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Symbol of The Stormlight Archive and the Knights Radiant
Artwork by Isaac Stewart

From the outermost ring inward: Surges, orders of Knights Radiant, Spren and associated Heralds.

The Knights Radiant, commonly known as Radiants, were a military organization of ten consecrated orders, centered at Urithiru on Roshar.[1] Commonly believed to have betrayed mankind on the Day of Recreance, they are now referred to as the Lost Radiants ... traitors.[2] Yet, the orders were once one. Not without problems or strife, but focused.[1] Their symbol was a golden hourglass shape of eight spheres connected with two at the center. This shape was also sometimes referred to as the Double Eye of the Almighty in Vorinism.[3][1]

Description[]

The Radiants were emotionally broken people. People who had been broken, but then instead of lying down and giving up, they stood straight, shouldered the weights, and found they could continue. In a conversation between Kaladin and Syl the following exchange occurred:

"You want too much of me," he snapped at her as he reached the other side of the chasm. "I’m not some glorious knight of ancient days. I’m a broken man. Do you hear me, Syl? I’m broken."

She zipped up to him and whispered, "That’s what they all were, silly." [4]

Even so ...

... each order had different Ideals, or standards, to determine advancement. Some were specific, others left to the interpretation of the spren. Also, some orders were individualistic, while others - like the Windrunners - functioned in teams, with a specific hierarchy.

Shallan's thoughts[5]

Still, according to Kaladin, being a Radiant isn't so much about one's strength or skill, but about one's heart.[6]

History[]

According to the visions from Honor left for Dalinar, the appearance of the Radiants was a surprise for both the Heralds and for him. The Heralds later took patronage of corresponding orders, but they didn't found them; they began to lead them and gave them Shardplate and Shardblades to protect humankind against the Voidbringers during conflicts known as the Desolations.

Ishar's part at their inception was most important. He understood the implications of Surges being granted to humankind. As a result, he instilled organization into them. Though humankind now had great power, he let it be known that he would destroy every one of them, unless they agreed to be bound by precepts and laws.[7]

The ardentia teach of Aharietiam, a victory over the Voidbringers, the end of the Desolations and the departure of the Heralds. This occurred sometime before the Knights Radiant became lost, abandoning their duty and betraying mankind, on what is now known as the Day of Recreance.[8][9] (The day was not known by this name at the time.[10])

The only known account of the Recreance occurred during one of Dalinar's visions, sent by the Almighty. In the vision, a group of some 300 Radiants gathered at one city, left their Shards, and walked away.[11] The vision suggests that the Radiants killed their spren in the process, indicating that the Recreance is also the day mankind betrayed the spren, through their mass slaughter of bonded spren. It is also suggested that others might have been corrupted and used their strength to rule over lesser men. It has been centuries since the fall of the last Radiant, and today, only legends of the Lost Radiants and their Shardblades and Shardplate remain.

Orders of the Knights Radiant[]

The Radiants were divided into ten orders, each of which directly corresponds with one of the Heralds. Each order had two Surges associated with it, and each Surge was used by two different orders. The Knights Radiant used Shardblades and Shardplate, which were etched with glyphs and glowed a different color according to the order of which they were a member. Each Radiant was bonded to a spren, and that spren determined the powers and order to which the Radiant belonged.



Orders included those of the Windrunners, Skybreakers, Dustbringers, Edgedancers, Truthwatchers, Lightweavers, Elsecallers, Willshapers, Stonewards, and Bondsmiths. The Knights Radiant used a system of powers known as Surgebinding.

Diagram of the Radiants' symbolic glyphs and their interconnected Surges
Artwork by Isaac Stewart

Pattern notes that the majority of several spren 'peoples' were bonded before the event known as the Day of Recreance. Thousands were killed when the event occurred.[9] Thus, several of the orders may have few spren with which to bond ... and there may be very few new Knights Radiant.

