Shardbearer (formerly), |
Brightlord, The Blackthorn, |
Highprince of War
|Occupation||Highprince, Leader of the Knights Radiant|
|Appears in||The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer|
Dalinar Kholin is one of the main protagonists in The Stormlight Archive. He is a Highprince of Alethkar and was a famous Shardbearer. During his youth, he helped his brother, King Gavilar, to unite Alethkar, then a country of ten individual princedoms. His prowess in battle was enough to earn him the singular title of The Blackthorn.
While he was a Shardbearer, his Shardblade was named Oathbringer. Unlike most Alethi Shardbearers, he chose to wear his plate without decorations, leaving it its original slate grey color. Like his son, Adolin, he rides a Ryshadium: a black horse named Gallant.
In the present time, he is much more infrequently that warrior that inspired awe and terror, but instead a thoughtful leader, seeking the unification of Alethkar above all else, even at the expense of his reputation. By the end of Words of Radiance, he has discovered his Surgebinding capacity and has spoken the second Ideal of the Bondsmiths. His spren is the Stormfather.
Dalinar is described as having a square face, the face of a warrior. He is not notably handsome, especially when compared to his deceased brother. He has blue eyes, like his sons.
Shallan observes him to be a man with blunted features, and short black hair silvering at the sides. To her, his stiff uniform makes him seem the only one about her who knows anything about combat.
She also finds him to be distinguished, his eyes to be scarily discerning, but notices that his nose had been broken at some point, and his face was a tad unfortunate due to bruising.
In his youth, Dalinar was known for his ferocity and skill. He was commonly known as the Blackthorn, and was well respected. However, he'd never felt young, regardless of his age.
After his brother's assassination, Dalinar started reading The Way of Kings, and following the Alethi Codes of War. He became less fierce, and even began to momentarily lose his experience of the Thrill. He eventually admitted to his desire for a more peaceful existence, causing him to lose a lot of respect amongst his peers and encourage rumors that he had become weak.
Still, over the years, he's learned to trust his instincts as a soldier and general.
He likes when others are direct with him.
(There is an article at tor.com that describes Dalinar, the man, pre-Oathbringer here.)
In his past, Dalinar hated it when someone implied that he was insecure. Back then, his displeasure often ended with a head or two rolling across the stones.
Dalinar is a rock, a boulder too big for even storms to move.
According to Taravangian, Dalinar would be the first to tell another that when one's opponent is getting back up, one must act quickly to crush his knees. Then the opponent will bow, and present his skull.
Loyalty is the first lesson of a soldier’s life.
A man should not fear losing his head because he took one too many sips of wine.
A man's emotions are what define him, and control is the hallmark of true strength. To lack feeling is to be dead, but to act on every feeling is to be a child.
Dalinar credits as his Devotary the Order of Talenelat, yet, he'd never had much to do with ardents. His Devotary, to him, is simple and straightforward. He got his fill of politics with the court; he hadn't the desire to find more in religion.
As a young soldier, Dalinar's favorite kind of tactic was the type that didn't allow his enemies to get away from him. Hammer and anvil. He didn't need Shards to intimidate.
He believed that a good fight was about momentum: don't stop, don't think. Drive forward and convince your enemies that they're as good as dead already. This way, he believed, they would fight you less as you sent them to their pyres.
As a young soldier, Dalinar needed a challenge to invigorate him. With the pulse of battle, the rhythm of killing and dying - the Thrill - humming within him, he engaged his enemies, attacking with swift brutality.
In so doing, he was directed by his brother, and didn't know why a particular enemy had been chosen, much to the astonishment of his enemies who yet lived.
He directed his soldiers to raid the buildings of those enemies - knowing they would want to loot - yet, knowing he needed hostages, directed those same soldiers to also find them.
Particularly when he was in his youth, Dalinar had been out in his share of highstorms.
During negotiations, he wished that he didn't feel so useless in. Gavilar made alliances; Sadeas dealt with problems. He knew that those two could treat a feast hall like a battlefield.
The Way of KingsEdit
In his youth, Dalinar helped his brother, King Gavilar, to reunite Alethkar's warring Highprinces after centuries of strife. Dalinar had been the warrior, genius of the battlefield, scattering their opponents, slaying their leaders and best Shardbearers, bending them to Gavilar's rule. His prowess in battle earned him the nickname 'Blackthorn' and a reputation amongst the common folk as being one of the greatest warriors and generals who ever lived.
Dalinar has won many Shardblades and much Shardplate in battle. During the first year of the War of Reckoning, he won a set which he gave to his brother's son, King Elhokar, for Elhokar to award to a warrior he thought worthy of such an honor.
