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Alethkar
Roshar - Alethkar
Drawing by Isaac Stewart
Type Nation/Kingdom
Location Roshar
Inhabitants Alethi

Alethkar is the largest kingdom on Roshar. Recently reunited, it is currently ruled by Jasnah, ostensibly from Kholinar (yet in truth from Urithiru), and still engaged in the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi,[1] yet engaged anew with the onset of the Everstorm.[2]

The people from Alethkar are known as Alethi.

History[]

Silver Kingdoms

Map of Silver Kingdoms Epochs
Drawing by Isaac Stewart

Alethkar was founded as Alethela in the Silver Kingdoms Epoch. It survived the Desolations, but at an unknown point was fractured into ten princedoms.

The founders of these princedoms were the sons of Sunmaker, making the present day Alethi great houses his descendants.[3]

For centuries, Alethkar was divided into these self-governed princedoms until former King Gavilar conquered and united them. He was crowned the first king since Sunmaker, who'd cast down the Hierocracy.[4]

The Alethi first encountered the Parshendi during Gavilar's expedition into the Shattered Plains.[5]

When King Gavilar was assassinated by the Parshendi in 1167, his son, Elhokar, became king and declared war on the Parshendi.[1]

Princedoms[]

Alethkar

Map of Alethkar Princedoms
Drawing by Isaac Stewart


Landscape[]

Alethkar isn't in the harshest of the stormlands, but neither is it some soft-skinned Western land. Buildings there are built low and squat, sturdy sides pointed eastward toward the Origin, like the shoulder of a man set and ready to take the force of an impact. Windows are placed only on the leeward - the westward - side. Like the grass and the trees there, humankind had learned to weather the storms.[6]

Settlements[]

The most prominent cities and towns in Alethkar include:


Alethi[]

The Alethi are native to Alethkar. They follow the Vorin religion and are famous for their military heritage.[citation needed]

The Alethi class system is based on their eye color. Lighteyes are the noble, ruling class and darkeyes are the peasant, worker class. The lighteyes are ranked by dahn and the darkeyes are further ranked by nahn.

Amongst the Alethi, writing is a feminine art; men learn only glyphs, leaving letters and reading to their wives and sisters.[7]

Ironically, mixed blood amongst the Alethi is far more common in lighteyes than darkeyes. Darkeyes rarely marry foreigners, but the Alethi houses often need alliances or money from outside.[8]

Parshmen are invisible to them because they've been brought up that way.[9]

According to Brandon, the corrupt Alethi are all talk and very little heart. Very little of what they say gets to who they really are. They each would rather be known as someone honorable than actually be honorable.[10]

Appearance[]

They have tan skin and pure black hair. They are a grand people with a natural nobility to them.[1]

Alethi hair always breeds true, proportionate to how much Alethi blood one has. Foreign blood would mean stray hairs of another color (like that of Adolin, for example).[8]

The men are tall and well made. Lighteyed men dress in dark coats that are elaborately embroidered, looking like generals on a field.[1] They wear masculine colors: maroon, navy, forest green, deep burnt orange.[11]

Further information: Vorin Havah

Lighteyed women are even more splendid. They wear grand dresses, their bright colors a contrast to the dark tones favored by the men. The left sleeve of each dress is longer than the right, covering the left hand.[1] For women of age, this is their "safehand" and it is to be covered at all times. Common darkeyed women wear a glove instead of the safepouch that lighteyed women wear.[7]

Women wear their hair pinned atop their heads, either in intricate braids or in loose piles. It is often woven with ribbons or ornaments, along with gems that glow with Stormlight.[1]

Beards are not popular in Alethkar.[12]

Characteristics[]

The Alethi are a reserved people, at least when compared with more passionate folk like the Horneaters or the Reshi.[13]

An oddity about all Vorin peoples is that they overtly avoid guessing the future.*[14]

Hugging one's mother (for example) is a very un-Alethi behavior.[15]

