Dalinar's visions are - initially - short episodes that Dalinar experiences during highstorms, which have driven him to question himself at every turn. The visions never show him episodes of idle peace; they throw him into times of conflict and change. Turning points.
The visions begin to occur after Dalinar begins listening to readings from The Way of Kings. He experienced strange episodes during each highstorm. During these episodes, Dalinar had to be tied to a chair because he raved and thrashed about. Initially, he considered them prophecies from the Almighty. However, after Adolin vocally put his father's sanity in doubt, Dalinar began to consider himself deluded and thus incapable of ruling House Kholin. Until Navani realized that his garbled mumbling was, in fact, a translated line from an ancient poem in Dawnchant that no one had previously understood, it was proved that his visions were indeed somewhat prophetic. She recognized that his last words were part of Corvana's Analectics and thusly proved that Dalinar's visions weren't delusions. She said it was a line from a song, a chant by the Vanrial, written in the Dawnchant by the Heralds. Listening to Dalinar's visions, she thinks the things he was saying had too much order to be gibberish. Further, she gains an opportunity to translate the Dawnchant and, as a result, the Analectics.. Dalinar then accepted that he was not "getting old" and realized he mustn't abdicate the position of highprince just yet.
Later, Dalinar is given a number of papers by Amaram, papers that recount Dalinar's visions ... only Navani identifies them as being falsified; that they aren't as she wrote them. Some of her words and the tone have been changed to imply a ridiculousness to the entire experience - and to make it sound as if Navani is merely indulging Dalinar. Further, she states that what's worse is that the scribes added commentary in another handwriting that pokes fun at what Dalinar says and does. Dalinar thinks the papers were stolen from quarters soon vacated by Navani, his sons, and himself. The culprits didn't change the visions themselves, but did change their tone, making them a mockery. Dalinar believes that this is ultimately the act of childish men who assume that this hurts him; she can see it.
Eventually, Dalinar considers his visions to be holy messages sent to him by the Almighty.
Later, when Dalinar, through his bonded spren, the Stormfather, wants to share and experience his visions with others, the Stormfather tells him that he must be a part of the events, that he must take the role of someone. Further, that this is how it works.
Although not all his visions are explained in detail, it is stated that he has experienced over a dozen of them by the end of The Way of Kings. These visions often take him to scenes in the past where he embodies a person of the time and controls their body, freely interacting with others in the vision.
- In the first of his visions, as he recalled on the chasmfiend hunt, he seemed to stand atop a peak overlooking desolation and was told ...
|“||"You must unite them," the strange, booming words had told him. "You must prepare. Build of your people a fortress of strength and peace, a wall to resist the winds. Cease squabbling and unite. The Everstorm comes."||”|
- During this vision described in more detail, his twelfth in all, he is transported to a small cottage where a young girl and woman are being attacked by black monsters, later identified as Midnight Essence. After fighting them off and fleeing with the woman and child, they are once again attacked by these monsters only to be saved by, what he later discovers, are the legendary Knights Radiant. He is quite shocked to discover that one of the Radiants is a woman, as he has never heard of a female Shardbearer.
- In the second vision, he is transported to Feverstone Keep (so named for the red stones that make up the walls) during a time of war. Embodying a young guard, he is the first to spot an oncoming army of roughly 300 Radiants - comprised of " ... all races and nationalities, dark skin and light, some with white Thaylen eyebrows, others with the skin ripples of the Selay ... " - who approach the keep wall only to stop, summon their Shardblades, then thrust them into the ground and walk away, abandoning their calling and duty. As Dalinar attempts to question several of the Radiants with little result, the soldiers in the keep surge out, attempting to claim the Shardblades for themselves. Chaos erupts as they begin to cut each other down, each soldier attempting to secure a weapon. Eventually one of the Radiants responds to Dalinar's questioning, but provides only vague answers which confuse Dalinar further. The highstorm ends and Dalinar awakes from his vision.