Windrunners[]

Ideal-Essence-1.png

The Windrunners are an order originally led by Jezrien, King of the Heralds. Their Surges are Adhesion and Gravitation. The effects of the Surges available to Windrunners are known colloquially amongst the members of the order as the Three Lashings: Basic lashing, Full lashing, and Reverse lashing.[12]

Their Nahel bond is to honorspren, and they exemplify the virtues of Protection and Leading. The glow of their Shardplate is blue.[11]

Skybreakers[]

Ideal-Essence-2.png

Skybreakers are an order that was not founded by Nalan'Elin, but was eventually accepted by him, as their patron . This was revealed by Brandon in a Q&A.[19] Their Surges are Gravitation and Division. Their Nahel bond is to highspren, and they exemplify the virtues of Law and Justice.

  • Szeth belongs to this order, and has spoken the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Ideals of the Skybreakers by the end of Oathbringer.[20][21][17]

Dustbringers[]

Ideal-Essence-3.png

Dustbringers are an order led by Chanarach. Their Surges are Division and Abrasion. They have been mentioned by Brandon to be the third order and are mentioned by Kalak in the Prelude to The Way of Kings:

Even some sections of rock smoldered. The dustbringers had done their work well.[22]

  • Malata, through Spark, belongs to this order. It is possible that Spark may have been corrupted. This may be the cause of Malata's attitude toward the other Radiants, and why she and her spren are so unconcerned with Odium taking control.

Edgedancers[]

Ideal-Essence-4.png

Edgedancers are an order originally led by Vedel. Their Surges are Abrasion and Progression. Nale recalls them as being "elegant things of beauty ... . They could ride the thinnest rope at speed, dance across rooftops, move through a battlefield like a ribbon on the wind." They are also described as "the most articulate and refined" of the orders.[23]

  • Lift, through Wyndle, belongs to this order. It is implied that she spoke the First Ideal when she 'captured' Wyndle. She speaks the Second Ideal of the Edgedancers when she saves Gawx,[23] and speaks the Third when she saves the Stump.[24]

Truthwatchers[]

Ideal-Essence-5.png

Truthwatchers are an order originally led by Paliah. Their Surges are Progression and Illumination.

They have been described as being made up by those who never spoke or wrote about what they did.[25]

  • Renarin, through Glys, belongs to this order.[26] However, Glys has been corrupted by Sja-anat. Despite this, Renarin and Glys are loyal to the Radiants.[17]
  • The Stump is a member of this order.[27]
  • Ym was once suspected of potentially belonging to the Edgedancers due to his healing abilities.[28][29] However, it has been confirmed by Brandon that Ym would've belonged to this order had he survived his confrontation with Nale.[30] According to Wyndle, he would've been the cobbler's spren.[31]

Lightweavers[]

Ideal-Essence-6.png

Lightweavers are an order originally led by Shalash. Their Surges are Illumination and Transformation.

Their Nahel bond is to Cryptics, and they appear to be inclined towards lies and manipulation, while also valuing truths and self-awareness. Their members were people who pursued the arts, and they possessed mnemonic abilities.

"Lightweavers make no oaths beyond the first ... . You must speak truths."

–Pattern to Shallan[32]

Elsecallers[]

Ideal-Essence-7.png

Elsecallers are an order originally led by Battar. Their Surges are Transformation and Transportation.

Willshapers[]

Ideal-Essence-8.png

Willshapers are an order originally led by Kalak. Their Surges are Transportation and Cohesion.

Their members have been described as being unreliable and erratic.[35]

Stonewards[]

Ideal-Essence-9.png

Stonewards are an order originally led by Talenel. Their Surges are Cohesion and Tension.

The glow of their Shardplate was amber.[37]

Bondsmiths[]

Ideal-Essence-10.png

Bondsmiths are an order originally led by Ishar. Another order revealed by Brandon at a signing, their Surges are Tension and Adhesion. Due to the nature of their spren, at least some of them are not allowed to have Shardblades.[26]

  • Melishi was a member of this order.[39]
  • Dalinar, through the Stormfather, belongs to this order. He swore to both the First and Second Ideals of the Bondsmiths in quick succession in Words of Radiance,[26] and swore to the Third Ideal in Oathbringer.[17]
  • Navani has bonded the Sibling to be part of the Bondsmiths. She has sworn the First Ideal in Rhythm of War.

