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Nightwatcher

Nightwatcher
Fan art by Kaijie Khoo[1]

Biographical information
Race Spren
Ethnicity Cultivation
Nationality Shadesmar
Gender Female
Status Alive
Abilities Old Magic
Appears in The Way of Kings (mentioned),
Words of Radiance (mentioned),
Arcanum Unbounded (mentioned),
Edgedancer (mentioned),
Oathbringer

The Nightwatcher is a kind of super-spren, akin to the Stormfather and the Sibling,[1][2][3] associated with the Old Magic. She gives, to those who seek her, one boon and one curse ... as she has been tasked to do so by Cultivation to better understand humans.[4] She is also associated with the order of Knights Radiant known as Bondsmiths.

"The Nightwatcher doesn’t trick you or twist your words. You ask a boon. She gives what she feels you deserve, then gives you a curse to go along with it. Sometimes related, sometimes not."

Av [5]

The Nightwatcher's motives behind her boons and curses were unfathomable.

Taravangian's thoughts[6]

Bargains with the Nightwatcher are supposed to be permanent, but Lift tells Wyndle that everything is changing ... and she's not supposed to. She asked not to.[7] Also, Dalinar begins remembering his first wife, Evi,* soon after marrying Navani.[8]

Still, Navani tells Dalinar that she's found three hundred cases into which she's looked for which the boon and curse both lasted until an individual's death.[8]

"In any case, Dalinar, the research is definitive. We haven't been able to find a single case where the effects of the Old Magic wore off - and it's not like people haven't tried over the centuries. Lore about people dealing with their curses, and seeking any cure for them, is practically its own genre."

–Navani to Dalinar[8]

Appearance[]

Seeking Forgiveness
Fan art by Jordi Rapture[2]

The Nightwatcher seeps from the darkness. She is a dark green mist, vaguely shaped like a crawling person. Too-long arms reach out, pulling her along as she floats above the ground. Her essence, like a tail, extends far behind her, weaving and disappearing. Indistinct and vaporous, she flows like a river or an eel, and the only part of her with any specific detail is her smooth, feminine face with silken black eyes. Tiny hands sprout from the misty sides of her head and reach out with a thousand cold - yet gentle - caresses, her arms becoming tentacles. Her voice is like the rustling of trees, a hundred overlapping whispers in the wind.[4]

Personality[]

She is more fond of - or interested in - some people than others.[9] When Dalinar meets her, she offers him glory and prestige, amongst other things. When he simply desires to be forgiven, then realizes that such a thing is asking too much, and then later asks if he can even be forgiven, she becomes confused because his response is so different from the way she understands humans. She again offers more temporal pleasures - including Nightblood - which shows that she understands some humans, but not all.[4]

Milieu[]

Dalinar finds himself in a tiny clearing, bathed in starlight. She is a shadow that moves in the darkness beyond the trees therein, accompanied by the noise of twisting vines and blowing grass. With the vines and branches of the clearing seemingly pulling toward her, Cultivation tells Dalinar that she allows the Nightwatcher to hold court there because it helps her understand those like him.[4]

Visitors[]

  • Took - Took's greatest tale was of the time he had seen the Nightwatcher herself and stolen a sphere that glowed black at night.[10]
  • Dalinar - Dalinar's memories of his wife were excised from his mind following his visit to the Nightwatcher and he was no longer able to hear her name when it was spoken to him, nor perceive any sort of reference to her.[11][12] As yet, it isn't known whether this is his boon or his curse. There was some speculation, mainly by Renarin, that Dalinar's visions are related to the Old Magic. While Dalinar acknowledged seeking the Nightwatcher after his wife's death, he pointedly refuses to discuss what boon he then asked for.

Would that day never stop haunting him? Was not losing all memory of his wife enough?[13]

  • Av's family - Several members of Av's family sought the Nightwatcher. One of his brothers lost all sensation in his hands after the visit; his boon is unknown. Av's father received a large quantity of valuable fabric, keeping his family alive through a lurnip famine. His curse was the inability to view the world normally, instead seeing things upside down for the rest of his life.[5]
  • Taravangian - He received the curse of waking every morning with a random level of intelligence. Most mornings he awakens average, though he is subjected to tests to determine whether he'll be fit to rule or unfit, and therefore watched over until the following morning. He rarely wakes with exceptional brilliance, such as when he created the Diagram, or so idiotic that he can only sit in a corner and drool. His handlers, who administer the tests to determine whether he is fit to rule, have decided that both of these exceptional states leave him unfit to rule. As a genius, he attempted to pass a law requiring people of lesser intelligence to commit suicide: a de facto eugenics program. As an idiot, he may not even be able to communicate with others.[14][6]
  • Lift - She visited Nightwatcher when she was 10 years old and asked to stay the same forever. However, perhaps instead she received a direct physical connection with Shadesmar, allowing her to physically interact with spren and metabolize food into Stormlight.[15] Her curse is unknown at this time.

Quotes[]

Bringing death and lies wherever I go. Me and the Nightwatcher.

Kaladin's thoughts[16]

Even if the mucus does stink like the Nightwatcher’s own backside.[17]

"If there is no Almighty, there might be something else. I don’t know. A lot of the soldiers I knew were superstitious. They’d talk about things like the Old Magic and the Nightwatcher, things that could bring a man bad luck."

–Kaladin[18]

It was as if the Nightwatcher toyed with them, playing some forbidden game of chance, occasionally setting the men on his gameboard as allies, then setting them to kill one another the next day.[19]

But all men have the same ultimate destination. Whether we find our end in a hallowed sepulcher or a pauper’s ditch, all save the Heralds themselves must dine with the Nightwatcher.[20]

Navani settled back, sipping her wine, safehand lying across her lap. "Dalinar, your sons told me that you once sought the Old Magic. Why? What did you ask of the Nightwatcher, and what curse did she give you in return?"

"I told them that shame is my own," Dalinar said. "And I will not share it." [13]

Notes[]

*When Dalinar's first wife suggested to him that perhaps she should visit the Nightwatcher and ask for the blessing of intelligence, he told her not to speak of that place or that creature. That such was blasphemous.[21]

The Nightwatcher calls Cultivation, Mother.[4]

References[]

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