Adolin and Renarin had the same parents, they'd have the same skintone.   But Adolin is outdoors a lot whilst Renarin stays at home so Adolin is tanned.  Renarin's skin colour is the same as noble women who have slaves to carry palanquins and umbrellas.  But who knows how Rosharan genetics work, maybe Iriali have metallic shiny skin along with their metallic shiny hair and the Kholin brothers sparkle like Edward Cullen in the right light.


To me, Alethi noblewomen are supposed to be elegant, reserved and competent.  They all have perfect posture and glide along, while Shallan is energetic and bouncy.  And Alethi brightnesses all have perfectly shaped and arched eyebrows.  It's such a small and insignificant detail, but perfect eyebrows say a lot about a person.


Kaladin has the type of hardboiled cynic personality that generates permastubble an hour after shaving, if he was a police detective in another sort of novel.   He can grow a beard at age 19 (that's pretty rare, most Polynesians/Asian men at that age can only grow the neckbeard and the soulpatch) and never cares about his appearance, so I'm surprised every single depiction of him post-slavery has him clean-shaven.  And he has the same kind of scary eyes that Dalinar has.  If he was looking in your direction, you'd glance from side to side to reassure yourself that he wasn't staring at you.


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I wish we knew more on how young lighteyes are being trained. Adolin likely started up making forms with a wooden sword, but by the time he was 16, he was good enough to win himself a Blade. He was likely trained with real weapons before that age. It'd be interesting to find out how the kids are tutored by the Ardents, precisely. I had wonder if owning a Plate at 16 impact some of his growth (not height but strength). I mean, do you grow as strong while wearing a Plate as you would if you weren't? The greater majority of lighteyes don't become shardbearer while in their teens...


Kaladin being so freaking tall is an oddity. All his family are small and physically unimpressive. People have asked Brandon if Kaladin truly was Lirin's son and the answer was yes, he is. I would need to re-check WoK to see if Kaladin has always been tall or if he growth occurred mostly while he was away... I however have lent my book.


I agree about Renarin. While his hair color is never mentioned, Brandon stated through WoB he didn't inherit as much of the blond as Adolin. I thus take it his hair are mostly black, especially since nobody ever comments on the while every single 3rd person observer mentions the fact Adolin has golden hair. They way the books are written, Adolin's hair do stand out and aren't common or standard sight.


I actually like your depiction of Renarin. The hair are about how I imagined them, mostly black with a few blond locks.


As for voice, I'd like to point out Adolin has to lower his tone in order to mimic his father's graver voice when he pretends to be him in front of Eshonai. I have take it as a clue Dalinar has a more massive rib cage which grants him a deeper voice than at least Adolin and quite probably Renarin as well. 


I agree Kaladin does take a liking to Renarin due to him physically seeming as a helpless teenager, even though he is practically as old as him. I suspect people dismiss Renairn mostly because of his attitude, his behavior: he acts younger than his years and he is physically unfit, but from up close, you get it he isn't 15 years old anymore. 


Good pun on Renarin's glasses, I never made the link... I'd say Kaladin sees what he wants to see. Adolin is a groomed prince, the living embodiment of all he hates so, of course, he naturally focus on every single aspect serving to confirm his initial perception: buttons, boots. Renarin though gets a free pass due to him physic. 


It is a valid point to wonder why Kaladin never commented on the pricey glasses.


Hmmm I tend to imagine Renarin would be more likely to arbor the military hair cut due to his desire to be a soldier. He can't, but he wants to look the part. His hair could work both ways for me, but in my head, Adolin has the "rebellious" hair do, not Renarin. I do agree he probably gets away with many things due to him being the youngest and sick: I have commented on that into several threads. It is hard to truly have the right impression. On one side, he is a character which arguably "broke" due to his incapacity to fit in which many readers interpreted as him having been bullied, in a way. On the other side, Dalinar indulge in him, giving him Shards and basically letting have his way about everything, though it never seems this way because Renarin as such low self-esteem, you figure he should be given his way into everything just to help him feel good. A hard one to nail, I'd say.


As for skin tones, I always took Adolin was the lightest skinned because he inherited his mother's physics. He isn't as tall as his father, he is blond, he is handsome while Dalinar isn't...  being fair haired imply paler skin... but mix with Alethi, I'd say something like beach bum, darker than Shallan, but lighter than Dalinar. Renarin sits in between simply because his hair are dark, but perhaps the lack of sun levels it up.


Sparkling Kholins, love it, but someone would have commented on it.


I didn't get most Alethi women were reserved, they seemed more like precious prissy divas who liked to be taken for smart, even if they aren't... Shallan has a sharp tongue, talks frankly and doesn't try to lower everyone just to make herself appear smarter. I got the feeling many of Adolin's previous date had this bad habit, but then again, I can't correlate this to the entire populace. Shallan is an oddity though while Jasnah/Navani are more reserve, in a general manner.


I too tend to picture Kaladin as having a lot of beard, but the again I also tend to picture most Alethi as practically hair less..... So I am contradicting myself here. The bridgemen have all taken the habit to shave daily, so it is likely why Kaladin always seem clean-shaved. Beards aren't in a fashion on Alethkar it seems. However, in the case of beards and Alethi, Brandon also said Native were a good comparison point. My family is half-native and my father, who retains much of the traditional look, could grow a beard in his teens....... So Alethi being able to grow beards doesn't quite clash the ethnicity or I don't think it does.


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Zahel said that young lighteyes start training at around ten years old, and at that point they'd be too small to fit Shardplate assuming Plate can't shrink down to child size. Maybe there were petite women Radiants with Plate, who knows. But seeing what Zahel ordered Renarin and Kaladin to do, it wouldn't be hard to assume that it was a lot of karate kid wax on-wax off menial tasks until a kid was serious about learning. Adolin starting at 6 is unusual since Amaram said city lighteyes can start as early as 8 or 9 when Tien got conscripted. It's pretty crazy how skilled Adolin is. Even Dalinar got Oathbringer at 20. Most of the guys in camp Adolin's age are half bearers and must be sour about Renarin having a full set he never uses. Plate enhances your natural strength like cyborg arms. I wouldn't think it would stunt you unless you wore it all day and all night and forgot what your natural state was like.

Kal started growing at age 14 and was taller than his parents by 15. I know he is the default favourite character for most people but there are certain traits about him that make me want to smack him. He is chronically nearsighted, and as you say, he sees what he wants to see. Adolin has nice clothes. In fact, all of the Kholins have nice clothes - or dress appropriately for their rank, and presumably pay their tailors well and treat them fairly, but Kaladin gets tunnel vision on Adolin particularly. He seems to have forgotten that when Wistiow was still alive and his family were the richest darkeyes in town, he and Tien were the ones with nice new clothes and all the other farmer boys in the flashback chapter where he holds a staff for the first time had patched up work pants. This same nearsightedness is why Moash got away with bad things.

In my opinion, a lighteyes and son of a highprince who got the military haircut would be rebellious. In the warcamps the darkeyes in all armies crop their hair for practical reasons but the lighteye officers only want to party and have fun, so grow their hair long, like Sadeas and his long curls. The default haircut for high ranking brightlords like Jakamav and Elit would be fashionable and styled, and they would think Dalinar's military crop shows what a boring, stodgy old man he is. Anyone high ranking who got the haircut would be tacitly in support of Dalinar's Codes. My interpretation is that Renarin does not rock the boat and settles on something in between that is not military regulation but still combed neatly and trimmed regularly. Maybe he lets Rock trim his hair after he joins Bridge Four. But no one expects him to get his hair cut military short after he gets Shards and "joins" the Kholin army. Same way they comment on him bonding a Shardblade but never see him summon it for weeks at a time, and no one asks him or orders him to practice with it. Dalinar is afflicted with nearsightedness too, it seems.

