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[OB] Shallan's Pre-Flashback Past


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I'm trying to track down any scraps I can about Shallan's past prior to her mother's death. This is what I've got so far. Can anyone think of others?

WoR chapter 6


“Remember,” he said. “I . . . cannot . . . remember . . .”

“What is the first thing you do remember?” Shallan asked. “Where were you first?”

“First,” Pattern said. “With you.”

“On the ship?” Shallan said, writing.

“No. Green. Food. Food not eaten.”

“Plants?” Shallan asked.

“Yes. Many plants.” He vibrated, and she thought she could hear in that vibration the blowing of wind through branches. Shallan breathed in. She could almost see it. The deck in front of her changing to a dirt path, her box becoming a stone bench. Faintly. Not really there, but almost. Her father’s gardens. Pattern on the ground, drawn in the dust . . .

“Remember,” Pattern said, voice like a whisper.

No, Shallan thought, horrified. NO!

The image vanished. It hadn’t really been there in the first place, had it? She raised her safehand to her breast, breathing in and out in sharp gasps. No.

WoR chapter 45


What would it be like, to be brave like Helaran? As her mother had been.

Her mother . . .

WoR chapter 45


“Turns out that it was. Tell me, young one. Do spren speak to you?”

The lights going out, life drained from them.

Twisted symbols the eye should not see.

Her mother’s soul in a box.

“I . . .” she said. “No. Why would a spren speak to me?”

“No voices?” the man said, leaning forward. “Do spheres go dark when you are near?”

“I’m sorry,” Shallan said, “but I should be getting back to my father. He will be missing me.”

[. . .]

[Wikim] was smiling.

Warmth. That warmth she felt, a deep glow, was like the joy she had known before. Long ago. Before everything had gone wrong. Before Mother.

[. . .]

“Lies,” the messenger said. “Tell me the truth. What is it, child? Beauty, to you.”

“I . . .” What was it? “Mother still lives,” she found herself whispering, meeting his eyes.


“And we are in the gardens,” Shallan continued. “She is speaking to my father, and he is laughing. Laughing and holding her. We are all there, including Helaran. He never left. The people my mother knew . . . Dreder . . . never came to our home. Mother loves me. She teaches me philosophy, and she shows me how to draw.”

“Good,” the messenger said. “But you can do better than that. What is that place? What does it feel like?”

“It’s spring,” Shallan shot back, growing annoyed. “And the mossvines bloom a vigorous red. They smell sweet, and the air is moist from the morning’s highstorm. Mother whispers, but there is music to her tone, and Father’s laugh doesn’t echo—it rises high into the air, bathing us all.

“Helaran is teaching Jushu swords, and they spar nearby. Wikim laughs as Helaran is struck on the side of the leg. He is studying to be an ardent, as Mother wanted. I am sketching them all, charcoal scratching paper. I feel warm, despite the slight chill to the air. I have a steaming cup of cider beside me, and I taste the sweetness in my mouth from the sip I just took. It is beautiful because it could have been. It should have been. I . . .”


Shallan lifted her fingers, the image of her ideal life wrapped around her like a comforter.


She drew back. The misty light faded.

WoR chapter 60


“You came to learn,” Shallan said, staring at her map. “That’s what you said.”

“I came to learn. We became to do something greater.”

“Would you have me unable to laugh?” she demanded, suddenly holding back tears. “Would you have me crippled? That is what those memories would do to me. I can bewhat I am because I cut them off.”

An image formed in front of her, born of Stormlight, created by instinct. She hadn’t needed to draw this image first, for she knew it too well.

The image was of herself. Shallan, as she should be. Curled in a huddle on the bed, unable to weep for she had long since run out of tears. This girl . . . not a woman, a girl . . . flinched whenever spoken to. She expected everyone to shout at her. She could not laugh, for laughter had been squeezed from her by a childhood of darkness and pain.

That was the real Shallan. She knew it as surely as she knew her own name. The person she had become instead was a lie, one she had fabricated in the name of survival. To remember herself as a child, discovering Light in the gardens, Patterns in the stonework, and dreams that became real . . .

. . .

“Mmmm . . . Such a deep lie,” Pattern whispered. “A deep lie indeed. But still, you must obtain your abilities. Learn again, if you have to.”