Alethi couples typically keep their distance in public, but Adolin had been raised by a mother with a fondness for hugs, and therefore hugs Shallan as they walk together.[16]

Customs[]

A feast is a time of relaxation. Still, it's a breach of etiquette for a woman to approach a man if he's eating.[13]

Young men at a feast often find reason to remove their coats and show off their swordsmanship.[13]

Women are more modest with their displays at feasts, but they engage in them as well. They sketch, paint, do calligraphy, or play music. Yet, they keep their left hands shrouded in their sleeves, delicately creating art with their right. Some of them will attract creationspren, which will roll across the tops of their easels or tables.[13]

Women's food is different from that of men. (Dalinar finds it to be distastefully sweet.[13])

To sit at the king's table at a feast is a masculine dining reservation.[13]

Commerce[]

Also according to Brandon, specifically with regard to food, shipping is slow in Alethkar. This makes getting between north and south difficult, and the rivers aren't as useful as they are on Earth.

The warcamps, for example, would starve themselves out without Soulcasters. Supply lines aren't an Alethi strength.

Kholinar, while not as big as Scadrian population centers, is also large enough that it depends on Soulcasters for some of its food. It could survive without them, though, with northern Alethi food production.

Warfare is where the Alethi have learned to extend themselves, and depend on the Soulcasters. Gemstones in Soulcasters do break, so one does still need a ready supply of emeralds, and the larger the better.[17]

Additionally according to Brandon, there s a reason that Herdazian food (which makes Soulcast meat taste good) is popular.

Azimir is larger in population than Kholinar. Kholinar is big by Rosharan standards, but far smaller than an Earth population center (like London) at a comparable time. The warcamps had it beat by a lot - depending on how one views the warcamps. (As one city, for example, or ten small ones.)

Gambling[]

None of their games are overtly games of chance - no dice throws, no bets on card flips. There are games of breakneck, shallowcrab fights, and - oddly - guessing games. A game like breakneck has throws and tosses, but the people wouldn't bet on the outcome.* Instead, they'd bet on the hand they held after the throws and the draws.[14]

Court[]

According to Shallan, the Alethi court could be severely polite - but that didn't mean they were nice.[18]

Notes[]

An extensive article at tor.com goes into explicit detail of Alethi fashion specifically for cosplay here.

Lastly, according to Brandon, the Alethi are based off of Mongolians.[19]

Q&A with Brandon[]

Q. If you had creative input on a Stormlight Archive adaptation, how would you design the music of Alethkar? Which regions or instruments would inspire you or have inspired you while writing in the world?

A. One of the core inspirations for Alethkar is medieval Mongolia. And I don't know if pulling from things like throat-singing is going to just be too immersion-breaking for people, but that's the first place I'd start looking. Really, I kind of imagine the Alethi ... if you're really getting down to their core influences, it's kind of like when the Mongolians conquered China, and Kublai Khan and that era, where the Mongolians became empire-builders rather than just conquerors and raiders. And that's what I was looking at specifically, kind of, in the Dalinar/Gavilar era, where it's like, "We were these kind of ruffians. And we got some momentum and had a leader with vision, and suddenly we made a kingdom out of a bunch of different groups. Reforging a kingdom that used to exist. But now we have to deal with running a kingdom." Which Genghis Khan never had to do. Genghis Khan was all about "we ride in, we pillage, then we ride off with the goods. We're not interested in empire building." So that whole concept interests me a lot.

And then, of course, there's also a lot of Middle Eastern influences on the linguistics for the Alethi, and kind of some of their scientific learning and things like this is leaning on those medieval-era Islamic scholars, and things like that, are a bit of an inspiration. Though I've said before, Shallan's more Pliny the Elder, so that's reaching back a little bit further.

I would look around for those sorts of things. Really, I would want to hire someone who's just really good at this and let them research into it. I would probably give them an explanation like I just gave you, and then let them look at it, and let them dig into it. Because my music theory is very surface-level.[20]

References[]

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