I would say that in public, it's expected that Alethi women should present themselves to be elegant and refined, just like Vorin codes expect the men should be dignified and honourable. Of course they're squabbling, passive aggressive hens when not in public. But when I draw them, I want the average Brightness's courtly formalness to contrast to Shallan's open friendliness.

If Alethi can grow beards at a young age and Kaladin probably had to start shaving more than once a week at age 18, does this mean that Renarin can grow a beard? I think beards are not too fashionable because they're associated with ardents and the church isn't so popular. Or associated with the working class since poor people can't afford razors and only bathe once a week or whenever there's a highstorm.


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I suspect 16 years old is about the youngest you can be and get to wear Plate. As for Adolin, I think he is skilled, but he also worked much harder than everyone else to hone it. He trained to be a duelist while Dalinar trained to simply be a soldier. Adolin also was luckly to inherit a Plate at 16: without it he would have never gotten the chance to win his Blade at such a young age. I'd also point out while Dalinar got Oathbringer at 20, Sadeas, a skilled swordsman, never managed to win himself a Blade.


Earning a Blade through other means than heritage is not common and is hard. I do think seeing Adolin win so many while being so young warped our perceptions. 


As for the Plate, if you only fence while wearing it, wouldn't it impact your ability to yield a Blade without it? I do not know, but I have asked myself.


Kaladin may be the default favorite character, but he isn't my favorite character. Flaws in a character are supposed to help the audience to root for him more, but it doesn't work for me with Kaladin: they only make me more irritated with him. I just don't find him endearing nor sympathetic which I am ashamed to say as I feel I am supposed to feel this way towards him, but he is so infuriating at times. This being said, he compensated in other ways and he still remains a good character, but he isn't the one I wish to read the most about. Oddly and strangely. 


I agree he sees only what he wants to see. He wants to see a spoiled child when he meets Adolin, so he focuses on every aspect of his personality giving him confirmation while ignoring the others. He also disregard the fact he has been given a privilege, in the past, and while it was taken away from him, he still acts as if the world owed him, in a way. This is very odd. Kaladin had such a terrible past, but at the same time, he's had such an upscale tutoring.


Interesting take on the lighteyes versus the military haircut. I had always assume Adolin was defying his father by harboring his messy hair do as I have always suspect Dalinar would have prefer something more... clean looking. Though, being Dalinar, he allowed his son to get away with it. This however is seen from Dalinar's point of view, other lighteyes may have had a different take.


My understanding of Renarin is he would indeed choose something standard in terms of hair cut, not fashionable like Adolin, but average. I picture him as the kind of person who doesn't care much about his physical appearance. As a result, if the military hair cut isn't common for high ranked lighteyes, then yes he wouldn't wear it or perhaps he would to mimic his father. It is a hard one to gauge, but I am quite sure Renarin doesn't have a trendy hair do.


Oh yes I agree about the Alethi women: they are poised and elegant which makes Shallan feels like the ugly little duckling, which she isn't, but her physic isn't quite what is considered "the perfect Alethi look". Shallan does, in my mind, appear bouncy. Most men would find her cute, but not mouth gaping beautiful such as Jasnah. They would think Shallan has something special going on, a bit like the girl next door, but she isn't the drop-dead gorgeous type.


Well, of course Renarin can grow a beard: he is 19 going on 20. I expect a man that age to be able to grow a beard, even if it isn't completely full. Some men won't get their full beard until their mid-twenties, but the majority do start shaving into their teens. At 22, my husband had 3 chest hair and holes into his beard. He had to wait for his mid-twenties to get more hair, but even then, he isn't a hairy man (light haired). So I'd say Renarin definitely has hair. The fact he looks and carries himself like a teenager doesn't change the fact he isn't one. So yes, I expect he shaves daily like most men his age, especially since he mostly is dark haired. In a general manner, light haired people tend to grow hair at a slower rate.


I expect Kaladin is shaving daily. Most people appear to be clean shaven, except the bridgemen mostly because they gave up. It is the one thing Kaladin start doing with them: forcing them to shave such as they could more out of their torpor. 


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Yes, now that I think about it, it's pretty strange that Sadeas never won a Blade even though he was around the same skill level of Gavilar and Dalinar, who were both full Shardbearers.  Dalinar even won a second set of Shards for Elhokar, so that Gavilar's set could be used for training.  I suspect it's because winning a Blade is a matter of what you have to wager and how you cultivate your reputation.  Duels for Shards are relatively rare, as most people fight to settle an argument or raise their duelling score.  Only half bearers would duel for Shards, and only those willing to risk their own for the wager.  So you can't win a Shard unless you have a Shard already - but possibly there are people willing to bet their entire family estates on a duel, though this would be very very unusual since Shards are considered priceless.   Sadeas was either not willing to risk his Plate, or everyone was afraid of his reputation after he duelled and killed Yenev.   Seeing Adolin win 5 (or 6?) Shards in a two month period would be considered unprecendented, probably because most people wager 1:1 and stop immediately after become a full Bearer, since it instantly raises you to Fourth Dahn.

Adolin has a Shardblade, but he also carries a sidesword outside the arena.  I don't think he would carry it unless he knew how to use it.  When you think about it, there are 100 000 soldiers on the Shattered Plains, and if 5% of them are lighteyed officers, that's still 5 000 people.  There are only 3 shards (out of the ~30 Shardbearers from the ten princely houses) publicly available for training, Gavilar and Elhokar's Plate, and Gavilar's Blade.  Even if they had people rotating all day and training at night by spherelight, there still wouldn't be enough Shards to go around to train people.  So I think the most efficient thiing to do is for people to practice fencing outside of Blade and Plate with sideswords and only let the capable (or well connected) people graduate to Shard practice.  Adolin probably trained with a sidesword before he was tall and strong enough for Plate and Blade. 


As a side note, I draw the sideswords as the metre long cavalry sabres used in the Napoleonic wars.  It goes with the Kholin army uniforms, which follow a similar Napoleonic aesthetic.  Dalinar has a plain steel sidesword, and Adolin has one with a gold engraved hilt and decorative tassels.



Ugh, Kaladin.  A lot of people find his struggles make him relatable and human, but sometimes the really face-palm worthy things he does are almost contrived blindness for plot advancement purposes.  Amaram is a bad guy, I must kill him!  Moash is a good guy, I won't report him!  Dalinar is a lighteyes, I won't trust him!  If he had Adolin's character alignment judging skills, the Third Ideal would have been spoken by page 500.  I also think that a main reason for why he is so angry and fixated with his slavery (and why the brands won't heal) happened during the 8 months where he escaped multiple times and got recaptured.  But they were only glossed over in Part 1 of WoK when he was in the slave wagon, so to many people the constant saltiness seems like him being a primadonna.

I found one of the few description lines for Renarin in WoK, from the chasmfiend hunt scene.


"As usual, the younger Kholin rode with a straight back and perfect posture, eyes hidden behind his spectacles, a model of propriety and solemnity".



Propriety: (n.) conformity to the prevailing standard of behaviour, speech, etc

So maybe he goes to the fashionable hairdresser for lighteyes and gets the plainest style they have, which is still fancy relative to the darkeye military barbers but nothing compared to Sadeas's shoulder length hair or Aladar's styled mustache.   He wouldn't pay attention to fashion folios as Adolin does, but he still cares enough about what is appropriate for his rank as well as the Codes of War to make sure his clothes are clean and pressed and his hair is combed but not styled with wax or scented oils.  From what I recall of the people I know, most of the 19-20 year olds got away with shaving once every 3 days, and it was just clearing up patches of wispy fuzz on the cheeks and a scattering of proper beard hairs on chin and mustache.   I would hesitate to call that a beard, it's more like face moss.