He is a widower who has two children, Adolin and Renarin. Dalinar sought the Old Magic after his wife died. His boon - or his curse - is the loss of his memories of his wife. He can't even remember her name. Anytime someone says it in his hearing, it registers as a "shh" noise in his mind (i.e., Shshshsh).
The night of Gavilar's assassination, Gavilar asked Dalinar to follow the Alethi Codes of War. However, that night Dalinar drank himself into a stupor, in violation of the first Code, and was unable to save his brother. Dalinar blames himself for his brother's death and shows deep remorse, as he feels he should have been there to fight at Gavilar's side in his final moments.
Dalinar has changed a lot since his brother's assassination. His guilt has driven him to accept the Alethi Codes, which he holds to despite how outmoded and archaic they seem to his contemporaries. Dalinar has become relentless in following the Codes and in requiring his sons and troops to do the same, though he excuses the other Highprinces and their armies. The Altethi Codes also drive him to instate very strict dress codes throughout his warcamp: a soldier must be dressed at all times with only two options: summer or winter coat. Sadeas notes (during a conversation where Dalinar is critical of the extravagant fashions being worn by other Highprinces) that Dalinar is more critical than even he, who is fond of fashion, just in the reverse. Dalinar's strict accordance with the Codes also applies to his armor; while other Highprinces and Shardbearers paint or decorate their plate (that of Sadeas is red), his is a dull natural gray.
Dalinar has recently begun seeing visions during highstorms. He initially thinks of these as coming from the Almighty, and accepts them as unquestionably true. Later, due in large part to pressure from Adolin, Dalinar begins to regard his visions as suspect. Dalinar's visions caused him to question himself at every turn.
Dalinar seeks Navani's help in writing down his visions. During the vision in which he experiences the past through the eyes of one of Nohadon's advisors, he speaks in an old language which has never been understood. Navani recognizes one of the phrases he repeats over and over again and then finds the words in one of Jasnah's books. By crossreferencing his translation, they validate the truthfulness of his visions and also provide a link to understanding a forgotten ancient language.
After rebuffing her on numerous occasions, Dalinar succumbs to his feelings for Navani and admits that he had never intended to 'give' her to his brother and that he often introduced many people to his brother. The resulting marriage between Navani and Gavilar was basically the result of Gavilar misunderstanding his brother's introduction to her as an invitation to court her. Navani confides to Dalinar that she feels homeless in Kholinar: people ignore her and view her as irrelevant. Dalinar and Navani share a kiss. Both are worried about the judgement that may come from the courtiers since she was his brother's wife. During one of their conversations Dalinar convinces Navani to describe her thoughts of his wife. It is implied that Navani is unaware of his memory loss with regard to his wife, and every time she speaks the woman's name Dalinar hears it as Shshshsh. Navani describes her as very likable and nice, and that she attempted to find a way to dislike her, but her jealousies were unfounded over time due to her sweet nature. She does mention that the woman was not very clever or cunning, but that not everyone can be that way. Navani also mentions that she had high hopes for "the four of them" to become close friends prior to Gavilar's assassination.
Dalinar's visions insist that he should unite the Alethi through peace, instead of the first unification that Gavilar achieved. The constant competition on the Shattered Plains for glory is exactly the opposite of a truly unified kingdom. Dalinar seeks to end the pointless fighting by first allying himself with Sadeas, trusting him because of his interpretation of a vision, to the chagrin of Adolin.
When he thinks his time has arrived at the battle of the Tower, he realizes that all his worrying had been wasted. In the end, he is pleased with how he had lived his life. He has only two regrets; one for Navani and one for Renarin. He faces eternity and all he sees is peace there.
After being betrayed by Sadeas at the battle of the Tower and subsequently saved by Bridge Four, Dalinar exchanges his Shardblade for the bridgemen of Sadeas's camp. He later requests of King Elhokar that he become Alethkar's Highprince of War, and succeeds.
Dalinar keeps thinking on his vision with Nohadon and realizes there's something there he needs to learn.
Later another vision occurs, and he finally realizes that they weren't conversations, rather messages or recordings. He also learns that the Almighty is dead, and is the individual who recorded the visions.
With the Thrill rising within him, having summoned Oathbringer, the tenth heartbeat sounded in Dalinar’s chest; he could always hear the beats when he was summoning his Blade, no matter how loud the world around him was. The faster they passed, the sooner the sword arrived. So the more urgent you felt, the sooner you were armed. Was that intentional, or just some quirk of the Shardblade’s nature?