- During the third of his visions, he embodies King Nohadon's advisor right after a Desolation has taken place. Although he initially does not realize to whom he is speaking, he eventually realizes the man before him is the author of the book he eventually knows as The Way of Kings. When the king asks for his advice on how to deal with the current tragedy, Dalinar advises him to write a book about his experiences and opinions, which the king laughs off as a ridiculous idea. Later, Dalinar realizes the king was too young and needed to experience more before being able to write the book which would later guide his life and that of his brother Gavilar, plus, that it was the wrong time for him to write a book, for one could not lead by example when the people had little honor or discipline.
- In his fourth and final vision in The Way of Kings, he appears before the destroyed city of Kholinar where he meets one who names himself the Almighty. Standing upon a rock spire and looking at the void below, the Almighty reveals that he is dead and that Odium has killed him and plans to destroy everything. Dalinar realizes that the Almighty never could hear him and he had been misinterpreting what he had been hearing all along. He is also in a way commissioned to prepare the people to face Odium.
- In a vision after having arrived at Urithiru, Dalinar is bathed in warmth and light ...
Warm light bathed him. A deep, enveloping, piercing warmth. A warmth that soaked down deep through his skin, into his very self. He stared at that light, and was not blinded. The source was distant, but he knew it. Knew it well.
Then he awoke.
- In a vision shortly thereafter, Dalinar sees himself standing beside the memory of a dead god. It begins with him standing next to an image of the god in human form, both perched atop a cliff overlooking Kholinar. In the vision, the city has been destroyed by some unknown force. The Almighty starts speaking, but Dalinar ignores him. Dalinar instead walks to the edge of the cliff and kneels to look out upon the ruins of Kholinar. The air smells dry, dusty and warm. He squints, trying to extract some meaningful detail from the chaos of broken buildings. Even the windblades - once magnificent, sleek rock formations exposing countless strata and variations - have been shattered. The Almighty continues his speech. Dalinar searches the sky and discovers a ripple in the air, like heat rising from distant stone. A shimmer the size of a building (i.e., the Stormfather).
- After granting Dalinar virtual access to the city, the Stormfather tells him that this vision was constructed to draw him to the ridge to speak with Honor. That the rest is backdrop, a painting.
|“||"Backdrop or not, his knowledge of the world and our enemy couldn't help but affect the way he made this vision."||”|
- Though Kholinar was a grand city, something in this vision destroyed it anyway. Dalinar recalls an earlier vision in which a stone monster ripped itself free of the underlying rock, and concludes that the Almighty didn't think Kholinar would fall to the Everstorm, but to the Voidbringers.
- When Dalinar wants Queen F'en Rnamdi to see a specific vision through the Stormfather's connection with her, she sees the following:
- The vision with the Knights Radiant falling from the sky, come to deliver a small village from a strange and monstrous force.
- Dalinar wanted her to see the Knights Radiant firsthand, as they had once been. Righteous, protecting.
Navani relates the Myth of Parasaphi and Nadris to Dalinar in effort to afford some insight into the Desolation with regard to his vision with Nohadon, relevant to the Voidbringers, humankind on Roshar, Damnation, the Heralds, the Tranquiline Halls, and Knights Radiant. She believes the visions are a blessing because they prove that Dalinar isn't going mad.
Dalinar observes that humankind had escaped the arrival of a new, devastating storm, seeking refuge through an ancient portal. He didn't understand the force he fought, let alone how to defeat it. So, in his visions, he sought to pull secrets from the Almighty,* who had left them.
*Though the ardentia think it blasphemous, Dalinar comes to the following conclusion regarding the Almighty given his experiences within his visions:
|“||"Honor might be dead, but I have felt something else. Something beyond. A warmth and a light. It is not that God has died, it is that the Almighty was never God. He did his best to guide us, but he was an impostor. Or perhaps only an agent. A being not unlike a spren he had the power of a god, but not the pedigree."||”|
- The Way of Kings, 52. A Highway to the Sun
- The Way of Kings, 60. That Which We Cannot Have
- Words of Radiance, 67. Spit And Bile
- Oathbringer, 4. Oaths
- Oathbringer, 34. Resistance
- The Way of Kings, 12. Unity
- The Way of Kings, 19. Starfalls
- The Way of Kings, 75. In the Top Room
- Words of Radiance, 89. The Four
- Oathbringer, 1. Broken And Divided
- The Way of Kings, 61. Right for Wrong
- Oathbringer, 2. One Problem Solved