Honorblades were carried by the Heralds to fight the Voidbringers during Desolations. They are a direct link to the power of Honor. These Blades are similar to Shardblades, but far more powerful. Each of the ten Blades is unique.
Unlike Shardblades, Honorblades disappear when each Herald who is bonded to a given Blade dies. However an Honorblade will stay in the world if the Herald is killed using the knife that Leshwi gave to Moash.
Though Honorblades are the weapons used by the Heralds and not the Knights Radiant, they give the power of a Knight Radiant to whomever wields them; they are not spren, but made by the Almighty himself to imbue his chosen Heralds with Surgebinding skills. Anyone who bonds one can make use of the Surges inherent to that Blade. The Blades of the Knights are Shardblades too; they are alive.
The Honorblades and Shardblades served completely different purposes, even in their original intent.
Shallan believes Honorblades and Shardblades to be separate. Still, it is generally assumed that Shardblades were modeled after the Honorblades. (Much in the same way, it might be said that fabrial technology was modeled after Shardblade technology.)
Nine of the Honorblades appear to have been 'lost' at Aharietiam, when the Heralds ended the Oathpact. The tenth is carried by Talenel’Elin; the only Herald who did not survive the Last Desolation.
Initially, during Words of Radiance, it is stated that the abilities of each of the groups of Surgebinders are imitations of the abilities granted by one of the ten Honorblades; Szeth's Blade grants him the abilities of a Windrunner without the need of the Nahel bond, which Syl confirms. However, this causes the wielder to rely on far more Stormlight than a normal Surgebinder would in a similar situation.
|“||"The Honorblades are what we are based on, Kaladin. Honor gave these to men, and those men gained powers from them. Spren figured out what He'd done, and we imitated it. We're bits of his power, after all, like this sword. Be careful with it. It is a treasure."||”|
(Syl makes this statement after Kaladin has obtained Szeth's Honorblade, after killing him - in the original hardcover edition; after slicing off his hand - in the subsequent paperback edition.)
Syl states that Honoblades are not spren, but that someone in possession of an Honorblade can do what a Windrunner can, but without the checks a spren requires. She also mentions that using Stormlight at the level required to wield an Honorblade is dangerous, hinting that such may have serious drawbacks or ill effects if used for prolonged periods of time. The Honorblades were originally used by and meant for the ten Heralds, not for Knights Radiant.
|“||"With this sword, someone can do what you can, but without the ... checks a spren requires. This sword gave the assassin power to use Lashings, but it also fed upon his Stormlight. A person who uses this will need far, far more Light than you will. Dangerous levels of it."||”|
–Syl to Kaladin
Two of the Honorblades have been confirmed to allow Regrowth.
|Original Wielder||Surges||Current Location||Current Wielder|
Szeth (TWoK/WoR); Kaladin (WoR);
|Nale||Gravitation Division||Unknown||Hinted to be original wielder (WoR)|
|Urithiru||Implied to be original wielder (TWoK); Dalinar (WoR - assumed)|
Taln's Honorblade is described as massive, reflective of torchlight, long, narrow, straight, and shaped like an enormous spike.
Brandon has confirmed that Shinovar has seven Honorblades. It is unknown whether this includes Szeth's original Blade, now possessed by Kaladin, and/or with the Blade previously held by Talenel, now cast aside by Dalinar at the direction of the Stormfather; this leaves two Honorblades unaccounted for. Where they are held or by whom is unknown.
Similarly, at a book signing, Brandon stated that an Honorblade cannot be bonded to anyone, only given. Brandon also confirmed that Honorblades can indeed be wielded by those other than the Heralds. This explains how Szeth is able to use the Honorblade he wielded (i.e., Jezrien 's) before it was taken from him by Kaladin, but leaves just how he acquired it a mystery. This also confirms Dalinar's ability to use the Shardblade that was likely Talenel's Honorblade.
Likely, Honorblades are Splinters, but without the intelligence that makes spren spren.
Reader/contributor Siibt theorizes it is unlikely that the Shardblade taken from Talenel is an Honorblade due to the screaming that Dalinar hears when the Blade is summoned. The Stormfather tells Dalinar to get rid of it and upon doing so, he hears a scream in his mind. This is previously evidenced whence upon taking Szeth's Honorblade, Kaladin hears no screaming.
Given that the Blades originally wielded by Shalash and Battar grant their users the Surge of Transformation, might it be inferred that one of their two Blades is now in the hands of Kaladin (due to the restored arm of Lopen by contact with Kaladin) instead of that of Jezrien or is something else at play here?
If one compares an Honorblade to a dead-spren Blade, the Honorblade is the more powerful weapon. Both can be bonded, summoned, cut spirit, etc., but the Honorblade grants Surges. However, if one compares an Honorblade to a live-spren blade with Nahel bond powers granted to its wielder, then the Honorblade comes up far short since the live-spren Blade affords its wielder:
- Surgebinding with minimal Stormlight.
- Bonus side effects such as squires who can use Stormlight or photographic memory blinks.
- Presumably, Shardplate at higher ideal levels.
- A spren with whom one speaks and reasons, and from whom one may learn.
- A spren partner who can do helpful things (e.g., stand guard, listen to others, scout out knobweed, hold an illusion while moving around, generate sound, pick locks, translate language, etc..
- A spren who can become any type of weapon its wielder requires.
Q&A with BrandonEdit
Q. Do Honorblades have the same sort of relationship to Honor (possibly to a much greater degree) that Shardblades do?
A. You're on the right track.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Way of Kings, Prelude
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Oathbringer, 122. A Debt Repaid
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Words of Radiance, 87. The Riddens
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 29. Errorgance
- ↑ WoR
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Words of Radiance, 88. The Man Who Owned The Winds
- ↑ Szeth & Spren
- ↑ Words of Radiance, Inter1.
- ↑ Words of Radiance, Inter14.
- ↑ The Way of Kings, Epilogue - Of Most Worth
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Words of Radiance, 89. The Four
- ↑ Wielding Honorblades
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 36. The Lesson
- ↑ Relationship to Honor