Words of RadianceEdit
Dalinar's viewpoint begins in another vision; as a soldier who is hunting for a "rogue" spren: Voidspren. He hunts with a squad and a Radiant, and sees her seemingly talking to herself. They later find the spren, and it summons a Thunderclast. Then the Almighty's recording manifests in a soldier, who speaks to him using the Almighty's voice. It explains more about the role of the Knights Radiant, and asks Dalinar to found them again.
The Assassin in White, Szeth, comes to the King's castle, and Dalinar, Kaladin and Adolin fight the Assassin, while Renarin escorts Elhokar out. Szeth reveals that he is there for Dalinar, not Elhokar, as was first assumed. After being kicked by Szeth and brought kneeling to the ground, Dalinar catches Szeth's Blade between the heels of his palms when Szeth swings the Blade down. The trio manage to repel the Assassin, but a number of Bridge Four's men are left incapacitated or dead and Dalinar is injured; he suffered a split along his left cheekbone, and a broken nose.
Dalinar founds the Knight's Radiant, and appoints Amaram as their head. (He is also their only member at the time.) Dalinar is approached by Kaladin, whom he attempts to assure that Amaram isn't an evil person, but at first Kaladin seems to rebuff him. Later, when Adolin executes his plan to fight a spectacular duel against Sadeas, and is outnumbered, he is caught in a bind to find a way to help. Renarin leaps in, but freezes, causing Dalinar more panic. Kaladin helps Adolin, but is later thrown into prison by Elhokar, due to his challenge of Amaram after the duel. Dalinar later visits Kaladin and discusses his actions with him.
- Main article: Dalinar's and Navani's Wedding
He wasn't sure what to make of the fact that no one - not even his sons - had questioned him when he'd announced his intent to marry. He was also shocked to see that Navani had found a traditional bridal crown, and that the intricate headdress complimented her wedding gown.
Nevertheless, he and Navani had decided to forego the extravagance of a traditional Alethi wedding, and had invited some others, such as Aladar and his daughter, Sebarial and his mistress, Kalami and Teshav to act as witnesses. Relieved to see them, Dalinar had feared that Navani would be unable to find women willing to notarize their wedding.
Once the brief ceremony is completed, the pleasure of having finally done what he'd postponed for so long surges through him. This is a joy that he'd assumed lost to him since his youth, an outcome he hadn't even allowed himself to dream would be his. He will not apologize for it, or for her.
Shardplate and ShardbladeEdit
With his original set of Shards, Dalinar won many Shards from Shardbearers whom he defeated. He made gifts of these extra sets to his nephew, King Elhokar.
Unlike most Shardbearers, Dalinar chooses to wear his Plate plain, without any decorations or paint. He also chooses to wear it almost constantly.
After Sadeas's betrayal, he relinquishes his Shardblade, Oathbringer, to Sadeas in exchange for the lives of the bridgemen who rescued him at the Tower. He then states that he will also give his Shardplate to his younger son, Renarin.
Visions and PowersEdit
- Main article: Dalinar's Visions
Although an expert swordsman and fierce warlord, Dalinar does not seem to have any additional power like Kaladin or Shallan. Throughout The Way of Kings, however, he is plagued by strange visions. These visions affect him solely during highstorms. Initially, he considers them prophecies from the Almighty. However, after Adolin vocally puts his sanity in doubt, he begins to consider himself deluded and thus incapable of ruling House Kholin. When Navani realizes his garbled mumbling is in fact a translated line from an ancient poem no one had previously understood, it is proven his visions were indeed somewhat prophetic. He then accepts he is not "getting old" and realizes he mustn't abdicate the position of Highprince yet.
|“||Unite them. The sun approaches the horizon. The Everstorm comes. The True Desolation. The Night of Sorrows.||”|
–Almighty, during one of Dalinar's visions
In Words of Radiance, it is implied that he has used Stormlight to heal before, first when attacking the stormform Parshendi (when a healer asks how he could possibly still use his arm) and again in Urithiru (when he takes in Stormlight and remarks that it feels familiar).
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."||”|
Dalinar is one of the most brilliant and blessed military strategists in known history, able to read any battle and come up with a clear plan for victory. He is also the only person to reason that Wit is well beyond what he lets on, offering several good guesses as to just what he might be. However, according to Wit himself, he is 'just a man'. The fact that Dalinar has figured more than this out is a testament to his intelligence.