I find it slightly amusing that Shallan thinks she's plain and very strange looking, and too skinny and flat to be pretty.  The Bridge Four bodyguards think she's attractive and seems more approachable than the cold and aloof Alethi ladies; only Kaladin disagrees because lighteyes can't be attractive.  Adolin probably thinks she's endearingly small and cute and spoonable if he allowed himself to imagine physical contact more intimate than touching her freehand.   It's straight out of a teen romance novel.

"Why do you even like me, Adolin?  I'm not hot like you, I don't deserve you. :("

"But Shallan, you're beautiful!!!!"

"A-am I?"


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Jakamav is also described as "one of the best duelist in camp". Adolin explains he would have won himself a Blade a long time ago, had he been allowed to wager his Plate. I take it most lighteyes aren't willing to bet on their Plate while dueling which is likely why Sadeas never won himself one despite being qualified, by none other than Dalinar, as a very skilled swordsman. 


Gavilar likely inherit the Kholin's family set of Shards. Dalinar seems to have won his during battle, but this is still RAFO. He talks in the excerpt on how he does not need Shards to be effective: I read the passage as a reaction towards probably seeing his older brother being bestowed their father's set. I suspect very few Shards pass hand through dueling: Adolin states years can go by without anyone fighting for them.


It is why it is pretty extraordinary Adolin won his at 16 years old. He was basically just a kid, not fully grown yet, barely trained with his Plate and yet he took on a more experienced fighter. From what we could gather Adolin was more or less bullied into accepting the duel when Talanvar publicly insulted his father. My understanding is the guy wanted a Plate and Adolin's was the easiest to obtain: a fopish talkative kid with an indecent hair cut, how good can he possibly be? Nobody took him seriously, nobody thought he would amount to much and yet he won... but they still dismiss him. My thoughts are Gavilar was killed not long after thus removing Adolin from the dueling championship to honor his father's codes. That duel basically was the only one of import he ever fought and as years went by, most duelists ended up thinking he just got lucky, until recently. Now, I bet they all fear him. He has not been making any friends recently.


I had wonder how young the youngest full Rhysadium riding full Shardbearer ever was in Alethkar's history? I suspect Adolin, the wonder child, is not far from the record.


I don't recall Adolin carrying his side sword in the arena... He mostly wears it for look during official feasts, but we have yet to see him use it. It is obvious he was trained with it prior to winning his Blade, but he won his Blade at such a young age, he can't possibly have had that many years in between being strong enough for real weapons and winning his Plate to truly have an extensive experience with it. I had wonder how he would fare shall he be stripped from his Shards... I bet killing enemy soldiers has a very different feel when you aren't supernaturally hacking through them like butter with a magic sword.


The King's Shards are made available for anyone to use, but it could be Highprinces and other Brightlords allow their highest ranked member to train with theirs. Princes are probably all trained to use Shards in preparation for when they will receive their set. Adolin just got his before Dalinar could train him.


I like the swords, but I somehow imagined Medieval two handed swords to go with the forms which all seem to require two hands... It could be they have several swords, a long sword wouldn't be convenient to wear as a side sword. How engraved and fancy do you think Adolin's knife was? You know the one he used to kill Sadeas...


For what I could gathered, Kaladin is either a hit or miss character. Those who are sympathetic to depression and similar-like illness are generally drawn to him and find his struggles beautiful. Those who, for one reason or another, find the constant up and down linked to depression tedious to read or hard to comprehend are likely unnerved by him. For some, his action scenes are enough to make them forget the bouts they liked less, but for others it isn't. For my part, while I agree it is great Brandon saw fit to portray a depressive character as a hero and while it likely is a realistic portrayal, it isn't exactly something I wish to read over and over again into several books. I like Kaladin, but I wish the next book would focus less on his inner struggles/depression. 


Adolin certainly has good judging skills but I doubt he would manage to pull off being a Windrunner... He just can't be honor above all. I think we shouldn't get too hasty in thinking Adolin would have figured it out sooner... broken down Adolin may have his own set of struggles to go through. Kaladin somehow needed to face his nemesis to start letting go of his anger. I think Kaladin sees himself as a slave because he feels he deserved the punishment for failing his squad. As long as he won't be able to accept he isn't responsible for every single bad thing happening to those he perceived as "his people", the scar will remain.


Good catch on Renarin. It does fit to have him play it safe, try to dissect what social conventions want of him and apply them to the letter. I could see him asking the barber to cut his hair to the mm.


I asked my husband, he says he didn't indeed shave every day at 19-20, though he arguably had much more than a few hair on his chin... What you describes sound more like 15-16 years old, but huh I am not an expert on male facial hair.


Shallan strikes to me as a very typical teenage girl or woman for that matters: no matter how pretty she is, she still finds way to think of herself in unflattering terms. She worries if she should lightweave herself to make her breast look bigger or if she should braid her hair according the latest fashion: which girl hasn't thought the same at one moment or another in her life? It was brilliant of Brandon to include in the story. I love Shallan for these moments.


I am not sure Adolin is able to think of any woman as spoonable... I am not sure he has ever thought of what comes next. Alethi are so prude, I wouldn't be surprise to find out their huh education is rather lacking in those things. 


It could also go both ways....


"Why would you even want to be with me? I have nothing to offer to you but shame."

"A lie."


They are adorable even if straight out of a teen novel.


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A 16 year old full Shardbearer...Sadeas is jealous and for good reason, and maybe that is why he enjoys trolling Adolin so much, not just because he has beef with Dalinar.  It makes me wonder about the exact legal status of Shards in Roshar - are they owned by the individual, or the family?  And obviously there's some governmental control on Shard ownership, since selling one to a foreigner counts as treason.   It's a good thing Blades and Plates all have unique shapes, because otherwise a duel loser would be tempted to stab the winner in the dark and take the Shards back.  

Adolin doesn't use a sidesword in the arena for practice or duels, because there's no point in fighting a Shardbearer opponent with a sidesword.  He, Dalinar, Renarin and every other high ranking lighteyes carries sideswords as their "casual dress" during the day, outside of battle.   Adolin wore his on the zoo date with Shallan; Dalinar had his when Szeth busted through the wall in WoR assassination attempt, but ignored it and used a spear instead.   If Adolin were to lose his own Plate and Blade, I honestly think that other Shardbearers in the Kholin army would offer to give back the Plate and Blades that Adolin won in duels.  Renarin would give back his dead blade.  They wouldn't have the same sentimental value as his mother's Plate and his Edgedancer Blade, but WoB has said that Shards will gradually shift themselves to fit their owners better so there would be no physical difference in the end.  Not letting the best fighter in Alethkar fight is like throwing an ace in the rubbish bin.   But then again, when plot induced stupidity strikes, no one is safe.

Longswords are too long and heavy to carry around all day.  A sabre is around 1m (3') long from tip to pommel, and a long sword would be over 1.3m long (4'+).  It would drag on the ground unless you wear your belt at your armpits or use a baldric to carry it over your back.   The Alethi Codes of War picture from WoK has what looks longswords on the top corners, so I would imagine that these types of swords are considered old fashioned and unfashionable to the modern Alethi.   The ancient Alethi were also unfamiliar with horses, so longswords like this would be unwieldy on horseback compared to the cavalry sabre.




I'm not sure how sideknife protocol works and if you aren't supposed to wear one if you are wearing your sidesword, or if you wear both, one on either side of your belt.


Here is how I designed sideknives:  top one is standard lighteyes, stabbing dagger based on historical naval officers' dirks.  Bottom one is standard darkeyes, the one Kaladin has, mixed utility-combat knife that I designed as a longer version of the traditional Finnish woodsman's knife.

Here's what I have on sideknives.  It's a good thing I have an eReader and can just search by keywords.

From WoR, chapter 50, when they find mysterious glyphs scratched on the wall:


"They were made with a knife," Navani said, kneeling beside the glyphs.

