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Navani Kholin

Navani Kholin
Fan art by ex-m[1]

Biographical information
Ethnicity Alethi
Nationality Alethi
Gender Female
Status Alive
Abilities Surgebinding (Bondsmith)
Physical Description
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Light Violet
Social Information
Title(s) Brightness, Queen of Alethkar (former)
Family House Kholin
Occupation Artifabrian
Appears in The Way of Kings,
Words of Radiance, Oathbringer,
Dawnshard, Rhythm of War

Navani Kholin, the Queen Mother, is the widow of Gavilar, and mother of Jasnah and Elhokar. She had been courted by both Gavilar and Dalinar once, but she chose Gavilar, not because he would be king, but because she was frightened of Dalinar.[1]

She is politically adept and is an engineer and researcher of fabrials.[2] She had been in Kholinar to aid Queen Aesudan in protecting the interests of the queen's husband (then, King Elhokar), but felt sidelined and useless there. She ventured to the Shattered Plains to protect her son, to bring word that the Vedens had perfected what they called half-Shards, and to pursue Dalinar.[3] 


Navani TS

Tarot card by Tara Spruit [2]

In the past, according to Dalinar, Navani's hair glowed with the tiny rubies she wove into it, a color matched by her pendant and bracelet. Her face was a sultry tan, her hair Alethi jet black, her red-lipped smile so knowing and clever. And, she had a figure to make a man weep for desire.[4]

Presently, Navani is a stately woman with intricately woven black hair streaked with a few lines of gray in which she wears gemstones.[2] She often wears rubies in her hair, a blood red dress and lips painted red.[5] She has light violet eyes and is known as one of the most beautiful women in Alethkar.[2] She's in her early sixties,[6] but looks somewhat younger, about middle-aged.[7] She has slender, delicate fingers with nails painted red.[8] Her scent is that of the sweet floral of her perfumed soap.[6]

Dalinar now sees her as a mature beauty - in some ways the picture of a perfect Vorin woman: lush lips, light violet eyes, silvering black hair in perfect braids, curves accentuated by a tight silk havah. No man would ever accuse Navani of being scrawny.[9]

She now prefers a less floral scent than other women, a fragrance with spice to it, like the aroma of newly cut wood.[9]

When she and Dalinar wed, she wears a traditional bridal crown. It is an intricate headdress of jade and turquoise complimenting her wedding gown. The gown is red - for luck - and embroidered with gold, shaped in a much looser style than the havah, with wide sleeves and a graceful drape.[8]

She later appears immaculate in an ornate silver and black havah, her hair in a bun stabbed through with hairspikes meant to resemble Shardblades.[10]



Navani Kholin
Fan art by Caio Santos[3]

Navani is extremely intelligent and used to enjoy participating in the political arena but as she grew older, and after her husband was killed, she became more straightforward and less concerned with social standing and reputation. She can be coy and sometimes a little manipulative, a remnant from younger days.[2] She considers demureness for the coy and frivolous.[5]

She is every inch an Alethi queen: professional, strong, and keeps a clear mind in a crisis. She challenges Alethi protocol, but one does not reprove Navani Kholin, even if one is king.[2]

Navani doesn't presume to make judgements, but she does enjoy pointing out the obvious.[1] She has a wry wit and is not afraid to show it.[6]

She is always her most genuine when playing with new fabrials. It's one of the few times when one gets to see her without any pretense. She is a most excited engineer.[11]

In Urithiru, Navani discovers a fabrial lift. She speaks of counterweights and conjoined gemstones, in awe of the technology of the ancients.[12]



Artwork by Ari Ibarra[13]

The older Navani grows, the worse she becomes at maintaining a brightlady's proper tranquility. Once, she obeyed such proprieties. She remembers being a young woman, playing the games expertly, delighting in ways to manipulate the system.[2]

Give Navani five minutes in a city and she'll know anything and everything of significance being gossiped about therein.[2]

