Stormlight Archive Wiki

Illustration by Isaac Stewart

The Heralds are servants of the Almighty worshiped in Vorinism. They were once considered deities by the people during the Heraldic Epochs, and are still revered in Vorin Kingdoms. Bound by the Oathpact, they would come from Damnation to fight the Desolations and then return for millennia of torture until the next Desolation. They founded the orders of the Knights Radiant to protect mankind against the Voidbringers.[1]


Most of the Heralds were born on Ashyn prior to humanity's migration to Roshar. The possible exception to this is Shalash, who might've been born after the move.[2] In later legend and lore, Ashyn became known as the Tranquiline Halls, both their home and their heaven, from whence they'd supposedly been driven by the Voidbringers.[3]


There are ten Heralds; five male and five female. Each represents an Ideal and is associated with one of the ten essences, numbers, gemstones, body focuses, Soulcasting properties, primary and secondary divine attributes, and orders of Knights Radiant.[4]

The Heralds carried Honorblades, which were much like modern Shardblades, but far more powerful.[citation needed]

The Heralds are tied to the system by the magic that permeates them. They cannot leave their world.[5]

They are champions of Honor similarly to the way that Tanavast encouraged Dalinar to force Odium to choose a champion.[6]

The Heralds had access to raw levels of power that no Radiant could obtain.[7]

When they came over from Ashyn, the Heralds were younger than they were when they became Heralds.[8]

Investiture extends the lives of the Heralds. They’ve died many times, and there are some who would call them Cognitive Shadows.[9] They are not Shards, like Honor. In local religions, they're more like saints than gods.[citation needed]

It is possible for Heralds to procreate and have children.[10][11]


"The Heralds were sent to teach mankind," Lirin said. "They led us against the Voidbringers after we were cast from heaven. The Radiants were the orders of knights they founded."

Lirin to Kaladin[12]

Heralds TS

The Heralds
Tarot card by Tara Spruit[1]

Eventually, following a victory in yet another Desolation and weighed down by the prospect of millennia of torture, nine Heralds chose to abandon their self-appointed burden, hoping that Talenel'Elin might be enough to uphold the Oathpact. They told the people that mankind had finally won; thus, the event was known for the past 4,500 years as the Last Desolation, or Aharietiam in Vorinism.[13]


It is not known what became of all nine Heralds who abandoned the Oathpact. However, Jezrien is first seen in the Prelude to The Way of Kings.[13] Then, he is seen in the Prologue to The Way of Kings.[14]

Nale was present in Kholinar during King Gavilar's assassination, accompanied by Kalak.[14] Taln and Shalash were both seen in the epilogue of The Way of Kings.[15][16]

Later, Nale found the budding Surgebinder Ym in an unknown city on Roshar. After a brief chase, Nale caught and killed him.[17]

Taln first appears in Words of Radiance as a madman; he had been brought into Dalinar's warcamp.[18] Much later, in an attempt to remove Taln from the temple complex, Amaram is attacked by Iyatil with her blow darts and Taln intercepts them. He stands tall, then enters Amaram's coach.[19]

Brandon has confirmed that Shalash appeared in The Way of Kings,[20] and that she was indeed Baxil's mistress.[21]

Ishar was the first Herald to recognize the importance of Surgebinders and began organizing them into their respective orders.[1]

Shallan sucked in Stormlight in Taln's presence in an attempt to recreate an Illusion and he referred to her as one of "Ishar's Knights."[22]

Later still for Nale, he pursues Lift,[23] but eventually abandons her when shown by her that the Everstorm had come, despite his efforts.[24]

Jezrien is eventually killed by Moash in the Kholinar palace gardens with a knife at the behest of the Fused.[25]

Names & Attributes[]

# Number Herald Primary/Sec Divine Attribute Image
1 Jes Jezrien Protecting Leading King image
2 Nan Nalan (Nale) Just Confident Hooded man
3 Chach Chanarach (Chana) Brave Obedient Woman with something akin to a helmet
4 Vev Vedel Loving Healing Hooded woman
5 Palah Paliah (Pali) Learned Giving Woman with hair going all directions
6 Shash Shalash (Ash) Creative Honest Woman with large jewel on forehead
7 Betab Battar Wise Careful Woman with band around head, over hair
8 Kak Kalak (Kelek) Resolute Builder Man with uncovered hair, long bangs
9 Tanat Talenel (Taln) Dependable Resourceful Helmed man
10 Ishi Ishar Pious Guiding Old man with long beard

According to Brandon, the Heralds do not have any innate powers.[26]

Present Day[]

In the present day, the Heralds are apparently going mad. In the Prologue of Words of Radiance, Jasnah overhears Nale and Kalak speaking with one another:

"I'm worried about Ash."