"This knife," Dalinar replied, holding up a side knife of the style most lighteyes wore.  "My knife."

After Adolin killed Sadeas, it isn't mentioned that he pulled the knife out of his eye, probably because it would have sprayed blood everywhere.  He still managed to cut his cuffs off, with no side knife.  Either he took his coat off and used his Shardblade to do it, or he had a second knife.  Dalinar carries a second knife.



Dalinar grabbed a piece of flatbread and slipped his dining knife from the sheath on his right calf...a wide, serrated blade that could double as a weapon in a pinch.

WoK, chapter 22.

I think everyone is hoping that Adolin wasn't stupid enough to have "A.K" engraved on it like his buttons.  And since there's no more Highprince of Information, maybe no one will be smart enough to check under the hilt and find a blacksmith's stamp that points to Kholinar or the Kholin warcamp.

Renarin, to me, is perceptive and thinks analytically and tries to be composed 90% of the time.  The other 10% of the time is when he's jumping in front of a chasmfiend or a Shardbearer or seeing visions about the end of the world.  Pretty much the opposite of Adolin who is emotional and thinks in direct lines, and 10% of the time does something that proves he has foresight, like duelling like a noob and observing that some plateau formations look too precise to be natural (like that 3 layer cake shaped one when he used his Shardblade as a springboard).  Renarin analyses what it means to be "normal" and tries to emulate it - not that it always works.  I would consider "normalness" and neurotypical behaviour to be a first language to most people, and a second language to Renarin.  He can speak "normietalk" but he isn't fluent enough for it to be automatic.  He thinks Renarin thoughts, and has to translate them into "normietalk", and that short processing delay is why girls think there's something off about him.   Now that I re-read the chasmfiend hunt scene, it looks like Renarin perceives that Adolin's interactions with women are not normal and he's unknowingly self-sabotaging.   There is hope for him yet.

Adolin is 23 and lives in a warcamp, how lacking can his -education- be?  He has to know what his soldiers get up to in their spare time, and I am certain he knows about how the mechanics of the chickens...and the cremlings(?) works, at least theoretically.   The question is, after so many years, if his imagination has been stunted in that area so he no longer knows how that sort of stuff applies to him, rather than how it works for people in general.  I don't think Alethi are that prudish, as there are lighteyed officers shown visiting courtesans.  They're reserved about PDA, since men and women are supposed to be separated when in public, but it seems to me that Adolin's prudishness (way above lighteye average) stems from Dalinar being extreme (as usual) on what constitutes proper behaviour in relationships with women.  Namely, doing nothing and saying nothing.  Instead of accepting Navani as his brother's wife, Dalinar avoided her for 20 years (!!!); instead of grieving for Shshshsh and moving on like everyone else, he wiped his memory.   It wouldn't be surprising if Adolin unconsciously grew up thinking that feeling impulses -in that way- is embarrassingly vulgar or a sign of being weak-willed.  Shallan will just have to teach him better.   In most instances, I would think an age gap of 6 years would be a bit much, but Adolin and Shallan seem equally developed in terms of emotional maturity.

It would make me laugh if Shallan was sending smiley faces to Adolin via spanreed.  He can't read, but he can figure out what :) or ;) means.   I bet pages full of "What are you wearing? :)" or "You hang up first!" would make the ardents draw straws to avoid getting assigned scribe duty.


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Oh Sadeas is massively jealous of Adolin: he admits it in WoK. He complains on how a kid had a full set and a Rhysadium when a grown man didn't. He also explains how, in normal circumstances, Adolin would have needed to wait for his father to retire from the battlefield before getting his Shards. It was completely unthinkable his mother's family had an unused Plate to give to him.



So getting Shards at 16 doesn't seem to be usual or frequent.


I think the Shards are owned by the family who bestowed them. For instances, Adolin probably still owns the Shards he won dueling, but he gave them to his men. I don't know if the still has a claim on them. I think the men who got them are likely to give them to their sons and so on, but the Jakamav story makes me think those brightlords aren't free to wager their set as they wish. It is stated Jakamav had been forbidden to wager his Plate, probably by Roion who didn't want to see one of his leading Shardbearers take such risks.


It makes sense the side sword wouldn't be as cumbersome as a long sword... but it raises the question of sword techniques. You certainly do not fight the same way with a 6 foot long Shardblade as you do with a sabre which brings forth other issues... Long sword indeed do not strike me as the best choice for cavalry, but then again Adolin fights on horse back with his massive sword... How unwieldy are those without the added strength of Plate? They may not be heavy, but they are so... long.


I for one have been wanting to see what kind of soldier Adolin would be once stripped of his Shards. Why he does own several, I was somewhat interested in having Brandon figure out ways to strip him of all of them...


I suspect Renarin's dead Blade has already been given to someone else. I can't fathom he still has it.


Good one on the knifes, so Dalinar has several hidden on his person? This isn't surprising. The question is, did Adolin mimic the habit? I like your drawing of the knifes, especially the lighteyes one.


What happened to the knife after he killed Sadeas has been discussed in the past. I do not think we came to any sound conclusions. The whereabouts of the knife aren't described. Adolin isn't said to have properly removed the knife, which doesn't mean he didn't. He can't have possibly use this knife to cut of his cuffs as it was bloodied. He must have used something to wipe it clean, but it isn't textually explained. Many have theorized he did leave it behind: Adolin obviously was in state of shock after the deed. He is panicked, dazed and slightly disoriented: he goes through the motions as if through a fog. It could be he was too dizzy to think of the knife. Is he mad enough to have it engraved with his initials? YES. We are talking Adolin's shinny buttons, fancy boots and stylish hair here. Of course he had it personally engraved and decorated in a recognized way. He takes care of every single details about his appearance, he can't have settled for a boring plain old knife.


Very good analysis of Renarin: being autistic, he certainly struggles with being normal. He likely learned, since being a child, how he is supposed to behave, but as you say, he likely has trouble decoding it all. He perhaps even has his internal code: this behavior means this so he has to respond in such manner. It must be exhausting to always have to think over every single gesture, habits which are normal for neurotypical people, but so hard for him.


You think he noticed Adolin's behavior wasn't entirely normal? I have always read Renarin as persistently trying to manage his brother. When Adolin starts to get too emotional, who is right next to him to calm him down? Renarin. When Adolin's thoughts start to ramble on about visions, hunting, who is right there trying to steer him away from them? Renarin. Each time Renarin notices something bothers his brother, he tries to change his thoughts, always. I have always read those passages as Renarin's personal way to care for his brother. Adolin lacks the ability to rationalize his emotions, Renarin lacks the ability to understand emotions, so he provides the rationalization to Adolin whenever he needs it.


Well, have you read Outlander? Jaime Fraser is 24 years old and a virgin who had no true idea how it was supposed to be done, his only life example being horses.... Adolin may be 23 years old, but he is a prince. I doubt he was allowed anywhere near nature, on his own, as a child. He possibly never saw animals doing it and since nobody talks about those things, whatever he may be thinking may not be entirely accurate. I mean, he knows which end goes where, but I suspect that's about it. He may live in a warcamp, but you bet the older soldiers kept their mouth shut and cleaned their language whenever their young prince is around. 


There are courtesans, agreed, but public display of affection aren't done and high ranked individuals are likely expected to remain chaste until wedding. Considering most people marry into their teens, it isn't such a hard thing, but Adolin? Poor kid.


I agree his only role model, Dalinar, isn't exactly one in that regards. Adolin, if possible, seems even more shy than Dalinar. Navani notes his Adolin blushes when he asks her about his father, which she thinks is amusing considering how much courting he does. This small quote tells me people over-estimates Adolin's true experience: because he has courted every single young woman in camp, people believes he is some sort of womanizer when in fact he is terrible at courtship. Seeing Shallan, a 17 years old girl, literally drag him into her arms and extracting passionate kisses out of him while he tries to protest is a keen example. A Don Juan would have been the one initiating intimacy, not the one shying away from it.


