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  1. Stormlight Recap Series: Main Characters | Other Notable Characters | Groups and Mysteries Welcome, welcome! One of the most common questions I saw around the time of the Oathbringer release was requests for a good recap of the previous books. Not everybody has time for rereads of the full series, of course. If you want to read Rhythm of War this November and the last Stormlight book you cracked open was three years ago... you might be in for a bumpy ride! Over on the Coppermind you can find detailed chapter summaries for each book. And I mean detailed! If you don't have the time for a full reread, I'd highly encourage you to go through those! If you want something much more concise to read, I would recommend taking a look at the book summaries on the Coppermind. This should give you a quick overview of what each book has covered so far. But if you want something right in the middle of those options? Well, you've found the right place! This series of four articles will serve as a brief but thorough overview of the previous Stormlight Archive books. Rather than just giving a detailed book summary, I'm going to break things down by topic. Over these four articles we will cover: (1) the world and its historical background, (2) the three primary flashback characters and the upcoming flashback characters of Rhythm of War, Eshonai and Venli, (3) other notable characters, and (4) significant groups on Roshar and some outstanding mysteries to keep an eye on! I'll try to link Coppermind articles, so if you find yourself itching for more details on some topic it will only be a click away. I certainly don't intend to cover EVERY notable detail, but if you feel like something major is missing let me know in the comments. This article will have spoilers for the Stormlight Archive, but there will NOT be spoilers for other Cosmere books. Let's do this! ROSHAR Let's begin with a quick overview of the world itself. Roshar is a harsh, rocky world with colossal "highstorms" sweeping across the continent on a regular basis, but the planet is teeming with alien life that has adapted to this extreme environment. Trees brace for storms, grass retracts into the ground, and native animals have hardened shells. Also native to Roshar is a sapient, humanoid species, called the singers (called parshmen, Parshendi, or listeners in the early books). The flora and fauna aren't the only alien aspect of Roshar however. Forces of nature and ideas come to life in the form of magical "spren", spirit-like creatures which can appear out of nowhere drawn by human emotions or acts of nature. These spren are but a glimpse into an entirely separate, overlapping realm called the Cognitive Realm, or simply Shadesmar, where the spren have more fully realized form. The various sapient species of spren even have cities, culture, and a civilization of their own. Spren aren't entirely detached from the Physical Realm however, as they play an important role on several levels. They have formed bonds with animal life, enabling the development of creatures with remarkable size or magical abilities. The native singers have also learned to bond with spren in their own way by taking the spren into a natural gemstone within their bodies (gemhearts), which causes dramatic changes in their psychology and physiology depending on the type of spren. Spren have even developed a special sort of bond with some humans, allowing those humans to access the powers of Surgebinding--manipulation of the Surges, the fundamental forces, like gravity or friction, that drive the world. Behind the magic of Roshar are beings of godlike power, called Shards. There are three Shards of note where Roshar is concerned, each named after an ideal which governs the nature of that power. The first two, Honor and Cultivation, arrived long in the past. The third, Odium, arrived shortly after the original human migration to Roshar. The conflict between these three beings is, at its grandest scale, the story of the Stormlight Archive. HISTORY Now we can talk history, and we'll begin with one of the big reveals at the end of Oathbringer: the humans are the Voidbringers! Well, from a certain point of view. You know how most life on Roshar seems to have lizard-crab-things somewhere in their evolutionary tree? Yeah, it should come as no surprise that the singers (called Parshendi/parshmen by humans) called Roshar home even before Honor and Cultivation came into town. Apparently under the influence of Odium in some way, the humans showed up on Roshar's doorstep after destroying their own previous homeworld with magic. Honor and Cultivation encouraged the singers to welcome these refugees, but it didn't take long before things went terribly wrong and war broke out. Odium lent some of his power to create the Fused--singer souls who, upon death, could take over the body of another. These beings, effectively immortal and with access to the Surges, were joined by the Regals (singers granted magical "forms of power" by one of Odium's voidspren in their gemhearts), Thunderclasts, and the Unmade. To counter Odium's forces, Honor empowered his Heralds--ten immortal humans with ten powerful Honorblades. The Oathpact was established as a means to limit Odium's forces. Thus began the Desolations. With each Desolation, Odium's forces would return to Roshar and the war would begin anew. Though the humans were always ultimately