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The Nature and Purpose of Honorblades.

Guest Alaxel

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During my most recent reread of The Way of Kings, I came across something interesting. In the section Highprince of War, page 288/1009 in my eBook edition, I noticed this tidbit:

"The corridors of the king's war palace were growing richer by the week. Once, this hallway had been just another Soulcast stone tunnel. As Elhokar settled in, he had ordered improvements. Windows were cut into the leeward side. Marble tiling was set into the floor. The walls were carved with reliefs, with mosaic trim at the corners. Dalinar and Renarin passed a group of stonemasons carefully cutting a scene of Nalan'Elin, emitting sunlight, the sword of retribution held over his head."

Pay particular note to the last line. It refers to one of the Heralds, Nalan, holding 'the sword of retribution' over his head. I don't think anyone will disagree that this is referring to his Honorblade, but the interesting and thought-provoking part is that it is named the sword of retribution.

In the prelude, Honorblades are referred to as 'unique.' Obviously they're unique compared to any other weapon, but are Honorblades unique as a type of weapon, or is each individual Honorblade unique even to the other Honorblades? Just to clarify, I'm speculating that the uniqueness of each Honorblade goes beyond the physical form and aesthetics of the weapon itself. This could, albeit circumstantially, be confirmed by, and act as proof of, the nature of Szeth's Shardblade. If Szeth does wield an Honorblade, as many speculate, and the eye-lightening effect is unique to his weapon and not to his type of weapon, then it's reasonable to assume the each Honorblade has a unique purpose.

Consider: This particular magic system revolves heavily around purposes and ideals. Everything from the various Orders of Knights Radiant to Nahel bonds seem to strengthen and augment Ideals already manifest in an individual. If each Order of Radiants have their own particular niche, perhaps each Herald has his or her own Ideal they represented.

Nalan wields the sword of retribution. Maybe there is a sword of justice, or a sword of determination.

The only thing I'm having trouble deciding is this: Did the Honorblade Nalan wielded come to be known as the sword of retribution because of the way in which Nalan used it, or because it truly was the Sword of Retribution. If it is the latter, and Szeth does wield an Honorblade...which does he hold?

Just some food for thought while we all eagerly await Words of Radiance.



Edit:  Spelling/Grammar/Formatting/Added everything below this disclaimer.



Thanks to Argent for drawing my attention to the Ars Arcanum and its descriptions of each Herald.  Knowing that Nalan was Just and Confident, I believe that the Sword of Retribution is a very appropriately named weapon for him.

However, I'm still trying to decide this.  Is Nalan's Honorblade the Sword of Retribution, regardless of who wields it, or did it simply become known as the Sword of Retribution because of the Ideals that Nalan was associated with?  I'm leaning more towards the former, as it would explain the unique eye-lightening effects of Szeth's blade.  In fact, it would explain why Szeth is bound so strongly to his honor; the Honorblade he wields could influence him that way.

Edited by Alaxel
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The Way of Kings Ars Arcanum assigns the Divine Attributes just and confident to Nalan. It is possible that history could've misremembered his Honorblade as the Sword of Retribution (as opposed to the Sword of Justice for example).


I like the idea, +1.

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I'm on record as believing that Szeth has an Honorblade and that it is the source of his abilities. Since he has Windrunner powers and his eyes turn blue, it would obviously be Jezrien's sword. As mentioned above, the sword of retribution would make sense for Nalan, since his first ideal is Justice. I think the more interesting thing is the part about "emitting sunlight", since Nalan is associated with Smoke/Vapor. I'm very curious as to what Surge will be shared by orders # 2 and 3. The only reasonable contenders I can imagine would be either Heat or Light, but I honestly throught those would be two separate but adjacent surges, shared by #3. However, since that's not the case for REDACTED reasons, only one of those can go in that area of the chart.

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