I had wondered why Brandon didn't make Adolin a few years younger. I suspect it probably has to do with him needing to be old enough to win himself a Blade and bond a Rhysadium prior to getting to the Shattered Plains.


Ah LOL, spanreed. Poor ardents must be on the verge to throw the Vorin's Book of masculine and feminine arts into the fire in order to force the prince to learn how to read/write. I can just about picture ardent Kadash... former deadly warrior, tutors to over-excited prince reduced to scribe love letters. I wonder if he internally wants to laugh or cry.


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If someone can stop you from doing what you want with your Shards (like forbidding duels with wagers) then I would say that you don't fully own them.  It's like Kaladin giving away his Shards to Moash.  Since Adolin allowed it, he relinquished his claim.  But I'm not sure if the Shards given to Teleb and Captain Khal had the same deal, or if they were on conditional loan by House Kholin.  Roion and Aladar lend their Shards out to other bearers, but they still own them, and can presumably choose a new bearer when their current gets injured or too old.  It would be dangerous to just give Shards away with no strings, see Moash. It'd be too easy for a Shardbearer given Shards by their patron House to be tempted to join another warcamp by the promise of more lands and a bump from Fourth Dahn to Third Dahn.  Dalinar talked to Amaram about switching sides from Sadeas' Princedom to his, so it must happen.  Shardbearers are too valuable, especially for gemhunting, when you need a Blade to cut the chrysalis and any extras can hold off the Parshendi.  It would have been pretty rare for a foreign woman to have a Shard.  Alethkar and Jah Keved have the most, with the other countries having around 1-5.  Maybe that is why Dalinar courted Shshshsh when he went travelling, if he didn't have his Plate by then.   Owning or inheriting Shards must make someone valuable marriage material...another bit of weirdness for Adolin.   And Renarin still has his dead Shard by the end of WoR, in the battle during the Everstorm.  He used it unsuccessfully to open the Oathgate.   And even if he keeps it, Dalinar's Shardblade that was switched from Taln's Honorblade is still out there, if they can find it from where he threw it off the roof.  

You have to use different styles of fighting for Shardblade compared to conventional weapons, just like you have to learn in and out of Shardplate.  Shardblades are much lighter than other weapons their size, and can cut through anything, so they're swung with minimal force to conserve energy.  That is why Adolin can use his finger push a Blade away in a duel, and why Dalinar and Kaladin can pull off the lastclap.  Also, Adolin doesn't fight on horseback.  He uses his horse to get him to the plateau battlezone, but gets off when the fighting actually happens - Shardbearers fight at the front and and if he was on horseback surrounded on three sides by the enemy, they'd kill the horse quickly and pull him out of the saddle since there's not enough room to move.   Fighting with a Shardblade means you aim for the neck or spine to sever the soul.  Fighting with regular metal swords means slashing until your opponent gives up or runs out of blood.  I doubt Adolin will go Shardless if he's stripped of his current set, but if he does, it will teach him to be a better strategist-tactician and be more careful instead of taking stupid risks.  

Oh, Adolin.  The next book will be a bumpy ride for him if they find his knife with A.K. engraved all over.  He realised that the blood had to be hidden, and he used his Shardblade to cut his chalk marks off the wall.  He threw Sadeas' Shardblade out the window.    I'm still undecided at how panicked and dazed he was, because, tome, Adolin is a bit of a wildcard because he can be an unreliable narrator at times.   He's not prone to deeper introspection, especially if doing so will harm his ego.   He reminds me of Shallan in that way - if their train of thoughts will lead to an unwanted revelation, they will stop before they get there.   Adolin doesn't know what keeps going wrong in his relationships, and Shallan doesn't think about where Pattern came from, because she must have been broken before she killed her mother.



"It wasn't his fault that his relationships often burned out quickly.  Well, technically, this time it was his fault.  But it wasn't usually.  This was just an oddity."

WoK, chapter 12

To me, the reader, Renarin kind of just fades into the background.  He's there and gets the occasional brief side mention to establish that he's present in the scene, but then the narrator forgets he's there unless he says or does something.  So in-universe, he's must be forgotten about or ignored a lot, but since he's perceptive he gets to watch everyone and establish a library of normal conversational responses and socially acceptable behaviour.  Since he isn't intuitively neurotypical, he has to watch and learn to figure out how socialising works.  If you ever grew up as a weird kid who moved to a new school where you didn't know anyone, it's standard to watch for a while to see who is friends with who and where you can sit to eat lunch.  Renarin has been doing this his entire life.   He may not understand how emotions work for normies, but he sees what the reactions to standard responses are - Question A must be answered with Reply A, and when you use Reply H instead of A people get upset with you.  So I think he noticed that there's something wrong about Adolin and dating girls, and tells him to treat them better.  I would say it's a combination of him caring for his brother and also not liking it when Adolin gets emotional and starts acting erratically, because the library of social cues and responses goes out the window at that point.

I read Outlander...about five years ago.  But I still remember Jamie saying that he may be a virgin, but he wasn't a monk.  And as a soldier/outlaw he'd been around the block a few times, even if he never stopped at any of the buildings.   On Roshar, horses are rare and cremlings and skyeels probably don't do things the way they are done on Earth.  But surely there must be some education on these things, and soldiers will find their way into making various raunchy and euphemistic jokes.   You can't bunk with darkeyed spearmen for 2 months and not hear a single bawdy song.   Adolin, at age 23, blushes from a peck on the cheek.   He's as emotionally developed -in that way- as Susebron the God-King, and there was good reason for Susebron to be like that, as he was locked in a palace full of priests his entire life.

There is another weird thing I remembered:  Elhokar at Adolin's age was already married or formally betrothed to Aesudan.  Elhokar is 27-28 in WoK; therefore his father Gavilar had been away during his adolescent years, chasing down the highprinces.  It is possible that it was Navani who taught him the Facts About Life and arranged his marriage, and Adolin didn't get any of that knowledge because Dalinar.  But Elhokar is a spoiled manchild princeling and he still managed to father a child.   I wouldn't say Dalinar is "love shy".  He's just overly fixated on propriety and dating your brother's widow is not acceptable by Vorin rules and that is why it makes him uncomfortable.  In the past, he went on a foreign holiday and came back with a wife (who had a Shard so she must have been a noble lady with lots of other suitors), so he must have some effective courting skills.  I'm surprised Shallan is so forward, since her childhood never had any loving marriages or functional romances.  She had less experience with boys than Adolin with girls, if you count Kabsal and the Thaylen sailor Yalb (?) as flirting with her.   Maybe it's a Veden cultural quirk to be more accepting of emotional outbursts like Lin Davar yelling at dinner guests or the bastard messenger, where it would make you a social pariah in Alethkar.   I did notice that Eylita lived with Shallan's brother Balat in the Davar mansion even though they were just engaged.  That would be very improper in Alethkar, where Shallan said she didn't want to live in the Kholin warcamp if she was dating Adolin.

Adolin mentioned at one point that his ex-gf Janala liked poetry, and that he should compose poetry for her so she'd un-dump him.  How can you read and write poetry if you can't read and write?  Is he making the ardents compose love poems to the girls he is courting?  Is he a poetry genius who can make up poems in his head and recite them from memory?  Either way is pretty hilarious.


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How Shards propriety are enforced is still nebulous to me. Jakamav certainly doesn't seem to have the permission to wager his. He is of the 3rd dahn and he is the leading general of Roion's armies. Is he related to Roion? His nephew perhaps? Or his cousins? So it could be his Plate is Roion's, which would explain why he doesn't have full jurisdiction on it. I'd also point out Adolin wasn't allowed to wager his as well, not until early WoR. Technically, he could have disobeyed, but his orders were clear on the matter. I suspect him betting his Plate at 16 years old went down quite bad with Dalinar...