"You're worried about everything."

"She's getting worse," the voice continued. "We weren't supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse."

"Shut up."

"I don't like this. What we've done is wrong. That creature carries [my lord's] own Blade. We shouldn't have let him keep it. He - "

The two passed through the intersection ahead of Jasnah. They were ambassadors from the West, including the Azish man with the white birthmark on his cheek. ...

The Azish man, the one dressed in black and silver, stopped and looked her up and down.[27]


Heralds Pailiah and Kelek by Magali Villeneuve,[2] (i.e., front endpapers for Rhythm of War) and Heralds Nalan and Chanaranach by Karla Ortiz[3][4] (i.e., rear endpapers for Rhythm of War)


There is an extensive article at by beta reader Alice Arneson on what readers know of the Heralds thus far here.

Like his fellow Heralds, Nale is slowly going mad. He realizes this after his confrontation with Lift has concluded.[24]

Ethid acknowledges to Jasnah and Jochi via spanreed that there is something wrong with the man she thinks is Nalan. She doesn't think that the Heralds will be a resource to the people of Azir, which Jasnah confirms, indicating that the Heralds are broken.[28]

Brandon has said that he wants the Heralds' "madnesses" to be magical diseases. With the contrast of something like Kaladin's depression, which he's trying to treat very real-world. He's trying to treat them as these things that couldn't exist in our world. They're fantastical mental diseases, like there are fantastic physical diseases in Elantris. So, he made them thematic, and part of the reason for that is people's perception of them and their mental state reacting against that. And that is a theme among all of the Heralds.[29]

Additionally, Brandon has said that the Heralds' madness is related to the madness of the Fused.[30] The Stormfather mentions that each time one of the Fused is reborn, their mind is further damaged.[31] It is similar with each Herald. Too many rebirths, possibly compounded by the fact that they not only often died each Desolation, but were tortured until the next one.[32]

(There are some hints in Rhythm of War at how Hoid has avoided a similar fate.)[33]

Note that the torture - and the many rebirths - are a big part of this. But their age is also a factor.[34]

Again according to Brandon, the things that the Heralds have and are going through, Hoid hasn't gone through. Some of the sort of degradation of what's happening with their souls is unique ... not wholly unique, but individual to the experiences they're having.[35]


Following is a list of things which could be reasons why certain Heraldic images get chosen. Further, at Tor, re-reads of TWoK, WoR and Ob contain dedicated "Heraldic Symbolism" subsections for each chapter which detail such things. Within, the re-readers speculate as to why specific Herald(s) were chosen.

  • Herald themselves (mentioned, talked about, or actually has an appearance).
  • Some object associated with a Herald (example: a specific Herald's Honorblade.
  • Member of order (ex: Kaladin=Windrunners=Jezrien), Characters portraying divine attribute behavior (example: Loving and Healing).
  • Characters portraying the inverse of divine attribute behavior (example: Hating and Destroying).
  • Herald of <concept> - things associated with that concept. Known examples: 1) Shalash: Herald of Beauty 2) Nalan: Herald of Justice 3) Jezrien: Herald of Kings 4) Taln: Herald of War 5) Ishar: Herald of Luck.
  • Roles associated with a Herald. Known Examples: 1) Chana: Guards 2) Taln: Soldiers/war 3) Ishar: Ardents/religion 4) Vedel: Physicians.
  • Essences: Essence, body focus, soulcasting properties ... (this one is a stretch as I never really could pinpoint this well enough).
  • Jester/Masked face: This can be tied to chapters with Wit in them or tied to concepts related to him, the biggest one (I think) being storytelling.