victorious the cycle wore down the resolve of the Heralds as they returned to Damnation after each Desolation along with the Fused, where they would be tortured until the point of breaking again. During this time, humans began to ally and bond with intelligent spren. This Nahel bond granted the humans access to Shardblades, Shardplate, and various forms of Surebinding. These Surgebinders organized and became known as the Knights Radiant. With their headquarters in the tower city of Urithiru and their philosophies inspired by Nohadon, author of The Way of Kings, they afforded some stability amid the Desolations. But even they could only do so much. After a series of particularly challenging Desolations, nine of the Heralds abandoned the Oathpact, leaving the tenth--Taln--to bear Damnation on his own. Under Taln's resolve alone the cycle of Desolations nearly halted. After the "Last Desolation", Odium's forces did not gather again for thousands of years. When they did, during the so-called "False Desolation" it was without the support of the Fused, still bound by Taln. The humans were victorious again in that war, but only amid great cost. Honor himself was slowly dying, for reasons not entirely known to us, and the integrity of the Knights Radiant was collapsing with him. Upon the defeat of the singers, an event which left most living singers magically lobotomized as servile parshmen, most of the Knights Radiant abandoned their oaths--leaving behind their Shardplate and bonded spren dead in the form of Shardblades. This event would become known as the Recreance. Time passed, and power was re-consolidated. The Silver Kingdoms of the past warped into the nations of modern Roshar. New religions developed to explain the past and the place of humans on Roshar. In eastern Roshar, the Vorin church developed significant political influence and encouraged extensive revisionist history before Sadees, the Sunmaker, ended their "Heirocracy". And so it was, until the Alethi king Gavilar discovered a rogue band of intelligent singers and the Herald Taln's resolve began to waver… The novels open with the assassination of Gavilar, Dalinar's elder brother, at the hand of Szeth, "the Assassin in White"--who was hired by the Parshendi on the very night they planned to sign a peace treaty. We learned from Eshonai (in Oathbringer) that Gavilar planned to bring back the Fused--something that the Parshendi wanted no part in. While Gavilar's own dealings and motives were surrounded in mystery, the result of his assassination was simple for Dalinar and the Alethi, who swore vengeance upon the Parshendi. Thus began the War of Reckoning--with the Alethi laying siege to the Parshendi on the Shattered Plains. Over the course of the novels, we saw Dalinar discover (through visions granted by the Stormfather) that their God, Honor, was dead and that a new Desolation would soon arrive. Dalinar united as many of the Alethi highprinces as he could and assaulted the Parshendi at the center of the Shattered Plains. Though they technically won that battle, the listeners succeeded in mustering the Everstorm, and as the Everstorm swept across Roshar, it restored the minds of the parshmen worldwide. With the Everstorm also came the Voidspren, Fused, and a stronger presence from Odium himself, who organized these former slaves and ignited a global war with the humans. The humans rediscovered the ancient city of Urithiru, with Oathgates allowing for fast travel, and allied together into a loose coalition against Odium's forces. The two sides ultimately clashed at the Battle of Thaylen Field, where Dalinar seized fragments of Honor's power and temporarily repelled the Shard of Odium. What's next? Much of the past is still a big mystery to us! How did the first Desolation begin? What have the Heralds been up to? Is there more story behind the Recreance that we don't know? What schemes was Gavilar involved in and what was he ultimately trying to do? That will be all for this time. In the next article we will begin exploring characters! If you found this helpful, make sure to tag your friends or share it around. If you feel like something important was left out, or if you have a question, let us know in the comments. If you haven't visited our forums and Discord server, consider this your welcome! We'd love to hear your voice in the conversation. Until next time, Life before Death! Check out our other Stormlight Recaps: Main Characters | Other Notable Characters | Groups and Mysteries Special thanks to the artists whose work was used in this article! Kaladin and the highstorm by Howard Lyon Shallan painting by Michael Whelan Honorblades by Antti Hakosari on behalf of Brotherwise Games Map of Roshar by Isaac Stewart