Amaram is a different case: he won his Shards on the battlefield. They weren't given to him by his Highprince. They thus belongs to him which means he is free to plead allegiance to any Highprince he wishes to. Now, we know Amaram didn't technically win his Shards, but that's the story he told. I would thus say, in the case of Shards won in battle, they truly belong to the man who slays the former Shardbearer, making them free agents without ties able to switch camp should they want to.


Moash, I suspect, has no such freedom. He was told he needed to join one of the Houses following Dalinar or found his own, but he is expected to keep ties with the Kholins. The fact he eloped will have repercussions.


On the other hand, Elit's Plate has been given to him by his cousin Relis and he did wager it despite Relis's interdiction.


Therefore, can the other Kholins Shardbearers be forced to surrender their Shards to Adolin shall he loses his? I am unsure. Adolin seems to think so as when Jakamav tells him to be careful, he may get an off day and actually loose, he brushes it off stating by this time, he would own many more. Still, asking someone to unbound a bounded Blade seems cruel. 


If Dalinar didn't have a Plate when he courted Shshshsh, then he would have used it for his own, but I doubt so. Dalinar bounded Oathbringer when he was 20 years old, but he started courting Shshshs was 25, to marry her at 28 or roughly around those ages. Adolin seems to have been born very quickly after the wedding... Anyway, since he already have his Blade, I suspect he had his Plate as well: the old man probably killed a full Shardbearer. 


I agree owning an unused Plate to be given to her first born son must have been desirable to gorgeous golden haired Shshshsh which means Dalinar did something right in his courtship as she did settled for a second son. With this much wealth to bring in an union, she could have gotten a first son. At this point in time, Dalinar wasn't promised to become Highprince.


Yes, Renarin still had his Blade at the end of WoR, but I suspect he unbounded it after the Tower revelation, just as Dalinar did. As far as we know, Dalinar didn't throw his away, he'll likely give it to one of his men.


Good points about fighting with and without Shards. I had suspected fighting with real weapons was much harder and brutal as one needs to hit the same opponent several times over to take him out. Adolin is used to just swing through his opponents like a boy slashing through his wooden soldiers. Not being used to it, he may even ran out of strength: he is used to pace himself out with the help of a Plate. Normal armor weights a lot more and will reduced your aerobic capacity by a fair margin: a drastic change from an armor who does just the opposite. Since Adolin is used to push himself to his limit, to give in all he's got, I fear Shardless Adolin would likely exhaust himself rather quickly on the battlefield. Also, the need for several additional strikes to take down opponents he used to slay with only one force-less hit while using a heavier weapon may wear him down much faster than expected. Adolin's fighting style also is a rather dangerous one to pursue once you have no Plate: he keeps on taking hits to secure others. This has been so ingrained in him, I doubt he can shed the reflex away this quickly.


I have always thought Shardless Adolin would be interesting to see: it is easy to strip him of his and to make the others unavailable. It would fit nicely within the path he has started with the death of his Rhysadium. There is so many good stories to write with Adolin: watching him struggle to remain the proud unbeatable figure he has always been on the battlefield as his physical prowess are severely reduced combined to the fact he lost the Thrill and just wants to throw up half of the time was a good story arc. It would have enabled us to learn more about the Thrill while dropping a character into the mud to wait and see if he'll figure out how to breath before choking. It would have been a powerful story, similar to Kaladin running bridges, except we wouldn't know the ending in advance. It is why Adolin is such a great character (and why he needs more page time).


Ah Adolin is clearly in shock. If you read the scene, everything, his thoughts, his actions are very mechanical, as if he is just going through the motions. We can almost feel his panic when he realizes he has just killed a Highprince. Adolin has never been seen to deal extraordinarily well with stressful/unexpected situations: he tends to grow overly emotional, angsty and downright nervous. He is panicking in this last scene and he may have forgotten his knife. In any advent, he will be uncovered, either through the knife of other means. We can almost be sure of it.


Adolin not being prone to deeper introspection is exactly why he is such a refreshing character. Every single fantasy character is just the opposite, but him, he just shovels it all up, bottling up, coping until he blasts and it all pours out. It makes up for a very impulsive, action prone character as opposed to one who spends 5 chapters being depressed in prison. Adolin would have likely beat his hands bloody on the walls and yell his head out which would have made for a different read.


My reading of Adolin is he has his own walls. He's overly social, outgoing, but only displays a very superficial personality which clashes madly with his inner self. He is protecting himself. He can't develop relationships because he is afraid to open-up: as long as people reject him for what he chooses to project, his inner self is secure, but if he were to open-up and still get rejected, his inner self would hurt. So he unconsciously destroys all of his chances are developing good relationships in order to prevent himself from hurting. I know it sounds weird when explained this way, but it does happen. There is so much more to write on Adolin and yes it shares a similarity with Shallan. Adolin isn't exactly forgetting anything, quite the opposite, but he does protect himself, somehow. My thoughts are Adolin is afraid of rejection. It runs deep in him which is why he can't quite acknowledge it, it is rather unconscious: Adolin dates a girl, it starts to evolve, Adolin screws up and he never knows why. Sadly, I don't think Brandon intends to extrapolate on it, but he has enough material to do so.


I agree Renarin is likely ignored by most people, fading into the background, silently observing others. This is how I pictured him as well. I love your analysis here, this is an angle I had never truly thought of. Renarin wants to care for his brother, but more importantly, he needs Adolin to remain stable. Renarin hates changes more than Adolin, he needs to have his routine lay out for him, so when Adolin starts to get too emotional, he gets unpredictable which makes Renarin anxious. Back in WoK, the first time we see Adolin and Renarin, Renarin bluntly tells Adolin he wishes to ride more into the back as he didn't like how Adolin got whenever around Sadeas. So there. Renarin doesn't like when Adolin looses control. I have always thought it was because he loved his brother, but his reasons may be something else entirely. 


Well Jaime still got around looking a bit awkward this first time... though he wasn't shy and unable to touch a woman like Adolin. Adolins shyness is rather unexpected given his character. It also tells me how superficial his courtships were. I also suspected those 2 months where Adolin bunked with the darkeyes were the two longest months in their life... The soldiers certainly cleaned their tongues: Adolin was basically just a kid back then, barely older than Cenn had been. All the clues at hand seriously leads me to believe Adolin is deeply scared of relationships...


It is stated in books most Alethi marry in their teens. Adolin is considered old to be a bachelor: it got to the point where nobody takes hims seriously anymore. Dalinar wants his son to marry for love, but Adolin has no idea what love is or how to find it and he is just too shy to truly initiate something when he just isn't screwing it up.


As for Shallan, she is Veden. It is said in books Veden are less prudish than Alethi, so it makes sense she would be more forthcoming. She also doesn't have 6 years of failed courtships to slow her down. I also suspect the Shallan we saw in her family was heavily suppressed: the real Shallan being much more outgoing.


Adolin writing poetry... Imagine the scene. Ardent Kadash is sitting with his pen and paper.


"So Bright One, what shall I write?"


"Huh.. Janala... you smell like vanilla."

Ardent Kadash crooked an eyebrow, but write nonetheless. 


"Janala your name rimes with gorilla..."


This is about what I expect of Adolin's poetry composing skills............................


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I have to edit the poem... It would go one more like this:


Janala, your name rimes with gorilla and you smell like banana.

Janala, you have the grace of a panda and the eyes of a chiuhuaha.

Janala, your magma puts me into the coma


And so on.....


