Fan art by sheep[1]

Biographical information
Ethnicity Frostlandian
Nationality Frostlandian
Gender Male
Status Alive
Physical Description
Hair Color White
Eye Color Pale grey
Social Information
Title(s) King of Kharbranth/Jah Keved
Family Unnamed child (granddaughter)
Occupation King
Appears in The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer

Taravangian was the King of Kharbranth during The Way of Kings, and is now also the King of Jah Keved, given the events within Words of Radiance. Publicly, he appears to be a kindly, philanthropic, but ultimately dim man. However, these features are merely skin deep, as he hides dark secrets behind this visage.


Shallan initially describes Taravangian as elderly, with a wispy white beard, pale grey eyes, an open and kindly face, and as wearing royal orange robes.[1] She later describes him as having a handsome nose and wise furrowed skin.[2]


Taravangian is popular as a king, beloved of darkeyes as a builder of hospitals. However, lighteyes consider him less than bright. He's not an idiot, but in lighteyed politics, being only average is a disadvantage.[2]

Jasnah describes him as a wonderful man, worth a hundred self-proclaimed experts on courtly ways. He reminds her of her uncle. Earnest, sincere, concerned.[2]

Normally, Taravangian is bothered by the physical assistance of others to his person; he does not like being treated like an invalid. At times, however, he'll suffer the indignity as it's a lesser one than collapsing.[3]

Dalinar thinks that he is easy to dismiss when one assumes he is slow of thought. But once one knows the truth, other mysteries begin to fit into place.[4]


Tarav TS

Taravangian as the Wheel of Fortune
Tarot card by Tara Spruit[2]

Taravangian is King of Kharbranth, an independent city-state, and one of the five Vorin kingdoms. He is not a terribly powerful king, as Kharbranth hasn't any Shardblades,[2] and the city's only exports are fish, bells, and information.[5]

He is considered to be a weak king by many lighteyes, who say that he panders to so many other monarchs and fears war,[2] which is the most important Calling in the Vorin religion. However, he is popular among darkeyes, beloved for building and maintaining hospitals in his city,[2] where everyone is cared for and nobody is turned away.[6] He is able to maintain these hospitals by charging admittance fees into the Palanaeum, the largest and finest library in Roshar.[citation needed]

Publicly, he is seen as being simple-minded. In secret, however, he is a masterful plotter, with his schemes spanning across nations. Apparently, Taravangian had sought the Old Magic, receiving both curse and boon from the Nightwatcher. He wished for the capacity to save the world. As a result, his intelligence fluctuates from day to day, sometimes making him idiotic and sometimes a genius, with his compassion being inversely proportional to how smart he is.[7] He makes tests for himself on his smarter days and depending upon the score he achieves each morning, his guards place restrictions on what orders he can make if he scores too high or too low.[8][9]

"We leave it to His Majesty’s mind, on a strong day, to puzzle out the meaning of why the storms might be important, and what the poem may mean by indicating that there is silence both above and below said storms."

Joshor, Head of His Majesty’s Silent Gatherers, Tanatanev 1173[10]

On a day of unparalleled intelligence, he spent 20 manic hours writing the Diagram on all the surfaces of his chamber, a guide to saving the human species, apparently deducing facts about the past and the future from what he already knew. He apparently guessed much about spren, Voidbringers, and the Knights Radiant. One of his notes indicates that he's aware of Worldhoppers such as Hoid, but isn't entirely sure of their implications and if it's possible.

He resides in the royal palace, within the Kharbranthian Conclave.


Taravangian granted Jasnah access to the Palanaeum, in exchange for freeing his granddaughter who was trapped, after a recent highstorm had caused a cave-in within the Conclave.[1]

He joins Jasnah and Shallan during lunch. Shallan makes a drawing for him while Jasnah and the King discuss Jasnah's atheism.[2]

When Shallan is injured, he visits her at the hospital.[6]

Szeth describes Taravangian as no simpleton, due to his exposure to glimpses of the real person beneath the King's public face.[11]

After Szeth's assassination of multiple highprinces, Jah Keved fell into civil war. Though it was of great magnitude, it ended quickly, as all the highprinces converged on the capital and quickly killed each other. After the war was over, Taravangian visited the new king, Valam. On the way, he made sure his men were seen helping the survivors of war, quickly gaining support of the smallfolk.[9]

Szeth visited him unexpectedly, telling him of the existence of another Radiant. Taravangian soothed him, told Szeth to kill Dalinar Kholin while avoiding contact with Kaladin, and quickly went to refer to the Diagram once Szeth had left. Here, he identified that a bridgeman had to be the Knight Radiant from something he wrote, and emphasized that the bridgeman and Szeth could never meet.[9]

Afterward, he went up to where Valam was dying. After a quick conversation, Valam made his bastard son, Redin, bear witness to his making Taravangian the new king, then made Redin kill him.[9] This made Taravangian King of Jah Keved, and thus he had taken the first major step toward unifying the world.

Toward the end of Oathbringer, Dalinar accuses Taravangian of abandoning him. Of abandoning Thaylen City. Taravangian replied that he assumed he was going to fall, and so positioned himself in a way that he could seize control of the coalition.[4]

Secret ActivitiesEdit

Main article: Last Words

Taravangian discovered that sometime after King Gavilar's excursion into the Shattered Plains, the death rattles began. Taravangian believes these to be of extreme importance.

"Their words might save us."[11]

Secretly, he began to use his hospitals to deliberately kill people by slowly draining their blood. He keeps scholars present on-site at all times so they can record victims' death rattles.[11]

Taravangian has no illusions about the nature of his actions, but he believes them to be necessarily evil, in his work toward the ultimate purpose of saving the world.

"It is better for one man to sin than for a people to be destroyed ... "

"... I am the monster who will save this world." [11]

Taravangian employed Szeth to assassinate some of the most powerful and influential men on Roshar, including Hanavanar, previously King of Jah Keved. He believes his actions serve the purpose of bringing stability to the world, according to the prophetic series of hieroglyphs - the Diagram - that he made during a day of extraordinary genius. He orders Szeth to kill Dalinar in order to prevent the latter from uniting the Alethi highprinces.[11]

At the end of Oathbringer, Taravangian makes a deal with Odium and is now currently working for the enemy.[12]

The DiagramEdit

Main article: The Diagram


  • Szeth - As previously stated, Taravangian employed Szeth to assassinate some of the most powerful and influential men on Roshar, including Hanavanar, previously King of Jah Keved.[11]
  • Jasnah - (To be continued.)
  • Shallan - (To be continued.)
  • Dalinar - After ordering Szeth to kill Dalinar, and after Szeth's failure to do so, Taravangian believes that it would have been so much better for Dalinar to have died by the assassin's blade.[11][3]
"For now, we must leave him to the enemy's desires, and that will not be as kind as a quick death."

–Taravangian to Adrotagia[3]

Further, Taravangian believes that Dalinar would be the first to tell another that when one's opponent is getting back up, one must act quickly to crush his knees. He says that then, one's opponent will bow, and present his skull.[3]

  • Adrotagia
Main article: Adrotagia

Taravangian (in one of his duller moments) thinks she looks so old now. He wonders whether she feels as he did, shocked every time she looks in the mirror, wondering where the days have gone. When they'd been young, they'd wanted to conquer the world. Or save it.[12]

  • Joshor
Main article: Joshor
  • Mrall
Main article: Mrall
  • Malata
Main article: Malata


Taravangian visited the Nightwatcher sometime after Gavilar's assassination.[13]


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