The Immortal Words are a set of rules by which the Knights Radiant lived. These ideals were based off of the lessons taught in Nohadon's book, The Way of Kings.[1]

There are five Ideals. The First Ideal is the motto of the Knights Radiant and was shared by all ten orders. The four later Ideals were said to be different for each order of Radiants.

The First IdealEdit

"Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination."[1] The First Ideal is explained to Kaladin by Teft:

  • Life before death - The Radiant seeks to defend life, always. He never kills unnecessarily, and never risks his own life for frivolous reasons. Living is harder than dying. The Radiant's duty is to live.
  • Strength before weakness - All men are weak at some time in their lives. The Radiant protects those who are weak, and uses his strength for others. Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.
  • Journey before destination - There are always several ways to achieve a goal. Failure is preferable to winning through unjust means. Protecting ten innocents is not worth killing one. In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.[1]

The Second IdealEdit

I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.

– The Second Ideal of the Windrunners.[2]

I will unite instead of divide. I will bring men together.

– The Second Ideal of the Bondsmiths.[3]

I will put the law before all else.

– The Second Ideal of the Skybreakers.

I will remember those who have been forgotten.

– The Second Ideal of the Edgedancers.[4]

The Third IdealEdit

I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.

– The Third Ideal of the Windrunners.[5]

I will listen to those who have been ignored.

– The Third Ideal of the Edgedancers[6]

I will take responsibility for what I have done, if I must fall, I will rise each time a better man.

– The Third Ideal of the Bondsmiths[7]


"But the Immortal Words - these Ideals - guided everything they did. The four later Ideals were said to be different for every other Order of Radiants. But the First Ideal was the same for each of the ten: Life Before Death, Strength Before Weakness, Journey Before Destination."

–Teft to Kaladin[1]

"There are Words," Wyndle said. "That's what we call them, at least. They're more ... ideas. Living ideas, with power. You have to let them into your soul. Let me into your soul."

Wyndle to Lift[8]


It is theorized by fans that the "most important words", in King Gavilar's message to Dalinar, given with his last breath:

Brother ... You must find the most important words a man can say.[9]

were a reference to the Immortal Words and Gavilar's way to set his brother on the path he would take for the rest of the novel.


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