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Adolin was 17 at the time the Vengeance Pact happened, so that was before Dalinar accepted the Codes as a lifestyle, which said that in times of war, officers shouldn't be allowed to duel because that risks injury or death when they are necessary for the war effort.  So maybe Dalinar wouldn't have liked it, but it was a time of peace, and Adolin was defending the family honour from insults.  In the past, Blackthorn Dalinar killed people who insulted him.  So there was probably no order against it, and Dalinar wouldn't have thought to give it because no one would think Adolin would be stupid enough to wager the Plate he only got a few months before.   Seriously, when you put the timeline into perspective, Adolin sure does a lot of things without thinking about the consequences.  That's exactly why the 4-on-1 duel happened.  

Moash, I think, was given land in the Kholin princedom, which makes the Kholins his direct overlords.  I'm not sure if the Princedoms work the same way as federated monarchies work on Earth, but if they do, then families who hold their land independently and swear allegiance to their overlord, like Amaram's, have more freedom in governance and exercising power than direct subordinates.    It's interesting to note that in some translations of WoK, the Highprinces are called Archdukes.   Well, whatever happens, we can safely assume that Moash's land will get confiscated and the former Shardbearers who lost against Adolin will be demoted and no one will ever lend them Shards again unless there are strict conditions and the ownership is made clear.  I don't think the Kholins would force a Shardbearer in their army to hand their Shards back, as you can't force Shardbearer to do anything -as Dalinar said, there are very few options when dealing with Shardbearer criminals.  They could pressure another Bearer to give the Shards to Adolin because he is the best and it is necessary for the war, if they follow the Codes and don't act completely selfishly all the time like other nobles *cough*.  I still thought it was pretty rude of Adolin to bet Renarin's Shards, especially Dalinar's Plate, on duels without asking.  I know Dalinar gave permission to start duelling again, and Renarin has no training and doesn't even like Shards.  But after reading hundreds of pages of how important the identity of Shardbearer is to themselves and society, and how close some people feel to their Shards, seeing Adolin do that left a bad taste in my mouth.   I even felt a bit of cringe when he held Salinor (?) down with his foot and pulled the gemstone from his Blade and crushed it in front of the arena audience.  He's obviously doing it for the show but I found it pretty jarring when compared to his later personality.

If you're used to reading books or watching movies depicting people who train realistically with medieval combat weapons, reading how Shardbearers fight gives plenty of moments when all you can say is WHAT.  I actually sketched Shardplate on paper to show a friend, and he said that an opponent with a rapier or fencing foil could stab a Shardbearer in Plate in the eye and instakill.  I told him that Shardplate turns clear from the inside, so there's better peripheral vision, Plate gives you superspeed, and Blades are long and light enough that a man with a metal sword wouldn't be able to get close.  He told me that sounded like it was from a video game.   So yeah, dropping down from Plate-enhancement and instant Blade summoning back into normal territory is a massive paradigm shift when you have to start being aware and afraid that any guy with a sidesword (pretty much every lighteyes) can pose a serious threat to your life.

Do you think Adolin offing Sadeas was the first time he ever killed a human?  I don't think there's been any mention of him fighting to kill outside the battlefield, and they were all Parshendi who bleed orange, and those two times with Szeth were massive failures.  The problem with Adolin being a mostly laid back guy who does crazy unpredictable things 10% of the time is that they feel like they just came out of nowhere.   Most of the time he gets angry or emotional and does something, nothing bad really happens as a consequence and they are considered relatively insignificant in-universe.   Things like smacking Kaladin in the training arena when Zahel says you're supposed to control yourself in Plate around regular soldiers.   It was stupid, but Kaladin can heal so it's all right.   Unless you have analysed Adolin's character all the way through, the times where he does an extreme crazy thing is completely unexpected and at odds with your surface impression of his personality.

Renarin is the type of person who would have a neatly organised mind, and thinks in cause and effect, action and consequence.  That's why he thinks before he speaks, that's why his body language and facial expressions are described as "measured" and "careful".   It matches what we know of the Truthwatchers, if his future visions are more like mathematical statistical projections like Taravangian's.  Which is interesting, since their gifts originate more from Cultivation  than Honor.   When Adolin's emotions get the better of him, it's like an outlier in Renarin's tidy data sets.   Renarin and Dalinar both love Adolin and don't like to see him go crazyangry, but each of them have their own reasons for disliking it, other than caring about him a lot.  Dalinar sees and regrets his younger self.   And Renarin notices something odd about Adolin's dating failures that Adolin is blind to, is because he put together cause and effect.  The effect, the girl leaving, is always the same, and the cause is always something different, like looking at girl's sister or double booking a dinner date.  But Renarin notices there is a pattern and an underlying reason (which is what you stated about protecting his fragile inner ego from rejection), even if he doesn't have the social graces to put it into words and tell his brother.

Adolin is stated not to have trouble holding girl's freehands and kissing them on the hand, which means he is not completely unable to touch a woman.   If you are close enough, or forward enough, to kiss a girl on the hand as a farewell, it's normal for them to be able to kiss you on the cheek if they like you.   In IRL Earth formal/old-fashioned etiquette, a bachelor kissing an unmarried woman's hand directly is considered naughty, as he's supposed to kiss the air above her hand.  So I don't know what's up with Adolin other than a contrived plot point  making him endearingly equal in relationship intimacy to Shallan.   And I have to wonder if the 2 months spent in spearmen's barracks was like a non-stop version of Renarin cleaning bowls for Bridge Four.  They were awkward and quiet the whole time, never being able to relax and always watching they were saying.  Eventually they got comfortable with him, though I still can't imagine Bridge Four inviting Renarin to the tavern for a drink.

Brandon has a habit of making his characters pure to the point of disbelief.  If you've finished Bands of Mourning, Steris (Wax's fiance) at age ~27 was so pure and innocent that she was reading a book on anatomy to prepare for her wedding.   I wish there were more authors that wrote characters who have realistic troubles with being inexperienced and awkward -in that way-, where it isn't just played for humour.  In fact, I can't really think of any male fictional characters who are like that over the age of 20.  



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I think Adolin has better poetry skills than that!  He's not amazing, but he can tell what style of poetry is fashionable and what is not, even if he abuses cliches and is formulaic and is completely unoriginal in his subject matter.  Nothing is more romantic and perpetually fashionable than complimenting a girl's looks by comparing it to nature.




To Janala

Never have I seen hair that flows like Janala's,
Midnight's cloak drawn in silken streams like no other's.
Never have my eyes met eyes so catching as Janala's,
And lashes that stir the breath with windspren flutters.
Never have I sought regard as I now seek Janala's,
For now my poor stricken heart sighs for no one but hers.



I'm too lazy to write ketek poetry, but then again, it would probably be blasphemous to write about girls with holy palindromes.


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Adolin won his Blade prior to the Vengeance Pact and prior to Dalinar following the codes. He was not prevented, at the time, to enter dueling, but he was very young and inexperienced. Certainly it didn't sit well with Dalinar his young son chose to fight an experience fighter, for Shards, on what had to be one of his very first professional duels. Nobody took him seriously back then which means they likely never saw him fight. He can't have had been active on the dueling ground at the time, else people would have acknowledge the fopish kid actually has talent, despite all appearances. 


Adolin had to truly be inexperienced for this scene to play out. We have no idea how Dalinar reacted, but I cannot fathom he was pleased. Despite his gruff exterior, he does care about Adolin and he reflects, back in WoK, how dangerous duels can be. Surely, as a father, seeing his teenage son enter into a duel for Shards this young displeased him, even if the Blackthorn in him probably didn't think much of it. If you read the SA3 excerpt on Dalinar (which I adored BTW), it says how Dalinar never felt young and it does transpire in this chapter. Adolin... I have always felt there was an innocence to him, the naivety of youth, a side personality his father never had.