Navani is excellent at keeping secrets, and she keeps her confidences. She is supremely exacting in her words and thoughts; very businesslike and careful. (For this reason, Dalinar chooses her to record his visions. She scribes expertly, picking out details from his recollections, and when to prod him for more.)[14]

She sees patterns in everything and uses that to her advantage, drawing together plans and calculations in her head without even really thinking about them.[6]

Navani appreciates and admires neatness, order, rationality ... intentionality. For this reason, she loves the warcamps ... so neat, intentional.[15]

Sometimes, she thinks, working with scholars, one has to be a touch blunt.[15]

The more she understands the secrets of technology and the power of spren locked within gemstones, the closer she grows to finding what she seeks: things she can do to protect her family, like creating Shardplate.[15]

Navani believes that the women of the women's island in the warcamps consider her an eccentric vestige of things better left in the past, but that they still listen to her ... sometimes.[16]

For her, being a human is about making sense of chaos, finding meaning among the random elements of the world.[17]

She is not a fool and knows how her life looks to others. She'd married one king. After he died, she'd immediately gone after the next most powerful man in Alethkar. But she can't have people believing that she is the power behind the throne. Not only would it undermine Dalinar, but it would grow tedious for her. She had no problem being a wife or mother to monarchs, but to be one herself was a dark path that would lead them all down.[18]

On the night of Gavilar's assassination, Navani handled everything and everyone. She assured the lighteyes their concerns were being heard. She promised to look into injustices. She soothed the crumpled feelings of those who thought a personal invitation from the king meant they'd actually get to see him.[19]

Further, she smiled, laughed, and waved. Using the reminders and lists she kept in her notebook, she asked after families, new births, and favorite axehounds. She inquired about trade situations, took notes on which lighteyes seemed to be avoiding others. In short, she acted like a queen. It was emotionally taxing work, but it was her duty.[19]

Her desire for bringing an end to the war is completely authentic and legitimate. Her motive is to make sure it can't keep going. Her primary goal, to make sure the fighting ended, and that was at cross purposes even at times even with Odium.[20]


Navani an orthodox theist.[21]


NK bota

Navani Kholin
Fan art by botanicaxu[4]

Navani believes that one can get so much more done when everything is in its place, when one can easily find what or whom one needs. That creativity requires such things. That careful planning is, indeed, the water that nourishes innovation.[15]

She believes that art is about creation. That creation is art's soul, its essence. Creation and order. Take something disorganized and build something from it. Something from nothing. The soul of creation.[6]

Navani trusts in the Almighty and the Heralds, but finds superstitions to be foolishness.[22]

As the dowager queen, she believes that nobody cares what in Damnation she does. That she could prance around completely nude, and they'd all just shake their heads and talk about how eccentric she is.[15]

She also believes that often the simplest answer to a thing is the right one.[23]


Navani is a renowned artifabrian[2] and works very hard to bring new fabrials to the Alethi people.[5] She shows Dalinar the painrial - a fabrial that can lessen pain. She mentions it could be highly valuable for surgeries or if applied on a larger scale to a battlefield.[11]

She is a scholar of ancient languages and civilizations.[24] Her knowledge of the ancients and their history is second only to that of her daughter. She is also an artist and cartographer.

Navani was essential in helping Dalinar uncover the credibility and meaning behind his visions during highstorms.[14][11] After recording his descriptions of his visions, she took what Dalinar had said to scholars who work at matching his Alethi words with the transcriptions she'd recorded. (She first removed the lines where he'd mentioned sensitive issues.) She also searched for historical references to match his descriptions and prepared a timeline of all his visions, trying to piece them into a single narrative.[5]

As the newest amongst Bondsmiths, Navani is now bonded to the Sibling.[25][26] However, she can currently only Surgebind from within the tower of Urithiru.[27]

When not a Surgebinder, Navani could hear the difference between Stormlight and anti-Stormlight.[28]

Scholarship & Invention[]

NtMoM Zireael

Navani, the Mother of Machines
Fan art by Zireael[5]