  2. Stormlight Recap Series: World and History | Main Characters | Other Notable Characters Welcome back! If you missed the first three Stormlight Archive recap articles you can find them here, here, and here. So far we've covered the world and history of Roshar and most of the really important characters. In this final article we will begin with significant groups on Roshar, and then mention a few ongoing mysteries to keep an eye out for. This article will have spoilers for the Stormlight Archive, but there will NOT be spoilers for other Cosmere books. Let's get to it! GROUPS The Knights Radiant Founded in the distant past to aid the Heralds in their defense of mankind during the Desolations, the Knights Radiant disbanded a few millennia after the Last Desolation in an event referred to as the Recreance. Now, under the leadership of Dalinar Kholin, the Knights Radiant are returning, with spren once again seeing the need to bond humans despite their betrayal during the Recreance. The Radiants consist of ten orders, each with their own values, culture, and set of ideals that must be sworn to advance. How will the Knights Radiant have changed over the year following Oathbringer? Some of the orders will surely have grown, but not all the spren and Radiants are on the same page. One order in particular--the Skybreakers--never disbanded in the first place, and under the leadership of the Herald Nale have actually joined Odium's side in the conflict. By the way, in case you missed it, back in June Brandon posted an official Knight Radiant order quiz! You can find the quiz itself here. Take the quiz to find out which orders of the Knights Radiant you are most suited for! Odium's forces Pitted against the humans and the Knights Radiant are the native singers, supported by the forces of Odium. Most notable among them are the Fused--ancient singer souls returned Desolation after Desolation in order to carry out their vengeance against the human invaders. There are several types of Fused, each with access to different magical abilities not unlike those of the Knights Radiant. Below the Fused are the Regals--regular singers with a Voidspren in their gemheart, which grants them some minor magical abilities. On that note, we should mention the Voidspren themselves. These include all spren, sapient or otherwise, which have been suffused with Odium's power. We also can't forget the Unmade, the nine mysterious spren-like beings of immense power, that include the likes of Nergaoul (the Thrill) and Re-Shephir (the twisted being driven from the heart of Urithiru). Lastly (so far as we know) are the Thunderclasts, destructive monsters of animated stone, who played a pivotal role in the battles at Kholinar and Thaylen City. The Diagram The war isn't as simple as two sides pitted against one another, of course. While Taravangian's secret organization, the Diagram, was originally committed to preserving all of Roshar (questionable means aside), the aged monarch made a deal with Odium at the end of Oathbringer in order to secure the future of Kharbranth alone at the cost of the rest. We have seen that members of the organization are permitted to interpret the Diagram with some measure of liberty. Will everyone agree with their leader's decision to betray the other humans? Most importantly, the Diagram itself, or at least Taravangian's interpretation of it, has been proven fallible. What does this mean for the organization's future? The Ghostbloods The Ghostbloods aren't even particularly invested in the outcome of the war, seeking merely to capitalize on current events for their own mysterious ends. Shallan has infiltrated the group to some level, serving under Mraize, but their goals and motivations are no small secret. Who is the mysterious Thaidakar who leads them? What are they after, and will their aspirations align with Shallan's own or drive a wedge? The Sons of Honor The Sons of Honor are another notable secret society on Roshar with mysterious goals. On the surface, it appears they simply sought to return the Heralds, reignite the Desolations, and restore power to the Vorin church. However, we also know that Gavilar, a key leader in the organization, had plans far more enigmatic. Furthermore, we have yet to meet the mysterious Restares--another high-level member of the Sons of Honor. Amaram may have fallen to Odium, but the Sons of Honor aren't quite down and out. MYSTERIES Urithiru & the Sibling When Urithiru was rediscovered, the new denizens hoped to find ancient knowledge and technology that would aid them in their fight against Odium. This expectation was unfulfilled, however, with the only real discovery being a few records stored in gemstones by ancient Radiants, and much of the tower city is still a mystery. There are many indications that the tower has not been restored to full functionality, likely related to the slumbering of a powerful spren known simply as "the Sibling." Will the Sibling be restored, and the secrets of Urithiru uncovered? Gavilar's schemes When Dalinar trapped the Unmade Nergaoul in a gemstone at the end of Oathbringer, it glowed with a dark light which Navani noted she had once seen in Gavilar's possession. In the prologues, we have had a glimpse of what Navani may be referring to. Gavilar gave both Szeth and Eshonai strangely colored spheres on the night of his death, and their contents were not entirely clear. All we know is that Eshonai's sphere made the listeners decide to kill the Alethi king, and Szeth's was apparently so important that Gavilar used his dying words to have Szeth take and hide it. Will Rhythm of War reveal what Gavilar's schemes entailed? The lost listeners As the Everstorm was summoned, most of the listeners in Narak had assumed stormform and were fighting against the humans. But some small number saw Odium's dark influence in the form and refused it. This group, including Eshonai and Venli's mother, was lost without a trace amid the chaos of battle. While they are generally assumed dead, it is possible that the group still lives in seclusion. The legacy of the listeners, singers who rejected Odium and set off on their own, certainly lives on and bears