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[OB] Harkaylain - A Recurring Name in the Starfall Vision


Subvisual Haze

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Harkaylain is name first mentioned in Dalinar's Starfall Vision during The Way of Kings.  After Dalinar finishes fighting the midnight essences, he briefly talks with the female Knight Radiant (likely a Stoneward based on the amber color of her shardplate) about midnight essences and desolations.   The radiant's last comment before she runs off to continue fighting is

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The knight sniffed dismissively.  "Voidbringers? These? No, this was Midnight Essence, though who released it is still a mystery." She looked to the side, expression growing distant. "Harkaylain says the Desolation is close, and he is not often wrong.  He-"

Many (including the Coppermind Wiki article on Harkaylain) made the assumption that Harkaylain was the name of the male Windrunner in the Starfall vision.  In Oathbringer we now know that this isn't the case, because the name Harkaylain is mentioned again, this time at the start of the vision when Dalinar (placed into the role of the female KR), tries to pry information about shardplate from the Windrunner.

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..."Retract your helm?" he shouted.  "You haven't summoned your armor yet; you had to dismiss it so I could lash you."

Oh, Dalinar thought.  "I mean earlier.  It wouldn't vanish when I wanted it to."

"Talk to Harkaylain then, or to your spren."  The Windrunner frowned.  "Will this be a problem for our mission?"

It seems unlikely that the Windrunner would refer to himself in the third person, so we are left with a bit of a mystery regarding who Harkaylain is/was.  Being referred to by name twice in two different books might be important.  He sounds like some sort of Radiant Leader/Authority, and the two characteristics he is given are quite interesting: he is rarely wrong, and he is some sort of authority or expert on the functioning of shardplate.

Could he be the singular leader of the Radiants at the time of this vision?  Perhaps a Bondsmith?  Or a very knowledgeable Elsecaller?  Or maybe just a programming glitch left in the visions by Honor, where any questions that the actors in the vision can't answer will be referred to a mysterious Harkaylain?

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3 minutes ago, Ookla the Indivergable said:

Great observation. We know that while many orders were not hierarchical the windrunners were. My guess is he was the leader of that generation of Windrunners.

I think a Bondsmith is more likely. Why would a Stoneward talk to the Windrunner leader about her armor?

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8 minutes ago, Willow said:

I think a Bondsmith is more likely. Why would a Stoneward talk to the Windrunner leader about her armor?

Oh you're right, my carelessness. I had in my stupid mind that Dalinar was playing a Windrunner in that vision but of course he wouldn't have been, he wouldn't have needed to be lashed if he was a windrunner :ph34r: this is what happens when i have little time for the forums and try to contribute without taking the time to think :'D

I shall retire. And go West.

Edited by Ookla the Indivergable
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3 minutes ago, Ookla the Indivergable said:

Oh you're right, my carelessness. I had in my stupid mind that Dalinar was playing a Windrunner in that vision but of course he wouldn't have been, he wouldn't have needed to be lashed if he was a windrunner :ph34r:

Dalinar as a Windrunner in that vision would be hilarious.. especially because he'd be responsible for lashing himself. I can just imagine him appearing in the vision and immediately plummeting downwards. And the other Windrunner is like 'You're falling in the wrong direction, What are you doing?!' 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH'

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7 minutes ago, Ookla the Indivergable said:

Oh you're right, my carelessness. I had in my stupid mind that Dalinar was playing a Windrunner in that vision but of course he wouldn't have been, he wouldn't have needed to be lashed if he was a windrunner :ph34r: this is what happens when i have little time for the forums and try to contribute without taking the time to think :'D

I shall retire. And go West.

Anything's possible.  I think we can infer from the Starfall and Feverstone Keep visions that Windrunners and Stonewards tended to work together on assignments.  They may have even had a unified command structure as a result?

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13 minutes ago, Subvisual Haze said:

Anything's possible.  I think we can infer from the Starfall and Feverstone Keep visions that Windrunners and Stonewards tended to work together on assignments.  They may have even had a unified command structure as a result?

Eh, I don't think you can really infer that from one vision. If there were epigraphs about it or it was mentioned in ancient records, then yeah I think it'd be a plausible theory, but there's not much to support it. 

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2 hours ago, Subvisual Haze said:

After Dalinar finishes fighting the midnight essences, he briefly talks with the female Knight Radiant (likely a Stoneward based on the amber color of her shardplate) about midnight essences and desolations. 

Wouldn’t she be either an Edgedancer or Truthwatcher since she had Regrowth?

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I've been wondering about Harkaylain ever since that scene in Oathbringer (I had done a reread of the previous books recently and noted him as a character of interest then, so the name stood out to me). The name itself sounds odd and distinctive - it doesn't sound like an Alethi, Jah Keved...ian? Kevedi?, or Shin one, definitely not Thaylen. Not Azish either, I don't think, though maybe one of the nations in former Makabakam could work those flowing vowels in. Of course it could be a spren name too. I suspected him for a Bondsmith back in Starfalls, and I think I still like that theory best. Of all of the Bondsmiths are similarly proficient in manipulating the other Realms, and if Shardplate is somehow made of spren (as now seems likely), I could see why the Windrunner would suggest talking to either a Bondsmith or the other Radiant's spren (a word which, frustratingly, could work as both singular and plural here). If Syl's joke about raising some windspren to torment Kaladin is a small bit of foreshadowing for the Windrunners' honorspren being "in charge" of Order's Shardplate/Platespren, then it could all kind of work out.

Of course, this is all pretty speculative, but I think there is enough to keep this as a little more than just headcanon.

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1 hour ago, Argent said:

I've been wondering about Harkaylain ever since that scene in Oathbringer (I had done a reread of the previous books recently and noted him as a character of interest then, so the name stood out to me). The name itself sounds odd and distinctive - it doesn't sound like an Alethi, Jah Keved...ian? Kevedi?, or Shin one, definitely not Thaylen. Not Azish either, I don't think, though maybe one of the nations in former Makabakam could work those flowing vowels in. Of course it could be a spren name too. I suspected him for a Bondsmith back in Starfalls, and I think I still like that theory best. Of all of the Bondsmiths are similarly proficient in manipulating the other Realms, and if Shardplate is somehow made of spren (as now seems likely), I could see why the Windrunner would suggest talking to either a Bondsmith or the other Radiant's spren (a word which, frustratingly, could work as both singular and plural here). If Syl's joke about raising some windspren to torment Kaladin is a small bit of foreshadowing for the Windrunners' honorspren being "in charge" of Order's Shardplate/Platespren, then it could all kind of work out.

Of course, this is all pretty speculative, but I think there is enough to keep this as a little more than just headcanon.

My first thought was Harkaylain was the name of the Bondsmith of that era who was linked to the Sibling.  I'm probably linking a few too many unrelated topics but I have the feeling that the Sibling was related not just to Urithiru as is heavily implied, but could also be linked to fabrial magic in general (including Oathgates, Shardplate, and the strange fabrials found in flashbacks).

edit: oh, regarding etymology.  Aimian?  The tempo of the name reminds me of Akinah for some reason.

Edited by Subvisual Haze
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