  • Navani led the research to develop the fabrial that controlled the Grandbow.[3]
  • She had a hand in the construction of a new painrial and of it, she's particularly proud, though it's only an early model. She thinks it has a lot of potential.[11]
  • Navani created a platform with fabrial science that defied gravity. Her goal in so doing was to deliver one such to the Shattered Plains to elevate archers above the battlefield for tactical advantage. Her position is patron to the ardents who make the diagrams and figures, and engineering the fabrials.[15]
  • She and her crew of ardents make a breakthrough with Shardblades in realizing that the gemstones in the Blades - used to bond them - might not have originally been part of the weapons. If true, this means that the Blades aren't powered by the stones, and artifabrians are back to knowing absolutely nothing about how Shardblades were crafted. It seems the gemstone's purpose is only used in initially bonding the Blade - something the Radiants didn't need to do.[16]
  • Navani decides to lead the research team studying the quotes with which Shallan has provided her from Jasnah's research, regarding the Oathgate, Knights Radiant and Urithiru.[29]
  • She co-opts Dalinar's scribes and cartographers to locate the Oathgate, but he accuses Shallan of doing so. She, in turn, states that she was really just there when Navani changed her mind.[30]
  • Navani cannot set up fabrials remotely she needs to be on-site. Her fabrials are needed to bathe the battlefield in an extraordinarily even white light.[31]
  • She causes pavilions to be erected to protect soldiers from the elements.[32]
  • Navani tells Dalinar of a new invention called attractors. She's still half afraid that this contraption, filled with a large glowing garnet suspended within a delicate wire lacework fabrial, will suck the blood out of anyone who touches it. In fact, the fabrial pulls moisture from the air, clearing a battlefield of some precipitation, making it possible for archers to better let their arrows fly into the Parshendi ranks, drawing their attention from the beleaguered men on the field.[32]
  • Due to Navani's foresight, each tent in the warcamps has its own fabrial, which glow on a little pedestal, collecting water around it in a shimmering globe. That water streams off along two metal rods at the sides of the fabrial, spilling onto the ground, then running out of the tent and over a plateau's edge.[33]
  • Navani is quick to discount her own scholarly abilities but is actually a brilliant systems engineer.[34] She doesn't delve deep into any single component but leads teams of scientists and engineers in multi-disciplinary projects that produce profound results.[citation needed]
  • She has talked of ways to improve the experience of spanreed communication, whereby spanreeds could be adjusted to connect to different people.[35]
  • Navani thinks that Light in a vacuum becomes unkeyed until exposed to a vibration upon leaving that vacuum, before she rekeys it. The mental component on her part is pretty important to what's happening. [36]



Navani insists in her biography of Gavilar that he wasn't a scholar, but was an excellent king - an inspiring leader, an unparalleled duelist, and a genius of battle tactics.[1]

"He was a man built after the classical masculine ideal."

–Navani of Gavilar[1]

Still, even she made mention that Gavilar was not the just, kind and honorable man that everyone thought he was.[37]


Navani is three months Dalinar's senior.[2]

She played Gavilar and Dalinar off one another, fanning each their desire before finally choosing Gavilar. However, she regrets her decision in so doing and, once she acknowledges this to herself, she is able to admit her fondness of Dalinar to him and confess the amount of time she's determined she'd wasted neglecting him.[2]

Six years after Gavilar's death, she begins re-courting Dalinar. This relationship is viewed as somewhat tedious for the people of Alethkar, who still formally regard Navani and Dalinar as brother and sister, with regard to their religious beliefs as of the Vorin faith. Nevertheless, with regard to Dalinar, Navani challenges Alethi protocol. Still, one does not reprove Navani Kholin, even if one is king.[2]

(The discomfort of Alethi society with the courtship might have been a leading factor in Navani's personal decision, initially. Perhaps, she feared that her reputation might falter. Now, she has no reservations in pursuing her relationship with Dalinar.)