Ideals of the Knights Radiant[]

The Ideals of the Knights Radiant, also known as the Immortal Words, are a set of rules by which each Radiant lived. The First Ideal - identical for all orders of Radiants - is used as their motto. The four later Ideals are different for each order of Radiants.

The First Ideal[]

The First Ideal for all orders of Knights Radiant is the same:

Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.[14]

It was explained to Kaladin by Teft as follows:

The First Ideal
Illustration by Rebecca Sorge

  • 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."[14]

(The Lightweavers have only this one oath after which their progression is marked by accepting deep truths about themselves.[32])

The Second Ideal[]

The Second Ideal is different for every order of Knights Radiant.

The Second Ideal for the Windrunners is:

I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.[15]

A generalized Second Ideal for the Skybreakers is:

I will put the law before all else.[40][41]

The Second Ideal for the Edgedancers is:

I will remember those who have been forgotten.[23]

The Second Ideal for the Willshapers is:

"I will seek freedom for those who are in bondage."[36]

The Second Ideal for the Bondsmiths is:

I will unite instead of divide. I will bring men together.[26]

The Third Ideal[]

Like the Second Ideal, the Third Ideal is different for each of the orders.

The Third Ideal for the Windrunners is:

I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.[13]

The Third Ideal for the Skybreakers is:

Called the Ideal of Dedication, this is a specific oath to dedicate oneself to a greater truth. A Skybreaker squire must first bond their highspren before taking this oath, and it is the minimum oath required before the Surge of Division can be used.[21]

The Third Ideal for the Edgedancers is:

I will listen to those who have been ignored.[24]

The one known instance of the Third Ideal for the Bondsmiths is:

I will take responsibility for what I have done. If I must fall, I will rise each time a better man.[17]

The Fourth Ideal[]

Like the Third Ideal, the Fourth Ideal is different for each of the orders.

The Fourth Ideal for the Windrunners is:

I accept that there will be those I cannot protect.[42]

It was almost spoken by Kaladin while he was in Shadesmar after the fall of Kholinar, but he wavered as he spoke it for not being able to live up to the oath.[citation needed]*

Having spoken this Ideal, Kaladin receives his Shardplate, made of hundreds of windspren.

The Fourth Ideal for the Skybreakers is:

Called an Ideal of Crusade, it requires that a Skybreaker undertake a personal quest and complete it to the satisfaction of their highspren. Once completed, the Skybreaker is elevated to the rank of master.[21]

The Fifth Ideal[]

Like the Fourth Ideal, the Fifth Ideal is different for each of the orders.

The Fifth Ideal for the Skybreakers is:

Called the Ideal of Law, it requires a Skybreaker to swear an oath that s/he will become a personification of law and truth. Nale is the only current Skybreaker to have achieved it - and the only Herald - as it has been centuries since anyone mastered the Fifth Ideal.[21]

Stormlight Archive - Dalinar & Co.
Fan art by botanicaxu[1]

Attributes of the Knights Radiant[]