great importance. Rlain of Bridge Four and Venli, a budding Knight Radiant, have both rejected Odium to some degree, and we have seen that some singers are more interested in making a new life than they are in seeking vengeance. Will these singers find an ally in one another--and perhaps the humans too? Wit and the letters Quick affirmation--this article will NOT be drifting into Cosmere spoilers! ...Something that bears repeating as we turn our eye on the enigmatic Wit. Wit is a peculiar character who has a knack for showing up at random times for unknowable reasons. He has shown up in each book so far to share ancient myths and bestow wisdom upon Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar. Aside from a handful of other varied appearances, we can always count on Wit to show up in the epilogue. He was present when Taln returned from Braize at the end of The Way of Kings. He was present when Jasnah returned from her unexpected trek through Shadesmar at the end of Words of Radiance. And in Oathbringer he was able to rescue and bond the Cryptic (who had planned to bond with Elhokar) from the ruins of the Kholinar Palace--those new Lightweaver powers are sure to come in handy when he tells stories! There's one other important, but extremely subtle, roles that Wit has played in the books so far, and it can only be found in the epigraphs (the text that precedes some chapters). In The Way of Kings Part 2 we saw a letter from Wit concerning the danger Odium poses to Roshar (and the Cosmere at large). In Words of Radiance Part 4 we saw the recipient of that letter dismissing Wit's concerns, and in Oathbringer Part 2 we saw similar letters with a variety of different responses from three others (who presumably received similar warnings from Wit). While we have some ideas (containing Cosmere spoilers) about who these letters are from and what Wit is trying to do, we can only guess what will happen next. It wouldn't be terribly presumptuous to assume that we'll get another letter (if not more) in Rhythm of War, and we can't wait to see how they play into the story! And that should do it! We hope that reading these articles will prepare you for reading and discussing Rhythm of War this November! If you found this helpful, make sure to tag your friends or share it around. If you feel like something important was left out, or if you have a question, let us know in the comments. If you haven't visited our forums and Discord server, consider this your welcome! We'd love to hear your voice in the conversation. Until next time, Life before Death! Check out our other articles in our Stormlight Recap Series: World and History | Main Characters | Other Notable Characters Special thanks to the artists whose work was used in this article! Kaladin and the highstorm by Howard Lyon Face the Unmade by Artem Demura on behalf of Brotherwise Games Ghostblood Agent by Soph Peralta on behalf of Brotherwise Games The Tower by Ben McSweeney
  3. Stormlight Recap Series: World and History | Main Characters | Groups and Mysteries Welcome back! If you missed the first two Stormlight Archive recap articles you can find them here and here. So far we have covered the world and history of Roshar, the three main characters of the Stormlight Archive, and the upcoming flashback characters. In this article we will discuss some other need-to-know characters. This article will have spoilers for the Stormlight Archive, but there will NOT be spoilers for other Cosmere books. Here we go! ADOLIN Adolin is Dalinar's firstborn son, with unparalleled skills in Shardblade dueling (thanks to instincts from his father, perhaps) and fashion (definitely not from Dalinar). Though Adolin never believed his father was perfect, he has always managed deep respect for the man. Their relationship grew immensely as they worked together fighting Parshendi on the Shattered Plains, and was strengthened after their betrayal together and the hands of Sadeas and their shared mission to unite the highprinces. Adolin's murder of Sadeas was an unexpected development for Dalinar, however, and the truth of Dalinar's role in the death of his wife can't be easy for Adolin to swallow. Will their relationship be strengthened or shattered? Meanwhile, Adolin has two new relationships on his hands. First is his new wife, Shallan, who is currently undergoing a massive identity crisis. Second is his Shardblade, Mayalaran. Maya is a "dead" Shardblade--one of the spren killed in the Recreance--and after Adolin spent some time with her in Shadesmar she began to show subtle signs of recovery. Can Adolin help each of these loved ones recover from their pasts, or are their problems beyond his ability to help? RENARIN Renarin is Dalinar's youngest son, having a kindhearted nature and thoughtfulness that could only have been gained from his loving mother. With epilepsy keeping Renarin off the battlefield and a growing interest in scholarship, Renarin has had a more difficult time relating to his father than Adolin. While the two have made some progress, and his experiences as a member of Bridge Four have boosted his confidence, Renarin still struggles to find his place in the world. His strange bond to the corrupted Truthwatcher spren Glys, which grants cryptic visions of the future, can only have left Renarin in a more unusual place than ever. What will Renarin's role be among his family and the Knights Radiant? Will the Unmade, Sja-Anat, who corrupted Renarin's