Navani believes Dalinar to be a kind man. Telling him so, she expresses that she's compelled to find him to be fascinating. While she admits that she's taking advantage of him - a little, she's not toying with him. She finds him to be intriguing since he has begun to be the person the others all claim that they are. She chose Gavilar over him because he frightened her all those years ago. (His intensity scared Gavilar too.) Part of what she finds fascinating is that intensity, but he's now wrapped it in armor.[1]

Navani never mocks Dalinar, never acts skeptical with regard to him.[38] In fact, she envies Dalinar his having experiences that scholars, historians, and folklorists could only dream about.[37]


Burning a Glyphward
Fan art by Grant Hansen[6]

She paints a prayer for Dalinar when she learns of his "death" at the battle of the Tower. She creates a wish out of despair, a plea out of anguish. Thath. Justice.[6]

Navani finds it endearing that Dalinar is such a soldier. She is fond of the more confident Dalinar.[5]

She believes Dalinar to be a dear, but thinks he can be a touch overprotective.[15]

Navani enjoys her strolls with Dalinar. She is comfortable around him; intimately familiar.[8]

Navani insists that he'd married Evi for her Shardplate, that many marriages are for political reasons. She also tells him that this doesn't mean he was wrong; that they'd all encouraged him to do it. She's not trying to replace Evi as she courts Dalinar.[8]


Navani is much like her daughter in that Jasnah is a political creature.[2]

She feels deeply the loss of her daughter.[39] Her grief over Jasnah's death, completely authentic.[40]

Navani knows Jasnah better than anyone else, but wishes she had some sense to go with her intelligence.[22] She believes that her daughter was too fascinated by the Parshendi, ever since she got it into her head that she was to blame for her father's death.[41]

She doesn't take the news of her daughter's death well; she insists, till Dalinar speaks, that Jasnah was still alive, but unconscious. She then admits that she's not herself at the moment, and that she strays toward the irrational.[41]

Navani knows that Jasnah wouldn't let her mother her daughter; that once she reached adolescence, she no longer needed a mother. She would try to get close to her daughter, and there was a coldness, like even being near her mother reminded Jasnah that she had once been a child. She wonders what happened to her little girl so full of questions.[16]

With Jasnah's loss, Navani considers this to be her first time mourning.[16]

Navani believes that her daughter never did have the decency to be wrong an appropriate amount of the time.[29]

One of the things that Navani shared with her daughter was a characteristic frustration with problems she couldn't solve. As if she were disappointed in the facts for not arranging themselves more helpfully.[10]


Navani wishes her son to be protected, so she returns to the Shattered Plains to do so. She thinks of him as her poor, distracted, oblivious boy.[2]

She avows that her son can be impulsive.[42]


Navani tried not to take Aesudan's general sourness toward her as a personal affront; it was the prerogative of every woman to feel threatened by her mother-in-law. Particularly when the girl was so obviously lacking in talents.[19]


Navani is called Mashala by Adolin.[14]

He responds quickly to her suggestions regarding a situation, as she has a way of deftly manipulating him in a benevolent manner as a mother would her own children.[14]

Dalinar notes that his son allows her to get away with some things others could not; around his favored aunt, he is much like a child again.[14]

Navani doesn't love the idea of Adolin dueling to disarm the other Shardbearers in the army of their Shards.[43] She insists that it wouldn't hurt him to learn some glyphs.[22]

Navani is always worried when Adolin duels.[44] Even so, she watches, but prefers to do so from down below, in the preparation room.[42]

Adolin sees a thawing in Navani's coldness as his aunt seems more thoughtful than before regarding Shallan.[42]


Navani is also called Mashala by Renarin.[14]


After learning of her daughter's 'death' from Shallan,[41] Navani refuses to see Shallan, or have anything to do with her.[42]

Navani eventually warms to Shallan, becomes protective of her. Shallan becomes one of Navani's clutch, no longer an outsider. While Navani's sudden affection was unexpected by Shallan, she accepts it.[45]