# Order Number Herald Image Primary/Sec Divine Attribute Essences Gemstone Body Focus Soulcasting Properties Spren Primary Surge Secondary Surge
1 Windrunners Jes Jezrien King image Protecting Leading Zephyr Sapphire Inhalation Translucent gas, air Honorspren Adhesion Gravitation
2 Skybreakers Nan Nale Hooded man Just Confident Vapor Smokestone Exhalation Opaque gas, smoke, fog Highspren Gravitation Division
3 Dustbringers Chach Chanarach Woman with something akin to a helmet Brave Obedient Spark Ruby Soul Fire Ashspren Division Abrasion
4 Edgedancers Vev Vedel Hooded woman Loving Healing Lucentia Diamond Eyes Quartz, glass, crystal Cultivationspren Abrasion Progression
5 Truthwatchers Palah Paliah Woman with hair going all directions Learned Giving Pulp Emerald Hair Wood, plants, moss Mistspren Progression Illumination
6 Lightweavers Shash Shalash Woman with large jewel on forehead Creative Honest Blood Garnet Blood Blood, all non-oil liquid Cryptic Illumination Transformation
7 Elsecallers Betab Battar Woman with band around head, over hair Wise Careful Tallow Zircon Oil All kinds of oil Inkspren Transformation Transportation
8 Willshapers Kak Kalak Man with uncovered hair, long bangs Resolute Builder Foil Amethyst Nails Metal Lightspren Transportation Cohesion
9 Stonewards Tanat Talenel'Elin Helmed man Dependable Resourceful Talus Topaz The Bone Rock and stone Peakspren Cohesion Tension
10 Bondsmiths Ishi Ishar Old man with long beard Pious Guiding Sinew Heliodor Flesh Meat, flesh Stormfather, Nightwatcher, Sibling Tension Adhesion

Notes[]

According to Lirin, the Knights Radiant were indeed the orders of the Knights they founded, yet also those who betrayed the people once the Heralds left. He indicated that they were men who had too much power and not enough sense.[43]

Adolin asks Shallan why the Radiants created only swords. Further, he tells her that his father had asked why the ancient Radiants never made tools for the people.[44]

"The Radiants weren't just soldiers! Yes, they created incredible weapons, but they also created incredible art! And maybe once this war is done, we can find other uses for their powers."

–Adolin to Shallan[44]

There is an extensive article at tor.com about what readers know of the Knights Radiant thus far here.

There is also an extensive article at brandonsanderson.com about what readers know of the Knights Radiant thus far here.

Q&A with Brandon[]

Q. Can Knights Radiant of one order see the spren of someone from another order?

A. RAFO![45]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Way of Kings, 19. Starfalls
  2. 2.0 2.1 Words of Radiance, 1. Santhid
  3. The Way of Kings, 5. Heretic
  4. Words of Radiance, 68. Bridges
  5. Words of Radiance, 77. Trust
  6. Oathbringer, 37. The Last Time We March
  7. Words of Radiance, 42. Mere Vapors
  8. The Way of Kings, 42. Beggars and Barmaids
  9. 9.0 9.1 Words of Radiance, 75. True Glory
  10. Words of Radiance, 40. Palona
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Way of Kings, 52. A Highway to the Sun
  12. Ars Arcanum
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Words of Radiance, 84. The One Who Saves
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Way of Kings, 59. An Honor
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Way of Kings, 67. Words
  16. Oathbringer, 41. On The Ground Looking Up
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Oathbringer, 119. Unity
  18. Oathbringer, 121. Ideals
  19. Skybreakers
  20. Szeth
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Oathbringer, 90. Reborn
  22. The Way of Kings, Prelude
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Words of Radiance, Inter9.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Edgedancer, 19.
  25. Words of Radiance, 52. Into The Sky
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Words of Radiance, 89. The Four
  27. Edgedancer, 20.
  28. Words of Radiance, Inter2.
  29. Ym
  30. Book signing, Fort Collins, CO, 11/29/16
  31. Edgedancer, 6.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Words of Radiance, 87. The Riddens
  33. Lightweaver
  34. Budding ...
  35. Words of Radiance, 50. Uncut Gems
  36. 36.0 36.1 Rhythm of War, 60. Essai
  37. The Way of Kings, 38. Envisager
  38. The Way of Kings, 33. Cymatics
  39. Words of Radiance, 58. Never Again
  40. Second Ideal
  41. Words of Radiance, 88. The Man Who Owned The Winds
  42. Rhythm of War, 108. Moments
  43. The Way of Kings, 10. Stories of Surgeons
  44. 44.0 44.1 Oathbringer, 77. Stormshelter
  45. Radiants' spren
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