spren reach out to contact him? NAVANI Navani originally married Gavilar despite a quiet interest in Dalinar, making her queen of Alethkar for some time. The marriage was not particularly fulfilling to Navani however, and now several years after her husband's death she finally got the brother she wanted. Though Dalinar isn't the easiest to love and deal with, this couple is adorable to watch--and they're arguably the most powerful and influential couple on Roshar. Though she is perhaps best known as the wife of Gavilar, and now Dalinar, Navani would tell you that she is most proud of her role as a patron in the advancement of fabrial technology. All signs suggest that fabrials will play a growing role in the war between humans and Fused. What will Navani's role in these discoveries be? JASNAH Jasnah's research into the past, acted upon by Shallan, was largely to thank for humanity's survival so far in the True Desolation. Now queen of Alethkar, Jasnah spent much of Oathbringer simply trying to catch up--having missed the world-altering events that happened in her absence. With a year for things to settle, what will Jasnah do next? What kind of queen will she be? What role will she play among the Knights Radiant? BRIDGE FOUR Let's talk about this group here rather than the "Groups" section in the next article, Bridge Four is less about a group with some overarching goal and more about a collection of amazing individuals that we know and love deeply! Many of the original Bridge Four, and those who joined later, are squires (or perhaps full Windrunners at this point, with Teft being the first after Kaladin) who have the powers of Windrunners when their Knight is nearby. Aside from Teft, Sigzil, Rock , Skar, Drehy, and Lopen are among the important figures to recall. Only a few never became squires by the end of Oathbringer, including the single listener spy, Rlain; and the mute bridgeman, Dabbid, who was one of the first Kaladin saved. Will we see some new Windrunners? How will their group change as the Windrunners grow? MOASH Then we have Moash, the only member of Bridge Four who didn't leave the group by dying. Though he was skeptical of Kaladin early on, Moash grew to trust Kaladin deeply and the two quickly became friends. Moash's drive to seek vengeance against Elhokar placed him at odds with Kaladin's Ideals however. After Kaladin thwarted an attempt to kill the king, Moash was left behind and later picked up by the Fused. Disillusioned by both human and singer leaders, Moash turned to Odium for release from his burdens. After killing Elhokar during the Battle of Kholinar, Moash was given the task of assassinating the Herald Jezrien with a special dagger. After performing that deed without question, Moash was renamed "Vyre" by the Fused. SZETH The mysterious "Assassin in White" was responsible for the deaths of several world leaders across Roshar, all commanded by the bearers of his oathstone (first the listeners with the death of Gavilar, then Taravangian, who used Szeth to destabilize the world as a tool for the Diagram) After the arrival of the Everstorm and the Last Desolation, Szeth was forced to confront the truth that he was made "Truthless" by his people in error, and the responsibility for all his murders rests at his own feet. Looking for moral guidance, Szeth was recruited by Nale into the Skybreakers, and given a mysterious black Shardblade. After swiftly advancing in the ranks of the Skybreakers, Szeth swore his Third Ideal to follow Dalinar Kholin. Will Szeth's dark past catch up to him or will he find balance under the authority of Dalinar? He plans to return to his homeland and seek justice against those who made him Truthless incorrectly, but given Szeth's flashbacks aren't due until the following Stormlight Archive book we expect these plans will be delayed for the time being. LIFT This young and awkward Edgedancer has played a small, but notable role in the story so far. Her past is a mystery, though this is unlikely to be explored at length until the later Stormlight Archive books. In the meantime, we know that Lift visited the Nightwatcher and obtained some incredibly bizarre abilities there, including a means of metabolizing food into Stormlight. Lift has played an important political role as well, being largely responsible for convincing Gawx to bring the Makabaki people of western Roshar into the coalition against Odium. Will Lift continue to be an influential figure? How will her unique magical abilities prove a boon in the ongoing war? THE HERALDS Taln, the sole Herald who was abandoned, is in particularly poor shape after his four and a half millennia alone on Braize. Ash, another Herald who seems to have romantic interest in Taln, sought the man out and the two were reunited during the Battle of Thaylen Field. After the death of their fellow Herald Jezrien, Ash's father, both were left unconscious. Jasnah had them recovered safely however, and the two may prove to be a valuable resource in the future. Beyond these two, we only know about the activities of a few other Heralds. Jezrien appears to be dead, Nale is actively leading the Skybreakers and working with Odium, and crazed Ishar has named himself god-priest of Tukar. Aside from Taravangian's suspicion that a woman working for him may be Battar, the activities of the others are unclear. TARAVANGIAN Formerly the king of the lowly city-state Kharranth, Taravangian eventually seized the throne