Note: The "Four Lifetimes" chapter's Heraldic symbolism in Oathbringer,[36] shows the different roles/lives Kaladin has filled: Surgeon (Vedel), Soldier (Taln), Guard (Chana), and Leader/Windrunner (Jezrien).

"There's only one thing you're missing, which you may have implied, and that's the gemstones. Also, there's a little bit more to #5 that will be explored further later in the series."

"Your "Four Lifetimes" analysis is spot-on. Congratulations."

Peter Ahlstrom[37]


So, every Herald has some madness related to his or her divine attributes.

Nale, Herald of Justice, is following the law by the letter. Not the spirit, but what is written down.

Ash, Herald of Beauty, who should be Creative, is destroying artwork depicting her.

Kalak, whose order is the adventurous Willshapers is rather paranoid now.

Jezrien, who should be a leader, is getting drunk and speaking gibberish on Gavilar's "Last Supper".[14] (This person is described as having a long black and grey beard, so he could also be Ishar.)

Q&A with Brandon[]

Q. Did Ishar deceive Nalan on purpose or was he just wrong - he had wrong information?

A. All the Heralds are insane.[38]

... It manifests in different ways. Do not trust anything any Herald says. Ever.

... Nale trusts Ishar too much.

Q. Okay, but so did he do it on purpose, or ... ?

A. Um ... So "on purpose" is a difficult thing when you're referring to someone with the psychology that Ishar has.

Q. Did he know what it was - that it was a lie?

A. ... I'll RAFO that until I get to him, but the answer is kind of a yes and a no. So, there is part of him that knows and there is part of him that doesn't want to believe it. And yet the things he's been doing lately in Roshar are done because he knows what's coming.[39]

Q. Now that we have canon art of Ishar, Shalash, Jezrien, and Vedel, what Rosharan nationalities would you say they resemble the most?

A. Jezrien and Vedel would be seen as Alethi, most likely. Shalash would be seen as Azish, while Ishar would be seen as Shin, probably.

Q. Wait, but if Ishar looks like he’s from Shinovar, how did the Tukari accept him as the God-Priest?

A. That's a RAFO - but is a question you're supposed to be asking.[40]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Words of Radiance, 42. Mere Vapors
  2. Book signing, Denver, CO, 11/15/18
  3. Origin
  4. Ars Arcanum
  5. Book signing, Chicago, IL, 12/6/16
  6. JordanCon 2018, Atlanta, GA, 4/20/18
  7. BookCon 2018, New York, NY, 6/1/18
  8. Starsight Release Party, Orem, UT, 11/26/19
  9. Book signing, Chicago, IoL, 12/6/16
  10. YouTube Spoiler Stream 1, 12/17/20
  11. The Dusty Wheel Show, 6/17/21
  12. The Way of Kings, 10. Stories of Surgeons
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Way of Kings, Prelude
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Way of Kings, Prologue - To Kill
  15. The Way of Kings, Epilogue - Of Most Worth
  16. Book signing, London, UK, 11/19/11
  17. Words of Radiance, Inter2.
  18. Words of Radiance, Inter7.
  19. Words of Radiance, 88. The Man Who Owned The Winds
  20. Shalash in TWoK
  21. Book signing, Orem, UT, 12/6/16
  22. Words of Radiance, 63. A Burning World
  23. Edgedancer, 9.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Edgedancer, 19.
  25. Oathbringer, 121. Ideals
  26. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2014, Salt Lake City, UT, 9/4/14
  27. Words of Radiance, Prologue - To Question
  28. Oathbringer, 53. Such A Twisted Cut
  29. San Diego Comic-Con@Home 2020, 7/23/20
  30. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As, 7/28/20
  31. Oathbringer, 38. Broken People
  32. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As, 7/28/20
  33. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As, 7/28/20
  34. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As, 7/28/20
  35. YouTube Livestream 29, 2/1/21
  36. Oathbringer, 6. Four Lifetimes
  37. General Reddit, 11/22/17
  38. Book signing, Hoboken, NJ, 12/3/16
  39. Book signing, Hoboken, NJ, 12/3/16
  40. Skyward Pre-Release AMA, 10/4/18