Navani admits to Shallan that she's been ignoring things, things that she should not, because they bring her pain. Shallan apologizes to her, but Navani insists that Shallan has nothing to apologize for. She finds Shallan's organization of her notes on Jasnah's findings interesting. Navani acknowledges to Shallan that she thinks like an artist, that she can see it in the way Shallan put her notes together.[29]

She realizes that, persuant to Shallan's connection with Jasnah and her daughter's knowledge, that she shouldn't have ignored Shallan. That it was petty, allowing that scholars don't have time for such nonsense.[29]


Navani notices that he is the same Wit who had served Elhokar, so she's known him for a few years. Yet, to her, he's now different. She often notices he and Jasnah whispering in conspiratorial tones during meetings.[46]

He treats Navani as if he knows her intimately. That said, to her there's a mystery about this Wit that she'd never noticed during Elhokar's reign. She thinks that perhaps he molds himself to the monarch he serves.[46]


  • Gavilar - Husband (deceased)
  • Jasnah - Daughter and Queen of Alethkar
  • Elhokar - Son (deceased)
  • Aesudan - Daughter-in-law
  • Gavinor - Grandson (son of Elhokar and Aesudan)[47][48]
  • Dalinar - Former love interest and brother-in-law (formally considered a brother due to her marriage to Gavilar), now husband
  • Evi - Sister-in-law (deceased)
  • Adolin - Nephew (by whom she is known as Mashala)
  • Renarin - Nephew (by whom she is also known as Mashala)[11]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Way of Kings, 28. Decision
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 The Way of Kings, 22. Eyes, Hands, or Spheres?
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Way of Kings, 12. Unity
  4. Oathbringer, 19. The Subtle Art Of Diplomacy
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Words of Radiance, 4. Taker Of Secrets
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 The Way of Kings, 69. Justice
  7. Words of Radiance, 22. Lights In The Storm
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Oathbringer, 4. Oaths
  9. 9.0 9.1 Oathbringer, 1. Broken And Divided
  10. 10.0 10.1 Oathbringer, 24. Men Of Blood And Sorrow
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 The Way of Kings, 60. That Which We Cannot Have
  12. Words of Radiance, 89. The Four
  13. Ari Ibarra
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 The Way of Kings, 52. A Highway to the Sun
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Words of Radiance, 35. The Multiplied Strain Of Simultaneous Infusion
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Words of Radiance, 67. Spit And Bile
  17. Oathbringer, 96. Pieces Of A Fabrial
  18. Oathbringer, 104. Strength
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Rhythm of War, Prologue
  20. Shardcast Interview, 1/23/21
  21. Stormlight Three Update #5, /r/Stormlight_Archive, 11/18/16
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Words of Radiance, 14. Ironstance
  23. Words of Radiance, 50. Uncut Gems
  24. The Way of Kings, 54. Gibletish
  25. Rhythm of War, 110. Reborn
  26. Rhythm of War, 116. Mercy
  27. YouTube Livestream 32, 6/3/21
  28. YouTube Spoiler Stream 3, 12/16/21
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 Words of Radiance, 77. Trust
  30. Words of Radiance, 78. Contradictions
  31. Words of Radiance, 81. The Last Day
  32. 32.0 32.1 Words of Radiance, 82. For Glory Lit
  33. Words of Radiance, 83. Time's Illusion
  34. Systems engineer ...
  35. Oathbringer, 53. Such A Twisted Cut
  36. YouTube Livestream 32, 6/3/21
  37. 37.0 37.1 The Way of Kings, 61. Right for Wrong
  38. The Way of Kings, 58. The Journey
  39. Words of Radiance, 8. Knives In The Back, Soldiers On The Field
  40. Shardcast Interview, 1/23/21
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Words of Radiance, 38. The Silent Storm
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Words of Radiance, 56. Whitespine Uncaged
  43. Words of Radiance, 5. Ideals
  44. Words of Radiance, 53. Perfection
  45. Words of Radiance, 75. True Glory
  46. 46.0 46.1 Rhythm of War, 17. A Proposal
  47. Words of Radiance, 46. Patriots
  48. Oathbringer, 67. Mishim