of Jah Keved for himself. The elderly man was one of the few whom Gavilar confided in (to some degree) before his death, and after Gavilar's assassination Taravangian was driven to extreme measures to curb the threat of the coming Desolation. He visited the Nightwatcher and asked for the capacity to save the world; he came out with a strange effect that left him dull and compassionate on some days while genius and dispassionate on others. The most notable result of this magic was Taravangian's creation of the Diagram--the collected works of a single day of brilliance which left Taravangian with a plan for saving the world, as well as an organization of followers committed to seeing the Diagram fulfilled. They supplemented the Diagram with death rattles--the utterances of men and women who die when the Unmade Moelach is nearby, which sometimes contain hints about the future. The Diagram proved impossible to fulfill perfectly, however, as Taravangian's efforts to seize ultimate control on Roshar failed when Dalinar unexpectedly rejected Odium. With his secrets slipping out Taravangian confessed his crimes to Dalinar, keeping only his deepest mysteries private--including his last meeting with Odium, in which the two made specific arrangements to sacrifice the world outside the city of Kharbranth. How will the truth of Taravangian's machinations affect Dalinar's trust in the man? Will Taravangian continue to undermine Dalinar's plans to fulfill his deal with Odium? What will the Diagram say to do next? That will be all for this time. In the next and final article we will be talking about important groups and some ongoing mysteries to be aware of! If you found this helpful, make sure to tag your friends or share it around. If you feel like something important was left out, or if you have a question, let us know in the comments. If you haven't visited our forums and Discord server, consider this your welcome! We'd love to hear your voice in the conversation. Until next time, Life before Death! Check out our other articles in our Stormlight Recap Series: World and History | Main Characters | Groups and Mysteries Special thanks to the artists whose work was used in this article! Kaladin and the highstorm by Howard Lyon Artifabrian, Assassin in White, and Mastermind by Ari Ibarra on behalf of Brotherwise Games Bridge Four poster by Zach Stella
  4. Stormlight Recap Series: World and History | Other Notable Characters | Groups and Mysteries Welcome back! If you missed the previous Stormlight Archive recap article you can find it here. Last time, we covered the world and history of Roshar. In this article we'll look at the three main characters of the Stormlight Archive so far, Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan. We'll also spend some time on the upcoming flashback characters, Eshonai and Venli. This article will have spoilers for the Stormlight Archive, but there will NOT be spoilers for other Cosmere books. Let's do it! DALINAR We caught glimpses of Dalinar's dark and bloodthirsty past as he worked with his brother, Gavilar, and friend, Sadeas, to unite the princedoms of Alethkar. Afflicted by the Unmade called Nergaoul (the Thrill) for most of his life, Dalinar's victories only left him thirsty for more. It wasn't until the accidental murder of his own wife, Evi, that Dalinar began to change. Her death left him an alcoholic and a shell of his former self, and after his failure to protect Gavilar from assassination, Dalinar became determined to turn his life around. He visited the powerful, mysterious, and ancient spren called the Nightwatcher where he asked to forget about the painful death of his wife. Cultivation herself made an appearance, and took all memories of Evi from Dalinar--giving him an opportunity at a fresh start. Dalinar seized that opportunity firmly as he joined the war effort against the Parshendi. After a few years of war, Dalinar's resolve began to shift in a new direction. Strange visions granted to Dalinar by the Stormfather ultimately revealed to him that their God, Almighty (i.e., Honor) was dead at the hand of Odium. Despite the treacherous betrayal at the hands of his old friend Sadeas, Dalinar began efforts to unite the Alethi highprinces against the coming True Desolation. After facing the Parshendi in the center of the Shattered Plains and surviving the first Everstorm, Dalinar established a new base of operations in the lost, mythical city of Urithiru. His mission of uniting the highprinces grew quickly to include uniting all the nations of Roshar AND re-establishing the forgotten orders of the Knights Radiant. Dalinar became the first new Bondsmith, bonded to the Stormfather--the spren of the highstorm itself--and got to work. Through Oathbringer, Dalinar successfully established a shaky coalition of Roshar's monarchs to stand against Odium's forces. However his own home, Alethkar, became occupied by enemy forces and his nephew, the former king of Alethkar, was killed. Dalinar also learned of Taravangian's dealings with Szeth, proving again that even allies cannot be trusted. Though things may look bleak, Dalinar was able to confront his dark past at the Battle of Thaylen Field and move past it--thwarting Odium's plan to make Dalinar his own champion. Seizing fragments of Honor's power, Dalinar halted Odium's advance and earned the humans a much-needed victory--or at least a reprieve. What's next? Dalinar's dark past is being shared in