WoR chapter 73


This had been coming. She’d known this had been coming. They tried to hide, they tried to flee. Of course that wouldn’t work.

It hadn’t worked with Mother either.

WoR chapter 88


Red carpet. Once white. Her mother’s friend lay on the floor, bleeding from the arm, though that wound hadn’t killed him. Shallan walked to the other corpse, the one facedown in the beautiful dress of blue and gold. Red hair spilled out in a pattern around the head.

Shallan knelt and rolled over her mother’s corpse, confronting a skull with burned-out eyes.

“Why did she try to kill me, Pattern?” Shallan whispered.

“Mmm . . .”

“It started when she found out what I could do.”

She remembered it now. Her mother’s arrival, with a friend Shallan didn’t recognize, to confront her father. Her mother’s shouts, arguing with her father.

Mother calling Shallan one of them.

Her father barging in. Mother’s friend with a knife, the two struggling, the friend getting cut in the arm. Blood spilled on the carpet. The friend had won that fight, eventually holding Father down, pinned on the ground. Mother took the knife and came for Shallan.

And then . . .

And then a sword in Shallan’s hands.

OB chapter 25


Shallan choked up. She remembered sitting at the edge of her seat, listening to this story. As a child, when moments like watching the players had been the only bright spots in life.

Too many memories of her father, and of her mother, who had loved telling her stories. She tried to banish those memories, but they wouldn’t go.


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Are you just looking for book quotes or WoBs as well? I can't remember anything in the book right now, but there's that new WoB that shed some light about Shallan's early bond with Pattern:



How was Shallan able to bond with Pattern before she was broken?

Brandon Sanderson

She was open to him even before she went through a lot of that turmoil


I thought everybody had to be broken in order to...

Brandon Sanderson

Well, that's their philosophy in-world. But I'm not going to say whether it's correct or wrong... I will imply that there are other means as well.


Edited by Willow
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@Willow, yes WoBs are helpful too! Thanks!

Edit: Remembered another:

WoR chapter 13


“You came to me because of the Voidbringers,” Shallan said, moving closer to the trunk, bloodied rag forgotten in her hand.

“Yes. Patterns . . . we . . . us . . . Worry. One was sent. Me.”

“Why to me?”

“Because of lies.”

She shook her head. “I don’t understand.”

He buzzed in dissatisfaction. “You. Your family.”

“You watched me with my family? That long ago?”

“Shallan. Remember . . .”

Again those memories. This time, not a garden seat, but a sterile white room. Her father’s lullaby. Blood on the floor.


She turned away and began cleaning her feet again.

“I know . . . little of humans,” Pattern said. “They break. Their minds break. You did not break. Only cracked.”

She continued her washing.

“It is the lies that save you,” Pattern said. “The lies that drew me.”


WoR chapter 19


The silk of Shallan’s new dress was softer than any she had owned before. It touched her skin like a comforting breeze. The left cuff clipped closed over the hand; she was old enough now to cover her safehand. She had once dreamed of wearing a woman’s dress. Her mother and she . . .

Her mother . . .

OB chapter 40


Your mother had intimate contact with a Skybreaker acolyte, and you know the result of that relationship. 


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shallan spoke the first ideal long ago. i think someone had teached her the word. 

WoR Chapter 75


“Perhaps,” Pattern said. “Or you could progress. Become more. There is something more you must do.”
“Words?” Shallan said.
“You have said the Words,” Pattern said. “You said them long ago. No . . . it is not words that you lack. It is truth.”
“You prefer lies.”
“Mmm. Yes, and you are a lie. A powerful one. However, what you do is not just lie. It is truth and lie mixed. You must understand both.”

Edited by Fulminato
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Potentially related, given the way her memory blanks:

WoR chapter 19


Shallan took it hesitantly. Helaran’s grin was so wide, it practically glowed. It was hard to frown in a room where he was smiling. When he was around, she could almost pretend . . . Almost pretend . . .

Her mind went blank.


WoR chapter 39


She didn’t want Father to fall; she wanted to stop the darkness that was slowly strangling them all. It seemed like their light had gone out when Mother died.

When Mother . . .


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