Toward the end of Words of Radiance, Dalinar bonds with the Stormfather whilst in Urithiru, and is labelled a Bondsmith by said spren. It is understood that Bondsmiths can manipulate the Surges of Tension and Adhesion, although Dalinar has yet to demonstrate these abilities. As with all Surgebinders, Dalinar makes use of Stormlight to heal wounds after he is defeated and Lashed upwards by Szeth.
To him, the Stormfather's voice always seems far off, like a distant thunder.
Dalinar loved his brother greatly and truly. Still, he was envious of him; he remembers the jealousy he felt the day Gavilar won Navani's hand. While he at one time considered killing Gavilar for the throne and Navani, he ultimately decided to forever swear to never take the throne or court Navani, though the latter eventually proved to be impossible. After his brother's death, he fell into deep guilt as he was drunk on the floor while his brother was fighting for his life.
During his youth he was extremely attracted to Navani and intended to court her. However, upon introducing her to Gavilar, his brother began courting her, which resulted in him suppressing his feelings for her and, eventually, marrying Evi.
Dalinar remembers how much he desired Navani, years before meeting the woman who would become his wife. Still, he thinks it inappropriate for he and Navani to be alone together. So long as he can see others and they him through an open doorway, his conversations with her are just barely proper.
For some time, Dalinar continued to greet Navani as Mathana, the formal term for an older sister. (She is only three months his senior, but the term is still applicable.) At the time, he felt as though he was facing a predator of the most dangerous breed.
Still, he also thinks that she is deadly; hard to trust, yet he knows that she is loyal to her son.
Dalinar believes Navani to be so thoughtful, so clever, but still wishes he could trust her completely, despite that she has shown him nothing but honor. He thinks of her as a wonderful, amazing, dangerous woman.
Dalinar finds Navani to be an elegant woman. The scandalous relationship between them would have been the talk of the warcamp, if Sadeas's betrayal hadn't overshadowed it.
Long after Gavilar's death, Navani makes several obvious passes at him, and Dalinar finally relents and confesses to her his love for her.
Alone with Navani as the Everstorm rages outside Urithiru, Dalinar acknowledges that he will find a way to commit to their relationship rightly, with oaths, before someone ... someone with an authority greater than that of the Vorin church.
He also tells her that he has always loved her. After a brief - if somewhat restrained, but respectful - courtship, he and Navani are united in marriage by the Stormfather himself.
Evi is Dalinar's former wife and the mother of his two sons.
He married her for her Shardplate. Navani reminds him that many marriages are made for political reasons. That it doesn't mean he was wrong in so doing; that they'd all encouraged him to do so.
Dalinar sought out the Old Magic and lost all recollection of his wife.
|“||... she was gone, vanished from his mind, a blank patch of fog in his memory.||”|
This "curse" is persistent, rather than a simple erasure of memories; when others mention her name in conversation, he immediately forgets it. The boon he received from the Old Magic is currently unknown. Some speculate, however, that the boon was in fact the removal of his wife from memory - a request that would remove the pain of her loss. If such is the case, the curse he received would then be unknown.
Dalinar hesitated to remarry because he hated the idea of replacing Evi. Everything of his wife had been taken from him. All that remained was a blank.
He admits to Navani that he doesn't remember his wife at all. That he doesn't know her face. That portraits of her are a fuzzy smudge to his eyes. That her name is taken from him whenever spoken, like someone has plucked it away. He doesn't remember what they said to one another when they first met, nor seeing her at the feast that night when she first arrived. He says it's all a blur, but that he can remember some events surrounding her, yet nothing of the details. He can't remember how she died, but knows that it had something to do with a city in rebellion against his brother.
That is ... until after the Stormfather bound he and Navani in marriage (though the Stormfather says he's not responsible for Dalinar's memories). His memories come crashing down on him after a visit to Azir in one of his visions.
To Elhokar, Dalinar announces that he and Navani are now courting one another.
With Elhokar, Dalinar often has had to usurp his authority as King in effort to maintain protocol and consistency in governing, despite claiming all along that he'd had no intention of doing so.
He is close to his son though this does place them in conflict at times. Still, he loves Adolin and is proud of him. Their relationship is put under great strain during The Way of Kings as Adolin doubts his father's visions. He " ... is more strict with Adolin [than with Elhokar or Renarin]. It is a flaw in Dalinar’s character. It is not about Adolin. It is also because Adolin is his heir and also in line for the throne."
He cares for his son. He both does and does not understand his son at the same time. Being second born, Dalinar understands what it is like to be overshadowed by his older brother but unlike him, Renarin is Adolin's biggest supporter. Dalinar does love his son no matter what.