his memoir. How will this shape his relationships, particularly with Adolin, who Dalinar now knows is responsible for the death of Sadeas? The coalition has been tested and Dalinar's leadership questioned. How will his political position evolve after Jasnah becomes queen of Alethkar and Adolin becomes head of House Kholin? The Knights Radiant have had a year to grow in number since Oathbringer. What will Dalinar's leadership role be among the Radiants and what does his future as a Bondsmith look like, especially following his dramatic power-up at the Battle of Thaylen Field? KALADIN Kaladin grew up in the newly reunited Alethkar as an apprentice surgeon to his father, Lirin. He spent much of his young life torn between his father's expectations and his desire to become a soldier. Hearthstone's brightlord died when Kaladin was young, leaving his family to suffer under the bitter, angry Brightlord Roshone. After witnessing his father's strength and defiance, Kaladin decided to become a surgeon after all... until Roshone had Kal's younger brother, Tien, drafted into the army. Kaladin joined to protect his brother, but failed within months and was too ashamed to return home. Upon winning a set of Shards on the battlefield years later, Brightlord Amaram stole Kaladin's spoils for himself and consigned Kaladin to slavery. One year later, Kaladin found himself running with Sadeas's bridge crews on the Shattered Plains. His spren, Sylphrena encouraged Kaladin to fight on, and he did. Kaladin united the bridgemen under his command, trained them to fight, and ultimately saved Dalinar after his betrayal at the hands of Sadeas. After joining Dalinar's forces, Kaladin's loyalty was tested as Amaram arrived on the Shattered Plains, reminding Kaladin that no lighteyes can be trusted, while his new friend Moash revealed King Elhokar and Roshone's roles in the deaths of Moash's grandparents. Dalinar's honor won Kaladin over in the end, as Kaladin grew into his new Surgebinding powers and used them to save Elhokar and Dalinar both from assassination. After the Everstorm was summoned, Kaladin returned to his hometown of Hearthstone to check on his family. Finding them safe, he surveilled and helped a group of Everstorm-healed singers before returning to Urithiru. After a few weeks of training his new Windrunner squires, Kaladin travelled with a team led by King Elhokar, to Kholinar to open the Oathgate and retake the city. In Kholinar, Kaladin joined Highmarshal Azure's wall guard. As the team attempted to open the Oathgate to Kholinar, the singer army attacked and seized the city--leaving Elhokar dead at Moash's hand and Kaladin's team trapped in Shadesmar. After Kaladin experienced a vision suggesting that Dalinar would soon be in danger, the team journeyed through Shadesmar to Thaylen City, where Kaladin failed to speak his Fourth Ideal with the team in mortal danger. Saved by Dalinar, the team was returned to the Physical Realm, where Kaladin fought and helped defeat Amaram, who had been consumed by the Unmade Yelig-nar. What's next? Years of war, slavery, and bridge-running have left Kaladin covered in scars and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Kaladin froze at the death of Elhokar, with his oaths to protect leaving Kaladin conflicted, and he failed to speak the Fourth Ideal when he was needed. He desires above all else to protect the ones he loves, even to the detriment of himself. How will Kaladin find a way to make peace with his past so that he can begin recovering and advance as a Windrunner? SHALLAN We don't know how or when Shallan's bond with her spren began, but at a mere eleven years old she was forced to kill her own mother with a Shardblade in self-defense. Her father, Lin Davar, tried to protect his daughter by allowing rumors of the murder to lay the blame on himself. The pressure of these rumors, along with financial decline, fueled violence and abusive tendencies in her father, and Shallan was left acting as the glue holding her elder brothers together as they suffered. The family's fortunes improved after Lin began dealing with the Ghostbloods, who gave him access to a Soulcaster, but his treatment of the family did not ease up--particularly after the eldest brother, Helaran, was killed in battle. Shallan was ultimately forced to poison and strangle her father. During that confrontation, Lin's secret Soulcaster was damaged. After failed attempts to repair the Soulcaster, Shallan journeyed to Kharbranth where she became Jasnah Kholin's ward in hopes of stealing the princess's own Soulcaster. Shallan was greatly enriched as Jasnah's pupil, but ultimately committed the theft and made plans to return home. A strange encounter with Cryptics and an accidental poisoning exposed Shallan's machinations to Jasnah, but the wardship was allowed to continue after Shallan was revealed to be a budding Knight Radiant. With Jasnah's research suggesting the parshmen slaves were Voidbringers, the pair traveled by ship to the Shattered Plains in search of Urithiru and proof of an impending Desolation, but an attack by the Ghostbloods left Shallan shipwrecked and Jasnah presumed dead. Shallan made her way to the Shattered Plains alone, collecting several mercenaries and servants along the way. Once there, Shallan balanced her time between exploring her Lightweaver powers, infiltrating the Ghostbloods, and wooing Adolin Kholin. After exploring the chasms and piecing together her