Adolin is an extroverted feeler. As a result, he reacts to events with emotions first, thoughts later. He needs to process through his emotions before he can rationalize them and the stronger the emotion is, the more he struggles. Powerful emotions make him loose control because when stuck into them, every single rash decisions he makes syncs in with the emotions and makes them appear right. For instances, he is angry at Sadeas for calling Renarin useless, so he snaps calling him a coward and he adds to it. What is he doing there? He riding on his anger, fueling it and the more he fuels it, the more right it feels to him, the more justified it feels to him, but he is wrong. He has blind-sighted his capacity of reasoning which he can only do once he is calm. In other words, Adolin is emotionally impulsive and just as any extroverted feeler, learning to control the strong emotional outburst is extremely hard. At his age, it's normal he can't do it yet, it is even normal he isn't even aware of his behavior, but ultimately, what he needs is a coping method to help sooth himself when he starts to get riled up.


I don't think you can force a Shardbearer to surrender his Shards once it is given away. I do not think Adolin would ask it of anyone either. The codes says the best weapons have to go to the best soldier, but then again, if Adolin is punished by needing to surrender his, it kind of defies the punishment if he is given another set in replacement... The idea of stripping Adolin of his Shards is to punish him, to force him to be one of those "regular soldiers".


Oh it was rude of Adolin to bet his brothers Shards without asking him permission. Renarin has just been given this Plate in order to finally get a chance to try at being a soldier: taking it away is plain rude. I hated when he did it as well, but then again, Adolin is horribly impulsive. He saw he wasn't able to make other Shardbearers agree to duel him, so he had to goat them into accepting, so he raised the stakes. Fool boy. It was obvious it would end badly, though in retrospect, he did win, but this is exactly the kind of behavior which will put him in a bad spot one day, a bad spot nobody will be able to drag him out of.


As for the Salinor's fight, it was Adolin's ruthless side which spoke. He was emotionally invested when acted this rashly and, if you read closely, it literally drains him. He feels exhausted afterwards even if the fight lasted for only a few minutes. It happens again with him when he threatens Sadeas in the Highstorm waiting room. Again, he channeled his anger and it leaves him drained, exhausted, slumped into a chair for hours to recover. In other words, using his emotions in such ways do have a physical impact on him.


Salinor, Sadeas this are both instances where Adolin lost control and each time the encounter left him quite vulnerable. If anyone wanted to take him out, just forced him to act out of any strong emotions in order to exhaust him, then you hit when he is recovering. It seems quite unlike the Blackthorn who never seem to have had a vulnerable side or not one this easily found.


It is interesting to have a character which appears so strong from the outside, so sure of himself, only to be this vulnerable on the inside. I absolutely love this trope, if trope that is. I found it fascinating.


Well I am certainly not an expert on martial arts, so I took it Shardbearers simply were practically invulnerable except on the eyes. They can slice through anything, they have enhanced stamina and strength and come to rely on their Plate invincibility when they fight which is a sharp contrast to normal fighter and why it is interesting to see Adolin get demoted.


I had wondered too if Sadeas was the first human Adolin killed... I do think it certainly was the first human he killed with a white weapon in a display or gore and blood. If you look at the plot line, Adolin never was a soldier prior to the Vengeance Pact, he thus never truly fought normal human beings. Now he has just killed one, with his own hands. It is thus not impossible he'll have to deal with actually killing someone. Previously, in his fights, all he was doing was slashing through enemies he didn't even considered as human beings: a boy playing with wooden soldiers. It's basically the impression Adolin gave me on the battlefield, up until he realizes he is a monster.


The 10% you are referring to is the 10% when Adolin is out of his element: whenever he is faced with an unexpected situation he can't control and he doesn't know how to react to, he gets very emotional and slightly distressed. This is when you see irrational, rash Adolin, which also is an expressing of stressful and naturally nervous Adolin. Seriously, he's a nerves bag. He gets anxious watching a Highstorm coming... I somehow always thought it funny to think the world's best duelist and badass soldier lies wide awake, in complete apprehension, in his bed sheets when a Highstorm hits.


All in all, being an extroverted feeler makes Adolin very unpredictable. He needs to protect himself from emotions because they unsettle him, so he projects a completely different personality. Recall this part when he says he had to "appear confident for Renarin's sake"? That's what I meant. He hides his worries, he hides his fears, he even hides the fact he can feel those things in order to keep on being pictured as the family's solid rock. He hides his own weaknesses deep within his strengths. He hides the fact he can be vulnerable, in a way, probably more so than others as he never had to deal with this side of him.


The other interesting aspect is Brandon writes Adolin exactly how he projects himself (I mean Adolin not Brandon). We first meet superficial over-confident arrogant Adolin, but we then start to get glimpses of carrying, doubting and not so strong Adolin. We get it was a front, all along, it was just a front. It was brilliantly made, because, in real life, shall you meet Adolin, this is exactly what you would think of him: invulnerable, unbeatable, unattainable unless you bother to truly get to know him, to get to know his softer more vulnerable side. 


I absolutely love your analysis of Renarin. It makes complete sense he would dissect the world in such way. It also does explain some of his behavior with his brother: he doesn't like when Adolin's behavior falls outside his carefully laid out patterns. I have always suspected the boys grew up together, so it is fair to assume most of Renarin personal library of proper responses to proper stimulus was built on his brother to brother interactions as they aged together. As a result, whenever Adolin starts to act outside what he has come to know as the "Adolin pattern" it causes a certain level of insecurity and stress into Renarin. Adolin seems to be aware of this as he tries to always appear stable and confident for Renarin... As for the dating pattern, I think this may exactly be the kind of issue Renarin has trouble understanding or seeing. Each break-up occur for different reasons, so it's probable, in his head, each are independent events as opposed to linked events. Seeing the underlining cause behind them all is probably quite hard for him, hence he can't really help Adolin other than by teasing him endlessly and telling him to try not to mess up, this time. I a also not sure Renarin is ready to face the fact his brother may not be the ultra strong unshakable image he has carried on his whole life: Adolin forever the solid rock he can count on. 


On his side, Adolin's impulsiveness reminds Dalinar of his own youth, he sees it as an aspect of his personality his son needs to control, hence he enforces the codes the strongest on him. Dalinar worst nightmare is to see his son walk into his former steps as he sees it as wrong and it caused him a great deal of pain. As a result, he wants Adolin to remain the "good boy" and his proud to see him be this "good boy" he never managed to pulled of until he was much older.


Does Adolin ever kiss a free hand? I do not recall this... He holds hands, yes, but kissing? It is stated in WoR Shallan's peck on the cheek isn't normal as Alethi don't normally behave this way, especially in public. It likely is why Adolin is blushing madly: he girl kissed him for all to see. As to what is up with Adolin, I think it is all part of the front personality. He is portrayed as a womanizer, he acts as one, but once you start to scratch the surface, you realize he is an inexperienced young man riding on an over-made reputation and promises of wealth who is probably terrorized over the prospect of spending one night with a woman.


I think it interesting Brandon is writing young adults who are inexperienced because, in my personal experience, having not have significant relationships (or in depth/complete ones) is not abnormal for early twenties people. Many young people reach their twenties without experiencing what society tells them they should have experienced. It makes them grow overly anxious as they feel they are expected to know these things, so Steris reading a book on the matter is not so far-fetched and quite endearing actually (I haven't read BoM, but that's probably the kind of plot point I'll like).


Adolin is exactly this character. In his world, people marry in their teens, have children in their early twenties. He's 23 and he has no wife, no experience, but he has reached an age where he is expected to have some. As a result he has grown more self-conscious and even more shy than he usually would have been. When people expect you to be something you are not, maintaining the front can start to be taxing, so when Shallan kisses him, I think we see some of that front fall down.


I know Brandon writes his characters this way due to his religious beliefs, but religion or no, many people would identify themselves to this aspect. Being inexperienced and shy at 23 isn't as rare as we may think it is and not just within religious communities.


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