Dalinar comes to trust Kaladin when he and the members of Bridge Four rescue him and his men at the battle of the Tower. Dalinar found him to be a somber leader and is struck by his men's discipline. Recognizing his value and that of Kaladin's men, Dalinar offers Sadeas his Shardblade, Oathbringer, in exchange for them. Initially, Dalinar makes them his Honor Guard, replacing the Cobalt Guard. Later, after an assassination attempt on King Elhokar, he makes them the King's Guard and Kaladin their captain. Dalinar believes Kaladin is a man who can help change the kingdom.
Dalinar counts on Kaladin to keep his nephew, King Elhokar, from doing anything foolish in Kholinar. He knows that something strange is going on inside the city and he can't afford to lose Kaladin.
Further, with regard to Kaladin's inheritance given him by the king, Dalinar indicates the following:
|“||"If you'd wanted a life without burdens, you shouldn't have said the oaths. ... We don't get to choose things like this, son. Just make sure you have a good steward, wise scribes, and some solid men of the fifth and sixth dahns to lead the towns. Personally, I'll count us as lucky - you included - if at the end of all this we still have a kingdom to burden us."||”|
–Dalinar to Kaladin
Upon meeting her for the first time, he wants to know more of her, the status of her family, and why she is so eager to be involved with his son. She tells him that she'd not considered a union with Adolin until Jasnah had suggested it, but that she would seize it eagerly, if allowed; that marriage into his house would provide her family with a great deal of protection.
He hadn't expected her to be so direct.
(To be continued.)
- Evi - Former wife (deceased)
- Adolin - Eldest son and heir
- Renarin - Son
- Gavilar - Brother (deceased)
- Navani - Former love interest and sister-in-law (formally considered a sister due to her marriage to Gavilar), now wife
- Jasnah - Niece and Queen of Alethkar
- Elhokar - Nephew (deceased)
- Aesudan - Niece-in-law
- Gavinor - Great-nephew (son of Elhokar and Aesudan)
- Shallan - Daughter-in-law
It was hinted by Brandon that during the initial draft of The Way of Kings, Dalinar and Navani were actually wed.
Q&A with BrandonEdit
Q. As Dalinar gave his Shardblade to Highprince Sadeas, was his motivation only to free the Brigdemen as “Thank you” for the help? Or did he already plan to build a team from soldiers who are loyal only to him?
A. He certainly saw the side benefits. However, his primary motive was to make a statement. Not just as a thank you, but as a way of proclaiming to all of the Alethi, "What we have been doing is wrong. This wealth is not worth the lives of men."
Q. When Dalinar and Honour are having a "chat" at the end, Honour says "I don't know who you are, or how you found your way here." Does Dalinar visit the Spiritual realm in his dreams then?
A. RAFO. (Sorry.)
Q. Is the reason Dalinar rejects the Thrill because he has a connection to the Stormfather through his visions?
A. The answer is yes, this is part - this is in play. Though you could say the reason he has a connection to the Stormfather also influences the reason he rejects the Thrill, so it may be more correlation than causation, but there's at least a little causation as well.
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 13. Ten Heartbeats
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Way of Kings, 12. Unity
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Words of Radiance, 38. The Silent Storm
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Oathbringer, 3. Momentum
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Words of Radiance, 4. Taker Of Secrets
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 The Way of Kings, 26. Stillness
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 53. Perfection
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Oathbringer, 107. The First Step
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 54. Gibletish
- ↑ 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 Oathbringer, 4. Oaths
- ↑ Oathbringer, 19. The Subtle Art Of Diplomacy
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 The Way of Kings, 18. Highprince of War
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 36. The Lesson
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The Way of Kings, 67. Words
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 The Way of Kings, 69. Justice
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 The Way of Kings, 68. Eshonai
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 The Way of Kings, 75. In the Top Room
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Words of Radiance, 32. The One Who Hates
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 33. Burdens
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 89. The Four
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 The Way of Kings, 56. That Storming Book
- ↑ The Way of Kings, Prologue - To Kill
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 The Way of Kings, 28. Decision
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 The Way of Kings, 22. Eyes, Hands, or Spheres?
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 61. Right for Wrong
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 5. Ideals
- ↑ WoB, 2/25/16 Signing, Austin, TX
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 73. Trust
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 62. The One Who Killed Promises
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 Oathbringer, 58. Burdens
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 46. Patriots
- ↑ Oathbringer, 67. Mishim
- ↑ Making a statement ...
- ↑ Spiritual realm?
- ↑ JordanCon 2016