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Words and Knights Radiant Progression


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There's been some similar discussion on similar topics--the Orders and their powers, oaths, etc--but I wanted to dig into and summarize the specific Words and incremental increases in power that we've seen in our KR characters so far.


We know that the First Ideal must be spoken, thought, or at least strongly demonstrated by intent in some way:  Life before death.  Strength Before Weakness.  Journey before destination.   Before reaching the First Ideal, a proto-radiant might have a spren show some interest, maybe even lend a little bit of ability with Stormlight--but you have to speak/think/show the first ideal to "level up" in those powers.  For some orders, but not others, more words/oaths are required to "level up" further.

This leads me to two related questions--when did each known new Radiant say or exemplify his or her First Ideal, and what additional Words are required in order to unlock what abilities within each order?  Here's the summary as I understand it, help me fill in the details!



We saw Kaladin and the First Ideal in WoK.  He doesn't speak the words, but he thinks them, in a tortured part-flashback part present-moment bit of introspection, when he watches Dalinar's army getting slaughtered, tells himself he has no responsibility to them...but makes, the decision to go and save them.  He thinks the words and exemplifes them in his actions, and after he does so his ability to use Stormlight seemed to improve:  suddenly he could draw a whole volley of arrows to land on his shield instead of him or his men.

We see him uncover his first Windrunner-specific ideal shortly after, when, after charging the Parshendi to rescue Dalinar drains him and injures him his friends tell him to stay while they go and fight.  Syl encourages him to say the Words, he starts running in with a spear to fight even though his friends tell him he's too drained, and he says the Words out loud:  I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.   There's a big clap of light, he starts glowing, and he seems to be able to use Stormlight even more effectively.


We saw him uncover another ideal in WoR:  A I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.  And then Syl turns into his Shardblade. Shardspear, Shardshield...etc.  And now he got glowing light eyes. 


Much is still unknown about when she first began her nahel bond, but it is clear that it happened early enough for her mother to notice her supernatural abilities and try to kill her for it, and it is clear that she had done enough by then for Pattern to be able to become her Shardblade. 


It is also implied that she already spoke the oaths, and that those are what enabled Pattern to become a Blade for her and defend herself against her mother.  In chapter 17 of WoK, Shallan insists to Pattern that she is not a Knight Radiant yet--just having the tools does not make one a member of a profession.  Then Pattern replies:

"You Spoke Oaths."
Shallan froze.
Life before death...The words drifted toward her from the shadows of her past.  A past she would not think of.

That implies that when she was a child and drawing Pattern and Lightweaving without even realizing it, she had also already spoken, thought, or otherwise experienced the First Ideal.  But that's still something of a mystery--what reason would she have had, before her mother tried to kill her, to reach for the First Ideal?  Did she speak it only when her mother tried to kill her, triggering Pattern's transformation to her Blade right then?  

Later, Pattern forces Shallan to confront her deepest secret--that she was the one who had killed her mother--in order to grow.  He tells her then that Lightweavers speak no oaths beyond the first, but that truths are important for her continued growth in her powers.  This makes sense with the events on WoK, where, even though she'd already spoken her oath to be a Lightweaver, she could not unlock one of her abilities, Soulcasting, until she spoke something that was true.  Once she did that, it seemed to be enough to allow her to return to Shadesmar in WoK without having to speak a truth--though there's still something missing in her ability to Soulcast successfully.  Is that more truths, more self-discovery, or just plain old experimenting with how the heck to convince things to change?  I guess we'll find out.  


Finally, a burning question I have about Shallan: If she did take an oath to uphold "Life before death" and "Journey before destination"--why is it that she doesn't break that oath when she murders her father? She is, in a way, defending her brother--but she is doing it with death, not life, and it also seems that ending the life of someone who is being such a terrible person is putting the destination before the journey. 


We saw it on screen when Dalinar spoke the First Ideal out loud, he said it to the Stormfather who reluctantly accepted.  It's not clear yet how that nahel relationship is going to go, nor is it clear if Dalinar will need to say more Words to progress in his surges or to get his Spren Shardblade.  But the Stormfather did say something interesting:



To me, the Stormfather's words make it sound like Dalnar won't have to speak more oaths, but that perhaps the Bondsmiths are an order that doesn't necessarily get a Spren Shardblade whenever they want it.  Their work is toward ends that don't call for a weapon.   


We know that she saw Ivory in Gavilar's castle in Kholinar, and unknowingly took herself to Shadesmar to avoid him because he seemed to be attacking her.  Yet something about what she did--perhaps it was successfully re-creating the castle from the beads in Shadesmar, perhaps it was something about Jasnah's personality herself--caused Ivory to bow to her, instead.  We then know that at some point he bonded with her and explained a bit about the nahel bond and the Recreance, and helped her progress with her Soulcasting ability--and presumably her Transportation Surge as well, which is likely what allowed her to escape from her near-murder. 


We know nothing yet about when she reached for the First Ideal, or what other oaths she might have had to speak.   However, we do know from the epilogue that Ivory can now become her Shardblade.  Could he always have done that for her?  Or did she speak some new oaths during her adventures in Shadesmar that unlocked this ability?


This one is interesting, because Wyndle says that Lift was not his choice:  "I wanted to pick a distinguished Iriali matron...But no, the Ring said we should choose you.  'She has visited the Old Magic,' they said.  'Our mother has blessed her,' they said.  "She will be young, and we can mold her,' they said."

We know that part of it had to do with her unique ability to metabolize Stormlight as consequence of her visit to th Nightwatcher, but did the Ring also send Wyndle to Lift because she had spoken the First Ideal already?  Or because the Ring sensed she was close to doing so?  We don't know yet.  But we do know that she watches her fellow thief Gawx get hurt, and discovers the Edgedancer-specific ideal, I will remember those who have been forgotten.  That seems to unlock her ability to use Regrowth, on top of her existing abilities with friction.  

We haven't seen Wyndle turn into a Blade yet...but Lift's part was just an interlude, so we haven't seen enough of her to know.


We don't know very much about this yet at all!  We can suspect that Renarin began to bond with his spren, Glys, early on in Wok:  he grimaced when Adolin gave him Salinor's Shardblade, and he dropped the spectacles relatively early on too.   And his scrawling glyphs on the walls during a highstorm likely came from his budding ability with his order's Surges.  But so far, that's all we know. 




The biggest questions yet to be answered revolve around how some of our characters interacted with the First Ideal, and how their powers will develop.   And while we know every order gets two Surges, a secondary question is whether every single order does indeed get to have a Spren Shardblade.  Will further development for our characters give them Plate somehow, as well?


Edited by writelhd
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