discoveries for the Ghostbloods, Shallan determined the location of Narak at the center of the Shattered Plains, and the Oathgate hidden there. As the Alethi forces clashed with the listeners and the Everstorm was summoned, Shallan spoke her next "truth" and accessed the Oathgate. To cope with her broken past, Shallan began to develop multiple personalities; first Veil, a Ghostblood spy, and then Radiant, an exemplary Knight Radiant. Shallan also struggled readjusting to her role as Jasnah's ward, having grown used to her freedom and the renown earned by discovering Urithiru and confronting the Unmade Re-Shephir that was found in the tower city. To escape Jasnah's scrutiny, Shallan travelled with Elhokar's team to Kholinar, where her skills proved useful as the group attempted to infiltrate the palace, but after several failures and with her identity in a tailspin, Shallan only crumbled further. With some help from Wit and some time processing her struggles in Shadesmar, Shallan's personas appeared to stabilize following the Battle of Thaylen City. What's next? Shallan's early childhood is still a mystery. With her brothers' arrival in Urithiru, will she be able to confront or escape her past? Her distant past isn't the only thing full of secrets. Will Shallan confess her involvement with the Ghostbloods to Adolin and Jasnah or dig herself in deeper? After sorting through a bag of mixed romantic feelings, Shallan chose to marry Adolin at the end of Oathbringer. How will this new relationship affect Shallan's recovery and development? ESHONAI & VENLI Every Stormlight Archive book contains the flashback sequence for a certain character. In Rhythm of War, Brandon has confirmed that this sequence will be shared by Eshonai and Venli. These sisters are listeners (called Parshendi by the humans)--an independent nation of singers who rejected their gods, the Fused, toward the end of the Desolations, and thus were unaffected during the events which left most singers as near-mindless "parshmen". Small in number, their tribes went unnoticed in the eastern wilderness for thousands of years, until they were discovered by Dalinar during a hunting expedition. Gavilar took an unexplained interest in the listeners, and ultimately invited them to Kholinar to sign a treaty between their peoples. On the night Gavilar was assassinated, the night of the treaty, he showed Eshonai a strange, dark sphere and spoke of the return of the listener gods. This would bring his doom, as Eshonai reported what happened to her leaders, who decided that very evening that Gavilar must be killed. Eshonai longed for peace with the humans despite her position as a Shardbearer and general of the listener army on the Shattered Plains, but was willing to pay any cost to prevent the return of the listener gods. This changed when her sister Venli's research uncovered a new spren that would grant a form of power called stormform. Eshonai volunteered to test the new form, which tragically altered her mind. After nearly destroying the listener people entirely and summoning the Everstorm, Eshonai fell to her death in the chasms. Before her transition to stormform, Eshonai attracted Timbre--a rebellious lightspren in who, against all precedence, sought to form a bond with a singer rather than a human. After Eshonai's death, Timbre began to quietly follow her sister, Venli. Venli, far less altruistic than her sister, expected the return of the singer gods to bring personal fame and renown, but instead all she found was frustration and bitterness. Her people were rejected as traitors and Venli's own efforts were largely disregarded. After her loved ones were left dead at the hands of humans or Fused, Venli was claimed by Odium to be his ambassador to the newly awakened singers on Roshar. Unwilling to accept the mistreatment of her people at the hands of the humans but also disillusioned by their abuse under the rule of Odium, Venli was left with few allies beyond Timbre, whom she began to bond with following the Battle of Thaylen Field. What's next? We can't wait to find out more of their history! What will their past tell us about the singers, and the listeners in particular? What revelations will their flashbacks bring? Looking to the future, there is reason to believe that a group of listeners, including Venli's mother, may still be alive. Will Venli discover their fate? Stuck between the humans and Odium, what paths will Venli choose next? Or will she reconnect with Rlain, the only known survivor of her people, member of Bridge Four and ally of the humans in Urithiru? That will be all for this time. In the next article, coming next Wednesday, we will continue exploring some other notable characters! If you found this helpful, make sure to tag your friends or share it around. If you feel like something important was left out, or if you have a question, let us know in the comments. If you haven't visited our forums and Discord server, consider this your welcome! We'd love to hear your voice in the conversation. Until next time, Life before Death! Check out our other articles in our Stormlight Recap Series: World and History | Other Notable Characters | Groups and Mysteries Special thanks to the artists whose work was used in this article! Kaladin and the highstorm by Howard Lyon A Man's Worth by Randy Vargas Stormblessed by Ari Ibarra Shallan in the Palanaeum by Alex Allen Willshaper by Nastya Lehn on behalf of Brotherwise Games